Archives for career coaching

Shake Off Shame of Unmet 2018 Goals Before You Set New Goals

 

If you have any amount of ambition, you set goals.  Setting goals can be formal and structured, even coached, or it can be just a daydream that becomes an intention. If you do the former, then you have a written record of your 2018 goals. If the latter, take a bit of time right now to write down what you had hoped to accomplish in 2018, even if it was progress toward something you hope to happen in 2019 and beyond.

It’s time to review them before you set new goals for 2019. How does this make you feel?

If you’re excited to take them out, then you probably feel like or know that you have been consistently disciplined and motivated in taking action toward your goals, so you are probably confident that you reached all or most or came pretty close.  Take a look at the goals you didn’t achieve and if you experience any physiological changes when switching from your achieved goals to your unachieved goals, read on. If not, just keep doing what you did, and consider teaching it to the 97% of people who don’t engage in formal goal setting.

If you feel hesitant, if there is any inkling that you are afraid to look, you are already experiencing shame about potentially unmet 2018 goals.

It’s okay.  Just notice how you feel and note your awareness. There’s no sense in feeling shameful about feeling shameful. Give yourself 90 seconds to really be with this emotion. Notice where in your body you feel it.  It might be your forehead if your unmet goals lead to worry about the consequences. You might feel it in your shoulders and neck, or your chest or your stomach, but don’t be surprised if pain shows up somewhere unexpected, like a knee or fingers.

Once you’ve taken this time to allow these emotions to be, feel proud that you honored these emotions. Feel your heart open and send thoughts of gratitude for this new awareness, which you will use to set goals that are achievable and in alignment with your highest good.

Take a deep breath in, imagining that the new breath is new resolve, and then breathe out focusing on the spot where the sensations were the most intense and imagine the emotion is being channeled out. Take two more deep breaths, imagining that the resolve is now filling the space where the emotions were.

Now that you have allowed this energy to be in motion (“e-motion”) you will be able to review last year’s goals with a clearer mind and less judgment, which will enable you to better assess why you really didn’t achieve them. This is what’s really important in setting new goals that you are more likely to achieve.

If you don’t allow your energy to move, you might be inclined to be defensive and look at circumstances that prevented you from achieving your goals, which is fine, but ultimately leaves you disempowered to circumstances.

If you allow the shame to move through you, you can more clearly see where you could have been at cause for the outcomes, good or bad. It will be easier to take accountability without feeling self-blame. You become a better problem solver because you are now dealing with a reality you control, so you set up systems that enable you to achieve your goals, even with unfavorable circumstances. Take into consideration these and other potential circumstances, and make the plan now on how you will deal with them in 2019.

You may have already heard that you are 42% more likely to achieve your goals when you write them down. Additionally, Harvard Business School found that the 3% of MBA graduates who wrote down their goals earned 10X more than the 97% that didn’t over a 10-year period.

There are a ton of great goal guides and calendars or you can break down your goals into various project parts and milestones and put them into a project management app that will send you notifications like Asana.  You may also use the SMART method that I taught business students at Drexel University. You can also engage a coach like me to give you extra customized guidance and provide you with monthly external accountability some people need to maintain their progress.

Elle King – Shame (Official Video)

‘Shake the Spirit’ available now: http://smarturl.it/ShakeTheSpirit?IQid=yt iTunes: http://smarturl.it/xShame/itunes?IQid=yt Apple: http://smarturl.it/xShame/applemusic?IQid=yt Spotify: http://smarturl.it/xShame/spotify?IQid=yt Amazon:http://smarturl.it/xShame/az?IQid=yt Tidal: http://smarturl.it/xShame/tidal?IQid=yt Google Play:http://smarturl.it/xShame/googleplay?IQid=yt Follow Elle King: https://www.facebook.com/ElleKingMusic https://twitter.com/ElleKingMusic http://instagram.com/elleking http://elleking.com/ Directed by: Dano Cerny

Karen Huller, author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days (bit.ly/GetFocusIn30), is founder of Epic Careering, a corporate consulting and career management firm specializing in executive branding and conscious culture, as well as JoMo Rising, LLC, a workflow gamification company that turns work into productive play. 

While the bulk of her 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales. 

Karen was one of the first LinkedIn trainers and is known widely for her ability to identify and develop new trends in hiring and careering. She is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer, Certified Career Transition Consultant, and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist with a Bachelor of Art in Communication Studies and Theater from Ursinus College and a minor in Creative Writing. Her blog was recognized as a top 100 career blog worldwide by Feedspot. 

She was an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business, will be an Associate Professor in Cabrini University’s Communications Department in 2019,  and is also an Instructor for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy where her students won the 2018 national competition and were named America’s Next Top Young Entrepreneurs.

 

When You’re Waiting On An Offer So You Can Have a Better Holiday

I know some of you waited a long time for something to finally come through in your job search. When you have no idea how much your new income is going to be it’s challenging to know how much to spend on presents.

People fall all over the spectrum in their thresholds for how much to spend in the face of uncertain income from super-hopeful “it’s in the bag and it’s going to be a very prosperous new year” to “this could fall through just like the ones before it and we’ll make homemade gifts this year just in case.”

Few people I’ve met are comfortable in a state of flux, though most would admit it’s much better when a good prospective job offer could come through any day.

By now, with many offices operating on essential personnel only, if they are operating at all, the chances of receiving that job offer with all the specifics to accept seems pretty slim.

I’ve made a Christmas wish come true before and extended a job offer around Christmas. It was one of the highlights of my recruiting career! Any recruiter would be happy to make it happen if they can.

But here you are, without a clear vision of what the new year will bring, how you’ll pay your bills and what kind of surplus you might have after that, what kind of vacation time you’ll have to plan trips with family and friends, and what kind of health benefits you’ll have and what doctors and specialists will be in network. You have little control over what happens until the offer actually comes, and then you have to face the idea of having to ask for more and risking being perceived as demanding or ungrateful.

Feeling anxious is justifiable, but ultimately doesn’t serve you. Being present is easier said than done, though. Logically you know that feeling nervous or anxious won’t bring about a better outcome. But so many decisions you’ve had to make have hinged upon this outcome, and each one has induced anxiety and worry.

I get it! One Christmas I didn’t have an income and even investing $83 in an ancestry.com membership so that I could give my family the gift of a genealogy report (this was way before the 23 & me days.)  Even that investment seemed steep when I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to afford to bring something for Christmas dinner. The next year, when I finally had an income, I went all out having so much fun shopping.

That’s what I want you to hold on to – a picture of what next year could look like. When you can’t be present and you can’t make something happen, start imagining how great things could be next year.

Here’s why – not only does the motivational center of your brain start activating problem solving centers of your brain, and you’ll feel better with any plan you might devise to take action and take control, but you’ll also make yourself less likely to settle for an opportunity that falls VERY short of making that vision a reality. You’ll ultimately be more incentivized and empowered to negotiate on your own behalf when an offer comes and be more likely to turn down offers that do not represent an opportunity to become more aligned with the life you envision.

Let your heart be light, though your troubles may not be out of sight. Get carried away with the magic of the season. Let yourself believe in miracles. Have yourself a bright holiday season and a prosperous New Year!

Chaka Khan – This Is My Night (original video)

This is the original video of This Is My Night by Chaka Khan

Karen Huller, author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days (bit.ly/GetFocusIn30), is founder of Epic Careering, a corporate consulting and career management firm specializing in executive branding and conscious culture, as well as JoMo Rising, LLC, a workflow gamification company that turns work into productive play. 

While the bulk of her 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales. 

Karen was one of the first LinkedIn trainers and is known widely for her ability to identify and develop new trends in hiring and careering. She is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer, Certified Career Transition Consultant, and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist with a Bachelor of Art in Communication Studies and Theater from Ursinus College and a minor in Creative Writing. Her blog was recognized as a top 100 career blog worldwide by Feedspot. 

She was an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business, will be an Associate Professor in Cabrini University’s Communications Department in 2019,  and is also an Instructor for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy where her students won the 2018 national competition and were named America’s Next Top Young Entrepreneurs.

5 of 7 Methods of Overcoming Self-Limiting Beliefs for Career Breakthrough, Part 2

Stella 4 by Abir Anwar of Flickr

 

Don’t be too surprised to discover that there have been deep-seeded beliefs that have been making decisions for you. This is a blessing and a curse of our brain. The most important thing to realize is if these beliefs are serving our optimal growth or inhibiting it.

I shared 20 limiting beliefs that I discovered about money, wealth, abundance and worthiness. This was critical for me to uncover, because while I had a record year last year and feel I turned a corner in my business that will enable me to bring game-changing solutions into the world, I would have already liked to have these solutions into the hands of the people who need them to move forward in their career. Then they would already be making a bigger, more meaningful difference to the people they lead and the causes they move forward.

I also shared 3 of 7 methods I have learned from mentors, coaches, and even healers from over the past nine years to overcome limiting beliefs that direct our actions and become habits that run on autopilot unless we interrupt and replace them. We might as well start there:

 

Interrupt, replace, reinforce

Like a couple of the methods I shared last week, Dr. David Bach’s simple yet effective method incorporates the mind-body connection, but starts first with an awareness and manipulation of your physiology, rather than your mindset. His objective is to help us stay in the “zone,” or “flow” of high performance consistently, but it will start very gradually as you practice and become more mindful, building good habits as you go.

As his first volunteer, I was skeptical that I would find it so easy. I came to an event where he was speaking in a state of frustration and disappointment with me. At the time my daughters were three and four, and had tested my patience prior to leaving, making me late, which always makes me frazzled. My patience failed. I absolutely hate leaving my girls on bad terms. I was less interested in how to be a business superstar, and more concerned about being a nurturing, patient mom who did not inadvertently instill limiting beliefs in my daughters (though I feel at some level I am bound to – I already teach many of these methods to them).

He had me come up and reenact what I was like when I was the “ugly” mom, as I called it. There, in front of mostly strangers, I had to reveal how I am that makes me the most ashamed. For the sake of my daughters, and science, I bent over at the waist, pretending my knee and thigh high daughters were standing in front of me. My lips pursed, my eyebrows narrowed toward my nose, my pointer finger shook, and with a raised voice I asked a common question, “How many times do I have to tell you to do XYZ before you actually do it?!” I looked up at the 45-50 or so people there to find that they were looking at me just as my daughters do, a bit frozen and afraid. Face flushed and hoping for some mercy, I was very anxious to put an end to this horrifying display and be told the solution. First, he pointed out my body language, how I was standing, and my closed off, jerky movement. Then he asked everyone to notice my strenuous facial expression and tone of voice.

Then he had me reenact what I’m like when I am in the flow with my daughters. I had to remember a time when I felt like I was “winning” at parenting. Sadly, I realized that these moments were few and far between. I did recall, however, a time in the past week when I figured out how to inspire my girls to cooperate and complete a task joyfully by turning it into a game. I stood up straight, even leaning slightly back, I was talking with a smile, and my eyes, also smiling, were wide with excitement as I explained the rules of the game, as well as the prize, in a higher pitched, but softer voice. Again, he pointed out my body language, facial expression and tone. It was the same posture that I tend to embody when I am speaking, singing, or teaching – tasks that I enjoy and when I feel most in the flow.

For one last demonstration, he asked me to ask the same question of my daughters, with the same tone of voice, but while I was maintaining the body language and facial expression of the second reenactment. It made me giggle. It felt so unnatural. He pointed out that it was impossible to be both at the same time. I have since learned from other teachers that you cannot be in a positive state of mind and at the same time be in a negative state of mind. You can switch back and forth, but this is why when you are scared, if you think of something that makes you happy, the fear disappears, at least temporarily while you hold the happy thought.

So his technique is to notice and manipulate your physicality to mimic the same physicality you embody when you are in the flow, every time you notice you are not in the flow. Just like any new habit, it will take repetition to reinforce, and you may find it harder to practice under times of stress. You may even choose NOT to practice at times. Be forgiving of yourself, as feeling bad about relapses does not at all contribute to improvement in any way, but forgiving yourself (and others) has been scientifically proven to improve your body and mind chemistry.

The point is to gradually increase your awareness and practice until it becomes automatic. New habits will seem impossible at first, as your brain resists change, and there will be a stage where you will question your desire to continue, even as you start to see benefits. If you persist, however, you will eventually reach a stage where it just feels natural, and you no longer have to work to perform your habit. Hal Elrod broke habit forming into three stages – unbearable, uncomfortable, and unstoppable.

If you have anxiety or depression, while this is not a cure by any means, it is an exercise that will help minimize the secondary and tertiary physical repercussions of those conditions.

 

Timeline Therapy

If you identified beliefs, but have struggled to remember the moments and events that generated them, or you remember the moments, but they cause you great grief, trauma, or fear, you will want to find a certified or licensed practitioner of this approach (I am not, yet). There have even been successes using this method to alleviate and eliminate allergies.

Like I shared last week, many human performance optimization professionals insist that you have to confront the source of pain before you can really move forward and create a new future. Timeline therapy is like mental laser surgery where, while in a trance state, you float backward through your timeline to hone in on those moments you may have buried or find hard to confront to reframe the event and create a new belief that services your highest good.

Again, you will want to engage a licensed professional, especially if these moments are traumatic. Be under someone’s care. I will just outline some of the steps involved in timeline therapy.

  1. Close your eyes and, with eyes closed, look up slightly (this induces an alpha brain wave state)
  2. Take a deep breath in; without breath, visualize 3 three times; Repeat with 2, then 1
  3. Count down from X to 1 (depending on your experience with meditation)
  4. Without analyzing, imagine you are flying above your timeline and you have located the moment this anomaly was born
  5. Move to the time 15-minutes before it happened
  6. Think of three OTHER possible meanings or causes this event could have
  7. Choose one that serves you best and drop it, as if you are downloading it, into the timeline in place of the event that caused the anomaly
  8. TEST: Does this anomaly still resonate as true?

 

Next week I will share the two final methods of this series, but this is by no means an exhaustive list. In fact, I have a list of 30+ different exercises, some of which are meant to activate the Law of Attraction, though all are intended to help you achieve breakthroughs in your performance and results. I will eventually share them all, and I am currently deciding if I will share these in a second 30-day transformation e-book, if I will include them in a 30-day or 3-month online group course, or if I will hold local live events and focus on one method per event. I may wind up doing a combination. If this interests you, please share which venue you prefer.  Also share if you try any of these methods and your results or lack thereof.

 

The Career Revival Concert Is Born. Will You Be My Monday Morning Quarterback, Please?

Waldermere Revival by Parke Ladd of Flickr

Waldermere Revival by Parke Ladd of Flickr

 

It is ironic that when I was a young girl I learned the rules of football so that I could bond with my dad, only to find as an adult he is the person with whom I like watching football the least. He is not just a Monday morning quarterback, he is a “in the game quarterback,” much like a backseat driver, and he does that from the front seat. He is infamous for his last minute, “Turn left here now. Aw, you should’ve turned left there.”

“Dad, there was a car coming straight ahead, a car behind me, and I had no turn signal on.”

“You could’ve made it.”

As much as I dislike hearing his critiques of the plays, because watching the game does not make you an expert even though he had his days of glory, spectators’ opinions matter. If there were no spectators, there be no sport. Or rather, there would be no business around the sports that would sustain its survival.

How did people know Quidditch, Ultimate Frisbee, or team building corporate retreats would take off? They recognized a growing interest, gathered and implemented feedback about the event or sport involved.

The Career Revival Concert was born many years ago, actually.

Much like I knew my broadcasting background would eventually boost my entrepreneurial efforts, I began producing marketing videos and podcasts, and I also knew that some day my music penchant and my life’s calling would collide. Then I read Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich, and he talked about a revival. Suddenly, I had a very clear vision of what this would look like.

However, now that I’ve finally brought this idea into the world, there is a lot of information that I need to gather, in order to figure out what the next steps of this event are. If you have found yourself bored by seminars, or disappointed that your enthusiasm to follow through after seminars waned, and you didn’t implement what you set out to achieve, then please take a few minutes to watch at least one of the songs and review the “What I know/what I still need to know” lists below and tell me what you think.

Take into consideration that hearing popular songs infused with inspirational and educational messages and lessons might spark and re-spark a motivation to get back on track toward your goals.

Here are the things I know about the event based on surveys we handed out, my own observations and feedback from my closest inner circle who were in attendance:

  • Most people want more.
  • Some people want less talking, but again they were there for open mic night and music, not talking.
  • People with diminished hearing could not hear me at all, so I would need a very good sound guy or girl to adjust the levels of the music so that there is a low sound bed underneath me while I’m talking. This means I would not want to talk over amazing guitar solos (or sax solos, or piano solos, or harmonica solos, etc.).
  • The pants I wore were not flattering.
  • The performance would have been better if we had done even a little practice.
  • The material would have been better if the integration between the lessons and music were planned and practiced.
  • There were things that I could have said and asked the audience to better engage them in the experiment.

 

Things I still need to figure out:

  • I still need to test whether there is a better way to integrate the talking with the music, or maybe I need to sing what it is I want to say.
  • If people know there is going to be talking within the song, would they still want less talking?
  • Would I charge for this and how much? (I was told by one of my business coaches that people pay for music, and I do, and I have to weigh what is more in alignment with my mission. If I use this event to generate revenue, I would have more capital to reinvest in improving our products and technology.)
  • It if were free, would I be wiling to find musicians, sound people, event staff, and venues who would volunteer their time and resources? Would I find sponsors or would I start a non-profit and apply for grants?
  • Should I partner with a big name in speaking or music? (That one seems obvious, right? But whom?)

 

Please watch the videos and answer the questions posed below, either in the comments or you can e-mail me directly at Karen@epiccareering.com (or LinkedIn message me).  You can be honest; I can take it!

What do you think of the mini Career Revival Concert?

____ Yes, I want more.
____ It was okay. Not my cup of tea.
____ I prefer the traditional seminar.
____ Yes, I would pay for more.
____ I like the music part best and don’t want talking over it.
____ If this was part of a bigger event, maybe.
____ I wouldn’t go, but I’d recommend it.

 

You’re the best!

 

 

 

5 of the Biggest Lessons I Learned in 10 Years as a Career Coach

Climbing Journal Mount Rinjani Package by Trekking Rinjani of Flickr

Climbing Journal Mount Rinjani Package by Trekking Rinjani of Flickr

 

 

Last week an executive recruiter shared with me a really interesting position that she is trying to fill in the bleeding edge of biotechnology. We reveled at all of the amazing things that we were able to learn by spending quality time with subject matter experts and thought leaders. Then she asked me, “What is the biggest thing you learned when you switched from recruiting to career coaching?” Compassion is the first answer that came to the top of my mind because it was the first big lesson that made the biggest difference in my coaching practice and for my clients.

As I continue to reflect on the past ten years, there are a few more huge lessons among all of the small ones that have made the biggest difference in what and how I teach that have become staples of my brand. Allow me to share the top five lessons from my last ten years:

 

1. You get better results with compassion rather than with judgment

We followed this motto in recruiting, “screen out, not in.” It was meant to keep us looking for the right fit and not to force the fit. I’m a very trainable person and now I know that I can take things too literally. So I adopted this method of qualifying talent, but I did not enjoy the method. Yet, it became my way to be judgmental of candidates. I was always assessing if they were good enough and was always digging for skeletons in their closet. It is part of what made me realize I did not want to be a recruiter any longer. Although I switched sides to become an advisor and advocate for job seekers, I had taken a very “tough love” approach. I shared with them (for their own sake) all of the different and negative perceptions that they could be generating.

This is vital information for job seekers to understand, but what I did not understand at the time was how my role was really to be encouraging, to help them realize and articulate the tremendous value that they can present, and to help them see that they have so much more value to present than risk. For example, even when I was convincing a client that he should have been making double what he had been earning, I had been telling him from a place of judgment and intolerance rather than from a place of understanding and compassion. This is something that I needed coaching on, and I spent a year and then some working to restore and expand my compassion.

 

2Not only should I always be coached, but I should engage a coach who is an expert in each thing I want to master

Coaching had a profound impact on me, and that is why I found it a worthwhile career pursuit. I don’t know what made me think that once I became a coach I no longer needed coaching. In fact, what I discovered over the last ten years is that my capacity to learn new techniques, methodologies, and skills not only expands my abilities to accomplish goals my personal life, but it exponentially evolves the value that I offer my clients. This enables me to help them go further faster than ever before. It does not really matter what material I’m learning, there are always new applications for my clients.

 

3. Success is about 20% what you do, 30% how you do it, and 50% what you do it from

In college, I took a lot of communications courses for my major and I learned a lot about nonverbal communication and how much more influential it can be on people versus verbal communication. I certainly saw that in practice as a recruiter, as I became a human lie detector, but it was not until I underwent transformational training around communications that I had an epiphany: No matter what we say, or how we tactically manipulate our pitch, facial expressions, or body language, if we are coming from negative emotions, we will most likely have a negative communication outcome.

Do you have one of those friends that presses you a lot with, “no offense but…” and you know that what is likely going to come out of their mouth is going to be offensive? Did you know that we cannot possess negative emotion and positive emotion simultaneously, though we can easily switch back and forth? Physical and physiological changes in our pitch, tone, facial expressions, and body language occur naturally as results of our emotions. It makes a lot more sense to just be more conscious of which emotions we are communicating through, rather than to pay attention and manipulate the physical and physiological symptoms. Everyone has an internal lie detector, and although they do not recognize what they are picking up as a lie, they will get a general sense of being out of rapport with someone. If you are not in rapport with someone, you cannot be influential. Conclusion: if you want to be influential, communicate from a positive emotion, such as joy, possibility, love, and compassion.

 

4. When done right, technology makes us more productive, more efficient, and more effective, but it has to be done with discipline

I totally understand people who are resistant to using social media because there is a real risk that you will miss out on what and who is physically in front of you, and it can become an unhealthy escape from reality. However, there are ways to manage social media and technology usage that enable you to reap the benefits, such as being the person that people think of when a great opportunity comes around. That is, someone who can successfully manage and mitigate the potential risks that contribute to a loss of quality of life can use technological tools to be more productive with less effort. The learning, however, and the implementation, as well as tweaking the balance between using and abusing, will take time and effort (although a lot less time and effort if you do #2.)

 

5. Good habits are key to sustainable success, but accountability is only important to most, not all people

I am in love with learning, testing, and applying new techniques and technology that help us create better habits that support us in achieving our goals. Since first studying behavior modification through gamification in 2010, and trying to discover a panacea that would help everyone be successful, I discovered (I’m quoting Gretchen Rubin), “we are all more similar than we think, but our differences are important.” We all have the same brain composition, which operates according to some well-known and some newly discovered ways. Some of those ways help us learn and some impede our learning. However, we all come to the table with our own set of perceptions and beliefs about how the world and people operate.

That perception can greatly shape our tendencies when it comes to not just forming new habits, but the desire to do so. Some people do not need accountability because they hold themselves accountable and are very coachable. However, there are very few of these people. Others prefer to defy expectations and accountability, which makes them less likely to form a habit. Fortunately, this is also a small population of people and they deserve success as much as anyone else. Other coaches might find this population of people to be uncoachable, but I believe they are coachable. Furthermore, I’m enjoying the challenge of figuring out how to be a successful coach to the “rebel” population.

 

My six-year-old always wants to know how I know something. “How do you know the library is going to be closed tomorrow?” Sometimes I find myself explaining to her, “Well, the sign in the elevator said that the library would be closed on Sundays from May until September.” Other times I’ll just say, “Well, you think you know a lot at six years old. Imagine how much more you’ll have learned by the time you’re 12, then 24, and then 48.”

I’m sure if you thought about the last ten years of your career life, you would be equally in awe of how much you have evolved. You would be equally excited about what the next ten years holds in store, just from a learning and development perspective.

 

Please share with me some of the biggest lessons you have learned in the past ten years.

You’re Not Really Fooling Anyone with Positive Thinking

Brain-to-brain (B2B) communication system overview, PLOS ONE http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0105225.g001

Brain-to-brain (B2B) communication system overview by PLOS ONE http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0105225.g001

Every single person has encountered an obstacle while pursuing a goal, be it changing jobs, starting a company, selling a home, retiring, and on and on. What do you do when that obstacle is staring you down?  Do you freeze in fear, then come down on yourself for procrastinating? Do you resign that the obstacle will mow you down and let it? Do you run toward it with greater momentum to overcome the obstacle? Do you zigzag around the obstacle? Do you ask your friends to help you and march arm in arm toward that obstacle? Hopefully, you will do one of the latter because in the first two examples, you are the obstacle. Your perception of the obstacle’s size and power compared to your own could be the actual thing that prevents you from succeeding. Of course, you want to address these obstacles pragmatically, but if you don’t address them holistically, the pattern will recur and you will find yourself facing similar obstacles over and over again.

I have developed programs, such as our Dream Job Breakthrough System, tools such as the Epic Careering Took Kit, and of course the one-on-one coaching I have provided since starting 10 years ago. While these are PRACTICAL guides in how to execute a successful and optimal transition, I have a personal and professional obligation to address the EMOTIONAL components of a job search. Emotional components are what make the difference between my clients following the steps with integrity to successfully and swiftly land and prolonged job searches, weakened momentum, and lower quality job offers (compared to what they could develop).

Most people perceive positive thinking to mean that in spite of your doubts, fears, resentments, etc., you put on a happy face and fake it. This almost always fails. Being positive is not the same as thinking positive, and it takes conscious effort to alter subconscious patterns that have most likely been with you for most of your life, often go unnoticed until you know how to identify the symptoms (usually unhappiness and dissatisfaction), and have ingrained neural pathways.

Interviewers use six senses to evaluate and qualify candidates. Even if you are trying your best to disguise your innermost doubts and fears, the interviewer is using intuition to tune into them. Even if you have a killer résumé and an answer for everything, you could still emit negative thoughts and energy. Recruiters rely heavily on gut feelings and they will ask questions to validate them, so exactly what you may want to hide could be exactly what they will ask you about. Questions are not just designed to identify competence, but also to expose positive and negative behavioral and mental patterns. The agenda of the interview is to identify each candidate’s unique value and unique risk. As the candidate, you want the interview more focused on your value, but your fears around the potential risks you pose can sway the interview more heavily toward mitigating risks, which diminishes your ability to build a competitive case against other contenders.

If you interview during a period of self-doubt, you will instill little faith in your abilities. Likewise, if you walk into an interview perceiving the interviewer as an adversary, he or she will sense your antagonism and act accordingly. Consider yourself screened out. The same is true in negotiating. If you expect the person to turn down your counteroffer rather than attempt to find a win-win solution, you will be turned down and both of you will lose.

None of us can change over night, but our brains have plasticity, so we can exercise our brains into condition to do amazing things.  This explains a lot of the stories of people who have accomplished what many thought impossible. It requires practice and determination, just like training for a physical feat. You must have patience and forgiveness for yourself if you fall short and reward yourself for your efforts and progress.

Disclaimer: I am not qualified to give psychological advice and I am also prone to negative thinking and I face difficulties in reversing that thinking. However, over the past eight years, I have avidly studied human performance optimization, quantum physics, and neuroscience. I have invested well over 10,000 hours in this study, and have become much more adept at minimizing the friction that negative, self-limiting thoughts cause. I see and experience, so I believe in acknowledging, confronting, releasing, and replacing these thoughts with ones that produce the good results you hope your actions will have.

For instance, being self-employed brings with it many moments of uncertainty. I know I am in the profession that I was made for, however, finding the balance between investing in projects and products, and generating revenue and cash flow has been tricky, especially over these past four years as I build a mobile app and other low-price point job search tools and products. Once I made up my mind that I wanted to generate a regular, predictable income, and took inspired action, I not only generated multiple opportunities, but I also had several come out of the blue, and ultimately accepted a position that aligned me with a highly reputable, quality-focused outplacement provider (CCI Consulting) that enables me to do exactly what I love to do with as much flexibility as I want.

Meditation, prayer, writing, yoga, fitness, hiking/biking, and eating well have done wonders for my self-awareness and self-esteem. In addition, below are some resources that you can investigate on Amazon.com and there are even some free audio versions of the books on YouTube. Many of these can be found on CD or DVD:

7 Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen Covey

The Miracle Morning, by Hal Elrod

Think and Grow Rich, by Napoleon Hill

The 8th Habit, by Stephen Covey

The Road Less Traveled, by M. Scott Peck, M.D.

How Full Is Your Bucket?, by Tom Rath and Donald O. Clifton, Ph.D.

The Brain That Changes Itself, by Norman Doidge

Radical Careering, by Sally Hogshead

Secrets of the Hidden Job Market, by Janet White

The Secret, by Rhonda Byrne

The Science of Getting Rich, by Wallace D. Wattles

Having It All, by John Assaraf

The Laws of Spirit, by Dan Millman

If you are like me, a questioner, according to Gretchen Rubin’s Four Tendencies, you need to understand the science behind why investing time on your thoughts impacts your reality before you take any action. Here are some great books on that:

How Enlightenment Changes Your Brain: The New Science of Transformation, by Andrew Newberg and Mark Robert Waldman

The Biology of Belief, by Dr.Bruce Lipton

The Field, by Lynn McTaggart

The Intention Experiment (Read The Field first), by Lynn McTaggart

Being positive vs. thinking positive does not mean that you will suddenly become a perfect person; we are all still human. It means that you will have greater awareness when your thoughts are not serving you, and you will have tools to change their impact so that you will see better results more of the time.

 

This sounds like therapy, but I liken it to coaching because it is not as much about validation as it is about accountability. It is nice to understand how we became the way we are, but it is much more critical to our happiness to be empowered to change ourselves and our world.

 

“Why Did You Become a Career Coach?”

Cross Country Coach by John Brooks of Flickr

Cross Country Coach by John Brooks of Flickr

A client asked me last week, “Why did you become a coach?”

My simple answer at the time was, “I get to help make people’s lives better.”

Often when I tell my story, recalling the moments when I started to realize that recruiting was really not bringing me fulfillment, I remember a couple of months in a row that I didn’t place anyone – not one single soul. There had been a lot of changes internally: new people, new mottos, new metrics, and new matrixes. I thought about just changing firms. I thought about moving to a corporate recruiting role, wondering if I would be more fulfilled helping one company build its workforce and contributing to its culture and profits. Something in me knew that while I might find that new and exciting for a while, there was something else calling me.

There were three significant events in my career that led me down this path, and if I had not been able to see these events as gifts, I would have definitely grown bitter and cynical. I imagine that would have bled into my relationships and my health, and I can really only imagine how detrimental that would have been.

I’m not saying that I always looked at everything as a positive. The positive was not always easy to see, but I’m thankful that I had people in my life that challenged me to turn something negative into something positive, and who believed in me enough to know that I would succeed.

After college I moved to New Jersey to live with my boyfriend. This was my first really significant relationship and I felt certain we would get married. At the time, I was working in radio and I thought that was going to be my lifelong career. It took some time to realize neither my boyfriend nor radio were true fits for me. It was not easy to say goodbye to either one of them. It became easier to say goodbye to my boyfriend when I found out he been cheating on me. Saying goodbye to radio, however, meant deciding on something else. With student loans looming, I really did not want to be wrong about my next choice. In one way, it felt like I was surrendering, as I was moving back home as a 20-something. I was definitely more scared than ashamed because now I had to figure out who I was all over again. I wish somebody could have told me then that reinventing yourself, however intimidating of a process, can be one of the best things you do in your life.

After a summer home, I landed a job in executive recruiting working for a woman who would become a very influential entrepreneurial role model. I found the work challenging at first, but it was not long before I was craving greater responsibility and the opportunity to interface more with candidates and clients. I was learning a lot, but I did not feel like I could really apply it as much as I wanted. Then one day the owner brought in a television and as we watched the towers collapse, we thought only of the direct impacts of the lives lost and the wars that would take others. It would take months before we would realize how our everyday lives would be impacted.

Our clients grew quiet. Hiring was at a standstill. How was the firm going to survive? How could I possibly find another job in recruiting if no one was hiring? How was I going to grow as a recruiter? How could I continue on the path I finally discovered to be a fit for me?

The owner, recognized that the firm she had invested blood, sweat, and tears into growing, needed new revenue. She assigned me to perform market research on the executive coaching industry, and a new hope and vision for my future started to germinate. I started to think less about how prevalent the unemployment problem was. Instead, I thought more about how quickly an economy can rebound and grow when corporate leaders are in jobs that capitalize on their innate talents and strengths, when they are receiving the right support and advice to reinvent their companies’ future, and furthermore, when they find, recognize, and hire the right people to make it happen.

I greatly wanted to help the owner to transform her practice to make this contribution, but instead I found myself laid off. As hard as it was to confront all the various emotions of being laid off, I started off enthusiastic that this was an opportunity to change course to something exciting. It would be months of heart-breaking rejection before I realized that as my former owner tried to tell me, a young 20-something is not someone people perceive as being able to provide much value to executives unless I’m entering their data or bringing them coffee. Having to concede that I had to jump off this path and find something else to pay my bills was probably harder to take than being laid off in the first place.

I finally started to apply good advice that led me to a job, which was a great revelation and helps me help other people today. Though that job, thankfully, didn’t last either. After being laid off again three months later, it only took me five weeks to land a job at a recruiting firm.

Three months after that I was promoted and I was finally able to interact with candidates and clients in a way I had always wanted. I did it with a whole new perspective, however. Without realizing it, I had a subconscious agenda to invest time learning how various companies make hiring decisions and what the successful candidates were doing to become noticed, hired, promoted and paid well. My discoveries, as well as being able to give someone the news that they were chosen, were the highlights of this job. However, there were a lot of other parts of the job that were leading to burnout, disengagement, and discontentment.

Having to tell people who had been unemployed for six months that our clients would not consider them, after having been out of work for 10 months myself, caused me a lot of inner conflict. Additionally, the parts of my job that I took the most pride in, investing time and getting to know candidates, making sure that our jobs were true fits for them, whether they were contract or not, were constantly butting up against the need to accommodate the metrics of success that were constantly shifting in my firm. I could not possibly spend more than 20 minutes with a candidate on the phone if I had to make 100 calls per day. On top of that, we were expected to conduct 10 in-person interviews per week. At an hour a pop, the culture that had been described to me upon my hiring as a work hard/play hard environment became a work hard/work long environment. In the midst of planning my wedding and dealing with typical dramas that can surround such events, I let my performance slip. I was put on notice.

I consider myself a very bright and high performer. To know that my reputation was not reflecting that brought me considerable shame and that certainly didn’t help my performance at all. However, as a result of this unfortunate event, and because of companywide morale concerns, I had the opportunity to work with a coach at the firm’s expense. Experiencing first-hand how to coach really impacts your life by helping you see what needs to be seen, by asking questions you would be to afraid to ask yourself, and by empowering you to make choices that may not be easy, but that make life easier in the long run. It was exactly what I needed to get back on my true course.

In June it will be 10 years that I have been a career coach. Being self-employed has not always been easy financially or logistically for myself or my family, but what has been easy is continuing to become better and better at coaching. What has made it the best decision of my life is what I have been able to do for so many other lives.

So, why did I become a coach?

To help someone relocate to be with the love of their life, to help them buy a house together and start a family together.

To help someone realize that they mistakenly dismissed the viability of finding an even more fulfilling job on the same island country as their husband that pays equally well as their US corporate job, and reuniting husband and wife. Then helping the wife land a job as a professor where she is fulfilled impacting the lives of dozens of students every year.

To help someone who was never able to use the six weeks of vacation that they were awarded because of internal corporate pressures and increasing scope, to move to a job where vacations are considered mandatory and now is enjoying seeing the world.

To help someone who gave up at reinventing himself, who resigned himself to stay at home with the kids while his wife supported him, discover that he can continue to stay home and raise his kids while working remotely making a meaningful contribution to his family’s finances.

To help someone foreign to navigating corporate inroads recognize and articulate the transferability of his creative and entrepreneurial ventures. To see him go from being in the hole to being a six-figure corporate rock star who revolutionizes medical technologies that help millions of people.

Now a question for you: What can I do for you?

 

Signs That a Change is Necessary

Photo courtesy of Joe Dunckley on flickr open source - "Sign not in use" - https://www.flickr.com/photos/steinsky/143733824/in/photolist-dGF4o-hR3yDr-9vtV-ckrjMS-ncDnVz-jvDa8w-vRLVd-3J618s-6i85PB-7wrL-kuBpdZ-hSEsCG-qR9Rhy-r6rMPw-r8DPWY-qR9NRm-r6rLYU-r8A4BF-qRj2kF-qR9RUW-r6rMA5-qRhhGi-qbJheS-qbWyCt-r8DTAS-qbWBdZ-qRj91e-qRhfXB-qbJfYW-r8DVzm-r6rNe9-qRbkb9-r8DSh9-qbJhuw-qRj6X6-qRbjz9-p1xgG1-mQXieg-mQXioV-mQXiyV-mq8UfZ-hR4qwk-moc28H-moc1YK-hR4atf-na8jbW-mBDz8V-p3xhNy-p3zaUc-oL5v17 - Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic.

Photo courtesy of Joe Dunckley on flickr open source – “Sign not in use” – Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic -http://bit.ly/signnotinuse

Last month I had the honor of seeing one of my favorite speakers, Jen Groover, in-person at my alma mater, Ursinus College. I had seen her PBS Special, many of her other YouTube videos as well as a fireside chat that she did with Philly StartUp Grind. I had heard her tell the story of how she was driving to work as a young graduate with a knot in her stomach. She actually was so anxious about going to work that she fantasized about getting into a car accident just so she would have a good excuse not to go. Thankfully, she trusted her inner wisdom and followed a passion that led her to an epic career, twice. Seeing her tell this story inspired me to re-publish this article that I wrote in 2007. Plus, a friend recently shared here job grievances on Facebook, so the time feels very right to help her, and anyone else suffering mentally AND physically because they are enduring the wrong job.

I pursued the employment industry because I enjoyed matching people with opportunities and creating a win-win-win for the company, the candidate, and my firm. I moved into working one-on-one with jobseekers because I gained invaluable knowledge that I knew many people needed to help them succeed. And boy, I wanted them to succeed. Being a great judge of character is a necessity to being a great recruiter. It was clear to me after several months that I would rather help these people than determine that they are not good enough to present to our clients. (Author’s note: Within my first year, I also realized that judgment was actually an impediment to helping them, and I started to work on becoming more compassionate – a brand signature of my business today.) I stuck with recruiting for several years and had no regrets. The years that followed provided me with even more experience and knowledge. There did come a time, however, when I had to recognize that it was time to move on.

In late 2005 after I was married, it seemed as though everything that I read, watched or overheard was leading me to the same conclusion: I need to create something of my own to share the intelligence I had been procuring and provide services for jobseekers in my area that no one else was offering. Omens were coming from every direction; I even had a fortune cookie tell me that a change in vocation was coming. (Author’s note: I still have it on my desk in my home office to remind me how listening to these signs and taking action has paid off in my life.) Even with all of these signs, it was the help and encouragement of a coach that pushed me to bring my vision and mission to fruition.

As a career coach, I bestow the power to pursue a career path that leads to life fulfillment. There IS a formula for career happiness, and a process that, when followed with integrity, ultimately results in the ability to choose the best opportunity among multiple viable opportunities. So many people make decisions to stay stuck, or not try, often because of assumptions, bad advice, self-limiting beliefs, or, my “favorite,” the market. In doing so, people stand in their own way of happiness, either by not acknowledging that a change is necessary, or worse yet, recognizing that a change is necessary and not empowering themselves to make that change happen.

I do understand, to a point, the psychology behind not changing. (Author’s note: I am keenly aware now, after years of studying neuroscience, behavior-change gamification and human performance optimization, how our brains and our bodies resist change.] It is difficult and scary. You put yourself out there to have other people determine if you are good enough or not. And what if they decide that you are not? What if there really isn’t anything better? What if what you want isn’t attainable? Coincidentally, Jen Groover’s book is called What If and Why Not? and I highly recommend it if you relate to these fears.)

I have seen loved ones emotionally and mentally beaten down by work environments in which hostility between colleagues is tolerated while appreciation and recognition are scarce. The longer that they stayed there, the more they felt like disposable commodities. It was as though they should feel fortunate to be employed. It’s essentially a corporate form of mental abuse. It hurt to watch people who I know are unique, important, and deserving of so much more made to feel small and insignificant. (Author’s note: This was a big determining factor in what made me choose to make the contribution of being a career coach, as I detail in this blog.) Once I was recruiting, it hurt more, because I could see with greater clarity what they needed to be happy, and I knew it was attainable. Regardless, it still had to be their decision, their resolve, and their commitment that made it happen.

In an effort to minimize the number of people who waste precious time waking up every day to do a job that does not utilize their talents, does not fulfill them spiritually, financially, and/or vocationally and that they resent or despise, I will share with you some questions and answers that may indicate if it is your time to recognize the signs and create much needed change in your career for the sake of your life.

1. Are you regularly grumpy on Sunday evenings and every morning but Friday?

If you answered yes, this indicates that you have anxiety about going to work. Everyone gets grumpy sometimes. Even people that love what they do will have times when they wish they were somewhere else. Timing and frequency are the factors that have the most weight in determining the cause of the grumpiness.

2. While you are at work, are you spending more time finding personal business to tend to rather than critical deliverables that your boss is expecting?

While most people will admit that they tend to procrastinate from time to time, your job depends on your abilities to deliver. When you prioritize unimportant personal business ahead of what you need to do for you boss, that communicates that you only care enough to keep face, if you even care enough to do that. Your boss could very well be the problem, and you may not be able to keep your position in that company and change your boss. You can certainly change something.

3. When you come home from your workday, do you head straight for the television, your bed, or a drink?

We all are expected to output more these days. It can be exhausting. This is why it is even more critical to do work for which you have passion. It will be energizing more than it will be draining, and it will allow you to come home and tend to personal matters and relationships rather than spending hours decompressing and zoning out until you can sleep, wake up, and do it all over again.

4. Do you encourage your closest friends and family to NOT use your company’s product or service?

If this is the case it has to be a definite sign that you are not contributing your days and hard work to a company that is going to survive! Find a product or service that means something to you and then find a position within that company that allows you to use your talents and abilities to further their progress while you further your career.

5. Are you just brimming with ideas that no one at your company seems to hear, let alone implement?

Companies sometimes do not utilize the talent that they have to the fullest. This seems like such a waste of great energy and money! That goes for you, too, if you are staying there allowing all of your brainchildren to wither and die!

While the United States is still the land of opportunity, it is lagging behind in production and innovation. I would like you to imagine, please, every person doing what he or she loves to do. Wouldn’t we all be so much more productive and fulfilled? Idealistic? YES! Achievable? Maybe not for everyone, but it happens every day. If you want it to be you, it can, but you have to believe it and commit to it!

(Author’s note: RIP, Sheila Kutner, The “Velvet Hammer.” Your influence lives on through me and all of your clients who decided to commit themselves to careers that make a difference.)

Scorpions – Wind Of Change

Music video by Scorpions performing Wind Of Change. (C) 1991 The Island Def Jam Music Group