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Tag: professional development

#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?

#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?

#16 The Power to Influence Others Around You

February 28th, 2020 by

No matter the job title, you will always be compelled to influence.  Whether entry-level or executive professional, your power to influence comes down to the same thing. This knowledge is critical over the course of your career. The power to influence will no doubt be one of the most practical tools in your professional toolkit.

Does Influence Apply to You?

First, why is influence so important?  On a high level, you obviously want your employees to act in a manner such that they accomplish their goals.  Perhaps you’re in mid management, and you don’t have so much authority.  As a mid-level manager, you request cooperation and many favors, thus, you deal with dynamic, shifting parts. When you own the power to influence, you avoid the hassles of begging and pleading, and you convey enthusiastic motivation.

As a junior or newer employee, your ability to influence is especially critical. The responsibility to learn your job rests on your shoulders (see Post #02). Learning your job requires cooperation from your colleagues. Therefore, your rate of success somewhat depends on the ability to influence others in your favor.

Your Power

Next, how do you influence, what does it take? You start with an emotional assessment of yourself, my friends, and it requires work!  You work to improve ALL the internal attributes that you can control within yourself.  Then, you lead by example when engaging with others.  What I mean is: you must like yourself first before you expect others to like you; you must respect yourself first before you expect others to respect you.

Would you like others to listen to you – then, follow your own lead.  Do you hope others will show positive attitudes – then, be positive.  Would it be fantastic if your employees were efficiently and enthusiastically productive?  Then YOU, as their leader, must first show you are efficiently and enthusiastically productive.  Love yourself first and foremost.  When you can learn the skills of self-love and self-respect, the power to influence falls into place.

Others will treat you based on the way they see you treating yourself. Teach others how you should be treated.

#15 What is your Level of Perfectionism?

February 14th, 2020 by

Some of us push perfectionism to the limit. We admire the way every object in the house has its assigned function and designated space. We don’t mind scrutinizing (or admiring) our work 10 times over just to be extra sure there are no mistakes. Others, however, are not-so-proud perfectionists. You may be familiar with triple and quadruple-checking our own work, and doing so from an uncomfortable feeling of fear. “What if something is incorrect or out of line?” you hauntingly wonder. 

The Root Cause

Perfectionistic tendencies may look different for every person. However, the common denominator for perfectionists boils down to one thing: self-worth. Self-worth, or lack thereof, comes from fear – i.e., “What will they think of me … what if I’m wrong … is my work good enough, etc.” Fear is rooted in self-doubt and insecurity. 

The more insecure you are with your existence, the more you want to prevent mistakes or answer for wrongdoings.  As mentioned, the root cause of your perfectionism comes from a lack of self-worth. Your answers to these questions are indicative of your own self-worth: what do you think of you, how do you view your worth as a human? 

Strive for Less than Perfect

The best way to mitigate perfectionism is to increase your self-worth. Imagine a world in which you are willing to embrace all feelings, positive and negative. Picture how your life would be different if you were comfortable with living an unapologetic, authentic life (see Post #18). 

No lying, no masking your feelings and no shaming yourself for being less than perfect. This is a self-confidence skill that is available to you.  It is a skill you can work toward building over time, similar to hiring a person trainer at the gym.

Perfectionism stems from fear; fear stems from self-doubt and insecurity; self-doubt and insecurity come from your self-worth.  When your self-confidence is sky high, my friends, then you have your own back no matter what. When your self-security is drastically improved, can you see how the need for perfectionism dwindles?

#14 Who is your Mentor?

January 31st, 2020 by

Who is your mentor? If your answer is, “I don’t know”, or “this is a silly question” or “I don’t need a mentor,” this post is for you. Mentors are part of your support network, and everybody needs support. They serve a special function in your life despite your age, capabilities or experiences.

Mentors are Critical to your Wellbeing

Perhaps you have experienced multiple employers, holding various titles in many environments. Congratulations for having broadened your professional portfolio. Perhaps you are retiring tomorrow. Or, maybe you are reading this and it’s your first week on the job. Despite your vast array of experiences, or lack thereof, a trusted mentor is essential to your professional or personal wellbeing.

Mentors can offer differing views and alternate perspectives. They may not necessarily be smarter, wiser, or better educated. That’s okay, a mentor doesn’t have to have surpassed your accomplishments. The reason mentors are important is because they will offer questions and pose solutions under the purview of their own life experiences. 

Open your Eyes

Your main decision-making tool is undoubtedly the own view of the world as you’ve experienced it. When allowing mentors to share their views, opinions, their successes and failures, you vicariously become educated through their lenses. Why does this matter? It matters because you are narrowly restricted to knowledge based on your limited experiences. Engaging with a mentor is like traveling to new places; your eyes will be open to possibilities you couldn’t have dreamt about (see Post #18).

So, who is your mentor and how are you going to find them? Whether you retire tomorrow or in 40 years, a mentor can help you stay grounded, motivated and open-minded. Open your eyes to others’ experiences and gain priceless knowledge!

The more you learn, the more you realize that which you don’t know.

#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? You don’t have to change your job (or your circumstances) in order to be happy. This may be a new concept to you so allow some time to digest. 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 your problems is due to your own beliefs. 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 they influence fulfilling your why?

#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?

#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 due to 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 changing it.

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

#4 Are You More Capable?

October 18th, 2019 by

How many times throughout the week do you find yourself repeating thoughts similar to, “My duties at work are boring … I feel like I’m getting dumber … I don’t feel challenged enough.” Are you more capable?

Your Employer’s Agenda

There is a common misconception we tend to believe in our society:  your employer is supposed to meet your professional needs. I hate to disappoint, but it is not your job’s job to keep you educated, challenged, or excited. It is also not your job’s job, by the way, to make you happy (see Post #13). 

I will take this one step further and state that what your employer cares about is your contribution to the company. They don’t necessarily care about your training or about furthering your education; employer stances vary. It is quite possible they may initiate your professional development, which is fantastic – but don’t count on it. 

Your Duty

Now that I’ve burst your bubble and shocked your system, I want to share something that nobody ever told me. Since we have established your employer is not responsible for your own professional fulfillment, this means the task lies in your hands. No one and nothing else in the world can be responsible for your happiness, your development or your fulfillment except for you. 

Are you more capable? If yes, then take responsibility over your boredom. Find ways to challenge yourself, even if that means new endeavors outside working hours. The worst thing you can do is sit back and await the next challenging or fulfilling job to fall in your lap. The responsibility is yours and you can start today.

This may not be the kind of advice you were hoping to hear.  But I promise you, the sooner you take full responsibility for your own development, the sooner you can fulfill that personal void. You owe it to yourself.