Are the people you deem as successful really free?
The answer may surprise you.
Freedom, by definition, means unrestrained, able to do as one chooses.
Some of the most successful people are severely accountable to many people, and while they may have power to make decisions, they have to make them under heavy constraints with serious consequences.
Success, as in career achievement, does not equal happiness.
Do you look at other people and think they have it easier than you? Do you resent them, even just a little bit?
Not everyone strives for success. Few people strive for a simple life – just enough to get by. Are they happier? Not always. Do they have fewer problems? Not necessarily.
So if you aren’t striving for success, but you aren’t striving for simplicity, are you striving for balance? Is it working? Are you happy?
While happiness and striving are contradictory forces, freedom is elusive to most of us. Some may enjoy certain kinds of freedom, such as the ability to work from anywhere, or to be able to afford travelling to exotic places, but still are on some level enslaved by the need to please others, to be accepted, to be understood, or to be loved, even.
Before you reject this, think about what you learned at a young age about what it took to be loved and accepted.
Many people spend their lives pursuing achievement because at some level they feel that it is what they need to do to feel like they are worthy of love. Many others gave up a long time ago and settled for that which they felt was worthy. Some were taught that successful people were unethical, and therefore being successful was undesirable.
Are you resisting success, even though it is what you “want?” You’ve heard the phrase, “Be careful what you wish for.”
One of my Facebook friends who recently graduated law school shared that one of her professors taught her a theory that all millionaires – every single one on the planet – at some time took advantage of someone else, and that is how they were able to become millionaires.
“No one ever *earned* a million dollars… Someone, somewhere was taken advantage of. Someone, somewhere lost in order for the millionaire to gain.”
Wow! This post caused much debate on both sides, and revealed how differently we can think about financial success, corporate success, and what is fair, especially when it comes to compensation. What did I think? I thought the poster was sure to never become a millionaire with that belief, or if she did she would feel such shame and guilt that she could not enjoy it, though I hope she proves me very wrong and, therefore, proves the theory wrong and obliterates the belief that wealth equals greed for all who hold that as truth.
Last week, I challenged you to vividly visualize the career circumstances that you consider to be ideal. This week, I want you to dig deep into your feelings to see if, upon achieving this ideal future, you will be free from experiencing anything negative that could keep these circumstances from really making you happy.
It may be easy to say, “Of course, I’ll be happy!” However, if you need circumstances to change in order to be happy, you are not really free. You are enslaved to those circumstances. You would be dependent on those circumstances to make you happy.
You may also notice that there are resistant thoughts – the dissonance between your current world and that future world is too extreme, and, therefore the feat is overwhelming; you would be resented by your family/friends/neighbors/community; you would become someone you don’t like; you will contradict things that you have said and believed.
These are real obstacles to your ideal vision. You will ultimately find at some point the efforts to achieve your ideal future will cease, and you will lose momentum because these thoughts are essentially inertia.
Exercise your freedom by choosing to make decisions without the restrictions of these beliefs.
Was it hard to tell this Monday from any other Monday at work?
Can you remember the last time you felt triumphant at work?
Has it been more than three years since your last big professional growth spurt?
Your answers may reveal that you have been coasting. Sometimes we need to coast, like when we are going through big personal challenges. The impacts of these challenges can last a year or two (caring for an ailing elderly relative can take much longer). It can take us out of contention for professional growth and opportunity. There is only so long you can coast before ultimately running out of gas.
It may not be your fault; bad companies and bosses can kill your motivation and inhibit your desire to do more than a job requires.
Regardless, it is against our nature to stay stagnant too long and it can be detrimental to our mental, emotional, and physical health.
Ambition is something that we naturally generate. We can get into situations where we are re-trained to kill our own ambitions, and it can start at a very early age.
Pretty soon we are convincing ourselves that we are fine; the status quo is comfortable; change is unwanted and scary.
My friend since middle school ended a marriage she was unhappy in after she found evidence on Facebook that he was cheating. A couple years later she is very grateful for that evidence, because she may have stayed unhappy even longer without it. She is currently engaged to my brother’s friend, a man I have known since he was a boy, who I know is making her happy, will make her happy, and will be the loyal and affectionate spouse she wanted her ex to be. She said, “You don’t know how unhappy you were until you are happy.”
I do my monthly Epic Career Tales podcast so that people can be inspired by the level of success and happiness that other people have achieved. I know it is not always good to compare yourself with other people, but if you aren’t getting back from a job what you put into it, then you already know that you’re not as happy as you could be. But how do you know how happy you could be unless you compare yourself to how happy other people are?
A lot of you reading this right now have an automatic thought coming through saying, “Yeah, but those people aren’t me. They are [enter any one of the following: smarter, luckier, more privileged, prettier, wealthier, not as busy, more educated, better connected, etc.]”
If you don’t, that is great for you, because you have few reasons not to take action and become happy.
However, if you recognize that thought, that is also great for you, because recognizing it is the first step in taking its power away.
This post is not meant to put you on a path to extreme change in your life so that you can have happiness. I realize that if you have this thought then you also perceive the effort of becoming happy as potentially futile.
You may want to take action, and I encourage it, but effort is something I want you to save until you have a clear vision of what you being happy in your job could look like.
Tony Robbins has said, “Activity without a high-level of purpose is the drain of your fortune.”
So many of my clients are hesitant to picture what it could look like to be happy because they think that it will lead to greater disappointment.
Tony Robbins has also said that our expectations of what our reality should look like can cause our misery.
I just want to leave you with one distinction that might help clear up what seems to be a contradiction.
Be mindful of how you define happiness. The change you think might be necessary in order to achieve this may not be anything external.
Instead of thinking in terms of what you get when better conditions exist, think about you and your current conditions. Picture yourself in the flow, knowing you are at your utmost best and not needing anyone else to notice or recognize you for it.
This is a baby step to get your head back in the game of your career. For now, do not worry about winning the game, and certainly do not think about the championship – just play.
If you can generate a sense of happiness even in unfavorable conditions, you can become unstoppable.
It probably sounds a bit condescending, this, “Take it from me; this is how the world works” post. You are probably sick of that, huh?
Well, don’t tune out, because this is just what I wish I knew, and if I had, I might be much further along in my mission, which would actually mean that the fixes to what is broken in careering and hiring would be available and applied already. When I put it that way, can you see the butterfly effect of NOT knowing this?
So, here are two more things that, if I would have known then, I would have been much more prepared and confident to confront the “real world,” instead of wasting time avoiding it. And, yes, there are two more tidbits of advice that I will share next week. (Be sure to read the first part of this series, if you missed it.)
At this moment, if you make a humble yet concerted attempt, you will find it easy to get advice, find a mentor, get inside information on the workings of companies that can help you get hired and succeed.
When I was advised that networking was the number one way to get a job, I was very discouraged. I did not come from a well-connected family. I did not perceive my inner circle to be influential, and I also did not feel confident that I was anyone who could make a strong enough impression to impress a stranger. That is what I thought networking was, and it seemed so inauthentic to me – shaking hands, schmoozing, BSing, bragging… I was more content to avoid corporate jobs, politics, and bureaucracy. I thought pursuing a career in radio was a way to do that.
I was NAÏVE.
Here is what I wish I had known – People LOVE helping other people! If I had seen it more as asking for advice and mentorship, I would have found that, whether I asked a stranger or an acquaintance, the percentage of the time I asked for help, I would have received it.
See, I thought most people were getting it all WRONG! I thought they were foolish to play along with this “dog and pony show” (the actual words of one of my former interns) only to get STUCK in corporate servitude for the sake of keeping up with the Joneses. So, I did not bother asking for advice.
I was POMPOUS and STUBBORN.
I just had not known many people who were fulfilled and happy in their corporate jobs, but that did not mean they did not exist. I did not know at the time I would even want that someday, but if I had taken the opportunity to sit down with someone in human resources or recruiting (the corporate kind, not the MLM kind – I did that!) to learn about skills required, the challenges, and the triumphs, it would have altered my past, present, and future.
Though I do feel I am exactly where I am supposed to be and believe that all things happen in their own good time, my curiosity will always lead me to wonder where I would be if…
When you are in college or beginning your career, people see you as very moldable, and will want to help you now more than ever. As you grow in your career, it’s strange, but not as many people will make the time to help you – some still will, and it is worth asking, but there seems to be a more worthwhile endeavor in helping a young person. Perhaps it seems too hard to change a more experienced person, or perhaps there is an increased perception that you are competition. Either way, obtain as much support and advice as you can right now, and furthermore, FOLLOW UP on that advice. The more you reward people for taking the time by making it pay off, the more people will be willing to help you in the future. Also, pay it forward. In fact, the fastest way to learn is to teach. You do not have to be in a position of power to be in a position to help.
No one expects you to know it all, but be prepared to PROVE what you do know.
As I have mentioned before, those that hire a lot tend to be skeptical, if not cynical. If you genuinely do not know an answer, it is best to admit it. There is the famous saying, “fake it till you make it,” and that has paid off for some people, but you should also note that many well-respected leaders do not know the ins and outs of the jobs underneath them, but they know how to hire, trust, nurture and support experts, and can get answers when they are needed. Being resourceful is much more valuable than being all-knowing, and easier to believe, too.
As far as what you do know, that will have to be proven. If you merely state that you have X skill, without a clear demonstration of how you used that skill to add value, you are leaving much to be guessed, and you want them CERTAIN of your skills. So, make sure you explain what you are capable of DOING with that skill to clearly convey your strength.
Next week I will share two more wisdom bombs to help graduates accelerate their professional growth. By the time you are 30, the “cool kids” are the ones who are rock stars at their jobs and can afford a great lifestyle. It is okay to be a late bloomer like I was, but trial and error in your career can have a cost you will NEVER know.
Please share what you want today’s graduates to know.
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.
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.
Close your eyes and, with eyes closed, look up slightly (this induces an alpha brain wave state)
Take a deep breath in; without breath, visualize 3 three times; Repeat with 2, then 1
Count down from X to 1 (depending on your experience with meditation)
Without analyzing, imagine you are flying above your timeline and you have located the moment this anomaly was born
Move to the time 15-minutes before it happened
Think of three OTHER possible meanings or causes this event could have
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
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.
If you found that like most people, including myself, somewhere in your past an event happened, and you made it mean that there are limits to how successful, happy, loved or wealthy you can be, I want to gift you some methods that you can experiment with to determine what is the most effective way for you to overturn and overcome the limits imposed by these beliefs.
Just so you know how much I can relate to you, I have identified 20 different beliefs about money and influence that have prevented me from achieving the growth goals I set for my business in its first 10 years. It was in my second year of business that I started becoming more aware of the influence of these beliefs.
There is not enough to do what I want (but there was, I had to fight to get it)
I am selfish if I want it
I already have too much; I am a spoiled brat
More for me means less for someone else
I should not have more than bro/mom/dad
Money is an exchange; I have to give something
It is hard to earn
I have to hunt it down
I should not hold on to it; it goes to others before me
It is not there when I need it
It goes away; it does not last
I should not be trusted with it
I cannot have influence without it, and I resent that
I need it to be included, yet I resent that
I need it to create, and I resent that
What I want is silly, wrong
I should only want what I need and nothing more
It is a weapon
It causes problems/fighting
It is not safe with me, or safe to have – it makes me a target
I have tried MANY methods over the last nine years. The key to my breakthrough, which finally began last year, has been consistency – as in, habit/ritual. I work to reinforce a healthful belief system several times a day now, though it started out as experimenting, then spurts/sprints, then I would only research and incorporate new practices when I was at a point of desperation, then I started doing a Miracle Morning and began to start my day every day with a routine that brings me into a state of peace, faith, intuition, and high performance. It feels so good now, and the results are so reinforcing, that I will take many moments throughout the day to recognize, appreciate, heal and strengthen a belief system more in support of my highest good and highest success.
Once you find something on this list works well for you, I encourage you to incorporate it into a morning ritual for 30 days. Keep a journal and record your thoughts, even your doubts, as well as results.
Visualization is not synonymous with positive thinking, which many people have tried and found it failed them. The difference is that you are not replacing a negative thought with a positive thought. You may notice negative thoughts – doubts, skepticism, even cynicism – arise. Just let them float by like boats on the water. The point is to tap into your imagination to mentally experience the utmost outcome, and bring the full spectrum of emotions and senses into your experience. Learn to harness and apply this power to create a life by design, simply by creating a vision that excites you each waking day. It is much easier to be PULLED into doing what needs to be done, than to PUSH, or motivate yourself, to take action.
Studies show that your brain does not distinguish between a memory, a real event, or an imagined event. The more you can create a positive experience that releases feel-good chemicals, like dopamine, endorphins, and oxytocin, the more addicted you will be to that positive experience, and the more you will be compelled to recreate that experience.
One shortcoming that some human performance coaches will point out about visualization is that the negative beliefs do not completely go away – there is pain associated with that belief and many believe that the pain, or the wound, needs to be healed before it truly disappears.
If you think hypnosis is quackery, you would be ignoring science and history. Evidence of hypnosis was found in prehistoric days, and it was applied during the Civil War as pain relief for amputations and other painful procedures when medical pain relief resources were in short supply. Many people use it to successfully quit smoking, lose weight, relieve pain, sleep better or overcome crippling fears.
I personally and successfully used it to naturally give birth twice. With my first daughter, I endured five days of labor (my water did not break), complete with back labor, which was the most painful part, and finally delivered her without drugs, without tearing, and without intervention. In fact, we came home with her just hours after I delivered her. It also got me through breastfeeding complications.
While hypnosis may be the most expedient method of releasing and replacing belief systems that do not serve you, it may not be instant. In many cases these belief systems have layers upon layers, and reinforcement is necessary. The self-study course that I took, Hypnobabies, was a six-week long course that I actually continued with for the rest of my pregnancy, so another six months.
I was so impressed by hypnosis, in fact, that I have entertained becoming certified myself to help my clients achieve even greater levels of success.
There is a fee associated with hiring a hypnotist, and there are also free hypnosis tracks on YouTube. You may find that it is more effective to be in the serene setting of a professional’s office, putting your mental welfare into the hands of a professional, or you may opt to start where you are most comfortable, at home.
Peace Process/Instant Miracle/The Sedona Method
Different variations of this have been used by various teachers throughout my journey, but I will give you the basics. Theses methods are based on the mind-body connection brought into mainstream awareness by Deepak Chopra, then Wayne Dyer, in the 80s through the new millennium, but it was “discovered” centuries ago and has been the primary way to treat maladies in eastern medicine. Basically, you can recognize that your emotions cause a physical reaction in your body, and more prominent, traumatic or prolonged emotions will tend to cause a sensation that may manifest as pain or discomfort in a particular part of your body.
Think about the stimulus that causes anxiety, stress, depression, etc. For job seekers, it could be interviewing, networking, the change of landing a new job itself, or asking for a better compensation package.
Close your eyes to block out visual stimulus and be present to sensations in your body.
Where does your body experience this emotion?
On a 1-10 scale, how do you rate the sensation?
Get fully in touch with the sensations there for 90 seconds – allow yourself to feel them, without any suppression.
Send it love and acceptance while breathing in deeply with mouth closed and breathing out sharply and forcefully with mouth open, pursed lips.
Repeat until the sensation rates 0 (absent) on the scale.
These are just three of the many methods I can share, and I will cover four more next week, but this is a good start. I encourage you to start tomorrow – the sooner you start to defeat these defeatist thoughts that lead to defeatist action (or non-action), the sooner you can start to craft a life by design.
Please share any revelations or results that you experience.
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.
Now more than ever, in a divided country in conflict, organizations and employees will need to find ways to bridge the chasms that continue to grow between ideologies in order to enable an optimized future for us all.
Should these adults just be able to suck it up, work together, focus on the task at hand and get business done? Well, yes. However, studies we have cited in the past have proven that happiness impacts profits, and in this blog our focus is on EQ and empathy, and their impact on profits. Also, we will focus on what YOU as a leader (whether or not you are a manager) can do TODAY to be empathetic, raise your EQ, improve the everyday experience of being at work, and contribute to greater profits.
Why should profits be so important? Because the profitability of businesses enables prosperity by ways of job creation, wage growth, higher spending, and improved quality of life. If there is one thing that can unify us, it is that we would all love to live better.
Empathy is the ability to step into someone else’s shoes and see things from their perspective. It requires NOT making assumptions, but rather actively listening to someone else’s story, insights, beliefs and concerns without discrediting or judging them.
Employees with a high EQ (Emotional Quotient) possess the ability to be empathetic. It can be taught or innate, it is facilitated by having a curiosity of others, and a desire to seek to understand. When you have a high EQ, you are not prone to mislabeling others’ emotion, and certainly not calling people names.
Daniel Goleman has purported that EQ is even more important than IQ. Why? It is the human in us all. It is the fundamental desire for love and acceptance. Most of us have our physiological needs met, and beyond feeling safe, Maslow identified that people want to be loved and want to belong. Nothing gets done without people. The fastest way to accomplish anything is through people, even in an age of automation. You still need people to approve, implement and maintain automated systems.
It makes sense, though: The more self-actualized your people are, the better they will perform.
Conversely, failing to address a sense of alienation will promote segmentation and silos that will increase unnecessary bureaucratic and political obstacles to collaboration, creativity, and progress.
What are your alternatives to using empathy to confront conflicts that exist OUTSIDE of business to avoid those obstacles?
Hire only people who agree. Have only customers and vendors who agree.
Good luck with that.
What you can do is simple in that it does not require complex steps, but it is challenging, because it does require that you acknowledge and dismiss your ego when it starts to want to make sure you’re right, that you look good, and that the other person is wrong and looks bad.
WE ALL DO IT! It is just that people with a high EQ can distinguish between an ego response and an empathy response.
STEP 1 – ASK
Ask the other person questions that help you understand why something is so important to them. What you might have thought was a lack of values, is really just a difference in experience that places a higher priority on different values. This can take place in a workshop or team-building environment, or it can be a simple one-on-one.
STEP 2 – LISTEN
Active listening means that you are listening with the intention of understanding, not responding. If you do not understand something, ask more. I will warn you that the second a person senses that they are being judged, the energy of the exchange shifts. Judging is something we all do. It is okay to admit that you are human. If you recognize that your judgments are interfering with your understanding, admit your fault and reassert your desire to achieve an understanding. It will humble you and put you both back on equal, human ground.
STEP 3 – DON’T DEFEND
The purpose of this conversation is NOT to explain yourself. That is your ego’s need to be understood. If the other person has a high EQ, they may be curious about your point of view, too. Be very careful not to negate what they say as untrue, invalid, or irrelevant. You are able to share your point of view without doing that, and this is a practice of EQ.
That’s it. That’s all it takes to start practicing empathy and raising your EQ.
Of course, you can take this practice very far, and the farther you take it, the more you will contribute to your company and the faster you will grow in your career.
If you’re curious to what I have done to improve my own EQ, it was the Landmark Forum. There is one near you. I went in 2008 to help manage the stress that I experienced dealing with other people’s shortcomings only to discover and appreciate the beauty of being human, imperfectly perfect… or perfectly imperfect… or BOTH.
Share with me (us) some ways that empathy (or lack thereof) has been impacting your work life.
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!”
I read this quote from Gerald G. Jampolsky and immediately had to add it to my library of inspiration. I was pondering it for so long.
The most obvious reason that it appealed to me is because of my own company’s motto, “Unveil Your Brilliance.”
This might sound too crazy to be true, but in the ten plus years that I have been providing services to job seekers, I have found each and every one of my clients to be brilliant.
Another quote you may recognize—“Seek and ye shall find.”
Had I discovered and uncovered their brilliance because it was my mission to find and articulate that brilliance? Or have all of the people who have chosen to engage me as their partner in transition been brilliant for doing so?
Then I start to think about the implications of this concept of identifying the brilliance, the light, and everyone in the hiring process.
As a recruiter, I had been a member of a population of justifiably skeptical, if not cynical, people who had been deceived and whose faith in people had been broken time and time again. When people are your product, then you can expect the unexpected, no matter how well you qualify and vet people. There will always be those few people who are either good at fooling themselves, are good at fooling you into thinking that they are confident, conscientious, and competent when they really are not.
I did not like myself as a cynical person. I much prefer to be the person that not only identifies what makes someone uniquely valuable, but also the person to remind others what makes them uniquely valuable. Furthermore, I help them articulate their value powerfully to the world so that they can claim a career and life that makes them proud.
So is it possible to be on the hiring side, mitigating risk for your company and its employees while still being able to appreciate the goodness and value in everyone?
Of course, being turned down by a company does not have to be a diminishment or failure to recognize someone’s unique value. After all, not every company can possibly present each person with their best opportunity to shine brightly.
One of my favorite children’s books is called The Crown on Your Head by Nancy Tillman. It sends the message that you were born special and with an invisible crown. The book beautifully teaches the reader, the child, to appreciate their own crown. It also teaches that everyone else also has a crown.
“No one’s is brighter and no one’s is duller; it’s only a crown of a different color.”
I talked to so many very talented job seekers whose main pain and frustration is the fact that they are certain that they will be tremendously valuable to a company and they get either no response, or they are rejected. As a result, they do not feel as though their individual potential was adequately recognized and acknowledged.
On the hiring side, I see great room for improvement on how interviewers go about seeing candidates as each having something uniquely valuable to offer, while still effectively identifying the crown color match that will best enable the individual and the company to shine.
On the job seeker’s side, I wish everyone could have the benefit of working with a personal branding professional like me. Someone who will remove the lampshade so that your color and light will be noticed and appreciated by the company that needs your talent.
Statistics reported by the Bureau of Labor and Statistics
The national unemployment rate has trended downward all year and is now at 4.7% with 7.4 million unemployed. Unemployment has not been this low since November of 2007. It peaked in October of 2011 with 15.3M unemployed, more than double today’s unemployment rate.
There are 9.5M people not in the labor force at all. This has trended upward since July 2006 when 7.6M people were not in the labor force. Only 5.5M of these people not in the labor force actually want a job. This peaked in May 2013 with 7.2M not in the workforce, but wanting a job. So, while there are more people not in the labor force, fewer of them today want a job. 1.9M of those not in the labor force and wanting a job actually searched for work and were available to work.
So you might be thinking that the people who are not in the workforce and not interested in work or have not searched for work are the discouraged workers. Not necessarily. They have their own designation, however that number peaked in December of 2010 with 1.3M discouraged, disengaged people. Since then, the numbers have trended down to less than half at 591,000.
I do not know specifically why there would be such a population of people 16 years or older (the legal working age) not actively working right now and not interested in doing so, but I can list some possibilities: They could be caretakers, students, permanently disabled, mentally ill, ill, addicted, incarcerated, retired, or self-employed.
8.1M of the EMPLOYED population hold multiple jobs. This number had been trending upward, hitting its peak in July 2008, and while it has gone up and down, since August of 2015 it has been rising.
9.5M of the EMPLOYED population are self-employed, but unincorporated.
The number of persons experiencing long spells of unemployment (over a year) decreased steadily to 1.2M from its peak in July 2011 with 4.5M unemployed for over a year.
1.9M individuals have been unemployed for 6 months or more, a huge decrease from its peak in April 2010 of 6.8M, and the lowest it has been since August of 2008.
The average number of weeks that job seekers are staying unemployed has decreased over the months to 26.3, which has also gone down significantly from its peak in July 2011 when the average unemployment period was 40.7 weeks. The median unemployment period is now 10.1 weeks, which is the lowest it has been since November 2008.
Such a difference between the mean and the average may reflect that for most industries and geographies, job seekers may be able to transition within three months. However, a greater majority are either not be able to effectively execute a transition campaign or may be in adversely impacted geographies or shrinking markets, creating challenges to transitioning that lead to extremely long spells of unemployment.
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