Friday, August 26, 2011

On Being Committed

“There's a difference between interest and commitment. When you're interested in doing something, you do it only when it's convenient. When you're committed to something, you accept no excuses; only results." ~~Kenneth Blanchard~~

It takes a lot of will power to be committed. Will power is not something that comes easily to all. It if did, there probably wouldn’t be a name for it… I’ve written many posts about not going it alone. I often talk about the importance of networking and of getting and giving help. Being committed to being committed is a prime example of when your support system can, well, support you! Ask for encouragement. Ask to be held accountable. Ask for help in recognizing when your commitment starts to waiver. Just because it’s YOUR commitment doesn’t mean you have to do it by yourself. Rally your friends, your family, your coach, your colleagues, the twitterverse… Let people know what you’re up to.

Let’s get the world committed to your success.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Power is in the Pen

"Knowing where you're going is all you need to get there." ~~Frederick (Carl) Frieseke~~

The Power is in the Pen. Well, maybe not the pen, but definitely in writing it down… An interesting thing happened to me early this week. In preparing for the first meeting of my accountability group after summer’s hiatus, I spent some time thinking about my goals between now and the end of this year. I recognized again that goals and tasks are not the same, so I actually spelled out – wrote down – 7 different goals. One business development goal, one public speaking goal, one job seeker social media client goal, etc. I also wrote down a recurring to-do list, things like a daily blog post, daily candidate sourcing; things I need to do every day to help me achieve my goals. Literally within hours, I had a new social media referral from a boutique outplacement firm that seemed to have also taken the summer off. By the next day I also had two referrals / introductions form colleagues to potential new clients, and an inquiry about my LinkedIn Webinar. It felt great!

I was reminded again yesterday about the power of writing it down. One of the participants on my last webinar sent me an email, which I have excerpted below:

Dear Jennifer,

I want to tell you a funny (peculiar, not ha-ha) story about what happened to me after I attended your LinkedIn webinar on 28 July.

On Tuesday, 2 August, my latest newsletter was sent out. With that done, I went back to musing as to how I would implement the to-do list I created while listening to you. Top of the list – how to get recommendations. On Wednesday I received notification that someone had endorsed me.

When I asked this client why he had suddenly written the referral, he responded by saying that he had never written a LinkedIn referral before, but when he got my latest ‘newsletter’, he thought “if I ever write a referral, then it would be for this guy”. And then, he said, he suddenly thought, “Why not now?”. And he did.

So, I put it down to your lessons being in my mind sending out thought patterns to the Universe who then nudged someone to act on it. You have a better explanation?

To which I replied:

I love hearing this stuff! And, I do NOT have a better explanation. I am a huge believer of writing things down, putting thoughts out into the universe, and letting the magic happen! There’s no such thing as coincidence in my book…

My take-a-way… Write it down. Put it out there. Know your intentions. Make them real. By the way… when I was writing down my goals, I also wrote down some affirmations. I even taped them to my wall right next to my computer!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Jealous Therapist Syndrome

“Some people like my advice so much that they frame it upon the wall instead of using it.” ~~Gordon R. Dickson~~

During an Accountability Group meeting yesterday we discussed what one of my partners called the “jealous therapist syndrome”. I Googled it… I think she may have coined the phrase. Basically the point is that it’s often easier to help someone else than it is to help yourself. We have clarity of thought when we look in from the outside. We can give great advice to others, but we don’t always follow our own. We can see what can work for someone else's situation, but have trouble plotting out our own path. A colleague of mine, Ed Han, even posted about it in his blog a few weeks ago as it relates to resumes, and how hard it is to write your own, while being so easy to give opinions on others. In his post, Ed challenges us to “Imagine what more any of us could learn if we had more input from people whose views we trust?” I like the idea! It’s why there are mastermind groups, power lunches with like-minded people, job clubs, and a whole host of other networking opportunities where we can share information and get input from people we trust and respect. Research has shown that job seekers who are members of job clubs land new roles more quickly than those who do not participate in such networking events. Another colleague of mine, Donna Svei, aka Avid Careerist, a resume writer who also writes a great blog for job seekers, strongly encourages job seekers to “show up” and “get yourself out with people” in her post HERE. So – what are you waiting for? Get out there, ask for ideas and input. Seek assistance… but beware the naysayers and the doom and gloomers. Not all advice is good.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Getting Back on Track

“Even if you are on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there.” ~~Will Rogers~~

Staying focused seems to be one of my biggest challenges. And, from what I read on a regular basis, it’s clear that it’s not just me! My post yesterday (here) describes a planning tool I use to help stay organized and make good choices about how to use my time… but it doesn’t always help me stay off the web, and focused on more critical (or more lucrative) tasks. I’ve described techniques in the past; Aligned Thinking, and Celestine Prophecy-like focused energy to name two… and when I’m in total “production mode” these work and work well… but what happens when distractions get the better of you? What happens when you’re not feeling motivated and you’d rather spend some time on Zappos, Twitter, or Facebook? I want to know what works for you. How do you maintain focus and stay productive especially when you just don’t feel like it? Do you use a self-reward system? Do you listen to loud music? Do you allow yourself the distraction knowing that you’ll pick back up soon? Is it easy for you to recognize, or admit to yourself, that you’ve lost focus? And, once you’ve realized you’re not focused, how do you get back on track? Thanks in advance for your comments! Let’s help each other out!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Using Time Wisely

“Better three hours too soon, than one minute too late.” ~~William Shakespeare~~

Using my time wisely sometimes involves making tough choices. The things I want to do are not always the things I need to do in order to keep appropriate forward momentum. The things I need to do are not always the things other people want me to do. Regardless of who wants me to, or whether or not I want to, I know what I need to do to get the job done!

The best way I have found so far in making sure I get the most out of the hours in the day is simple planning. I, personally, have returned to the handwritten planner. Outlook, or some other calendar, day timer or notebook would work just fine. Here’s what I do.

1. I set up categories – sections for each activity in which I am actively involved. I have 3 different sections for work, as I wear many hats. I also have a section for the non-profit I am a board member for, a section for my SendOut Cards business, a section for a networking organization I help run, and a section for personal items.
2. I set up a system where I can identify things that need to happen within each category, and assign them a priority. High, not as high (because nothing is ever a low priority, right?), and things to keep in mind.
3. I have a section for phone calls I need to make/return and a section for non-specific follow up, as well as room to take notes.
4. At the top of the page I determine what my major goal is for the week, and then I make sure that the things I put in the high priority section will help me actually achieve that goal. When those are done, I can move on.

Since I know what my goals are, and I know the tasks and action steps required to get to closer to my goals, it’s easier to make the tough choices. It’s clear where I need to spend my time and put forth the most effort. And, the best part about it is that when I see I have achieved a goal, and am able to cross something off the priority list as an accomplishment, I have a small success to celebrate, which helps keep me motivated!

What tools do you use to be sure you use your time wisely?

Friday, August 19, 2011

Motivation: Today is Also Your Day!

Baby you’re a firework; Come on let your colors burst; Make ‘em go, oh, oh, oh; You’re gonna leave ‘em falling down. Boom, boom, boom; Even brighter than the moon, moon, moon; It’s always been inside of you, you, you; And now it’s time to let it through! ~~Lyrics From Firework by Katy Perry~~

We often feel adrift when our confidence is low. When we’re on what I called yesterday, “an inadequacy kick”, nothing we do seems good enough, or smart enough, or innovative enough… So, it’s time. Today is also your day! (see previous post here: Your moment is waiting!

Embrace your inner firework! Be proud of what you have accomplished. Only you could have done it! Only you could have taken your exact circumstances, paired them with your exact skills and timing and sense of know-how! Only you could have achieved that exact result at that exact moment! So shout your value from the roof top. Strut your stuff. Let your individuality and experience come through.

Think about your value proposition. Who are you in regard to a role? What do you bring to the table that nobody else does? What are the recurring themes of your results and achievements? What are you known for? Or, what do you want to be known for? Write it out. Re-write it. Read it out loud. Practice it. Learn it. Know it. Live it. You are a firework! Let yourself shine!

Complete Firework lyrics:

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The High of Helping

"Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success." ~~Henry Ford~~

You don’t have to do it alone. You’ve heard that “it takes a village”? I had, many times, but I’m not sure I really understood the meaning until recently. Things like Ego and Fear or Embarrassment can get in the way of asking for help or advice. So we go it alone. We try to trudge our way through what feels like uncharted territory and make it up as we go along. Well, like yesterday, today is your day! Your goals are waiting. Today is the day to empower the village to pull together. Today is the day to take action steps to overcoming the ostensible need to do it alone. If you’re feeling shy, or feeling scared, then start by helping someone else! You’ll see how good it feels to be the one to help pick someone else up off the ground. You’ll understand intrinsically why it’s human nature to assist others. You’ll feel the natural high of being able to offer something you didn’t even know you had (or didn’t think was all that special) that helps someone turn their life around. Maybe then will you see that by asking for help you’re actually doing someone else a favor!

I haven’t been out there as much lately. Sure, I’ve still been helping some. It’s what I do. Teaching job seekers how to think like a recruiter; leveraging social media; networking tactics… it’s what I do. But I haven’t really been out there lately. I miss the face-to-face networking that brings me so much joy. I miss being out there helping people connect with others who can help them even more than I can. And, I miss recognizing the proverbial light bulbs going off when someone sees a way that they can help me. Networking is a two way street, and it starts with you, and it starts today! Who can you help today? Who can you reach out to today? And who do you think may be able to help you get one step closer to your goals?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Today Is Your Day

“Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So... get on your way.” ~~Dr. Seuss~~

The best time to start is today. In fact, the best time to start is right now. It doesn’t matter why you stopped. It doesn’t matter how long of a break you took. Even the number of times you’ve stopped and restarted is irrelevant. If you want to get going again, get going now.

Life is full. You can label that fullness however you’d like. Inconveniences, setbacks, and disappointments; or surprises, opportunities, chances, and blessings… However you label them, the circumstances don’t change. You just need to change the way you think about them, and how you react to them. Whatever they are, whatever you call them, they’re there. And sometimes they’re valid, real reasons to take breaks.

Maybe you took some time off to de-stress a little. Maybe you took a much needed vacation. Maybe you had a family situation that required your full attention. Maybe you simply lost the drive and motivation to keep going. Maybe you just needed to take a break…again. And, maybe, just maybe, now you’re just finding it hard to get back in that saddle. There are still just a “few more things” that need your attention and you’ll start tomorrow… Sound familiar? It’s a little close to home for me! And I choose, right here, right now to get back on that horse.

Life is full of forgiveness. Forgive yourself for the break. But don’t forget that life is for living, and only you can make it happen.

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. You are the guy who'll decide where to go.” ~~Dr. Seuss