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Want a Rewarding, Satisfying Career? Take-on These 4 Switch-Points Of Change

Although we often wish there was one identifiable formula for career success, there isn’t. It looks different for everyone—particularly for women.

You probably know better than most the transition from being a doing-employee to an influential employee, no matter your position, isn’t effortless. Regrettably, women spend the bulk of their time and attention putting all their eggs in the wrong basket—one that rarely gains them career momentum. Then, women end up wondering how they missed achieving their big future.

The discouraging aspect of this is that we women are working hard, investing long hours all the while ignoring subtle, yet essential switch-points of change which will make our career pathway more rewarding and satisfying.

I bet you can relate. Haven’t you felt as though you work your proverbial fingers to the bone, and yet your destination seems just out of reach? Transformation starts with four change switch-points both of thought and action.

Be the Trailblazer: Companies talk a big game concerning the career development of their employees. However, it is measured by the Return on Investment (ROI) of the company—not on their employee’s growth. And while profitable organizations generate an excellent, energizing work environment, it’s missing you in the equation.

You’re the only one who can identify your ROI, so don’t turn over the reins of your advancement to someone else. Yes, you need to partner with others, but come to the relationship with ideas and dreams—ones you’re committed to fulfilling, and then enroll others in them
More Then Credentials: Many women believe their expertise, credentials, and degrees are the critical factors for a thriving career except the reality is they are merely the price of admission. Most assuredly, they alone are not enough to open the door to each one of your hopes and dreams that extend beyond the hiring process. An entirely new, more refined, set of competencies, attitudes, and approaches are essential. They’re ones that lean more on the nuanced skills of emotional intelligence, “big future” thinking, relationship building, collaboration, inspiring others to greatness and a whole ton of additional activities that can’t be taught rather you acquire them through awareness, observation, wisdom and a whole slew of commitment.

Bold Confidence: Stand tall in the blazing glory of your greatness. When you shrink, you shrink everything around you including your prospects. Contrary to what we women often believe, research reveals confidence, not talent or hard work or education is at the core of successful individuals. And such an attitude isn’t fixed, it grows through utilization.

Patience Required: Switch-points of change don’t take place overnight as they require one small, intentional step after another to form solid habits. Your progress may seem awkward—three-steps forward, two steps back—as you encounter a never-ending parade of opportunity to display your improved decision-making competencies. Repeating the two-steps permits you to delve deeper into the new behavior leading to career progression.

Once these switch-points of change become an automatic way of thinking and acting, they will transform the trajectory of your career as they aid in aligning more closely with your desires, not someone else’s. There is no time like the present to begin cultivating them!



Resiliency: The Antidote To Chaos and Imperfection

As a woman executive, perhaps you’re wondering why resilience is such a big deal or even a worthwhile attribute for you to pursue.

Doesn’t the economic rollercoaster ride occurring in today’s corporate environment impact your company, at times even you? Remember, how the last bull market stimulated corporations to increase their facility, employee and project budgets. Wasn’t it fun celebrating the unexpected boon only for doomsday experts to declare later: No, now the market is uncertain, which caused these same companies to cut expenses and shelve expansion plans for the foreseeable future?

Or how about today’s tumultuous business marketplace where a company’s Board of Directors and shareholders vote in a massive, industry-changing merger—but, no, the government nixes it as a potential monopoly leaving both companies in a free-fall?

Or let’s bring it a bit closer to home. Your organization values you as a high-potential executive and then suddenly, you have a new boss one whose style is autocratic whereas your comfort zone is collaborative and empowering. Your bright future abruptly dims.

Of necessity, resilience points to emotional stability and an innovative never-give-up spirit. Here are several outlooks which make-up a resilient nature. Read More→

Bored At Work? The Grand and Not So Grand Facets

You’re probably rolling your eyes and mentally scoffing as you read the title. After all, in today’s fast-paced marketplace, you and most of your fellow executives are screaming overload—not boredom! The reality is underneath all the frenetic activities and disengaged workers, as a Strategic Executive Coach, I often uncover a bored employee.

Suppose for a moment, after peeling away the layers of your daily busyness; you discover you’re stuck in the monotonous rut of your job—each project in one way or another replicating the one before ad nausea. What’s an executive to do?

The first thing to realize is that a calendar overflowing with activities doesn’t necessarily denote a winning formula for leadership. In many cases, it demonstrates the reverse.

The success factor for followers is to be skilled at checking one “to-do-chore” after another off the list. Their contribution more often than not is based upon observable, completed tasks.

Not so leaders—no matter their level. They often expend much of their effort in the blue sky windows of their mind such as contemplating and planning the future of their organizations. And for this non-linear, innovative pursuit, being bored actually signals to the brain that you’re in need of fresh ideas and spurs creative thinking.

Take a leaf out of Warren Buffett’s playbook, along with other well-respected leaders, who highly tout the “empty calendar concept.” Instead of doing more, Buffet focuses on thinking time which leads to seizing opportunities!

Few of us sit at the top of the organization. Your responsibilities to the company, in all likelihood, are more directed toward producing outcomes rather than, carving time out of your calendar for reflection and innovation. Yet, these are critical elements for advancing your ability to seize the moment in your career just as Buffett does in the investment world.

The not so grand aspect of boredom is that it can lead to disengagement, which doesn’t bode well for your career momentum. Backing-up this assertion: an informal polling of career experts reveals that more believe boredom tops stress in terms of the most damage you can suffer as an employee. And in another survey, when asked: “Does your work excite you?” 45.5 percent of those surveyed said no. That’s a whole lot of people who are bored at work!

Here are two quick-hit tips for overcoming the not so good of boredom.

  1. Laugh and Play: Boredom can’t exist when you’re enjoying the moment. Perhaps that’s why progressive, innovative companies encourage their creative’s to take a break for inspiration. Try it out. You’ll see how fast it switches on the “pleasure-to-be-back-in-business” cogs of your thinking.
  2. Stop Procrastinating: The very concept of holding back instead of jumping into the tough, challenging, overwhelming projects on your plate is a slippery slope setting you up for boredom. If you’re not working on the big, scary, stimulating job at hand, what are you doing? All the piddly, little reward, little effort, little growth assignments. You’re asking to be bored!

There are two kinds of boredom: one that leads to original thought, relaxation, and renewal; and the other harms your today because you’re not truly living, as well as your future, because you’re restricting your development. What facet of the equation are you resting on now—the grand or the not so grand?


Everything Can Change In The Blink Of An Eye… Are You Prepared?

How resilient are you when disruptors sweep in like the winds of war?

We’re all working in a highly volatile environment where without warning the project you’re responsible for is canceled. Or the boss you’ve loved working with is gone. Or your organization is suddenly acquired by a company-eating-machine. Or management announces a restructuring that directly impacts your future. Or any number of other abrupt changes taking place in the blink of an eye.

For all of those scenarios and so many others, an attitude of resilience will have you responding with an optimistic, future-oriented, emotionally stable outlook which leads to you and your career flourishing.

So, it’s no surprise a study reveals most participants put resilience in the top three success factors for their careers with 99.9 percent of respondents considering resilience as important to professional success.

And yet, as essential as resilience is to executives very few receive either training or mentoring on the topic. Were you? If you were, you’re one of a lucky few as only 6 percent of people said their organization provides a lot of support for building and maintaining resilience.

If you’re concerned resilience isn’t your strong suit, don’t be. It isn’t a personality trait some are born with while others not so much rather it is learned and strengthened through experience.

The fundamental question is: “How can you build-up your resiliency muscle?”  Research attests that 90 percent of respondents say their well-spring of reserves come from themselves.

Begin by taking on these three tips:

Know Your Stressors:
All of us are wired differently so identifying early on your flashpoints of anxiety is crucial, as resilience is pivotal to moving through the crisis with composure. By doing so, you gain not only proven strategies but a whole new level of confidence, which prepares you for the next time you encounter a similar experience.

Healthy Support System:  Tap into your friends and confidantes to assist you through troublesome times. Such a response is particularly critical as research reveals a little over 50 percent of participants say their get-up-to—fight-another-day way of thinking emanates from this source. Your cadre of champions isn’t there merely as an emotional support system, but more critically to keep your focus on track. They must be capable of guiding you toward spiraling-up conversations instead of spiraling-down dialogue, which leaves you still mired in turmoil. Ruthlessly, cull from your friendship herd those who will emotionally infect your spirit negativity as well as hold you down when you could be soaring.

Expand A Positive Attitude: It is evaluating your circumstances from a glass-half-full perspective. You can cultivate such a mindset with practiced intentionality. Stop fixating on the problem. Instead, begin concentrating on appreciating the constructive meaning and learning in the midst of the situation. Your focus determines what you draw into your life, so what do you want to encourage more of—being resilient or being stuck?

In the final analysis, resilience is you choosing to optimistically hang-in no matter what you’re facing; trusting you can move through any challenge boldly with hope, and the sure knowledge the sun will be shining soon.

Even better news: resilience is contagious so as you cultivate your muscle, you’re aiding those around you simultaneously!

Stormy Weather Predicted With a Chance of Awesome

It certainly is challenging to navigate today’s stormy, sometimes threatening, corporate environment, and yet, I know you can, and once you conquer the storms, you’ll thrive to generate an awesome career.

Check Out the Skies: When it comes to predicting weather-fronts, looking up isn’t a bad idea; and it is the same in companies. More often than not, your senior decision-makers are barometers revealing organizational stressors. This tenet is why building relationships throughout the business, but notably with the senior-most executives of the organization, is advantageous. Why? Gaining an inkling concerning the plans of the company has you strategizing earlier rather than later, so you can face the adverse weather armed with the appropriate gear. Advanced warning is the answer to saving lives as destructive weather approaches, and it is the same, in your corporate life.

Test the Winds: If the currents of change are swirling riotously in your organization, check-out how powerful, damaging, and turbulent they are. As often as I counsel speaking up is a leadership quality, the reality is there are times that demand you seek a safe place to hunker down. You see the other side of leadership is recognizing hurricane-like storms and if you can’t do anything to stop its destruction, get out of the way. When the winds have fully swept over you, the time is ripe to step out of your storm cellar to be the leader who brings your company back from the brink of disaster. So, stick out your proverbial finger and test the wind.

Measure the Rain Levels: Rain is good for the land producing abundance for everyone, but too much is too much, saturating and wearing away the ground under you. What would rain be like in the corporation? Could it be insincere, effusive praise? Could it be ineffectual leadership that sets the corporation adrift in a sea of indecisiveness? Yes, rain is good, but too much softens the earth just as too little structure erodes employee engagement leaving devastation behind. Demonstrating healthy leadership, no matter the environment will only enrich your future.

Rise Out Of the Ashes: In Australia, there is a wonder called the Spring of Fire, which is a time when the land burns and then, in the spring blooming flowers erupt out of what appears to be barren soil. This phenomenon only happens once never to occur again… that’s until another fire erupts! Blazes befall everyone’s career at some point. Awesomeness bursts forth out of the ashes. Remain, on track regardless of the inferno flaming around you.

Gauge The Snow Fall: Interestingly enough, those who live outside the cold weather states may not appreciate the full benefits of snow, but it is far more essential to the land than for the fun activities of skiing, sledding, snowboarding, etc. The snowpack is critical to the water level for the following seasons. Just as in corporations, fun, uplifting experiences are far more critical than one would think. In fact, such times nourish the employee’s heart through the good and bad seasons. What climate can you create to find joy and satisfaction in the work you do every day, so you’re filled with reserves to meet the hard times sure to come? Cultivating your attitude-pack is your job.

There’s no question an awesome future rests in your hands. It’s determined by how you pilot your career through the good and bad atmospheric pressures of your organization.