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Advice

Via Addicted 2 Success : 6 Steps to Achieving Work-Life Balance

I know something about you. Your life is messed up. You aren’t where you thought you would be by now. You expected something very different than your current reality. I know this because you’re still reading. If your life was all sunshine and tropical beaches then you would have blown right past this article.

I know something else about you. Down deep shines a glimmer of hope. A flickering flame of belief that you can still have the life you wanted. Don’t let it die. The life you dream of is out there, but you have to make it happen. What does it take?

Here are 6 simple steps that will allow you to achieve the work life balance you so desperately seek:

1. Discover what you love

Work life balance means doing more of what you love and less of what you hate. In any career there will be tasks that you don’t love, but overall you should be spending most of your time doing things that are both fun and challenging. You’ll never have balance doing something that isn’t your passion.

“The truest drive comes from doing what you love.” – Peter Diamandis

2. Find the right type of work

Discovering what you love is about finding what makes you happy. Finding the right type of work is how you apply that to real life. Many people are perfectly content working a normal job in a field that brings them joy. I see this all the time in teachers, nurses, and leaders of companies. But for others a job is too restrictive. If that’s you then congratulations! You live in the age of the freelancer, consultant and virtual assistant. Organizations around the world pay millions of people every day to solve their problems, without hiring them as employees. I have a friend who recently started doing voice overs for commercials and other types of gigs. Now she does voice over work full time while travelling the country with her husband and young daughter.

3. Make a plan

Do you really know what you want in work life balance? Take some time to think through how you want to spend each day. For a normal job, do you like 9-5 for 5 days per week? Would you prefer working 10 hours a day and taking every Friday off? Does the idea of telecommuting excite you? For freelancers and consultants you must control your schedule or it will control you. Figure out exactly when and how you want to do what you love.

4. Hold yourself accountable

It’s really easy to slip back into a routine. Work life balance isn’t something you set up then just let happen. Keeping careful watch on how you spend your time and what you are doing will make you happier. Don’t be fooled into thinking that life is more fun lived randomly. Self-managed structure allows for freedom. Keep an eye on your daily life so that it remains yours.

“Plan your work for today and every day, then work your plan.” – Margaret Thatcher

5. Don’t compromise

If you are like me you’ve lived most of your life by default. Your friends and family believe that’s normal. When you step out and start making conscious changes there will be pushback. Stay the course. Do what is right for you and those you love. Don’t give up management of your life to those who can’t even manage their own.

6. Give first place to the most important things

Are you married or is there a highly significant person in your life? Do you have children? Sometimes I think work life balance is backwards. We should call it Life Work balance. The people you love most should come before any business or work. Isn’t the point of work life balance to do what you enjoy most? Then make sure spending time with the people you care for comes first. Let the passion for your dream be fueled by the desire to be with the people you love so very much.

Perhaps the best advice I can give you is to take responsibility for your work life balance. No one else knows what truly makes you happy and only you can take the steps to reach that goal. Don’t let what you’ve always done keep you from doing what you really want.

A paycheck, even a very large paycheck, isn’t worth being miserable for the rest of your life. Be the person you were created to be and spend your life doing what you love.The life you dream of is out there, but you have to make it happen.

Via Money : Feeling Stuck in Your Career? Here’s Exactly How to Make a Change, According to a Fortune 500 CEO Coach

My former student took the first job he was offered out of college. Cold-calling in sales was not something he ever saw himself doing or excelling at—but he did. He thought he would stay in sales until he found a marketing position. Ten years later, he’s still in sales, with a lifestyle that doesn’t easily lend itself to starting over. He feels like he’s missed his opportunity.

Work, family, community, friends. Each come with their own joys and demands on your time and energy. You put one foot in front of the other meeting deadlines, going to school, paying bills, walking the dog, and caring for others.

Among all these priorities, you can get stuck in a job that isn’t fulfilling or doesn’t use the skill sets you hoped to develop. You may bend to others’ expectations of who you should become. Ambition can turn to complacency: You’re doing well, and isn’t that good enough?

I’ve seen this with people I’ve coached. They become comfortable with their roles, avoiding the uncertainty of pursuing something they always wanted to do. I worked with an artist who went into advertising, and a stockbroker who wanted to become a high school math teacher. They found it easier to keep doing what they were doing than reaching for what they really wanted.

But it’s always possible to make a change, no matter which phase of life you’re in. Here are some actionable tactics to help you get unstuck in your career.

Start by Identifying Your Heroes

The one thing that will hold you back from achieving your fullest potential is a lack of vision.

The first step is to be honest with yourself about what you want to do in your career, organization, and life. Give yourself permission to think about what really matters to you. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you quit your job (although it might for some). It means that you have conversations with yourself about yourself. You can ask yourself: “If I had a magic wand, what would I be doing?”

I recently ran a workshop with people who found it difficult to let themselves think about what could be next or what they value. I had them think about someone that they admire—either from history or in their family, politics, etc. When we explored their role models it opened their eyes to what they want in their own lives. Then we created realistic action plans around how to change what they were doing or build more of what they valued into their day to day.

Change the Way You Talk to Yourself

If you tell yourself it’s too late, or you are in too deep, you will squash your ability to make a change. Constantly debating reasons to go forward or not will keep you in the same spot.

Behaviorally, we are comfortable with language that supports ideas and practices that have gotten us to where we are. Using different words can trigger the brain to engage its more comfortable system of thinking, subconsciously fighting your emerging new ideas.

However, a new language will help you rewire your brain to think differently, the precursor to acting differently. Using new words is like learning a new language. Research has demonstrated that people who are bilingual trigger different brain activity in the prefrontal cortex, the front of the brain, that is responsible for organizing and acting on information. Creating a new language for yourself uses your brain differently, ultimately creating more cognitive flexibility and, eventually, new actions.

So pay close attention to the language you use when talking about your career. If you say “I can’t” engage in new activities, transform it into “I can try something different.” Ideas such as “I shouldn’t dwell on what I’m not investing my time in” can turn into “I will try and invest my time in something I want to do.” And if you’re burnt out from job hunting, convert “I won’t talk to another recruiter” into “I will hear what she has to say.” The idea is to speak in a language that creates possibility for change.

Get Honest About Your Strengths and Opportunities

I recently ran a workshop on “Finding Your Next” for professional women. One participant was a 20-year corporate media veteran who always wanted to write a novel. She thought it was too late in her career. But she took an accounting of her personal strengths: she was a good and quick writer who managed her time well. And also surveyed her opportunities: she had no dependents living at home and had just completed an obligation with a local charity. She realized that she had time and desire, and the only thing in her way was her mindset.

She chose to get unstuck.

During her vacation she went on a writers’ retreat to outline her novel and develop her characters with a coach and other writers. Now she’s on her way.

You can do the same exercise for yourself. Ask yourself what your strengths are, and what capabilities might need to be developed.

I once coached a successful corporate lawyer who loved the law but felt numb in her large firm. She wanted to create a practice in the nonprofit sector, but didn’t believe she had the accounting and marketing skills to run a business on her own. The idea of keeping her own books, billing clients, and making sure they paid their bills was more than she wanted to think about. After some prodding, she enrolled in business courses. It took a few years, but she’s now practicing in her own firm, and is so successful she hired an account management person and took on an associate.

Share Your Goals with Your Current Employer

When good employees share their vision with executives, their career paths can change in unexpected and fulfilling ways.

A mid-careerist in finance always harbored a dream of coaching lacrosse. He believed the sport helped cultivate discipline and teamwork, two skills he wanted to foster in his own children. There was only one problem: No opportunities existed for him to begin coaching in neighboring schools. He expressed this to a co-worker during a break at a quarterly meeting. The CFO happened to overhear him. Two weeks later, he was spearheading the creation of a company-sponsored lacrosse club for his co-workers. He also was soon promoted.

There’s no reason to stifle what you feel passionate about. Most employers want good employees to be satisfied—this is not only altruistic, but may result in a more engaged and loyal worker.

Making space in your life for striving toward your vision can help you develop new skills and bring a sense of purpose to what you do.

So take a breath, carve out some time, and dream on.

Via Forbes : Valuable Career Advice These Business Leaders Would Give Their Younger Selves

Every year around this time, I can consistently expect three things to happen: my seasonal allergies begin to flare up, my DVR gets locked into NBA playoffs and my LinkedIn inbox starts getting flooded with messages from college students who are nearing graduation and want career advice. In this article, we’ll focus on the third one.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, nearly 3 million college students will earn their degree at the end of this school year and most will prepare to enter the workforce. How do we ensure this generation is armed with the guidance they need?

The LinkedIn messages I receive usually involve questions about how to navigate the job market. What is a reasonable and appropriate entry-level role? How do I find a good mentor? Should I prioritize a job with a flashy title over a job I would love doing? How long should I stay in that role before looking for the next opportunity?

I always try my best to respond and customize advice for people who contact me about readiness for the professional real world. However, since tailored advice isn’t always feasible for a large audience, I went searching for some general, yet less obvious, suggestions that could benefit a broader audience.

Building on the ideas I provided last year, I wanted to expand the knowledge pool and get advice from some smart and successful people in my network who have some unique words of wisdom to share. I asked what career advice they would offer to their younger selves or family members and the insightfulness of responses was invaluable.

Here’s what they told me about picking the right career path, finding the right mentor and getting in the right mindset to land the career of your dreams:

Lawrence Cole, head of mid-market lead gen sales, U.S. Northwest at Google, said this:

“Be mindful about the roles you take and the scope and level of responsibility they expose you to. Early exposure to seniority and the strategic systems of a business will pay off mid-career and beyond in the level of responsibility that organizations are willing to give you. The sooner you are able to check boxes such as leading teams, managing other managers, managing large budgets, creating a big vision and mobilizing a large team of people to execute it, the better.”

David Belden, executive talent partner at Andreessen Horowitz, suggested this:

“Meet with people who have the job that you want and ask them for advice on how to get to a role like theirs in the future. This is of course a great learning opportunity, but also has the potential to spark an informal mentee-mentor relationship, which can be invaluable to career development.”

Navid Zolfaghari, vice president of sales at Branch Metrics, provided this perspective:

“Regardless of how skilled or talented you are, you won’t be successful if you don’t produce. Learn to love what you do, outwork everyone, and have a growth mindset.”

Jeanne DeWitt, head of North American revenue and growth at Stripe, shared this advice:

“Always work for someone you can learn from. And, understand the difference between a mentor and a sponsor — if you don’t have someone in the organization actively supporting the acceleration of your career (a sponsor), you’re heading down a longer road.”

Rashaun Williams, general partner of the MVP All-Star Fund, offered the following:

“I wish I was more focused on being excellent and an expert at my current job instead of focusing on the job I wanted but didn’t have. Also, don’t make important decisions solely based on your emotions. How you “feel” changes minute by minute. Consider your spirit, mind, physical comforts AND emotions when making big decisions.”

Angela Benton, entrepreneur and founder of NewME Accelerator, said this:

“Don’t stress about not having it all figured out. Social media can make us think that we’re the only one not “trending up and to the right.” Focus intently on where you are at now and use this as leverage while everyone else is focused on projecting where they want to be rather than where they actually are.”

Michael Espada, senior global commercial manager at Sims Recycling Solutions, provided this perspective:

“If you find a good boss early on, support them completely and ride the coattails to the top. Eventually, you will know when to step out into visibility and your boss will likely help you do that.”

Did any of these words of advice resonate with you? If you are among the millions of students nearing graduation or you are simply undergoing a career change, my hope is that you can leverage these wide-ranging nuggets of advice to improve your job prospects.

One of the core tenets of success is being able to learn from the lessons and failures of others. These accomplished business leaders all have undoubtedly experienced their fair share of professional ups and downs, so any shared advice should be viewed by you as an available shortcut on your path for personal success.

Via Forbes : Preparing to make a major career change can be like parachuting out of a plane—thrilling but also terrifying. These days though, career transitions are not uncommon. According to a Harris survey, only 14% of U.S. workers believe they have the perfect job and more than half want to change careers. Leaping into unfamiliar career territory requires courage and planning. Yet it seems like many people spend more time planning their vacations than their careers. As Benjamin Franklin said, “by failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” Here are some tips that will help set you up for success when getting ready for that big career change.

Make sure it’s for the right reasons

Start by determining whether the problem is your career or your workplace. Remember that a career change is very different from a job change. The fact that you can’t stand your cranky micromanaging boss or your coworkers isn’t a good reason to make a major career transition. If you used to like your job in the past, but now you hate it because you have a new manager, chances are you’re not ready for a career overhaul. Know that the grass isn’t always greener. Dig deep within yourself to understand why you crave a career transformation. A significant career change should be born out of a desire for things like fulfillment, happiness, freedom and flexibility among others. Make sure you are running towards something you love and not away from something you hate.

Do your homework

Confirm that your dream career really is what you imagine it to be. Join professional associations and network with your future colleagues. Attend career-specific conferences. Tap into your personal contacts and talk to family, friends and mentors to gather as much information as possible. Learn what opportunities and challenges exist in the new career you are considering through informational interviews. If possible, shadow professionals or better yet volunteer or work part-time in the new field you are contemplating to get a sense of the daily grind. You will also want to understand upcoming trends as well as compensation. If after extensively researching your new career choice it still seems like the right fit for you, you can move on to examining how your current skill set translates to your future profession.

Take an inventory of your skills

Whether you know it or not, chances are you have valuable skills that are transferrable to the new field. For example, if you’ve been working in the corporate world and want to start your own business, you probably have an established reputation, valuable contacts and hiring practice—all of which will serve you well as an entrepreneur. Also, take note of areas where you may be lacking and work to fill in those gaps. Your new career may require you to go back to school for some additional education to supplement the skills you already have. If that is the case, you may even consider completing those requirements while you are still in your current job. By taking small steps rather than making an abrupt change, the transition will seem less overwhelming and easier to manage.

Prepare financially

Taking steps to prepare financially for a career transition is critical. It is highly likely that in the early days of your new career your income may drop slightly or even significantly. You’ll want to examine your expenses closely and reduce or eliminate any unnecessary spending. Separate your needs from your wants. Ideally, you will want to set aside at least six to 12 months of living expenses to provide a cushion as you ramp up in your new career. Depending on what field you are transitioning into, you can investigate grants, scholarships or loans to assist you in getting up and running. It may also be wise to meet with a financial advisor at this stage to get a professional opinion and learn about other options that may be open to you.

Create a plan

A goal without a plan is just a dream. To make that dream a reality you’ll need to devise a concrete set of milestones with target dates to hold yourself accountable. This is the roadmap that will get you from point A to point B. Establish your short-term objectives (those that will take 12 months or less) as well as long-term ones that will take longer to achieve. Also, identify whether any barriers may interfere with your ability to reach your goals in the stated timeframe. For example, if your goal is to be a web developer, but you don’t have the training, it’s time to start researching educational programs. The most important thing is to write your plan down. Writing down your plan in detail will increase the odds that you will actually accomplish it. Tony Robbins says, “write your goals down—not on a computer, but on paper, or in a journal. There’s something that happens when we write something down.” In fact, in a study conducted by psychology professor Dr. Gail Matthews, more than 70% of the participants who wrote down their goals had accomplished them, compared to 35% who kept their goals to themselves and didn’t write them down.

Remember it’s a process

Making a major career change is a process, not a destination. Remember that success doesn’t happen overnight so don’t get discouraged. The key is to celebrate small wins along the way. If you don’t celebrate small milestones, you are going to lose the motivation and drive to continue. So, the key is to tie how you feel not to your long-term goal but to the progress that you are making. The better you feel about yourself and your progress, the more likely it is that you will continue to put in the work that will help make your dreams a reality.

Via Goalcast : 4 Steps to Finding a Dream Job that Actually Makes You Happy

If doing what you love every day while getting paid for it is the ultimate career dream, then why do so many of us give up on that dream when we become adults?

Some may say that work is work, and that getting your dream job is just that, a pipe dream, but I have to respectfully disagree. If you have the necessary patience, coupled with a bit of persistence, there are steps you can take to get the dream job that you’ve always wanted.

1. Know what you want

It’s not enough to have a general idea of what you want to do. Sure, when you enter a new industry, you might not know enough about it to make a definitive decision about where you want to be in 5, 10, or 20 years. But once you’ve started to familiarize yourself with how a sector works, you need to decide how you will contribute to it so that you can start executing on some sort of plan.

The best place to start is to focus on the things that you think you’re good at.

If you work on developing a skill that you’re already naturally disposed to, it gives you the confidence to keep trying new things, and to make mistakes. That’s the first step to truly mastering something, and to making a successful career out of it.

2. Build relationships with people who do what you want to do

The fastest way to learn something is to talk to 10 experts on the topic. So it follows that the best way to learn about what it takes to build a successful career is to talk to the people who got where you want to be.

There are many people who are happy to take the time and talk to someone who asks for their help, especially if they’re just a few years ahead of you and remember what it was like to be in your shoes.

3. Provide value to people while building on your skills

Getting introduced to people who can give you advice is great, but if you want to accelerate your career, you have to continue to provide value to the people who have helped you on your path.

But what do people really mean when they say, add value to others?

One example is being open to using your own network for someone else’s benefit. Even if your network isn’t very big yet, you know people with skills or knowledge that someone else does not have. So whenever you meet someone new at an event that you want to maintain a relationship with, think about one or two people in your own network that might be relevant for that person to talk to. Even if it’s simply to share some expertise. Once you make an introduction, that person will see you as a connector and they will be more likely to remember you if you reach out to them asking for help down the line.

A simple way to add value to someone you want to build a relationship with is sharing information, even just an article, about a topic you know they care about. You don’t need to do this all the time, but just keep in touch.

The purpose of adding value is to give something before you ask for something. When you’re ready to switch your career or pursue a sought-after job that fits your skillset, ask for introductions to the leaders in the organization, rather than simply applying on a job board and hoping for a response.

The person on the receiving end is much more likely to make an introduction on your behalf if they trust you’re a thoughtful person who will make a good impression and reflect well on them. If you only met them at an event once and never followed up, then there’s no reason for them to trust you because they don’t have enough information about how you operate.

4. Find a target and pursue it relentlessly

Without step one — knowing what you want — it’s impossible to have the focus and intention required to pursue anything that’s truly worthwhile. Once you know what you want, and you know who the “movers” in the industry are, it becomes much easier to know how to channel your persistence.

The best advice I ever received about how to get your dream job is to show the organization what it will be like to work with you. In other words, show them the output of your work before you’re even hired.

You won’t want to do this for every job you pursue, but the effort is worthwhile for the ones you truly want.

Let’s say that you’ve used every networking trick in the book, and were able to actually get the attention of an important person in the industry who can offer you the job you’ve been dreaming of. Take this as your chance to stand out from everyone else.

Talk to someone in the company and find out what critical problems they’re trying to solve, and try solving one of them. If they’re too complicated to solve quickly, send some insightful suggestions and explain how you would go about solving the issues yourself to prove that you can do it.

The best example I heard of someone doing this was a young person who wanted to get a job at a tech startup he loved. The company needed a sales and business development person to get small businesses to buy their technology.

He spent time researching potential prospects for the startups, and he simply reached out to them and asked if they would ever use the product. He didn’t sell anything, he just wanted to assess whether he could actually get a small business interested.

After getting 10 companies to say they were interested, he went back to the startup and showed them the list of 10 potential clients he could bring them tomorrow. It was enough to prove to the startup that he had the skills to do the job.

Doing what you love is a goal we take for granted as children, but it’s also a dream that many people give up on once they start working and see how competitive any good opportunity really is.

When something is competitive, by definition, the only way to have a shot at it is standing out in some way. So don’t just do what people expect you to do as you progress through your career.

Be brave enough to prove yourself and ask questions when you need it, and eventually someone will listen.

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