Archives for Tim Ferriss

What Career Did You Decide Was “Too Hard to Break Into?”

Dreaming in color by _davor of Flickr

 

This week I just wanted to share a brief notice about a trend that is way too prevalent.

People decide that their dream career is unobtainable. Just because– not because they did the research, crunched the numbers, interviewed people in that job to see how they got there, or even checked the LinkedIn profiles or biographies of those who were in that career – just because.

They assume.

And yet, other people are seeking and obtaining their dream careers.

True, you might have to fill a knowledge or skill gap. You might have to take a step back in income. But do you know that, or are you guessing that?

And even if few people get to do it, who is to say that you couldn’t do it?

Ask yourself this question: Why couldn’t you?

Is your answer based on fact or story?

Think it is too late? Doubtful!

If an 82-year-old nun can finish an Ironman Triathlon, what makes you think you are too old? A 98-year-old yoga teacher would tell you anything is possible at any age.

Who gets to decide that you are too old anyway?  In most cases, you do.

Read this blog by Tim Ferriss about an experiment he conducted at Princeton University to prove that bigger goals are more than obtainable. Most people assume that things are harder than they are, and they don’t even try, EVEN when there are exceptional rewards.

 

So, what dream job did you exclude as possible, and is it or not?

 

How Can Anybody Get Anything Done These Days?

Social Media by Magicatwork of Flickr

 

It has been an interesting past few months on social media. I can personally say it has been much more of a distraction now than it has ever been.

My usual tricks for limiting the amount of time that I spend engaging in non-work related activities on social media have had much less of an impact, and in a lot of cases it’s like I’ve forgotten all about them.

(I will share them in a bit.)

I do not post or comment a lot on political subjects, but I do feel a need to stay informed. This leads to observing very heated discourse between people on both sides of various topics.

I do not seek to persuade anyone, but I do seek to understand both sides. Unfortunately, in most cases I don’t find understanding. Instead, I noticed that I’ve just wasted an extra 15 minutes, sometimes even longer, reading commentary that upsets me. Then I spend another 15 minutes trying to find content that will help me get back into a healthier, more positive, more productive mindset.

Generally, I have noticed that I feel a little more powerless and that has led to a lot more anxiety. I have noticed that people I like to spend time with, I avoid now, knowing that they are very vocal on the opposite side of my beliefs. This makes me sad and I do not feel as connected to these people who used to bring such joy to my life.

I have a given an exception for invitations to meet new network contacts, and favor shorter get-to-know-you phone calls to avoid topics that usually tend to emerge when you sit down with someone for longer than a half hour.

My practice of being happy has required a lot more diligence to overcome these obstacles. I tend to want to immerse myself in more positive content just to normalize myself into a state where I can get done what is on my agenda to fulfill my mission.

Then I wonder about all of these people who are engaging in heated discourse. Some of them seem to go back-and-forth all day defending their original statement and refuting others. I’m seeing referencing data, which may not have just been at their fingertips. It is clear that they have taken the time to search and find this data simply to prove to a stranger that they are right and the other is wrong.

The upsetting thing for me is not that people disagree. I believe that is part of the beauty of our country. The upsetting thing is the name-calling and the dismissing other people’s opinion as being a product of ignorance, lack of morals, or low intelligence.

As a human being prone to bias just like anyone else, as per my previous post, I may make the same initial assumptions, but I know logically that even if there is a different belief system driving people to reside on an opposite side than me, my beliefs are not better than theirs, nor are they worse. It is just very difficult using the medium of social media and a venue like emotionally-charged sound bites, to really get down to the understanding that would enable me to draw a more accurate conclusion.

This desire to understand, however, is not only unsatisfying but unproductive. Especially while my first quarter initiatives have been riddled with technical setbacks and difficulties, it has been even easier for me to justify the distraction of so called informing myself and seeking understanding. I’m at a crossroads and I have to make a change.

No, this isn’t my usual “insight, expertise and practical tips” post. This is something I am still in the middle of figuring out, and I know that I’m not alone. I am hoping we can help each other figure it out. Here are some things that I have done in the past that have been successful in helping me curb succumbing to the siren of social media:

 

Lists on post-its

I cannot always opt to just to avoid social media; it is part of my job. Not only do I market myself on social media, but I also help others leverage it to increase opportunity. That means staying in tune with changes, staying up on navigation and future updates, and listening and observing to help others effectively use social media. Lists may not seem like that ingenious of an idea, but the key is keeping them visible. I write a sticker for whatever I am there on social media to accomplish and stick it to my screen. It serves as a constant reminder that I am there for a purpose.

 

A timer

It is a best practice to decide the night before what I really need to accomplish the next day and break my day up into segments. If you are someone who experiences high-level anxiety when things don’t go as planned, this may actually increase your stress. The purpose is not to be rigid, but to be intentional. If something happens to take longer than anticipated, I know that I have to adjust the rest of the day and the activities, perhaps making some sacrifices to make sure that the most important things get done.

In The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferris, I learned that we will tend to take as long as we give ourselves to complete a project. This is why some people wait until the last minute to finish a project– they feel it will ultimately take them less time than if they started early. Of course, waiting until the last minute can cause problems when unexpected events and challenges occur. Tim Ferris does not recommend waiting until the last minute, but he does recommend giving yourself and others an early fake deadline. In applying his advice, not only will I manage a larger project like this, but also milestones, mini-projects and tasks.

When it comes to things like writing and social media, I know my tendencies are to get sucked in and take too much time. These are the things that I time. I might give myself an hour to write a blog, but when it comes to social media I will keep the time very short, I favor multiple short visits versus blocking a significant amount of time to get everything done. For instance, I will avoid social media until I have gotten the most impactful things out of the way. I will have already have meditated, and I certainly will have already broken my day down. Then I will schedule three 10 minute time slots intended for short postings that I will write outside of social media first. The next day I will allocate an hour to posting a client’s LinkedIn profile content. Then I plan when I will engage in social media for personal pleasure and interaction. I usually do this during a meal, unless I am eating with someone. I may slip in again while my kids brush their teeth at night. This is ideally where it would stop.

 

Turn off notifications

Social media designers know what they’re doing, and their intention is to make you come back over and over again. They want you addicted. Turning off notifications can be tough when potential clients and customers reach you through these venues and their needs are immediate, for instance if you’re a plumber and you deal with a lot of plumbing emergencies. Realistically, you would want to have someone else handling any incoming inquiries, because most of your time would ideally be spent helping customers. When you have a different quandary – make sure whoever is assisting you with incoming leads isn’t wasting their time on social media.

If these strategies alone do not help you minimize the amount of time that you spend not getting closer to your goals, there are some apps that can help you block websites for periods of time. SelfControl, StayFocsd, and Cold Turkey may help. If your job requires you to be on social media, these tools maybe too inhibitive for you.

If you have noticed a decrease in your quality of life and relationships, and you believe there might be a correlation between this and your social media usage, I encourage you to try these tricks.

However, if these tricks do not work and you sense that your social media habits will continue to have a cost to your life, consider that you might be suffering from FOMO (fear of missing out). While this legitimate syndrome recognized by psychologists is not just limited to social media and users thereof, you may be able to look at your social media usage as either a symptom or a cause, and reach out for help.

 

As I am committed to relieving myself from the potential costs that social media has been imposing on my own life, I would love to hear others strategies and tactics.

 

My 2017 Plan of Attack

The Eye of the Tiger by Stuck With My Camera of Flickr

 

Attack may seem like a militaristic word, but after much consideration, it fits my current mindset. Like the eye of the tiger, I have my vision in sight and I am feeling poised and ready to take on 2017.

I have my calendar for the year broken down into micro-movements, better known as milestones, but unlike milestones, micro-movements have a bit more flexibility to shift around. I fully anticipate great opportunities arising that I cannot at this point predict, as I am expecting 2017 to be even better than I imagine.

This actually brings me to my first resources – books:

Code of the Extraordinary Mind: 10 Unconventional Laws to Redefine Your Life and Succeed On  Your Own Terms, Vishen Lakhiani

I am halfway through this book and have already evaluated 12 realms (shared earlier with you) and created inspiring visions for how I want these 12 realms to be. It was promising to find that I have already made significant progress in a couple of areas. The big thing that I just got from this book, however, is the state of mind I need to be in for exponential growth to occur. Goals are great, but not when they intimidate the JOY from the process. This reaffirms the mindset that I aim to adopt in an even more prominent way, that all of these roles that I assume in my life (mom, boss, CEO, coach, writer, adjunct professor, speaker, singer, etc.) are what I GET to do. I don’t LOVE all of the tasks associated with these roles, but if I maintain this mindset, then I can find the joy in these tasks and feel appreciative that I GET to do them. In turn, this will minimize my procrastination and increase my energy, enabling me to do more in less time.

 

The Originals: How Non-conformists Change the World, Adam Grant

I feel like I should have already read this book. It was brought to my attention by a client who helped the author with the launch. Considering he is local to me, and he seems to share a mission and a philosophy with me, I sense there is potential to join forces, but first, I want to delve deeper into his teachings. I realize that some of the things that I teach particular to interviewing and negotiation are contradictory to that which my peers promote. However, it is because of my experience and perspective as a “recovering” recruiter, my empathy for my clients, and the amazing outcomes these methods produced that I am driven to share them with as many people as possible, in spite of how some of them don’t conform to the traditional practices of my industry.

 

Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers, Tim Ferriss

Tim Ferriss changed how I look at meetings, how I delegate, how I invest resources and inspired me to take my hands OFF the things that someone else can do better and faster. As a result, I finally launched my book. Even more important, however, is how I teach my clients to manage their time, making sure they are not spending their time writing their résumés over and over again, but putting their focus where they can make the greatest impact with decision-makers. I have transformed my six-month coaching programs into three-month programs, and I am currently developing a six-week program. I am excited to learn and teach what Tim shares in this book that will help me support shorter and shorter searches for optimal jobs.

 

Emergence: Seven Steps for Radical Life Change, Derek Rydall

Derek demonstrates how wisdom pours through him, as though he just opens himself up and the truth of what really needs attention and love shows up. I love listening to his podcast, “Best Year of Your Life.” I see this quality, too, in Tony Robbins. It is because of who they are and how they are, not what they say or do, that they can be such powerful agents of transformation. I want to learn more about Derek’s journey to discover what I can emulate that will make me more effortlessly, yet powerfully, illuminate my clients’ true brilliance, and teach them to shine even brighter.

 

YOU Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life, Jen Sincero

In my year as a Beachbody coach, this book was touted as the #1 go-to personal development resource. Most of the time, I do feel like a Badass, and I feel myself embodying this more and more. However, there are still those moments and thoughts that threaten to knock me off my path and out of pace. Again, I want to know if this is a resource I should be sharing with my clients, many of whom have self-limiting beliefs that tend to manifest as they form new habits, expand their comfort zones, and embody their brand.

 

The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science, by Norman Doidge

This book may change, since it was published in 2007, and so much more has been discovered about the brain since then, but it is highly acclaimed by the neuroscientists that I follow today. Why do I study the brain? What I was taught in school about the brain has been nullified by what they have discovered in the past 10 years. We are much more capable of changing our brains, a phenomenon they call neuroplasticity, and our brain is ultimately responsible for more of our reality than we knew before. When I started learning about the Law of Attraction in 2008, I needed to understand if there was any science to how our thoughts impact our reality. I found answers in neuroscience and quantum physics, and what I have learned since then has helped me be a better coach. I can help my clients override the neural patterns that keep them from attaining the change they so desire.  I will read one book on the brain, and I promise to share with you what it is and what I learned.

 

My 2017 company goals include:

  • Joining the National Speakers Association
  • (Re)starting a online community that will serve as a focus group for a 30-day Law of Attraction program
  • Building a back-end for Accelerfate, my job search mobile game, and put it in the hands of users
  • Engaging and training two like-minded professionals to use the Epic approach to help me support even more job seekers in 2017
  • Wining an industry award, submitting a résumé or two for a TORI (Toast of the Résumé Industry) award. BIG on my list > this is the last year I am eligible to win the Philadelphia Business Journal’s 40 under 40 list, or any other 40 under 40 list.
  • Landing a prestigious speaking gig

 

Events I plan on attending:

AwesomenessFest, better known as A-Fest

This happens twice a year in two exotic locations. This year’s first event is May 17-20 in Ibiza, Spain. I have never been to Europe before. I would certainly want to see more of it before coming back, but would also want my family to be with me.

 

Any Tony Robbins event

This is a bucket list item that I am feeling more and more compelled to check off. The more immersed I become in communities committed to personal and professional development, and the more I find myself quoting his videos, the more I realize that I do have a date with destiny.

 

An HR Tech conference, two of which I am examining:

HR Tech October 10-13 in Las Vegas, NV

Workhuman May 30-June 1 in Phoenix, AZ

 

A Career Development conference

National Career Development Association annual conference June 28-30 in Orlando, FL

 

I look forward to reviewing this list and what I accomplished at year’s end. In the meantime, 2017, here I come!

 

My Best Year Yet: The Top 3 People, Authors and Coaches Who Made It So

Art4theglryofGod by Sharon of Flickr

 

2016 has truly been a spectacular year for my personal and my professional life. I definitely give praise to God, especially because the family members whose health had caused grave concerns in the past all seem to have made tremendous recoveries.

As I reflect on this year, I want to give praise to the mentors, coaches, teachers, and authors who have been the most influential to my best year in business yet.

Before I do that, though, I would like to pass on the utmost gratitude to all of my clients from previous years, this year, and certainly the ones who fall in both categories and allow me to make ongoing contributions to their career. It is only because you are there to allow my gifts to help you that I can fulfill my purpose. As a fan of words, I do not feel like I could ever adequately express just how grateful I am for you.

Now that has been said, I need to acknowledge the people who have enabled me to make increasingly greater contributions to my clients through their wisdom and teachings.

 

THE PEOPLE

Firstly, thank you Ford Myers. From my first few months in business through now being considered a fellow veteran of the industry, I want to thank you for the contribution you made to me, such as letting me borrow your Ultimate Career Guide through writing the foreword to my new book. You helped me build a strong foundation from which I could build my own solid business and reputation. And, thanks to the professional that you are, the industry as a whole in our region has been able to make a greater impact in the lives of corporate professionals. I very much appreciate the times that we were able to sit down and talk philosophy and pragmatism. I hope we will be able to do more of that in 2017.

Ed Samuel, thank you for introducing me to CCI Consulting. You have changed my perception of the quality possible in outplacement programs. You put a tremendous amount of time and energy into your service to others, and as a result, thousands have been able to make their own great contributions. When it is your time to finally slow down, I hope that you will be fully satisfied, joyfully floating on the ripples that reverberate back-and-forth through the pools of professionals who have been impacted by your effort, wisdom, and passion.

Lisa DeLuca, if there is anyone out there who questions the dedication of undergrad career services, I will point them to you to see the optimal example of the positive impact that is possible when career services establishes itself as a progressive partner firmly integrated into an effective preparatory undergrad curriculum. But that’s just who you have been for academia in general, LeBow, and its students. For me, having been self-employed for nine years prior to joining the adjunct faculty, I was encouraged by your patience, compassion, and guidance as I embarked on my own new career adventure. And, I have been impressed with your trust in my experience and how much you and LeBow value that. It has given my confidence and my credibility a boost that has enabled me to reach and help so many more people in 2016.

 

THE BOOKS

These are some books that created a shift in the momentum of my business this year.

The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod

Not only did I read more this year because of the practices that I adopted from this book, but I also grew at an exponential pace. This book and the Facebook community are directly attributable to my growth. I urge you to join a community and read this book, but especially without hesitation because the author is currently fighting cancer. I fully expect that he will recover and come back stronger than ever, but don’t miss your chance to get to know him.

The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss

Though I listened to the free audiobook available on YouTube, I recommend that you get the printed copy. I struggled to take notes at the pace that I could listen, and that is about the pace that he delivers the goods. Because of this book not only do I focus more of my time on the things that I enjoy and do best, but I also have been able to help my clients do more in less time. Both are critical when you are working and you begin to transition as well as when you are not working and need income.

Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin

I learned and teach a lot from this book and because of it I can be more accountable as a coach. In turn, I help my clients achieve better results. I can better understand their tendencies around forming good habits, and help them create an environment that is more conducive to long-lasting positive change that will help them achieve professional as well as personal goals now and in the future.

 

THE COURSES

Since reading The Millionaire Mindset in 2012, I have allocated 10% of my revenue toward education and training, and because of The Miracle Morning, have been more regimented than ever about investing 10% of my time to these pursuits. With more revenue than any other year that I’ve been in the business, I have made a record investment in my own professional development. Here are the courses and coaches that made 2016 my best year yet.

Winning the Game of Money, John Assaraf

It was actually years ago that I invested in this program, and I did go fully through it, and it did make an impact, but I had two babies at home. Unless you’ve been there, it is challenging to describe how the needs of two little humans can fracture your focus. I will never regret my decision to work from home with my kids, but if I could change anything about that time in my life it would have been to be more at peace with that life decision and not feel as pressured to keep a certain pace with my business. Feeling ready to refocus with my oldest attending a full day of school, I repeated this course in the spring this year, which was exactly when the shift occurred.

I enjoyed a very steady pipeline of great clients, was invited to participate in or speak at great events, and was offered unprecedented opportunities to partner with organizations I respected. In the past 10 years of being in business, especially when my children were babies, revenue was so unpredictable it was very challenging to make plans, like committing to family vacations. This is the first year we were able to do that, and my husband and I even went on a romantic getaway of our own. While self employment offers freedom to manage your own schedule and choose who you work with, it is not really freedom unless you have the resources, time, and money to do what you wish. I got my first taste of that freedom this year, and I thank John Assaraf and this program for that. If you are on my mailing list, then you have been informed of this program before. If you are not on my mailing list, please join to stay informed of influential resources like this as I discover them.

Consciousness Engineering, Vishen Lakhiani

I have been a member of MindValley for many years now, and have had it to thank for new spiritual awakenings and awareness. In 2016 the founder, Vishen Lakhiani, a curator of consciousness courses, started his own series. He interviews thought leaders covering a variety of different realms of life, learning, and spirituality. Each interview is like a system upgrade download, intended to level up your systems for living that enable you to progress and grow at an exponential pace. This means that the 10% of my time that I have been dedicating to my own professional development has actually produced exponential results.

However, what I see is being the most beneficial components of this course to my clientele have been the inspiration that he and his coaching cohorts are to me, helping me to find a vision of my own future in which I am making a contribution to millions, and some of the stories are just every day people who either experienced extraordinary events, or who experienced ordinary events and created something extraordinary from the experience. The more I expose myself to these real-life stories, the greater the gravitational pull of my hope is, which makes me more excited to get out of bed in the morning, and pushes me to complete a milestone before I rest my head for the night. Anytime I have a commute of 45 minutes or more, I listen to this program. I do not think I can count on both of my hands and toes how many times I have cited this course to my clients, especially when they start to doubt if their dreams are possible. I have come to see belief as a critical ingredient to epic success, but it does not always come easily. Consistent reinforcement is necessary sometimes to generate the kind of belief that turns what is possible into what is probable. That is the major contribution that this course has had on me and my clients in 2016.

Journaling Mastery, Derek Rydall

Because of The Miracle Morning, journaling, aka scribing, has been a part of my routine. I have always been a fan of journaling. Many of the books that I read have journaling components, and, though it takes that much longer to complete these books, they tend to have the greatest impact on my self-awareness and, therefore, the actions that I take toward my vision. I do not know if this 30-day course is still available for individual purchase, but I can tell you that it inspired me to create my own 30-day journaling guide, which is available as of this Wednesday: Laser-sharp Career Focus: Discover your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days.

It wasn’t just the format that was inspired by Derek, however. As the world’s leading expert on the Law of Emergence, based on his teachings I changed my paradigm and the model that I used to help my clients discover their purpose and passion from one that is less about receiving input and more about guiding them further inward to help them acknowledge what is already within them and wanting to emerge. It changed the whole process from one of pushing to allowing oneself to be pulled, which requires a lot less motivation, a force that most of us cannot sustain long enough to overcome challenges and create our dreams.

 

Next week I will share with you what is on deck for 2017. I have a full library of books, courses and events that will help me continue my personal and professional growth sprint and enable me to assist you even better in yours.

 

Have a happy, healthy, prosperous new year!

 

How Have You Grown Since the Last Olympics?

Olympics by Peter Burgess of Flickr

Olympics by Peter Burgess of Flickr

The Olympics are here again.

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Mine:

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

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

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

 

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

 

5 Ways to Be Your Own Best Boss in Your Job Search

Yosr works as a consultant by World Bank Photo Collection of Flickr

Yosr works as a consultant by World Bank Photo Collection of Flickr

 

A revelation to me in my personal development journey was learning that we actually train others how to treat us. So, if you keep finding yourself on the receiving end of bullies or on the giving end of those who constantly take, the reason is: they have learned from you what is acceptable.

This fact can be a hard pill to swallow, but the sooner it is acknowledged, the sooner you can set new expectations on how you want to be treated. It may seem as though this could be difficult with the people closest to you, and easier for people you have yet to meet. The true challenge, however, is learning to treat yourself like you want to be treated.

Though it has taken me all summer, I have finally finished Gretchen Rubin’s book, Better than Before. In the last chapter she shared a strategy that she uses to keep herself on track toward her goals, which is to consult her inner manager. She is an upholder, which means her tendency is to only make commitments that she knows that she can keep, both to herself and others, and then to keep them.  She is still subject to the self-talk that threatens to deviate her from her plan to achieve her goals, however. When that happens, she consults with her and her manager, who is both her boss and her employee.

When you are job searching, you are your own boss, even if you have a coach to help guide you in specific activities and to whom you can be accountable. It is still you everyday that must wake up and do what needs to be done, and still you who reaps the benefits, or suffers the consequences of not doing what needs to be done. More often than not, I have seen how job seekers make themselves suffer if they hit a slump, and this leads to a downward spiral. We are often harder on ourselves than we would be on someone else, or even than we would want someone else to be to us.

I know there are a lot of things to think about and do when you are searching for a job, but it can also be a great opportunity to learn new ways of treating yourself that can enable you to set better expectations for other people, including your future boss.

Here are five ways that during your job search you can be a kind manager to yourself:

 

  1. Set clear daily, weekly, and monthly goals

Last week I offered examples of SMART goals that will help you land. Feel free to use them for yourself or model your own SMART goals after them.

 

  1. Reverse-engineer and schedule your workflow

You may have heard the advice to treat your job search as if it is your job, which means most people tend to spend their 9-5 on searching. I am more of a proponent of working smart versus hard, a la Tim Ferriss’s 4-Hour Workweek. If the SMART goals that you set are ones that do actually help you generate momentum, then managing a schedule is really more about allocating time for those activities, some of which may be in the evening. I truly believe that it is more about the quality of the time invested and not about the quantity. While it seems these days that people have to be on the clock outside of normal business hours, true work–life integration means being off the clock sometimes during normal business hours.

 

  1. Manage, track, measure, and improve

In business it is widely known that you cannot manage what you do not measure and you cannot measure what you do not track. What if the SMART goals that you set are not helping you build momentum? How will you know what to change or improve if you aren’t tracking your activities? This is exactly the reason that we offer our Epic Careering Tool Kit as part of our coaching programs and for individual sale. If you are your own boss, what matters most? That you are doing the activities that are supposed to get results, or that you are getting results? Ultimately, it is about the results – quality job interviews that lead to offers. Keep track of what you are doing so that you can identify what is working and what is not and make improvements that make a difference in your results.

 

  1. Take time for self-care

If you are working smarter rather than harder, that should leave you with some extra time. With this extra time, take care of the things that tend to weigh on your mind and zap your energy. This could be doctor’s appointments that you’ve been putting off or home projects. This could even mean confronting someone with whom you have had a conflict. If you find that you think about these things pretty regularly, take care of them and you will find that you feel lighter, have more energy and are more capable of showing up as your best self. Use this time to engage in activities that bring you joy, or try new things that might teach you something you have yet to discover about yourself.

Many people forego a vacation while they are job searching, but I can’t tell you how many times a client or friend returned to great news about a job offer after taking a vacation. Or they just generally felt more capable of taking on the challenge of landing their next career adventure.

Set clear boundaries on your time, which requires clarity on what is most important to you.  If you better understand why these boundaries exist, you can more confidently enforce them with yourself and with other people. Remember, if you do not respect your own boundaries, no one else will.

“There’s a place in you that you must keep inviolate, you must keep it pristine, clean, so that nobody has the right to curse you or treat you badly. Nobody – no mother, no father, no wife, no husband – nobody, because that may be the place you go to when you meet God. You have to have a place where you say ‘stop it.  Back up.’

 

“Say no, when it is no. Say so. Back it up,” Angelou continued.  “Because that place has to remain clean and clear.”

 

  1. Celebrate and reward good performance

Celebrate every little victory. The more your brain associates good feelings with the activities that you need to do, the easier it will be to form good habits around those activities, whether you believe they are enjoyable or not. You could use Gretchen Rubin’s strategy of pairing, meaning combine the activities that you do not enjoy so much with activities that you do enjoy, such as listening to music while you do research, or coloring while you make phone calls.

One thing that keeps me from getting sucked into social media distraction while I’m working is to use checking Facebook as a reward for finishing my most critical to-dos. This also helps me associate checking Facebook with good feelings, as opposed to the guilt I might feel if I’m doing it instead of what I’m supposed to be doing. The better I feel, the stronger my will is to continue with good habits and abstain from bad ones.

 

I encourage you to evaluate whether you have been a good boss or bad boss to yourself. Perhaps you have been too hard on yourself, or perhaps you have not been expecting enough of yourself. Give to yourself what you feel you have been missing. Treat yourself the way you want to be treated. Once you learn how to set and enforce high expectations of respecting yourself, you will be much more capable of training others, including your next boss, to treat you with the same level of respect.

 

Four Experts Agree: Smart People Engage Coaches

Time is Money

Time is Money

 

If I had a nickel for every time a client told me…

“I would ask them what they think of my new resume, but I don’t want them to think I’m crazy for spending the money to have it professionally written.”

Or

“I don’t know if my spouse is going to go for this. I mean, I need a job, and what I’ve been doing isn’t working, and he/she definitely wants me back to work, but what if we need that money to pay bills if I wind up still looking for a job three months from now.”

Or…

“I would really love to give you a testimonial. You did a fantastic job, but I don’t know if they know I didn’t get here on my own.”

Of course, my clients have every right to keep our relationship confidential, and I completely respect that.

However, in response:

If you haven’t landed or come close to an offer three months after engaging me and you took advantage of everything that I proposed (through a formal proposal process), you get your money back. That is my guarantee.

Also, smart people engage experts, and the experts will tell you that they got where they are because they engaged other experts to help teach them.

Here are four experts who advise that if you want to achieve your goals, don’t spend eight hours doing adequately what an expert can do well in half the time.

 

“The only difference between a rich person and poor person is how they use their time” -Robert Kiyosaki, businessman and author of Rich Dad Poor Dad.

“Today is your day to take total control of your future! Everyone needs a great mentor!” -Bill Walsh, business coach, CEO and founder of Powerteam International.

“Time well spent results in more money to spend, more money to save, and more time to vacation.” – Zig Ziglar, motivational speaker, salesman and author of Better Than Good.

“Effectiveness is doing the things that get you closer to your goals.” -Tim Ferriss entrepreneur, public speaker and author of The 4-Hour Workweek.

 

Time is money, especially when you are in transition. Every week you spend unemployed or without a job is another week spent without optimal income. I know that it is scary to spend money when you do not know how long that money will last. But if the money you spend in transition is not increasing your chances of bringing in income in the future, then once it is spent, it is gone.

I really do not mind at all if a client wants to take all the credit and keeps me a secret. It is ultimately their wise decision to invest in their success and they were smart enough to choose me.

 

The 6 Best Time Hacks to Create More Fun and Success in Your Life

Procrastination by Ffaalumni of Flickr

Procrastination by Ffaalumni of Flickr

Wouldn’t it be marvelous if you had more time in the day to accomplish all of your tasks so you could enjoy life more often? Procrastination is one major roadblock to completing tasks. About 20% of adults reported being chronic procrastinators, while 95% of people admit to being occasional procrastinators. The causes of procrastination are complex and numerous. The time hacks shared here are a way to overcome procrastination and will allow you to accomplish the important tasks in your life, so you can spend more time doing the things you love. The weight of putting off important tasks robs you of energy as you stress over the inability to focus on completing those tasks.

  1. Micro-movements: Author Susan Ariel Rainbow Kennedy, better known as SARK, coined the term in her book Make Your Creative Dreams Real. According to SARK, micro-movements are a way to break down overwhelming tasks into much smaller tasks that take as little as five seconds or up to five minutes. Breaking down a daunting task into smaller steps makes it easier to accomplish.

Author Allyson Lewis suggests a similar approach in her book, The Seven Minute Difference. Lewis argues that spending seven minutes on small actions, or micro-actions, can lead to amazing changes. In short, small movements serve as a way to accomplish large tasks bit by bit and to build momentum.

  1. Activation energy: Activation energy is a term Mel Robbins, an author and motivational speaker, described in her TED Talk. It is the force or effort required to switch from auto-pilot, driven by your habits, to doing something new so that you can create something new in your life. According to Robbins, change does not come naturally, so you must force yourself to change. It is taking action within five seconds of an impulse. If you do not act within five seconds, your mind ultimately “screws you,” and the motivation to do something is lost. By practicing the five-second rule and tapping into activation energy, you will discover the motivation to accomplish more tasks.
  1. Time expansion: Time expansion is completing the things that weigh on your mind, recur in your thoughts, and rob you of energy first. Many experts talk about the benefits of doing this first in order to raise your energy to complete the rest of your daily list. Completing unwanted tasks first make you more effective because this “energy vampire” will no longer intrude on your thoughts. Mark Twain famously referred to this action as “eating a frog.”
  1. Batching time: When you batch tasks together, you to get into a grove and accomplish more in less time. Batching time is a favorite method of author Tim Ferriss (The 4-Hour Work Week). Ferris also proposes that when we allocate less time to a task, we take less time to complete the task. The reverse is also true. An effective strategy is to give yourself an early deadline. For example, if you have a project due on Friday, make Thursday your personal deadline. Bill Walsh, America’s Small Business Coach, recommends you make a list of the ten things that will move you forward faster toward your goal every night to complete the next morning before 10 AM. This list consists of strategic (important, non-urgent) items. Then wake up as early as needed to complete these ten items before 10 AM.
  1. The Four Quadrants of Time Management: Stephen Covey, a self-help and business literature author, famous for his book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, introduced the idea of using four quadrants to determine the priority of a task. The tasks within the quadrant allow you to determine if a task needs to be completed immediately or scheduled for later. The quadrants allow you to question if doing an activity will bring you closer to your goals and how to prioritize your time.
Stephen Covey's Four Quadrants of Time Management

Stephen Covey’s Four Quadrants of Time Management

  1. Our Time and Resource Allocation Tool: There is a saying in corporate America—you can’t manage what you can’t measure; you can’t measure what you don’t track. You might have heard to treat your job search like your job, which some people interpret to mean wake up at the same time as your work day and search for 40 hours per week, but that is not really the best application of that advice. How we advise you to apply that advice it is to make sure that your performance is producing results. Manage your time to become increasingly efficient because once you start to build momentum, you are busy meeting with more people who are able to open doors of opportunity. There are a lot of people and follow up actions you will want to stay on top of to maintain and leverage that momentum.

The Pareto principle (the 80/20 rule) is a theory maintaining that 80% of the output from a given system is determined by 20% of the input. This principle is always at work, and we have found it true with job searches as well. 80% of job seekers are spending 80% of their time on the resources that produce 20% of the results, IF THAT! Our tool helps you flip the results so that you spend 80% of your time on the resources that produce 80% of the results. Not only are job seekers who use our tool producing better momentum, they are cutting their “job search work week” down, enjoying more of their time, which as a by-product actually helps steamroll momentum even further. Within two weeks of learning how to use the tool, they are realizing much better time management and starting to form better habits. Their confidence soars, they feel more in control of their destiny, they perform better in interviews, they can afford to hold out for the RIGHT offer, and feel bold enough to negotiate an even higher offer.

 

Just imagine what overcoming procrastination and effectively managing your time looks like. It is a sense of accomplishment, a feeling that you have done enough, that you are successful enough to allow yourself to REALLY enjoy your life. The truth is we are never really DONE with our to-dos. However, time hacks help manage the most significant tasks, so they do not completely absorb your time and energy, allowing you more room for joy and fun.

 

Catch Your Next Job with the Right Tools

Photo courtesy of Casey Bisson of flickr creative commons. http://bit.ly/fishjob Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).

Photo courtesy of Casey Bisson of flickr creative commons. http://bit.ly/fishjob Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).

Trout season is approaching in Pennsylvania! Would you try to catch those fish by throwing stones at them? Throwing stones could possibly work, but using a fishing rod is a much better idea. We’ve all heard the saying: “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” Learning how to fish is great, but you’ll still need the right pole. A rod used for fishing in a serene lake is very different from a rod used to fish in a choppy river. You also can’t ignore the importance of a good lure, bait and a hook. Not being able to catch fish means starvation, especially if you’re dependent on that catch for your meal. At the very least, you’ve wasted your time and energy with efforts that don’t pay off for the day. How many days can you do this before you give up? Likewise, when it comes to job opportunity, skills are crucial, but you still need the right set of tools and a good location to reel in an employer. Like a fish, a good employer can provide substance in the form of financial security, a sense of purpose, and putting your passions to use.

Find a place to start by creating a plan:

If you were going fishing, you wouldn’t start by running to the closest creek and casting your line. First you would decide on what type of fish you’d like to catch. Then you would research an ideal fishing location, and ask a few fishermen to tell you about it. Next, you would get your gear in order and you would be certain to make sure you have the right pole for the situation. You can think about job hunting in the same way. You locate your ideal employers, research the company, work your networks, manage your brand, revise your résumé and review it.

In my article, “Become an Effective Job Hunter: Work Smarter, Not Harder!”, I wrote that you can see tremendous results in fewer hours than you think, if you put your time into the right resources. A lot of job seekers may be tempted to apply online through job boards and internet searches, because they think they’ll be missing out on opportunities AND because it’s a habit. Or they perhaps they work during the day and feel that the job boards are the only resource they can turn to after work hours. However, the percentage of people hired via internet searching is shockingly low. Less than 10% of people are hired by employers through this method. In fact, only 5% of your time should be spent looking for work on job boards, after you’ve set up your agents and have validated suitable results. Choose two days per week to check your agent results and add those companies to your target company list, research them, network and market yourself appropriately. Relying solely on job boards is like going to the ocean to catch fish. The fish are plentiful and so is the competition. The chances of getting the fish you actually want are slim. This concept can be summed up succinctly by Tim Ferriss, author of The 4-Hour Workweek, “The fishing is best where the fewest go.”

Picking your employer and role:

Do you want to work for a large employer, or a small company? There are positives and negatives associated with employer size. A smaller company will most likely have you wearing multiple hats. In other words, all of your skills will be put to use. If you’re the type of person who likes doing multiple jobs that take advantage of your dynamic skill set, a small company could be a great fit. If you prefer to do a specific job, and you don’t mind being slotted into one position, a larger company may be a better fit. It really depends on your needs, and your ability to identify those needs. These are typical characteristics of jobs at smaller and larger companies, but there are also exceptions. Your target list goal, if your criteria defy those typical characteristics, would be to identify those exceptions and research, network and market to them appropriately.

Once you have a company size in mind, and a possible employer, it is time to research that company. Job review sites like Vault or Glassdoor are great places to get a feel for employers, including salary rates. There may be companies worth flocking to. Other companies may raise too many red flags, or may not be a good cultural fit. I wrote extensively about this process in my article, “You Can’t Afford Not to Investigate Your Next Employer!” In addition to salary and healthcare benefits, vacation time can be considered as part of your compensation package. At this stage you’re still at the pre-qualification level, not unsimilar to when an employer determines if you meet the minimal qualifications for a job. At this point, you’d really want to do as thorough a job searching them as they would do to qualify you. There are some great research tips within the Daily Job Search Tips on the Accelerfate Facebook page.

Work your networks:

Networking is the number one tool in your job seeking endeavors. The word of mouth has serious power; according to a 2012 ABC report, 80% of job seekers land their position through networking. It is similar to the way a fishing buddy can help steer you to the right fishing spot. Start with your professional connections, friends, family and even alumni for job leads. Reaching out to employees and hiring managers at companies you’d like to work for could result in a job. It is through these professional and personal networks that possible job openings can be discovered. When companies have exhausted their internal candidates, they will often rely on referrals from employees and job seekers they’ve met at informational meetings. In short, networking is the lifeblood of a job seeker. Many people don’t think that they have a network. Other people assume that their network doesn’t know anyone. There are also people who’ve tapped their network, but got few to no results. Without connections, finding a job becomes significantly more difficult. I discuss how to tap into these networks in my vlogs, “How Does Your Garden, uh, Network Grow?” and “Get Interviews in Your Network.”

Your personal brand:

Networking is an outlet for your personal brand, and your brand messaging should be consistent with networking as with your content. A well-crafted online presence can be thought of as a lure for job recruiters. For working professionals, LinkedIn is absolutely the best place to be. Over 97% of recruiters looked for talent on LinkedIn in 2012. It also serves as a great tool to engage with recruiters, and further research an employer. You can receive job postings along with company news through the service. The postings are a great way to become aware of opportunities and to find out who you know that could recommend you for the job. If you haven’t updated your LinkedIn profile recently, make sure you’re not using a default headline and that your profile doesn’t mirror your résumé. Make connections to your corporate and school alumni, if you haven’t already. You can also take your experience on LinkedIn to the next level by joining groups within your industry.

Facebook and Twitter are other platforms for your personal brand. You can cultivate your presence on these networks in order to capture the attention of employers. These are great tools for sounding off about your industry, keeping abreast of news, posting news, and following influential people within your industry. Professional blogs are also a great way to demonstrate your knowledge about your industry. Workers with a passion for their field, and those who take the initiative shine brilliantly, and stand out from the competition. Again, if your personal brand can be likened to a fishing lure for employers, bold and bright lures tend to capture attention. It’s like being the most attractive, juicy bait for your ideal catch.

Hook employers with your résumé and cover letter:

A fishing pole, lures, and other types of bait aren’t very useful without a good hook. No one wants to work hard with networking and personal branding, only to let the job get away. A well-polished résumé and cover letter can get an employer to bite. A personalized cover letter is the result of your research on a company. It stands out and makes it impossible for a hiring manager to ignore, even if the company isn’t hiring at the moment. A generic cover letter makes it much easier for a recruiter to ignore and weed out potential candidates. My vlog, “Our Cover Letter Secret Sauce” discusses how to write a customized letter. A well-tuned, well-customized letter can garner same-day responses from top executives at highly attractive employers. After all, taking the time to write a great cover letter shows an employer how passionate you are about the position, and how you could bring that same passion to the workplace.

A résumé is the deciding factor in getting that all important interview and most hiring managers only spend a few minutes looking at them. Taking the time to invest in a professionally written résumé can help you stand out from other job seekers. You are competing with hundreds of other potential candidates for the same position, and hiring managers are inundated with résumés and cover letters on a daily basis. The key is not just having a powerful, branded résumé, but getting it in front of decision makers.

You have your job skills, and you’re very good at your job. Think of landing a position at a new employer, like catching a great fish. Locating a spot where few reels are cast by others, wrestling with the fish, the excitement of pulling it into your boat and ultimately tasting the success of your hard work is a thrilling reward. Not only are you great at sustaining yourself with the job hunt, you can easily do it again the next time you’re ready to move on. New employment opportunities can bring greater financial gain, and renewed passion in your professional life, especially if you feel stagnant at your current employer. To get to the next level of your professional life, you’ll have to reel in a great employer, and you’ll need a good set of tools and the right techniques to stand out from the crowd. These techniques consist of brand management, going to where the recruiters are, and reaching out to hiring managers to ensure that they see your cover letter and résumé.

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