Archives for Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin

Pay Attention: 7-Day Challenge to Find Out Who is REALLY in Control of Your Career Decisions

Control by Faramarz Hashemi of Flickr

 

The simple answer is that you are in control of your career decisions, but it does not always feel like that.

You may be one of the people who feel stuck where you are, with little time to tend to a job search, and feel like you are victim to someone else’s whims, waiting and hoping to be identified as a good catch. You feel as though you are not in control because other people you do not know on the other side of a computer screen appear to have power over whether you get the call back or make the cut.

Or, you may not even realize that you are in control, but you are in your own way. You may feel as though there are limits to your success imposed by invisible forces, long-established systems, or other people. Essentially, you stop yourself before you even try. YOU surrender your power, viewing attempts at changing your life as futile. This is harder to recognize, because the thoughts are automatic, based on deep beliefs formed long ago.

Amazingly, not everyone has experienced this. I have interviewed over two dozen people who have achieved EPIC career success for the Epic Career Tales podcast and have found that many of them grew up with few doubts about their success, and a lot of support to follow their dreams. If you are among this crew, it would be challenging to empathize with people who do not just make the changes they need to make in order to achieve happiness, wealth, a better schedule, etc.

This is where I feel most divisions occur. It isn’t easy to walk in someone else’s shoes. It is nearly impossible to say with any degree of accuracy what we would do if we found ourselves mentally bound by our own self-limiting beliefs.

Did you know that if you put chains on an elephant, limiting its mobility, even after the chains are removed that elephant will remain within the limits of the chain anyway? This is proven by circus trainers, who eventually replace metal stakes with wooden pegs. Coincidentally, once the elephant grows big enough and strong enough to rip the tether from the ground, it never even tries, so the metal chains and stakes are overkill.

Last week, LinkedIn founder and CEO Jeff Weiner posted this message, “It’s not so much that people can’t change; they’d prefer not to (change is hard) and we’re rarely in circumstances where it’s truly required.”

It generated quite a bit of quality engagement on the subject of change.

This was my reply:

“The brain actually sabotages most efforts to change, sending our body stress signals to warn of us of ‘danger.’ We have to override it. If you really want to change, create a discipline of recognizing these signals and overriding them. Mel Robbins and John Assaraf are good resources to learn more about the neuroscience around change, and Gretchen Rubin has shared some great insights on habits in Better Than Before.”

If you just said to yourself, “Who’s ‘we?’ Speak for yourself. Change is absolutely required! I need change NOW, thank you very much!”

Then I am giving you an assignment that takes less than five minutes, so that you can test to see why change hasn’t happened yet – is it some awesome force, be it human, systemic, or supernatural, beyond your own power, or is it a belief formed long ago that you have accepted as truth, when it is really a brule (bullshit rule, a la Vishen Lakhiani)?

Your assignment is to take 17 seconds every day for the next week to visualize yourself in the perfect job. I mean PERFECT. DO NOT impose any “reality” on this job. The visualization is just part of the assignment, though. The more critical component of this assignment is to be mindful of your thoughts. Even with just 17 seconds your brain, running on autopilot, will have plenty of time to kick in and start talking to you. Open up a journal and spend two minutes writing down the thoughts you recognized.

Then, spend another two minutes assessing if these thoughts are based on beliefs, and if these beliefs are true. If they are true, then they would essentially have to be true for everyone. If they are not, then they are not true.

These beliefs produce thoughts at every decision point that you may find sabotage you from creating meaningful change in your life, but you take their power away once you recognize them.

A few weeks ago I shared a post, Pro Hacks to Get In Front of Your Future Boss, and made a short list of some of the thoughts that can occur as you have to decide how proactive and assertive you are going to be, which are critical ingredients to landing what you want:

“I don’t want to bother anyone.”

“I don’t have time for that; I need a J-O-B!”

“They’re not going to like me.”

“What if I fail?”

“What if I embarrass myself?”

While you can take their power away by recognizing them, eliminating them is the trickier part. They have been running on automatic for a very long time. Look for an upcoming post on different methods to overriding self-limiting beliefs.

 

In the meantime, please share any revelations resulting from this very short, very do-able assignment.

 

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!

 

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 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.