Friday, September 25, 2009

Friday: Motivation

“Opportunity…often it comes in the form of misfortune, or temporary defeat." ~Napoleon Hill

I went looking for the silver lining, and discovered platinum!

On this beautiful Autumn Friday, I wish you all a wonderfully fulfilling day, and a fantastic weekend.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Thursday: Goals (and overcoming fear)

“The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.” ~Michelangelo

Truer words may never have been spoken. I find it odd that while people think that they are afraid of failure, I believe that they more often they are afraid of success… Success requires change, and change is scary. Even if you believe that change happens for the best, it’s still unknown… and that, I think, is the most real fear out there.

It’s usually a subconscious fear that prevents us from taking control of our lives. It’s a fear that will allow us only to maintain the status quo. It keeps us doing the same thing we’ve always done, because that’s where we’re comfortable. Well, it has been said that doing the same thing we’ve always done but expecting different results is the definition of insanity… so tell me, how do you expect to achieve your goals and get ahead if you’re afraid to change and afraid to succeed?

I challenge you, as I challenge myself, to examine these fears. Identifying them will help us get past them.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Wednesday: Positive Attitude

“If you aren't fired with enthusiasm, you will be fired with enthusiasm.” ~Vince Lombardi

At the HR Whine & Dine networking event last night we had a conversation about employee engagement and employee retention. While many who attended are in fact, “between successes”*, others are presently employed yet genuinely fearful of losing their jobs. One person commented frankly that everyone in her company was “actively looking” and that was no secret. While in _her_ case that is understandable as her company is going under, in many cases the same is true even when the company is viable.

I remember recently reading a blog post (wishing now that I could find it to give credit to the writer!) about a person who was employed, but publically complaining about their job in the coffee shop across the street from their office… and another who was complaining that her boss wanted her travel… and how “unfair” that she had to pick up all this extra work!

And, I know people who have gotten so jaded about their job search that all they have left is anger and negativity; actively blaming everyone but themselves for their situations. (This recruiter was stupid, that company was unprofessional, there are no jobs, LinkedIn is a waste of time, etc…)

These are tough times. I get that. We all have to do a little more with a little less. But these people who either take for granted they have a job, or who refuse to be accountable for their own career campaign, need a little attitude adjustment.

At the event last night I spoke with at least three people who were actively taking responsibility for their job searches and were actually excited by the possibilities that lie ahead. As hard as it is out there, and as down as you may get sometimes, the fact is that possibilities lie ahead. Go find them, and please, I beg you, get fired with enthusiasm. Complaining will get you nowhere.

*phrase attributed to one of our attendees

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Tuesday: Focus

“It was character that got us out of bed, commitment that moved us into action, and discipline that enabled us to follow through.” ~Zig Ziglar

Today, I challenge you to focus on following through. Follow up; do what you said you were going to do; be accountable for your actions; be proactive; take control of the conversation…

Too many opportunities are lost from a lack of follow-through. Use a calendar; tie a string around your finger; set an alarm or a task reminder; whatever it takes… If you say you’re going to put a cover letter and resume in the mail, as well as send it via email, put it in the mail. If you say you’re going to call someone on Friday, please call them on Friday.

You can have the best of intentions, be extremely well prepared, and have great focus, but if you don’t follow up, you’ll blow it.

Focus. Then follow through.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Monday: Preparation

“The best preparation for tomorrow is doing your best today.” ~H. Jackson Brown Jr.

I was just speaking with a job seeker who said that he’d rather cut the grass then spend the day on the computer looking for a job; at least he would feel like he accomplished something.

While emotionally I do understand this, and I can sympathize, this is not the best way to do your best. A job search IS a full time job. It has the same ups and downs any job has. There will be good days and there will be less than good days. But as long as you honestly do your best, you HAVE accomplished something.

It’s easy to get frustrated. Just do the best you can possibly do, and know that you are paving the road to success.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Friday: Motivation

“Every worthwhile accomplishment, big or little, has its stages of drudgery and triumph; a beginning, a struggle and a victory.” ~Mahatma Gandhi

Wishing those who are celebrating a very Happy New Year. May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Thursday: Goals

“Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.” ~John F. Kennedy

Set a goal, choose a course of action that will help you achieve that goal, and then maintain course until that goal is reached. One key is action. The other key is recognizing when to change action when you are no longer headed toward achievement of the goal, or when the goal is no longer the right goal.

Don’t be afraid of change. It is typically for the best.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Wednesday: Positive Attitude

I heard a song on the radio yesterday morning as I was driving to the Westport, CT Public Library to give a presentation to job seekers on using social media as part of a strategic career campaign. I guess, even after this many years of public speaking, even I could use a little encouragement.

The song actually reminds me of junior high school, but in a good way, and it makes me happy. I think it fits in really well for a post on attitude. So, thank you Corey Hart!

Excerpted from NEVER SURRENDER:

“So if you're lost and on your own
You can never surrender
And if your path won't lead you home
You can never surrender
And when the night is cold and dark
You can see, you can see light
Cause no-one can take away your right
To fight and never surrender”

There is light at the end of every tunnel.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Tuesday: Focus


“It's not what's happening to you now or what has happened in your past that determines who you become. Rather, it's your decisions about what to focus on, what things mean to you, and what you're going to do about them that will determine your ultimate destiny.” ~Tony Robbins

So this one’s not about staying focused, but it IS about choosing what to be focused ON, so it’s still relevant, and still important.

Your circumstances don’t define you. Be who you are and believe in who you can become.

And, because I loved this one, here’s a bonus: “If success you want to permit, persistence you cannot quit.” ~@BreakThruGuy (Paul Sutherland)

Monday, September 14, 2009

Monday: Preparation

“A strong, positive self-image is the best possible preparation for success.” ~Joyce Brothers

Confidence and self-image really do go a long way. Working with a client recently I was reminded (again) how demoralizing the job search (or any adversity, really) can be. In speaking with some colleagues and fellow coaches about what _we_ can do to help besides be a cheerleader as well as a coach, we came back to the idea of accountability groups.

In addition to providing great motivation, a perfect place to get feedback and share ideas, and fostering the sense of community and camaraderie most of us crave, a group of peers in similar situations can really do a lot to boost our own feelings of self-worth.

When you know that it’s not YOU… When you know that there are others who seem like smart, intelligent, kind, good people to whom bad things have happened… When you have the opportunity to help them and be helped in return… you can begin to rebuild your confidence.

Confidence does need to come from within, and relying solely on others to give you a self assurance is not a good idea, in times of need it’s really nice to know you’re not alone.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Friday: Motivation

“Striving for excellence motivates you; striving for perfection is demoralizing.” ~Dr. Harriet Braiker

Affirmations for today:

I accept myself unconditionally.
I appreciate my life and all its variations.
I have the strength to handle the rewards of my choices.

Make it a great day!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Thursday: Goals

“I know the price of success: dedication, hard work, and an unremitting devotion to the things you want to see happen.” ~ Frank Lloyd Wright

As a career coach and a recruiter, I encounter all kinds of job seekers. I work with those who require almost no external motivation to work harder on their job search than they may have even in their last “paid” job. I work with those who, while frustrated, with a just a little help, they find the inner strength to keep going and really work their career campaign. And, I work with those who spend a few hours a week searching job boards and wonder why they’re still unemployed.

A job search may be the hardest job you will ever have. Managing a true, well-rounded career campaign takes a lot of soul searching, planning, research, communication, networking, and follow through. It’s a full time, 40 hour a week endeavor to find your next full time, 40 hour a week endeavor.

If you’re in search mode, in transition, unemployed, under-employed or just plain looking for a new job, you need to take control of your future success. Dedication, hard work, and devotion to your campaign are required in this market. You need to be able to distinguish yourself from the masses. You need to be able to differentiate yourself from the others in your field who had your same job title. You need to be creative, and you need to be committed.

I get it. Sometimes that’s hard. But you don’t have to do it by yourself.

I believe that every great player needs a coach. I believe that every great player needs to be held accountable. I believe that every great player needs to work hard to stay great. And, I believe that every great player needs to pay the price for success.

Frank Lloyd Wright certainly built great things. We can too.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Wednesday: Positive Attitude

“Every thought is a seed. If you plant crab apples, don't count on harvesting Golden Delicious.” ~Bill Meyer

With change often comes doubt. It doesn’t seem to matter much if the change feels positive or negative, doubt comes. Even after years of practice, I find I still have to remind myself to think positively and not doubt myself. I find I still have to remind myself that I am in control of how I look at my circumstances, that things happen for a reason, and it’s always for the best. I still have to remind myself that even though it doesn’t feel like it’s for the best at the time, that better things will come as a result. It’s that, “when one door closes another opens” concept.

I know that my thoughts dictate my behavior, and that my behavior is the only thing that will help me propel forward.

I am really working hard on only thinking good, positive thoughts. I don’t like crab apples.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Tuesday: Focus

"If our thoughts and hopes are elsewhere, it is impossible for us to set our faces steadily toward the work required of us." ~ Anonymous

Over the holiday weekend I took some more time to reflect on my goals, especially as they relate to my family, and am taking small steps to rebalance my life. As often as I write about focus, I have been feeling unfocussed a lot lately, and have decided to adjust my focus accordingly. In the down economy I spread myself a bit too thin as I worked diligently to make money… as a recruiter in a recession. I am now preparing to narrow my scope, and focus more closely on my core business. I believe it will provide the best return and help me

With Labor Day (aptly named) behind us, how are you working to stay focused on your search? Are there adjustments you can make to your process?

Preparation Quote

“If I had six hours to chop down a tree, I'd spend the first hour sharpening the ax.” ~Abraham Lincoln

Friday, September 4, 2009

Friday: Motivation

"You may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing we call 'failure' is not the falling down, but the staying down." ~Mary Pickford

This quote reminds me of my son learning to walk. He started off slowly, holding on to everything. He eventually got up the courage to let go and try to walk on his own and he fell. And, he fell a lot. But, he never gave up. And now he won’t stop running!

On the surface this may not seem comparable to things we go through as adults, but if you think of it from my son’s perspective, learning to walk seemed insurmountable, and arguably was the one thing that would help propel his future.

Crawl. Cruise. Take Baby Steps. Learn to Walk. Learn to Run. Never Stop.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Thursday: Goals

“Amidst all the clutter, beyond all the obstacles, aside from all the static, are the goals set.” ~Donald Rumsfeld

Setting goals involves the establishment of specific, measurable objectives. Goal setting is a process that allows you to spell out, and then work towards your objectives. But, goal setting requires motivation. And, sometimes, with all the “noise” out there, it’s hard to find that motivation. Is it silly to set a goal to set goals?

I found it best to set two different kinds of goals.

The first set will help me achieve my “twenty year plan”. They include business goals and personal goals, and they are fairly “task” related. They include sending acknowledgements to at least 10 people a week, reading certain books, and building a successful business. Knowing where I want to end up is useful in setting the course for how to get there.

But, in order to stay motivated about my goal setting, I also set daily goals. These are more about personal accomplishments and living up to my affirmations. Today, my goal is to make 10 people smile.

I hope you’re one of them.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Wednesday: Positive Attitude

“What happens is not as important as how you react to what happens.” ~Thaddeus Golas

Today I will follow my preschooler’s lead. He woke up singing. He woke up happy, and although he clearly stated that he missed his daddy and wished that he wasn’t in Texas on a business trip, he sang his way through his bath and breakfast. He chose his favorite toy for show and tell, chattered the whole way to preschool about how green the trees were, and ran into the building with such exuberance that one of the other moms even commented about how she wished she had that outlook on starting her work day. Well, I say you can! Choose to make each day the best day that it can be. Choose to be happy. Put a smile on your face and a song in your heart and be happy to be alive. Acknowledge the good in your life.

Yes, these are challenging times. Let's choose to rise to the challenge! Bring it on!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Tuesday: Focus

“Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it.” ~ Greg Anderson

Well, ok. Joy is found in finishing it too, but the journey really can be enjoyable, even the job search journey.

Using the Hire Aspirations methodology of career coaching, I challenge my clients to reach back and explore their greatest achievements and most significant accomplishments. This is not an easy task, but really can be enlightening. After a series of exercises, my clients are able to validate their top skills and strengths, and can use what they’ve discovered in cover letters, on resumes, and especially during job interviews. It’s quite the process! And, they find, despite all the hard work that the process really was fun!

Of course there is joy in landing the right job, but you can also focus on the possibilities of self exploration, and the new experiences that lie ahead.