Managing life

My 2017 Plan of Attack

The Eye of the Tiger by Stuck With My Camera of Flickr

 

Attack may seem like a militaristic word, but after much consideration, it fits my current mindset. Like the eye of the tiger, I have my vision in sight and I am feeling poised and ready to take on 2017.

I have my calendar for the year broken down into micro-movements, better known as milestones, but unlike milestones, micro-movements have a bit more flexibility to shift around. I fully anticipate great opportunities arising that I cannot at this point predict, as I am expecting 2017 to be even better than I imagine.

This actually brings me to my first resources – books:

Code of the Extraordinary Mind: 10 Unconventional Laws to Redefine Your Life and Succeed On  Your Own Terms, Vishen Lakhiani

I am halfway through this book and have already evaluated 12 realms (shared earlier with you) and created inspiring visions for how I want these 12 realms to be. It was promising to find that I have already made significant progress in a couple of areas. The big thing that I just got from this book, however, is the state of mind I need to be in for exponential growth to occur. Goals are great, but not when they intimidate the JOY from the process. This reaffirms the mindset that I aim to adopt in an even more prominent way, that all of these roles that I assume in my life (mom, boss, CEO, coach, writer, adjunct professor, speaker, singer, etc.) are what I GET to do. I don’t LOVE all of the tasks associated with these roles, but if I maintain this mindset, then I can find the joy in these tasks and feel appreciative that I GET to do them. In turn, this will minimize my procrastination and increase my energy, enabling me to do more in less time.

 

The Originals: How Non-conformists Change the World, Adam Grant

I feel like I should have already read this book. It was brought to my attention by a client who helped the author with the launch. Considering he is local to me, and he seems to share a mission and a philosophy with me, I sense there is potential to join forces, but first, I want to delve deeper into his teachings. I realize that some of the things that I teach particular to interviewing and negotiation are contradictory to that which my peers promote. However, it is because of my experience and perspective as a “recovering” recruiter, my empathy for my clients, and the amazing outcomes these methods produced that I am driven to share them with as many people as possible, in spite of how some of them don’t conform to the traditional practices of my industry.

 

Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers, Tim Ferriss

Tim Ferriss changed how I look at meetings, how I delegate, how I invest resources and inspired me to take my hands OFF the things that someone else can do better and faster. As a result, I finally launched my book. Even more important, however, is how I teach my clients to manage their time, making sure they are not spending their time writing their résumés over and over again, but putting their focus where they can make the greatest impact with decision-makers. I have transformed my six-month coaching programs into three-month programs, and I am currently developing a six-week program. I am excited to learn and teach what Tim shares in this book that will help me support shorter and shorter searches for optimal jobs.

 

Emergence: Seven Steps for Radical Life Change, Derek Rydall

Derek demonstrates how wisdom pours through him, as though he just opens himself up and the truth of what really needs attention and love shows up. I love listening to his podcast, “Best Year of Your Life.” I see this quality, too, in Tony Robbins. It is because of who they are and how they are, not what they say or do, that they can be such powerful agents of transformation. I want to learn more about Derek’s journey to discover what I can emulate that will make me more effortlessly, yet powerfully, illuminate my clients’ true brilliance, and teach them to shine even brighter.

 

YOU Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life, Jen Sincero

In my year as a Beachbody coach, this book was touted as the #1 go-to personal development resource. Most of the time, I do feel like a Badass, and I feel myself embodying this more and more. However, there are still those moments and thoughts that threaten to knock me off my path and out of pace. Again, I want to know if this is a resource I should be sharing with my clients, many of whom have self-limiting beliefs that tend to manifest as they form new habits, expand their comfort zones, and embody their brand.

 

The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science, by Norman Doidge

This book may change, since it was published in 2007, and so much more has been discovered about the brain since then, but it is highly acclaimed by the neuroscientists that I follow today. Why do I study the brain? What I was taught in school about the brain has been nullified by what they have discovered in the past 10 years. We are much more capable of changing our brains, a phenomenon they call neuroplasticity, and our brain is ultimately responsible for more of our reality than we knew before. When I started learning about the Law of Attraction in 2008, I needed to understand if there was any science to how our thoughts impact our reality. I found answers in neuroscience and quantum physics, and what I have learned since then has helped me be a better coach. I can help my clients override the neural patterns that keep them from attaining the change they so desire.  I will read one book on the brain, and I promise to share with you what it is and what I learned.

 

My 2017 company goals include:

  • Joining the National Speakers Association
  • (Re)starting a online community that will serve as a focus group for a 30-day Law of Attraction program
  • Building a back-end for Accelerfate, my job search mobile game, and put it in the hands of users
  • Engaging and training two like-minded professionals to use the Epic approach to help me support even more job seekers in 2017
  • Wining an industry award, submitting a résumé or two for a TORI (Toast of the Résumé Industry) award. BIG on my list > this is the last year I am eligible to win the Philadelphia Business Journal’s 40 under 40 list, or any other 40 under 40 list.
  • Landing a prestigious speaking gig

 

Events I plan on attending:

AwesomenessFest, better known as A-Fest

This happens twice a year in two exotic locations. This year’s first event is May 17-20 in Ibiza, Spain. I have never been to Europe before. I would certainly want to see more of it before coming back, but would also want my family to be with me.

 

Any Tony Robbins event

This is a bucket list item that I am feeling more and more compelled to check off. The more immersed I become in communities committed to personal and professional development, and the more I find myself quoting his videos, the more I realize that I do have a date with destiny.

 

An HR Tech conference, two of which I am examining:

HR Tech October 10-13 in Las Vegas, NV

Workhuman May 30-June 1 in Phoenix, AZ

 

A Career Development conference

National Career Development Association annual conference June 28-30 in Orlando, FL

 

I look forward to reviewing this list and what I accomplished at year’s end. In the meantime, 2017, here I come!

 

My Best Year Yet: The Top 3 People, Authors and Coaches Who Made It So

Art4theglryofGod by Sharon of Flickr

 

2016 has truly been a spectacular year for my personal and my professional life. I definitely give praise to God, especially because the family members whose health had caused grave concerns in the past all seem to have made tremendous recoveries.

As I reflect on this year, I want to give praise to the mentors, coaches, teachers, and authors who have been the most influential to my best year in business yet.

Before I do that, though, I would like to pass on the utmost gratitude to all of my clients from previous years, this year, and certainly the ones who fall in both categories and allow me to make ongoing contributions to their career. It is only because you are there to allow my gifts to help you that I can fulfill my purpose. As a fan of words, I do not feel like I could ever adequately express just how grateful I am for you.

Now that has been said, I need to acknowledge the people who have enabled me to make increasingly greater contributions to my clients through their wisdom and teachings.

 

THE PEOPLE

Firstly, thank you Ford Myers. From my first few months in business through now being considered a fellow veteran of the industry, I want to thank you for the contribution you made to me, such as letting me borrow your Ultimate Career Guide through writing the foreword to my new book. You helped me build a strong foundation from which I could build my own solid business and reputation. And, thanks to the professional that you are, the industry as a whole in our region has been able to make a greater impact in the lives of corporate professionals. I very much appreciate the times that we were able to sit down and talk philosophy and pragmatism. I hope we will be able to do more of that in 2017.

Ed Samuel, thank you for introducing me to CCI Consulting. You have changed my perception of the quality possible in outplacement programs. You put a tremendous amount of time and energy into your service to others, and as a result, thousands have been able to make their own great contributions. When it is your time to finally slow down, I hope that you will be fully satisfied, joyfully floating on the ripples that reverberate back-and-forth through the pools of professionals who have been impacted by your effort, wisdom, and passion.

Lisa DeLuca, if there is anyone out there who questions the dedication of undergrad career services, I will point them to you to see the optimal example of the positive impact that is possible when career services establishes itself as a progressive partner firmly integrated into an effective preparatory undergrad curriculum. But that’s just who you have been for academia in general, LeBow, and its students. For me, having been self-employed for nine years prior to joining the adjunct faculty, I was encouraged by your patience, compassion, and guidance as I embarked on my own new career adventure. And, I have been impressed with your trust in my experience and how much you and LeBow value that. It has given my confidence and my credibility a boost that has enabled me to reach and help so many more people in 2016.

 

THE BOOKS

These are some books that created a shift in the momentum of my business this year.

The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod

Not only did I read more this year because of the practices that I adopted from this book, but I also grew at an exponential pace. This book and the Facebook community are directly attributable to my growth. I urge you to join a community and read this book, but especially without hesitation because the author is currently fighting cancer. I fully expect that he will recover and come back stronger than ever, but don’t miss your chance to get to know him.

The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss

Though I listened to the free audiobook available on YouTube, I recommend that you get the printed copy. I struggled to take notes at the pace that I could listen, and that is about the pace that he delivers the goods. Because of this book not only do I focus more of my time on the things that I enjoy and do best, but I also have been able to help my clients do more in less time. Both are critical when you are working and you begin to transition as well as when you are not working and need income.

Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin

I learned and teach a lot from this book and because of it I can be more accountable as a coach. In turn, I help my clients achieve better results. I can better understand their tendencies around forming good habits, and help them create an environment that is more conducive to long-lasting positive change that will help them achieve professional as well as personal goals now and in the future.

 

THE COURSES

Since reading The Millionaire Mindset in 2012, I have allocated 10% of my revenue toward education and training, and because of The Miracle Morning, have been more regimented than ever about investing 10% of my time to these pursuits. With more revenue than any other year that I’ve been in the business, I have made a record investment in my own professional development. Here are the courses and coaches that made 2016 my best year yet.

Winning the Game of Money, John Assaraf

It was actually years ago that I invested in this program, and I did go fully through it, and it did make an impact, but I had two babies at home. Unless you’ve been there, it is challenging to describe how the needs of two little humans can fracture your focus. I will never regret my decision to work from home with my kids, but if I could change anything about that time in my life it would have been to be more at peace with that life decision and not feel as pressured to keep a certain pace with my business. Feeling ready to refocus with my oldest attending a full day of school, I repeated this course in the spring this year, which was exactly when the shift occurred.

I enjoyed a very steady pipeline of great clients, was invited to participate in or speak at great events, and was offered unprecedented opportunities to partner with organizations I respected. In the past 10 years of being in business, especially when my children were babies, revenue was so unpredictable it was very challenging to make plans, like committing to family vacations. This is the first year we were able to do that, and my husband and I even went on a romantic getaway of our own. While self employment offers freedom to manage your own schedule and choose who you work with, it is not really freedom unless you have the resources, time, and money to do what you wish. I got my first taste of that freedom this year, and I thank John Assaraf and this program for that. If you are on my mailing list, then you have been informed of this program before. If you are not on my mailing list, please join to stay informed of influential resources like this as I discover them.

Consciousness Engineering, Vishen Lakhiani

I have been a member of MindValley for many years now, and have had it to thank for new spiritual awakenings and awareness. In 2016 the founder, Vishen Lakhiani, a curator of consciousness courses, started his own series. He interviews thought leaders covering a variety of different realms of life, learning, and spirituality. Each interview is like a system upgrade download, intended to level up your systems for living that enable you to progress and grow at an exponential pace. This means that the 10% of my time that I have been dedicating to my own professional development has actually produced exponential results.

However, what I see is being the most beneficial components of this course to my clientele have been the inspiration that he and his coaching cohorts are to me, helping me to find a vision of my own future in which I am making a contribution to millions, and some of the stories are just every day people who either experienced extraordinary events, or who experienced ordinary events and created something extraordinary from the experience. The more I expose myself to these real-life stories, the greater the gravitational pull of my hope is, which makes me more excited to get out of bed in the morning, and pushes me to complete a milestone before I rest my head for the night. Anytime I have a commute of 45 minutes or more, I listen to this program. I do not think I can count on both of my hands and toes how many times I have cited this course to my clients, especially when they start to doubt if their dreams are possible. I have come to see belief as a critical ingredient to epic success, but it does not always come easily. Consistent reinforcement is necessary sometimes to generate the kind of belief that turns what is possible into what is probable. That is the major contribution that this course has had on me and my clients in 2016.

Journaling Mastery, Derek Rydall

Because of The Miracle Morning, journaling, aka scribing, has been a part of my routine. I have always been a fan of journaling. Many of the books that I read have journaling components, and, though it takes that much longer to complete these books, they tend to have the greatest impact on my self-awareness and, therefore, the actions that I take toward my vision. I do not know if this 30-day course is still available for individual purchase, but I can tell you that it inspired me to create my own 30-day journaling guide, which is available as of this Wednesday: Laser-sharp Career Focus: Discover your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days.

It wasn’t just the format that was inspired by Derek, however. As the world’s leading expert on the Law of Emergence, based on his teachings I changed my paradigm and the model that I used to help my clients discover their purpose and passion from one that is less about receiving input and more about guiding them further inward to help them acknowledge what is already within them and wanting to emerge. It changed the whole process from one of pushing to allowing oneself to be pulled, which requires a lot less motivation, a force that most of us cannot sustain long enough to overcome challenges and create our dreams.

 

Next week I will share with you what is on deck for 2017. I have a full library of books, courses and events that will help me continue my personal and professional growth sprint and enable me to assist you even better in yours.

 

Have a happy, healthy, prosperous new year!

 

17 Academically and Scientifically Proven Benefits of Practicing Gratitude Regularly

Gratitude by Sheila Craan of flickr

Gratitude by Sheila Craan of flickr

 

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. It is not about presents; it is about togetherness. It is the perfect kick-off to start reflecting on our past and planning our future. What science has proven time and time again is that if we want a brighter, happier, and healthier 2017, giving thanks is best done on a daily basis, not an annual basis. It improves mental and physical health. Even when practiced by individuals, the impacts reach far into families and communities.

Here is a list of the SCIENTIFICALLY PROVEN benefits of being a thanksgiving practitioner, meaning having a regular regimen around practicing gratitude, such as including it in your meditation, prayer, or journaling.

  • Stronger immune systems and lower blood pressure
  • Higher levels of positive emotions
  • More joy, optimism, and happiness
  • Acting with more generosity and compassion
  • Feeling less lonely and isolated
  • Better sleep (even for chronic pain sufferers)
  • Less depression
  • Stronger relationships, including marriages
  • Improved self-esteem
  • Higher likeliness to help others (aka pro-social behavior)
  • Better handling of adversity / greater resilience
  • Lower violence
  • Fewer complaints
  • Less sickness
  • More exercise (an average of 1.5 hours more per week)
  • Lower need for material possessions
  • More energy, alertness, and enthusiasm

 

Below is a non-exhaustive list including some of the studies done on gratitude, validating that many have deemed gratitude worthy of great investments of time and money.

Harvard Medical School

Greater Good Science Center, University of California, Berkeley

2006 study in the journal Psychological Science

2010 study in the journal Psychological Science

University of California, Davis & University of Miami

Department of Psychology, George Mason University, Western New York Veterans Administration Hospital, University at Buffalo, SUNY & University of Alabama at Birmingham

 

The Chicken or Egg Quandary: Happiness or Success?

happy by Gordon of Flickr

Happy! by Gordon of Flickr

 

What comes first? Happiness or success?

I have a client who is unhappy at his job (hence why he engaged me, obviously). He makes great money, when he is performing, but his compensation is highly commission based. When he’s not performing, he’s not making great money.

Due to life changes, he NEEDS to catch up financially and find a new job that pays the same or more to what he was making when he was at the top of his game. He also really wants to make sure that his next step is the RIGHT next step, or he will find himself at square one.

There are also personal priorities in his life that he rated highly, but is willing to delay them for years, if necessary, in order to land and succeed in a new, high-paying job.

In essence, he is delaying happiness for success.

However, what I learned this weekend from a Consciousness Engineering class is that Harvard studies prove that happiness increases success, and not just by a little bit. A quality annual vacation time of 11 days or more away from home leads to GREATER performance.

The main takeaway from this class was that using happiness as a means rather than an end increases productive energy by 31%, sales by 37%, and the likelihood of promotion by 40%.  Additionally, you are more likely to live longer and stave off sickness and disease. You raise your intelligence and improve your memory. Your creativity and problem solving abilities receive a boost. There is also the link between your wellness and performance to consider.

“Great,” you say. “Just get happy, eh?”

I understand. It is not as easy as it sounds, so Shawn Achor shared four practices that, when done daily for a period of 30 to 90 days will improve your happiness and gives you all of the benefits previously mentioned. None of them take longer than two minutes and you can use the strategy of habit pairing. An example would be doing these while you brush your teeth, to increase your likelihood of making them true habits.

Here they are:

  1. At work your first item of the day is to spend two minutes expressing your gratitude in writing to a colleague, boss, or vendor.
  2. Every night think about three new things that you are grateful for and WHY– the WHY is most important.
  3. Think about a single positive experience you had in the past 24 hours and write four bullet points recording the details you remember about it, such as the clothes you were wearing.
  4. Spend ten minutes focusing on your breath moving in and out, or whatever time you can make. Yes, this is meditation. Think you don’t have time? Investing this time has produced 62 more minutes of productivity. So, in essence, it creates more time.

Ironically, I listened to this class while driving down to the shore in an effort to make myself happy after an unusually challenging day with my youngest daughter. It did not work, but the next day we got to bike ride on the boardwalk, play in the ocean, and go on rides before heading back home for her first day of Pre-K. Today, even though I am still exhausted, I feel calmer, happier, and even more patient.

 

Try experimenting with happiness in your life and share with us the results you find.

 

Biohack Your Job Search: A 2-Week Challenge to Test the Link Between Wellness and Performance

It's Never Too Late to Create Healthy Habits by Army Medicine of Flickr

It’s Never Too Late to Create Healthy Habits by Army Medicine of Flickr

I’m coming clean – I have been a slacker this summer when it comes to my health. After spending a year committed to forming positive habits around fitness and nutrition, I let one setback cascade into another. Now I’m seeing the scale creep up and the smaller clothes that I was so proud to buy and flaunt look worse and worse. I have not been compelled to commit to returning to what I know worked – portion control, discipline in gluten-free dieting, and continually challenging myself physically.

As Gretchen Rubin repeats in Better Than Before, it is easier to start than to restart. She also talks about habit clusters. Good habits seem to come in clusters, so in other words, once you tackle acquiring a healthful habit, you will tend to feel good (an important component to habit formation) and tackle other habits, like getting better organized or flossing and brushing your teeth twice daily. You may even notice, just as a byproduct, that you watch less television or read more. On the other hand, when we break a good habit, other good habits seem to also break. My initiative to get rid of clutter has also slowed down.

Have you observed this in your own life?

If you can say any of the following are true for you, I urge you to make a commitment to developing one new good habit.

  • Getting out of bed is hard (I recommend The Miracle Morning)
  • Procrastination keeps you from doing what you know you can do to change your circumstances
  • Energy dips prevent you from completing what you set out to do on a daily basis
  • You do not want to go out and do as much, because you do not feel good about yourself
  • A lack of focus prevents you from being fully present and contributing at your highest level
  • There is a sense of chaos that makes you feel scattered and unproductive

Since the 1980s when Deepak Chopra started to raise awareness and/or eyebrows about the connection between mind and body (and vice versa), a paradigm shift in how the brain has been studied and how we can apply it to better our lives started. Much like technology, the pace of discovery has only continued to accelerate. You may be up late watching PBS one night to find a slew of doctors such as Daniel Amen promoting systems, products, and programs that help you use nutrition and supplements to heal dis-ease, curtail aging, and improve mental clarity and focus.

That sounds great, right? But…

Is being able to remember where I put my keys really (realistically) worth making a 3-4 figure investment?

When I read Gretchen’s book, she, a self-proclaimed habit enthusiast, said something that made me very intrigued about willpower. Many of us see willpower as the key to forming good habits, but what Gretchen purported was that the key to forming good habits is actually to do as much as possible to eliminate the need for willpower, because willpower will inevitably fail you.

I consider myself to be someone with a good amount of willpower when I commit. However, I am a questioner and I need to understand the logic and science behind how something works before I can completely buy in.

Rubin discussed how some people need to form good habits over time, but sometimes it is like a lightening strike. She shared how reading a science-based book on how carbs impact the body influenced her to instantly drop carbs from her diet. (She also admits she is not what you would consider to be a “foodie” and has an unadventurous palate to start.) I had the same experience in 2005 when I read The South Beach Diet and lost 25 pounds the year of my wedding, and when I read JJ Virgin’s The Virgin Diet and lost 30 pounds in 2012. This was also how I finally discovered that the culprit of my inflammation and IBSD was gluten, and that I was also sensitive to soy and dairy. As relieved as I was after years of visits to specialists who could not give me answers to the causes and just prescribed medications for the symptoms to finally know why I felt bad so often, sustaining a gluten-free and dairy/soy reduced diet is extremely challenging and does not feel practical. Still, I know it works.

Friday, in an effort to catalyze my desire to commit to a new program (what I have found to be successful for me in the past), I listened to a podcast interview with Mark Hyman, author of The Blood Sugar Solution 10-Day Detox Diet, and Vishen Lakhiani, founder of MindValley, a global personal development publisher.  Dr. Hyman promotes healthy fat as a way to eliminate cravings and therefore, reduce how much you have to rely on your will power to live a healthy lifestyle.  Dave Asprey, founder of Bulletproof Coffee, certainly promotes this as they key to how he turned his health around at 300 lbs and upgraded his life. (As well as his coffee, obviously.)

Here is what I know from experience and from countless testimonials from my clients:

Performing at your highest level in your job search is constantly interrupted by self-limiting beliefs, confidence-breaking rejections, dread and depression.

So, while I cannot speak from experience about the 10-Day Detox Diet, nor Bulletproof Coffee, I am publicly stating my own intention to reverse my backslide. Also, I am challenging you, especially if you answered yes to any of the questions above, to take on a new healthful habit. Be it getting and staying tidy, waking up earlier and in a more positive, productive mindframe, meditating, taking your vitamins every day, exercising, or eliminating or adding things to your diet.

 

I predict that the sense of accomplishment and endorphins you create as a result of this newly acquired habit will cascade into not just a higher level of performance, but greater results and good fortune in your job search and in your life. If I’m wrong, tell me so by commenting, and if I’m right, share your experience and results to inspire others to upgrade their job search results, and therefore their career status and income.

 

5 Questions to See if There Is an Olympian in You

_52J4980 by OnEdition of Flickr

_52J4980 by OnEdition of Flickr

 

What hot weather? There is an ongoing heat wave, but my family is inside glued to the television during the Olympics.

Yes, most of it is a nice distraction from all the negative things that could be getting my attention these days. However, the Olympics also inspire me to think about the level of success that is possible for me and all people. Success is possible for people whether they are a child on the little league team, an administrative assistant, software developer, middle management, or a CEO.

An Olympic level of success would look different for everyone and it does not necessarily mean appearing in TV commercials; I imagine what would be consistent would be a fair amount of hard work, a winning mindset, and the ability to have fun even under pressure. Perhaps that success does not come with a medal, but hopefully it will come with enough money to afford a good lifestyle, the ability to mingle with other top performers, and the peace of mind in knowing that you gave it everything inside you.

 

Answer one or a few of the following questions to see if there is an Olympian inside you.

If your job was an Olympic sport, do you think you could be the greatest in the world?

Would you be willing to test yourself against others who believe they could be the best in the world?

When you see the look of exultation on the faces of the Olympic medalists, can you think of and share with us a moment when you felt like that?

Is there any job you can think of doing for which you would sacrifice a social life, momentous family occasions, sleep, junk food, alcohol, etc.?

Would you be willing to move to another country to work with the best coach in the world?

 

5 Ways to Be Your Own Best Boss in Your Job Search

Yosr works as a consultant by World Bank Photo Collection of Flickr

Yosr works as a consultant by World Bank Photo Collection of Flickr

 

A revelation to me in my personal development journey was learning that we actually train others how to treat us. So, if you keep finding yourself on the receiving end of bullies or on the giving end of those who constantly take, the reason is: they have learned from you what is acceptable.

This fact can be a hard pill to swallow, but the sooner it is acknowledged, the sooner you can set new expectations on how you want to be treated. It may seem as though this could be difficult with the people closest to you, and easier for people you have yet to meet. The true challenge, however, is learning to treat yourself like you want to be treated.

Though it has taken me all summer, I have finally finished Gretchen Rubin’s book, Better than Before. In the last chapter she shared a strategy that she uses to keep herself on track toward her goals, which is to consult her inner manager. She is an upholder, which means her tendency is to only make commitments that she knows that she can keep, both to herself and others, and then to keep them.  She is still subject to the self-talk that threatens to deviate her from her plan to achieve her goals, however. When that happens, she consults with her and her manager, who is both her boss and her employee.

When you are job searching, you are your own boss, even if you have a coach to help guide you in specific activities and to whom you can be accountable. It is still you everyday that must wake up and do what needs to be done, and still you who reaps the benefits, or suffers the consequences of not doing what needs to be done. More often than not, I have seen how job seekers make themselves suffer if they hit a slump, and this leads to a downward spiral. We are often harder on ourselves than we would be on someone else, or even than we would want someone else to be to us.

I know there are a lot of things to think about and do when you are searching for a job, but it can also be a great opportunity to learn new ways of treating yourself that can enable you to set better expectations for other people, including your future boss.

Here are five ways that during your job search you can be a kind manager to yourself:

 

  1. Set clear daily, weekly, and monthly goals

Last week I offered examples of SMART goals that will help you land. Feel free to use them for yourself or model your own SMART goals after them.

 

  1. Reverse-engineer and schedule your workflow

You may have heard the advice to treat your job search as if it is your job, which means most people tend to spend their 9-5 on searching. I am more of a proponent of working smart versus hard, a la Tim Ferriss’s 4-Hour Workweek. If the SMART goals that you set are ones that do actually help you generate momentum, then managing a schedule is really more about allocating time for those activities, some of which may be in the evening. I truly believe that it is more about the quality of the time invested and not about the quantity. While it seems these days that people have to be on the clock outside of normal business hours, true work–life integration means being off the clock sometimes during normal business hours.

 

  1. Manage, track, measure, and improve

In business it is widely known that you cannot manage what you do not measure and you cannot measure what you do not track. What if the SMART goals that you set are not helping you build momentum? How will you know what to change or improve if you aren’t tracking your activities? This is exactly the reason that we offer our Epic Careering Tool Kit as part of our coaching programs and for individual sale. If you are your own boss, what matters most? That you are doing the activities that are supposed to get results, or that you are getting results? Ultimately, it is about the results – quality job interviews that lead to offers. Keep track of what you are doing so that you can identify what is working and what is not and make improvements that make a difference in your results.

 

  1. Take time for self-care

If you are working smarter rather than harder, that should leave you with some extra time. With this extra time, take care of the things that tend to weigh on your mind and zap your energy. This could be doctor’s appointments that you’ve been putting off or home projects. This could even mean confronting someone with whom you have had a conflict. If you find that you think about these things pretty regularly, take care of them and you will find that you feel lighter, have more energy and are more capable of showing up as your best self. Use this time to engage in activities that bring you joy, or try new things that might teach you something you have yet to discover about yourself.

Many people forego a vacation while they are job searching, but I can’t tell you how many times a client or friend returned to great news about a job offer after taking a vacation. Or they just generally felt more capable of taking on the challenge of landing their next career adventure.

Set clear boundaries on your time, which requires clarity on what is most important to you.  If you better understand why these boundaries exist, you can more confidently enforce them with yourself and with other people. Remember, if you do not respect your own boundaries, no one else will.

“There’s a place in you that you must keep inviolate, you must keep it pristine, clean, so that nobody has the right to curse you or treat you badly. Nobody – no mother, no father, no wife, no husband – nobody, because that may be the place you go to when you meet God. You have to have a place where you say ‘stop it.  Back up.’

 

“Say no, when it is no. Say so. Back it up,” Angelou continued.  “Because that place has to remain clean and clear.”

 

  1. Celebrate and reward good performance

Celebrate every little victory. The more your brain associates good feelings with the activities that you need to do, the easier it will be to form good habits around those activities, whether you believe they are enjoyable or not. You could use Gretchen Rubin’s strategy of pairing, meaning combine the activities that you do not enjoy so much with activities that you do enjoy, such as listening to music while you do research, or coloring while you make phone calls.

One thing that keeps me from getting sucked into social media distraction while I’m working is to use checking Facebook as a reward for finishing my most critical to-dos. This also helps me associate checking Facebook with good feelings, as opposed to the guilt I might feel if I’m doing it instead of what I’m supposed to be doing. The better I feel, the stronger my will is to continue with good habits and abstain from bad ones.

 

I encourage you to evaluate whether you have been a good boss or bad boss to yourself. Perhaps you have been too hard on yourself, or perhaps you have not been expecting enough of yourself. Give to yourself what you feel you have been missing. Treat yourself the way you want to be treated. Once you learn how to set and enforce high expectations of respecting yourself, you will be much more capable of training others, including your next boss, to treat you with the same level of respect.

 

Redefine Your Definition of Freedom

Peace Doves Alice by Popkorn of Flickr

Peace Doves Alice by Popkorn of Flickr

 

If you subscribe to enough newsletters by business coaches or perform enough Google searches on residual income, you will be bombarded by gurus selling the idea of products promising that financial freedom can be yours.

You know the ones…

“For 3 easy payments of $997, you, too, can achieve financial freedom.”

What an uninspired vision.

Do not get me wrong. I would love to be at the point in my life where an income was optional. Nevertheless, does financial freedom equal freedom?

The idea of being financially free sounds so ethereal, so evasive, like such a pipedream, but I’ve found that for every appealing fantasy, there are an equal amount of reservations of living with unlimited income:

Would friends and family presume you were somehow different and “too good” now?

How many people would come out of the woodwork with their hand out?

What kinds of new family drama might ensue because of this windfall?

Would it turn you into a miserable recluse afraid to trust anyone?

What if you could not walk the streets without feeling like a target for pickpockets or even more unsavory characters?

What if the success you achieve just adds to the pressure of living up to expectations you cannot possibly uphold?

 

Does that sound like freedom to you? Even the thoughts themselves serve as shackles.

If we are ever able to get our imaginations to stretch far enough to imagine ourselves without financial worry, a whole new set of worries tend to creep into our thoughts.

But what if we were free from those fears?  What if, no matter what our current financial situation was, we felt secure in our faith that all would be taken care of?

I honestly do not know that many people who possess and practice that level of faith, but let me be crystal clear – surrendering your fate to a higher power is still not freedom.

I don’t mean to say that you can sit back, relax, do nothing, and great things will come to you.  As a matter of fact, I mean the opposite.

I have shared with you before how the word “can’t” is forbidden in my house.  Not only is it forbidden, but it’s not even acknowledged as a thing: “There is no ‘can’t.’ Only ‘I don’t know how yet. ‘”

The concept of freedom that I want you to entertain and try is one in which anything you could want to do is possible – a world without limits. Limits have a tendency to stop us before we even reach them. Or, we let other people who have not even tried to reach them tell us that they are there and we take their word for it. That is certainly not freedom.

I did not write this article to define freedom for you; I wrote it because I want to encourage you to reevaluate your own definition of freedom and furthermore, assess how much effort you have really made to achieve it.

Do not give up on freedom. Do not assume it is not possible for you. Do not decide that there is nothing really all that fantastic about it, or you know right away that you have not discovered an empowering vision of freedom, and therefore it is not really freedom at all.

Here is my empowering vision of freedom:

I wake up every day certain about how I can be my highest self and what actions I can take to fulfill my highest purpose. I let my intuition guide me and trust unwaveringly that as long as I follow it, everything will turn out exactly as it should. I speak from a place of love, compassion and acceptance. Each moment is infused with joy and fun. I expect and therefore notice when something or someone has been put in my path to help me, and I openly receive this assistance. I go to bed each night knowing, with great peace, that I have done everything that was in my power to do, and tomorrow I will be even better.

 

What is your empowering vision of freedom?

 

Is a Prevalent Thought Creating an American Epidemic?

The ultimate source of our happiness by BK of Flickr

The ultimate source of our happiness by BK of Flickr

 

In a MindValley podcast Marisa Peer, once touted as Britain’s best therapist, talked about the prevalence of the thought, “I am not enough.” She discussed its limiting impact on people worldwide. Ms. Peer called it the biggest disease affecting humanity and attributed it not just to unhappiness, but illness. The way she presented this recurring, primarily subconscious thought pattern, she made it sound as if it has reached epidemic proportions.

I wonder if there is a correlation between this prevalent paradigm and an epidemic that drives me to reach as many people as possible with solutions for their career. Though it seems like in previous years discontentment has inched down slightly, Gallup polls still maintain that nearly 70% of Americans are disengaged in their job. This disengagement costs US companies $350 billion per year, according to McLean and Company. I have seen some estimates at $550 billion. I do not know which number is right, but both substantiates an epidemic in my mind and begs the questions, “Why?” and “How do we fix it?”

Companies are not acknowledging this problem. Nor are they harnessing what we know about the brain and human performance optimization to hire appropriately and, once hired, help employees achieve utmost performance.

Workers are operating under an outdated paradigm that dictates work is not supposed to be enjoyable; it is merely what must be done.

People are in the wrong jobs; they either they never discovered their calling, were discouraged from pursuing it, or decided it was unobtainable because they are not enough.

If you consider yourself among the 70% of the disengaged, do you recognize that the underlying belief that you are not enough may have played a part? Then according to Ms. Peer, there are nine steps to mastermind your life and reverse the impact that this belief has had.

 

  1. Know you are enough.
  2. Praise yourself.
  3. Remove destructive criticism.
  4. Mindfully command yourself because your brain does exactly what you think.
  5. Be specific about the rewards you want because your brain moves you away from pain and toward pleasure.
  6. Be purposeful with the pictures and words in your head because they determine your thoughts.
  7. Do what you hate to do to get what you want.
  8. Do not take “no” for an answer.
  9. Take action every day.

 

If I had to boil down her advice to one practical step that has proven to be effective with her patients, herself and her daughter, it is to wake up every morning telling yourself that you are enough. Write it down and keep it visible so that you will see it multiple times throughout the day. Then reaffirm that you are enough at night before you go to bed.

 

As for the other possible causes of the disengagement epidemic, I will save them for future posts. In the meantime, I welcome your comments.

Are there other causes that you see that I have not mentioned? What solutions do you propose?

 

Dedicated to my dad because today is his birthday, and I recently learned he loves the Carpenters.
 

100 Things to Make You Smile When Life Doesn’t Look Like We Want It To

 

 

One Hundred by Mark Paz

One Hundred by Mark Paz

 

For my 100th LinkedIn post, I want to take a page from my daughter’s preschool and kindergarten classes. They use the hundredth day of school not only to celebrate a milestone I never even thought to celebrate, but to teach kids about the number 100. It is a pretty significant number, as numbers go.

I decided, inspired by the hundredth day of school (that we are now actually celebrating having come to an end), that I wanted to use my hundredth post to expand an exercise that my daughters and I have started to do to turn our attitude into gratitude. It is a way to quickly recover when our complaining turns into a negative tailspin. I’ll have them or they’ll have me make a list of things for which we are grateful. In regard to effectiveness, this makes us feel better 100% of the time.

I started this list with ten things that I feel could apply to anyone anywhere in the world at any given moment. However, I ask you to contribute comments with the things that you can always turn to make you feel grateful and happy, even when the world around you does not seem so happy. The exercise of doing so, I guarantee, will lift your spirits. You can also be certain that as others read your contributions, you will be raising the level of happiness in others.

Recommendation: the worse you feel the more items you add. Keep adding items until you feel better.

1. You can improve your health right now just by moving.

2. It does not rain every day everywhere.

3. The biggest, scariest creatures lived a long, long time ago.

4. Satellites make it easy to see anywhere in the world.

5. It is rare that the sky is not interesting to gaze upon.

6. Seeds represent infinite possibility.

7. When life was invented, I was invented to be a self-sustaining cycle of endings and new beginnings.

8. Each of us had a mom and a dad, whether we know them or not, they brought us into this world and made possible whatever we wanted to be possible.

9. We are one of the few animals that can laugh.

10. There is music… Sweet music.