Archives for positive change

Step 2 to Career Happiness

Happiness by Goutier Rodrigues of Flickr

 

Some people grow up believing that they can do anything. Some people have parents that reinforce this belief. When you grow up under these conditions, you develop a very friendly perception of the world. You perceive very few limits and are attuned to identifying and leveraging resources to achieve goals. You are apt to try things that other people would never attempt, simply because you have an ingrown faith that success is inevitable.

Many would consider you blessed, even charmed, and they may be resentful. Just as it is hard for them to understand why you are so lucky, it can be more difficult for you to empathize with people who suffer from career and financial shortcomings. To you, it looks like a choice.

You are not wrong, however the choice is not a conscious one.

We all run on programming that we developed at critical, impressionable stages growing up. Even two people growing up in the same household can develop very different beliefs with a different meaning they ascribe to the same event.

Last week, my challenge to those who identify a recurring, automatic belief that success is for others was to imagine yourself in your current circumstances, but in the flow. The flow is a state of being in which you feel that just by being your fabulous, highest self, things are working out perfectly.

Perhaps your commute to work has green lights all the way. There is a parking spot right up close. Nobody comes to talk to you for 15 minutes while you evaluate and plan out your day. The meeting you dreaded has been rescheduled. That person you’ve been trying to reach has returned your message. The challenge that you were working through last week has a viable solution. The week you requested off has been approved. The project you and your team successfully completed has received high accolades and has been noticed by key players in your organization. Your boss now wants to talk to you about growth opportunities. Everyone you speak with is picking up on your positive vibes and returning them with friendly gestures and offers to help. You end your day having satisfied your list of tasks, and even made headway on some strategic initiatives that will help you gain even more visibility and credibility. On your commute home, your favorite song comes on the radio, and you sing like no one is watching, even though they are. You get home to a peaceful, clean house or apartment and your favorite meal, courtesy of someone you love. After spending some time engaging in a favorite pastime, you excitedly take a look at your day ahead, and rest easy knowing everything is as it should be.

Have you ever had a day like this?

If not, or if it has been a while, the first step is visualizing your day to go exactly as you want it to.

Practice it every night and or morning for a week, and then start this new exercise:

Visualize your ideal day with the circumstances you perceive to be ideal.

Perhaps you no longer commute, and instead work from home or from anywhere. Perhaps instead of speaking with grumpy customers all day who complain about a poor product your company makes, you are onboard and supporting clients who love what your company has helped them do. Perhaps instead of having a boss who rarely offers support and guidance, you are working underneath one of the most brilliant minds in business and she invests an hour or two each week to coach you on how to get to the next level. Maybe instead of following someone else’s rules that do not make any sense, you are architecting the best practices and standard operating procedures that are helping your organization run über efficiently and effectively.

Sometimes we think that we envy someone else’s situation, and then we put ourselves in it and realize there are things about their situation that we would not want.

I have a client who thought his ideal employers were in the city, which would have been an hour or longer commute every day, after running a company from home for many years. He took a job in the interim that was still a significant commute, but much shorter than the city. He realized in the first week of having that job, and not having seen his three-year-old for several days in a row, that working for those employers in the city would not have made him happy.

Now that he knows this, he has a greater peace and empowerment around his choices. He can more confidently invest his time and energy into a next step that will make him happy at home and at work.

His homework is the same as yours – once you have spent a week visualizing yourself in your current circumstances in the flow, spend a week visualizing ideal circumstances, from wake up time to sleep time.

The best time to do this is in the morning when your conscious and subconscious mind are still closely connected. You may also choose to do this as you go to bed, though sometimes I can get myself so excited that I do not sleep as well.

This exercise alone does not stop those recurring beliefs that success is for other people. You will still want to notice them, and when you do, go back into your visualization, but affirm for yourself that this is possible for you.

 

If that feat is very challenging, ask yourself why it isn’t possible for you.

Are these answers truth, or story?

 

3 of 7 Methods of Overcoming Self-Limiting Beliefs for Career Breakthrough

Breakthrough by 4rank of Flickr

Last week I challenged you to find out who’s really making decisions – is it you or your subconscious belief system?

If you found that like most people, including myself, somewhere in your past an event happened, and you made it mean that there are limits to how successful, happy, loved or wealthy you can be, I want to gift you some methods that you can experiment with to determine what is the most effective way for you to overturn and overcome the limits imposed by these beliefs.

Just so you know how much I can relate to you, I have identified 20 different beliefs about money and influence that have prevented me from achieving the growth goals I set for my business in its first 10 years. It was in my second year of business that I started becoming more aware of the influence of these beliefs.

  1. There is not enough to do what I want (but there was, I had to fight to get it)
  1. I am selfish if I want it
  1. I already have too much; I am a spoiled brat
  1. More for me means less for someone else
  1. I should not have more than bro/mom/dad
  1. Money is an exchange; I have to give something
  1. It is hard to earn
  1. I have to hunt it down
  1. I should not hold on to it; it goes to others before me
  1. It is not there when I need it
  1. It goes away; it does not last
  1. I should not be trusted with it
  1. I cannot have influence without it, and I resent that
  1. I need it to be included, yet I resent that
  1. I need it to create, and I resent that
  1. What I want is silly, wrong
  1. I should only want what I need and nothing more
  1. It is a weapon
  1. It causes problems/fighting
  1. It is not safe with me, or safe to have – it makes me a target

I have tried MANY methods over the last nine years. The key to my breakthrough, which finally began last year, has been consistency – as in, habit/ritual. I work to reinforce a healthful belief system several times a day now, though it started out as experimenting, then spurts/sprints, then I would only research and incorporate new practices when I was at a point of desperation, then I started doing a Miracle Morning and began to start my day every day with a routine that brings me into a state of peace, faith, intuition, and high performance. It feels so good now, and the results are so reinforcing, that I will take many moments throughout the day to recognize, appreciate, heal and strengthen a belief system more in support of my highest good and highest success.

Once you find something on this list works well for you, I encourage you to incorporate it into a morning ritual for 30 days. Keep a journal and record your thoughts, even your doubts, as well as results.

 

Visualization

Visualization is not synonymous with positive thinking, which many people have tried and found it failed them. The difference is that you are not replacing a negative thought with a positive thought. You may notice negative thoughts – doubts, skepticism, even cynicism – arise. Just let them float by like boats on the water. The point is to tap into your imagination to mentally experience the utmost outcome, and bring the full spectrum of emotions and senses into your experience. Learn to harness and apply this power to create a life by design, simply by creating a vision that excites you each waking day. It is much easier to be PULLED into doing what needs to be done, than to PUSH, or motivate yourself, to take action.

Studies show that your brain does not distinguish between a memory, a real event, or an imagined event. The more you can create a positive experience that releases feel-good chemicals, like dopamine, endorphins, and oxytocin, the more addicted you will be to that positive experience, and the more you will be compelled to recreate that experience.

One shortcoming that some human performance coaches will point out about visualization is that the negative beliefs do not completely go away – there is pain associated with that belief and many believe that the pain, or the wound, needs to be healed before it truly disappears.

 

Hypnosis

If you think hypnosis is quackery, you would be ignoring science and history. Evidence of hypnosis was found in prehistoric days, and it was applied during the Civil War as pain relief for amputations and other painful procedures when medical pain relief resources were in short supply. Many people use it to successfully quit smoking, lose weight, relieve pain, sleep better or overcome crippling fears.

I personally and successfully used it to naturally give birth twice. With my first daughter, I endured five days of labor (my water did not break), complete with back labor, which was the most painful part, and finally delivered her without drugs, without tearing, and without intervention. In fact, we came home with her just hours after I delivered her. It also got me through breastfeeding complications.

While hypnosis may be the most expedient method of releasing and replacing belief systems that do not serve you, it may not be instant. In many cases these belief systems have layers upon layers, and reinforcement is necessary. The self-study course that I took, Hypnobabies, was a six-week long course that I actually continued with for the rest of my pregnancy, so another six months.

I was so impressed by hypnosis, in fact, that I have entertained becoming certified myself to help my clients achieve even greater levels of success.

There is a fee associated with hiring a hypnotist, and there are also free hypnosis tracks on YouTube. You may find that it is more effective to be in the serene setting of a professional’s office, putting your mental welfare into the hands of a professional, or you may opt to start where you are most comfortable, at home.

 

Peace Process/Instant Miracle/The Sedona Method

Different variations of this have been used by various teachers throughout my journey, but I will give you the basics. Theses methods are based on the mind-body connection brought into mainstream awareness by Deepak Chopra, then Wayne Dyer, in the 80s through the new millennium, but it was “discovered” centuries ago and has been the primary way to treat maladies in eastern medicine. Basically, you can recognize that your emotions cause a physical reaction in your body, and more prominent, traumatic or prolonged emotions will tend to cause a sensation that may manifest as pain or discomfort in a particular part of your body.

  • Think about the stimulus that causes anxiety, stress, depression, etc. For job seekers, it could be interviewing, networking, the change of landing a new job itself, or asking for a better compensation package.
  • Close your eyes to block out visual stimulus and be present to sensations in your body.
  • Where does your body experience this emotion?
  • On a 1-10 scale, how do you rate the sensation?
  • Get fully in touch with the sensations there for 90 seconds – allow yourself to feel them, without any suppression.
  • Send it love and acceptance while breathing in deeply with mouth closed and breathing out sharply and forcefully with mouth open, pursed lips.
  • Repeat until the sensation rates 0 (absent) on the scale.

 

These are just three of the many methods I can share, and I will cover four more next week, but this is a good start. I encourage you to start tomorrow – the sooner you start to defeat these defeatist thoughts that lead to defeatist action (or non-action), the sooner you can start to craft a life by design.

Please share any revelations or results that you experience.

 

100 Things to Make You Smile When Life Doesn’t Look Like We Want It To

 

 

One Hundred by Mark Paz

One Hundred by Mark Paz

 

For my 100th LinkedIn post, I want to take a page from my daughter’s preschool and kindergarten classes. They use the hundredth day of school not only to celebrate a milestone I never even thought to celebrate, but to teach kids about the number 100. It is a pretty significant number, as numbers go.

I decided, inspired by the hundredth day of school (that we are now actually celebrating having come to an end), that I wanted to use my hundredth post to expand an exercise that my daughters and I have started to do to turn our attitude into gratitude. It is a way to quickly recover when our complaining turns into a negative tailspin. I’ll have them or they’ll have me make a list of things for which we are grateful. In regard to effectiveness, this makes us feel better 100% of the time.

I started this list with ten things that I feel could apply to anyone anywhere in the world at any given moment. However, I ask you to contribute comments with the things that you can always turn to make you feel grateful and happy, even when the world around you does not seem so happy. The exercise of doing so, I guarantee, will lift your spirits. You can also be certain that as others read your contributions, you will be raising the level of happiness in others.

Recommendation: the worse you feel the more items you add. Keep adding items until you feel better.

1. You can improve your health right now just by moving.

2. It does not rain every day everywhere.

3. The biggest, scariest creatures lived a long, long time ago.

4. Satellites make it easy to see anywhere in the world.

5. It is rare that the sky is not interesting to gaze upon.

6. Seeds represent infinite possibility.

7. When life was invented, I was invented to be a self-sustaining cycle of endings and new beginnings.

8. Each of us had a mom and a dad, whether we know them or not, they brought us into this world and made possible whatever we wanted to be possible.

9. We are one of the few animals that can laugh.

10. There is music… Sweet music.

 

How Fear Limits Careers

No Fear by The 5th Ape from Flickr

No Fear by The 5th Ape from Flickr

Has the term “what if?” ever ruled your decision making? Have you ever settled for safe and predictable in your professional life so you can avoid a fear of the unknown?

 

Fear is a powerful emotion. It can eat away at all rational thought and positive energy until all you’re left with is raw anxiety and shattered self esteem. Fear comes in a variety of forms and there is no area of your life it can’t touch. For professionals, fear can often cause poor career decisions. Since the economic downturn of 2008 and the very slow recovery, fear has led many bright and talented people to settle for less. This can lead to a multitude of problems down the road, including underemployment, being overworked, and a stifled path to career recovery.

 

The fear of having no income at all can often funnel professionals into jobs in which they are underemployed and indefinitely underpaid.

 

You might be a bright-eyed accountant who has gotten the pink-slip at work. Your unemployment is about to run out and you’ve had no luck landing a job with comparable pay. Ultimately, you settle for a part-time job at a new firm or you take a job that pays you far less.

 

How about another example? You could be an administrative assistant at an insurance company. The company folded, leaving you unemployed and, in order to pay the bills, you take a retail job. The income is mediocre in comparison to the money you received on unemployment.

 

Perhaps in your previous executive role you were applying decades’ worth of skills, education and experience to make huge contributions to your previous employer, but you are being told you are “overqualified,” so you resort to finding a role as an individual contributor where your wisdom and insight are not appreciated nor are you compensated for them.

 

Or, you could be a journalist fresh out of school, unable to find work and so you settle as a waiter at your local restaurant. As a career coach I’ve seen plenty of people let fear lead them to unsatisfying career choices.

 

Let’s say none of the above examples apply to you. You still have a job in the profession you love. Even so, you’re not happy with your circumstances at work. Your company may have cut back on staff, effectively doing more with fewer people. You find yourself working longer hours at the job. Or you may be worried about being let go so you agree to take on more responsibilities and job duties for the same amount of pay. Your hours increase, your free time decreases and your health and well-being also suffer. You want to make the transition to a job that offers more pay, better hours or a combination of the two. Your fear has caused you to stick with a job you dislike simply because you can’t see a way forward.

 

Do you see yourself in any of these examples?

 

While it’s true that we all have to pay our bills, I think we can all agree that is preferable to pay our bills AND be fulfilled in our career. Fear can make you believe that you have to choose between the two.

 

Whether you are underemployed, underpaid or overworked the fear of not bringing in income or losing a current career can be detrimental in the long run. If you invest yourself too fully in a part-time job, it leaves you with less time and energy to pursue your career. Likewise, finding yourself overworked as a professional can also leave you with little time and energy to make the transition to an ideal employer.

 

Lost time is lost money.

 

Do not let fear rule your career-making decisions. Take some time to rationally evaluate how you will move your career forward as a business professional. Ideally, you will strive toward a job that motivates and excites you. Additionally, you will already have had your own personal criteria in mind. The number of hours you will work per week, your salary, culture, growth opportunity, flexibility, healthcare benefits and even personal time are a few examples for you to consider. Making a decision that meets about 80% of your personal criteria is a great, logical way to help drive your profession. Change can be a cause of fear but courage and rationality can lead to a successful career in the long run.

 

You don’t always have to use logic to make your decision; emotion can be a good place to make a decision from, as long as it is positive emotion based on excitement, enthusiasm, passion and adventure. Fear may still be present. Remember, courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the ability to move forward in spite of it. Don’t let fear drive your career decisions.

 

 

By the way…If your career was thrown off track by a fear-based decision, we will help you get back on track.

Get ready! Economy’s going up!

from Flickr: FutUndBeidi

from Flickr: FutUndBeidi

Last time I posted this data, it was to shed some light on the improvements, because the media often chooses to sensationalize negative economic indicators, or simply put their focus there, and minimize positive indicators, claiming that there’s something else at work.

 

Some people believe that these numbers are completely manufactured and give them no credence. Economists responded that the GDP, stock conditions, etc. indicate a less than favorable economic recovery and doomsdayers are still waiting for that fiscal cliff.

 

For those, however, that believe, like I do, that hope is a better condition for positive change and momentum, these numbers will be quite the inspiration.

 

Yes, the summer is a time to enjoy – AND get ready! September is the second biggest hiring month of the year. Have the infrastructure of your transition in place by Labor Day and take full advantage of the boost in hiring!

 

News summary, from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (7/14)

The national unemployment rate lowered by .2% over the month to 6.1% with 9.5 million unemployed. The number of persons experiencing long spells of unemployment (over a year) lowered by 284,000 people to 2.1 million. 3.1 million individuals had been unemployed for 6 months or more in June, a decrease of 293,000 over the month, and a decrease of 1.2M over the past 12 months. That means about 29% of those who became unemployed 6 months ago are still unemployed today. They are, however, competing with 900,000 fewer job seekers than they were in December when the unemployment rate was 6.7% and 10.4 million were unemployed. Long-term unemployment has been steadily declining since 2011 when 6.4M were experiencing spells of over 6 months.

The average number of weeks that job seekers are staying unemployed has decreased over the month to 33.5, which is 2 weeks shorter than 3 months ago, while the median also decreased to 13.1 weeks, a huge decrease of almost 3 weeks in 2 months!

Such a difference between the mean and the average may reflect that for most industries and geographies, job seekers may be able to transition within 4 months. However, a greater majority are either not be able to effectively execute a transition campaign, or may be in adversely impacted geographies or shrinking markets, creating challenges to transitioning that lead to extremely long spells of unemployment.

91M are not currently in the labor force, for a variety of reasons. This is 965K fewer than last month. This number had been steadily increasing by about 1M year over year since 1947, with a few exceptions (1978, 1985, 1989.)  2003 had a marked increase  of nearly 2M people, and then again in 2008 and every year since.

7M of these individuals not in the labor force do currently want a job and have reported searching during the past 4 weeks. We’re about where we were in 1994. It had steadily decreased until 2000, and has been increasing since then. May and June have been traditionally the highest months. Since 2011, this number had been above 7.1M during June. This is the first year that June’s numbers have been below 7M.

Another 2M are “marginally attached,” meaning they want a job and have searched for work during the prior 12 months, and were available to take a job during the reference week, but had not looked for work in the past 4 weeks.

1.4M did not actively look for work in the prior 4 weeks for such reasons as school or family responsibilities, ill health, and transportation problems, as well as a number for whom reason for nonparticipation was not determined (not counted as unemployed for the purpose of this report).

676K are discouraged workers who did not actively look for work in the prior 4 weeks for reasons such as thinks no work available, could not find work, lacks schooling or training, employer thinks too young or old, and other types of discrimination. This number has not been this low since March 2009. It hit a high of 1.3M in December of 2010.

 

A special note about the world economy:

Job creation worldwide has not been significant enough to impact the worldwide unemployment numbers, which have stood at 200M unemployed for several years.  Many other developed countries are not enjoying the recovery that we are:

Greece – 28.1%

Spain – 27.2%

South Africa – 25.2%

Portugal – 16.3%

Ireland – 13.4%

Italy – 12.6%

Under-developed and developing countries are making much larger strides in their domestic economic development, and the focus appears to be on continuing to promote growth and economic opportunity in these countries.

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Call us 610-888-6939 or e-mail us at karen@epiccareering.com and find out how we can get you ready to ride the impending hiring wave to higher professional ground.