Archives for self-awareness

Who Has Guts Like Tim Bray?

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

*Uh-hem. Amazon.*

Ooh. Excuse me. Allergies.

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

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

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

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

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

How many people would do that?

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

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

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

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

How much money does one man need, anyway?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

These are all things I would really like to know:

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

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

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

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

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

So, who has guts like Tim Bray?

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

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

Is this you? Reach out today!

Big Balls

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

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

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

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

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

The Truth Shall Set You Free

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ask These Questions:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Devise a Plan:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Is that a fact?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let’s find out. Book a call today.

Truth Hurts (Clean Version) (Audio) – Lizzo

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

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

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

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

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

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. 

Why It’s Hard To Make Critical (Or Any) Decisions Right Now

​​I have a few friends who work in grocery stores. They are commenting now about the people putting them in undue risk by coming to the grocery store several times a week, loitering in the isles, and socializing during stay-at-home orders.

My dad is one of those people who goes out more than they should. I’m feeling powerless to stop him. I’ve told him to let me know what he needs and that I’d find a way to get it to him. I had toilet paper delivered to him while I was away.  Technology, him, and I have never gotten along. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve shown him how to open an e-mail, send a picture, log into accounts online, download apps, etc. He doesn’t retain any of this information and requires me to show him over and over again. It’s been a struggle for a while now. I had given up on him learning new tricks. He really can’t stick with his old tricks, though.

He told me he needs to see the aisles to jog his brain about what he needs. I said, “That’s how you’ve always done it. I get that, but that’s not safe in the reality we live in.” I don’t have much influence on him. He tends to discredit and ignore me, but if he were to listen, I’d guide him in achieving a calm state of mind so that he can activate the salience network (thought to switch between activating and deactivating the default mode and central executive networks) and make more mindful decisions about what he needs beforehand. Then he could pass those needs along to me so that I could find a way to get them to him without him putting his and other lives at risk.

We are all experiencing grief and shock in the midst of changes to our daily lives. We are all worried about our current or future health and wealth. And we all revolt at how some, especially loved ones, are taking risks that put them and other loved ones at risk.

The number of people who are grieving actual loss of life will grow. I’ve experienced with my clients the grief that a job loss can bring. It’s the same cycle, and, like losing someone beloved, it needs to be acknowledged and processed. Everyone will do this at different paces and at different times. Everyone has varying levels of resilience. Surely, many of us will come out of this with greater resilience if we don’t succumb to our feelings of grief and worry.

In the meantime, my hope is that the more you know and understand grief, the more compassion and grace you can extend. It’s unlikely that you will be successfully influential to stop someone from taking risks by shaming them or instigating a conflict.

These stages are not clean. People will weave in and out of these stages, jump around, and be in a couple at the same time. Some may also have lucid moments where the emotions have calmed, and the mind is thinking clearly and making conscious decisions.

These days, I advise you to assume that everyone you see is experiencing grief, even if they haven’t lost anything yet. That’s because we actually have all lost something – plans, the ability to hug loved ones who don’t live with us, freedom to come and go as we please without worry, etc.

Here’s how you can recognize when someone is grieving. You can assume they are grieving and treat them with the utmost care, from a safe distance, of course.

SHOCK

People in shock will be the ones standing in the aisle without a list or a clue. (Those folks and the ones who have to read labels, which is a problem for us. We don’t want to touch things we won’t buy, but we have to check new items for a variety of ingredients our daughter can’t have.) Shock isn’t fight or flight; it’s more like being frozen.

DENIAL

You may be surprised to find that people you thought were level-headed and logical are believing conspiracy theories instead of accepting the truth. The truth, at this moment, may just be too hard to face. In this stage, people may take some risks that put not only them but others in danger, too.

ANGER

It’s ironic because the workers lashing out at the people in grocery stores and other public places who are being careless are completely justified AND they are in their own process of grief. With this understanding, I let them vent for the most part. I’ve commented here and there asking people to extend grace, especially knowing that my father is most definitely on the list of people who should not be going grocery shopping, especially during busy times without gloves or a mask or sanitizer. He should be pre-planning his shopping needs, scheduling deliveries and staying put.

BARGAINING

The government can’t take away the freedoms of all those spring breakers, the coronavirus challenge participants, or anyone who still believes that COVID-19 is just the flu. Some people insist on maintaining their freedom as an American to assembly, etc., and these folks may be in the bargaining stage. They’ll face their reality, only if they don’t have to lose X. They’ll stop visiting their vulnerable relatives and friends, but they won’t stop playing basketball. They’ll start getting their groceries by delivery, but they’ll keep gathering with their neighbors, who are all in the same boat as long as everyone washes their hands frequently and don’t touch. While these concessions may drive you back into anger, they are actually progressing.

You can help someone move more fully into compliance by making compliance feel better and offering alternatives. Instead of golfing, offer to order an at-home golf simulator game that can be played with friends. Instead of heading to your neighbor’s house for your usual happy hour, have a virtual happy hour in PJs.

DEPRESSION

It doesn’t always look like what you expect, especially when people are highly functional. It can look like getting easily agitated, lacking patience, avoiding communication or decision-making, sleeping more often, putting off exercise and chores, etc. Just because people have more time doesn’t mean they are accomplishing more. If you are here, try not to compare yourself to others and what they are accomplishing. Do what you can as you can and spend time meditating.

TESTING

This is tricky, because, really, any degree of failure to fully comply risks exposure, illness, and death. All of the new protocols will feel wrong at first. Frame all of the compliance efforts as experiments. “See how this feels”… See how it feels to wear a mask. See how it feels to wave to a neighbor you’d normally hug or high five. See how it feels to not pet the dog. See how it feels to plan out your grocery list. See how it feels to have the groceries come to you.

ACCEPTANCE

The more resilient among us may be here already and are not understanding very well what’s taking others so long to come around.

We normally comfort those grieving with touch, which would induce the release of the feel-good hormone, oxytocin. Now we have to find ways to use our imagination to do that if we don’t have people in our homes to hug. Remember Wilson from the movie Castaway? It may have seemed crazy, but it was a strong survival instinct that led Tom Hanks’ character to produce a friend. Grab a plant, a stuffed animal, a cardboard version of your father, etc. Luckily, we are still connected via the internet and cell phones, but we need to replicate the face-to-face interactions.

What you can do, since we’re all in this together:

Treat everyone as fragile.

Give each other grace. Assume we are all fragile, and that the more you induce a state of upset, the more likely you are actually inhibiting their ability to make wise decisions.

Well past this event I’m certain there will be a surge of PTSD cases and this won’t be just the people who have seen the worst of it on the front lines. Even people with comparatively lower levels of loss will struggle. Dismissing anyone’s loss by comparing it to the loss of others will only invalidate it; it won’t mitigate it.

If you see someone bucking the social distancing recommendations and stay-at-home mandates, you have a few options:

  • Allow the anger and accept it as your own grief stage
  • Assume there’s something you don’t know about their situation, or ask them non-confrontationally
  • Report them and let someone else deliver justice
  • Be part of the solution – Stores have designed aisles to be one-way, have added trashcans where shoppers kept putting used gloves, and have limited the number of shoppers in the store. So many are stepping up to make masks for people, deliver items to elderly neighbors, donate to charities, etc. What is within your power to do to help?
Achieve stillness

Like a pond being blown by the wind, the reflection will be distorted and blurry. When you allow your emotions to settle, you are better able to see problems and solutions more clearly. That doesn’t mean your emotions are wrong. What you resist persists. Spend 90 seconds really feeling those emotions, and even feeling gratitude for those emotions. Journal the thoughts that arise that keep you from achieving a peaceful mind. Then, try meditating.

There are many group meditations and prayer groups on Facebook. There are also a lot of great apps for guided meditation. I recommend Insight Timer.

Surrender

There are things you can control and there are things you can’t. The more you try to exert control over that which you have no control, the more stress you create in your life. The wisdom to know the difference can come from stillness, even though action feels better. Sometimes action is just artificial control. Shift your focus to the present moment and that which you have influence over.

Having a hard time deciding your next career step? Work with someone who understands and appreciates the emotional journey you are on. Schedule a consultation now.

The White Stripes I just don’t know what to do with myself

The Whie Stripes i just don’t know what to do with myself from the album elephant

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.

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

Godsmack – Serenity (Official Music Video)

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

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

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

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

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

What You Need To Do To Prepare for a Down Economy

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

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

Evaluate: Do you need to pivot?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Higher Education
  • Health Insurance

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

Fine-Tune Your Brand

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

Reconnect

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

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

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

Focus on Wellness of Mind, Body, and Spirit

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

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

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

Islands In the Stream

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

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

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

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

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

How You Respond to a Slump Determines How Quickly You Recover

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Compile a Slump Stockpile

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

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

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

Inspiration/Flow Immersion

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

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

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

Mindfulness/Journaling

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

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

Affirmation/Incantations/Prayer

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

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

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

Fresh Air/Natural Light/Living Things

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

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

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

Outside Assistance

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Aerosmith – Back In The Saddle (Audio)

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

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

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

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

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

When Keeping It Real at Work Goes Wrong

Authenticity is quickly emerging as a top desired quality of conscious leaders in 2020 and beyond. In particular, a leader who can be vulnerable, honest about flaws, accountable for mistakes, and commit to positive change with believable conviction is highly prone to inspiring today’s and tomorrow’s workforce to follow him or her.

Any strength, however, can also be a liability if it’s not balanced by consciousness. An unconscious leader is not self-aware enough to distinguish truth (data, facts) from story (opinion, perception, bias.)

When decisions are made from this place, the ego fights to maintain control, and will staunchly produce confirmation bias. Science has proven that we are all prone to confirmation bias. Self-awareness is like a muscle that can be developed and strengthened over time with practice. Just like any other skill, we can form better habits around self-awareness. It can become something we do automatically as we become unconsciously competent.

Over 15 years ago, Dave Chappell demonstrated the drawbacks to “keeping it real,” and how people sometimes justify outrage, verbal assaults, or even physical assault. In the end, they lose.

Nowadays, with social media even more commonplace, “keyboard warriors” and “trolls” have emerged. We also have the term “snowflakes” to describe those who express an emotional response, take things personally, or voice an opposing opinion with passion.

We have more venues for communication than ever before, and different preferences around communication. Consequently, there’s more than one way people want to be shown respect.

It’s confusing to have so many people trying to influence if, when, and/or how it’s acceptable to express emotions. On top of that, people have an opinion about whether your emotional response is right or wrong. Civil discourse has disintegrated into name-calling and divisiveness that appears to be beyond bridging.

A new generation is entering the workforce with the highest rates of mental illness of any generation. Is this what is causing this?

Way back in Interpersonal Communications, a course I had as a communications major, we learned a very simple method to have effective conversations with people. It started with active listening – listening for comprehension, not reply.

And then, to ensure comprehension, because so much can be subjectively translated based on one’s personal experiences and perceptions, to repeat back to the person your understanding/translation of what they just said. Then asking for clarification, reflecting, and thoughtfully responding.

It seemed then like just a helpful guide for having clear communications, which is VERY easy to NOT do and results in unnecessary stress, conflict, divisiveness, and unharmonious collaboration that stifles progress and wellness.

After years of studying other disciplines that also impact communication, such as neuroscience, the reflection part of this is where there is a development gap, and thankfully mindfulness is coming along to fill that gap.

It’s a busier world now. Unless leaders are consciously making time for conscious reflection. They are prone to making decisions from bias, perception, and opinion. There’s also a need to make sure that future leaders are supported in developing these habits by being able to take regular brain fatigue breaks throughout the day and work reasonable hours. Time off is also important so that people have the ability to travel, to see things from a different perspective, and to turn off the problems and stress of work for periods of time.

Another communication gap is words, or at least, it would seem that it’s words that directly cause a response. Actually, it’s the mindset from which the words originate.

I read a short, but highly impactful book many years ago called Change Your Words; Change Your World by Andrea Gardner. It advised bathing words in your mouth with love before they leave your lips.

Your ego is always trying to convince you that you’re right and others are wrong. Your higher self will favor understanding over judgment.

No one likes feeling judged or being judged. Any hint of judgment in your words can backfire in harmful ways, the least of which is resistance – the opposite outcome you desire.

Make sure you are not insinuating someone is wrong when that is really just your opinion.

Ask yourself if your words are kind, honest, and necessary.

If so, consult with your highest self. “Taste” the words you intend to use. Do they drip with love?

Your ego is real but does not always see the truth. Your highest self is real and sees profound truth. If you’re going to keep it real at work, stay in alignment with your highest self, not your ego. The more you do this, the more automatic it will become. The more automatic it becomes, the more influential and authentic you will grow as a leader.

Fugees – Killing Me Softly With His Song (Official Video)

Fugees’ official music video for ‘Killing Me Softly With His Song’. Click to listen to the Fugees on Spotify: http://smarturl.it/TFSpot?IQid=FKMS As featured…

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

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

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

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

We Are In Big Trouble If Leaders Don’t Start Doing This

Reflections

How do we shift from a world where rampant mental illness pushes people to the limits of their humanity to a world where we take good care of one another?

Could it be as simple as breathing??

Letting go?

Healing?

Processing?

Allowing?

Surrendering?

Choosing happiness?

Self-reflection may be simple, but it’s not easy.

I cherish my time for self-reflection. Without it, I tend to stay in a stressful loop. In a moment I might start to go down a rabbit hole, thinking about an interaction that I had or have to have. Without time to process these thoughts fully, they just stay in a loop.

There is something I am supposed to get from these repeating thoughts, which is why my brain keeps showing me it. I need to reveal it’s meaning, process my emotions about it, and then put it behind me as completed. If not, my energy gets sapped. I find it hard to focus and all tasks take longer. I may even procrastinate or escape into TV or social media. Still that thought loops.

It’s like when you are running late for something and you keep going back to your house for different things you forgot and it just gets later and later. Ever do that? Be in such a rush that you forget important things and it causes you to be even later?

I notice that if tasks and obligations, including my cherished kids and clients, keep me from giving these thoughts my full attention for a while, I start to resent them. I get short tempered. I set up boundaries to protect myself. I have more freedom to do so because I am self-employed. Still, when I accept work, I make a commitment and that commitment has to be fulfilled. I don’t always see a busy time coming and I get stuck

However, companies need to adopt a self-care culture to allow their people to grow and develop not just skill wise, but in their consciousness. Our planet actually depends on it!

Otherwise, we get unconscious producers in power, focused only on producing hard results without consideration of consequences. This explains situational greed, a neuroscience concept I introduced in a previous blog in which the brain starts to rewire itself to pursue more power and/and possessions, sometimes even becoming addicted to the dopamine release of acquiring more power and/or possessions. Without being able to regularly take time, which becomes even harder as you take on more responsibility and authority, this can go unchecked and lead to a host of toxic conditions and detrimental consequences.

Without that time, I could not have written this!

A balance, however elusive, appears to be the more accurate place from which to make critical decisions that impact many.

Not work-life balance, but production and reflection balance. An employer can’t assume its employees are doing this at home.

This is a generalization, but often those at the top of the income chain employ the assistance of others to take care of admin/housekeeping, even child rearing. But do they use the time that is freed from those tasks for reflection? Or, do they use that time to produce or feed ego?

Most other people, including top producers, are going home and attacking a busy kid activity and homework schedule plus a home care task list. Then they zone out consuming media because they are mentally and emotionally exhausted – another generalization, I realize.

Still, I think it’s fair to say the general workforce is not in the habit of making time for self-reflection, and if they are, they doing it incompletely and getting stuck in the loop I described above.

The loops below are a much better model for conscious growth, whether you are a leader or a producer:

Achieving Conscious Leadership

 

  1. Consumption – Make plans based on new insights, illuminations, teachings
  2. Reflection – Consider how people and planet will be impacted directly and indirectly
  3. Production – Set goals and intentions and execute
  4. Reflection – Examine direct and indirect impacts, as well as own performance relative to higher self

The key is self-intimacy (into-me-I-see). Not just asking how was it, evaluating in terms of results, profits, etc., but asking how was I. Sometimes the answers aren’t good, and the ego doesn’t like them.

But the higher self, the one who wants to continually evolve into a better and better person, a better leader and a more positive influence on the people around them, needs them.

Coincidentally, I came across this warning signs list this morning. I thought someone might need this more than music, so I’m sharing it.

https://www.higherperspectives.com/warning-signs-nervous-breakdown-2610845741.html