Archives for professional growth

Get in the Game

Baseball by PaulMLocke of Flickr

 

Was it hard to tell this Monday from any other Monday at work?

Can you remember the last time you felt triumphant at work?

Has it been more than three years since your last big professional growth spurt?

Your answers may reveal that you have been coasting. Sometimes we need to coast, like when we are going through big personal challenges. The impacts of these challenges can last a year or two (caring for an ailing elderly relative can take much longer). It can take us out of contention for professional growth and opportunity. There is only so long you can coast before ultimately running out of gas.

It may not be your fault; bad companies and bosses can kill your motivation and inhibit your desire to do more than a job requires.

Regardless, it is against our nature to stay stagnant too long and it can be detrimental to our mental, emotional, and physical health.

Ambition is something that we naturally generate. We can get into situations where we are re-trained to kill our own ambitions, and it can start at a very early age.

Pretty soon we are convincing ourselves that we are fine; the status quo is comfortable; change is unwanted and scary.

My friend since middle school ended a marriage she was unhappy in after she found evidence on Facebook that he was cheating. A couple years later she is very grateful for that evidence, because she may have stayed unhappy even longer without it. She is currently engaged to my brother’s friend, a man I have known since he was a boy, who I know is making her happy, will make her happy, and will be the loyal and affectionate spouse she wanted her ex to be. She said, “You don’t know how unhappy you were until you are happy.”

I do my monthly Epic Career Tales podcast so that people can be inspired by the level of success and happiness that other people have achieved. I know it is not always good to compare yourself with other people, but if you aren’t getting back from a job what you put into it, then you already know that you’re not as happy as you could be. But how do you know how happy you could be unless you compare yourself to how happy other people are?

A lot of you reading this right now have an automatic thought coming through saying, “Yeah, but those people aren’t me. They are [enter any one of the following: smarter, luckier, more privileged, prettier, wealthier, not as busy, more educated, better connected, etc.]”

If you don’t, that is great for you, because you have few reasons not to take action and become happy.

However, if you recognize that thought, that is also great for you, because recognizing it is the first step in taking its power away.

This post is not meant to put you on a path to extreme change in your life so that you can have happiness. I realize that if you have this thought then you also perceive the effort of becoming happy as potentially futile.

You may want to take action, and I encourage it, but effort is something I want you to save until you have a clear vision of what you being happy in your job could look like.

Tony Robbins has said, “Activity without a high-level of purpose is the drain of your fortune.”

So many of my clients are hesitant to picture what it could look like to be happy because they think that it will lead to greater disappointment.

Tony Robbins has also said that our expectations of what our reality should look like can cause our misery.

I just want to leave you with one distinction that might help clear up what seems to be a contradiction.

Be mindful of how you define happiness. The change you think might be necessary in order to achieve this may not be anything external.

Instead of thinking in terms of what you get when better conditions exist, think about you and your current conditions. Picture yourself in the flow, knowing you are at your utmost best and not needing anyone else to notice or recognize you for it.

This is a baby step to get your head back in the game of your career. For now, do not worry about winning the game, and certainly do not think about the championship – just play.

 

If you can generate a sense of happiness even in unfavorable conditions, you can become unstoppable.

 

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?