Tag: self-confidence

#66 “Am I Good Enough?”

January 28th, 2022 by

From performance reviews to lunch with colleagues, you are surrounded by insights into your reputation. It is easy enough to get caught up in a vicious cycle of, “am I good enough?” This is how to answer.

Performance vs Identity

The link between job performance and self-identity can form a self-destructive trap – if you allow! See Post #35 for details.

Job performance includes your output, your results, your production. It involves the steps, mistakes, and research you’ve done to produce your output. Performance also includes communications with others, something professionals can easily dismiss. If your wonderful work is not clearly communicated, how can it serve a purpose?

In contrast, your identity includes how you think of yourself inside your mind. It is the mentality that describes your state of being. Your identity is shaped by several external and internal parameters. Your identity includes the ways in which you choose to think of yourself as a human being.

Identities are fluid and always changing. Thus, you should never feel pressured to formulate a concrete description of your identity. Nobody gets to decide or choose your identity except for you.

So far, we’ve established that performance is doing; identity is being.

Dissecting Feedback

When people provide criticism or feedback, even if unintentional, it may be common to dwell or ruminate. Lingering thoughts may plague you, such as, “what am I doing here … what if I don’t belong … am I good enough, etc.”

Here is a helpful nugget (that might require some practice): Differentiate between being vs doing. You (the being) are separate from your output (the doer).

For example, someone may state, “You’re not good at communicating.” First, this is poor wording as it references your state of being, not doing. Second, it does not mean you, the being, are a bad communicator. Rather, it means you, the doer, have skills that might need to be strengthened.

Your being is completely adequate as is; your doing (skillset and output) can always use improvement. 

Read more to understand why the answer to, “am I good enough?” is always YES!

Why You are Good Enough

You are good enough because you, the being:

  • were not hired to know all the answers to every problem
  • become smarter by facing challenges and tough decisions in a volatile, uncertain world
  • have a brain that knows how to be resourceful and figure things out

That is what it means to be human in the workplace. As a human, you are good enough!

To be human means to embrace our inadequacies while striving to evolve. We know that mistakes are inevitable, that perhaps they act as our teachers.

Sure, it’s possible you can be replaced in your current role if you are too big a liability. But guess what? The next flawed human is going to bring their own inadequacies and weaknesses to the job. It is a cycle that will always continue because we are humans.

While skills, abilities and knowledge can always be improved, your humanness is good enough exactly the way you are.

The next time someone dare imply you’re “not a good so-and-so,” make no mistake: they have zero vote in your integrity as a being.

If you enjoy this content, I invite you to follow me on LinkedIn and ask me about free strategy sessions for your career!

#65 Seeking a New Job? Don’t Do This!

January 14th, 2022 by

The Great Resignation of 2021 is still upon us as of January 2022. Whether you are seeking a new job, thinking about it, or gearing up to join the workforce again, do not make this one fatal mistake!

Actions Matter 

Let’s make it perfectly clear that your actions and behaviors will help you secure your next job. When seeking a new job, it is reasonable to assume you will take the necessary steps. Some of these actions will be done solo; others, with the assistance of mentors/recruiters.

Your actions will include resume perfection, interview preparation, and sufficient employer research. You may conduct informational interviews with new contacts (LinkedIn is great for this). The list of actions to perform in the job search process can be numerous and vital.

No doubt, these meticulously produced activities play a pivotal role in your future. But, how can you maximize your job search preparations for optimum results?

This Matters More

I will offer a critical and powerful secret that, when seeking a new job, many people do not consider.

While taking the proper actions can be somewhat effective, it may not be enough. This is because the energy behind your actions equals the energy others receive from you.

Hence, the energy and intent behind your resume will be noticed and noted. Your verbal conversations, email communications, body language, etc. mirror the vibes YOU insert into your actions.

Don’t Do This!

Therefore, do not craft a resume out of desperation or frustration. Avoid conversations with potential employers if you’re feeling stuck, unhappy, or resentful. Interviewers and recruiters are clever enough to detect this! Negative energy will be a turn off, despite your noble actions.

When seeking a new job: don’t mistakenly fuel your job search by the disappointment of your current status/position! The negative (or positive) energy you embed into your actions will resurface one way or another. 

For further guidance and additional steps to propel your job search, I invite you to watch Influencing Your Job Search Outcome

If you enjoy this content, I invite you to follow me on LinkedIn and ask me about free strategy sessions for your career!

#61 Burnout and Exhaustion: One Perspective

November 19th, 2021 by

After awaking in a strange place with no memory of what happened, Frédéric Meuwly realized he had blacked out. His body suffered from severe burnout and exhaustion; his mind suffered from paranoia and instability.

The Gift of Disruption

Meuwly found himself asking clinic staff about his situation and when he would be allowed to go home. In his 2018 Tedx Talk, Burnout: A friend of a friend’s problem, he shares what he learned from this blessing of burnout and exhaustion. 

“I realized that if I really wanted to get out of the hospital and reconnect with life, I had to welcome disruption. I had to fundamentally and quickly change my mindset so that I could welcome that disruption,” says Frédéric Meuwly.

“When I look back, I think that burnout has been really an incredible experience in term of learning, so it was a great gift in a way.”

Effects of Burnout and Exhaustion

Physical: Meuwly explains how the autonomic system automatically regulates our physiology. This autonomic nervous systems is broken into two categories: the sympathetic and the parasympathetic.

The sympathetic nervous system stimulates your body; the parasympathetic nervous system slows your body down. We need both to function properly. However, burnout and exhaustion over stimulate the sympathetic nervous system, which is the active mode of our bodies.

This condition becomes worse with chronic stress. The reason is because the nervous system gets itself into what Meuwly calls a ‘locked’ active mode. It is so over stimulated that it is always in the ‘on’ position.

Mental: The ego does not want to accept that you are becoming more and more tired. Frédéric coins the term ‘superhero syndrome’. Despite your tiredness, the ego wants to project a positive self-image. It wants you to believe you can still act like a superhero despite getting more and more overwhelmed.

Moreover, as the exhaustion progresses, you create a biased perception of yourself. This biased perception leads to tension between ego and the self. If severe enough, the ego dissociates with the self and you get trapped inside your ego, a state he refers to as ‘depersonalization.’

Emotional: You lose your ability to regulate your emotions. Thus, you get hooked into your negative emotions. And this creates what Meuwly calls an ’emotional black hole.’

Managing Burnout and Exhaustion

Burnout is like being a hostage. You’re a hostage to your: nervous system, ego, and negative emotional state. Essentially, you are holding yourself hostage by your nervous system that is locked into active mode.

To end his TedX Talk, Meuwly states you cannot get out of burnout and exhaustion on your own. His theory is that you need support, you need resources, you need a secure base. You need safe and secure bonds with other human beings.

One free resource I highly recommend is a youtube channel called Therapy in a Nutshell. It offers numerous self-help videos posted by a marriage and family therapist.

If you find yourself in a cycle of burnout, exhaustion, anxiety, stress, etc. and you can defeat this on your own, that’s fantastic. Otherwise, I welcome a conversation. Please send me a note under my Contact page and I can offer my best to you.

If you enjoy this content, I invite you to follow me on LinkedIn and ask me about free strategy sessions for your career!

#59 “How Can I Care Less About Work?”

October 22nd, 2021 by

“Why am I so invested in my job, how can I care less about work?” If this sounds painfully familiar, trust me when I state that this is a common dilemma!

Eliminate the Question

Asking, “How can I care less about work?” is a misguided question that is irrelevant to the real problem (see Post #35). 

“How can I care less about work” presupposes you should care in the first place. It implies you have an internal attachment to your external work – and this is dangerous. This question assumes that ‘caring less’ is the solution to your burnout, stress, or work frustrations.

Allow me to offer an alternative perspective. If you can open your mind and welcome new points of view, I would like to pose a different angle.

Before we get to that, the common work approach below may apply to you if you are trying to care less.

The Common Approach

Work does not exist for you to:

  • Care what others think of you or your output
  • Overwork to the point of missing out on real life
  • Worry about employment status
  • Ruminate over harsh words someone said
  • Be available at the employer’s beck and call
  • Fix everyone’s fires except your own putting your job at risk
  • Put your life on hold to aggressively travel against your will
  • Please everybody

The purpose of work is not to be emotionally tied to outcomes of your performance or to others’ opinions. This common behavior can surely lead you towards a meltdown if things go sour at work. Asking, “how can I care less about work” is a cry out for help.

“But I’m supposed to care about my work and performance … if I’m not emotional then it means I don’t care!”

Okay. I hear what you’re saying. I ask you to keep an open mind and read the next section. This is probably new territory for many of you, so notice if you embrace or reject these suggestions.

A More Practical Approach

Work does exist for you to

  • Use reasonable judgment to fulfill an employment contract
  • Perform transactions
  • Attempt your best day in and day out
  • Recognize strengths and weaknesses
  • Fail, try, fail again, and try again
  • Understand your limits and set boundaries
  • Learn how to be resourceful
  • Expand your brainpower by developing yourself
  • Overcome interpersonal challenges by working with difficult people
  • Serve an organization utilizing supplied resources
  • Help others help themselves
  • Improve things that cross your path – projects, conversations, and people

Notice how this list is more flexible and forgiving. This list does not require you to have an emotional attachment to any particular outcome. It absolves you from having to cling to the job; there is no dependency on what others might think.

Therefore, don’t ask yourself, “how can I care less about work.”

Instead, ask yourself, “Did I try my best today considering the way I felt along with the information available?” At the end of the day, there is nothing more that any one person, including you, can ask of yourself.

When you know you’ve done your best per the given circumstances, all else falls into place.

If you enjoy this content, I invite you to follow me on LinkedIn and ask me about free strategy sessions for your career!

#57 There’s No Corporate in the Classroom

September 24th, 2021 by

Do you feel under prepared for the working world? Do the nuances of human nature, politics and bureaucracy leave you confused? You are not alone, because there is usually no corporate in the classroom!

The Hard Skills

Here’s the deal. You earned degree and you, along with most others, naturally assumed that was going to be enough. Yet, you (along with most others) somehow feel unprepared for the working world.

Here you are, a few years into your career … or many years into your career. You seem to have gotten a handle on the ‘hard’ skills. And if you don’t have a handle, you at least know how to be resourceful and figure things out.

Unbeknownst to you, this is exactly why you went to school… to learn how to figure things out. The purpose of college is not necessarily to ‘teach’ you how to be an engineer, a designer, a lawyer, etc. Rather, college forces you to learn how to learn in the context of your major. Yes, that’s right. College makes you face yourself at a deeper level so you can eventually learn how to learn in the workplace.

But, there is generally no corporate in the classroom, so what are the rules of handling quirky, difficult people?

The Interpersonal Skills

Whether college should teach the soft skills and the interpersonal skills is debatable. Surely, you did learn some of these things as a student.

However, the working world is full of humans outside of your major. The complexities of work are a completely different kind of beast. And since there is generally no corporate in the classroom, you must figure out how to work with difficult humans without scarring your career.

For example, it takes extreme emotional maturity to rise above others who tried to do you wrong. How about that ego? You must learn to keep that ego in check when it tries to blame others or talk behind someone’s back. Dealing with unreasonable people or moody bosses requires high levels of emotional intelligence.

I could go on, but the point is that there are an infinite number of interpersonal situations that can catch you off guard. If you’re not prepared, if you’re not emotionally agile, then all the hard skills in the world won’t get you far.

Lessons Learned

Generally, there is no corporate in the classroom. This is why I invite you to watch my video, “Five Workplace Lessons to Elevate Your Career.”

I discuss the following topics along with tips and lessons that will help you manage your day-to-day:

  • Happiness at Work – why it’s not your job’s job to make you happy
  • Autonomy in the workplace – separating self-identity from your job identity
  • Behaviors in the workplace – why it is not your choice if someone likes you
  • Career path – what you should ask yourself instead of, “what is my right career path?”
  • Dream jobs – where are they, and what does it take to obtain your dream job?

If there is another work topic you’d like to hear about, let me know!

If you enjoy this content, I invite you to follow me on LinkedIn and ask me about free strategy sessions for your career!

#55 Career Security – Is Your Future Insured?

August 26th, 2021 by

What if it were possible to secure your professional future? To know that your career, with all its twists and turns, can withstand hardships and economic downfalls? This article will help you understand what it takes to insure your career security and avoid drifting along.

Don’t Do This

  • First, do not rely on external situations or other people for career security. For example, don’t count on that future job offer which may seem so obvious in the moment. Don’t count on that buddy to get your foot in the door. The reason is because outside circumstances and external people are very good at disappointing us. If possible, avoid any emotional dependence on things external to you (emotional needs, by the way, are best fulfilled by YOU).
  • Second, do not search for ‘stable’ or ‘secure’ jobs, companies or industries thinking you’ll be in ‘good’ shape. Nothing is guaranteed and nothing is stable (unless you appointed Supreme Court Justice or a tenured professor – those are quite stable). Again, if you are emotionally dependent on what you think is a stable or secure external, be prepared for disappointment at any time.
  • Third, do not blend your job identity with your self-identity (see Post #35). This is a dangerous and toxic combination. You are not your job. Your job is not you. Think of your job as a tool you use in life. It is a fluid, flexible, unpredictable resource that will help you attain your next endeavor. You are a living being with beliefs and energy; a career is simply a learning experience.

The Secret Ingredient

Plain and simple, your self-worth is the catalyst for your results, experiences and career security. That’s what it comes down to: self-worth. The degree to which you are confident, happy and fulfilled is proportional to your level of self-worth. Allow me to explain with a simple example.

Person A and Person B both work as designers with Company X. One day, they are unexpectedly laid off. Both must gather their personal belongings and be escorted out the building in front of everyone. 

Person A is devastated. Person A has never thought about their skills, talents, offerings, or branding. In addition, Person A always knew deep down it was a possibility they could be laid off. However, it was a scenario too painful to consider. It was too uncomfortable to be proactive and anticipate undesirable future events.

Therefore, Person A must scramble in a desperate attempt to find a new job ASAP while dreading the interview process … not a fun thing to do from a feeling of panic and low self-confidence!

Upgrade Yourself

Person B, however, has taken a much more proactive approach to their career journey. They regularly work on their wellbeing, admit personal strengths/weaknesses and recently completed an online professional development course, “Overcoming Career Constraints – What College Doesn’t Teach You.”

Person B understand that it’s not necessary to freak out or act in desperation. Person B knows they possess skills and talents other companies need and they are not afraid to speak highly of themselves. They have increased self-confidence and calmly understand the layoff was nothing personal … and they look forward to coherently finding the next open door!

Moreover, Person B has insured their future due to their willingness for self-exploration. They can confidently apply for jobs, interview, fail if necessary and continue the process with a drama-free mindset. They will not be discouraged by rejections, failures or mistakes. Person B also knows, thanks to my online course “Overcoming Career Constraints,” that employment is not required in order to fulfill career purpose.

In conclusion, the same situation produced a completely different experience for each individual due to their mindset around self-worth.

Do you want to know more about insuring your future? ALL are welcome to attend Class 1 for FREE on Sept. 15: Why You Are Held Back. Register now on my Events Page!

If you enjoy this content, I invite you to follow me on LinkedIn and ask me about free strategy sessions for your career!

#54 Are You Lacking Self-Confidence?

August 13th, 2021 by

People talk at work. The boss is unreasonable. Your customer complained about you. What do you do?  If you are lacking self-confidence, it can haunt your professional life in myriad ways. Here are three pivotal reasons you should work on building it.

Blending Self and Job Identity

This is an insidious combination of two separate items that people tend to not recognize.

To blend the self with the job identity implies your job is part of your being. It means your existence is reliant upon your duties, job title or employer. When this occurs, life is grand if the job is going well. However, it also means that when the job goes south for whatever reasons, so does your life.

There are two problems when we blend work with our self-identities. First, you are relying on externals, almost completely out of your control, to feel confident. When we rely on external situations to make us feel good or confident, we set ourselves up for disappointment.

The second problem is that you tend to forget that careers are only one slice of life’s massive pie. People who depend on careers for their wellbeing are likely to forget there are significant, more important things to life.

Think of your job (and your career) as a tool. It is simply a tool that changes over time, morphs into something you may or may have anticipated, and acts as a springboard to your next job.

Jobs and employers are not the end all be all, as much as they may seem. If you suspect you are blending self and job identities, answer the question, “In what ways am I lacking self-confidence?”

Job identity is not self-identity!

Failure and Leadership

You are a leader. It does not matter if you started your first job today or if you’ve been at it for years. Despite your role on the organizational chart, you are a leader and I will tell you why.

First, others depend on you. Your colleagues and your management depend on your results and productivity. You are filling an important void the company needs to thrive so it can serve its customers. Therefore, your employer is heavily dependent upon your good judgment, which leads to reason No. 2.

Second, you are not just a leader in the workplace. You are the CEO over your own life. And do you know what CEOs do? They:

  • take charge
  • make decisions even when it is terrifying
  • are future focused and do not dwell on the past
  • view mistakes as information, not failure
  • try, fail, get up, try, and fail again until they figure things out
  • do not need a checklist, instructions, or directions; they eagerly learn as they go

Defeating obstacles and challenges helps you remove barriers that block you from knowing how exceptional you are. If everything were easy, you would remain stagnant.

Learn to lead yourself before you attempt to lead others!

People-Pleasing

Do you work extra hard or extra-long to keep others off your back? Do you say “okay” when you really mean “no?” People-pleasing can take many shapes and forms in the workplace; this is a sure sign you’re lacking self-confidence.

It is tempting to overwork or create perfectionistic tendencies when the pressure is on. After all, what will others think if you don’t do a great job? But here is the people-pleasing dilemma: you either satisfy others, or you satisfy yourself. Which is more important?

A people-pleaser would rather make others happy over making themselves happy. The root of people-pleasing is fear: “I might be the next to go; I need this job; I have to do everything they tell me to do; it’s too hard to find another job right now, etc.”

It’s not difficult to imagine how a people-pleasing mindset can enable toxicity. Confident people know how to choose themselves and their wellbeing over others (yes, including the boss). The person with high self-confidence realizes their employer needs them more than they need the employer. Confident employees know how to set boundaries and gracefully say “no.” Perhaps most importantly, the highly self-confident person is not beholden to their employer!

People-pleasers choose to not please the single, most important person alive: themselves!

Are you lacking self-confidence and ready to do something about it? Visit my Events Page to register FREE for Class 1 of my upcoming fall course starting Sept. 15, which teaches confidence and life skills for a healthy, sustainable career!

If you enjoy this content, I invite you to follow me on LinkedIn and ask me about free strategy sessions for your career!

#53 Overcoming Career Constraints

July 30th, 2021 by

What would you give to resolve those lingering work constraints that stifle your productivity … or your growth? Anything from management to politics can contribute to career constraints. Here are three common issues I hear about in various flavors.

Career Stagnation

You look around to see people your age with similar experience who are higher up in the food chain. Perhaps you’ve tried moving up (or around) only to find yourself stuck for too long. You can’t seem to gain momentum. And in fact, you may not even know what momentum looks like for you. This type of career constraint is all about stagnation.

Your intellect can also suffer from stagnation. If you’re bored, unchallenged, or getting dumber over time, it’s not just you! This is an all-too common phenomena in the professional workplace. It is quite possible you’ve lost more knowledge than you care to admit. 

Nobody is exempt from career stagnation. It can follow you from job to job, industry to industry, or even into the classroom where the whole idea is to gain knowledge.

A critical reason professionals are feeling stuck is due to … 

Career Dependence

Do you wish you could just say NO at times? Or confront the customer who complains behind your back? Or tell your boss why they are wrong? 

Low self-confidence is the single, most common issue that brings people anxiety and discontentment in the workplace. And low self-confidence may lead to an unhealthy and self-limiting dependence on your employer. I have come to this conclusion based on two observations: my own experiences as a former engineer, and my own experiences as a coach.

Self-confidence is not to be confused with arrogance. Arrogance requires comparison to others; self-confidence does not. Arrogant thoughts may include, “I am better, I am smarter, I make more money than….” Whereas self-confidence is belief in yourself despite what others do or say.

I share my favorite definition of self confidence with you: the willingness to feel any emotion.

The person with low self-confidence is much more likely to be employer-dependent, overworked, and overwhelmed. It is as if the employer exudes power or control over your life. And it doesn’t have to be that way!

Career Purpose & Fulfillment

“This is not what I went to school for … they give me work that isn’t fulfilling … I need a better job.” 

Do these career constraints sound familiar? It might be tempting to believe that since you worked so hard in school and checked all the boxes, a nice reward awaits you. What we most likely didn’t learn in the classroom (I know I didn’t!) is that after checking all the boxes, things don’t always turn out as planned.

The problem is that we look to solve for purpose and fulfillment in the workplace. As odd as it may sound, employers are not required or obligated to fulfill the emotional needs of its employees. If you know of a company that does so, please let me know!

The reason this is a problem is because people look for solutions where they don’t exist (like looking for apples in the dairy section). After many futile attempts, people may become depressed, despondent, resentful or worse.

If you suffer from some or all of these issues, I am offering a fall course to help you defeat them: Overcoming Career Constraints – What College Doesn’t Teach You

Visit my Events Page to register FREE for Class 1 starting Sept. 15!

I invite you to follow me on LinkedIn and to ask me about free strategy sessions for your career!

#52 What is an Engineering Life Coach?

July 16th, 2021 by

Many of you have not dealt with or investigated the art and science of life coaching. Therefore, I will clear the air and explain the concept of how I help people as an engineering life coach.

What is a Life Coach?

At its most fundamental level, a life coach is guide that helps a person upgrade their life. Just as a swimming coach helps a swimmer improve their swimming techniques, a life coach helps a person improve living techniques.

Sounds simple, right? Well, you might be wondering, “what the heck does that look like, and why would I need that?”

Again, to keep things simple, the coaching process involves a lot of thought dissection. You start to unravel deeply held beliefs and convictions. Then, I guide you to change any beliefs and convictions that don’t serve a positive purpose in your life. (Quick example of a belief I’ve helped someone change: “I have to do everything my boss tell me to do.”)

What is an Engineering Life Coach?

As an engineering life coach specifically, I work with engineers and other STEM professionals who crave change or improvement. They practice higher levels of life management for optimal living. Everyone acquires results that are unique to their own issues.

For example, you might need guidance with a major life decision, whereas your colleague may need help with self-confidence in the workplace. After my guidance, your specific result translates to your making a solid and coherent decision. The colleague next to you, after my guidance, will have learned how to conquer fears, increase self-worth, and maximize their potential.

As an engineering life coach, professionals come to me for reasons such as, “I don’t know if I want to stay in engineering” or “I am not appreciated at work,” or “management doesn’t know how to manage.” The list of issues goes on (See Post #48).

What Does Coaching Look Like?

This is a two-part answer. But let me start by spelling out what my style of coaching does NOT look like.

It does not mean I:

  • provide advice
  • act as a mentor
  • take your side
  • act as a friend
  • advise you based on my own experiences
  • practice spiritual awakening

Part of my process involves your answering tough questions to get to the root. As an unbiased facilitator, I allow you the space to honestly answer without judgment. In doing so, I pose questions you wouldn’t normally think to ask yourself.

In other words, I offer helpful perspectives that would never dawn on you.

The second part of my process includes teaching concepts, lessons, and theories that you can apply in the short term and take with you forever.

Like magic, you discover answers to your own issues. This self-discovery process would not be possible without an trained facilitator like me as an engineering life coach. I have been taught a system to help you transform your life for the better.

Do you want to know more? Contact me for free coaching sessions!

I invite you to follow me on LinkedIn and to ask me about free strategy sessions for your career!

#47 Your Performance Review: Is it About Performance?

May 7th, 2021 by

Why does it seem like your performance review wasn’t even about your performance? Have you left ‘the room’ thinking, “It’s so unfair … I deserve more … they don’t even know all the things I do … etc.”

Because I care about your health and wellness, I am going to save you some heartache here. I’ve been there done that, and it is no way to live!

What to Do?

First, let them have it.

Let them have their way with the antiquated process they refer to as a performance review. What I mean is, allow them full ownership and detach yourself from the outcomes (See Post #35). If your emotions are dictated by this nebulous process that utilizes the input of others, you will (almost always) find disappointment in the end.

Emotional wellness should not be dictated by external things outside your control.  

One trick to help with detachment: think of your performance review as a credit report. Other people, who you don’t choose, who know little about you, get to hold you accountable. These people judge you against constraints without your consent. Then, they rank you based on said constraints, resulting in a punishment/reward system. You virtually have zero control over the process, rules or decision-making.

You’re left with the output, which may or may not be representative of your behaviors.

The performance review is part of a process that fulfills an organization’s goals. It caters to their own guidelines, business objectives, and even offers legal protection. According to bizfluent, “Federal and state laws regulate employee performance reviews.”

Let the employer own their performance review, their processes and the stakeholders. Of course, if you disagree with written remarks then you must pick and choose which battles to fight. But in general, release the whole process from your mind and let them have it so you can make space for more productive matters.

What NOT to Do

I highly advise against radical attempts to improve next year’s review. 

Do not work extra ‘hard’ or go above and beyond simply for the sake of achieving a ‘better’ review. Your health and wellness are priceless, and aiming to improve the next review can deplete you. It can insidiously drain your energy while sucking the life out of you, creating resentment toward the employer.

And be aware – you’re fooling yourself if you believe, “I’ll just work harder, I’ll stay longer, I’ll jump when they snap their fingers and do all things necessary…” At the end of the day, at the end of the year, you will be judged by others.

Therefore, apply your energies where you have the most control: your own development.

What Matters Most

For a moment, forget about the colleagues, the boss and the customers. Instead of wondering, “What do they think, how can I please them, what will they say, etc.,” I invite you to redirect these questions.

What do YOU think about your performance? What would YOU tell someone about yourself, your work ethic, and your accomplishments? This practice, my friends, is both a difficult yet extremely rewarding aspect of self-development.

Here’s the thing. Management may choose to dismiss your successes and accomplishments. But at the end of the day, you know your performance level. You understand something that no one else possibly can – your own efforts. That’s what matters most: holding yourself accountable to you.

Why does that matter the most?

Accountability is a self-reflective habit that over time will start to create something amazing in your life: sustainable happiness. Accountability includes redirecting your energies away from the forced performance review and instead applying them toward:

  • Tackling your day-to-day obstacles with the provided resources
  • Being like the bigger adult in the room
  • Deliberately choosing productive responses in light of circumstances

Focusing energies inward allows you to recognize, cultivate, and apply self-development to your job and to your life … unlike a biased performance review, which vanishes into the digital world of bureaucratic formalities.

Let me know how unfair your mandatory performance review was and how it affected you!

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

#45 Three Universal Leadership Lessons

April 9th, 2021 by

Whether you are a freshie learning your first role or a long-term manager, these basic leadership lessons are essential to your soft skill portfolio.

“Why should I care about leadership lessons, I’m just an employee,” you might ask. You should care because leadership is rooted in the self and you are the leader of your life. You need not become a manager to apply your leadership skills each day!

Lesson No. 1 Be the Leader You Wish You Had

You can sit around and ruminate; you can complain to colleagues or you can take action. But here’s the thing, bosses are human. Management is human. And it’s true they may not consider all things and all people all the time.

Can some leaders handle pressure better than others? Yes, of course. And you know in your mind what your boss should be doing differently. You might allow their faults to get to you. And let’s face it, sometimes bosses can be outright belligerent (see Post #44)

However, you get to choose how you respond to this stimulus. If your leadership lacks in one (or some) areas, then ask yourself how you can fill in the gaps. What it is they should be doing differently? If it’s within your boundaries, go out and do these things yourself within the confines of your job scope.

For instance, if it burns you up that leadership doesn’t respond to emails, always respond to yours. If it pains you to see leaders treating people poorly, make it a point to treat others with respect. If you wish leaders would take more initiative, initiate yourself to get the job done to the best of your abilities.

Lesson No. 2 Great Leaders Empower Critical Thinking

The roles of leadership are always up for debate. Some leaders like to give orders, instructions and directives. Others like to shame, criticize or blame. Some people claim great leaders are persuasive, assertive and outspoken… the debate rages on.

While opinions differ, especially from organization to organization, I believe leadership lesson number 2 is a gold mine:

Great leaders allow open dialogue that enables employees to self-reflect, critically think and problem-solve on their own. This is a mental, continuous improvement process that employees can take wherever they go.

A great leader’s contribution to the workplace? Leaving behind employees who apply this empowering mental technique on their own, with or without leadership.

Lesson No. 3 Don’t Lead Others Until You Can Lead Yourself

“Why are there so many bad leaders? How do incompetent people get promoted to positions they do not deserve? Why doesn’t management do something about XY&Z?” These are common questions (and complaints) I often hear.

This might just be one of the most powerful leadership lessons one can learn. Bosses, management, and leaders project their sense of self onto others via their management style. I’ll take this statement one step further. The way people treat you is an indication of the way they feel about who they are.

Leadership is not about having all the answers. It is not about covering up mistakes or fudging numbers. Leadership is not about having to please people. And it is definitely not about serving oneself.

Leadership lesson 3 is about uplifting your employees and colleagues.  Not an easy thing to do – this requires a leader to be whole with him/herself. It requires emotional maturity, self-accountability, the willingness to embrace fear and too many other skills to list.

Leadership is about extracting internal resources to upgrade external people around you.

Do you struggle to understand how you fit into your organization? Let me know what’s holding you back from leading yourself and the price you pay!

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

#44 “My Boss Doesn’t Like Me”

March 26th, 2021 by

Why is it the boss likes to laser in on your shortcomings and ignore your accomplishments? Your performance is above average, you’ve made a few silly mistakes in the past, and everyone has a major screw up. Despite the situation, project or your output, you tell yourself “my boss doesn’t like me.”

And it drives you mad because you don’t know how to fix it.

The Boss Function

Let us start by diving into some fundamentals of the boss role. This is not an all-inclusive list, but it serves as a useful reminder especially if you are a boss:

  • One, your boss exists to help equip you with the tools and resources necessary to perform your job. They guide you to help yourself resolve issues should you not have all those tools and resources. (By the way, many people do not have all required necessities to do their jobs, it is not just you).
  • Two, a boss acts as a compass to point you in the right direction. They are not there to solve your problems. Rather, bosses create a healthy, unobstructed environment for you to try, fail, innovate, and blossom through a consistent feedback loop.
  • Three, your boss must answer to their boss. If your boss wants to perform properly, it requires you to perform properly. Thus, your boss evaluates your performance to determine if you’ve met your goals. (Ideally, this process would look like an objective performance review).

As an aside, a performance review can be quite the emotional roller coaster ride. Unfortunately, I’ve heard and seen many people walk out of their reviews feeling defenseless, like they were ambushed. Nothing should ever be a surprise to the employee during their performance review. That is the power of a feedback loop: the employee is consistently made aware of expectations, strengths and ‘areas of improvement.’

Whether your boss performs the functions listed above, whether your boss is present or absent, is good or bad, etc. is not the point. The point is that a partnership exists between you and your boss. The two of you share a common goal: perform your best so the company can thrive.

“But, my boss doesn’t like me,” you exclaim. Now, where does that leave you?

It Helps to Know

1. By telling yourself “my boss doesn’t like me,” and by believing this statement at face value, you make the situation personal.

It is as if you are telling yourself, “the boss does not like my being, my presence or my humanness. I am not good enough because I am not liked. Since the boss doesn’t like me, perhaps I am unworthy of fair treatment. Maybe I should not be in this job and I should change myself. I want to be liked and accepted because I want to continue working here.” The self-narrative can spin out of control if you do not keep yourself grounded.

A critical detail here: anytime you believe “they don’t like me,” it implies a personal attack against your being and your existence.

Critical Point #1: Is your situation truly a personal attack, or is the boss attempting to criticize your output? These two scenarios are vastly different beasts. Let’s address the more severe of the two: My boss doesn’t like me for who I am.

2. Worst case scenario, your boss does make the situation personal, and they do not like you as a person.

It gets personal when management is critical of the things that make you uniquely you. Personal is when they use your personality or characteristics against you. For example, this might look like “you aren’t smart enough; you are too emotional; your spouse is annoying; the college you attended is insignificant, etc.”

If a boss makes the situation personal, they are faulty in two regards:

  • They fail to provide an environment that promotes self-reflection in the name of self-improvement
  • They are teaching you how miserable they feel about themselves

Critical Point #2: If someone doesn’t ‘like’ who you are, the translation is that they don’t like themselves when in your presence. On the contrary, people who appreciate and like themselves lift others up and facilitate self-improvement. They will not berate or criticize.

To Stay or Go?

Your employment isn’t about the boss being good or bad; it’s not about whether they like you. Your employment is about holding up your end of the bargain; it is not a personal relationship.

If you perform to the best of your abilities, learn from mistakes, and take initiative, there is nothing more a boss can ask of you. In fact, there is nothing more you can ask of yourself. While it is your responsibility to learn, grow and contribute to company goals, do not think you have to change yourself or your values … especially NOT for a boss.

If you believe “my boss doesn’t like me for who I am”, then it is possible they are taking their insecurities out on you. While this is their own internal problem to address, they unfortunately have some power to make employment more complex. Leaving this scenario for alternate employment can be tempting and sometimes justified. However, leaving the scenario may only serve as a temporary band aid offering short-term relief (which some people need in extreme cases!).

The reason leaving this scenario is not the best solution: you will always and forever deal with insecure people in your surroundings.

Leaving is the easy, temporary answer. Strengthening your mindset to deal with difficult, external situations is a much more sustainable, long-term solution (and applies to all areas of life). Ask me how!

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

#39 How to Have More Control

January 15th, 2021 by

Are you frustrated living at the effect of others? Feeling helpless or out of control? This article offers a way to start and build upon a foundation so you can have more control in life. I share three basic questions for you to answer when life hands you lemons. The better you can answer, the more control you will have.

What do I Know for Sure?

This is an insightful question that will open your eyes like you never imagined. The reason is because we often believe some things (or a lot of things) are true when they are not. There is a critical distinction between what you believe to be true versus what is true.

For example, you may believe, “My boss is out to get me, I’m not treated fairly.” The reason you believe this to be true, perhaps, is because you have evidence. It appears your boss reprimands you for mistakes, doesn’t approve vacation requests, and didn’t give you a raise. Thus, your logical conclusion is that the boss is targeting you unfairly.

Let’s pause for a moment, and ask, “what do I know for sure?”

Do you know unequivocally for sure the boss is out to get you? Actually, no, you don’t. That is a conclusion your mind has drawn up. Is it unequivocally true you are treated unfairly? Let’s dissect fairness – what is fair and how does it apply to everyone?

Does the boss reprimand you only for your mistakes and not others … has the boss ever denied others’ vacation requests … could there be a reasonable explanation you were the only one denied a raise?

This exercise, “what do I know for sure?” will help you shed light on your self-talk, which could become self-destructive if not put in check. It is a starter question that will springboard your way to having more control.

How Can I Help?

This is a beautiful question. It helps your mind break out of the victim or blaming mindset. “But I am a victim!” you might quip. “But it was so-and-so’s fault!” Those beliefs resemble a kind of self-pity, poor-me mentality that fuels negative energy. Negative energy leads to negative actions. I recommend avoiding counterproductive self-talk. It is an easy path, requiring little resistance that promotes downward spirals.

Instead, if you’d like to have more control in your life, I recommend a different path. The path this more difficult and could make your brain hurt. Find answers to, “how can I help?”

Referring to the example above, suppose your boss is out to get you. Suppose you believe this to be a fact. “How can I help?” will get your gears turning in a more positive direction. I am not claiming you go to extremes and try to be best friends. However, I guarantee you can dig deep and find small ways to impact the situation.

“How can I help?” may invoke a variety of answers. It could translate to your job efforts, your timeliness, your communications, maybe even the way you carry yourself. This question does not imply you are at fault or that you’re doing things the wrong way.

It is a positive question that opens the mind to exploring positive actions.

What Does Great Look Like?

When question 1 and 2 seem futile, you can try answering, “what does great look like?” We all want to be great, right? We all want to do great things and make great impacts, don’t we? This question is another way to have more control.

When you’re in a tough situation and it feels like the only way is down, think about greatness. Think about how you could create greatness with available resources. I’m not stating you must solve all problems, and you certainly can’t solve other people’s problems.

I am suggesting you find a way to start small. Maybe creating greatness could mean smiling more. It could mean asking the colleague who hates you if they need anything. Using the example above, it could mean calmly sharing your evidence with the boss to maturely discuss your concerns.

The uplifting impact these three questions can generate are far superior to the negative impacts caused by dwelling or self-pity. Another reason I recommend these three questions is because they are open-ended, ready to be tailored by you and for you. There are no right or wrong answers.

You can have more control in your life, and it starts by answering the three questions above. I am not taking credit for these questions. They originate from a phenomenal TedX Talk by therapist, leadership expert and drama researcher Cy Wakeman. I encourage you to watch as she eloquently explains the nature of these power questions.

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

#23 Life Coaching Misconceptions

June 5th, 2020 by

I do not tell people what to do, I don’t offer advice and I’m not a therapist. Rather, I guide people down the path to discover answers for themselves. Life coaching misconceptions can deter you from this life-changing process; I will discuss two false beliefs.

My purpose as a life coach is to introduce people to themselves. You believe certain things about the world around you; you believe certain things about yourself. I hold up a mirror, ask you to reflect and I take your brain to places it has not been. The purpose of getting coached is that you get out of your own head, expand your myriad opportunities and become grounded so as to think in useful terms (see Post #18). This process transforms you into an emotionally mature, self-confident thinker who makes purposeful decisions. I’d like to clear up two common life coaching misconceptions in an attempt to be transparent with my coaching style. Note, I cannot speak for other life coaches; I speak for my own practice.

Myth 1: “We should be happy all the time.”
Accuracy: There is no good without the bad.

One hundred percent happiness is not an idea that I teach to my clients, nor do I believe it to be true. This is a typical life coaching misconception. In fact, my stance is that there is no good without the bad, there is no great without awful, and there is no happy without the sad. Part of our human experience includes contrast. It is a given that we are going to experience the full spectrum of emotional contrasts during our lives.

What my life coaching offers you is the ability to handle the awful parts of life and enjoy the positives. It teaches you how to think in a self-serving way despite your negative circumstances. You learn how to process emotions. When you understand where your emotions come from, you can use them to your advantage. Emotions are the fuel for our lives. Everything you do and say stems from the emotions stirring up inside you.

Myth 2: “We should set goals and achieve them so we can be happy.” Accuracy: Reward is found in the journey, not the destination.

This life coaching misconception may leave you curious. Our typical society leads most of us to believe achievement is essential to our wellbeing. For example, it’s good to achieve a stellar grade point average, a high salary, a stable job, or a large house because that is what success ‘looks like’. We are fed messages throughout our lives that the achievement of tangibles or intangibles equates to happiness.

I teach my clients that while achievement can be a great thing, it is not the end all be all. This is true because after having achieved that wonderful goal or item, you think about the next one and you are left wanting more. When you derive fulfillment purely from the end achievement, you will never gain long-term satisfaction. Rather, you will be left with another empty void to fill.

The purpose of goals, my friends, is not to achieve happiness. Whether you achieve the goal itself is irrelevant! The purpose is to take yourself on an uncomfortable, demanding, self-discovery with bumps and traps along with way. Strategizing a way through obstacles is what forces you to grow and evolve. The harder the journey, the higher the reward. Achievement of a goal is simply a fun byproduct; the true reward comes from conquering your grueling obstacles.

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

#3 Who are You?

October 4th, 2019 by

Is it time to hit your personal reset button? If you were to fill a page with answers to today’s question, what would they reveal? You might feel lost, disappointed, or unsure about the meaning of your existence. Don’t allow yourself to exist among the living dead!

Right vs Wrong

The first step in changing your life for the better is to acknowledge its current status. Think about today’s question and answer honestly, as much as it may sting. Some helpful hints: there is no right or wrong answer; identities change over time; you get to decide who you are. If I haven’t mentioned, you get to decide who you are. Despite all the things that happen in your world, you decide who you get to be.

You get to be you, end of story. This is important if you feel confused, unjustified or pressured to be something you’re not. Too often, people believe things that happened to them in the past define who they are. And too often, people define themselves by their failures, mistakes or regrets.

Imagine summarizing all your accomplishments. Think about the sacrifices you make for others. How about all the times you defeated those tough obstacles that almost set you back. There are many positives about your life – I help people dig down to find them. When you think about who you are, do not forget to give yourself credit for making an impact on the world.

Think for yourself: who are you? See Post #17.

Your Obligation

It’s tempting to get down on yourself for the things you couldn’t do “right.” Here is a golden nugget for you. Knowing your identity in this world translates to acknowledging the way you view yourself. It is not only something you control, but it is your personal duty to yourself.

Do not allow circumstances, other people or your career to determine who you are as a human – that is your job. If you can’t catch a grip, or if you don’t want to face who you are, it’s time for mental recalibration. That is my function in life. I am an unbiased guide who will lead you toward discovering yourself. It’s as simple as sending me a note: gina@deliberatedoing.com.

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