Archives for self-discovery

What’s Missing When You Pray to Discover Your Purpose

Kirtomy View Point by Paul Wordingham of Flickr

Kirtomy View Point by Paul Wordingham of Flickr

 

Not all of my clients are religious, though most would claim to be spiritual. I am constantly working on procuring and presenting the scientific studies that continue to emerge to promote the benefits of ritualized higher communication, which I will define as an attempt to connect with any nonphysical entity perceived to have power. This can take many forms, including most commonly prayer and meditation. I have covered in previous blogs the scientific implications of meditation without fully realizing that some of my religious clients believe that praying is meditating. There is a very clear distinction between prayer and meditation; with prayer, you are TALKING and with MEDITATION you are SENSING.

Discovering your purpose can be a very confronting process where limiting beliefs about yourself and the world inevitably surface. The services that I provide that to help facilitate this process can be very challenging to answer, because it requires my clients to see themselves in a way they may not have been willing to or needed to in the past. It hurts their brain, and they are brilliant – it has nothing to do with intelligence. I encourage them to rely upon multiple methods and tools that have helped them increase self-awareness in the past, and provide them with new tools and methods that enable them to answer these questions as comprehensively as possible so that we can arrive at optimal conclusions about their future faster.

After all, a ship captain does not rely solely on his cutting edge navigation system; it could fail at any moment. He needs maps, and perhaps would even be wise to learn the age-old system of using the stars to navigate the seas in the case that his maps are lost or thrown overboard.

Meditation is one of many tools that have proven to be very effective at helping my clients, and myself, gain more clarity on meaningful questions about how to achieve the life we want.

I have no intentions of minimizing the power of prayer, as it too has been scientifically proven to cause results and I have seen it work in my own life. However, the shortcoming of relying on this method alone is that the answers to your prayers can come in so many different ways, and they can be easy to mistake as insignificant coincidences. In order for this to be an effective method, you also have to attune yourself to be completely receptive to your answer and have unwavering faith that the answer will appear without using reason or logic to question that answer. You have to LISTEN for something beyond yourself.

Have you heard the story of the man who was warned by all of his town officials to evacuate to a shelter due to expected flooding? The sheriff came and knocked on his door personally after the rest of the town had already found safety and he refused, insistent that God will save him. As the floodwaters started to rise, a boat came by to take him to safety, but the man insisted that God will save him, and so he stayed, moving to the second floor. The floodwaters continued to rise until the only place the man had left to be safe was on his own roof. A chopper flew by and sent a rope down. The man refused this last attempt of human help. The waters continued to rise and in desperation the man cried out to God, “Why didn’t you come save me? I had faith that you would get me to safety.” God replied, “I sent the sheriff, I sent a boat, and I sent a chopper. What else did you want from me?”

What did the man think the help was going to look like? Perhaps he thought God Himself would come and raise him up to the heavens.

In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, we have a lot of noise to sort through in order to hear or see the answers and resources that are truly all around us. Besides needing the faith to know that the answers are really there, you need to create quiet in the noise in order to notice the answers.

Meditation is a practice, albeit challenging for most, that requires us to be still, eliminate self-talk, and sense, as opposed to thinking. The best answer does not always come from our logical brain. Our logical brain will provide us with valuable input, but just like relying upon one form of increasing self-awareness limits how self-aware you will become, not consulting your intuition and your subconscious will narrow your spectrum of possibilities, risking that you will dismiss a very viable future as too far-fetched. We often focus prematurely on the HOW before we are clear on the WHAT. Another risk is that you simply will not be able to bring to light the things you don’t even know are possible.

Meditation is one of many powerful ways to attune yourself to be more receptive to the answers to your prayers, and I’m sure you have already heard about the studies that link meditation to other health benefits, including stress management.

Stress management is critical when you are in a state of flux in your life. The things that life throws at us can be that much more difficult to gain a sense of control over when we feel our future is out of control. The fear and anxiety that problems in life cause can be that much more of an inhibitor to our ability to be attuned and awakened to how to create alignment between our reality and our vision of an ideal future.

 

Meditation and prayer, as well as engaging experts in the job market like me, can all be powerful tools to help you accelerate what is usually the very uncomfortable stage of career discovery. When you are in flux, you don’t have a destination, and therefore are unable to gain control of your vocation navigation. Not everyone minds drifting aimlessly from port to port, but it will make some sea sick, and you eventually need to reach port to acquire the food and resources you need to live.  Wouldn’t you agree that it would be even better if that port has the potential to provide you with the resources for a fulfilled, happy life that you might even call home?

 

Redefine Your Definition of Freedom

Peace Doves Alice by Popkorn of Flickr

Peace Doves Alice by Popkorn of Flickr

 

If you subscribe to enough newsletters by business coaches or perform enough Google searches on residual income, you will be bombarded by gurus selling the idea of products promising that financial freedom can be yours.

You know the ones…

“For 3 easy payments of $997, you, too, can achieve financial freedom.”

What an uninspired vision.

Do not get me wrong. I would love to be at the point in my life where an income was optional. Nevertheless, does financial freedom equal freedom?

The idea of being financially free sounds so ethereal, so evasive, like such a pipedream, but I’ve found that for every appealing fantasy, there are an equal amount of reservations of living with unlimited income:

Would friends and family presume you were somehow different and “too good” now?

How many people would come out of the woodwork with their hand out?

What kinds of new family drama might ensue because of this windfall?

Would it turn you into a miserable recluse afraid to trust anyone?

What if you could not walk the streets without feeling like a target for pickpockets or even more unsavory characters?

What if the success you achieve just adds to the pressure of living up to expectations you cannot possibly uphold?

 

Does that sound like freedom to you? Even the thoughts themselves serve as shackles.

If we are ever able to get our imaginations to stretch far enough to imagine ourselves without financial worry, a whole new set of worries tend to creep into our thoughts.

But what if we were free from those fears?  What if, no matter what our current financial situation was, we felt secure in our faith that all would be taken care of?

I honestly do not know that many people who possess and practice that level of faith, but let me be crystal clear – surrendering your fate to a higher power is still not freedom.

I don’t mean to say that you can sit back, relax, do nothing, and great things will come to you.  As a matter of fact, I mean the opposite.

I have shared with you before how the word “can’t” is forbidden in my house.  Not only is it forbidden, but it’s not even acknowledged as a thing: “There is no ‘can’t.’ Only ‘I don’t know how yet. ‘”

The concept of freedom that I want you to entertain and try is one in which anything you could want to do is possible – a world without limits. Limits have a tendency to stop us before we even reach them. Or, we let other people who have not even tried to reach them tell us that they are there and we take their word for it. That is certainly not freedom.

I did not write this article to define freedom for you; I wrote it because I want to encourage you to reevaluate your own definition of freedom and furthermore, assess how much effort you have really made to achieve it.

Do not give up on freedom. Do not assume it is not possible for you. Do not decide that there is nothing really all that fantastic about it, or you know right away that you have not discovered an empowering vision of freedom, and therefore it is not really freedom at all.

Here is my empowering vision of freedom:

I wake up every day certain about how I can be my highest self and what actions I can take to fulfill my highest purpose. I let my intuition guide me and trust unwaveringly that as long as I follow it, everything will turn out exactly as it should. I speak from a place of love, compassion and acceptance. Each moment is infused with joy and fun. I expect and therefore notice when something or someone has been put in my path to help me, and I openly receive this assistance. I go to bed each night knowing, with great peace, that I have done everything that was in my power to do, and tomorrow I will be even better.

 

What is your empowering vision of freedom?

 

Top 10 Corrective Actions to “Fix” Your Job Transition

Photo courtesy of JD Hancock (http://bit.ly/1whbJh7) "The Fix Is In" : Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) on flickr creative commons.

Photo courtesy of JD Hancock (http://bit.ly/1whbJh7) “The Fix Is In” : Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) on flickr creative commons.

The good news is that there are a lot of people out there who want to help you find a job.  The bad news is that not all of the advice out there is good.  In fact, some of it, when followed, will stand between you and the job you want and need.

There are also things that job seekers do that completely contradict the good advice that is out there.  It never ceases to amaze and alarm me that job seekers spend their time engaged in activities that do absolutely nothing to help them achieve their goals when there are so many enjoyable activities that will.

Here are the top 10 things that I have personally seen done in the last 8+ years with alarming volume and the things that can be done instead to help job seekers gain and sustain momentum in their job search.

  1. Asking people who cannot personally vouch for your performance to help you get an interview in their company

People currently in a job that they want or need will make keeping their job a priority.  They will not do anything to jeopardize their reputation or the well being of their organization.  They will, however, be sure to make recommendations that have a high chance of improving their company or make them look good.

Corrective Action: Request a new contact’s time to better understand the organization’s needs.  Inspire them to give you an introduction to the stakeholders so that you can recommend solutions, even if the solutions are other people.

  1. Inviting people you don’t know to connect on LinkedIn with no indication of why they should want to connect

Certainly, there are a lot of people out there who want to help.  Even helpful people have a limit to their time and their willingness to help strangers who may abuse the network that they have invested time in nurturing.  You DO have a lot more to offer than just filling an open position in a company.  You have a network of your own and solutions to problems.

Corrective Action: When you identify a contact who may be able to assist you, review the contact’s profile for indications of how you or your network might be able to serve him or her, such as in the recent status updates.  Then, write an invitation that requests a phone or in-person meeting to discuss how you can help each other before you join each other’s network.  Then once you do connect, use the notes field of the profile to record what you identified as that person’s needs and be proactive to follow up on them.

  1. Using a boilerplate message to invite people to LinkedIn or importing contacts

About every article or speaker that I have ever seen on the subject of LinkedIn has advised users to replace the boilerplate LinkedIn invitation. Unfortunately, almost all of LinkedIn’s screens inform you of people you can invite, or prompt you to do so, without giving you the ability to customize your message. You actually have to visit their profile and click on the CONNECT icon to have the option to customize your message.

Corrective Action: Personalize every message and be explicit as to what assistance you are seeking while offering yourself and your network to help with their initiatives.

  1. Asking a company that has extended an offer to wait for you to hear from other companies

Let’s say you were on a date and it went well and you asked for a second date for next Friday, but he or she wants to wait until next Thursday to let you know.  Now let’s say they told you that they wanted to wait until Thursday because they want to see if a hotter date is going to pan out or not.  Now let’s say you’ve been dating for months and you proposed, but your amore wants to explore his or her feelings for someone else before giving you an answer.  When you consider that a company spends weeks or months trying to find that special someone, and you usually have weeks to consider the company as a match, more time to consider an offer puts the company at risk that they might have to start the process all over again.

Corrective Action: Request 48 hours to evaluate a company’s WRITTEN offer and give them an answer in that time.

  1. Going above the hiring manager’s head to get ahead in the interview process

If you are already in consideration for a position, there are ways that you can improve your chances, but there are also ways to hurt your chances.  Trying to engage inside advocates often just creates internal conflict.  Most hiring is not done democratically.  A new person can really tip morale one way or another, so everyone has a vested interest in who gets hired, but few have the authority to do the hiring.  Keeping a company’s politics in check so that it does not affect productivity is already a tricky enough task.  Asking someone to “pull some strings” if they are not the hiring manager is a request that can put everyone in an uncomfortable position.

Corrective Action: When you identify additional contacts in an organization, ask them to help you gain additional perspective on the organization’s problems (without jeopardizing confidentiality) and discuss potential solutions.  Then you can include this insight in the WRITTEN thank you note that you send to the hiring manager and any other stakeholders who were involved in the interview process.

  1. Ask people to pass on leads for positions that match your job title

Chances are, even if you are “flexible,” you have more criteria to the job that you would accept than it just matching a job title.  Logically, it may make sense that the more general you are when you ask people to keep alerted to positions for you, the more leads you will receive.  Practically, however, your function in a company rarely cleanly matches a job title and not only will you receive job leads that you will not want to follow up on, but the people who pass them on will be discouraged and less likely to pass something on if they think you will not follow up.  Also, by the time a posted position makes it to you, it is often too late in the game to be considered.

Corrective Action: Explain to people what problems you solve, for whom, and what conversations they might hear that indicate that an introduction would be beneficial to all parties. When you do receive a lead that does not fit, but includes a contact name, follow up, be forthright and offer to help them find the right candidate.

  1. Only seeking the help of those in your field

Back to the song from Sesame Street, “Who are the people in your neighborhood?”  Think about the people who see other people all the time.  People in your field may see other people in your field, but they also might be limited to seeing people in their field that only work for their company, and once they exhaust their own company as a viable employer for you, there may be past colleagues.  According to a University of Virginia study, we are all connected by no more than seven degrees of separation.  If you are on LinkedIn, it probably surprises you how you are connected to people.  It is very visible once you put your network into a digital map.  What about the rest of your network, however?  What about your dentist, your mailman, your landscaper, the cashier at your favorite lunch spot? They also see other people all the time!

Corrective Action: Make inquiries of people who are outside of your professional realm to see who and what they know that might help you find out who has problems that you can solve.

  1. Asking other people what kind of job you should be pursuing

When you are doing a self-discovery process to determine what your next line of work will be, the input of others is sometimes helpful; it is impossible to be objective about yourself, after all.  However, no one should know more about what you want than you.  People generally have great intentions when they make suggestions, but most of their reasons will be in direct contrast to YOUR priorities.

Corrective Action: Give other people an idea of what you consider to be your strengths and what you suspect you would want to contribute to an organization.  Ask for suggestions and make a list.  Identify at least 3 people for each potential path who are willing to share with you what the challenges and rewards of that role are.  Compare these with your concerns and greatest desires.  Narrow the list down to one and design your campaign (or ask us for help).

  1. Using job market data to determine the viability of your job transition

When the Bureau of Labor and Statistics gather and disseminate information, it is comprehensive.  When the media reports it, it is simplistic and usually bleak.  If an area is “growing,” so is your competition in that area.  What is growing today may be shrinking tomorrow.  Those who survive will be the ones with the highest qualifications and passion.  Also, it is not as important to know who is NOT getting a job as it is to know who IS getting a job and why.

Corrective Action: Pursue the position that is most viable for you – the one that genuinely aligns with your talents and motivations.

  1. Spending more than 10% of your transition time on job boards

When job boards first became commonplace, they did more good than harm.  Now they are a necessary evil. Companies need to track their candidate applications and are required to keep records on what actions are taken.  That does not make job boards the best way for you to be noticed or invited for an interview. You may still have to submit your information through a company’s website to comply with their human resources procedures. You do NOT have to start there.

Corrective Action: Track the time that you spend on your transition, including social engagements, as long as you leverage them.  Adjust your weekly activity so that no more than 5% of your time is spent on job boards.  Set up agents on the aggregating sites (Indeed, Simply Hired) and check them ONLY twice a week.  Once you identify a desirable position on a job board, go straight to LinkedIn or niche recruiters to find a better way to get in front of the hiring manager.  Use the online application offered by job boards as a LAST RESORT.