Tag: fulfillment

#43 What is My Right Career Path?

March 12th, 2021 by

To switch jobs, industries, or go back to school … what’s the right career path? It’s no wonder you are plagued by this question. It promotes a cyclic path of thought errors because it’s the wrong question to be asking!

The Wrong Question

First, do not ask yourself, “What is my right career path?” Why not, you ask? Because it is not relevant. It is like asking, “What is the right child I’d like to have?” Many answers exist, yet you can always find resistance in those answers. And you might attempt to apply logic, data and evidence. Or you might resort to a decision matrix to help convince yourself you are making the ‘right’ choice. See Post #40 if you suffer from career indecision.

Secondly, this question is a closed-minded question. It presupposes there exists one right and many wrongs. I challenge you to rid this idea and get it out of your head. If a job is less than desirable, or if it did not turn out as expected, you didn’t lose. Learning is knowledge, even when it does not align with your desired outcomes. If you walked away from a job with newfound knowledge, it was worth it.

Let’s suppose you ask yourself different questions, questions that open your mind. For example:

  • I have an interest in A, B, C and D. What if I commit to pursuing a job in each area, one at a time?
  • If I get a job trying such-and-such, what is the absolute worst that might happen?
  • I’m interested in job Z, but if I never try it out, how would I ever know that I like it?
  • When I think about my future self in 2, 3, or 5 years, will I regret not trying __?
  • Isn’t it great to know what I don’t enjoy as much as it is to know what I do enjoy?
  • I can’t go wrong as long as I’m learning something new; trying job ABC will teach me __.

Failing Ahead of Time

There is a difference between someone performing a job ‘just because they can’ vs fulfilling their calling in life. In my experience, few people come to realize and engage in their calling. Do not be misled by the people who have been performing their jobs for years on end.

In fact, I would argue that careers are fluid, agile, always adapting and changing based on individual and business needs. One day your preferred title might be risk analyst, the next it could be marketing manager.

And I would caution you to be aware of the mindset trap that there is one ‘right’ career path. Several kinds of jobs could fall under the umbrella of being ‘right.’ And all of these ‘right’ jobs would create different ‘paths’ for you. Therefore, there is no such thing as the ‘right career path’. That is a self-limiting belief that might have you banging your head against a wall.

Keep your mind open, not closed. You must try different things to know what you like. It’s okay to do so, especially given today’s dynamic work environments. Every position will offer you new insights and knowledge – and that is something you will take wherever you go.

It’s just as important to know what you don’t like as it is to know what you do like.

If you never try, you are failing ahead of time. Failing ahead of time is easier and more comfortable than putting yourself out there, risking a new adventure. Open yourself up to the idea that careers are not ‘right’ or ‘wrong’, rather, they all provide ample opportunities for growth, development and learning.

It is not the career itself that matters as much as the person you become while performing it. 

I invite you to follow me on LinkedIn and subscribe to my Youtube channel for additional coaching insights!

#42 Career Passion: A Thing of the Past?

February 26th, 2021 by

Do you look back on the days when your naive energy shot you out of bed in the mornings? Or dwell on the nights when you were too excited to sleep in anticipation of going to work?

If you no longer identify with these scenarios, or dread the thought of waking up to work, you might be burnt out, stressed out or you may lost your career passion.

Crystal Clear

There used to be a time your plans were strategically laid out to create a sustainable and fulfilling career for yourself. As you know, plans don’t always work out. But you also know this is okay, because you are resourceful enough to land on your feet. The point is that your career passion, once fueled by dreams and motivation, has dissolved into a pile of ashes you’d rather bury. 

What happened – are you just unlucky, did you make a wrong choice or earn the wrong degree?

No, no and no.

What we know right now is that you are on a journey. This journey will involve nasty bumps, potholes and roadblocks along the way. Losing your career passion is a common roadblock. You’re stuck, unhappy, and you want a way out, yet fail to see one.

The Gap

Once upon a time, you had a vision. This vision involved a superb education with fulfilling employment that offered meaningful ways to accomplish great things. That was your plan, your career passion. 

However, reality has offered a different plan. For you, reality might include quelling administrative fires, accomplishing monotonous busywork, and satisfying management at all costs. Or, your reality might involve painting numbers, consistently looking over your shoulder, or spending endless hours on the phone with your foreign IT department.

There is a clear gap between your passion and your job duties. So, how do you resolve this gap? You resolve it by learning how to reconcile “the way things should be” (passions) with “the way things are” (reality).  Not an easy thing to do!

But what might this look like? 

Work Purpose

First, consider the true purpose of work (contrary to popular belief, it is not money, titles or benefits):

Service: contribution toward something greater than you as an individual. Because as a collective, people make profound impacts as opposed to working solo. The next time you’re frustrated or wishing for more, think in terms of service: ask yourself how you can help others, how you can contribute, and how you can make those around you better.

Development: evolve your skills, enhance your character, and progress your brain. The way to do this is by defeating obstacles, challenges, and road bumps. One way to defeat obstacles, challenges and road bumps is to go to work. How can you rise above the difficult coworkers or incompetent management and perform your best despite their intentions? And this, my friends, requires a lot. It requires you to be a mature emotional adult.

Legacy: manipulate your strengths, maximize your output, and be a proactive change agent. This includes unraveling your authenticity, applying your strengths and seeking improvements. Always leave a position and leave a company in better shape than you found it.

No Guarantee

Now that you understand your purpose for work, here is an exercise to help you start the process of reconciling the way things “should be” with the way things “are.”

1. Get clear on your reality.

In other words, learn to separate out your subjective narrative about work from the true facts. The facts are: you have a job, a boss, colleagues, customers and assigned duties. Other than this, all opinions and self-talk are subjective stories you tell yourself (i.e., “this isn’t what I expected, I’m in the wrong job, etc.”).

2. Get clear on your passions. List them on paper and describe what they should look like in your life.

3. Match numbers 1 & 2 as much as possible.

How can you find opportunities at work to apply your strengths in a way that satisfies some of your passions? How can you become more curious and explorative as opposed to just being diligent?

4. Look outside of your employment to fulfill the passions that employment can’t.

Your career, created by your employer and in your employer’s interest, exists because you are qualified to accomplish the tasks at hand. Tasks that were created specifically in conjunction with other people’s tasks to reach organizational goals. There is no guarantee that affords your passions to be fulfilled on the job. The employment exchange is that you provide value in return for compensation under the employer’s terms and conditions. That’s it.

Therefore, fulfilling a career passion is your own responsibility and you must take ownership. That usually means a proactive pursuit outside the workplace.

You don’t have to suffer in silence. In fact, you don’t have to suffer at all. Check out my course, Overcoming Career Constraints, to help you become the person who can reconcile “the way things should be” (passions) with “the way things are” (reality).

Do you work in a passionless career? Send me a note and let me know how it affects your wellbeing!

I invite you to follow me on LinkedIn and subscribe to my Youtube channel for additional coaching insights!

#35 Career Attachment: Do You Conflate Self and Job Identity?

November 20th, 2020 by

I spoke at a conference yesterday and struck a nerve. Attendees reached out to me with personal stories about career attachment, and how it caused havoc in their lives. They thanked me for the helpful information, and I gladly summarize here.

Career Attachment

We work super duper hard to earn one of the toughest degrees around. As engineering students and as young professionals, we create visions of a fantasy career living life happily ever after. It includes wonderful images of promotions, accolades, benefits, and money. We start our first professional job ready to hit the ground running.

Naturally, you’d like to see your career thrive. You want to nourish it and feed it and watch it grow. This desire promotes a dangerous kind of bond if you are not cognizant – an emotional attachment to your career. It is as if your career is a child, which requires emotional bonding to thrive.

However, your career is not a child. You have possibly fostered an emotional bond to your career, and this career attachment grows with time (see Post #09). The problem? Your emotional health in this scenario is dependent on your job outcomes. In other words, your emotional quality of life is dependent on an external circumstance – your career.

This career attachment you have created can grow into a monster, because as the job rides a professional roller coaster, so does your personal life. It can lead to self-defeating activities such as overworking, lack of boundaries, burnout, or worse.

Self-Description is not Job Description

First, recognize that the things you DO in life are different from WHO you are. Your TITLE at work is separate from your IDENTITY as a human. Humans are uniquely authentic and inherently worthy. This means, despite your past, your successes, and failures, you are still a 100% worthy, spiritual human being.

Your career, on the other hand, is a tool to be used for the sake of evolving your life. It is fluid and unpredictable, you never know how it will morph from one day to the next. One thing your career is NOT: an indication of your worthiness in this world.

Secondly, breaking the career attachment habit requires high self-worth and self-confidence. This includes respecting and valuing who you are, despite your flaws and failures. It requires knowing yourself inside and out. The magic happens in life when you can learn to love yourself unconditionally!

Last, I offer my favorite definition of self-confidence: the willingness to feel any emotion. When high self-confidence allows you to embrace uncomfortable feelings, such as setting boundaries or saying No at work, your emotional health will vastly improve.

The main takeaway is that career attachment leads to an unhealthy, destructive dependency on your job outcome. Instead of relying on external outcomes to feel good, look to the inside and rely on your mentality.

Internal self-validation sets the stage for the way you experience life.

Are you attached to your career? Let me know what that creates for your life!

I invite you to follow me on LinkedIn and subscribe to my Youtube channel for additional coaching insights!

#21 Do you Work with Incompetent Leadership?

May 8th, 2020 by

They have screwed up again. As you finished telling your colleague about a terrible management decision, leadership makes another bad call. You’re astonished at how some of them obtained their positions in the first place. More importantly, you wonder how long the company can sustain such ignorance. You keep asking, “How am I supposed to work with incompetent leadership?”

Truth or Narrative

Imagine asking every living adult if your leadership made a horrible decision. They will reply with yes, no, maybe and everything in between. Unless everyone were to agree that your management is incompetent, it’s only a belief you hold. Here’s another way to think about it: can you prove it in court? It is probable you are creating a narrative from which you feed if a court would not accuse your leadership of incompetency.

We have our own definitions of good versus bad leadership. Good to me is bad to you and vice-versa. When you are explicit about sharing your opinions, you are reinforcing a thought that feeds your mind. It is a subjective belief stirring about: “I have to work with incompetent leadership.” I challenge you to recognize your thinking and take ownership of your beliefs.

The Issue

Perhaps your leadership is incompetent; that is truly not the issue at heart. The stinging question you can ponder for yourself is, “How is this belief helping me?” What is the upside to believing you must deal with incompetent leadership, how is that thought moving you forward?

Life is easier when leadership makes decisions in your favor. When management decisions translate to a burdensome life, it seems logical to point the finger. However, consider opening up to alternate perspectives. For example, management decides on XYZ and it poses some unusual challenges. This is a perfect scenario to teach you about yourself, if you are willing (See Post #18). Can you be open to believing this is a teaching moment? What if this needed to happen as a catalyst for your self-development…is that possible?

Allow some self-compassion and mental space to be curious about your beliefs. You are like a player consistently trying out for your own life. Your attitude towards leadership is a function of how you feel about yourself.

I invite you to follow me on LinkedIn and subscribe to my Youtube channel for additional coaching insights!

#20 “Where is my Raise?”

April 24th, 2020 by

You are an exceptional employee, going above and beyond the call of duty. You’ve worked weekends, quelled dangerous fires and customers appreciate your genuine efforts. In your recent yearly review, management praised your work and thanked you for your dedication. For whatever reason, your yearly raise vanished into thin air. It doesn’t make sense, you want answers, and you want to know, “Where is my raise?”

What you Should Know

I don’t mean to be a pessimistic heartbreaker. But, I am going to share something I wish someone would have told me back when. I wish a mentor would have been brutally honest and told me, “Your employer is under no obligation to provide raises.” I would have awkwardly questioned this statement over a disappointing lunch. Nobody ever shared this little but impactful secret.

Had I known I was not entitled to a yearly raise, I wouldn’t have felt like I had just been blasted with a water hose the first time I was denied. It happened more than once; the second time admittedly wasn’t as bad. Nonetheless, I turned back the clock and tried to understand what I did wrong. Why was I being punished for what I thought was particularly good work. I wanted to ask, “Where is my raise?”

Stop Doing This

Today I know better, and I’d like to share a few things to spare you the same suffering. First, it is true. Employers are under no obligation to provide yearly raises (unless, of course, it is specified in a written contract). It is comforting to believe your employer will provide yearly raises out of the goodness of their lucrative hearts. However, you are not entitled. Dependency on a raise to make you feel better is like dependency on your child to earn straight A’s.

Next, stop blaming yourself. There is no positive outcome when you resuscitate previous work scenarios to use against yourself. Forget about this tempting habit to fall into the self-blame trap. Last, it does not matter if you are the best employee or the worst. When your employer decides you’re not getting a raise, stop asking yourself “why”, “where is my raise”, or “what the hell?”

Shifting Focus

What you can do instead is shift your focal point inward (See Post #13). An outwardly focused perspective may include dwelling on a raise you know you deserved but did not receive. How would productivity change and how would your self-confidence change if you only focused inwardly?

For example, perform your absolute best daily so you can savor your own work ethic. Go the extra mile (within reason) knowing at the end of the day you tried your best. Serve your customers on a silver platter, not in hopes of a raise, but because you know you are capable.

Only you can entirely understand the depths of your own capabilities. The job, the employer and the raise are simply external byproducts. Nothing is more rewarding than the justified self-elation stirring about after blowing your own mind.

I invite you to follow me on LinkedIn and subscribe to my Youtube channel for additional coaching insights!

#19 COVID Effects: Do you Secretly Wish to be Laid Off?

April 10th, 2020 by

Restaurants are only permitted to serve takeout, students must adjust to online learning and employees find themselves working from home. If they’re working at all. Many service and professional workers have been pushed out of their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. You feel sympathy for the newly unemployed as they scramble to figure things out. However, in the midst of their unwelcome unemployment, you secretly wish to be laid off.

Old Problem Solved

In your mind, a forced layoff means you get to sever ties without submitting your 2 weeks’ notice. That solves many problems for you! First, it provides an easy explanation during future job interviews. “They laid me off due to COVID downsizing” seems to take responsibility away from you as the employee.

Second, your spouse has no control over your being laid off. If only your employer let you go, you wouldn’t have to convincingly persuade your spouse that your time is up. The third issue a layoff will resolve is your reticent desire to get the heck out of that place. You can create long list of reasons why it’s time to leave; or, perhaps you’re holding on to one significant reason. Your bottom line: secretly wishing to be laid off paves the easy way to other, more satisfying employment.

New Problem

My challenge to you: how will you handle similar circumstances in your new place of employment? Imagine this: pretend you eventually find a better job with a better salary and a better commute (see Post #08). You’re as happy as can be for several months – this is what you’ve always sought in a career… until it’s not.

How would you handle your new circumstance if, let’s say, one day you learn the company is sold? How would you handle a new boss, a reassignment to a new program, or a round of salary cuts? When a career checks all the boxes and life is well, you’re not challenged to evolve, grow or to practice self-awareness. It’s an insidious deceit for all of us when life operates as a well-oiled machine.

Adaptability

Even a well-oiled machine wears down and requires maintenance. Just when you believe that new job is perfect and meets all your requirements, one day you’ll find that it doesn’t. Will you then think about searching for the next one?

When you next job isn’t what you thought, are you going to secretly wish to be laid off again? A layoff (or a new job) may temporarily provide relief from current career woes. The best long-term solution, however, is to work on your mental adaptability skills. You will be a happier, more productive and resilient person if you adapt your brain to job circumstances rather than forcing job circumstances to adapt to your brain.

I invite you to follow me on LinkedIn and subscribe to my Youtube channel for additional coaching insights!

#18 Are You Coachable?

March 27th, 2020 by

There comes a time when you must admit you cannot figure something out – yes you! Will you persist and continue to try on your own, will you give up or will you ask for help? It’s a basic premise, but I encourage you to open yourself up to being coached by others.

You Decide: are you Coachable?

Are you coachable and why does it matter? I’ve seen unnecessary competition between colleagues in the office or on the shop floor. People who resist others’ suggestions or advice may feel threatened or inadequate. If you are willing to listen, to receive suggestions and to be wrong, then you are coachable.

I challenge you to think about recent struggles and your willingness to face personal deficiencies. This vulnerable willingness allows you to accept the fact that others have knowledge you don’t. A coachable person is comfortable leaning on others and hearing multiple perspectives. As a result, coachable people gain wisdom and further their own knowledge base.

A Snapshot of Coaching

If you are open to being coached, here is a small taste of what it looks like. First, talk less and listen more. Second, own your mistakes and errors. It happens to everybody, but when you shy away or point fingers, you exacerbate your problem and appear foolish. It is not difficult to state that you messed up, you made a mistake and that it won’t happen again. Last, self-awareness plays a key role in your ability to be coached (see Post #03).

Self-awareness is the ability to be cognitively present in the moment and recognize your interpretations of the world around you. It is a skill that enables you to acknowledge and deliberately choose your thoughts and reactions.

In conclusion, your ability to be coached by others will help propel your professional and personal well-being. Are you comfortable admitting you don’t have all the answers – are you coachable?

I invite you to follow me on LinkedIn and subscribe to my Youtube channel for additional coaching insights!

#17 Do You Think for Yourself?

March 13th, 2020 by

Do you embrace information without question, OR do you tend to think independently? I will talk about the differences and you can determine how these apply to your life.

Living a Programmed Life

Imagine the last time you openly challenged a theory, a boss or a customer. Our society, at times, does not advocate that you challenge status quo. You tend to conform to the norm when you don’t ask questions or perform your own investigations. When this happens, you are believing information as is or perhaps you don’t have time to verify. You probably like to be efficient, and right or wrong, it’s efficient to believe what you are told. It’s not efficient to question information that many embrace without the blink of an eye.

For example, have you ever questioned processes, policies or feedback at work? How about your faith or religious beliefs? Or marriage and the idea of rearing kids? And what about your financial dealings, such as 401ks, IRAs and other investments?

The point here is that you have full control over your personal actions and beliefs. How often do you make decisions based on your own interpretation of knowledge? You run the risk of living by default when consistently conforming to ideas, customs and norms without question.

Think for Yourself

In contrast, an independent thinker tends to make deliberate, conscious decisions. And an independent thinker acknowledge their reasons for making such choices. If you think on your own behalf, you tend to question ideas, practices and status quo. This is not an easy practice because others generally don’t like to be challenged.

And I am not suggesting you question everything and everyone in your life (see Post #12). Rather, I challenge you to thoughtfully ponder ideas, principles and the lifestyle you live by. Have these been chosen for you or by you?

In conclusion, we fall between the two extremes of accepting all information at face value vs questioning status quo. Where do you stand?

I invite you to follow me on LinkedIn and subscribe to my Youtube channel for additional coaching insights!

#12 Fulfilling your WHY

January 3rd, 2020 by

Why do you do what you do, i.e., are you fulfilling your why? I dare you to write down your answers. Do your answers feel good? Perhaps they bring about genuine sadness … or a sense of longing for something more. Maybe your answers are superficial enough that you don’t recognize the person who wrote them.

The Negative Build Up

If fulfilling your why is compatible to, “This is my passion … it is fulfilling … there’s nothing else I’d rather be doing…”, congratulations, you’ve made it! 

However, if your answers are less than thrilling or flat-out depressing, then let’s take action (see Post # 05). Because if you don’t process the negative emotions of feeling stuck, bitter, confused, etc., then you may continue to ignore. When you continue to ignore, the negativity builds and eventually combusts in one form or another.

Reclaim your WHY

Perhaps you can acknowledge you are suppressing your feelings and sweeping them under the rug. Now what? I will offer that you don’t have to change your job (or your circumstances) in order to be happy. This may be a new concept to you. But the source of your unhappiness or negative feelings is not due to your job, your boss or any external entity.

Rather, your ways of thinking, i.e. your beliefs, are causing you to feel negative emotions. It’s tempting to blame your career or an external entity, but the root cause of most problems derives from your belief systems. Blaming external causes for your feelings depletes your wellbeing because it makes you feel powerless.

A significant life coaching lesson to my clients is that the sources of our pain are not other people, our jobs or external circumstances. The source of our emotional pain is due to the way we choose to label the world around us. How do you choose labels, and how do those labels influence your why?

I invite you to follow me on LinkedIn and subscribe to my Youtube channel for additional coaching insights!

#10 Your Future is Bright – True or False?

December 20th, 2019 by

You look forward to your next training, professional conference or job title. Your future is bright and your possibilities seem endless. Your career could take multiple turns for the better. Correct? Or … not so much? Perhaps your boat is sinking and at this point you’re just hoping to remain above water.  

Responsibility

What is true about your future? Two important points to keep in mind and these can be gamechangers. First and shockingly, your future does not depend on your employer (see Post #13). It does not depend on your colleagues, your boss, your recruiter or your friends. 

A common self-destructive habit too many professionals believe is that they have little control over their futures. As if others are somehow responsible for the way your future unfolds. Your future is bright thanks to the explanation provided below.

Accountability

Also shocking to some of you is that you are 100% responsible for creating your own future. This is a job for you and you only. Every action today will affect you tomorrow – it is your decision to make a move in this moment. You are sole owner over your credentials, mentality, professional development, etc.

Your future is bright because you are CEO over your own life. Take ownership over your brain and hold yourself accountable to your future creation, just as a CEO holds its professionals accountable to their judgments.

How are your actions today going to affect your world tomorrow, next month or next year? What actions do you take next for your future growth and evolvement?

I invite you to follow me on LinkedIn and subscribe to my Youtube channel for additional coaching insights!

#8 “Where is my Dream Job?”

November 29th, 2019 by

Maybe you’re contently performing your very first professional job. Perhaps you’ve been around the block having worked for many employers under many job titles. Or, you’re somewhere in between. But there’s one thing you’re sure of: someday you will land your dream job.

Fluffy Messaging

Boundless marketing messages feed into the idea that your dream job is awaiting your much anticipated arrival. Colleges love to brag about high job placements for their graduates into happily-ever-after occupations. Social media bombards with promises to help you find your dream job. Recruiters, career coaches and career strategists like to boast about placing people into their dream jobs.

If you noticed, I am referring to your dream job as an ‘idea’ (see Post #17). As mentioned above, this idea is rampant in our society, as if your dream job truly exists (you just have to find it). After all, it sounds completely reasonable, and even expected, that many working professionals feel entitled to that one dream job.

The Reality

What’s the problem with all this fluffy messaging? The problem is that maybe there is no dream job out there. In fact, I would state most professionals I’ve encountered have never found their dream jobs. Don’t get me wrong, there are certainly some people who do. I’m afraid they are few and far between.

So, if you are on the hunt, if your mission is to find that dream job, you may be searching for a while. The ideal job may not be out there. I’m not wanting to crush your soul or make you feel regret, despite my sounding like a pessimist. Rather, I’m offering a valuable truth that I wish someone would have shared with me. It is a legitimate possibility you’re looking for something that does not exist. 

Which naturally leads you to the next question: “Now what?” You suspect the next best thing may be to find a job that’s close enough to perfect. It is a reasonable and logical guess, but it is not the best long-term solution.

I invite you to follow me on LinkedIn and subscribe to my Youtube channel for additional coaching insights!

#6 The Boss is Happy but You’re Less Than Satisfied at Work

November 15th, 2019 by

You find yourself less than satisfied at work. But your boss wouldn’t trade you for the world. Despite your stellar performance, you’re not loving the work. There’s a lingering thought that won’t go away: “This work matters to my boss, but it doesn’t matter to me.”

Your Agreement

I challenge you to think about the purpose of your job – of any job. Is it to fulfill your intellectual desires, to promote your professional development, to produce results in exchange for benefits? Let’s suppose the purpose of your job is to complete X, Y and Z. In return, you receive a paycheck. Is that not the deal you made with your employer when you accepted the offer?

If you find yourself less than satisfied at work despite your boss’ praises, the solution does not start with finding a new job; it starts from within. I guarantee if you were to brainstorm ways to become more creative, more resourceful, more engaging, and most importantly – more giving, you would start a personal and professional transformation.  

Your WHY

If you are less than satisfied at work, first, try to think from an alternate perspective. Imagine providing a service out of your desire to serve. “How can I serve my customers/colleagues today, how can I go above and beyond, how can I meet someone new today, how can I engage with the person who avoids me, where are gaps I can fill, how can I help the new person, what can I learn today that will allow me to contribute more…?”

Secondly, investigate your WHY…why do you choose to currently exist in your job (see Post #12)? If you perform a mental deep dive, you will find your WHY is proportional to your satisfaction. To gain more fulfillment and/or happiness, you must first understand your WHY. Then, you can work towards accomplishing it.

In conclusion, if you are less than satisfied at work, help yourself by redirecting your focus. Mentally perform from an attitude of serving, and investigate a powerful WHY that resonates with you. It is a start towards permanent job satisfaction.

I invite you to follow me on LinkedIn and subscribe to my Youtube channel for additional coaching insights!