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Who Has Guts Like Tim Bray?

While many companies are stepping up to pivot their resources toward initiatives that benefit society during this COVID crisis, there are some companies coming under fire for not doing enough.

*Uh-hem. Amazon.*

Ooh. Excuse me. Allergies.

I don’t usually call out companies individually by name, though I tend to notice and write a lot about trends. Furthermore, if a trend either has promise as a solution or a detriment, I tend to do something about it. That’s me. And, that’s Tim Bray.

Tim Bray, however, had one of the most prestigious jobs out there for a tech guy. As VP and Distinguished Engineer at Amazon Web Services, Tim was kicking ass and having fun, but he also saw the bigger picture.

He saw Amazon as “a company that understands the importance of thinking big, taking ownership of hard problems, and earning trust.”

Amazon’s own vision is “to be Earth’s most customer-centric company.” The argument was made that if Amazon wants to maintain its customer base, it should really look out for its well-being long-term. Sounds logical.

On May 1st, Tim said goodbye to his fun job, his valued colleagues, and what may add up to about $1M.

How many people would do that?

Amazon will survive Tim Bray’s departure, as will Tim Bray. In fact, within a week of the news breaking, he was scouted by Google, Comcast, Huawei, and “a bunch of startups.” He’s received 2,256 LinkedIn invitations. He helped build the internet, and he’s got quite a following of people now who would work under him in a heartbeat. To be fair, he had quite a fanbase of people who followed him and his career well before this, but he’s not looking for a job.

In a CBC interview, Bray notes how there was a time not too long ago when the tech sector was hero-worshipped – looked to as the potential panacea for our everyday pains. How far it has fallen is the point he makes.

And he doesn’t consider it an Amazon problem or a Jeff Bezos problem. Actually, Bezos did give $100M to Feeding America and Amazon has purchased 100,000 electric delivery vans. Amazon has also devised a plan and made a pledge to run on 100% renewable energy by 2030 and net-zero carbon by 2040, and has spent an estimated $1B to improve safety and conditions for warehouse employees. These are direct requests made in the open letter sent to Jeff Bezos and the Board of Directors of Amazon in 2019 by over 8,700 Amazon employees.

We need to draw a clear line for corporate conduct. That doesn’t mean deciding for once and for all what is “good” and “bad”, because we will never agree on that. Right now, it can seem like the line between right and wrong – and even true and false – is gone! It’s not even grey.

How much money does one man need, anyway?

Bezos needs quite a fortune to realize his next vision – people working and living in space. Has he already given up on this planet? Perhaps. Does he know something we don’t, or is he actually reading the writing on the wall more clearly?

I’m going to do something foolish and assume that the people who can live in Jeff Bezos’ space future will not be the frontline workers of Amazon or Whole Foods.

So let’s give companies, especially large powerful ones, a clear benchmark – a blueprint. Let’s move the needle toward neutral to balance profit/power and people/planet. We can restore balance – just as nature does. If we hurt nature, we hurt ourselves. Do you know what else we hurt? People who could be our customers and employees in the future. And for what?

“Our whole economy is focused on growth and efficiency, and the stress and strain on the people at the bottom of the pyramid just doesn’t bear enough weight in that equation.” ~ Tim Bray

There are numerous pivotal topics surrounding Bray’s recent high-profile departure:

  • Economic inequity
  • The problem of making things more efficient while putting undue strain on front-line workers
  • Automation vs. preserving jobs
  • Worker protection laws in the US versus the rest of the world (the latter of which is apparently holding Amazon to higher standards)
  • A company’s responsibility to commit to reducing their carbon footprint
  • The people who take the most risk are the ones who ensure profit, so protect them

All of these are highly relevant topics I’d like to dig into with some depth in the future. For right now, I want to focus on this:

Bray’s resignation was not really about Amazon’s efforts (or lack thereof) to keep workers safe or protect the planet. It was about the firing of the whistleblowers. It was about the message that it sent to employees at Amazon and, really, everywhere, that your job is not safe if you speak up, particularly if you speak out against your company.

These are all things I would really like to know:

  • Could the activists have done a better job of recognizing the efforts already made? Could they have used better channels? Could they have still been successful if they’d have kept their efforts internal, and in turn, could that have saved their jobs?
  • Could Amazon have done a better job of communicating their intentions and efforts, which, like all companies, had to keep up with shifting and evolving guidelines?
  • Could Tim Bray, who used the “proper channels” to make known his complaints and concerns about the firing of whistleblowers have done something differently to influence another outcome?
  • Could the company have been clearer with the activists? Could they have created even more defined guidelines on how to raise and elevate shared concerns about environmental corporate policy?

I think it’s important for ALL of us to know the answers to these questions so that we can do better. Tim Bray – I know you are drowning in your inbox right now, but I’d really like to help you make your sacrifice be the ripple that creates waves of conscious change!

The last thing I want to do is put leaders’ jobs in jeopardy, especially in this economy, if they don’t know how to successfully influence positive change. At the same time, in any negotiation, you have to be willing to walk away, or you hold zero power.

I know there are not many people who would leave $1M on the table to protest wrongdoings. There aren’t many people who would leave $1M on the table to be able to look themselves in the mirror, but I’m looking for these people RIGHT NOW.

I’m looking for the highly employable leaders, who trust that if they can’t effectuate change using proven protocols for doing so, they will be able to find (or start) another company where they can thrive, spread their conscious leadership wings, succeed, earn a comfortable executive salary, and look themselves in the mirror each day. They will be able to look their kids and grandkids in the eyes and say with conviction that they are doing all they can!

So, who has guts like Tim Bray?

The Corporate Consciousness Ripple Blueprint is a yearlong personal and professional development program that focuses on expanding your power of intention and influence over self, team, and organization.

We promise – if you can’t create conscious change where you are after 18 weeks, we will help you land a new, better position where you can!

Is this you? Reach out today!

Big Balls

Provided to YouTube by Sony Music Entertainment Big Balls · AC/DC Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap ℗ 1976 J. Albert & Son Pty Ltd Released on: 1976-12-17 Guitar, …

Karen Huller, author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days, is founder of Epic Careering, a 13-year-old leadership and career development firm specializing in executive branding and conscious culture, as well as JoMo Rising, LLC, a workflow gamification company that turns work into productive play. 

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

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

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

The Truth Shall Set You Free

The truth shall set you free. That’s what they say, but is it true?

Some have found that saying to be very true. Though freedom wasn’t exactly what they were going for, it’s what they got – freedom to no longer work for their company.

What they learned is, the truth is not always seen as a ray of light showing everyone the way.  It is often unwelcomed, harmful to hidden agendas, and is often resisted and suppressed.

Furthermore, truth isn’t what we used to think it was. It used to be something everyone could objectively agree upon. That’s how we could decide something was the truth. What even is true these days?

The truth can be found in data but as we have been seeing throughout this crisis, people can weave very different stories and conclusions based on data.

So, how can people come to an agreement about what is really true? Additionally, how can they come to an agreement about what to do with that truth?

Many well-meaning leaders, whether in leadership positions or not, see withholding or suppressing truth as counter-productive, wasteful, and potentially harmful to progress, conscious decision-making, and engagement. Some of them are the few willing to raise their hand, risk their status, and deliver the truth.

However, to believe that spouting out the truth in a public forum is the best route of delivery for the best possible outcome is naïve and in direct opposition to how humans really operate.

The truth is, sometimes no matter how you deliver the truth, you could be risking that it won’t be received well. You’re taking a risk that you may face consequences for speaking up, even if it is the right thing to do.

The Epic Careering Corporate Consciousness Ripple Blueprint, launching this month, teaches conscious leaders who want to level up their conscious contributions to the corporate landscape. In the program, we’ll focus on more than 8 protocols related to inspiring cooperation with and collaboration on conscious change initiatives. This particular article addresses one of the biggest mistakes people make that result in change getting shot down before it even begins – telling the flat-out “truth.” It also guides you in broaching the truth in a way that doesn’t put you on the immediate chopping block.

Blurting out the truth is a mistake I’ve made. It’s probably a mistake most people have made.

So, before you go and blurt out the truth at work, consider the following. Create a sound plan to divulge the truth that accounts for human nature and determine whether sharing will produce an outcome that benefits most everyone.

Ask These Questions:

My kids were taught three conditions to determine if what they want to say should be said:

Is it kind? Is it helpful? Is it true?

It’s interesting to see them grapple with that is true. Oftentimes, they state things as true when they’re really opinions (modeled after what they see others doing), even if they’re educated, experienced opinions.

So, be sure to ask yourself if what you’re thinking is an opinion or truth. If it’s truth, how can it be proven as such?

What does the data say? Could the data also indicate something else? What are the counter-arguments? Who might know more about historical applications or misapplications of the data?

What is your reputation at work? Are you known for being credible? Will people resist what you say automatically because you are known to ruffle feathers?

What is your intention in sharing this truth? What is the highest good that can come from sharing it? Alternatively, what is the worst possible consequence of sharing it? Who could be harmed by it? How can you mitigate any potential harm if the good outweighs the bad? How does this serve you?

How is this truth supposed to guide decisions, strategy, and actions?

Devise a Plan:

Next, it’s time to devise a plan. If this truth does, in fact, reveal some problems within your organization, expect at least some resistance. As a golden rule, if you are going to point out a problem, you need to also present a solution. You may not be a solutioner by nature or by trade, but you need to at least come up with some options. Starting from square one with no potential path forward is not an option for any business. Pair up with a solutioner to create a Plan A, Plan B, and Plan C, as well as projections on what will happen if this truth is ignored.

Make a Pitch (or solicit someone even more credible or influential to):

It may sound a bit counter-intuitive and certainly in direct conflict with conventional corporate posturing, but when you do take the opportunity to present the truth, you must also admit your own margin of error.

Data can reveal trends, but it doesn’t always reveal when trends will be bucked by other forces. Take, for example, the upset when the team that is favored to win loses. Sports statisticians use increasingly accurate automated algorithms to make predictions and assign over/under wagers so that the person who makes the bet with the highest risk of being wrong earns the most if there’s an upset.

No one will believe that you are presenting absolute truth, or that you are infallible. When you are transparent that it may not be the BEST path forward but you are committed to demonstrating all of your plan’s strengths and weaknesses, you’re allowing an educated decision to be made by the people with the authority to do so.

This is really counter-intuitive, but start with the weaknesses! This lowers resistance, proves you are attempting to be unbiased. Believe it or not, you’ll find that, once these concerns are validated by you, some will even jump in just to point out why the weaknesses really don’t compromise the soundness of the proposed plans once you get into the strengths.

Be mindful of your state of mind when you are you presenting, especially when you are addressing questions. Be honest when you don’t have an answer, when more data is needed, or when experts in the room have yet to weigh in on certain aspects in their wheelhouse. Invite them to contribute. Ideally, you will have checked your plan with an expert in that area already.

Businesses make decisions in vacuums all the time. The ivory tower has earned a poor reputation for a reason; as professionals grow ever higher from the front lines up the corporate ladder, they assume that they can see it all much better from up there. Unfortunately, they forget what the day-to-day is like for the front lines (or they never really learned.)

Oversights can be very costly to companies. When companies start to bleed money in ways projections did not account for, without self-awareness, leaders will succumb to the human inclination to protect the ego from looking bad and the instinct to protect one’s livelihood. Many times, CYA culture is reinforced and scapegoats are assigned. Then it is modeled and passed onward.

Unfortunately, the people who have the most to lose, those who have the highest to fall, far too often make those below them take the fall instead.

Is that a fact?

All I have to prove this is anecdotal evidence, honestly – over 15 years’ worth! There are also numerous headlines and class action suits, but very few in comparison to personal accounts. Think about how many executives enjoy bonuses while mass layoffs ensue.

I absolutely admire leaders who have the guts to say it like it is. Progress would be much faster if we didn’t have to work around ego.

The fact is, however, we are human. People can get more resilient, and companies can do things to enhance the resiliency of its workforce and its leaders, but no one is getting there overnight.

Put some influence victories under your belt, and it gets much easier to inspire more change.

Everyone has to start somewhere, and everyone can level up from where they are right now.

Are you a truth-teller who wants more victories? Is the truth a legacy you feel is important to leave behind?

Perhaps The Epic Careering Corporate Consciousness Ripple Blueprint is the personal and professional development program that makes the most sense for you right now.

Let’s find out. Book a call today.

Truth Hurts (Clean Version) (Audio) – Lizzo

This is the audio for the clean version of “Truth Hurts” by Lizzo. From the single, “Truth Hurts”, and the album, “Cuz I Love You”. This song was written by:…

Karen Huller, author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days, is founder of Epic Careering, a 13-year-old leadership and career development firm specializing in executive branding and conscious culture, as well as JoMo Rising, LLC, a workflow gamification company that turns work into productive play. 

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

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

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

CYA Culture is Killing Competitiveness, Progress, and Engagement in Corporate America

Have you ever wondered how you could create ripples of change in the current corporate paradigm?

Facts:

  • People are sick of corporate initiatives with catchphrases that amount to nothing actually changing for the better.
  • There is a fundamental lack of trust in corporate leadership.
  • The resistance to change stifles progress and much-needed evolution. Some people have their invincibility cloak on, deflecting all change that might make their “baby” obsolete.
  • As more and more ideas get shut down, creativity is discouraged and stops.
  • High performance in many companies is a perception based on who earns the most praise, works on the most visible projects, receives the most pats on the back, and seems to be doing better than the next person, which suppresses willingness to bring awareness to the issues that need to be resolved.
  • In some companies, the default behavior is to insist everything is great, or else other departments will use your weakness to their advantage and make you the scapegoat for performance failures. This creates/reinforces silos! It breeds the attitude: “Let’s deal with this problem among ourselves vs. let’s get the best knowledge in the company working on this bottleneck” and stifles growth and productivity.
  • Even in a company that is fantastic about professional development and helping people get to the next level, the lack of space to be real about breakdowns prevents breakthroughs.

Then you have highly promoted leaders who have not adequately worked through their stuff to become more self-aware and emotionally intelligent. These leaders are motivated to make decisions that protect their status over doing the right thing.

This motivation is dangerous for everyone – it’s especially dangerous for the company! It opens up huge risk factors in terms of compliance while also damaging engagement, morale, and retention of true high performers who value making a real contribution toward progress and solutions.

In cases like this, true high performers may then be conditioned to believe that they’re so lucky to be part of a big picture where there is a lot of incentive to grow professionally. Meanwhile, unconscious leaders decide not to be authentic about issues (including personal issues that impact productivity) and look for scapegoats to deflect any potential negative attention.

A leader can only be as empathetic as they are aware.

Few people have had the experience of being able to be honest with their boss about why they lose motivation – if they are even aware of why themselves. Often, people suffer silently with these issues. They may recover and it may seem as though it was just a temporary slump, but the reasons for that slump don’t go away. Those reasons can manifest in other ways, influence decisions to act or not act, and keep people in a loop that they never escape in order to grow to the next level consciously, even if they still grow professionally.

It seems for the sake of job security and professional growth, as well as financial growth, whole workforces are willing to accept these conditions as business [politics] as usual.

And you know what…

There’s no sense trying to get buy-in from people who have been duped before.

Corporate America needs a complete overhaul, and it won’t happen overnight.

  1. Integrity has to be restored in a meaningful, authentic way.
  2. Individuals need enhanced self-awareness to know from what emotion and mental state they are making decisions.
  3. We need leaders who are willing to show their imperfections, build trust and rapport, and create the space that allows others to show their imperfections as well, promoting progress over perfection.

Companies who perpetuate the CYA culture are not as stable as they appear; they are covering up cracks all over the infrastructure that they are afraid to reveal. They are not providing anyone with genuine job security.

Have you overheard or even had these conversations?

“Why didn’t they listen to me?! We wouldn’t be in this mess if they had.”

Or…

“The executives are so out of touch with our customers’/front lines’ reality. They keep making decisions in a vacuum, and we all suffer because of it.”

Or…

“Everyone’s so busy covering their a**, I don’t know if or how anything is actually getting done.”

Do you want to know what usually happens next? These employees contact someone like me to help them find and nurture greener pastures… and they find them, though there simply are not enough of them for everyone.

It always bothered me to know that as I help these brilliant corporate climbers escape their situations, they were leaving casualties behind. Some of these companies are supposedly out to do big, important things in this world, and you’d think their standards of leadership would be higher.

While it may seem logical that the mass exodus from corporate America may be halted due to COVID-19, what we’ve seen in the previous national crisis of 9/11 is that people quit their jobs in record numbers because they realize what really matters – health, family, and being able to look at yourself in the mirror for the rest of your life.

Leaders right now are scared about their own job security. They’re also concerned about the productivity of their teams and losing talent.

What can you do about it?

Most people think there’s nothing they can do.

There is a dominant atmosphere of resignation that corporate politics and bureaucracy just goes along with being a corporate drone.

This feeling of resignation is dangerous. Right now, it is more evident than any other time in our human history that resignation enables the powers that stifle progress. Ego, self-preservation, and idle busyness keep us from working toward what CAN be achieved and what few have achieved.

“Let those who love peace be as organized as those who love war.”  – MLK, Jr.

What we need are pioneers willing to learn, apply, and teach a better way to lead – a corporate conscious leadership blueprint, if you will. We’ve got it! Our corporate leadership program has been 3 years in the making.

We need people who are starting to see clearly that correcting the course serves their kids more than complying with it for the sake of job security.

Where are you, my good leaders? Who is willing to work from the inside up and out to create ripples of change in the current corporate paradigm?

For those concerned about your job and your financial security – this is a valid concern.

That’s why there is a safety net built into this program.

You will likely find that your attempts to create ripples of consciousness at your job is met by resistance. In our program, you will be taught how to gracefully disarm this resistance. It will absolutely work magically in many situations, but not all.

You are up against some formidable, powerful systems that will feel threatened by any attempts of change. We will teach you how to implement a support team well before you take on these systems, and you will have a community of people in this program who will have your back!

Still, this is a long-game. If you find that where you are is just not the best place to spread your new conscious leadership wings, we’ll put you on a transition track. At any time, you can switch tracks so that we can professionally brand you and set up an efficient, highly effective career campaign that will put you not only on more stable ground financially in a company that is willing to invest in real solutions vs. Band-Aids, but you will also be blazing a much better trail for our youth to follow and replicate. Maybe, by the time they reach the corporate ladder, they’ll find that the heights of the top rungs are a less precarious place to be with a view worth climbing toward.

Message me at karen@epiccareering.com, or tag someone below in the comments section who has the courage to be a beacon of change and is an example for others to follow.

Miley Cyrus – The Climb (Official Music Video) (HQ)

The Climb is the brand new hit single from Miley Cyrus available on Hannah Montana: The Movie Soundtrack in stores March 24! Hannah Montana: The Movie only i…

Karen Huller, author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days (bit.ly/GetFocusIn30), is founder of Epic Careering, a 13-year-old leadership and career development firm specializing in executive branding and conscious culture, as well as JoMo Rising, LLC, a workflow gamification company that turns work into productive play. 

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

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

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

Negotiating Safe Working Conditions

Today, I held a training inside of my Facebook group for conscious leaders about negotiating safe working conditions with employers. After recent news of the economy starting to open back up, now is the time for us to ensure safety in the workplace. 

To effectively move forward, leaders should be focused on protecting people over profits and restoring trust through systems and protocols. You can help make this happen.

Join the Facebook group and access the training to learn:

  • Keys to successful negotiations with employers
  • Data points to ensure your employer considers
  • How to hold employers accountable
  • Immediate action steps for ensuring a safe work environment
  • How to become an even more influential conscious leader

You can access the training replay here. Please note, in order to access the training replay and materials, you’ll need to join my Facebook group if you haven’t already.

​​Karen Huller, author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days (bit.ly/GetFocusIn30), is founder of Epic Careering, a 13-year-old leadership and career development firm specializing in executive branding and conscious culture, as well as JoMo Rising, LLC, a workflow gamification company that turns work into productive play. 

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

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

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

What We Can Do To Make Sure That Never Going Back to the Way Things Were Is a Good Thing

In our current situation, there are a few types of social media users emerging:

  • Those who won’t share anything even mildly controversial or divisive
  • Those who are watching the media all day long and sharing whatever supports their existing view
  • Those who are instigating debate because they are genuinely interested in learning
  • Those who are instigating debate because they love dropping the mic

I expect that as the November election draws closer and this crisis continues, this will only get more obvious.

Notice whose posts you’re most likely to click “read more”, read through the comments, or comment yourself.

It doesn’t seem to matter, actually, what kind of poster you are, you’re getting it, too! You’re getting people debating, sometimes all-out fighting and name-calling, even if you intended to post something neutral or innocent.

It seems like right now, you can’t ask for advice or call out people for following or not following the rules without creating conflict.

These are really tough times. How do you navigate social media when you are trying to stay connected in one of the few ways you can, but don’t want to feel more disconnected from people by learning how differently you actually think about the past, current, and future states of this situation?

Last week I called for everyone to give themselves and each other grace because we are all grieving to some degree, and we’ll move in and out of the phases of grief.

We are all craving some normalcy! Some of us are looking for that silver lining, so we’re sharing how self-isolation is helping the environment, and how people are using their idle time to serve others – make masks, drop off groceries and show our people on the front lines how much they are appreciated.

We feel relief from the power of the human spirit, starkly contrasting the rampant cynicism of the human spirit. We feel relief from those who want to place blame, hold people accountable and point out how wrong we got it, all the way to believing that the deep state is up to severely depraved antics.

They are both undeniable parts of our world, and they both serve a greater purpose.

Mental illness was already an epidemic, with the Gen Z generation suffering the highest rates. Ironically, they are also the generation who, so far, had enjoyed one of the best economies, though many saw their parents struggle in the last recession. The generation who should be the most connected is feeling the most misunderstood, anxious, and depressed.

It wasn’t all peaches and cream before this happened! The economy may have been booming, but there were real problems suffered by swaths of the population – underemployment, living paycheck to paycheck, bank-breaking healthcare costs, homelessness, mass shootings, etc.

And here we are with much less distraction, time to devise solutions (if we can keep our state of mind clear and calm), and time to consume updated information on new subjects.

One of the keys to mental wellness you probably have heard me tout before is to balance consumption with creation. I don’t mean just social media posts. I mean – whitepapers, e-books, manifestos, novels, songs, poems, cartoons, but more importantly, SOLUTIONS!

While I’ve been crafting a course in corporate conscious leadership, I have wanted to put a spotlight on companies who are strong case studies for conscious leadership practices (which I’ve done, finally – do send me stories to include!). I’ve also been tempted to shame and punish companies who are making unconscious leadership decisions, and sometimes they are one and the same!

Shaming and punishing leaders who have made unconscious leadership decisions feels right (altruistic punishment) AND it has worked, e.g. Chick Fil A stopped funding camps that the ban/bash the LGBTQ community. I’ve certainly put a spotlight on some consequences corporate leaders have suffered because of unconscious leadership.

After all, a company is comprised of many, many different people who won’t all think or act alike, even if they were hired because of their alignment with company values and culture.

People change all the time. They do! They can suffer from situational greed after enjoying some notoriety and start making decisions for glory rather than for good. They can also decide that the success they’ve enjoyed was hollow and commit the rest of their career to make a positive difference.

The thing is, it’s not Joe Shmoe on the internet that is converting an unconscious leader into a conscious leader. It’s that leader’s inner circle and the authorities that he or she must answer to that often convert this leader. It’s being able to see how decisions ultimately impact people that he or she empathize with. So, you’d have to be someone who could elicit empathy, not someone who attacks, shames, or insults them.

That said, how can we/you make sure that we create a silver lining and use this disruption of our daily lives to make this change the start of something beautiful?

Create solutions and share what is working.

That sounds so simple, right? No. Unfortunately. We are more judgmental than ever and we are also more fragile than ever.

So, it really takes courage to:

  1. Find something worthy of sharing
  2. Share it for the world to judge
  3. Stand up for the future that you want against those resisting change while also staying conscious that others may have a better way

I get it!

So many of the problems our society previously faced didn’t impact our lives directly or daily. And what power or time did we have to change it anyway?

Well, for those furloughed, laid-off, or on extended leave who are healthy, time has now been gifted to you. Power comes from influence and that is absolutely a skill that you can learn now!

The course I mentioned on conscious leadership has major modules on successfully soliciting sponsorship for change initiatives of all sizes, big and small, how-tos and when-tos on presenting change initiatives to the powers that be (even highly resistant powers that be,) and how to manifest empathy that inspires open-mindedness and cooperation.

Remember that problem of keeping your mind clear and calm so that you can solve problems better? It has strategies for that, too.

We can make sure that we don’t just simply go back to the broken ways that were. As MLK said, “People who love peace need to be as organized as those who love war.”

I really don’t think there is a lack of solutions – by far! The issue is that even while we are at home not raising our voices in mass, the noise in this world is getting continually louder! A few people are managing to squeak by, go viral, reach the very top, and influence change, but is that change moving us toward a better world?

We need conscious leaders everywhere – at every level of leadership, in all industries, governments, and institutions. We need problem developers AND we need successful people who are willing to leverage their past corporate success to elevate these solutions when they’re shown how.

Unconscious decisions are being made every day that DO impact you and your daily life. This whole situation is Exhibit A.

Some will be content to go back to ignoring most of the world’s, the country’s, their company’s problems, but some will never be able to unsee what they now, in this stillness, can see quite clearly, and they won’t be able to go back to life as they knew it.

They won’t be able to look at their kids and reassure them that everything will be okay.

They won’t be able to stay quiet, but they also probably won’t be able to effectively influence positive change, either, by playing keyboard hero on their own social media page or by debating with strangers online.

But they CAN learn how to effectively influence positive change, AND they won’t do it alone!

Is that you?

Right now, I’m looking for 4 more conscious leaders to join my Corporate Consciousness Ripple Formula case study. Book a call to see if being on the forefront of a revolution is your next move.

Solutions to our problems either already exist, or they are being created right now in perfect time, but they will remain hidden, suppressed, and denied without conscious leaders to overcome that resistance.

Join the revolution!

Tangled – I See The Light lyrics (OFFICIAL VIDEO)

NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT INTENDED. “I See the Light” All those days watching in the windows All those years outside looking in All that time never even know…

Karen Huller, author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days (bit.ly/GetFocusIn30), is founder of Epic Careering, a 13-year-old leadership and career development firm specializing in executive branding and conscious culture, as well as JoMo Rising, LLC, a workflow gamification company that turns work into productive play. 

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

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

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

Staying Productive During a Crisis

​​Let me be crystal clear: No one is an expert at navigating this current situation.

I hesitate to advise anyone right now on coping because I’m having my own challenges. However, I’m making some things work and I’ve tried some things that didn’t work. My hope is that what I’ve learned can also be of value to you.

Before COVID-19, I thought I had working from home mastered. I did, in fact. I had a routine and it was all on the calendar. I had an app my clients could use to set up appointments. I was prompt. I liked being prompt. I had my business stuff together.

Since then…

I spent the first couple of weeks in the Poconos with my family. We were as secluded as we could be from people. I have suffered from serious respiratory illness for two years in a row. One of those years nearly broke us financially, so I was not about to take chances in my lovely, close-knit neighborhood. We taught our kids how to properly social distance, but the moment a dog came by, they completely ignored us (I also have one kid with ADHD who lacks impulse control.)

Those two weeks in the Poconos felt a little like a vacation. I continued to work, albeit with a spotty internet connection. It wasn’t sustainable, but it worked for the time we were there. I kept all of my appointments. I even landed a new client. I set realistic deliverable dates for my client’s work and scaled back my curriculum for my students.

My kids logged into school apps even though they weren’t required to, so they got a taste of distance learning.

We didn’t have the usual chores. We didn’t see many people at all. We went to the lake, played ping-pong, worked on puzzles, played card/board games and watched movies. We celebrated St. Paddy’s Day and my first born’s big 10th birthday. We had plenty to eat and drink. For the most part, it was an ideal way to transition into stay-at-home life.

We returned home to a missing chameleon and a dead turtle. Right away, my anxiety spiked.

I knew there was a lot to do, but I felt a bit frozen. I gave myself grace.

That kicks things off with lesson #1.

Lesson #1: Give Yourself Grace

There’s already so much to feel anxious about. Give yourself grace when it comes to getting things done on a normal timeline. Don’t commit yourself to anything too soon. Allow for those times when news hits you like a ton of bricks. We are all grieving our old lives! You might be angry, frustrated, worried, glum, whatever…  Allow it. Allow everyone else to feel their feelings as well. Extending grace to others doesn’t mean accepting abuse, but it might look like taking a few verbal punches you don’t need right now. Walk away when it’s needed. Feel free to communicate, “It’s okay to be angry (or whatever,) but it’s not okay to take it all out on me. Find another outlet (see below.)”

Lesson #2: Communicate Specifically What You Need

Last week, I set an expectation that since I am the primary worker bee, I’d need support to make sure I have ample time and conducive conditions to work. Once we got home, I was interrupted many times by kids not knowing how to log in, missing passwords, not understanding assignments, etc. My husband was busy, too, but with basement organizing.

I didn’t communicate my expectations clearly enough and I left my door open, which was misleading.

Clear delegation: I had to have another talk with my husband while keeping in mind he is stressed and losing patience, too. I specifically told him I need him to be the point person. I need him to check for e-mails from the teachers daily. I passed on to him everything I know (so far) about what websites they need to log into, passwords, hours I’d need him to reliably be supervising the kids, etc. At school, our youngest daughter had an aide, someone with divine patience, to make sure she was on task. This wasn’t going to look like just letting them log in and leaving them be.

Boundaries: I used the whiteboard to start mapping out a schedule so that everyone would know when I was “on the clock” and not to be disturbed. I made it clear that there would be certain hours during the day that they would not be able to ask me a question. They might see me getting coffee, stretching my legs, etc., but that was not a signal that I was free.

Systems: I explained to my family members that the tasks I usually spend time asking them to do should just be automatically done – picking up socks, putting away toys, cleaning up the table after meals, etc. This has never worked before, so my fingers are crossed on this one. I made a list of all the fun family things we can still do together, then explained that if my work gets interrupted, I’d have to take things off that list simply by virtue of the fact that I will not have the free time to do it. This has made this concept a little more tactile.

Once I know that we have found a flow, I’ll adjust my appointment calendar and be able to let clients self-book once again. It’s all felt so unpredictable. My brother and his family are 3 weeks into distance learning and they’ve settled into routines and seem much more relaxed. I’m looking forward to finding that rhythm and predictability.

Lesson #3: Find Several Outlets

A physical outlet: Playing ping-pong (Huller-pong, technically – as we play full contact) was awesome! It was physical (our way of playing is) and it was hilarious. It allowed us to let off some steam in a healthy way. Find something physical you can do alone and with your family.

A cathartic outlet: I see a lot of people clearing out their junk drawers and basements. Don’t feel like you have to tackle that right now if you don’t feel up to it yet. You can start smaller, like coloring or organizing your sock drawer.

A consumption outlet: Find something you can consume every day (photos, stories, videos, music) that uplifts and grounds you.

A creative outlet: It matters not what you create, just that you create! Paperclips, paper, strings hanging off an old shirt, there’s bound to be something in your home you can use to create. Learn how to make masks for your local frontline healthcare workers or food preparers. If there’s nothing physical, create in your mind such as a story, a song, a poem, you get the idea.

A nature outlet: I see many people are starting gardens. If you don’t have a yard and the parks by you are closed, bring some nature inside.  Order a plant to be delivered to your home, especially if you live alone! I also see people are adopting or fostering pets.

A negativity outlet: When it really gets bad, have a go-to – a pillow you can punch or scream into, something (not living) you can squeeze. Destroy some weeds or lanternfly eggs.

A quiet/calm outlet: Create as much of a sense of calm as you can as often as possible. Breathe. Zoom in and notice the detail on things of beauty, especially in nature. The more calmness you can create in your mind, the more you can prepare your brain for higher levels of conscious decision-making and action. You can’t change the circumstances you are in, but you can change your reaction. You’ll thank yourself later.

Of course, you can also quiet your mind by journaling! Your descendants and even future strangers will want to know about this time in the world. Put your thoughts down. Get them out of your head. Negative thoughts will lose their grip the moment you put them on a page for the light of day to see. It is so very helpful in creating peace in your mind.

A learning outlet: Maybe it’s time to see what kind of software came free on your device that you never tested out. There are so many online learning opportunities right now. Epic Careering will soon launch its own Corporate Consciousness Ripple Blueprint program to help more conscious leaders and aspiring leaders master influence to move their companies toward making conscious decisions with reverence for people and the planet. For more details, contact me directly through social media or join our Facebook group: Raising Corporate Consciousness.

**************************************

Right now, it’s okay to not feel okay. Do what you can as you can. As time passes, some things will get easier and some things will be harder. We will get through this together.

Godsmack – Serenity (Official Music Video)

Playlist Best of Godsmack: https://goo.gl/ihjM8N Subscribe for more: https://goo.gl/mps91z Music video by Godsmack performing Serenity. (C) 2003 Universal Re…

Karen Huller, author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days (bit.ly/GetFocusIn30), is founder of Epic Careering, a 13-year-old leadership and career development firm specializing in executive branding and conscious culture, as well as JoMo Rising, LLC, a workflow gamification company that turns work into productive play. 

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

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

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

What You Need To Do To Prepare for a Down Economy

​​Most professionals in my generation and above have already survived a few down economies. In fact, my struggle in a down economy and the lessons I learned that eventually got me back on my feet are what compelled me to eventually shift from recruiter to coach.

There are still a lot of unknowns about our current global situation. So, it’s in this time of uncertainty that I’d like to shed some light on how to thrive through it all. Below are my recommended tips for navigating this new territory.

Evaluate: Do you need to pivot?

You’ll likely notice that some sectors will be heavily hit, but others may be prospering and growing. So, should you redesign your career path around this?

I advise everyone to have a purpose-driven, passion-fueled long-term plan. It is the best way to optimize your overall career trajectory in terms of growth, fulfillment, and income. It’s also the best example you can provide to your kids.

I also recommend fully dedicating yourself to your plan. Learn and apply the best practices of proactive transitioning (taught by me at Epic Careering and Cabrini University) for at least 3 months before devising and following a backup plan.

At this time, there will be fewer and fewer people able to afford even three months in transition. You may need to adapt after two months of a dedicated transition, especially if what you learn from people in the field (not from job boards) is that hiring has stopped, or will slow down for a season. In the short-term, you may be able to easily translate your strengths, qualities, and past achievements into value for a stable industry.

I recommend choosing a strong sector that offers you an opportunity to make a meaningful contribution, such as:

  • Biotech/Pharma/Labs and the companies that support them
  • Hospitals/Healthcare are most certainly in need of clinicians, telehealth professionals, and janitorial staff
  • Health/Wellness
  • Scientists of all kinds
  • US manufacturing
  • Supply Chain/Logistics
  • Farming/Agriculture/Consumer Goods
  • Food/Grocery Delivery
  • Online Entertainment/Video Game Industry
  • Online Education/Coaching/Remote Learning
  • App Development/Remote Tech such as developers and online support
  • E-Commerce

Then there are the industries that will be hurt in the short-term, but will rebound:

  • Hospitality/Travel
  • Service-based industries that require in-person support
  • Retail – Many will not feel confident buying luxury items, high-tech consumer items, name brand clothing, jewelry, and other non-essentials while there is the uncertainty of how long life will be disrupted.
  • Housing
    • While this isn’t a market correction that will impact housing directly, the housing market has been prime for correction for awhile with pricing majorly inflated, inventory low, and demand high. The Federal Reserve, as you probably know, dropped interest rates to nearly 0%, which would normally spur growth in this area. Foreclosures are stalled in the meantime, which is not going to add to the inventory driving prices down. New construction is stalled during critical months, which will put home completion behind. All signs point to the housing market picking up mostly where it left off once things return to normal.

Finally, we have the industries that will be majorly disrupted and in need of overhaul before rebounding can even be predicted:

  • Higher Education
  • Health Insurance

If you are less than 80% certain that your current or planned career direction provides you with your best chance at financial security, schedule a consultation with a job market expert at Epic Careering.

Fine-Tune Your Brand

Keeping your résumé updated is, of course, a basic recommendation from any career coach or résumé writer. It’s the equivalent of taking your car for regular oil changes and inspections. If you want a high-performance résumé, a strong brand is still your best tool in positioning yourself competitively in a competitive market. Working with a branding expert, such as Epic Careering, will help you identify and articulate the unique value you offer above and beyond your, or any other candidate’s, qualifications. When copy, such as your résumé, LinkedIn profile, cover letters, and networking messaging, is crafted to build a subconscious sense of urgency and establish you as a hot, in-demand candidate, you can still garner competing offers, even as the volume of opportunities shrink.

Reconnect

If you’ve neglected networking, it’s catch up time! The good news is that as humans, we naturally crave connection (even introverts crave connection). Some people are still settling into a new rhythm and may not be able to commit to a time to talk when you reach out to them. They may be challenged by having the ability to structure their workday since previously, structure was provided by their leadership. In this case, practice patient persistence and empathize with the disruption we are all dealing with. As usual, don’t take lack of response personally.

“Some will, some won’t, so what?! Next!”

Many others are craving connection now more than ever. Many people are focused on the future and still have to continue with their company’s hiring. “Work with the willing,” as Cy Wakeman says. It may take you a higher volume of outreach than before, but you can still multiply your momentum by having productive conversations that convert into multiple introductions and opportunities, especially with a compelling, powerful call-to-action within your message.

Focus on Wellness of Mind, Body, and Spirit

Even during “normal” circumstances, nothing impacts your results in life more than how well you are feeling. Do whatever you can to adjust your lifestyle and schedule to incorporate alternative methods of achieving a calm mind, strong heart, clear lungs, and a positive outlook.

Even though we need connection, some of us are already emotionally fragile and need more uplifting versus more gloom and doom. Be careful not to impose your anxiety (which is justified, just not helpful) onto others. So, if you are feeling anxious before a scheduled call or outreach e-mail, take some time to exercise to get endorphins flowing or meditate to achieve a calm state of mind.

Incorporate time in your schedule to be alone and engage in activities that raise your vibration while limiting activities that induce stress. Be aware of any inclination to pick up your phone or device to check for constant updates. Recognize if looking for updates becomes a compulsion that isn’t serving your state of mind. You can find a helpful mini-hypnosis session on overcoming social media addiction, as well as some other helpful videos on this Facebook page.

Islands In the Stream

Provided to YouTube by Sony Music Entertainment Islands In the Stream · Dolly Parton · Kenny Rogers Greatest Hits ℗ 1983 Sony Music Entertainment Released on…

Karen Huller, author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days (bit.ly/GetFocusIn30), is founder of Epic Careering, a 13-year-old leadership and career development firm specializing in executive branding and conscious culture, as well as JoMo Rising, LLC, a workflow gamification company that turns work into productive play. 

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

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

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

Conscious Leaders Stepping Up – Keep the Conscious Leadership Going!

If the Chinese government had conscious leaders willing to defy big pockets and do what was best for people and the planet, we’d all be going on with life as usual.

Instead, here we are blaming each other. This crisis is certainly taking a toll on our healthcare system and supply chain, along with increasing societal vulnerabilities. Mistakes were definitely made and they will need to be evaluated. In my opinion, criminal negligence or actions that cause deaths deserve justice but instead of placing blame right now, I’m most concerned about how we will all get through this together.

We need social distancing to curb the spread of Coronavirus. Stopping the spread is for the highest good of all, especially our fragile, immunocompromised, and those already susceptible to pneumonia and lung issues (me), but doing so is going to financially devastate many.

The financial ramifications of social distancing are not falling off the radar. Here are things being done to soften the blow while we curb the spread:

  • The Department of Labor is allowing states more latitude to enable more employees, which may include part-time employees or self-employed contractors if a state allows, to file for unemployment without having to quit.
  • Pennsylvania is working to protect workers forced into quarantine or isolation by guaranteeing their jobs.
  • Companies are being compelled to move to all-remote reporting and for those that can’t, a bill is currently in the Senate to obligate employers with fewer than 500 employees to provide additional FMLA benefits for Coronavirus-related absences. Larger companies are being encouraged to extend PTO. I’ve heard payroll taxes may be suspended to help relieve the burden on those companies.
  • The Federal Reserve cut the benchmark interest rate to 0%-0.25%. I haven’t heard yet that considerations will be made for the mom-and-pop shop owners and self-employed, such as my husband, who still rely on being on-site to do work.
  • Some utilities are offering to waive late fees and forego service suspensions. Some are even offering special payback plans.

Things individuals can do to support themselves and others:

  • Many fitness instructors who cannot go to the gym are leading remote workouts. I hope they open a Patreon account to enable those who are able to donate to do so. If they’re really tech-savvy or find some tech talent-for-hire, they might be able to set up a subscription service.
  • Musicians can do the same thing. I’m already thinking about how my band can hold our practices via Zoom video conferencing. We’re preparing for a June 20th gig that may no longer happen in person, but we could still perform digitally. If digital performances are well-received, maybe we’ll be able to play even more since our largest obstacle to practicing and gigging is logistics.
  • While it’s discouraged (if not already prohibited) to go dine at your local mom-and-pop restaurant, many are delivering or offering food for pick up. You can also buy gift certificates to keep them floating during this time.
  • I have seen that some people are continuing to pay their cleaning services even though they are not using them at the moment.
  • While parents aren’t busy shuffling the kids to and from practices and activities, this is a really great time to think about what’s important to accomplish in your career. It’s a good time to devise a strategic career plan, get your career tools into shape, revisit and refine your brand, and start getting reacquainted with people in that sphere.

In a lot of cases, it’s the conscious leaders of corporations who have stepped up to show the world how to show up for each other. They deserve attention to show others the way, and they deserve positive reinforcement for doing the right thing.

Here are some of the companies rising to the occasion.

  • Comcast has taken various different measures:
    • Offering two months of free Internet for students to study remotely. If you have an X1 or Flex remote, just say “Coronavirus” into your remote and their collection of grade-based educational content will appear.
    • Pausing their data plans.
    • Extending hot spots to accommodate low-income communities.
    • Expanding broadband to every customer.
    • Offering bill assistance and agreeing not to overcharge customers (AT&T and Verizon also agreed to this, though I heard people are still receiving shut off threats), charge late fees, or shut off service for non-payment.
  • Bill Gates donated $100M to fund testing and Adobe is offering free Creative Cloud tools for students through May 31.
  • Alibaba owner Jack Ma sent 500,000 tests and one million masks to the US.
  • The Airbnb CEO is allowing penalty-free cancellations during certain booking dates. Guests can cancel a reservation and get a full refund. Hosts can also cancel reservations without impacting their Superhost status.
  • Citadel is donating $7.5M in financial relief to China’s hardest-hitting provinces.
  • Apple is allowing Apple cardholders to skip their March payment penalty-free and interest-free.
  • I have to give a huge shout-out to Rep. Katie Porter on gaining the commitment of the Centers for Disease Control Director to fund COVID-19 testing for all.

Keep in mind that we are all dealing with is a direct result of wealthy collectors of exotic animals for food, healing, and status who have lobbied the Chinese government to keep wet markets open. This is in spite of most of the Chinese people NOT shopping there or supporting the continuation of these wet markets where SARS and MERS are said to have previously originated.

Let’s all make a call to action for the world’s wealthiest to act with more consciousness. Let them know via social media, sharing, tagging, etc., that we are watching and we need them to step up now more than ever.

Amazon, while grappling with many supply chain and logistics shortfalls, is implementing controls to make sure that its sellers aren’t price-gauging customers. It will also continue to pay all hourly office employees, such as cafeteria workers and janitorial staff, during the period of mandatory remote reporting. Drivers and fulfillment workers, meanwhile, are busier than ever before. On the other hand, Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest man, is being criticized for asking his Whole Foods employees to donate their time off to sick co-workers instead of footing the bill.

Richard Branson at first downplayed the threat of the virus ahead of his cruise line launch and now is lobbying the British Prime Minister for financial relief for the aviation and travel industries in order to save jobs.

Do you think these leaders can do more? If so, I encourage you to let them know what you want to see them doing more of.

More importantly, share the actions of conscious leaders that you have admired and tag them so that they can get the recognition, appreciation, and positive reinforcement they deserve!

U.S.A. For Africa – We Are the World (Official Video)

Music video by U.S.A. For Africa performing We Are the World. USA For Africa #USAForAfrica #WeAreTheWorld #Vevo

Karen Huller, author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days (bit.ly/GetFocusIn30), is founder of Epic Careering, a 13-year-old leadership and career development firm specializing in executive branding and conscious culture, as well as JoMo Rising, LLC, a workflow gamification company that turns work into productive play. 

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

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

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

How You Respond to a Slump Determines How Quickly You Recover

Perhaps it’s just because my activities attract these people into my spheres of influence, but it has been my experience that most people are self-critical, especially when the chips are down and you need someone, especially you, in your corner more than ever. So, when you experience a slump, it’s important to remember how you respond to it determines how quickly you recover.

A slump could look like doing the same things that had good outcomes in the past, but no longer being able to generate those good outcomes consistently. It could also look like not having as much energy and/or time to complete the same activities that previously generated good outcomes.

For me, nothing zaps my energy, time, mood, and brainpower more than when my daughter is going through a rough patch with ADHD, usually because she ate something to which she is sensitive. I have found that when my daughter is going through a hard time, my momentum with my professional or community leadership endeavors downshifts. When my daily routine goes smoothly, I can solve a hundred problems easily each day, and, even if I hit challenges, I can still feel like forward progress is being made. I value action, I value my own action, and I value completion and forward progress. I have flow on my side, which creates bandwidth for fun and creativity. However, because my self-worth is tied closely with what I accomplish, when I am not able to accomplish as much, I question my self-worth.

When I have to constantly fight to push forward in my daily or weekly routines, I find myself spending time and energy on repeated reminders, solving mysteries about how things got to school/came home, re-communicating what has to be done AND why, addressing and correcting defiance with time outs (when there’s time), taking away privileges, and keeping a vigilant watch over the environment. That isn’t even including the energy spent trying to control the environment as best I can where I am not, such as in the cafeteria, classroom, or activities. These bouts of dietary and behavioral rebellion are usually accompanied by illness striking our home, in which I have to cancel or reschedule plans.

Periodically, when I endure this with my child, I fall behind on my strategic initiatives, and usually sacrifice self-care to maintain the tactical activities – client delivery, grading assignments, preparing for upcoming speaking engagements, etc. This makes me personally susceptible to depression, anxiety, and illness, which, of course, puts me further behind and makes me feel even worse.

Straining external conditions and situations, physical illnesses and mindset are prime culprits for a slump. The first symptom we usually notice is a lack of good outcomes. Noticing a slump is the first step, but distinguishing that it’s a slump – a temporary setback – is key to preventing a downward spiral. This can be the hardest thing to do when you’re in the middle of it, especially if you are like many of the people who have confided in me that they are prone to being self-critical.

Rather than see a slump as a natural ebb that will soon resolve, you, like me, might attribute it to who you are. Thoughts arise like, “I am a failure. I can’t do anything right. I give up.” This thinking is not only unhelpful but can be quite harmful. Obviously, giving up is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. Giving up on a positive resolution will severely inhibit the problem-solving and motivational centers in your brain, helping that problem persists longer than it needs to.

I would hope, but can’t be certain, that if you are going through something that requires your immediate attention, or time to process, grieve or heal, that you will allow yourself the grace and time to do just that. Even those of us who value our own ambition and action sometimes have to recognize that even machines need a break in order to sustain performance. You might be labeled a superstar at work, and you might start to see that as your identity. This might cause you to push yourself further. However, every strength can also be a liability. Even superstars need stagnancy from time to time. Some of you are not able to allow yourself to slow down without justification to yourself or others. When I’m feeling behind, I tend to want to spend my time toiling away at tasks backlogged in my to-do list. I have become more and more aware that the toiling will take 3x as long if I am running on low motivation, low confidence, low energy or low hope, and the results will be lackluster at best. Test this for yourself.

The next time you feel you are running behind and are attempting to tackle your to-do list, track how much time it takes for a repeatable task and evaluate the outcome. Then, when you go to repeat that activity, first, spend a bit of time (even two minutes) trying one of the techniques/practices shared here, then track how long it then takes you and evaluate the outcome once again.

Be intentional about tuning in to how you feel before and after you try the following practices. Measure on a 1-10 scale how motivated you feel before and after these exercises. You don’t have to try them all at once, but keep this list handy so you can try each tip out over time and see what makes the greatest impact for you.

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Compile a Slump Stockpile

Either physically or digitally, or both, make a list of things people have said or would say are special about you. It could be things that you’ve done that made a positive difference in someone’s life, even if they didn’t actually thank you – record what you think they would say. Imagine someone in your life who wanted to pay an ultimate tribute to you so that you know how worthy and wonderful you really are. Imagine people in your life taking the opportunity to tell you and show you exactly how much you mean to them, as we do at funerals when unfortunately it’s too late for someone to hear it.

Also include actual kudos that you have received such as thank you cards, e-mails, notes, social media posts, testimonials, letters of recommendation, etc.

Keep this stockpile handy and review it whenever you start to doubt your value.

Inspiration/Flow Immersion

Make a list of the people and things that inspire you – teachers, shows, bible verses, fables, quotes, books, songs, people, natural phenomenon, places, etc.

Make a list of things that comes easily to you when you do them. These are the activities that make time fly by, even if you don’t particularly enjoy them. An example would be cleaning. It might not be at the top of your list to do, but when you do it, you get into a groove and you start to get a lot done quickly. On the other hand, it could be something you truly enjoy, like drawing, coloring or doing puzzles.

This really sounds counterintuitive, right? Why should you spend time doing these things when you’re already short on time, overwhelmed and feeling burdened by all you have not accomplished? To remind yourself what it feels like to easily accomplish something! By completing a task that comes easily to you, you can boost your confidence in your own abilities and it will make you feel more competent to do the next task.

Mindfulness/Journaling

One of the first benefits you experience from mindfulness is an awareness that you are not your thoughts and you are not your emotions. This is such a gift. With greater practice, even in the same session, you can expand your awareness to recognize that you are not your actions or inactions. You are not your circumstances. You are not your results. You are not your problems.

When you sit and intentionally quiet your mind, you can pay attention to emotions and thoughts as they arise and acknowledge that they are separate entities. You can also write out thoughts to examine them visually as you practice mindfulness.

Affirmation/Incantations/Prayer

Once you understand that you are not your thoughts, your subconscious is primed to accept the belief that you are, in fact, a divine miracle. And, if you take the opportunity to remind yourself consciously, while your subconscious mind is open, that you are a miracle, that you are a gift, and that you are the recipient of many gifts and miracles, you are then making progress toward your highest, whole self, who is capable of handling any situation.

Many coaches call these affirmations. Tony Robbins takes them up a level and refers to them as incantations, the difference being that you use your whole body, mustering up all of your emotion when saying them to get all of the cells in your body on board. Granted, you might feel a bit silly when you first do them, even in private, they can be very powerful.

Prayer has a similar effect, though instead of acknowledging self-power, it fortifies your belief that any problem is surmountable with this external power within or at your side. While some are devout and think of prayer as a first resort, I know many others who may have lost connection with their faith. They have forgotten about prayer and sometimes need a reminder in its strength.

Fresh Air/Natural Light/Living Things

The office design trends of today and tomorrow acknowledge the biophilia hypothesis, an innate compulsion to connect with living things. Many people find it challenging to quiet their mind during meditation, but mindfulness does not have to occur with eyes closed or fixed on something still. You can practice mindfulness just by tuning into the finer details of nature – the veins and various shades in a leaf, the way petals some together, how a tree moves with a breeze.

Speaking of breezes, focusing on breathing is something that many people find challenging when first starting a mindfulness practice, but you can just as easily tune into the sensations that the air has on your skin or how the grass feels beneath your feet and be practicing mindfulness.

Though it’s proven that natural light enhances sleep, vitality, and performance, even looking up at a starry sky can help shift your perspective. It allows you to notice how small some problems are in relation to the vastness of the universe.

Outside Assistance

You don’t have to get yourself there alone. I encourage you to reach out for help. If it seems daunting to think about talking to a therapist, just spend a few minutes searching online or calling your insurance company to see who might accept your plan. The most important part is taking the next step, even if it is a small one. It can feel like progress just to start gathering some tools to do “the job” [any job, including recovering from a slump]. Any incremental improvement in how you feel brings you closer to being the true you who can and will get through a temporary slump.

Coaches are also champions of who you want to be. They help guide you through the process of acknowledging a challenge and finding a solution. They help you see your blind spots (habits or beliefs you are unaware are running automatically) that are silently sabotaging you from being in alignment with your highest self or keeping you from achieving what you aim to achieve. Coaches also help you see your hidden strengths. They bring forward the hidden talents that you don’t realize uniquely equip you to successfully deal with any situation that is holding you back.

Hypnosis is also an avenue worth exploring, as it leverages your own neurobiology in eliminating resistance to change while accelerating the adoption of belief systems and habits that dramatically shift results. Give it a try.

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Don’t feel bad if you don’t jump from hopelessness to invincibility. This is a practice and a process. Because we are not naturally inclined to change, it will take persistence.

Keep in mind that these are just a few of many techniques you can use to overcome a slump. When I share techniques like this, I am inviting you to experiment with something new, even if it makes you feel a bit skeptical.

If you are experiencing a slump at work, and the dip in performance is noted, traditional systems may make you inclined to cover your butt and defend or deflect instead of being transparent. This is unfortunate because it often leads to trickle-down toxicity that negatively impacts performance across teams. However, in a culture where authenticity is demonstrated and encouraged by leadership, slumps are less likely to decline into a downward spiral and they are less likely to cause short and long-term impacts on others. Even if your workplace traditionally promotes superficial success, I urge you to be honest. You might lose that job, but that working environment might just be what’s primarily responsible for your slump! You may not be able to perform at a high level while your workplace culture is out of alignment with your core values or while your position doesn’t fully leverage your innate talents or strengths.

It seems counterintuitive, but the sooner you can separate who you are from where you are, the sooner you will be able to embrace your own power and leverage help to recover from a slump.

Keep starting anew, no matter how many times you try without success. Remember your slump will not be permanent, because nothing in nature is permanent. Even the cells in your body completely renew after 7 years.

Aerosmith – Back In The Saddle (Audio)

Aerosmith’s official audio for ‘Back In The Saddle’. Click to listen to Aerosmith on Spotify: http://smarturl.it/AerosmithSpot?IQid=AeroBITSaudio As featured…

Karen Huller, author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days (bit.ly/GetFocusIn30), is founder of Epic Careering, a 13-year-old leadership and career development firm specializing in executive branding and conscious culture, as well as JoMo Rising, LLC, a workflow gamification company that turns work into productive play. 

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

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

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

Conscious Leadership vs. Servant Leadership: Why Do We Need Another Leadership “Flavor of the Month”?

Related to the disenchantment with corporate life that is driving people to leave, which I covered a couple of weeks ago, people are growing skeptical, if not cynical, that companies are actually capable of delivering on their promises of positive change in any meaningful way.

Words can be manipulative, cause division where they’re meant to cause unification, and seem pretty empty and meaningless when that’s the case. People are sick of initiatives with catchphrases that amount to nothing actually changing for the better. Change initiatives face enormous resistance, and if an organization uses an inauthentic tactic to execute change, it strengthens that resistance into an even larger obstacle. There’s no sense trying to get buy-in from people who have been duped before.

Some companies are legitimately trying, and their leaders have good intentions. They lack, however, the blueprint, consistency, trust, and/or tools to spread change to every level of their organization and turn that into its new identity. Not all of them can see their blind spots or identify vulnerabilities.

Other companies steamroll change, disregarding casualties and intimidating the survivors into submission…or else.

When starting my new Facebook and LinkedIn groups, I reached out to you for your input on potential names for the groups. The responses that I received demonstrated that people don’t want a new “flavor of the month” when it comes to leadership. It seems people are becoming resigned to anything really transforming systemically. Even if a company can achieve an internal transformation, it sometimes has to operate under a larger system of archaic values and profit models used by its vendors, regulators, shareholders, etc.

About 5 years ago, I was explaining to a client that the way he was describing his philosophy on leadership seemed to align with “servant leadership.” He talked about how he didn’t see himself as the authority. He considered his team members the subject matter experts and he viewed his job as making sure that they had what they needed to perform their best and deliver for the organization. Sometimes that looked like lobbying for new technology, sometimes it looked like fighting for extra bonuses or vacation time, and sometimes it looked like taking all of the blame and accountability for something that went wrong. In his past, it also looked like whistle-blowing against his employer and providing his leadership with a healthy dose of truth when it came to negotiating project scopes and timelines.

At the time, I saw servant leadership as the noblest kind of leadership to emerge. I loved the idea of an upside-down organizational chart where value is shifted to the frontline.

Servant leadership goes back to 1971 although it wasn’t necessarily in every corporate leader’s lexicon until Southwest Airlines brought it en vogue as a model. It then took several other pioneers to demonstrate that this style of leadership is responsible for dramatic performance and engagement improvements.

While Southwest continues to lead in culture and servant leadership, they may not qualify as a consciously led corporation. I read recently that their on-air water quality was among the poorest and contains high levels of E. coli bacteria (that’s the poop bacteria.) This might just be an overlooked facet of their procurement, but it could also be a symptom of leadership that is not fully considering the wellness of people and our planet at all levels of the organization. I’m not saying that they are absolutely not a conscious company, but I am distinguising between servant leadership and conscious leadership.

There is so much I would not refute about the value of servant leadership, but it’s not an end-all, be-all leadership model for 2020 and beyond. Like many “flavor of the month” terms that came before it, once a way of leading earns the spotlight, unconscious companies will come along and “borrow” it. They will make it their new manifesto and try to sprinkle it around to get people excited and re-engaged. They will do this, however, without a real concrete blueprint or training to imbue it into all leadership decisions and relationships at every level of the organization. So, transformation falls flat, the results it was intended to garner don’t last, and the community becomes skeptical of new initiatives. Future change becomes that much harder to execute and accept.

A few weeks ago, I wrote an article on why NOW is the critical time for conscious leadership to earn the spotlight and get adopted in corporate America.

While conscious leadership certainly shares values with servant leadership, such as authenticity, transparency, and empathy, there are a few key distinctions that augment servant leadership so that results are sustainable and profits don’t come at a cost to people or the planet.

One key difference is accountability. There is a risk in servant leadership that employees, whether engaged or not, will come to expect that a leader is there to create perfect conditions for performance. This nurtures entitlement. Perfect conditions are not always possible. While in conscious leadership, there is the acknowledgement that people perform better when they are supported, they are not supported at the cost of the customer, the growth that will lead to sustainable success, nor the environment. Instead, they lay out the short and long-term potential impacts of change to all potential populations with the input of subject matter experts. Then, they involve the most engaged people on their teams to devise a plan to do the most amount of good while causing the least amount of harm.

“But wait,” you say, “That’s not inclusive of disengaged employees, and how do you decide fairly who is engaged and who isn’t?”

You’re right! That’s why engagement framework comes along with the conscious leadership blueprint. It borrows from traditional engagement surveys, but it is determined by more than just an individual’s perception of his/her own engagement, which can be misrepresented. It includes, but is not exclusively determined by, how well employees meet KPIs. It also incorporates how well this person has aligned with the company’s mission, vision, and values as exhibited by their actions and multi-dimensional feedback. People are not penalized for being on a static track versus a growth track. People can still be engaged in their jobs while they allocate extra focus to other areas of their lives besides work. At times, it’s necessary.

In conscious leadership, leaders invest time in understanding, communicating, and learning how to circumnavigate or achieve their own areas of development. This brings the leader to a human, relatable level with his or her team(s) and demonstrates that being imperfect is okay. It encourages self-reflection as well as openness and honesty. How much of a servant can a leader be, after all, if they remain blind to the real challenges of team members?

Servant leaders are still susceptible to situational greed. It works like this: A leader does good and as a byproduct receives recognition, accolades, and compliments. This releases a flood of feel-good hormones and the brain says, “I want more!” So, with positive reinforcement, the leader continues to do good and continues to be praised. Also, keep in mind that with attention, accolades, praise, and prestige often come lucrative opportunities and chances to integrate with movers and shakers, which makes doing good even more intoxicating.

Now, the leader falls prey to someone promoting a high-prestige program as good that will get the leader even more accolades than before! At some point, the brain switches the motivation to do good from doing good to receiving accolades. This leader is essentially duped by an ill-intentioned leader preying upon this leader’s desire to do good. It turns out that the program was not good or mostly good. In fact, it hurt people. The leader failed to examine all facets of the program and perform conscious due diligence because he or she wanted the praise more than the reality that this program had major flaws and should not have happened.

This leader was a servant leader throughout this scenario – encouraging and supporting the team, giving others credit, doing everything possible to create conducive conditions to top performance. Yet, this leader was not a conscious leader.

A conscious leader would have used a conscious decision protocol to explore all of the known potential short-term and long-term impacts and, even at the risk of making an unpopular decision, would have led a team in deciding that the risk was not worth the reward. Personal gain would have been eliminated from the equation through a self-check that helps leaders recognize when they are operating from ego and switch to the higher self.

A conscious leader also recognizes value systems, belief systems, and methods without discrediting or disregarding other perceptions. That is not to say that a conscious leader has to make all parties happy or even be agreeable to other perspectives. It just means that the impacts on people as they report them are considered valid and are considered – even if in the end, the plan decided on does not accommodate them.

Like all leaders, in a pure definition of a leader as beings someone who creates and develops more leaders, conscious leaders see the development and growth of the team to be the best way to serve the most people and achieve the most good.

If you are interested in learning more about the Conscious Leader Blueprint for Leaders or the Consciousness Ripple Formula for Aspiring Leaders, join my new Raising Corporate Consciousness Facebook group. If you are a conscious leader looking to spread awareness of conscious corporate practices and discuss the challenges of widespread adoption, I invite you to join my new LinkedIn group, the Conscious Leadership Connection.

Stevie Wonder – Higher Ground

1973 – Innervisions Many thanks to ClosedCaptionIt for the captions! If you’re interested in captioning your own videos or someone else’s check out http://ww…

Karen Huller, author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days (bit.ly/GetFocusIn30), is founder of Epic Careering, a 13-year-old leadership and career development firm specializing in executive branding and conscious culture, as well as JoMo Rising, LLC, a workflow gamification company that turns work into productive play. 

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

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

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