Archives for personal development

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. 

The Dangers of the “Average of 5” Rule

I have learned profound wisdom from Jim Rohn, but one thing he taught, which many other coaches echo, is that we are the average of the five people with whom we spend the most time. The advice around this is to surround yourself with people who already have aspects of the life that you want for yourself to elevate your station in life.

One study confirmed that it’s not only the five people closest to you, but also the people who are close to them, and so on. The reason, they identified, was norms. “Your perception of what is… acceptable … and your behavior changes” according to what you see more regularly.

A few dangers could arise from following the “average of 5” rule too strictly. Let’s explore some of them.

On one hand, if you aspire to be a visionary entrepreneur, by all means, seek out opportunities to spend time among visionary entrepreneurs. Spending time with people who have achieved what you aspire to achieve is one great way to keep you motivated, and it serves as a pull rather than a push. It will also most likely shorten your path from current reality to achieving your desired reality if you can learn from them how to overcome challenges, navigate most successfully, and expand your sphere of influence to include people in theirs.

On the other hand, people use this “average of 5” rule to justify cutting poor or unambitious people out of your life. I do agree that, while very hard, it’s important for self-preservation to put distance between you and toxic people in your life – those who seem to intentionally make you feel bad, whether conscious or subconscious. However, we know it happens – some people make it big and forget where they came from. They lose touch with the struggles of everyday people. It’s why self-aware executives participate in the show Undercover Boss. Even if you don’t intend to, you can forget the reality of not having money, status, luxury items and vacations, etc.

Yet another problem is that sometimes people do get left behind, and you can’t make and keep any guarantees.

Sometimes naturally, just as a byproduct of growing and changing your lifestyle, things you once had in common with people shift. You can become people that no longer have the same struggles that originally bonded you. The bonds can weaken and you could become unrelatable to each other. Sometimes ego is in the way of someone else wanting more for you (e.g. why should you get what they don’t have). Other times, people will “punch holes” in your plans because they fear losing you. They fear you changing or they fear being left behind. In another possible scenario, they could genuinely believe that you’re more likely to fail than succeed, which is really a reflection of their norms, and they are trying to “save you” from getting hurt or disappointed.

When people get left behind, the divide can widen. Feelings of hurt can manifest as anger and resentment. One person can turn the rest of your old crew against you.

Now, on the bright side, people can just as easily become more likely to succeed because you do – the same way you are more likely to smoke or gain weight along with those closest to you. So it stands to reason that if you intend to follow this advice, and cut out or intentionally distance yourself from these people who are below your measure of achievement, then their chances of being positively impacted by your success is much less.

Another danger is falling into a new crowd that may elevate your pay or status, but denigrate your core values. If you are not mindful of keeping your norms aligned with your values, you may start to lose touch with your values and act in ways that start to seem acceptable, because more of your close contacts act in those ways, even if they are in direct conflict to what you had decided individually were your values. Think about the celebrity college scandal. Even in that illegal situation, one person allegedly involved couldn’t see what was wrong with it – everyone was doing it.

Still more dangerous is this “go get yours,” “rugged individualism,” “drop the baggage holding you down” mentality.  While we are fighting as a nation about how to deal with mass shootings, seeing how we put controls on guns without taking away freedoms, and knowing that mental illnesses are on the rise and also contribute. What to do about this seems to escape us, except to try to strip away the stigma so that we can get that conversation going. Leaving people behind can also be dangerous.

There is another way to look at this. As per my last blog about raising corporate consciousness, just as people can elevate so much further in income and status and become removed from their poorer or less ambitious connections, people can also evolve too far in consciousness and lose touch.

Not all of us will be monks or spiritual gurus and live a life detached from material things altogether. It seems so far fetched. Most of us will not risk our 9-5 jobs, healthcare, etc. to chase butterflies, so to speak. However, some people have found ways to live in which their lifestyles are provided for as a result of imparting their wisdom to a following or tribe. Though the average everyday person* can certainly glean wisdom from these teachers, there is too much dissonance from the current reality of a guru to the current reality of an everyday person for a guru to serve as a true model.

* Let’s define the everyday person as someone who works for someone else to generate their income, carries some debt, follows a budget out of necessity, and would need a loan for very large purchases. This person may have religious beliefs but is not necessarily living according to them at all moments. Life is challenging, and sometimes also very time-consuming. So much so that self-care, self-reflection, and spiritual practices are sacrificed.

We need people at various levels in the middle to serve as ladders, to stay relatable and somewhat in resonance with the lower levels to inspire them to elevate.

So, if you’ve heard this advice and it felt wrong to assess your friends and family’s worthiness of being close to you, honor those feelings. Do bring new people into your sphere of influence to help you elevate, but keep your hand outreached to those below. Not everyone will be willing to take your hand, especially if your rise has been less than gracious. However, work with the willing, and, based on the science backing up the “average of 5” rule, gradually more and more will elevate at their own pace.

Pearl Jam – You Are

Pearl Jam – “You Are” (Riot Act Album) unoficial video clip

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. 

Cheers to More Connection, Growth, and Sharing in 2020

I’m ready, 2020.

I started my New Year’s resolutions a bit early this year by doing a deep dive in self-assessment. As I’ve been shifting my professional goals toward more contributions to conscious leadership, I’ve really had to examine where I’ve failed to apply all that I’ve learned over the past 20 years. It’s humbling, and frequently embarrassing, but necessary.

Once the challenge of reflecting is done, I know that making a public proclamation of my 2020 intentions is the best way to transform intentions into actions and actions into results.

(I’m not calling them resolutions, as it feels like a re-solution that didn’t work before.)

Let me just dig right in, and rip the band-aid off.

I believe I have grown a bit stingy with my time, but more so, my presence. This could be due to overextending myself. How to reconcile this is tricky. I have been making contributions to various communities, but I’ve felt as though I was never giving them enough. It’s time to really own my time, and keeping a calendar is what I know works.

In the year ahead, I commit to focusing more on specific contributions I aim to make and delegating everything else that keeps me from making a contribution that feels like enough.

This means letting some things go. In 2019, I really improved in this area. In the next year, I’ll continue to pick up steam – letting old hurts go, letting physical stuff go, letting others take on tasks I’d feel compelled to do, and forgiving myself for where I fell short of my own expectations – this is the hardest one. The better I get at this, the faster I can go from ego to highest self.

Letting go requires balance, though, as I have to know when NOT to let things go, too. I still intend to speak up for myself, to stand up to those not leading with good intentions, and to be a stand for my clients and students – to shine a light on the self-talk and outdated systems that threaten to give them less than what they really want in the long run.

I also will be more vigilant about money and will work on my confidence as a good steward of finances. I will no longer continue to pay for programs that don’t support forward progress.

I’ll be sharing a lot more in 2020. Once I’m clear how best I can communicate and share, I will do so on a regular, predictable, reliable schedule.

I want to get more connected to people’s nature. To be with people, really with them. There will be much more openness, eye contact, deep soulful conversations. I will be more mindful of how I respond and punctuate conversations. I will improve my awareness of others’ feelings. I will learn how to be a better conversationalist and how to channel my curiosity while recognizing and neutralizing judgment. I want to get better at understanding how individuals prefer to be respected and regarded.

I will put myself on a follow-up schedule so that I stay in better touch with clients. I will organize more get-togethers and create more opportunities for people in my network to connect with each other, which I know is where the magic happens.

There’s one place where I have not walked the walk, doing exactly what I recommend – sending thank you sentiments. I’ve certainly dropped a heartfelt gift or note sporadically, but I want it to be a regimen, and not just the delivery of said gratitude, but the practice of really being in gratitude. This has been a part of daily routines before, and it’s time to work it back in with new rituals that will become part of systems. I will do this for how it transforms me, but also how it transforms my relationships and nurtures my network.

Sadly, I’ve been curating a collection of wonderful things I could do to better serve my mission and better support people’s professional growth, but have not done a good job in several years bringing offers into creation and I’ve never done a great job of enrolling large quantities of leaders in them so that I make the impact that I want.

This year, that changes. I’ve hired a team of coaches to hold me accountable and to help me craft, create, promote and deliver programs that transform corporate careers for my clients and their teams. They will help me finally put together the pieces of the puzzle I’ve been staring at cross-eyed, and to systematize all of this so that I can deliver consistent quality, not let anything or anyone fall through the cracks, and be a reliable solution provider.

I have a TON of content, as well, just sitting in various files where they’re doing you no good. As I’ve scaled back outgoing marketing, I’ve also started to become a harsher critic of myself, and have been scared to be too revealing of who I am through what I create. At the risk of your judgment, but also my own, I’ll be more unabashed in my expression.

All of these proclamations scare me, but that’s only when I think of myself as the person who fell short. If I focus, however, on all I have achieved, I know I’m totally capable. I have confidence in the talent supporting me, including my coaches and my virtual assistant, Cynthia.

Now comes mapping it all out. Thank God I don’t have to do that alone!

I’m excited for a new year and a new decade. I’m ready to redeem myself where I fell short, and even to make more mistakes and gain more wisdom.

I’d like to take a moment to send you a new year’s wish that you can look back 10 years from now and know that you gave the 2020s everything that you had, and so it gave you back everything you want. And, I wish that you know you’ve got a friend in Pennsylvania.

It’s me. I’m a friend in Pennsylvania.

This time I’m sending you a special gift, a song – not my song, but sung by me. It’s my first big, bold share in accordance with my 2020 proclamations, as well as my last big share of the decade. I hope you enjoy it.

https://vimeo.com/382118169/585b1c6382

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. 

Job Security Now Through 2030

 

While some prospective clients come to me hoping I can help them land somewhere “stable,” another group come to me because they realize that their companies’ stability has become golden handcuffs, and has held them back from reaching their full potential.

Even if this was the time when you could graduate, land at a large company, work with them for 30 years and retire with a great nest egg saved up, it may not be in your or the world’s best interest.

Retention does not equal engagement, and now we know what disengagement costs companies (something around $400B+ in the US alone.) The pace at which companies need to innovate and evolve is exponentially faster than it was, and that is predicted to continue accelerating exponentially throughout the 21st century. Ray Kurzweil, developer of the Law of Accelerating Returns, proposed back in 1999 that in the 21st century we would in face experience 20,000 years of progress compared to centuries past.

Companies are already finding that by the time they roll out the technology in a large enterprise, it’s already outdated, or even obsolete.

Whew. Starting to feel anxious? It’s possibly because your brain would really love to protect you from all this change, but even it is operating on a default mode that in a much different day and age would have helped you survive, though today it can mean the opposite – in life and in career.

This Saturday, I spoke at The Jump Start Your Job Search event on how to create your own job security. There were really three major efforts that I outlined:

Branding: Being intentional about how you want to be regarded and building either a campaign, for active job seekers, or a broadcast plan, for those well on-boarded and looking ahead, around that.

High Performance: Leveraging neuroscience breakthroughs in human performance optimization to continually expand and develop by creating habits of mini-practices that enhance critical thinking, creativity, intuition, emotional intelligence, resilience, and even health.

Personal and Professional Development: Rather than relying on your company to invest in your development, own it by consistently assessing your desired growth trajectory, studying the market, acquiring new skills, enhancing your self-awareness, and consuming and creating in equal proportions.

My proven hypothesis – Doing all three of these on a consistent basis, dedicating at least 10% of your budgeted time and money to them, will shift your career management from being exertive and exhausting to management and magnetic, thus leading to sustainable job security.

Caveat: I cannot promise you that the role that you want and/or have right now will be stable in the future. That’s because 85% of the jobs that will exist in 2030 don’t even exist right now.

However, by doing as advised above, you will become a master of adapting and evolving, reinventing yourself, and staying viable and valuable into the future, however it may be.

 

Fleetwood Mac – Don’t Stop (Official Music Video)

You’re watching the official music video for Fleetwood Mac – “Don’t Stop” from the 1977 album “Rumours”. The new Fleetwood Mac collection ’50 Years – Don’t Stop’ is available now. Get your copy here https://lnk.to/FM50 and check out North American tour dates below to see if the band is coming to a town near you.

 

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

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

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

She 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 her students won the 2018 national competition and were named America’s Next Top Young Entrepreneurs.

Making 2018 Better Than 2017

Part 2 of 4

Thinking by Creative Ignition on Flickr

If you celebrate Christmas, this next week will be hectic. As you lay your head to rest, instead of visions of sugarplums (whatever they are,) you might see all the things not yet done – presents not bought or wrapped, recipes not yet altered to accommodate Cousin Joe’s lactose intolerance. You might spend your time going through a mental checklist of people wondering or feeling like there was someone important you missed.

If we took a page from nature, however, as the first day of winter approaches in the northern hemisphere, we would see more stillness – an incubation (at least we do here in the Northeast). Even nature knows there is a time to rest and reflect, a time to renew and plan for what kind of rebirth is wanted or needed.

This can also be the most active time of the year to be together, and being together is what we try to remind ourselves this time of year is all about.

We’ll take a look at three more areas of your life to reflect upon and recreate for 2018, starting with the one that takes a lot of focus this time of year, even as we naturally crave seclusion.

  1. Social Life

Once I started digging into the personal and professional development world, there was an advice that really bugged me, and it continues to, even though at times I think it is sound. The advice has been regurgitated in various forms. Jim Rohn, who I quote a lot and love many of his teachings, says that you are the average of the five people with whom you spend the most time. Other teachers flat out preach that you need to leave negative people behind you and fill your inner circle with more positive, wealthy people if you want to get or stay positive and wealthy.

When I was in college I had heard that your network is your net worth, and that was so discouraging. There was some family who were (are) wealthy and prominent, but they had proven to be not very helpful, and that was the only existing route I could see to elevate myself.

I was grateful to find, as a recruiter when I started to network more, that new connections can be made, and fairly easily.

That being said, I wasn’t about to leave behind my friends. Yes, I wanted to spend more time around people who followed a path to success that I aspired to follow, but I couldn’t just cut off from my life the people who care about me, though they may not be successful, wealthy, or even positive.

The whole personal development world is now plagued by people who are aspiring to be ascended in higher thought and living, but who create a contrast between themselves and others less ascended. I see this only leading to disdain.

There are some obvious reflections you might have: did you see your loved ones enough? Did you entertain as much as you could have? Are you losing connections to friends you intend to keep?

But also consider that if you can spend more time with successful people and add to your knowledge and inspiration, the time you spend with less successful people will enable you to add something positive. Just stay mindful so that you don’t fall into a superiority trap.

As you start to see a better way to be and live, it’s natural to notice more how the people who are not living better are choosing that, and to be frustrated by it. If you really want to change it, though, you will not be effective from a place of judgment. Once you achieve a better way of living for yourself, the next thing to work on is how you can accept others where they are. And, sometimes you will also see opportunities to set healthy limits for how much you let others keep you down.

  1. Intellectual Life

As my senior business students shared their goals, it was clear to me that they were putting the accountability on their development in the hands of their future employer. Does it belong there? Is every employer going to care where you want to see yourself in 5 years as it does NOT relate to their company?  I am tying intellectual life to develop because there is a strong correlation between new knowledge and development. Can we effectively grow without gaining new knowledge?

Anecdotally in my own life, I started to see my development accelerate exponentially in my 20s when I did three things – hired a coach, started to network (as stated before), and started reading non-fiction habitually. Then in my 30s it seemed clear that I didn’t just want to read, but I wanted to discuss with others what I had been reading. I had forgotten in my 20s how much I missed discussing ideas, as was encouraged and came naturally in college. I started attending more lectures and meetups, and even started my own mastermind and meetup.

I have to admit that when I’m really busy, reading and discussing are what I cut out, but because I made them such habits and enjoyed such a boost of growth from them, I go back to them as soon as the dust settles.

It’s the best time of year to develop your reading wish list, since you may even receive one as a gift. Ask others what to read based on your goals or resolutions for 2018. People only recommend books they have read, so make a note of who recommended what and invite that person to discuss the book once your done. This helps you create a goal for finishing the book and also nurtures your social goals.

  1. Family

It seems this should be higher up the list, right?  The thing is, if money isn’t the area of your life that vexes you the most, it could be this. If this is true for you, it may seem more logical to survive the holidays and then reflect, which can look more like venting.  We can do better than that, though, and starting to achieve peace in this area by doing what is in your power to do (because we can only control our actions, not those of others) will enable you to start the year more as the person you want to be. We can’t pretend a new year will change you, but if you can demonstrate to yourself what you are capable of in this area during the time of year where the expectations are highest, you will feel more empowered to create an even better vision of your family life in 2018.

(I know very few people who can’t relate to this. If you are one of them, count yourself so blessed!)

Some of what I have learned about myself in relation to my family through my personal development has to do with me NOT wanting to feel bad and the lengths I go to not feel bad, which can include making my family wrong to make me feel right. Once I realize I am doing this, I feel worse, but only then can I start to course correct and forgive myself and them – which is very powerful.

There is one mantra that I hear a lot at personal development events that helps me maintain my sense of humility and acceptance of myself and others – “We are all doing the best we can with what, where and who we are at each stage of our lives.”

If you are feeling extra stressed this holiday season and the source is your family, watch some Brené Brown interviews on YouTube. Practice ho’oponopono, which is a Hawaiian practice that induces healing and forgiveness.

Notice that my advice in this area is actually more around action than reflection; this is because I feel I personally spend too long reflecting in this area, and not spending enough time actually making efforts that can improve it, which take practice because this is the area where triggers are voluminous. This also means that this is the area where there is the most opportunity for growth, but where growth is the hardest.

Which of the 6 areas covered so far feel the hardest to you? Which do you want to dive into first, and which one do you want to avoid?

We’ll cover 3 more areas next week.

 

Cheers to a year that is better than any before!

Sting – Brand New Day

Music video by Sting performing Brand New Day. (C) 1999 A&M Records

Think There Is Nothing You Can Do About North Korea? Think Again!

Part 3 in the MindValley Reunion=Mind Blown series, which continues next week

Have you ever been to a live learning event? It could be a conference, or a seminar, or a Ted talk. Have you ever been awe-inspired by what you learned? Did you have an epiphany that changed your life, or did you realize something about who you are that altered your idea of yourself and the world?

If you have, then you know it’s an experience worth doing again, and yet life and obligations can push it down our priority list, as powerful as we know it has the potential to be.

If you have not, you may be initially out of your comfort zone, especially when efforts are made to have you fully integrate and become acquainted with your fellow attendees, but if you are willing and able to open your heart and mind to new possibilities, you WILL take with you insights that are bound to change the trajectory of your life, if you are also then able to apply them, and given you have found the right event.

Last week I shared with you that the MindValley Reunion in San Diego August 19th and 20th was one of those such events.

Over the next several weeks, I intend to relay to you some of the most influential moments and teachings for me. Even though all in all it was just 16+ hours of experience, my challenge will be trying to capture the power of the moments, and I’m still only on things revealed by the host, Mia Lux Koning, in the initial opening of the event.

Lux means light, and I can attest to how she illuminated some very interesting observations that started off my experience in such a thought provoking way, setting the tone for a bombardment of illuminations. One I covered last week, how some people perceive personal transformation to be selfish. [https://epiccareering.com/personal-development-selfish/]

This week, I want to focus on her observation that personal development has not yet been adopted widely by people on the East coast (of the US). She has traveled all over the world with MindValley, and lives on the East coast, as do I. I have noticed that many of the personal development coaches that I have learned from live on the West coast.

That always left me wondering, as I do sometimes when it comes to my clients’ decisions to relocate to an industry hub, as well as my own questions in my youth when I considered pursuing a career in music if I should go to New York or Los Angeles or make a name for my home metropolis, Philly, like Boyz II Men or The Roots. If what you want to change the world or make a name for yourself, do aim to be a big fish in a little pond, and then upgrade, or dive into a pond full of sharks as a little fish? And, does where you live even matter in this connected world where people collaborate remotely with ease?

If what I want is for more people to realize the integral role that personal development has in achieving goals in any realm of life, do I go to where people are already in alignment with that concept and capture that audience, or do I meet the rest of the people where they are at, earn their trust, build rapport and leverage that to influence them to experiment with various techniques and tools?

So many other questions were spurred by this one observation. I attempted to speak with Mia about them, but you can imagine how busy she was; we only had a total of 3 minutes or so to speak, total.

Some of these questions were spurred by things I had learned previously from MindValley teachers, such as Christie Marie Sheldon, and authors, such as Lynne McTaggart [The Field, The Intention Experiment.] Follow this like a theorem, if you can remember learning those. If all of the following are true, then… (read the bullets below and then see my assertion.)

  • Jeffrey Allen, a Saturday speaker at the MindValley Reunion, pointed out that the Earth, as scientifically measured, is vibrating at an exponentially higher rate than in the past, and that vibration continues to increase exponentially. In the 1970s, the earth’s vibration was 7.83 Hz. In 2014, it was ~ 24 Hz. Today it is 40 Hz. This increase is true of the human species as well. Our vibration is increasing at the same ratio. (More on Jeffrey Allen’s presentation in later weeks.)
  • Christie Marie Sheldon revealed that there are various parts of the earth where the vibration is very low, and others vibrating much higher. War torn areas, for instance, are vibrating very low. The scale that she uses is from 0-1000 and is based on researchers using kinesiology and muscle testing.
    • Muscle testing was demonstrated definitively by Donna Eden on Sunday at the event. Even the medical doctors that were in attendance could not refute the veracity of muscle testing. (More on Donna’s demonstration in later weeks.)
  • In her book The Field, Lynne McTaggart chronicled historical clinical and government tests that support the science behind quantum physics, the law of attraction, the mind-body connection, and our inherent intuitive and psychic abilities, and then in her book The Intention Experiment (The Field is a prerequisite for reading The Intention Experiment,) she went on to use science to demonstrate how we can tap into the Universal forces within all of us to influence reality.
  • In 1993, 4,000 practitioners of Transcendental Meditation focused their practices on reducing crime in Washington D.C. between June 7th and July 30th. Their goal was to reduce homicide, assault and theft by 20%. They achieved a 23.3% drop, and the results seemed to correspond with the number of participants, and there was a lasting effect on lower violent crime.
  • Back to Lynne McTaggart, who shared that remote psychokinesis, or the ability to use the power of the mind to affect physical reality from afar, had proven to be such a credible practice with substantial results that the US government had a program to use such capabilities to gain intelligence from afar, as well as to impact enemies’ environments, bodies, and weapons. This is the same program the book and movie Men Who Stare At Goats starring George Clooney is based on.

If all of this science is true, then…

We are capable of influencing peace and positive progress, AND by collaborating in real time from remote places, focusing on the same results, we may be able to

  • Disarm North Korea
  • Accelerate rebuilding and recovery of Texas and Louisiana
  • Reverse global warming, so that these regions and everyone else impacted can stay in their homes
  • End the war in Afghanistan
  • Ease tensions in Syria, South Sudan, and the Ukraine
  • Alleviate hunger in Nigeria
  • Deliver rain to Somalia
  • Of course, reduce violent crime in your own neighborhood or city

And on and on…

I think you are seeing now how the 10K hours+ I have invested in personal development is anything but selfish, if that was even a perception you had, but more so, I hope you realize the significance and potential impacts of these findings.

Now questions that remain are:

  • How and where do I start to lead such an effort, or is an effort already ongoing that simply needs more awareness, and I can contribute in that way?
  • Do I focus on gathering people from areas already aware of practicing disciplines that have proven effective (which include prayer,) or…
  • Do I bide my time, increase my influence as it relates to careers and purpose and then leverage a greater platform to influence such an initiative?
  • Can this even wait? Vishen Lakhiani presented on The Human Reset and shared an alarming insight from Tom Chi that if we fail to raise the consciousness of the people on the planet, and technology continues to evolve at a faster pace, then technology is sure to be used for lower-consciousness intentions – war, and we may not be able to save our planet!

You may be in a place where you have immediate issues in your own life that require your focus and attention before you can expand concern to others in the world, and I hope that you turn to personal development, which can look like spiritual development, or psychological development, or physical development, or mindfulness development. Science has proven its effectiveness.

I suggest you start with MindValley – they have teachers and courses that cover almost all realms of your life, and if you have an issue causing you immediate pain and requiring all your focus, they most likely have a teacher, coach and/or course to help you, except for careers – you can still come to me for that.

 

Please leave a comment if you can see the potential for a large-scale effort of this kind, or if you have doubts and questions to share. If you want to be included in future invitations to do so, PM me with your e-mail address.

Eric Clapton – Change The World

Come On Sing Along!

Is Personal Development Selfish?

Part 2 in the MindValley Reunion=Mind Blown series, which continues next week

In the first couple hours of the MindValley reunion, thought provoking questions were invoking a deep sense of curiosity.

The host, Mia Koning, a beautiful Kiwi soul, shared a couple of observations:

#1 – On the East Coast of the US, where we both currently reside, though in different cities, personal transformation, also known as self-help, has not yet been adopted on a wide scale, or at least as widely as it has been adopted on the West Coast (more on that next week), and…

#2 – That there is a perception that personal development is a selfish indulgence.

What?! At first I thought, who would think this, then I looked deeper at the time that I spend on personal development, which also in my field happens to be professional development, being that I am a coach. Because it is something I have benefited a lot from, and it enhances how I serve my clients, it is a common sense investment of time and money for me. However, it is also something I thoroughly enjoy, and there are times when making it a priority means making something else less of a priority.

One time instead of playing a game with my kids, I took them to a playground to play with other kids so that I could listen to a live-streamed event. I have rushed them off to bed so that I could attend a live webinar at 9 PM.

Is that selfish, and is there a line that, if crossed, personal development is something that is more costly than beneficial?

Then, also, having not been to, let alone immersed in, Europe, Asia, Africa, South America, or Australia, I cannot compare how many people are adopting personal development as a regular practice. I wondered if any data available could substantiate where in the world personal development was most promoted and acceptable, and if it would be better to live there, or to live in a place where there was less adoption and be a change agent.

In a later post I will cover more interesting revelations shared by Jeffrey Allen, such as how we’re being pulled as a race toward awakening and awareness and how the vibration of the earth and of humans is exponentially higher as measured scientifically, and is continuing to increase. Conflicts as we experience them now are due to this shift and the contrast between those who adopt versus those who resist.

An engineer once told me that innovators have a target on their backs. Someone is always waiting to let you make groundbreaking discoveries and then leverage it and surpass you for glory. Is glory the right goal, and should people be discouraged from innovating because someone else might get the credit? Should it matter to me if I am a pioneer or if I am simply a more visible, vocal spokesperson spreading the discoveries of those before me?

I realize my curiosities are starting to seem scattered from the main topics here, but this demonstrates how one event with several impactful speakers can get you from thinking singularly about your own world and your own problems to thinking globally. Furthermore, it was shared and has been proven to me, that people connect deeply with others when they co-experience an awe-inspiring stimulus together. I was not the only person opening myself up to greater possibility and potential.

So, was my trip to San Diego for the MindValley Reunion selfish? Were my investments in time and money in the courses I have taken over the years selfish endeavors, which include but are not limited to:

  • Online programs through MindValley and by John Assaraf, Rikka Zimmerman, Derek Rydall, Brent Phillips, Eben Pagan, and Christian Michelson.
  • Live transformational programs, such as doing a year of Landmark Education curriculum (The Forum, The Advanced Forum, The Self-Expression Leadership Program, Power to Create, and Access to Power,) an Abraham Hicks live event, Bill Walsh’s Rainmaker course, and T. Harv Eker’s Millionaire Mindset Intensive.
  • Reading books by Gretchen Rubin, Sonia Choquette, Don Miguel Ruiz, Hal Elrod, Jen Sincero, Jen Groover, Susan Gregg, Esther Hicks, Louise Hay, Rhonda Byrne (of course!), Lynne McTaggart, Bruce Lipton, Robert Kiyosaki, Napoleon Hill, Joe Vitale, Gary Vaynerchuck, Wayne Dyer, Deepak Chopra, Dan Milman, James Redfield, Marcus Buckingham, and more.

I know the answer is fundamentally NO.

I started on this journey to find joy – to be more in joy than in suffering. I admittedly suffered a lot. I had a great sense of self-pity for my unhappy childhood, and I had a great sense of justification for my attitude. Personal development has helped me spend more time in joy and less time in suffering. On the surface, this may seem like a selfish endeavor, but I knew I wasn’t just doing it for me. I was doing it to make sure that my suffering didn’t have a cost for others in my life.

Plus, so many of my decisions in life were driven by a false sense of needing to belong and be accepted. When I decided that if I wanted to be a game-changer, I had to be authentic, the hard work of being authentic began, and continues. Through personal development I have expanded my sense of purpose beyond my immediate circle of influence and now see myself as someone contributing to grander initiatives, resolving problems that impact more than just myself – but I had to start with the problems that plagued me before I could expand further.

Even if someone just wanted to be his or her best self, is that selfish? Even if it ends there, is that selfish?

Don’t you think that when you become someone who is more in joy and less in suffering, you become someone creating ripples that spread joy?

 

Please comment and share your opinion: is personal development a selfish endeavor?

Michael Jackson – Man In The Mirror (Official Video)

In keeping with the lyrical message of “Man in the Mirror,” which was strongly identified with Michael Jackson and reflective of his own philosophies, the short film features powerful images of events and leaders whose work embodies the song’s message to”make that change.”

Bias is Human, Yet Harmful

Interview by Alan Cleaver of Flickr

 

In my recruiting days I had a Vice President who advised repeatedly, “Refute your bias.”

Obviously there are biases that could get us in legal trouble, but she was more so referring to the more subtle biases that can make us dismiss or favor certain candidates. This advice was not in contradiction to using your intuition, but it was just a way to check ourselves before we make decisions that impact our candidates or clients.

Bias is not always bad or wrong; it is a built-in safety mechanism in which we make associations to decide if we are in any harm. It is automatic and it is human. However, now that our brain has evolved higher intelligence beyond our reptilian, instinctual brain, we can take into consideration much different input and make decisions that are more based on logic. The tricky part is recognizing which part of your brain has made the determination.

How much does bias really interfere, though? Why can it be detrimental?

Last week we talked about how critical EQ and empathy have become to corporate success. Bias, on the other hand, when not accurately and promptly assessed will impose unnecessary limits to what you can achieve with other people. This is because you are, by nature, actually limiting the population with whom you can successfully create or limiting the success that you can have with people for whom you have a bias.

It is easy to see that from a recruiting and hiring perspective, a bias will slant what the right candidate looks like, causing you to overlook someone who does not fit that image, but is the better candidate for the job.

As a job seeker, you may think that your intuition is telling you that a potential boss or co-worker is not someone with whom you could work successfully, and you may either decide to not pursue that opportunity or not to give that opportunity 100% of your effort in expectation that it will not work. This, then becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy.

Biases against the wealthy keep poor people poor. Biases against the poor have the same effect. You may have biases against generations, religions, races, genders, status, roles, opposing teams’ fans, people from a certain area, where people shop, etc.

If I continue to list these, I will eventually hit upon a bias you possess. The question is, will you recognize it? The ability to recognize and evaluate your own bias is absolutely essential to your EQ.

Here are three questions to ask yourself to determine if bias is impacting your perceptions, beliefs and actions, and potentially limiting your success and happiness:

  1. What HARD, TRUE evidence do I have to support my opinion?
  2. What do I still need to know and understand in order to know if I am accurately assessing this person?
  3. Could I be wrong?

Only someone with a high EQ would be willing to accurately answer #3, but just asking these questions in the first place are a great way to raise your EQ.

I would like to disclaim that I believe strongly in developing and using your intuition. I distinguish my bias from my intuition by asking these questions. However, once I acknowledge and remove bias, I lean on my intuition, which is a completely different exercise – one that I’ll save for another time.

 

How has bias impacted you?