Tag Archives: career

How bad do you want it?

What do you do in your free time? Specifically that time before and after work? Do you come home and watch tv? Or maybe go meet friends for dinner or coffee every night? Do you wake up late with just enough time to make it to work?

Take some time and review how you spend your mornings and evenings and other times that you are not at work.

Now, I want you to think about your goals and dreams for the future. What are you doing in your free time to get you closer to those goals and dreams? During your regular work schedule you should be focusing on your work at hand so you can do your job well and be successful in your company; thus, you need to make time when you are not at work to pursue your other personal goals. And, maybe your goals include getting promoted within the same company or to improve in your career, in which case doing your regular 9-5 work will help but there is more work to be done. Even if you are looking to get promoted within the same company, there are still plenty of things you can do to aid that process before and after work. For example, reading related materials or writing about related topics will benefit you in your learning and it can build your expertise in front of management and stakeholders of the company. Attending networking events or educational seminars after work or on weekends can also benefit you in your particular field or any field for that matter. Networking goes a long way. You can read more about networking in my previous post here: Don’t network, build relationships! See what goes on in your industry, are there workshops or conferences coming up that might be beneficial for your learning and exposure? Are there committees, associations, or memberships you can join to gain more insights and expertise in your area?

Waking up early and exercising or meditating will help you start your day on a positive note and starting your day with any sort of exercise will give you energy for the whole day. I will not go into the abundance of benefits that morning exercise, meditation, yoga, or any physical activity can bring to your life, but if you want to learn more, you can check out this article here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/15/morning-workout-benefits_n_1900889.html

Now, let’s say, you are not planning on staying within your current role or company , but instead looking to venture out on your own or join a new company. Similar rules will apply in terms of attending workshops, networking events, and reading related materials as stated above; however, you have to be even more proactive. If you are looking to start a business on your own, then you need to work on your business plan, understand the market, do the research, and potentially look for investors. When starting a business, you need to be an expert in your business and surround yourself with people who will help you get there. Thus, spending time with potential partners, clients and other stakeholders is important. In this case, you need to build relationships with people. People do business with others they like and trust. In order for someone to like you and trust they need to know you and spend time with you.

If you are looking to move to another company, then you should meet colleagues in that particular industry or company, network with them, learn more about the companies you are interested in. Do your homework, understand the culture of the company and what value you can bring to your next employer. Companies hire people to cut cost or increase revenue. Can you do one or both? Do you need to get further education to get that next role? Do you need a certification or a particular set of skills that you have yet to develop? Do you need to be exposed to certain business environments? You should start thinking about these things and work towards making the next move. Here is a helpful article about changing careers to help you explore this topic further: https://www.themuse.com/advice/8-steps-to-an-utterly-successful-career-change

To conclude, what you do in your free time is vital to your future success. If you spend your evenings attached to the TV or sitting in a coffee shop with friends talking about miscellaneous topics, you will not achieve desired results. If you wake up in the morning with just enough time to make it work and don’t make time to exercise and prepare for the day you will not be as focused or energized. The only question remains is ” How bad do you want to achieve your goals?” It comes to down to discipline, determination, and persistence.

If you need any assistance or would like to discuss the topic further, feel free to reach out! I am happy to help!

 

How do others view you? Ask them..

I am a huge fan of self reflection. I believe we should all take time to reflect on our lives, our career, and whatever else you choose to reflect on regularly. It is a way for us to stop and take a moment to review the past, improve on it, get in tune with ourselves, and ultimately make sure we are on the right path in our lives, careers, etc. It is very important to have a clear understanding of who you are, what your goals are, where you want to go, as well as be comfortable with the person that you are.

Another thing I believe that is beneficial to do is to understand how others view you. This can be valuable when trying to understand your expertise/strengths areas, when changing careers and not sure which one to pursue, and also beneficial for managers to understand how their staff might view them. You can create a simple survey which asks your staff, family, and friends various questions in regards to your working style, personality, leadership style, and whatever other areas you want to explore. Below are some sample questions you can ask in your survey:

  • When you observe me at work or life, what is always true? What do you always see?
  • What is my manner of communicating?
  • What am I an expert in?
  • How do I relate to others at work? What do I give? What do I expect?
  • How do my personality and values affect what I offer?
  • What outcomes do you associate with my being involved in something?
  • Comments/suggestions for improvements.

After a few answers, you will see a pattern or themes in relation to how others view you which can be very beneficial for reflection. Often we don’t recognize in ourselves the trends that other people see in us. We can be our own worst critique and hearing from others might be an eye opening experience to see what we reflect onto others and the world. It can be good or bad, but the point is it will be a way to better understand yourself and how others view you.

Don’t be intimated by what the answers might be, just got for it. You might be surprised!

Don’t network, build relationships!

How often do you hear the word ‘networking’? Often enough I am sure. How do you feel about networking? What does networking mean to you?

I am huge fan of networking, but I feel networking has lost its value in a sense that many people don’t know how to network or evolve their networking skills accordingly. So I would like to change the idea of “networking” to “building relationships”. In today’s tough job market, anywhere in the world, one needs to go beyond the basic networking. Have you ever come across people who just simply start a conversation by giving you their business card at an event? Or they introduce themselves as their job role? I don’t recommend networking in this manner for 2 reasons (although there are more):

  1. First impressions matter. And, unless you are Steve Jobs, the chances are people will not be impressed with your business card or job title. Typically, at such events, there are plenty of people with fancy title who work for great companies. How will you stand out?
  2. You eliminate the social aspect of the conversation when you bring business as the first discussion topic. It makes it harder to get social and personal when someone starts with such an introduction. It’s a turnoff.

Instead, try introducing yourself as you would to anyone you meet. Why do people get so formal and business-like just because they are at a professional event? We are all still human and we enjoy a light conversation about something besides work. You are more likely to connect with people if you are not there to simply get their business card. Most often, people will not respond to you or stay in touch with you if you approach them in this manner. You would be surprised how often I meet people who ask me to get them a job or ask me for a career advice before they even tell me their name.

Connect with people on a social level. Talk about the food at the event, talk about the weather, talk about anything else, but don’t start with your work unless it is initiated by the other person (and even then keep it short and try to connect on a more personal level). Make sure people remember you and excited to stay in touch with you after the event. How can you do that if you are just a business card? Connect on a personal level whenever appropriate and stand out from the dozens of people that person might meet that day.

People don’t refer people and definitely don’t do business with people unless they know them, like them, and trust them. In order for someone to know,like, and trust you you must build a relationship with them. Meeting them at a networking event is only a small step in that direction. The biggest task comes after the event and that is called a ‘follow up’. That is you staying in touch and asking this person out for a coffee or a lunch to catch up and ultimately build a relationship with them. And, it doesn’t stop there. You want to stay in touch with them and keep them in your network from that point on. I know we are all very busy and it is hard to find time to build relationships but it is necessary. Here are a few tips on how to stay in touch with people:

  • Send holiday cards/call people/congratulate on big events, etc.
  • Organize dinners/host dinners at your house and bring together a small group of people
  • If you are traveling and you know someone in a city where you will be, reach out to them and schedule a coffee while you are in town
  • Catch up with people over coffee as often as you can
  • Stay in touch on social media and share updates on your industry/work
  • Pick up the phone and catch up that way whenever appropriate, share news from your end
  • Refer others to do business with people you know. This is very powerful as giving is a huge part of one’s success in the long run
  • Give, give, give whenever you can. You get what you give.

The goal here is to stay in touch and remain on people’s minds. I guarantee that if you put your efforts into building relationships with people you are more likely to find success and make great new friends than just doing basic networking at an event and keeping the relationships strictly limited to office email/phone.

So, put down your business cards and go connect as humans!

Have you hit a plateau in your career?

Have you hit a plateau in your career? Has your job become something you can do without thinking? Are you losing motivation as a result? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then it is time to think about how to make a necessary move to progress your career. Explore where you want your next move to be. Consider the following questions:

Is it a higher level role within your company that you wish to move to?

Have you expressed interest to management in your company?
Do you want to move to another company? (hint: use your network)
Does a new role require a certification or another relevant degree or experience?
Will your current skills/job role be relevant in the next 5, 10 years?
Is there a professional development program within your current company that you can join?
Does your company offer scholarships for any MBA or other professional programs which might be beneficial for your career progression?
Have you attended any conferences or seminars lately related to your industry?

It is never too late to progress your career, but you have to be very open with yourself about where you are professionally and where you want to go, and what you need to acquire to get there. Understand your valuable skills and how you can leverage them in your career progression. Use your network and friends. Start today!

Feel free to reach out for any guidance.
Check out a great article about how to stay ahead of the crowd by future proofing your career:
https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/future-proof-your-career-developing-skills-well-today-erik-laimon

Shorter work days are on the way

How many hours a day do you actually work? I don’t mean how many hours per day you must physically be present at your office/desk, but I mean how many hours of actual work do you do during that 8-9 hour work day? Do you work non-stop for 8 hours (aside for lunch)? Be honest. In most cases, people actually work 3-4 hours out of their 8 hour work day during the regular schedules. There are exceptions when deadlines are due, projects are coming, etc., but that does not happen throughout the year for most workers who work regular 9-5s. The rest of the time, they are checking their phones, chatting with colleagues, planning out their activities, and dragging out their actual work. Of course, there are exceptions in some cases where an individual actually does have a ton of work to do each day and is productive the whole work day. However, for most people out there that is not the case. This is mainly due to the fact that companies have policies and rules that everyone must be in attendance during the working hours, even if they have no work to do or they have completed their tasks/goals.
As an employee, you are not as motivated to get your work done in those 3-4 hours because you know you actually have 8 hours to complete your tasks for the day. Therefore, employees drag out their time with other time wasting activities and you almost can’t blame them for it. We have all had or have jobs where this happens. I believe this sort of set up also creates a society of procrastinators and people lacking motivation, among other issues.

This is partly the reason why companies, such as Google and Facebook, are moving into a different kind of work approach. As long as the work is done and there are results, employees can have flexible schedules and they can also choose to work from home office/remote location.

Below, I want to share a great article which provides some great input about benefits of shorter working hours and remembering to live your life!

How much should your life/career coach do for you?

Would you solely trust someone to offer you life or career advice and just go with it? I would not. Why? Because that person is not you and at the end of the day it is not their life. Even the best life coach can offer you great insights and assist you with your goals, but ultimately it is up to you to take that information and use it wisely and making an educated choice/decision. Coaches are there to support you, to provide information and ask valuable questions to get you on the right path towards your goals. Coaches are there to motivate you and keep you accountable for your progress. Coaches are not there to make decisions for you. As a coach, my promise to you is to give you as much support as I can and ensure you stay on track with your goals, etc. It is my promise to assist you in creating a solid action plan to ensure you achieve desired results and to keep you accountable for each step that you take in that direction. It is my promise to provide you with all the tools necessary to be successful in your career change, career transformation, job search, career exploration, branding yourself, and increasing your visibility in the market.

Many clients that I meet automatically assume that I am there to get them a job or that a good CV is all you need to get a job. As much as I would like to get all of my clients jobs or improve their life situations, it is just not realistic. It is not realistic for me to get the job for you or to improve some parts of your life. I can assist you in doing, but it will not happen without effort from your end. It is entirely up to you to do that. I can assist you in networking opportunities and introducing you to like minded individuals.  It is my job to ensure that you have all the tools necessary to make the desired changes and reach positive results. That being said, it is very hard for a coach to do that without your efforts and willingness to make the change.. You, as a client, must be willing to take the necessary steps and be open to change and getting out of your comfort zone. You have to be willing to try new things and be transparent and honest with your coach.

Forbes posted a great article on career coaches and I highly recommend reading it before getting a career coach to understand how a coach can assist you and if you need one: http://www.forbes.com/sites/learnvest/2013/07/09/10-things-you-should-know-about-career-coaching/

4 Things To Do Before the New Year

As the New Year approaches, I can’t help but review what the last year brought and excited about what is going to come next. I am not a fan of New Year Resolutions because I believe we should make resolutions throughout the year, short and long term, and check them off accordingly. I believe we should continuously make small steps each day/week towards improving ourselves and crossing off items from our to-do lists and goals. Start small and never give up and eventually you will achieve your goals. Nonetheless, if you have not practiced this yet, then a New Year is a great time to start!
There are 4 things that I would recommend thinking about as you are enter the New Year this weekend.
  • Be grateful. Whatever 2015 brought for you, good and bad, just be grateful for it all, because it is all pushing you towards the life you are meant to live. You grew from those experiences and today you are stronger as a result.
  • Reflect. Review your year and reflect on what went right, what went wrong, and implement accordingly for the next year. Reflect on the successes and mistakes equally (positively).
  • Write a list. Write a list of goals (short and long term) that you wish to accomplish in the next year. Update your life plan accordingly. Prepare for what is ahead and think positive.
  • Send out some New Year wishes to family, friends, and your overall network.

What are you big plans for the new year? Share them in the comments.

Is it really worth it?

Often, we hear of young adults (as early as in their mid 30’s) who die from heart attacks due to work stress, money problems, societal expectations aka from keeping up with the rat race. Now, I understand that sometimes life happens and you wake up and realize that this is happening, without really understanding how you got here. But, there is always time to make necessary changes. Is it preventable? Absolutely. It starts with planning: planning your life!

Many people fail to stop and think about how they want to live their lives. They fail to understand themselves on a deeper level. They just go with the flow of the society or what culture expects of them. According to many societies, the idea of a successful life is to obtain education, get married, have kids, have a career, get paid well, buy a house and other life necessities/luxuries, etc. So, we just check these things off as we move along through life until one day we wake up and we are 60 years old and we realize that most things that took our years from us don’t matter at this point. Many of us take on jobs we don’t enjoy only because it pays well or because a certain position is prestigious to hold. We aim to earn more money so we can keep up with the society and buy things we don’t need just to impress others.

Life is already too short and natural causes will take us away at some point anyway, so it should be unacceptable for us to bring death onto ourselves by working and stressing ourselves to death! We basically volunteer for death to visit us earlier.

Here are some things you can do to ensure you don’t end up waking up and realizing you are miserable, tired, and your health is failing you:

  • stop and think about what you want out of life. if that means you need to take a vacation alone and spend some time figuring things out, then do it. Everything else can wait. What is important to you in your life, is it money or being happy or living a simple life? Be honest with yourself. What kind of life do you envision for yourself and what will it take to get there? (hint: being rich or wealthy is probably not a healthy life goal, focus on the deeper goals, legacy and how you want to be remembered, etc.)
  • write down your goals and a plan on how you will accomplish them. Check this list on daily or weekly basis to stay on track with your life plan and stay motivated. This will help you avoid burn out and stress because you will take it one step at at time/one day at a time and you will see progress.
  • wake up grateful each day and be thankful for another day on Earth. Gratitude alone will make you happy.
  • meditate and use relaxation techniques daily. Take on yoga and other exercises. This will help you stay on your life plan and help clear your mind of daily cluster of worries and to-do’s. Be mindful of everything and everyone around you. There are plenty of apps that can help you do just that. Make time for this!
  • Check in with yourself from time time and assess where you are and how you are feeling. Did you go off your path? Do you need to make some adjustments in your life? Do you need to move to another location to live the life you want?
Most importantly, maintain happiness and peace. If you are not doing this in your life, then you are doing it wrong. Revisit your plan and adjust accordingly. Do you need more time off? Do you need to spend more time with those you love or relaxing? Nothing is worth sacrificing family or health for.

Don’t wait until you get sick to realize how short and precious life is, and don’t wait until old age to realize you did not live the life you actually hoped for. Take action today!
Life can be really simple if we want it to. It all boils down to one question, do you want to live life the way you want to or do you want society and cultural expectations to dictate the way you live your life?

Are you networking correctly?

Networking is a great way to meet new people, make connections, expand your circle, and ultimately be successful as a result. That being said, networking the right way is important. Networking, in my opinion, is not about quantity but quality. It is more important to gain a selected few solid, beneficial individuals to your networking circle versus hundreds of people with little knowledge of each one and no real connections. Keep these following points in mind when it comes to networking:

-give more than you take (and give first)

-pick 1-3 individuals at each event you attend and make a real connection vs collecting tons of business cards

-follow up/stay in touch

-connect people (part of giving back)

-create relationships

-be genuine

Also, keep in mind, networking is about building relationships with people who can bring new insights into your career/life, offer advice, and at the same someone you can give back to and offer advice in return. Networking is not about looking for someone to help you achieve something, it is about creating meaningful and mutually beneficial relationships which often result in life long friendships, career success, and, sometimes, business ventures. Do not approach a person to ask for something; approach them because you are genuinely interested in the work they have done or you can help them with something or you are interested in the same field, etc. Networking is more about giving than taking. The more you give, the more you receive. It is very simple how this idea works. I am a huge believer of giving back to the community and those around you. Ultimately, you gain and learn more when you give, because when you do good, good comes back to you.

What are your experiences or thoughts on networking?

Below you can see an article from Forbes which offers some additional great advice on networking and slightly a different approach from mine: http://www.forbes.com/sites/theyec/2014/07/28/how-to-network-the-right-way-eight-tips/