5 Areas of Focus and Expectation For Career Success

What are you hoping for in your career path? Big raises? Name recognition? The right title? Those are great hopes! None of those are the clear expectations that you should be concentrating on for career advancement. With the right planning, the things that you hope for will become your reality when you focus on these 5 important areas.

Career growth
Skills and Knowledge Development
Work-life Balance
Workplace Culture Adaptation
Job Security

Career Growth. One of the number one reasons that people leave their place of employment is because they felt as if they were in a dead end position. When you’re on a job interview, when the interviewer asks, “Do you have any questions for me?” this is a great time to convey your own career growth expectations. The question needs to be very specific and formed in a way that doesn’t seem like you’re not interested in the position that you’re interviewing for. You’re interviewing for a specific position that the company needs to have filled. Don’t give the impression you’re not going to be reliable to that position. Instead, know yourself and your own career goals to feel out the interviewer to see the company’s plan for expansion. And once you’re hired, proving your worth and dedication, brainstorm with your boss about what pieces the company could add to your career development.

 

Skills and Knowledge Development. One your way to solidifying your career, seminars, training and networking opportunities will be instrumental in reaching your career goals. Ask your boss what opportunities there are for training and professional associations you could make for the company. Learning new skills and enhancing your knowledge, becoming seen and knows as the expert in your field is the grease on the wheels to career success.

 

Work-Life Balance. There is no quicker way to feeling unhappy and dissatisfied with life than not making your personal life a priority. Work, satisfying work, checking those things off the career goal list? Great! But your life will quickly become unbalanced if you don’t put personal goals in the mix, every single day.

Workplace Culture Adaptation. Two words: Adapt and Adjust. Before you went out on that job interview, you checked out the website of the perspective employer to see if you it matched your own values, attitudes, and goals, right? When you walk into the job, you will be the newbie and there will be people who will give you attention just because you’re new. One lesson you should learn early on is that it is best to watch the people around you and learn the specific culture that you’ll be fitting in to. If you get off on the wrong foot with someone, correct it as soon as possible. More on that later. The point is, the world doesn’t revolve around you. The office culture was already there before you came to the company. They will expect you to fit in, not the other way around.

Job Security.  Job security is something that you can plan for, hope for, but nothing is ever guaranteed.  Anything can happen. but job security is something that you can try to achieve through learning to excel in your field. What you’ll find is that when it comes to job security, one of the greatest traits that will help you is when the company that you’re working for has both trust and confidence in you. When you do the things above, and are diligent about your ability to be someone people can count on in both word and deed, that’s when you are most likely to enjoy job security. There are circumstances where no one can have job security but a person that people can trust will take you a long way.

Learning how to set expectations will also help you keep focused on your career goals. And now that you know what goes into managing your expectations, the next article is about how to begin to think about the future of your career.

Monday Morning Internal Audit – Choose One Thought

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Welcome to your new workweek!  You have power.  This is the one place where you have power over everything that happens and that is inside of you.

Right now, take a moment to check up on your internal dialogue.  What one thought do you want to tease out of all the noise of Monday Morning that will carry you through the week?  A few weeks ago my daughter got married.  On the Monday of that week, all of my thoughts were directed toward Saturday, the day of her wedding.  That week it was easy to find a direction.  What was the one thing that I wanted to accomplish that week?  The wedding!   Anything that happened that week, even if it was work related, had to be done so that my mind could be clear for the wedding.

This week my One Thought that will carry me through the week is Connection.  It will be my theme.  Everything that I do this week, every opportunity that comes my way, every rote duty that I perform will be brought underneath the umbrella of Connection.  When I do this, when I have a unifying theme, it challenges me to be in control of myself, to be more deliberate about my actions and if I find I have distracting thoughts, I can measure them against the word “Connection”.

Hello Monday!

Results are In! Hugging is Beneficial To Your Health!

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For those of you who need a reason to do so, and I know some of you who do, researchers at the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami Medical School have found that the beneficial effects of positive touch are long lasting.  Benefits of positive touch include a decrease in the stress hormone, cortisol, and causes surges of the “feel good” hormones dopamine and serotonin! And the results of positive touch can last a long after the two people are no longer in physical proximity! Hugs are like giving someone a dose of Stress Reduction before going out into a stress filled world. So hug your kids, your spouses, significant others, friends, the elderly, and today you might even get away with hugging a stranger (just be careful to not be creepy with that one). Hug and hold hands. Give away as much positive touch as you can today and have a wonderful Valentine’s Day!!

5 Things You Can Do To Improve Your Work Life

No woman or man is an island. And while you can pick your friends, you can’t pick your coworkers! You need their cooperation, goodwill, and understanding to perform your own job well.  You spend more time with your coworkers during the week than  you do your friends or your family. And studies show that when there’s a problem with the relationships in the workplace, there are redundancies, slowed progress, and all of that lowers morale.  While you don’t have to be friends with co-workers, to make you work life more productive, you do need to be friendly. Extending just a few courtesies to colleagues can make a huge difference in somebody’s day and garner workplace peace for you and others.  Here are 5 easy things to do.

1.  Have a smile and a hello when you arrive.  It’s easy to be the office grump. Traffic was bad. Someone was rude. It’s another day, right? But, there’s that person that arrives to work who smiles at everyone and has a cheery hello, and walks past you with calm confidence that makes you feel envious. That can be you. The secret is to stop and take a deep breath before you leave the house, before you get out of the car/bus/train, and before you open the office door. And yes, that was a list of places where you stop, take a deep breath, consciously relax, and bring your best self forward.

2.  Small talk is the key to caring. But you thought small talk is difficult or shallow? Small talk is key to telling someone else you care about what they care about. Karen has pictures of her children on her desk. Bill is a rabid college football fan. Rebecca is planning a trip to Mexico. How do you know that? You ask simple questions like, how was your weekend? And then when someone tells you, you ask a follow up question.  Work is about work, but the work gets done because of the people. And most people work better when they feel that someone at work cares.

3.  Express Appreciation. Is there one person who seems to not mind being the person who puts paper in the copier even when it isn’t their job, or makes another pot of coffee just to be considerate? Sometimes these people are being suck-ups, but I’ve found that most of the time, people who do little things that keep things going at the office, do so because they’re considerate people.  They’re not looking for a thank you, but nobody ever resents being noticed for being kind.

4. Assume the best. If you don’t know for sure what’s someone’s motive is, then assume the best. If you don’t know what someone else is doing on a certain project, or how another team may be tackling their part, assume that everyone is working as hard as you are and cares as much as you do. I have found that people who spread gossip and assume the worst about others are trying to cover up about something regarding their own participation in an endeavor. Where are they getting the time to worry about what someone else is doing and then gossip about it?

5. Be prompt.  Arrive on time. To work. To meetings. Answering emails. Updating your team. Finishing projects. There is nothing that says, “I value your time,” like the expression of being prompt.

You’re there at least 6 – 8 hours a day. Make it more than a hassle free environment.  Do your part to make it a pleasant environment.

You Make It Happen

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Show up for your life.  You ARE enough! Click “You Make It Happen” for Slideshow.

LPT (Life Preparedness Training)

 

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When children are young, it’s good to expose them to as many new experiences as possible so they can see and do new things, but also to watch and learn from you.  How are you handling yourself?  How do you relate with others? What do you do in situations where you’re frustrated, late, overlooked by a busy desk clerk or waiter in a restaurant?

  • A person comes into a new situation where their limits are tested, say, a waitress is obviously busy and not giving you the level of attention you are normally used to or expect.
  • Children who have been exposed to adults who are gracious and forgiving will politely remind the waitress of their needs, while the children who have not been exposed to life preparedness training by a mature adult might become demanding. As a result, at the table with gracious behavior , the waitress is sweet, thanks them for being patient, and offers them a free dessert.  At the table with the rude behavior, the waitress is just nervous, apologizes for their inconvenience and then forgets to offer a free dessert.
  • The children who are unprepared for life think that something magical is happening over there and that they are being punished.  They do not know that graciousness was taught and that it is something that they can attain with learning and practicing good manners.
  • The children who are prepared for life, not knowing that the other children were not prepared ahead of time for a difficult life situation, think that what’s happening at the other table is deserved and that the people at their table are superior and better people.  They will work hard in future situations to continue to learn how to deal with difficult situations better, cementing their position and earning a place of leadership.

I may be oversimplifying, but according to research, this really is kind of how it works.  People who think they’re good at something will continue to learn more about what they’re already good at and increase their proficiency.  People who see others get rewarded for something that they think they also deserve, think that the other person just got lucky.  Without awareness and without training, people will not notice that they can improve.

I am a big proponent of learning your strengths and your limitations.  Knowing what you excel at already tells you where you can really shine as you continue to gain knowledge and grow in a depth in those areas.  And knowing what you’re not good at understanding that you can become better at it, can be achieved.

Not a math person?  You can have more math intelligence simply through learning and practice.  Not a people person?  You can have more people intelligence through learning and practice.  (Warning: just because you become proficient at something that you do not have a natural talent for will not cause you to like it more.  If you are not a “People person”, managing people will not become more pleasant just because you got good at managing people.  It just become less painful!  The same with math.)

 

10 Keys to a Happier Life – Part 2

More6. Pay Attention To The People Around You.  Is there anyone that you’re walking with on the sidewalk of life and they’re steering you into potholes, puddles, and piles of poop?    If so, why are you walking with them?  Oh, they’re saying such nice things but the talk is deceptive and they’re not treating you nicely.  Get away from them.  Now notice the people who are looking out for you, watching your back, encouraging you, cheering you on.  Aren’t giving them as much attention?  Why not?  You can analyze that later.  Right now.  Pay attention and get in step with the good people around you.

7. Be Loyal Back.  When you’ve started to notice the people who are around you that are great to be around, be loyal back to them.  Encourage, cheer them, watch their backs, look out for them, enjoy their successes!

Say what you mean8. Speak up and Say What You Mean.  This can be difficult for some of us.  Especially if  you’ve been in a position where you got really bad feed back from others. Especially if you were made to feel marginalized, minimized, discounted and dismissed.  Henry David Thoreau wrote, “If you advance confidently in the direction of your dreams and endeavor to live the life that you have imagined…you will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”  The life that you imagine is one in which what you say is valued.  Say it.

9. Listen Well.  There’s “Active Listening”, “Appreciative Listening”, “Dialogic Listening”, “Informative Listening”, “Reflective Listening”, “Workplace Listening”.  Whichever you are doing, Listening is paramount to success, effectiveness, and satisfaction.

Random Acts of Kindness10. Perform a Random Act of Kindness.  Whether you pay someone’s toll, buy someone a Starbucks, pay for someone’s groceries, or pick up litter along a stretch of road near your house while you’re taking a walk, doing something kind for someone else expecting nothing in return really does give you some warm fuzzies that you can’t get anywhere else!

10 Keys to a Happier Life – Part 1

Be your authentic self!

1. Be authentic.  This is the greatest gift that you can give the world.  Feel your feelings.  Those are yours and you have a right to them.  We are here to make an impact on the world.  In your corner of the world, who is looking at you?  Who needs the wisdom, care, love, and concern that your authentic self has to offer?   Oscar Wilde said it best, “Be yourself.  Everyone else is taken.”

2. Love Yourself Unconditionally.  When you love yourself, there is a good chance the next nine things will be much easier.  Yes, you have flubbed-up some things pretty badly and no, you haven’t done everything right.  But, you’re working on your stuff, right?  And there are some things about yourself that you’ve just decided to accept, right?  Loving yourself makes loving others easier.

Forgive yourself3. Forgive Yourself.  Remember we just talked about those things you flubbed-up?  Have you taken the time to also forgive yourself?  Sometimes just THINKING about something you’ve done that was embarrassing, unkind, or just plain dumb makes us cringe and NOT want to remember it.  However, if you’re remembering it with a cringe, take a few minutes to forgive yourself.  Understanding that we all need forgiveness makes forgiving others so much easier.

4. Be Confident.  We’ve already accepted the fact that you’re not perfect and that you’re not always going to get it right.  That takes off a lot of pressure, doesn’t it?  Allowing yourself room to make mistakes, taking yourself out of the “Most Perfect Person in The World” contest makes it lots easier to take that pressure off of others, too.  Confidence comes with putting your imperfect, best foot forward.

Keep moving forward5. Move Forward.  Now that you’ve got that imperfect best foot in the forward position, start walking.  Look around and see who’s walking with you.  Interesting…they’re all smiling!  Moving forward in life is something that everyone wants to do and sometimes once you start moving, you find out that there’s lots of room on the sidewalk with people just like you who want to move forward too.

My Decree: The Body In Motion That Stays In Motion

This universal law of physics applies to both my body and mind. Once I start an activity, it’s easy to maintain momentum. Knowing this, I can soar past obstacles in my path and remain focused on my tasks and goals.

I create my action plans so they begin with undemanding tasks. This allows me to start any project with ease. Then I can quickly complete that task and move effortlessly onto the next, gaining momentum as I move forward.

The energy of my forward momentum helps push challenges aside. My active and focused mind is able to figure out a way to work with or overcome difficulties. Sometimes I may have to alter my plans, but I always maintain momentum.

Playing poolIt is similar to a game of pool. Once the cue hits the ball with enough energy to give it a strong push, it continues its momentum regardless of anything in its path. When it hits another ball or the wall, it simply changes its path and keeps going.

Like the ball, each and every day I have a chance to take my turn and do with it what I will! I choose to maintain my forward momentum with my eyes on my prize, even if I must change my plan from time to time.

Just as the ball comes to a stop at the end of its turn, I wind down at the end of the day and rest. The next morning I feel rejuvenated and I have the energy to take another exciting turn in this wonderful game of life!

Today, I will strive to be the body in motion that stays in motion. With my forward momentum, I can handle anything that steers me away from my tasks. I may change my route to overcome challenges that arise, but I am still on course to attain my goals.