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.
As the new administration decides where to make cuts and where to allocate funding, heated debates continue on both sides of the political spectrum. Don’t worry, as usual, this post is not political. (I personally find that many of the issues that need a resolution would be better served if politics were left out of those said issues.) I am much more interested in co-creating meaningful solutions to significant problems than I am finding more ways to separate myself from my fellow citizens.
The intention of this post is to open a discussion on what is a popular approach to alleviating many of society’s woes, teaching people to fish.
I do not mean literally. Though, I know from watching all the shows about Alaska and people living off of the grid that survival literally means catching fish for some. I am talking about proverbial fish, your ability to take care yourself and your family.
I really do not want to discuss whether people need government handouts, whether they abuse them, and who loses when that happens. Let’s just focus on the real challenges and viable solutions to helping people become self-reliant and empowered in their own survival, and then we can eventually move on to happiness.
Someone in my Facebook community was pleading with people to stop complaining about this healthcare issue, and to just go get a better job that pays better benefits.
Raise your hand if you think this is so easy. (I imagine many, if not most, hands raised.)
Raise your hand if you happen to love your work, feel you have found your calling, and can now not imagine doing anything else. (I imagine very few hands are raised, but those that are belong to people who would be doing a disservice to the world to get a new job simply because it has better benefits.)
So, that’s challenge #1 with teaching people to fish: The fish are small
Some people have careers that just are not associated with great benefits and high paychecks, like social service and teaching. These people know how to fish in that they have jobs, their jobs are necessary, and for the most part they work hard in spite of not being paid as well as other equally valuable professions.
Possible self-managed solution: Supplemental income, aka the “side hustle”
Yes, this would require people to invest time outside of their already full-time jobs. This means potentially they would have to take time away from their families. If these income-producing activities, however, were related to interests, hobbies, or causes that were already important to them, carving out time would feel less like a sacrifice and more like an investment. Then it is really just a matter of making sure that these activities actually produce income, which usually means finding the right teacher and/or system.
Some, but not all of these activities may require an upfront investment. Examples include home-based administrative services, real estate investing (bird-dogging and wholesaling require no up front money, and where I live there is an organization that has monthly meetings where you can get educated and find a mentor for FREE!), fitness coach, selling crafts, beauty products, clothes, hand bags, wine, and most anything else you can imagine.
I have walked this walk, and can tell you that while many of these opportunities preach being able to make a good amount in a little bit of time, it takes a significant investment of time to get your systems up and running, and investing money in tools or training can accelerate the income production lifecycle, but it is not necessary.
Challenge #2: No proximity to water (jobs)
With the evolution from an industrial age to an information age, some professions will die, and if the hubs of those professions do not move into the new age swiftly enough, large employers fail to create new jobs for people dependent on those jobs.
Possible self-managed solution: Online training and remote work
In many counties in many states there are programs that will fully or partially cover training for people who qualify. Qualifying usually just means that you have a basic level of intelligence and aptitude to learn the new skills and that you are willing to fill out paper work, attend meetings, and find or pick the appropriate institution.
What if the government cuts these programs? We are lucky enough to live in the age of crowdfunding. I have walked this walk, too. I raised $5K to build a prototype for a job search mobile game. 25 people in my inner circle and 51 complete strangers helped me fund this project. It took a concerted effort, but I was truly humbled and very pleasantly surprised by the outpouring of support.
As long as there is a need for that skill, be it a trade or a professional skill, then the challenge that potentially remains is the next one.
Challenge #3: Inefficient tools or inability to understand how to make or use tools
There is a reason I’ve been business for over ten years, and for that same reason my mentors have been doing this twice as long. Not everyone is an effective writer, and even if you are an effective writer, when the subject matter is yourself, it is very challenging to understand how you could make yourself look good to the people who you feel have your fate in their hands. Furthermore, résumés have a lot of rules and are meant to be very concise. Writing using short business speak is a whole different skill set compared to writing long form for comprehension. What separates the best résumé writers in the world from the rest is the ability to concisely, clearly, and powerfully convey what makes a person unique – the softer qualities, but in hard business terms.
Possible self-managed solution: Self-teaching
Assuming you do not have the resources to invest in engaging a professional like myself who can create master-crafted tools for you, which will run you up to four figures if you include a LinkedIn profile, there are plenty of resources out there that will teach you how to craft your own branded content. We have the best: http://epiccareering.com/diy-content-builder/
There are plenty of FREE guides, as well, but I can only stand behind my own. Yes, YouTube is a great free DIY resource, just be wary of the advice you take. You can trust our channel, which has had over 45,000 views and is chock full of free trainings on cover letters, networking, résumés, and more. We also have some great motivational playlists.
Challenge #4: Knowing locations, times of day, the right bait, which fish are edible, how to clean, cook, store, etc.
Having effective tools like branded résumés and LinkedIn profiles are great, if they are seen, but the statistics are against being able to be found, seen and considered when you apply for jobs online. That leaves a big “what then?” question. Then, once you are being considered by a company, you have to know how to keep yourself at the front of a pack you cannot even see to secure an offer, and then negotiate an offer that works with your lifestyle so that you can actually sustain your life.
You can actually get the DIY tools above PLUS training in the activities that get the best results, forming good habits around those activities, interviewing to get the offer, and negotiating the optimal offer as a partner to your employer, PLUS many other bonuses by investing just $151 more. If that is still outside of your means, our previous posts below do not give you all of our tricks and tips, but they should give you some really great techniques to get your JoMo (Job Momentum) kickstarted. Feel free to explore the 140+ LinkedIn posts and blog posts available on a wide range of subjects.
Challenge #5: They’ve been taught it’s too hard and they are no good at it
We have written many blog posts about how fundamental beliefs can go completely unnoticed as they make decisions for us that limit our future. I agree with Marisa Peer’s assertion that the major reason and cause of suffering worldwide is actually the easy to form, hard to break (without hypnosis) belief that you are not enough. Additionally, our meaning-making brains translate criticism very harshly. We can absolutely be our own worst enemy.
If you cannot relate, then it would be hard for you to understand how the effort to change can seem futile, as though destiny shunned you and you are bound to fail, not matter what, so why try. You are lucky that you do not have to contend with such self-deprecating thoughts.
Positive thinking has failed many people who have tried. That is because the thoughts are just a symptom of a belief system that can be reversed, but not without tricks and a regimen.
I continue to unravel a lifetime of self-limiting beliefs, so that I can allow myself to accept a better position in life. It has taken many teachers, tools, and tricks. It has meant constantly, as in several times daily, checking in on my mindfulness state, interrupting bad patterns and replacing them with better ones.
I have invested tens of thousands of dollars, and I will continue to make this investment until I stop breathing. I love learning new hacks for success and wholeness, and I love teaching them to you. I find this world fascinating, and my coaching effectiveness has evolved exponentially because of what I have discovered. However, I had to understand the science behind it before I could find a credible means of change, and that took significant time and research.
Possible self-managed solution: Daily personal development/self-help
Some people have claimed that hypnosis was a cure-all for them, but that does cost money, and what if it doesn’t work for you?
At least once a day, feed yourself awareness of your greater potential. First, read The Miracle Morning, as it will help you understand the benefits and overcome some of the challenges of making self-care a priority every day. I can also point you to Mel Robbins, who easily explains some of the neuroscience behind why we stop ourselves from creating meaningful change. Ultimately, your goal is to form a fundamental belief that you CAN fish. In fact, you can be a master fisherman or woman! In my house, there is no can’t; only I don’t know how yet.
Most of these solutions require a person to make an additional investment of time/money. The reality is for some that there is no additional time and there is no additional money. For some, it is just really challenging to shift priorities and they do not see the way out yet, but I have had clients working 80+ hours with kids at home who some weeks did not have ANY extra to give. They were educated, smart, and being taking for granted and underpaid for their work. For this, I wish there were an organization that could put a company on a public probation of sorts. If the government was to interfere by imposing sanctions on executive pay, I wish there were a way to raise awareness without repercussions for workers and then a way to apply social pressure to change the systems and policies that allow talented, hard-working people to be psychologically abused and trapped.
I am very interested in hearing your challenges and solutions. Please share them with us.
Last week I laid out plans A through D for getting noticed by your future employer, but one of those plans deserves its own post, as it requires some ingenuity, investigative skills, and GUTS.
Did that just discourage you? We will talk in the coming weeks about what caused that and how it can sabotage your success beyond your job search.
Back to Plan C – Find out what other media, social media, professional events, or social events enable you to capture an executive’s attention where few others will be vying for it.
Some executives are inaccessible. Can you presume that they are “ivory tower” types, making decisions from far above the front lines, making you schedule an appointment through their assistant, deeming the lower rungs of the career ladder less important and influential to success? Not really, and they probably are completely unaware that they give off that vibe. I have had to point out to many of my clients through the years just how unapproachable they have made themselves by failing to give themselves a presence.
Their top real reasons?
They are just too busy tending to the people and business that make their success possible. They sometimes even don’t have time to hire the talent that they desperately need!
They have valid reasons to be concerned about privacy. They have had access to highly privileged and sought after information. They worked in industries targeted by zealots who bordered on dangerous. Some also worked in highly regulated industries that had not yet discovered how to navigate marketing while staying in compliance.
I have helped my clients overcome these challenges while remaining sensitive to them. But for the executives who remain “invisible,” but who still need YOUR value on their team to support organizational success, how do you make sure you become visible to them?
Have you tried googling their name in quotes? This sounds so common sense in today’s world where our first instinct to find any answer appears to be Google (or YouTube). However, I have been recruiting and finding people on the internet since 2000, and it may not be common sense to everyone.
Perhaps if it is a common name, google it with a location or company name.
Select the images menu of Google search. Sometimes, your future boss is tagged in photos at events by other people.
Check the executive’s LinkedIn Groups and recent activity, if any.
Check the company’s press releases (perhaps through your local business journal).
Facebook search their name in quotes. Even if they do not have a Facebook profile, you may find them mentioned as part of someone’s post.
Join a Meetup related to their industry in their vicinity and see if they are members, then also see what other Meetups they are in.
What clues are you looking for?
Places they go.
Organizations that they belong to.
Events that they attend.
Hobbies and interests that they spend time on.
Who they hang out with.
Causes that are important to them.
Other social media that they might use more often, such as Twitter, Instagram or even SnapChat– seriously! You would be surprised!
How they view a significant industry problem, company initiative, even their preferences on finding TALENT, aka YOU!
This can help you determine:
The best way to approach them.
Whether to be casual or formal.
A place that they might go where you will not have any gatekeepers (except your fear, but we will cover that in a future post).
What to talk about when you have a chance to approach them that would be of interest or importance to them.
People you may not have known you mutually know because someone wasn’t actively using their LinkedIn account.
Maybe you might find that there is a path of even less resistance building rapport with their parent, spouse, child, or assistant.
Does this sound “stalkerish?” Is it Overkill?
That is most likely your fear talking. This is where the GUTS come in.
You may not be driven to try this if you are generating a lot of interest in your top companies by tapping the shoulders of the people you know in order to make powerful introductions that get you interviews. That is Plan A, remember.
However, before you go spend the same amount of time filling out a frustrating online application with redundant or irrelevant questions only to drop into an abyss of résumés that will never even get seen, let alone get a response, muster up some guts to try this experiment with two of your TOP target companies.
If you find yourself unwilling, scared, or thinking any of the following:
“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?”
Then we have a post coming up that you need to read, because no matter what you do, you will STOP yourself from getting what you want every time if you do not address the REAL cause.
Do you have a story where you boldness was rewarded? Please share the results of your experiments!
Foxx Discusses Local Economic Issues with NC Business by Virginia Foxx
Many of my clients over the past ten years have either developed thought leaders for their organization, leveraged thought leaders, or have been thought leaders themselves.
It seems like common sense that if change in an organization is going to be adopted, it needs to happen from the top down, but my clients have been able to manage upward. Executive leaders have to be able to recognize a problem and the pain that it’s causing to have any desire for change.
When you cannot bring the executive leader to the problem, like in Undercover Boss, sometimes you have to bring the problem to the executive leader, but how you do you do that? Through storytelling. Who does it? A person with influence.
I’m referring to authentic influence. I’m not talking about leaders who are talking heads and attempt to assert their influence using authoritarianism. People with authentic influence, who I refer to as influence leaders, earn trust and loyalty by listening first and foremost. This is also referred to as caring.
At first you may think that they are inaccessible because they seem like Mr. or Mrs. Important, but they genuinely want to be of service. They also want to invest their time improving situations that impact the most people or cause the most pain, so if you want them to give you their ear, be a curator and deliverer of people’s pain stories.
It does not always work. Unfortunately, sometimes executive leadership is more influenced by ego. That is usually how these thought leaders, and the developers of thought leaders found their way to me. They were usually hired because there was an intention and planned initiative for change, but they found interference coming from the top and felt stifled. They are driven by their desire to realize change and they lose their motivation quickly if unnecessary obstacles are created at the top. An influence leader can only inspire change if they are inspired.
In order to retain these valuable people for your organization, executive leaders have to be open and receptive, and to be willing to stand up for change and go to bat for their people.
Otherwise, I will help them find and be found by organizations with leaders who will stand up for change, and that organization will benefit from their influence.
Whether you are the thought leader, you develop thought leaders, or you leverage the thought leaders, you are an influence leader. Only work for an organization that demonstrates its willingness to be influenced. If that does not apply to where you are at, let’s have a consultation. It is highly important to me that you, who have such potential to make things better for others, are in a position that enables you to embrace and use your power. That is the influence that I am driven to have.
You might be alarmed if you were thinking that retirement was on the horizon. On the other hand, you could be encouraged if you already realized that retirement is years away and were concerned that you could face age discrimination.
I say, either way, if you are in either camp and no matter what age you are, it is time to decide. You are going to live a longer life. Are you going to live it led by passion or are you going to continue on with a career that pays your bills, but leaves you wanting more?
There are many great examples of people who have reinvented themselves late in life to achieve greatness.
Here are just a few:
Colonel Sanders, 65, was motivated to hone his recipe and franchise his restaurant by a new highway that had drawn customers away from his single store.
Laura Ingles Wilder, 65, put pen to paper and published Little House on the Prairie.
Grandma Moses, 76, created her first canvas painting when her arthritis prevented her from enjoying embroidery.
A majority of people dedicate their youth to careers that offer financial security.
70% of these workers are disengaged in their work.
Having had dedicated decades to building a life and supposedly saving for retirement, they are finding that the lifestyle they imagined when they signed up for “corporate servitude” is not actually attainable with what they were able to save, if anything.
Or we could imagine a different scenario.
After retiring from the career that they dedicated decades and their youth to, they find they are still able-bodied and able-minded and want to spend the rest of those years, with kids grown and hopefully living life well for themselves, delving into their passions and finding new ways to make money pursuing those passions.
Some of them are finding more passion driven careers than they did as a corporate servant. That makes them wonder, “Why did I spend so many years consumed by consumerism?”
I’m not suggesting that having a corporate career is a waste of your life. I have many clients who feel completely fulfilled, are at the top of their game, enjoy going to work and get to enjoy their lives outside of work as well.
What I am saying is, if you are biding your time in a corporate career that you do not feel fully engaged in, why aren’t you reaching for something better? Better is possible.
In fact, my experience teaches me that so many do not reach for something better because there is so much doubt that something better is possible, or if something better is possible for THEM.
Before you can go from impossible to actual, you have to realize that what you suspect is impossible is possible. So, I am providing evidence to you that it is possible. If it was possible for some, than why would it not be possible for you?
Are you thinking it could be possible yet?
Okay. The next step is to make what is possible probable. That is where we come in. This takes more than just influential content and a pragmatic plan of action. You may be in the “possible zone” now, but you have been in the “impossible” zone for quite some time, if not all your life.
You need tools, tricks and techniques, aka HACKS, to shift yourself to where you are in the possible/probable zone MORE of the time, and then MOST of the time. This is why our coaching, group coaching, and one-on-one programs are so much more than how-to-job-search programs. If you have been reading up on the best ways to find a job, attending seminars, watching videos, etc., and still have not been able to see a big difference in what you do and/or what results you get, or you have not been able to sustain those results, we know exactly how to help you!
You may inquire as to one-on-one coaching programs at any time, but why wait? Fill out a Needs Assessment form and have a free 30-minute consultation with us.
Seven Years of Bad Luck by Blondinrikard Froberg of Flickr
This may sound obvious, but the way you perceive your world will greatly impact how you respond to challenges as well as the outcomes.
Not only have I seen many people become broken when an opportunity that I thought could be once-in-a-lifetime fell through, but it happened to me as well.
I was a few months into my job search in 2002 and still had a fair amount of optimism and confidence in the value that I could offer, yet at the same time it was a critical point for validation. I knew at that early stage I wanted to be a career coach, but that I did not have adequate experience to be a good adviser. I had the opportunity to interview with and be enchanted by a high-end career coach who was looking for a protégé and was hiring a job developer. This seemed like a perfect next step, leveraging my sourcing and research experience, and giving me a chance to see what it really takes to generate job leads.
He spoke with such passion and his office was impressive. I was even impressed by the monogrammed folder he gave me with information on his firm. I felt deep down inside that this person was going to be influential in my life and my career. I even had a touch of the “Irish weepies,” which is what I call it when I allow myself to be overwhelmed by joy or poignant emotion. That is why I have shied away from singing at weddings and funerals. I felt a little bit embarrassed by how I allowed myself to show my emotions, and he seemed to be empathetic and still very interested in vetting me as his protégé. I saw this as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
The next steps were to hand in a detailed job description, as this was a new position he was creating. This assignment was super exciting to me and really made me visualize all that I wanted to do and all that I wanted to learn to be a valuable contributor to his firm while at the same time preparing myself for my ultimate career. I immersed myself in imagining what the day-to-day would look like, as well as short-term projects and long-term projects, and setting my own success goals for 30 days, 60 days, and 90 days.
As any good quality effort would require, I had other people review it and offer feedback. I wanted to make sure that it was a top notch submission. It occurred to me that he could just be using me as an applicant to write a job description for him, and that did not even matter because I was so sure that I would impress him and he would excitedly offer me the position.
This was not what happened.
I literally sat by the computer after sending it thinking that my phone would ring any second or an email would come back instantly. A few hours passed and I rationalized that he was probably busy with clients because he is a successful career coach, and I should give it the obligatory two days before following up, like dating, which was the world I knew much more about at the time than job searching. I followed up after two days with an email confirming that he received it and scheduled to call in two more days if I had not heard from him. I left a message reasserting how much I enjoyed the assignment and really being able to visualize myself in this job and was excited to hear his feedback. After the weekend I received a one line email.
It went something like, “Thank you for your efforts, it was not exactly what I was hoping for. More feedback to come.”
But there was no more feedback to come, and there were no more communications from him even after following up three or four more times. With each call I had to muster up more courage and confidence where there was none, and pretend that I was just patiently waiting, when in fact I was a nervous wreck, and I was angry and hurt. The longer I waited without a response from him, the surer I was that he was not at all empathetic and most likely did use me to write a job description for a job that someone else was going to fill.
It broke me. I felt broken. I felt used, undervalued, unworthy, and hopeless. Do you think I was able to ace any interviews I went into as this person? Nope.
Seven or eight months later I did wind up landing in a job that was a step back and not at all on the career coach track. I got back on track eventually, as you know.
With a more experienced perspective, I look back at that time and realize everything that I did wrong, and I make it my mission to save people from being broken from similar circumstances.
Here are a few things that I know now that I wish I had known then:
Once-in-a-lifetime is an enigma
There are many roads to success. Relying on one resource, or one person, or one company as your primary means to achieve success is disempowering and misguided. You do not have to align yourself with unscrupulous people, you do not have to sacrifice your values, and you do not have to let yourself be taken advantage of or neglect your health in order to achieve success. It may not come instantly, you will face challenges, you will need to take inspired action, but with passion, persistence and resourcefulness, it will happen if it is right, and if it is not there is something better.
There is no lack of resources, only resourcefulness
When I gave up my idea of how my career path was supposed to look, I found many other paths that I could take to get there. I had to recover my sense of hope before I could see alternative solutions, and that was not easy, honestly. However, once I reclaimed my resolve to make my career work for me, I found that so many more friends were willing to help me, and I could be that person in an interview who could inspire confidence, and ultimately get the offer.
After more years in the employment industry as a recruiter, seeing how much can happen in the hiring process that can impact a successful offer and acceptance, I would have warned myself not to be too dependent on this one position being the key to my happiness. That feeling I was so certain of, that this was it, I would have encouraged myself to keep the enthusiasm, but also keep up all efforts to generate opportunities. Perhaps if I had been talking to one of his competitors that career coach would have found me to be more of a competitive advantage in his business, and I most likely would have seen that he was just one of many people that could have taken me on as their protégé. Perhaps if there was another career coach they could have been an even stronger mentor for me. I would not have relied on his positive response to validate my worth.
There were certainly some practical job search tactics and strategies that I failed to implement during that job search, which I know now. That said, there is also the mindset and emotional component of job searching that is far too overlooked by jobseekers, the stakeholders in their lives, as well as a lot of career coaches.
I may not always be able to prevent you from being broken in your job search. If I can, I will. However, if you have been broken, let us mend you. Mindset mastery is a primary component of our six-week, three-month group, and one-on-one coaching programs. Do not underestimate how pivotal this can be to your job search success, and your career success going forward.
Join us for our upcoming six-week epic careering fast track program and a live group coaching program which is starting soon. Space is limited! Or, fill out a Needs Assessment Form and take advantage of a free 30-minute sampling of our one-on-one coaching.
The problems show up as symptoms that cause frustration or pain, however, what’s not so easy to identify is the root cause. It is not for lack of trying, and it is not a lack of intelligence either.
When you struggle to find a new job, your insecurities tend to manifest in the strongest ways. They lead you to believe that you are the problem, and make you question if you are deserving of something better, or if something better even exists for you.
Sometimes insecurities manifest as cynicism about people and opportunity. You may start to feel like other people are just too shortsighted to understand how great you could be, or you could feel like business leaders are too focused on numbers to appreciate the person that you are. While that can be true, and you may have seen evidence in your past, I can assure you:
You are not the problem.
You deserve an opportunity that enables you to use your talents, apply your passion, and earn a great living.
That opportunity does indeed exist.
There are people out there who would appreciate the value that you offer, and would enable your success.
Plenty of great business leaders understand that their greatest asset is their people.
When your mindset is dominated by your insecurities, it is naturally challenging to see things the way they really are; you cannot be objective.
The good news is that the problems can be solved, and the symptoms can be relieved, but first we have to identify and “treat” the correct root cause(s).
On January 27th I will be holding a free webinar to divulge the top symptoms people experience that cause pain and frustration during their job search, as well as the most likely root causes. Furthermore, I will be sharing how we “treat” those root causes to alleviate the symptoms and fortify your job search to produce great momentum.
Momentum is the symptom that occurs when you have a healthy job search, and the result of momentum is a sense of empowerment and control over your career destiny. When you have JoMo (Job Momentum), you emanate confidence, attract even MORE opportunities, inspire even MORE job offers, and then the problem becomes choosing which opportunity represents your best chance at fulfillment in your career AND your life. (We also have solutions for that!)
Join us Friday, January 27th and we will help you identify the root cause of your job search pain and present the solution that enables you to land your dream job.
These are deep questions, ones that in the midst of our hustle and bustle lives we rarely contemplate with any depth. This time of year as we supposedly get a little time off to focus on what matters and approach a new year, the opportunity for a fresh start, allow these questions to simmer in your mind for a bit.
Purpose is not a basic need, like food and shelter. However, people who consider themselves happy point to purpose as their happiness fuel. You can certainly be content to have the things that you need to survive, but I cannot help but feel as though if you have not reached the level of happiness that living your purpose provides, you have not really lived.
Sometimes purpose is underestimated as a resource for survival. I know so many people, too many people, who feel like they are treading water, just barely keeping their heads above. I want to help them all.
A very common key ingredient missing from their lives is the fact that what they do for a living is not at all tied to their purpose. This leads them to underperformance, underemployment, and underpayment, which then leads to a vicious cycle of under living, and that is the source of feeling like your head is barely above the water. The converse of that, however, is a feeling I wish everyone could experience. The best way I can describe it for those who have not yet discovered their purpose, is that it is like when you are at a live concert or show. The combination of the music plus the performance and the crowd crescendo to a point where you feel like your heart is so full that it is bursting, and you have a sense of connection to something bigger than yourself. Perhaps for you this sensation came in a different setting, like a Tony Robbins event, or a really moving religious ceremony. It is exhilarating, or as one client referred to it recently, LIGHTENING.
When your vocation is tied to your purpose, this sensation is a regularly-occurring phenomenon.
Please spread the word, as I would like to get it into the hands of as many people who are living under their potential as possible.
Discovering your purpose is not only for your sake, but it is also of great importance to the GREAT employers. In fact, I just read a LinkedIn post about how REI doubled the amount of applicants by integrating purpose into their culture and hiring.
If you have yet to succeed at a great company, consider that the missing ingredient is PASSION. There is no better time to start than NOW… Well, December 28th, actually. That is when the book is officially launched. In the meantime, however, grab your copy NOW.
“Laser-Sharp Career Focus now goes to the top of the list of helpful tools for job seekers and those endeavoring to manage their careers more successfully. The book is practical, effective and affordable! If you do the work in the book, the book will work for you. You can even revisit the exercises periodically, to reflect on your answers and update your career priorities. In my opinion, Laser-Sharp Career Focus should become your constant companion, helping you over time to build your most ideal career!”
Sometimes the next level of fulfillment that my clients are looking for is comprised of more free time to spend with their family. If Glassdoor doesn’t provide clear answers on how flexible a company is willing to be, the only other way to find out is to ask. If you ask another insider, someone not necessarily involved in hiring you, you might be able to ask more direct questions and people may feel free to be more candid. However, if both of those options are dead ends, the only option left is to find out during the interview process.
Having the interviewer acquire knowledge about your marital or familial status can put them in a precarious position. These types of questions are illegal for them to ask because they are not allowed to discriminate based on the interviewee’s status. Even for an interviewer to find out by you telling them directly opens them up to potential discrimination liability.
Another risk of acquiring about a company’s work-life balance policies is that you might be perceived as though you are someone who wants to play or rest more than work. Some generations are very susceptible to this perception. So, this week I offer you questions that you can ask a company to determine how flexible they are without seeming like a slacker.
What do you do to keep your employees happy and engaged?
What does the average workday look like for three different people on your team?
How has working here made your life better?
I pride myself on being a dynamic person; the experiences I’ve had outside of work enable me to bring even more value to my work. Do you feel like you have a dynamic workforce? And what do you do to nurture that?
What is the best way for an employee to ensure that they are making the most of their 9-5, if those are in fact the expected hours?
Your interviewer may perceive you to be very smart at asking questions, or, if they are really perceptive, they may see what you are getting at. Ultimately, a company would want to promote that they value work-life balance, if, in fact, they do. All employers may not understand the importance, so if it is important to you, take accountability to find out. If you feel that a potential employer resents this line of questioning, consider that resentment good to know and move on to the next company. You do not need to settle. Work-life balance, career fulfillment, and a good income are all attainable.
Scaling Walls and Overcoming Boundaries by Israel Defense Forces of Flickr
We certainly live in different times than when I first graduated college, and I’ve listened earnestly to generations before me to learn about what managing careers were like for them. They certainly make it sound simpler, but not necessarily more satisfying.
From my perspective, people enjoy a lot more freedom and options in opportunity, but navigating this cultural landscape has proven too challenging for most.
Below are five major challenges that I see continually standing to prevent many professionals from realizing their career potential.
1. The accelerating evolution of technology
While some fundamentals have never changed, such as treating others with dignity and respect, the tools and technology that help you position yourself as a competitive candidate in today’s talent marketplace continue to evolve. Additionally, the tools and technology that facilitate how work is completed continues to evolve. At what pace this happens can be highly determined by your particular circumstances. Some of my clients from Fortune 1000 companies will tell you that procurement, implementation, and adoption are too slow. The internal due diligence systems that ensure investments are made based on business cases can make it so that by the time technology gets approved and used, a new technology is close behind. Others can tell you that a company’s effort to be using the latest and greatest to gain the optimal competitive edge has gaps. These gaps are between the talent that understands fully how to best utilize the technologies and developing standard operating procedures that let them know for certain new technologies are working in their favor. When you want to consider changing roles, you face the challenge of deciding if you need to acquire new technical skills to be marketable to the most amount of opportunities possible, or if you can find a company that has the perfect blend of technologies that enable you to fit its environment.
How do you possibly manage your career or even develop a plan, without knowing what technologies businesses are going to find critical in the next five years?
Then, when it is your turn to prepare yourself for being in transition, how are you supposed to tell which tools and technologies are going to take you the furthest the fastest in a flooded marketplace of career apps and differing opinions?
2. Shape shifting models of progress
We can all look around and notice that there are a lot of broken systems. Hiring, healthcare, and Social Security are chief among these broken systems. Any significant changes intended to improve these systems (or even to replace the systems), stand to cause tremors in the careers of all professionals in those industries. Just imagine if we were to adopt a healthcare system that was more focused on financing preventative care. What if fewer people needed pharmaceuticals? What if it was a significant amount of people? Will there be enough customers to justify the cost of research and development? How will all the professionals in this industry transform themselves to fit the new model? Both presidential candidates have been focused on bringing manufacturing back as a major US industry. Whether they succeed or not, are the professionals who are impacted by the shift overseas going to find relief, or are they going to be impacted by the move to 3D printing?
3. Pessimism, cynicism, and self-limiting beliefs
I see this as the most dangerous challenge, simply because so many people have a blind spot to just how pervasive and detrimental these mindsets are once they become firmly embedded. Furthermore, if you don’t have a clue that there is something that can help you, why would you even think to seek it out, and even once you are aware that something can help you, if you are pessimistic (even if you decide to make the investment), your lack of faith will diminish its efficacy. I previously wrote an article about a belief that has been considered an epidemic– The “I am not enough” belief. The experience generation tends to perceive the younger generation as having a sense of entitlement and even having it too easy- it is the “everyone gets a trophy” generation, where rewards are given instead of earned. How did that even happen?
It happened as a response to parents who had grown up feeling beaten down emotionally or physically, and swearing that their kids would have a better life. It is not as though there are two camps on this topic – there are actually infinite camps on this topic, and they do not necessarily have clearly defined borders. If you look at it from one perspective, you can see value in being able to confront and overcome tough challenges, developing grit and a thick skin, and being able to navigate the real world successfully. On the other hand, if you are groomed to know your worth, feel confident, and sense that things are easy to achieve, you are more likely to be a big dreamer and make big things happen in this world. Most people weave in and out of varying degrees of these two dichotomous worldviews.
Which one is right? I am not here to say and who is not right. I won’t find out if I’m right until my kids are fully grown adults with lives of their own.
I can certainly empathize with the constant challenge of trying to decide in every single circumstance how to help my children find a balance between a real world that is rife with adversity or where success is everyone’s for the taking.
At a minimum, they need to believe that they are good enough, or they will fall short of every single goal they set for themselves.
4. Being heard or seen in a world of communication bombardment
There is certainly a lot of noise to compete with if you want to get noticed. Big data has enabled marketing to know more about its customers, their daily activities, and when and how to best capture their attention. The science and art behind this craft is constantly being studied by Epic Careering, and the career services industry is starting to ride the big data wave to learn more about the behavior and preferences of hiring managers and recruiting professionals. That being said, people will continue to have their own opinions, preferences, and worldviews while at the same time their companies will be at varying degrees of hiring effectiveness, with most being at the low-end. Which begs the question, are we just capturing data on what is being done ineffectively? As far as I have seen, none of these new hiring systems and technologies has cracked the code on hiring effectiveness.
From a career management and transitioning standpoint, we do know which activities and behaviors tend to lead to job search success, and a targeted proactive networking-based campaign is statistically more successful than a reactive, internet-based job search.
However, when you are proactive, you have to gain a depth of understanding of your audience in order to ensure that you capture their attention, that your résumé is read, that it resonates, and that you choose the next company that will offer the best opportunity. A successful strategy will vary from person-to-person, which is why one-on-one career coaching (with Epic Careering) is really the best investment for an optimal and accelerated job search, if you can see it. (The next best thing is to learn how to build your own successful campaign with the Dream Job Breakthrough System.)
It would not be fair to just point out that our target audiences face distraction without admitting how distracted we can easily become. There are day-to-day distractions that are much harder to escape, those things we have to do, such as pay bills, do laundry, mow the lawn, etc. We can certainly fill our day with these activities, but would we be really be accomplishing anything? I can relate to feeling so exhausted just by taking care of these things that I justify downtime, which I can admit is me wasting time with other distractions, like television and social media. Sometimes I even convince myself that this is an important activity for me, because I need to keep up with everything going on in the world. I, by all means, do not suffer from FOMO (fear of missing out), but some legitimately do without realizing that what they are really missing out on are adventures of their own. I know in my case I am prone to more of a curiosity that leads me down a path of unproductive input collecting. I have taught myself how to overcome these challenges by setting a timer, keeping a list of the things I am on social media to accomplish, and designating time after I have crossed off truly important AND strategic tasks to more personal exploration.
What do you notice distracts you from investing time in activities that move you closer to the life you want? What do you tell yourself that justifies engaging in these distractions?
I had a performance evaluation sometime during the planning of my wedding and a concern was that I had been spending too much work time taking care of personal details for my wedding. Of course my inclination was to assume I had been working diligently for an acceptable amount of time while taking a reasonably small amount of time to take care of the things that always need attention when you are planning a wedding. The only way to know for sure was to track my time. I was given a spreadsheet and instructed to track all of my activities for a week. I would have assumed that I was spending maybe three hours a week on personal business, and that it was mostly during my lunch hour. I was surprised to discover that while I was being paid to perform my job, I had actually spent double that on personal business during hours I was supposed to be working. I was very surprised and embarrassed, but I now knew that more self-discipline was necessary and more boundaries had to be enforced with my time.
We actually have solutions for all five of these major challenges.
We can help you master the tools and technology of modern career management and transition.
We can help you determine which technical skills you should plan on acquiring to position yourself for the best growth and fulfillment.
We can help you reinvent yourself if your industry is facing the potential for disruptive changes.
We can help you recognize and overcome models of reality and beliefs that limit your potential and interfere with your ability to achieve your goals.
We help you strategize breaking through the chatter to catch your next employer in the flow of their day with a message that creates an urgency to consider your value and hire you.
Does one challenge stand out as something you are experiencing? Does it threaten to stand between you and your next great opportunity?
We have a toolkit designed to help you stay focused on the activities and resources that open the most doors to quality opportunities. We can even text you a to-do list every morning so that you never wake up wondering what you have to do to get closer to a great job.
Comment with the corresponding number of the challenge that stands out to you as the biggest culprit of job momentum interference.
☞ Make more money
☞ Help me find me a job
☞ Help me find me a career
☞ Show me how to make my dream come true
☞ I want more interviews
☞ I want more confidence in interviews
☞ I want better results in less time
☞ I need more job leads
☞ I need more client leads
☞ To learn how social media can accelerate me toward my goals
☞ A more professional image
☞ I need help finding focus
☞ I want to upgrade my IT career
☞ I want to explore jobs and careers in X
We have product and service packages to suit almost any professional endeavor, OR we can customize a package just for you.
E-mail us at info@epiccareering to receive a needs assessment form.
You can also download this form on our Job Seekers page.