Archives for wellness and performance

A Bold Calling – A Life of Service

This week I want to dedicate the blog to shine a spotlight on those still living and continuing forward Dr. Martin Luther King’s life’s work by living a life of service.

Do you know someone or are you someone who has dedicated his or her life to make the world better?

  • A social worker
  • A lobbyist fighting for social justice, equal rights or environmental protection
  • A priest
  • A teacher
  • A doctor or nurse
  • A soldier
  • A public servant
  • A coach
  • A researcher or author
  • A non-profit founder or leader
  • An investor putting funding into products and services that move us toward “the dream”

Not everyone will get out today, this week, this month, even this year and offer their talent, time, and energy to help a cause move forward. I’m not shaming anyone. Sometimes we have to focus on obligations, if even for the sake of all who depended on us. It’s just life.

I know you want to honor Dr. King’s legacy, so here is an option that can take all but two minutes and will keep the flame of service alive by honoring the efforts of those who inspire you with their service.

Please leave a comment to tag and recognize this person or people for all, or even just a little, of what they do. Tell us what they do to inspire you and how they make you feel. Then make a promise to do an act of kindness within a particular time frame in that person’s honor. Once your act of kindness has been done, post a picture, tell us about it, and tag the person you honored again.

#CauseARipple #MLK

Dreams Mashup (NAS vs Sweet Dreams vs MLK)

Martin Luther King Jr.-I Have a Dream Speech NAS-Street Dreams Marilyn Manson-Sweet Dreams Music mashup

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. 

If I Die Today, If I Live Another 40 Years

Recently, I’ve noticed a lot of announcements of people dying young. The reasons have varied. It has made me increasingly aware that life is precious and must not be taken for granted.

It seems safe to assume that I have plenty of time left – but nobody knows for sure.

On Halloween, my daughters and I visited a local historic cemetery that had reenactments of Revolutionary and Civil War soldiers. It was hard to find a headstone for anybody who lived past their 40s. In today’s day and age, the life expectancy dictates that I am now at the midlife mark.

Not long ago, I read that people my generation, especially women, are more prone to a midlife crisis, due to the ideology that we could have it all. This month, I’ll be tested for adult-onset asthma and chronic bronchitis. I had pneumonia two years in a row. I would not say that I’m having a midlife crisis at all, but I am coming to terms with my mortality. You see, there was a night last year and there was a night this year that I thought I might not wake up.

When I fell ill in 2018 with acute sinusitis, then bronchitis, then pneumonia, it lasted several months. I suffered not just physically, but also emotionally, financially, and mentally. Because breathing itself was difficult, most of my go-to’s for self-care weren’t even possible.

I couldn’t meditate. I couldn’t do self-hypnosis (or hypnosis for anyone else, for that matter). I couldn’t do yoga. I couldn’t even watch a comedy. I couldn’t go outside and be in nature since my allergies caused my distress.

I was running on about 30% energy, which meant that I was not getting 70% of the stuff done that I should have been for my business, for my kids, for my house, for my bills, yadda yadda yadda. Add to that a glitch in my healthcare that suddenly tripled our bill, and a mandatory trip to the ER care of a minute clinic nurse practitioner who would not let me leave with my kids unless I had a ride for them and someone else to drive me to the hospital.

To boot, I had just invested thousands of dollars on a coaching program and I had just taken my kids to Disney. It was the worst possible time to not be able to work at full capacity.

After several months, I recovered physically, but the financial repercussions took several months more, and the mental repercussions lasted much longer. I fell into a depression like I hadn’t experienced since I was very young.

Thankfully, I was able to pull out of it by being vigilant about my self-care. I even invested in a hot tub.

In March when somebody I loved was murdered, I was glad to have been more mentally stable through that. It could have broken me. My world view did shift, though. It was a reminder that we could go at any time.

This past October when I got sick, I was determined to prevent the downslide experience of 2018.

Thankfully it was not as severe for as long. I was still able to go outside, laugh, and practice meditation, yoga, and self-hypnosis on most days. I was probably at about 60% energy at my lowest, and I’m running about 90 to 95% now.

I know gratitude has major benefits for mental health. In my New Year’s post, I proclaimed to make being in gratitude more of a ritual and habit. In an effort to keep my head and heart strong through this sickness, I took stock of all of the great things that I did in my life. After I did this, I had a very eerie sense of peace about dying.

Let me be clear – I have two kids (8 and 9) and I am determined to watch them grow up and have kids of their own. I am not ready to die. But after I looked at that list, I realized that I have done a lot of things on other people’s bucket lists. I was happy for myself, but also very sad for others. I started to think about what’s left to do. Because if I’m going to get many more years, I’m going to want to do many more things in those years – as much as possible, as much as I’m able.

As I’ve shared, I hired a team of coaches to help me realize my vision.

I feel very good about the impact that I’ve made in people’s lives so
far working as a one-on-one career coach, an adjunct professor, and an
instructor. I want to do more. I want to make work better for many more people. I want to apply my personal experience as well as the experiences of my clients over these past 15 or so years, and to take what I’ve learned about conscious leadership, neuroscience, quantum physics, human performance, mental health, wellness, mindfulness, emotional intelligence, and transformation and relay it on a much larger scale.

On a smaller scale, I want to be a better professor. I want to remember what it was like to be a young adult – scared, a bit to a lot defensive, somewhat fragile. I want to be a better bridge to the “real world” so that what I teach them has a much greater impact on who they become as leaders.

I have some other bucket list things, like seeing Alaska and northern lights, visiting Europe, Africa, Australia, and Asia.

Most importantly, I want to be a great mom. I want to be better at loving them through their mistakes and missteps.

Have you ever made a bucket list? What’s on yours?

Have you ever made a list of cool things you’ve done? What are your top 5 accomplishments?

Neil Finn & Friends – Anytime (Live from 7 Worlds Collide)

From the concert film 7 Worlds Collide. Recorded Live at The St. James Theatre in Auckland, New Zealand in April of 2001. Live band features Johnny Marr (The Smiths) and Ed O’Brien (Radiohead) on guitars, Lisa Germano (John Mellencamp) on violin & keyboards, Phil Selway (Radiohead) on drums, and Sebastian Steinberg (Soul Coughing) on bass.

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. 

New Questions for Workplaces in 2020

We saw some tough headlines in the last 10 years force companies to do some deep evaluation of their culture and policies. A few companies emerged as trailblazers, applying breakthroughs in research, technology, and science. They spotted trends before the rest, and started their own trends for the rest to follow (or not).

All the things that we can measure have exploded. We are now drowning in so much data that the next big feat looks to be figuring out what is actually meaningful and consequential to sustainable growth.

As much shade and slack that millennials are thrown from the other workforce generations, they certainly drove many changes. We’ve seen a transition to mobile-focused marketing and an intuitive user experience, along with greater focus on employee rewards.

Now that we’re wrapping up this decade and a new generation is entering the workforce, what do we see on the horizon that will prove influential in the evolution of careering, hiring, and leadership?

Without knowing who will become president, it’s hard to predict what will happen with healthcare, student debt, and consumer debt. Certainly, if healthcare becomes universal, many companies will be forced to completely reinvent how they plan on attracting and retaining employees who were working mostly for benefits. In my 20 years working with job seekers and job changers, I have known many who, if it weren’t for the need for medical benefits, would have opted for self-employment.

Employee benefits

Here are some statistics that can help show just how influential benefits have been in recruitment and retention strategies:

  • 49% of the US workforce currently receives healthcare benefits from their employer.
  • 78% of workers would likely remain with their employer because of the benefits it offers, up from 72% in 2016. (WTW)
  • More than 50% of employees said they have left jobs after hearing the siren calls of better benefits elsewhere. (Randstad)
  • 55% of employees would be somewhat likely to accept a job with lower compensation but a more robust benefits package. (Aflac)
  • 56% of U.S. adults with employer-sponsored health benefits said that whether or not they like their health coverage is a key factor in deciding to stay at their current job. (SHRM)
  • 46% said health insurance was either the deciding factor or a positive influence in choosing their current job. (SHRM)

Keep in mind there are many companies with employees dedicated to helping employers manage health care plan enrollment and administration. Will companies let these employees go or retrain them for other roles within the company?

Employee wellness

A Limeade study found that when employees feel their employer cares about their well-being, there is a significant boost in engagement, retention, workplace reviews, and “extra mile” efforts while hostility is reduced by ten times. Larger companies offer more benefits than any other size companies, and yet they have the lowest engagement. So, we can surmise that offering good healthcare benefits is not enough to make employees feel cared for and/or that offering employer-sponsored healthcare does not correlate to engagement at all, though it does correlate to candidate attraction and retention.

Wellness programs have become wildly popular as well. However, as more companies implemented costly wellness programs, most struggled with adoption and recouping the investment. (We’ve covered why in a 2-part article this year.)

We saw some influential leaders emerge as authors, as well, shedding light on issues like gender gaps in pay and opportunity, sexual harassment, workplace bullying, cyber security, engagement, and physical security.

  • Shawn Achor taught us that being happy at work DOES indeed lead to better engagement.
  • Studies on meditation at work increased exponentially, with new benefits emerging all the time. Companies like Google, Aetna and higher learning institutions like Brown, NYU and Harvard are weaving mindfulness and meditation into core cultural and education initiatives.
  • Ariana Huffington highlighted the need for creative minds to rest.
  • Travis Bradberry has been educating Fortune 500 companies on the implications of Emotional Intelligence.
  • Cy Wakeman has smartly asserted and demonstrated that engagement efforts without accountability breed entitlement.
  • Sheryl Sandberg encouraged women to lean in, own their seat at the table and find a sponsor, not another mentor.

With the rise of school and workplace shootings, we remain to see whether gun control becomes a major area of change or not. Mental health is another key issue. While people are shining a light on how mental illness has become an epidemic, sufferers are crying out to end the stigma.

Just a couple weeks ago Philadelphia Eagles offensive linemen Brandon Brooks left the field in the first quarter due to a debilitating anxiety attack that caused extreme nausea. He stated he was not ashamed nor embarrassed about the event. In the last decade, more and more celebrities came clean about their struggles with anxiety and depression. Others lost their battles before we even knew they were suffering. It’s clear no one is impervious to mental illness. The conversation about how to best treat and support those suffering is just starting, let alone how to address it in the workplace.

Being “woke” is going out of vogue as spiritual elitists fail to be influential in inspiring change. Authenticity, accessibility, and being vulnerable are proving to be much more effective.

Keeping all of this in mind, there are new questions we should be asking in the workplace.

In 2020 and beyond, companies should be able to answer these questions:

How do you address mental health in your workplace?

Are clear protocols in place for employees experiencing hardships?

Are there HR policies in place to protect employees who wish to get help for mental illness?

What is the company policy for determining if an employee needs urgent or professional care for mental illness?

What does the company do to support mental wellness?

How aware are employees of these outlets?

What might stop employees from taking advantage of mental health resources?

What misconceptions do they have?

Here is what I hope to see happening in 2020:

Mindfulness everywhere! It’s not only important for sustainable corporate and individual success, it’s imperative to people and the planet, that we develop self-awareness, emotional intelligence and consciousness at a faster pace than technology evolves.

My Epic Careering Personal Branding tools get funded, built, and adopted on a worldwide scale to put the power of career management back in the hands of the workers. This enables more people to have résumé and LinkedIn content that helps them be identified by employer’s AI as having the potential to succeed in their open and upcoming roles. It also easily communicates the cultural viability of a candidate.

Though I’d prefer people be self-aware and empowered to pursue professional opportunities that align with their innate strengths, joy, and best chance at thriving, employers have to play their part, too. Employers need to be more proactive in helping talent grow up, or even out, from a skills standpoint, a maturity standpoint, and a consciousness standpoint. Leaders must be better coaches. Give people more of a chance to be forthright about their aspirations. Don’t try to retain employees that are better off somewhere else, or who have demonstrated an unwillingness to be coachable and accountable. A person’s best chance at making a meaningful contribution and being fulfilled by it is being in the right job at the right company, as Jim Collins shares in Good to Great.

While technology will surely continue to be tried and applied, and the automated branding journey and content builders will certainly bridge the gap between high-quality talent and the companies who need them, job seekers everywhere are crying out for more HUMAN involvement. Certain applications for technology are not allowing exceptions to rules to get the attention of people who can interpret unconventional strengths as major potential. Let’s let humans do what humans do best – connect with each other and perceive potential.

Personally, I’d like to see one-sided video interviews die. I don’t trust facial recognition AI, nor people, to be free from bias. We’re just not there yet. Two-way (or more) video conferences are a great way to have both candidate and employer feel each other out without the cost and time of travel.

I hope that industries in need of disruption are not sustained just because they employ a lot of people and make a lot of money. Someone needs to step in and make sure that when a faster, better way of healing people, feeding people, housing people, shopping, etc. comes along, there are affordable and accessible programs available to retrain people to get even better jobs.

I hope internet connectivity reaches all corners of the planet and new, profitable opportunities are available to poor and oppressed countries, or even parts of our country.

I hope as more heroes emerge with human limits and behavior, we stop vilifying each other for our weaknesses and mistakes. Certainly, serious offenders will need consequences, but we can’t set the bar so high for leaders that they need to be perfect. This only leads to cover-ups and corruption. I hope we value accountability, honesty, and forgiveness more than we value perfection so more worthy leaders can emerge.

If healthcare was universal, it would no longer be a major driving decision of where a person works. This would absolutely force companies who want to compete for talent to pay closer attention to offering what actually engages people: opportunities for learning, growth and expansion. Plus, a salary that not only pays the bills, but funds a desirable lifestyle now and as we age.

What are your hopes for 2020?

https://youtu.be/THnabGK7mPs

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. 

The Chicken or Egg Quandary: Happiness or Success?

happy by Gordon of Flickr

Happy! by Gordon of Flickr

 

What comes first? Happiness or success?

I have a client who is unhappy at his job (hence why he engaged me, obviously). He makes great money, when he is performing, but his compensation is highly commission based. When he’s not performing, he’s not making great money.

Due to life changes, he NEEDS to catch up financially and find a new job that pays the same or more to what he was making when he was at the top of his game. He also really wants to make sure that his next step is the RIGHT next step, or he will find himself at square one.

There are also personal priorities in his life that he rated highly, but is willing to delay them for years, if necessary, in order to land and succeed in a new, high-paying job.

In essence, he is delaying happiness for success.

However, what I learned this weekend from a Consciousness Engineering class is that Harvard studies prove that happiness increases success, and not just by a little bit. A quality annual vacation time of 11 days or more away from home leads to GREATER performance.

The main takeaway from this class was that using happiness as a means rather than an end increases productive energy by 31%, sales by 37%, and the likelihood of promotion by 40%.  Additionally, you are more likely to live longer and stave off sickness and disease. You raise your intelligence and improve your memory. Your creativity and problem solving abilities receive a boost. There is also the link between your wellness and performance to consider.

“Great,” you say. “Just get happy, eh?”

I understand. It is not as easy as it sounds, so Shawn Achor shared four practices that, when done daily for a period of 30 to 90 days will improve your happiness and gives you all of the benefits previously mentioned. None of them take longer than two minutes and you can use the strategy of habit pairing. An example would be doing these while you brush your teeth, to increase your likelihood of making them true habits.

Here they are:

  1. At work your first item of the day is to spend two minutes expressing your gratitude in writing to a colleague, boss, or vendor.
  2. Every night think about three new things that you are grateful for and WHY– the WHY is most important.
  3. Think about a single positive experience you had in the past 24 hours and write four bullet points recording the details you remember about it, such as the clothes you were wearing.
  4. Spend ten minutes focusing on your breath moving in and out, or whatever time you can make. Yes, this is meditation. Think you don’t have time? Investing this time has produced 62 more minutes of productivity. So, in essence, it creates more time.

Ironically, I listened to this class while driving down to the shore in an effort to make myself happy after an unusually challenging day with my youngest daughter. It did not work, but the next day we got to bike ride on the boardwalk, play in the ocean, and go on rides before heading back home for her first day of Pre-K. Today, even though I am still exhausted, I feel calmer, happier, and even more patient.

 

Try experimenting with happiness in your life and share with us the results you find.