- About Us
- Contact Us
Do you want to learn faster, better, and process those stressful emotions more effectively? Doing so will not only improve your mood, but also your adaptability to new situations. There is some very exciting recent research that confirms how critical our sleep is – not only for our health, but for our emotional resilience and our ability to learn new things.
In Rosaline Cartwright’s book “The Twenty-Four Hour Mind,” she reviews sleep research and makes the following key points about what sleep really provides for our minds:
Time to reflect. As we move through 16 hours of awake time, we are paying attention to and interacting with the outside world. When we shut down to sleep for eight hours, our brains select from those new experiences which ones to be kept active, so that they can be properly filed into our memory.
Time to understand emotions. While dreaming, we are also processing our challenging or disruptive emotions that are attached to those new experiences so that we can move to a more positive state of mind. This happens when we dream by matching emotions and experiences with longer term memories to store some of the new material into memory and work through emotions.
Time to evolve ourselves. We modify who we are when we sleep in such a way that our self-concept develops and it is this we take into our waking hours the next day.
Time to adapt. This wake-sleep collaboration is how our behavior remains flexible, how we are able to retain new learning, and how we safely negotiate the bumps of unanticipated challenges.
So what does this research mean for you? It verifies that sleep is critical to our health and overall sense of well-being. Although we know this to be true, most of us are seriously sleep-deprived and are suffering in ways that we don’t see because we have developed a habit. We also think we are too busy to get enough sleep, thereby perpetuating the problem. Our brains need enough sleep time to log in new learning and embed it into long-term memory, and to process our stress. No wonder why when we wake with too little sleep we wake up grumpy!
Here are some tips for getting the sleep you deserve and nee to be your most effective self:
Work sleep into your plans to ensure you log in eight hours of good quality sleep-time. Look at all your “good reasons” for not being able to get the full eight hours that are so vital, and create realistic and sustainable strategies to clear the time for sleep. When you are learning anything new, be sure you sleep on it to embed it deeply into your memory. Research has proven that people learn more quickly and effectively if they go to sleep after learning something new. Have faith that the saying, “It will be better in the morning,” has some science behind it.
–Andrea Zintz, Career Coach
According to conventional wisdom, events cause stress. Someone drops a load of work on you, you experience stress. Your company reorganizes, you experience stress. The assumption here is that stress is caused by what happens in the world. But, what if this assumption is wrong? What if the true cause of our stress is not the events themselves, but rather our own inability to meet our needs in the face of these events?
For example, you find out your boss is ill and you have to deliver the presentation to the senior team in her place in an hour. You feel a jolt of fear. Is the stress a result of the call to present or are you stressed because you aren't feeling prepared for this?
Do you see how the assumption that events cause stress is flawed, and that stress instead comes from your struggle to meet a need? The difference is that if you believe your stress is being caused by what’s happening in the world, you’ll tend to complain and point fingers. But if you believe you’re stressed because you’re struggling to meet a need, you’ll skip the drama and focus instead on how you are going to meet it.
Think about it. Our happiness, health, and productivity are all being undermined by our tendency to misdiagnose the cause of our stress. What can we do to turn things around? Based on the exciting work of Charles Jones and the technique of Adaptive Inquiry, we can...
1. Examine our own mental habits to identify situations we tend to misdiagnose as stressful and notice the challenging emotions such as anger, frustration, anxiety, worry, resentment, and fear that arise from them.
2. Then, retrain ourselves to accurately diagnose the need behind our emotion going forward. For instance, the need behind anger is to assert our rights, behind resentment is to air our grievance, and the need behind frustration is achievement.
3. Then shift the focus of our attention to strategies that can help us meet our needs. This might involve a change in our beliefs, behavior or our environment.
Let's take the example of the sudden presentation. Your boss put her faith in you to cover for her when she was ill. The stress isn't really about the presentation, but your concern about being fully prepared. You catch yourself with this realization and shift your attention to the hour for preparation. When you grab a colleague to act as audience for a few run-throughs using the slide deck in the vacant conference room down the hall, you build your confidence with the material. The stress resolves in favor of a growing readiness to step in front of the leadership team.
In coming blogs, I will address some of these challenging emotions in a way that will enable you to find your resilience through a more powerful and adaptive response to stress.
–Andrea Zintz, Career Coach
In a world where self-improvement is often undercut by pessimism and fear, some naysayers have come to regard New Year’s Resolutions as little more than wishful thinking. This year, banish that defeatist attitude along with your bad habit! No matter your vice, use these strategies to start your year off on the right foot—and keep traveling in that direction for months to come.
Uncover the stakes. What do you lose by indulging your habit? Is it time? Money? Confidence? How much? Once you’ve quantified whatever it is, decide how you want to redirect those costs in the future. Get excited about the possibilities that will open up once you’ve freed up resources to pursue things you truly value. Having concrete rewards to look forward to will help you stay on track.
Consider your strategy. Are you a cold turkey kind of gal, or will incremental improvement soften the blow of change? Should you share your goal with friends, or keep it to yourself for now? Different methods work for different people, so give the matter some thought..
Distract yourself. Focus on what you can add to your life, not what you are taking away from it. Now is the perfect time to tackle a lighthearted project that will keep you from fixating on the behaviors you’re trying to kick. Start a blog. Redecorate your room. Think fun and exciting, not boring or practical. Your undertaking should be a source of pleasure, not obligation or dread.
Replace the ritual. Some habits, like late-night snacking or watching TV, are things we do out of boredom rather than for pleasure. Think: What could you substitute instead? Could you drink tea instead of eating chips? Could you spend 15 minutes writing in a journal before bed instead of mindlessly flipping through channels? Instead of seeing your swap as a concession, think of it as a new aspect of your self-care routine.
Call for backup. If your habit is fairly innocuous, such as hitting the snooze button or forgetting to wash your face, you may well be able to conquer it on your own. However, it bears noting that more severe addictions can require professional attention—or at least moral support. If you’re struggling with substance abuse, eating disordered behavior or anything else with serious physical and emotional consequences, reach out for help.
Our behaviors do not define us, and our minds are stronger than we think. Good luck, and Happy New Year!
—Emma Aubry Roberts
Well, the world didn’t end on 12/21/12 as some folks predicted. But as 2013 unfolds, we each have an opportunity to reflect on our personal endings and beginnings. What is the world you want to create around you? How will you bring this about?
Reflect on your life for a moment. What, up until now, brought you joy and satisfaction? What goals did you achieve and how have you developed strengths that provide a foundation for future achievements? Take time to appreciate yourself and those who have inspired and assisted you. What about your world is challenging to you? What frustrations, anxieties, fears, and resentments do you carry? Our feelings point us to changes we may want to target in ourselves.
What is the “stand” or commitment you wish to declare for 2013? We sometimes call these “New Year’s Resolutions,” but those fizzle out. By making our goals SMART, we have a greater chance of laying a realistic foundation for achievement. To be SMART, your goals must be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound.
Bringing these goals to fruition requires you to create strategies to do that. When you experience emotions such as frustration, anxiety, fear, and anger, it is always because you lack a workable strategy to meet an important need. If we focus our attention on the need that is revealed, we can create strategies to reach a desired goal.
In my blogs this month, I will discuss practical steps we can take to translate our challenges, obstacles, and stresses into strategies for meeting our needs. If 12/21/12 marked the end of the world as we knew it, then from here on out we can create the world as we want it.
–Andrea Zintz, Career Coach
A new month means a new career coach, and believe us when we say you're in good hands.Meet your January career coach, Andrea Zintz!
I'm Andrea Zintz, your Career Coach for January. I am once again happy to be your resource as you pose questions, ideas, and experiences about navigating workplace, relationships and career.
A little about me: I specialize in executive and high potential leadership strategy, succession and development. I have over 30 years experience in Leadership Development, Change Management, Human Resources Development and Training. For 11 years, I have consulted to large corporations on leadership, team, and organization development.
I cultivated my experiences as a coach within the diversified healthcare and pharmaceutical, defense, and retail industries. As Vice President of Human Resources and Management Board member of the Johnson & Johnson subsidiary, Ortho Biotech, Inc., I helped lead the growth of the company from $40 million to $500 million in a 6-year period, and launched breakthrough biotech products. I also led executive leadership development for North America from J&J Corporate. My special interests include executive women advancement, diversity/inclusion, and mentoring. My doctoral dissertation was about mentoring: What constitutes effective mentoring for women who are stuck in their careers within large corporate settings? I received my M.A. and Ph.D. from Fielding Graduate University.
Today my clients include J&J, Lockheed Martin, Boehringer Ingelheim, Nokia Siemens Networks, and GE. A specialty of our company is crafting powerful and strategic questions we can ask ourselves (and others) to access the best thinking. Since questions are a powerful leverage point for thinking, if we change our questions, we can encourage our best answers and this can help our thinking, decision, behaviors and results.
I enjoy coaching and my goal is to make a difference every day. I live in New Jersey, am married to an elementary school teacher and have two wonderful daughters, 15 and 18.
Please feel free to comment with any questions or special requests. I look forward to a great month!
—Andrea Zintz, Career Coach
Being a good manager is a testament to your mindset as a developer of people. You have to be able to deal with the insecurities and shortcomings of your employees with patience, and you must have the willingness to teach them to step into their power and develop their best selves. You cannot be in a rush or be too self-absorbed. You have to like people – your people. When you hire, you need to follow your intuition faithfully and only hire folks who have the ability to do the job and the willingness/motivation to do it. Despite your best efforts, you cannot motivate people who have no internal drive.
Here are some key actions to support the positive manager mind-set:
Be an advocate for your people. Your job is to listen to the concerns of your employees and advocate for what they need, whether it’s new computers, more training, or raises. You are the chief problem-solver; you must communicate genuine appreciation and concern for your staff. They need to feel you are behind them 100 percent.
Be a visionary. You are the navigator with the plan to meet the team goals. While you want to solicit input regularly from your team, it is your job to create the plan and inform everyone about his or her role. The master plan that you develop determines the results that you want everyone embracing and implementing.
Promote creativity. A recent survey of CEOs cited creativity as the most vital skill of 21st century leadership. Do not be afraid to innovate and experiment to give yourself the leading edge in the marketplace. Keep a journal of new ideas that could improve the performance and satisfaction of your team. Give your team permission to try new strategies. Mistakes are a part of the learning process that creative people must experience before breakthroughs occur.
—Gail McMeekin, Career Coach
When we open our new calendars to January 2013, there is a sense of hope, of having a clean slate, of being able to take on any challenge that comes with the New Year. And we all start out with good intentions – to make a career change, to exercise more frequently, to quit a bad habit – but with all of these good intentions it can be easy to fall off track
But just because you stray from your New Year’s Resolutions once or twice does not mean that you can’t refocus. Psychologist Anne-Renee Testa, Ph.D. has been helping clients overcome barriers to achieve their goals for over 20 years. Here are her tips for avoiding self-sabotage in the New Year.
Figure out why. It’s easy to write down your resolutions, but it takes more of a commitment to write down why you want to achieve these goals and how they will better your life. “Losing 10 pounds” can lose its impact in a month or two – “Losing 10 pounds so that I can go rock climbing over the summer” gives you a reason to get out of bed for those early morning workouts. You designed your New Years Resolutions to better your life, remember that.
Know you deserve it. Often people think that they don’t really deserve to experience the joy that comes with achieving a goal, so why bother trying? When you are making your resolutions know that you deserve better – a better job, better health, a better lifestyle, whatever it may be. Say to yourself, “I deserve better” every morning, and even if you don’t believe it at the time it will soon become your mind-set.
Don’t beat yourself up. If you slip and have one cigarette or drink, know that hope is not lost. The things that are the best for us are usually the hardest; you may experience guilt, but be proud that you have taken the initiative to do something good for yourself.
Find support. If you’re having a bad day and finding it hard to stick to your guns, you need to have someone to rely on. Do you have a friend who has kicked a bad habit of her own? Call her when you need some backup. If not, try to find a local support group, like AA, Gambler’s Anonymous, Overeater’s Anonymous, etc. You think you’re alone in your struggle, when in fact there are so many people that have the same problem. Learning from them may help you with your battle.
Last week, personal branding guru William Arruda shared what social media initiatives to expect in 2013. No matter what new technology comes around, we’re not likely to abandon our Facebook or Twitter pages anytime soon. So what developments should we be expecting from our tried and true favorites? William shares what we should be on the lookout for in the year to come.
LinkedIn. LinkedIn used to just be a place where you went when you had a career change – you were let go, you were hired, or promoted – but the site has been developing new ways to draw in more users. Now, professionals can connect with groups, update a status, and read original articles on the LinkedIn homepage related to career advancement tactics and tips.
Facebook. Facebook is becoming more of a professional site than it has been in the past. The creators are changing their protection of information and settings so that users can have a “professional” profile and a “personal” profile. Just as LinkedIn is moving toward broader communications, Facebook is attempting to construct a professional image as well.
Tumblr. When Web 2.0 happened, everyone thought they had to be on the web writing new content every day. What we’ve learned is that most people don’t want to do that and they aren’t good at that. What is there an audience for? Locating content and commenting on it. Tumblr provides a great platform to do just that – curate, not create.
Twitter. This social media site is being used more and more by the press to identify reputable sources. Reporters will often use a key word search in the Twitter newsfeed to find people who are tweeting the most and are the most current. If you consider yourself an expert in women’s rights and are constantly tweeting about it, you may be asked for information from a writer.
What is the difference between people who achieve success and those who do not? It is focus. Once we drill down into our never-ending to-do list and select a project that will grow our business or bring us satisfaction, great things can happen. Creative ideas take your professional life to the next level, and making those ideas a reality will bring great personal fulfillment.
Focus is the major ingredient in success. Focus directs you to spend your energy doing the right things that will bring you the best rewards. Too often, we are seduced into spending too much time on e-mail and other office tasks – or what I call “administravia” – and we don’t accomplish what is most important to our vision and our soul. I have had to master the art of focus to write four books and develop a series of products of my own. Below is the model I outlined to find my focus.
Follow your fascinations. This is one of the secrets in my first book, The 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women. When you choose creative ideas to develop, you must choose ideas that resonate for you intuitively and get you excited. If your heart is not in it, even the best money-making idea will falter, as it lacks the force of passion.
Original Voice. Each of us is a unique person, and our original insights have value. We need to know the “why” of what we are focusing on and whom it is meant to serve or nourish. Innovative thinkers often come up with new businesses or products that meet a need that they alone have noticed.
Courage. It takes courage to commit to an idea and develop it to its full potential. The creative journey has many obstacles on its path and we must be valiant. You must be bold to continue to sell an idea that people may not yet understand.
Ultimate form. Part of project and product development is to determine the most brilliant form in which to present our revelations. It needs to be user friendly, practical, and draw attention. Working on one of these aspects at a time will give you a polished finished product.
Share your innovation. When you are ready to have your business or product examined by others, it is important to seek the right market. Find the people who need what you are offering because it meets their deepest desires. Some creators want their creative work to be community- or family-based, while others may want international impact. It is a life-altering decision.
–Gail McMeekin, Career Coach
Tomorrow is Christmas, so by now most of us have completed our shopping, trimmed the tree, cleaned the house, and finished baking copious amounts of holiday treats. But while the major components of your Christmas party may be in check, many leave one important aspect unfinished until the last minute: the music.
Your choice of tunes may depend on the setting, the guests, and the theme of your party. Just like any other party, the wrong music may set the wrong atmosphere – picture classical music being played at a nightclub. Avoid confusing your guests and bringing down the party with these simple tips.
Pick a theme. Is there a particular genre of music that you enjoy listening to the most? If you and your closest friends and family members went to a country music festival, choose holiday songs by country artists. The online music site Pandora offers a wide range of Christmas-themed stations to choose from, including Indie Holidays, Jazz Holidays, and Classical Christmas.
Please your guests. Are you having a family party where many children will be present, or is this a selective gathering of adults? Children will prefer music that they know and can sing along to – throw on the “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” soundtrack or the “Glee” holiday album. For a more sophisticated crowd, stick with the classics, such as Rod Stewart or Nat King Cole.
Plan a vibe. What type of party are you hosting? Do you want your guests out in the living room rockin’ around the Christmas tree, or do you picture them gathered around the dinner table nursing a glass of wine? For a lively event, consider more pop or rock-themed holiday tunes; for a mellow affair, try a soothing voice like crooner Bing Crosby.
Test it out. Once you think you have chosen the music you would like for your holiday party, be sure to whip up a playlist and give it a run through. If you are using a site like Pandora, you don’t have to make your own playlist. Otherwise, you will want to download the songs you want online and put them together in whatever fashion you desire. Listen to the playlist prior to your party to make sure nothing goes awry.
Are you getting ready to set your goals for 2013? Before you begin, first take a look at the essentials. A goal is a statement of intention, a target. Is your goal realistic, time-limited, measurable, and written down? We know that most New Year’s resolutions bite the dust by March. Why is that? Many people set too many goals, get overwhelmed, and give up. Other people set impossible goals, like losing 50 pounds in a month. That’s hard to do without causing harm to your body.
When it comes to the goals you set for your career, it’s important to have concrete achievements – a vague goal, such as, “I want to make more money,” is only setting you up for defeat. You need to specify how much, how you plan to do it, and for what purpose. If this is your fifth year of saying that you are going to change careers, your goal has to be dissected. You need accountability, deadlines, and support to achieve them. If you fail, it does not mean that you are not “good enough;” it means that you don’t have the right formula for success. So before you commit to new goals for advancing your career this year, follow these steps to make the most of your resolutions.
It’s all in the details. State your goals, one at a time, in positive terms. Be as specific as possible about the exact result you want with a definite deadline. For example, “I am going to confidently give 12 great speeches this year using PowerPoint at professional conferences throughout the region.”
Why? What is your compelling reason for wanting to achieve this goal, and why now? Perhaps you are gunning for a promotion, and achieving this benchmark will be sure to put you ahead of your coworkers. You need to keep this explanation for your goal in mind when things get tough, otherwise you may feel tempted to give up.
Know the costs. When you are planning your goal, know what you are going to have to sacrifice to achieve it. What are you going to subtract or postpone in your life to give yourself the time and mental energy to achieve a positive result? Perhaps you spend one Thursday night a month putting together your PowerPoints instead of grabbing drinks with the girls.
Break it down. Plan daily, weekly, and monthly action steps that you must take to achieve your goal. Holding yourself accountable for the parts that make up the whole resolution will make your final objective seem much more attainable.
Build your network. Find a person or a support group that you can count on to bolster your efforts. Change goes more smoothly when you have people checking in with you. Confide in a coworker or a friend in a related field about your goal, and practice your speeches on them to get their advice.
—Gail McMeekin, Career Coach
Think back five years ago. Was “social media” even in your vocabulary? Maybe you were just getting started with your first Facebook account, or perhaps you were still holding on to your MySpace page. Fast-forward to 2012. Could you imagine life today without Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram? The technology we use day-to-day has evolved so much over the past few years, so it begs the question: What new social media advancements will pop up in 2013?
We asked personal branding guru William Arruda what we should expect to see that’s new in 2013. William is one of the most sought-after experts on personal branding and social media, and Fortune magazine, Adobe, JP Morgan, Microsoft, and Morgan Stanley are just some of the names on his client list. Here are William’s best tips for what to look for in the upcoming year and how you can make your personal brand stand out from the crowd.
Multimedia. More and more users can stand out on social media sites with multimedia content. Just last week, LinkedIn made a big change on its site by allowing users to upload videos, images, and presentations to their profiles in lieu of summaries and job descriptions. If you want to stand out you should switch to multimedia content now so you’ll be ahead of the curve.
Video calls. Not just video content you post to the web, but real-time video. The world is becoming a much more virtual place, and with more work being done from the home or from a satellite office, it is important to still be able to connect with the people you are working with. Video calls via Skype or Google+ hangouts give others the opportunity to really see you, not just hear words being spoken through a telephone.
QR Codes. Have you ever noticed those silly looking squares in the corner of advertisements on the subway or in a magazine? That’s a QR code. Smart phones can scan the code by downloading an app, and that will bring you to a website or other online content. QR codes have been big in the advertising world for the past year, but they will likely play a much bigger role in 2013. I have already met people with QR codes on their business cards that bring you straight to their personal website and social media sites; expect more of this in the upcoming year.
How will established social media sites adapt to these changes over the coming year? Stay tuned next week for William’s take on what new life will be breathed into some of our favorite networking tools.
You are a creative person. After all, you have a career, perhaps even run a business. You have the ability to do innovative work and to make new connections. Yet, sometimes our creativity stalls, plays tricks on us, or appears to have vanished completely. It is at these moments we need to reconnect with our inspirational powers to invent something new and useful. The following tips are meant to arouse your natural creative gifts.
Make a list. Keep a daily “excitement list,” either on your phone or in a notebook for one month. Write down anything – a color, world hunger, a book, etc. – that intrigues you, even if you don’t know why. What fascinates you about the topic? Why is it compelling to you personally? How does it matter to your company or the larger world? Look for all the patterns and then select a creative project to begin at the end of your month.
Plan a trip. Take a field trip relating to your project to explore a particular facet of it. For reasons unknown, one of my clients was fascinated by gorillas. I advised her to go to the zoo for a day, without a clue about what she was looking for. While sitting with the gorillas, they reminded her of the power of nonverbal communication – the missing ingredient in her new training program.
Pick a beat. Select music to reflect the mood of the project you are working on. Music creates a natural high, and your creative muse loves it! Listen to music to begin your creative time each day, as it sets the project into motion – almost like putting you in a trance.
Think like a kid. Go to a toy store and buy a toy that reminds you of your creative project. Spend some time playing with the toy and write down all the metaphors that you discover. A stuffed giant caterpillar once guided me to organize a product into interlocking but flexible sections, similar to the body of a caterpillar.
Take risks. Send your inner critic on vacation and learn to suspend all negative judgments. Give yourself the freedom to make mistakes and take positive risks with your work. Imagine that you are fearless about your work, what out-on-a-limb strategies would you try next? Trial and error will bring you to creative success! Mistakes are the pathway to the right answer.
—Gail McMeekin, Career Coach
Too often, we let important projects languish in limbo, and we pay a price for it. Mary has a book almost ready to go to the printer, but she keeps postponing her final edits. Sarah was chosen to do a presentation at her company’s sales conference in two months, but she hasn’t started it and the PR people are asking for copy. These are a few examples of how individuals can unintentionally put their careers in jeopardy.
Most often, fear is at the root of career sabotage. In order to advance your career or grow your business, here are some fear-busting strategies. A lot of it has to do with changing your mind-set and learning how to take positive risks that will help you achieve your goals. You need to let go of the following beliefs:
I need to be perfect and not make mistakes. Smart women know that perfection is unattainable, so you should strive for excellence instead. Release that negative straitjacket of needing everything to be perfect and get real – do the best that you can do and then let go. If Mary is still uncomfortable about her book going to the printer, she should hire someone to review her final edits for further assurance.
I am not good at this, so I will try to avoid it. If there’s an aspect of your job description that you don’t feel as confident about, you need to work on that skill, not run away from it. If Sarah is in sales and cannot complete a presentation, she is not likely to go far in her field. Public speaking is the number one fear of adults, but if you are in a job that requires it you must take advantage of the resources that are out there. Watch TED talks or videos on YouTube to see how effective speakers operate and learn from their behaviors.
If people criticize me, I will be embarrassed. As women, we need to come to grips with the fact that not everyone will like us or our work and get over it. If you are being criticized for a skill you believe you are great at, then take it with a grain of salt. If the criticism is toward a skill you are still working on, ask that person what you can do to improve the next time around. Feedback, both positive and negative, is essential for personal growth.
Asking for help is a sign of weakness and incompetence. We often think we are supposed to be able to master everything quickly, and that if we don’t, it is somehow our fault. You don’t need to broadcast that you are unsure of things to your colleagues; make a list of what you need to know and find the best person to answer your questions so you can make informed decisions. Asking for help is an executive skill, and action diminishes fear.
—Gail McMeekin, Career Coach
On the career front, your relationship with your boss can be key to advancement. Just as a strong boss may motivate you to take action, an absent one may stall you from reaching your goals. Not all companies offer managerial training, so your boss may not know how to be the supportive, effective guide you need. If you are not satisfied with the current arrangement, you need to take the initiative to improve your relationship. Here are some ways to evaluate your boss and find what works for the two of you.
Assess the situation. Write a pro/con list about the strengths and weaknesses of your boss. Then study her behavior carefully for two weeks. In what circumstances is she helpful to you and when does she fail you? Does your boss favor certain people or treat everyone equally? Does your boss have a “mood disorder” and take it out on you and others? Do you think your boss enjoys being a manager or resents it as just one more burden on the to-do list?
Self-reflect. After you have done the assessment on your boss, do one on yourself. What do you need and want most from a boss? Is it motivation, knowledge, praise, valuable critiques, etc.? Zero in on what you want. Does your current supervisor have the ability and the willingness to be this kind of boss?
Talk it out. Review your job description and decide on one to three things that you would like from your boss. Schedule a meeting with her and ask for one of those things that you want, i.e. more experience learning a specific skill. Offer a solution as part of your request. If you get a positive response, great. If not, try it with another item on your list. If you get nowhere, then you need to decide whether to leave or stay.
Shop around. If you decided that this is not the place for you, then look for further opportunities both in your company and outside of it. Get to know other managers who may have some of the qualities that you’d like in a mentor. Be sure to network outside of your company as well. A better fit may reside elsewhere.
–Gail McMeekin, Career Coach
We had great conversations taking place on our Facebook page this weekend, covering a wide range of topics. From favorite movies to coping with difficult family moments, the WomenWorking community had a lot to say. One question dealt with a difficult issue: "How do you handle the aftermath of a heated argument?" Read the advice of our followers.
Diana Rico: Sit down and meditate.
Linda Samuels: Need quiet space to calm down. Remove self from situation.
Mary Wink: Jog, other physical activity, find a safe space and stay there for a while...but first I make moves to avoid the heated argument...if it is one sided, I walk away.
Lesa R Townsend: Hug the person I argued with. No argument is worth parting with hurt feelings.
Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to chime in on future conversations. Want to start a conversation yourself? Sound off on our forum for active discussions within the WomenWorking community.
In my 30 years of experience helping people to heal and create a life they want, I have been struck repeatedly with how essential it is for each of us to do the necessary soul searching to design and live by our own definition of success. In this celebrity and media-crazed culture we live in, it is easy to get confused. We need to craft a success that is meaningful for us, not one that just impresses other people.
I have worked with hundreds of clients who have been tortured by the agony of living according to someone else's values, misconceptions, scripts, or formulas. While the media or your family may worship fame, money, or prestige, none of these guarantee happiness for you, unless you freely choose them. Whether you are 24 or 84, it’s time to stop the lies and live a life that matches your values.
Look beyond dollar signs. We all deserve prosperity; the starving artist syndrome serves no one. Yet, fulfillment in life means knowing what you want while appreciating what you already have, and having the self-worth to think independently and create a life that’s original and right for you.
Be realistic. I have a client now who keeps brainstorming with me about ideas for this elaborate consulting business. But if you look at her life goals – paired with her chronic health issues – she really only wants to work 20 hours a week. That eliminates many of her ideas, at least at this stage. The best time management strategy is to let go of fantasies and to work within your boundaries.
Plan ahead. This month, take a day to reflect on and write down your own definition of success that expresses what you know to be true about yourself. This process gives you a guiding light of clarify to rely on daily as you begin to transform your life to live by your values. To keep yourself on track, consider crafting a Personal Mission Statement as you continue to follow your goals.
–Gail McMeekin, Career Coach
Procrastination is a way of hiding from our life purpose and it ruins the quality of our limited time on this planet. Setting worthy goals and then executing them rewards you with high self-worth and success. Now is the time to stop torturing yourself with unfulfilled dreams. Try these powerful strategies to get you out of a rut and back into the flow.
Face the facts. Make a list of the top 10 things that you are procrastinating about right now. Then prioritize them in terms of importance and value to you personally and professionally. Why are you reluctant to finish these tasks? How are putting off these tasks delaying your personal and professional successes? This may put more urgency behind some projects.
Make decisions. If your procrastination represents indecision, identify what information or support you need to make that decision. Where and why are you stuck? Do you really want to do this project right now, or do you have higher priorities? These are decisions that will not get any easier with time. Trust yourself to make the right choices.
Enlist help. Ask yourself if this is a project you have to do yourself or if it can be delegated to someone else. If you hire a personal organizer for two days to streamline your office, then you could continue to meet with clients during that time. What is the best use of your time? If you can budget your time effectively, you will have less reason to procrastinate some of your tasks.
–Gail McMeekin, Career Coach
Work, family, cleaning the house, preparing for the holidays…who has the time to do it all? Last week, Sharon Lowenheim shared her tips for cleaning up clutter, and now the “Organizing Goddess” is back to share her best strategies for effectively managing your time and staying on top of all of your commitments.
During her 25 years in corporate America, Sharon saw firsthand how a lack of direction often leads employees astray. Here she shares how to manage your “To-Do” list effectively with time to spare.
Break down projects. The key to a successful to-do list is to differentiate between a task and a project. If you put a big thing on your list that has too many tasks, you’ll feel defeated and overwhelmed and not get anywhere. So if you need to do laundry tomorrow, add it to the list. But don’t put “lose weight” on there; instead, break it down into tasks, such as getting a gym membership, buying a low calorie cookbook, etc.
Keep it small. Keep your to-do list to a reasonable length. If you put 30 things on your list, you’ll go mad. But if you put 10 tasks, with a few that are high priority, that’s manageable. Reprioritize your list daily, crossing off the things you completed yesterday and adding new things you want to get done today.
Make it fun. When you have a day off, you always think you’re going to accomplish more than you can. To make your weekends productive but still relaxing, make a list of the things you want to get done, and then cut it in half. Do the boring tasks – filing taxes, sorting through insurance forms – first thing in the morning. How do you make them enjoyable? Be creative. Put on a fancy outfit you don’t get to wear often or sing along to your favorite album as you are doing it – whatever strikes your fancy.
Find time for you. Don’t think just because a commitment is personal that it doesn’t deserve to go on your calendar. You shouldn’t always get just the leftover time. Block out time to go to yoga or get a massage, and make it non-negotiable. If your boss needs you for work, say you have a prior commitment – just don’t tell him it’s with your masseuse.
Making a career transition—whether it’s to find a new job, assume new responsibilities, or start a business—is stressful. If the stress is positive, it can increase your chances for success. If it’s negative, however, it can undermine your efforts when you need to project confidence and achieve results the most. Managing the stress involved with your transition and using it to your advantage requires identifying the issues that cause discomfort, then taking action to resolve them.
To identify unresolved issues, try rating your attitude about your transition on the Work Transition Stress Test below. Statements you answer with a 4 or 5 indicate that it is an area that may be holding you back from achieving your goals. An awareness of what’s wrong is the first step toward managing change. If you can’t overcome your fears on your own, seek help from a career counselor or other professional. Don’t wait until you’re totally discouraged before seeking help.
Work Transition Stress Test
Using the following rating scale, number each item below according to how often it activates negative stress for you:
1. Never 2. Seldom 3. Sometimes 4. Often 5. Always
____1. I’m uncertain about how to conduct a successful job search, write a new business plan or redesign my current job.
____2. I don’t have an organized, convenient and quiet place to make telephone calls and do
____3. I’m easily distracted by other projects or priorities.
____4. Other people interrupt or distract me when I’m working.
____5. The fear of failure is constantly on my mind.
____6. I’m not interviewing/networking well.
____7. I feel angry and embarrassed about being in transition.
____8. I feel overwhelmed by all that I need to do.
____9. I can’t relax and enjoy my time off.
____10. I have difficulty calling people I don’t know for job/career/business information.
____11. I dread going to professional association/networking/support meetings, so I don’t go.
____12. I’m working hard on completing this transition, but I’m not accomplishing much.
____13. I keep changing my mind about which direction I’m pursuing.
____14. I don’t have enough to do or know what I should do next.
____15. I’m confused about career options and interests.
____16. I can’t find any jobs/businesses that interest me.
____17. I keep thinking that I should have completed this transition by now.
____18. I procrastinate a lot.
____19. I don’t have ongoing support from family, friends, or coworkers.
____20. I don’t feel as energetic as I used to.
—Gail McMeekin, Career Coach