Archives for Dan Millman

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.

 

5 Ways to Develop Soft Skills Employers Love

Climbing to Success with Life Skills by Bunches and Bits of Flickr

Climbing to Success with Life Skills by Bunches and Bits of Flickr

Have you ever felt like soft skills such as communicating effectively, better managing your time, or building relationships was something you are gifted with, and can not be taught? The belief that soft skills can not be taught is a common misconception and Geek Manager Blogger Meri Williams refers to this belief as the “Soft Skills Fairy.” Many people feel some are blessed with soft skills, while others must languish in their inability to grasp them. The truth is that anyone can learn soft skills, much like learning to program code, cook, or fix a car. These skills can be obtained in a variety of ways including reading books, personal development courses, and life coaching. In “9 Soft Skills Every Employee Needs, Regardless of Technical Skill,” I discussed the skills employers want and how knowledge of these skills are not enough. Honing these skills are vital to your employability and professional growth.

 

  1. Setting Goals

Carli Lloyd, a professional soccer star, did not start out as a winner. She was physically unfit, was not mentally strong enough, and her character needed work. She doubled down and improved herself. Lloyd is now considered one of the most physically and mentally fit athletes in professional soccer, and she is lauded for her character. Carli Lloyd’s coach pointed out to her when she was aspiring to join the national soccer team that athletes at this level work hard to obtain results. They live, breathe, and sleep their big goal. They train mentally and physically from the time they wake up until the time they sleep. It takes extreme discipline, and learning which soft skills to develop also requires discipline. Soft skill development requires awareness at a conscious level, and then to become unconsciously competent requires extreme regimen and consistent awareness, for which external guidance can be pivotal. Becoming unconsciously competent takes place in stages.

Many people have blind spots when it comes to their own soft skills. A skills assessment quiz is one of the best ways to pinpoint where your skills are lacking. Setting goals allows you to track your development. One of your goals can be to identify all of the soft skills gaps that stand to threaten your professional success by either taking a quiz or working with a coach.

 

  1. Self-assessment

After completing the quiz and setting goals, take a moment to sit down and decide which skills you need to develop. Prioritize the skills you will develop first, and create a list reasons why you want to improve these soft skills. The list of reasons can range from “I am having trouble connecting to my co-workers,” to “I want to become a better leader.” Whatever your reasons are, they are personal and unique to you. After you have created your list, share it with a coach, mentor, or friend to help keep you accountable. An accountability partner can keep you on track and serve as support.

All of the planning in the universe is useless without a solid plan of action. Once you know where you need to improve, and you have a method of accountability, it is time to put the task of learning soft skills into motion.

 

  1. Work with a coach

The use of a life coach can be another method to identify the blind spots in your soft skills development. People often need someone else to angle the mirror correctly to see what they cannot see in themselves to improve various aspects of their lives. A coach can provide this mirror, a path to move forward, and the ability to push you harder on that path. The development of soft skills is similar to learning physical skills. Unless you exercise those skills, they will not grow. You can also think of a good coach as a captain helping you to navigate the waters of personal and professional development. You could complete these tasks on your own, but arriving at your destination will take much longer.

 

  1. Reading materials

Reading books on how to improve your soft skills can be a great source of encouragement and insight. Additionally, reading can provide a useful road map on your journey to develop your soft skills. Here are ten great books to help you start the journey:

 

  1. Dr. Travis Bradberry- Emotional Intelligence 2.0
  2. Stephen Covey- The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change
  3. Dale Carnegie- How to Win Friends and Influence People
  4. Dale Carnegie – How to Stop Worrying and Start Living
  5. Andrea Gardner – Change Your Words, Change Your World
  6. Dan Millman – Peaceful Warrior
  7. Daniel Kahneman – Thinking, Fast and Slow
  8. Allyson Lewis – The Seven Minute Difference
  9. Carol S. Dweck – Mindset: The New Psychology of Success
  10. Susan Cain- Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking

 

  1. Practice, practice, practice

Once you have begun to develop your soft skills, it is time to put them into practice. You would not expect an athlete to go into their first game without practicing, nor would you expect a programmer to release code without extensive testing. In the same manner, you can practice your soft skills. You can join associations or hobby-related clubs. If you really want to put your newly acquired skills to the test, attend a soft skills training workshop. Take and graciously accept feedback, as it will help you keep track of your development progress and help you target areas of weakness. Practicing your soft skills will allow you to sharpen them outside of the workplace. As you continue to put your soft skills to use, recalling them will become easier and will feel more natural.

 

We often think soft skills can not be improved, or are notoriously difficult to develop. In truth, like any area of your professional and personal life worth developing, the development of soft skills is not an easy path. The good news is that anyone can learn and improve these skills if they are willing. As I said in my previous article, technical skills are what employers notice, but soft skills are what help you land and keep you employed. Taking the time to commit to learning soft skills can improve your employment situation by making it easier to land, to constantly grow, and to take your career to new heights.