Archives for personal growth

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. 

How Have You Grown Since the Last Olympics?

Olympics by Peter Burgess of Flickr

Olympics by Peter Burgess of Flickr

The Olympics are here again.

I can’t believe another four years has passed by so quickly. I revisited the vlog, 8 things that Corporate America can learn from the Olympics, and while those eight things are timeless, I think about everything that has changed since then.

When I made the video my daughters were eight months and two years old. They were both still in diapers and both still napped, which is how I was able to make the vlog. I was still nursing, which meant that every three to five hours I was either attached to my baby or attached to a machine for 45 minutes (my babies were not as efficient eaters as others). I preferred being with the babies, though that meant not having any full day adventures away from home.

My sister-in-law had not yet passed, and I had no idea that we would lose a nephew on his 28th birthday, prompting me to seriously reevaluate the time and the sense of urgency that I give to my most meaningful projects. I also reevaluated the amount of time I feel is acceptable to bring about meaningful changes and momentum for my clients in their job search.

It was another election year, but I knew who was getting my vote. Our financial world was still feeling the effects of the depression, though at least all signs were pointing towards a continuing recovery.

When I was recruiting and an employer wanted a certain number of years of experience, a question I always thought it was important to ask was, “what would someone learn in those extra years of experience that they would not have learned in a lesser number of years?” This is especially true in a world where technology is making everything evolve at such a fast pace. What are the lessons of the past that need to be carried into the future?

I made a shortlist of universal lessons and skills that I have acquired in the last four years. However, I really want to know about you and what you have learned in the last four years that have enabled you to increase your value to make a more meaningful impact in your job.

 

Mine:

I have learned, practiced, and then demonstrated and taught the value of my authentic story. I have learned that I can be more inspiring and reach people on a deeper level if I am real about the darker places in my life. I feel like I am more myself with people now than I had ever felt free enough to be before, and it has made me bolder. I am more willing to experiment and take risks, and more willing to “look bad” if an idea fails.

I have adjusted many of my programs to be much shorter. They are now three-months long instead of six-months, even for my executive clients. I focused on productivity, learning from experts like Tim Ferris and Neen James on how to fold time, work smarter rather than harder, and make things happen faster. I then worked those lessons into my coaching and products.

My paradigm shifted from learning new ways to reach my audience for the purposes of building an empire and a legacy, to challenging myself to serve my audience in the highest ways possible. This means constantly reinvesting in improving the products and services I offer, and innovating new, groundbreaking tools, technologies, and programs, as well as being a lifelong student of personal and professional marketing.

 

What are your learned lessons? What are some significant ways that you have evolved in the past four years? What have you learned that has been a game changer?