Career

To Succeed, You Have To Hustle.

To Succeed, You Have To Hustle.

Are You A Pilot Or Passenger In Your Career?

Stop being the victim. Start taking control of your life and career. I want you to do one thing today that scares you.

Do The Impossible — The Country Club Technique.

Do The Impossible — The Country Club Technique.

Career or business changes are a lot about making things happen. We get caught up in the inertia of our fears and are afraid of making a mistake.

The Best Time To Find A New Job Is When You Don't Need It.

The Best Time To Find A New Job Is When You Don't Need It.

In other words — Always be prepared to leave a job, because your employer is always prepared to leave you. More and more, many companies (not all, mind you) find themselves letting employees go for a number of different reasons.

You Can Be The Best You Can Be.

You Can Be The Best You Can Be.

I came up with a simple and powerful tool the other day. I was standing in my office in front of a large Post-It notepad sheet with a red sharpie in my hand (red delivers intention!) — and the ideas just flowed.

I Found Out I Have PMR*.

I came upon a great quote from the Dalai Lama —  "There are only two days in the year that nothing can be done. One is called yesterday and the other is called tomorrow, so today is the right day to love, believe, do, and mostly live."

How often do we feel disappointed/guilty about yesterday and anxious/fearful about tomorrow? Probably a lot.

How do we live in 'today' increments? How do we focus on what needs to happen right now without letting the past and future hold us back?

I use a simple acronym - P M R:

P = Plan — Take 5 minutes to Plan your day. Get real, assess exactly what needs to get accomplished, and write it down. Just the stuff that needs to be done today. Add time increments to estimate how long each will take, prioritize each one, and then plug them into your day calendar.

M = Meditate — Take 5 minutes to Meditate. Clean the cobwebs! Sit back, close your eyes, and clear your thoughts. Start by taking a few deep breaths then use the exhalation to sigh and release the tension. Do it again. And again. I promise you will feel better and energized.

R = Reflect — Take 5 minutes to Reflect on all the good things in your life. Gratitude is an important part of staying in the present. We tend to focus and think of all the bad things, worry, forget, and then start the whole process again. Try to focus on the positive this time — your accomplishments, your family, etc.

Take the rest of the time and get stuff done! Don't be afraid of diving in and accomplishing your action items — in fact, you will feel invigorated. Trust me!

*Just found out there is a disease with the same acronym (there always is) - I do not have it nor am I at all using the acronym lightly.

Start Thinking BIG Before You Get Small.

Most of the time we think small. It's normal. Why do we think small? We're usually trying to closely track many of the details of our work.

The phone calls, the email follow-ups, the elements of the project, or cleaning up after other people.

The nature of our position makes us forget to see the ENTIRE forest because we are focused on every single tree.

The problem is — if we don't start thinking BIG, we usually get used to thinking small. Not that it's a bad thing — but thinking BIG is a prerequisite for GROWING.

Growing your position, growing your business, getting the RIGHT people to stand up and notice you and what you can really do.

Of course, you can just go along and do what you've always been doing — you make the cash, you have the stability, you get comfortable with that reality.

But someday, reality is going to come knocking at your door. And you're going to have to answer it.

So here are three ways to start thinking BIG:

1. What is your COMPETITION doing?

If you work for an organization, think of your best performing peers. If you run your own business, who is the best in your industry?

Big thinking organizations make strategic decisions that take them out of their comfort zone — Apple, Netflix, Amazon, Facebook, Google — sometimes they fail, but if it takes hold, they're going to upset many industries along the way.

2. Where is your INDUSTRY going?

Again, we tend to never step back and see where our industry is headed — sometimes we are working too hard and forget — sometimes we stick our head in the sand and try not to look. Whichever one you are, you need to keep your eye on the prize. Is it growing or shrinking? Is it changing — for the better or worse? Can you chart a course for your career along that new trajectory? Or should you start making your way to the lifeboats and don your lifejacket?

Thinking big is staying current with what is happening to your industry. And taking 1-2 steps ahead — anticipate the curve.

3. What would your 'BEST YOU' do?

This is a great practice to get you out of your safe, fuzzy and warm bubble and to start thinking BIG.  Don't think of your current self or your current situation. Begin to think of an alternate universe where your 'best self' lives — what would they be doing right now? What is their position? What projects would they be working on? Who would they be talking to, accessing, and leveraging to get things done.

This is a great exercise for you to start thinking about YOUR abilities — how far you can push yourself.

If you want to be BIG — you have to start thinking BIG — Right Now.

P.S. Got this idea from my good friend Margo Meeker, therapist/life coach extrodinarire - her motto is 'be your best self'. Thank you Margo!

Is Your Career On Cruise Control?

I had a great conversation with one of my clients about his career (he's a successful labor/employment attorney). We discussed how there are two types of people — those who have a 'cruise control' career and those who actively drive 'stick-shift' with their career.Not that there's anything inherently bad about a cruise control career. If everything is going well, you're:

  • Making a lot of money.
  • Work/life is in balance.
  • Loving what you're doing.
  • Moving up or getting clients at a nice pace.

That's great! You're in the fast lane on the career highway and you can click it into cruise control.Now if you're:

  • Not making a lot of money.
  • Work/life is out of balance.
  • Not loving what you're doing.
  • Not moving up or getting clients at a nice pace.

It's time to turn that cruise control off and start shifting gears to go faster or slow down and reassess your situation. When this happens, I tell colleagues, friends, and prospects to read one of these two books:

Take the Stairs: 7 Steps to Achieving True Success by Rory Vaden (200 pages)

No Excuses!: The Power of Self-Discipline by Brian Tracy (300 pages)

These books will help you move from a passive career focus to a more active career path. Check them out and read them this weekend — they're a quick read!

 

3 Ways To Make This Monday Rock.

I have this problem. When I wake up Monday morning (around 4:15 AM), I don’t feel the happy, energized, and focused self most of my clients, colleagues, and friends see when they encounter me later in the morning. At least not until I’ve taken my meds. : ) A lot of people I know feel this way in the morning and unfortunately, it extends into most of the day and it is especially more intense on a Monday.

It could be for many reasons, you had too much fun on the weekend, you hate your job, you hate your commute . . . a myriad of rationales.

Mondays suck. So what do I do to immediately turn them around?

1. I Say To Myself: “It’s not going to last.”  Usually when I am up and taking a shower in the morning, I start thinking of all the BAD things about my business, career and life.

For me, I call it the ‘Morning Seritonin Slump’. It’s my initial body chemistry starting to rev up and it’s going to take a little while to get my car into 5th gear. So I let the bad thoughts wash over me and say “It’s not going to last.” — and guess what — it goes away as fast as it came.

2. I Plan Ahead.  I usually make a list of things I need to get done the night before. Not a huge checklist which would choke a horse, but a simple list of 3-5 items I know need to be attacked first thing in the morning. This immediately give me purpose and focus, two things I desperately need in the morning.

Also — dive right into work. Take action and stop obsessing how bad the day is or will be. Once you start attacking your to-do list, you begin to feel better immediately.

3. I Stretch and Smile.  The physical affects the mental. If you are feeling down, don’t focus on the stinking thinking zipping in your head, get physical. Even if it’s five minutes of stretching in your bedroom, a run outside, or a quick trip to the gym, physical activity gets the blood flowing and the mental malaise changing.

In addition, make yourself smile — we tend to go through life with a flat or angry look on our face and candidly, it affects our mood. Try to make yourself smile, hum, move your head to music, sing in the shower! You’ll feel a major sea-change in your mood immediately.

How do you make your Monday ROCK?

Are You On Cruise Control?

I drove to my networking meeting this morning and I take the Merritt Parkway (one of the more beautiful highways in the U.S.). I got off at the North Street exit and next thing I know, I'm on the Post Road. 10 minutes evaporated from my life — it's like those X-Files episodes where people lose time when abducted by aliens. One second I'm exiting onto North Street and the next, I'm on the Post Road. I was on mental cruise control.

Is you business or career on cruise control? One second you're celebrating the start of 2016 and the next, it's June 23 — half the year has gone by. All those amazing plans you had in store for growing your business or getting that promotion are almost gone. We all know during July and August everyone's away — and next thing we know it's September — almost the end of the year.

Why does this happen? We get TOO caught up into the 'maintenance' of our business/career — servicing clients, making the donuts, etc. — and not enough time in 'development' — investing in new products, delivering a new project, etc.

We spend ALL our time on running our business/career and not enough time planning/developing/launching new improvements. This happens frequently in the IT and Manufacturing industries — too much maintenance and you're going out of business because a competitor has beaten you with a better/faster entry.

Step back and spend 1 hour a day on developing and executing future plans for your business or career. Where does your business need to go in the next 5 years? Where does you career need to go — up at your current company or out?

Don't get caught on cruise control — you might drive right into a tree.

If You Aren’t Fired With Enthusiasm, You’ll Be Fired With Enthusiasm.

“If you aren’t fired with enthusiasm, you’ll be fired with enthusiasm.” – Vince Lombardi The funny thing is, it happens ALL the time. And people wonder . . . ‘What Happened?’:

  • I went to work every day.
  • I was there on time.
  • I did what they told me to do.

It’s all about PERCEPTION. I know I’m going to get a lot of flak for say it, but it really comes down to how your superiors, your clients, your colleagues, and your team perceive you.

You can be the hardest working individual. The smartest. The fastest. You might be the only one on the block who hits their numbers.

But when the chips are down, you are shown the door. Or the client cancels their contract.

Here’s a little secret: It’s how others perceive your ENTHUSIASM.

  • Are you a cheerleader? Are you positive (and not negative)?
  • Do you take on your responsibilities with gusto?
  • Do you deliver them on time AND let others know about it?
  • Do you BRAG?
  • Do you ask for more work?
  • Do you help your boss/client with their burning issues?
  • Are you constantly thinking outside of the box?

It’s not only your enthusiasm that makes a difference, it’s how others feel, encounter, and experience your enthusiasm.

My son was told by his teacher one day to add more ‘pizazz’ to his class presentation. “Go outside of the box – make it memorable.” So he did — he thought of ways to make it more engaging and fun — and he got an ‘A’ on it. How can you add ‘pizazz’ to everything you do? (by the way – he now adds ‘pizazz’ to everything he does).

Take a second and think of the most enthusiastic people you know. You know — the one who hits their desk on Monday with a smile, dives right into their work, always has a positive thing to say about the company AND never gossips.

How is their career doing? Are they on the hot projects? Do they have a 'ton' of clients? Are they invited to the cool meetings? Are they asked out to lunch by upper management? Are they asked to speak at major functions?

They probably are.

Today’s homework: How can you add just a little bit of pizazz to your job today?

I've Got Bad News & Good News.

Received a call from a good friend this morning — he was unceremoniously laid off Monday after 16+ successful years at the same organization. I felt for him — starting 2016 off with a fizzle and not a bang. But the coach in me kicked in — and I said, "This is not bad news, it's a new beginning for you! In fact, this is THE BEST time of the year to get laid off!"

January through May is the rocket rollercoaster of employment. Especially January! This is the time when companies and departments unleash their budgets, plan for new initiatives, and are actively looking for great people in the marketplace.

So if you're in transition, 'stuck' in your current position, or even if you're thinking of going back into the workforce, I have some 'GOOD' news for you.

I've developed an eBook that will help you not only hit the ground running — but it will accelerate your job search exponentially.

Here's the best part — it's free! CLICK HERE to get the full PDF eBook.

Enjoy! (Let me know how you like it!)

 

Basic Résumé Structure For Success.

Many of my clients frequently ask me for my opinion on the do's and don't's of a good résumé. Let me begin by saying résumé advice is highly subjective. Everyone has an opinion and everyone will find fault in your advice. I am going to go out on a limb and let you in on what I think is a basic, generalized format (IMHO):

Contact Info: Name, Cell, Email, Address, LinkedIn URL (this is new - make it like www.linkedin.com/in/richgee)

Summary Statement: 1-2 sentences that clearly define who you are and what you're looking for. Feel free to add a few bulleted items - not a lot. It needs to be powerful and slightly provacative.

Experience: Company/Location/Duration/Title - then have a few critical bullet points that focus on what you delivered and the result. Pick the best ones - throw out the fluff.

Education: Keep it short and sweet. Add in any related experience, workshops, seminars, etc. That's learning.

Activities: One line, make them interesting. A good hiring manager is looking for enthusiasm and fit - give it to them.

Optional: If you have room - add a testimonial or two from important people you've worked with. You can grab them from LinkedIn. I have a client who had two testimonials from the presidents of both companies they worked for - I told her to showcase them!

Length: 1 Page - New to the workforce - 1-2 years out of school. 2 Pages - Normal - 3-10 years in the workforce. 3 Pages - Experienced - 11-30 years in the workforce. 4+ Pages - C-Level Executive.

Format: Font: Helvetica - don't play with serif fonts (my opinion) Columns: 1 inch either side - give it space Leading (space between lines): 1.2 - give it space Size: 10-12 point - normal reading font size Footer: Your name and 'Page 1 of 3 Pages' (it helps) Delivery: PDF (Word attachment if asked) - it keeps the format

Again - this is my opinion and can be seen on most résumés. Remember, most recruiters and hiring managers are going to initially spend 8-10 seconds scanning your résumé. The more you make your résumé unique, the harder it will be to absorb key info and they'll toss it into the circular file cabinet. Keep it simple, concise, and easy to read/scan.

If you are in a specialized industry, you will (of course) modify what I've listed above.

  • Creative - add a bit more color, font use, even a subtle graphic (photo).
  • IT/Engineer - add more areas for tools/software etc.

If you have any more questions, call me anytime. - Rich 

Pre-New Year Is A Smart Time To Forge Your Career Strategy for 2015.

You’re not happy with your job. Or you might not have a job at the moment. Most people in this position will look at the month of December as a time of rest and relaxation and tell themselves that they will begin their brand-new job search on January 1, 2015. Unfortunately, they will be far behind their competition in the marketplace who are actively looking for a job. Bottom line, you need to develop a career strategy during the month of December to know who your targeting, what you will do, where you will go, when you will do it, and how you will track your progress. We know the ‘why’ — you need to find a new position!

Now you’re probably thinking that I’m suggesting an enormous task for you to accomplish during a month filled with holidays, families visiting, school vacations, etc. You just won’t have the time to even start thinking of a strategy to help you kick off the new year. That’s where you’re wrong.

All I’m asking for is 1 hour a day, five days a week. That’s it. Instead of watching a really bad TV show every weekday night, all I’m asking for is just one hour to plan and ensure a successful job search. So what do you do?

Step One:

Find a quiet place in your home with no distractions or interruptions. This time is for you. Get a notebook to take notes and have your laptop handy to do incremental information searches on the web.

Step Two:

I want you to draw a vertical line down the center of a piece of paper. At the top of the left side write “Energize” and on the right side write “Enervate”. Under Energize, I want you to list all the elements of your last job that you really enjoyed and energized you. Under Enervate, I want you to list all the elements of your last job that you hated and de-motivated you. Now you know what to look for in a job.

Step Three:

I want you to research your industry and better understand who are the big players, where it is going, where they are going and what the future holds. This will give you a better feel for who to target in your job search.

Step Four:

I want you to pick 5-10 organizations or companies you would LOVE to work for. Not just ‘like’ or ‘it would be nice’, I want you to LOVE them. Do a little research on each one, see where they are and where they’re going, find out who are the key people in your area of the organization.

Step Five:

Housekeeping — I want you to clean up your résumé and your LinkedIn profile. Add in any additional info from your current research. These two areas must shine before you begin to look for a position. Also, check all of your current (and past) social media like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Foursquare, etc. You need to clean them up or if you can, make them private. You need to put on a perfect face for potential opportunities.

Step Six:

Begin to plan out a schedule starting on January 1. If you’re currently employed, begin to figure out when you can allocate time to research, contact, and interview new career opportunities. If you are in transition, develop a 40-hour a week schedule that includes research, networking, visits to the library, etc. You need to be busy starting in January, the best thing you can do is be prepared with a comprehensive schedule.

This is just a short overview of what you can do, but it helps you develop a great action plan to kick off the new year with energy and focus. Good Luck!

Rich Gee is CEO of the Rich Gee Group, a career coaching practice located in Stamford, CT. You can reach Rich at www.richgee.com and catch his 700+ articles on career success.

Start Looking For A Job By Mike Rowe.

Powerful words from Mike Rowe (Dirty Jobs host): "Stop looking for the “right” career, and start looking for a job. Any job.

Forget about what you like. Focus on what’s available. Get yourself hired.

Show up early. Stay late. Volunteer for the scut work. Become indispensable. You can always quit later, and be no worse off than you are today.

But don’t waste another year looking for a career that doesn’t exist.

And most of all, stop worrying about your happiness. Happiness does not come from a job. It comes from knowing what you truly value, and behaving in a way that’s consistent with those beliefs."

Mike Rowe  is an American media personality, actor and comedian best known as the host of the Discovery Channel series Dirty Jobs. He can also be heard as narrator on a variety of series and has appeared in recurring commercials for Ford Motor Company. 

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A Memorial Day Management Test.

This isn't scientific. Let me state that right from the start. But . . . This test has worked for me during my 20 years of managing large teams in corporate settings.

First, enjoy your Memorial Day weekend. Relax. Have fun. Spend it with people you love.

When you get to work on Tuesday, get there early and observe your team members as they arrive. See how they act the first 30 minutes at work.

Are they grumpy? Are they not happy to be at work? Do they miss their long weekend? Are they complaining? Or . . .

Are they energized? Ready to hit the ground running with a smile? Did they have fun on the weekend, but now they are ready to make some money?

Short holidays are great opportunities to better understand your team's appreciation of their job.

If they come in grumpy —

  • They might not like their job.
  • They might not like what they do.
  • They might be hitting obstacles.
  • They might be checking out.

If they come in energized —

  • They probably like what they do.
  • They probably enjoy your role as their manager.
  • They are probably crushing it with their responsibilities.
  • They will probably stick around.

Again — this isn't scientific. But I've found if you gracefully approach the grumpy team members individually and find out what is missing in their work life, you might turn them around and energize them.

If people don't realize work is a part of life and you have to make the best of it, it's high time to find out if they've bought into this concept. Because if they're not consistently bringing their A-game to the office, you're going to receive sub-standard work and deal with stinky personalities.

And life's too short to deal with stinky personalities.

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It's All About GRACE.

I was sitting in church last night during our Maundy Thursday service and as I was reading along in the cantata, one word kept popping up. GRACE.

And I realized, we all can do with a little more GRACE in our lives in how we treat other people. Honestly, when was the last time you used the word GRACE in conversation?

As you know, this is a business and career blog — so how do I incorporate GRACE into that?

The definition of GRACE is:

As a noun — simple elegance or refinement of movement or conversation.

As a verb — to do honor or credit to (someone or something) by one's presence.

So here goes:

  1. When dealing with a direct report, add a bit more grace to the conversation. Show them a bit more refinement in your words. Even if they've done something wrong, try to credit them in some way.
  2. At a meeting, comport yourself with a little more grace than usual. Listen to what other people say without barging in and giving them your perspective.
  3. Be grateful you have a business or career and let others know it. Tell your boss or clients how much they mean to you. Honor them.
  4. When meeting someone for the first time, show them how refined you really are. Don't be pushy, brazen, or assertive — simple elegance will take you far.
  5. It does matter for any gender: If you're a woman, elegance and refinement come easily to you — use them frequently. People will be impressed and call you a 'sharp' executive. If you're a man, spend a bit more time giving credit or honor to people — they will start calling you a 'true' gentleman.

TAKE ACTION: Over the next week (or two), take a Post-It note and write GRACE on it. Whenever you have an opportunity to interact with another person, add a bit more of YOUR GRACE to the conversation.

You might not only surprise yourself — others will be surprisingly impressed.

I'D LOVE TO HEAR YOUR THOUGHTS ON MY MESSAGE TODAY. SEND ME YOUR MESSAGE BELOW!

Are You Feeling Guilty At Work?

I'm feeling guilty today. The funny thing is . . . I shouldn't. Every Tuesday, like clockwork, I attend my networking/sales team meeting with approximately 50 people.

It's called BNI (Business Networking International), a worldwide organization where businesspeople meet to learn about their services and deliver hot referrals (CLIENTS) each week. I find it powerful for my business (it delivers 40-45% of my clients each year) and wouldn't miss it for the world. In fact, if you have a business or a product to sell, BNI is THE place to go to increase your bottom line.

What happened?

Today, I'm missing my weekly meeting. I had to double-book a client over my meeting and could not schedule it for any other time this week. They HAD to meet at this time. And I did ALL the right things a BNI member should do:

I notified the leadership team of my absence.

I replace my open spot for the week with a great substitute who will do my commercial.

I let the visitor host team know of my sub so they could list them on our weekly roster.

And I did it all on-time, prior to our meeting.

I still feel guilty. I feel that I'm letting my colleagues down even though I've taken all the steps to ensure my absence is covered this week. Why do I feel guilty?

I feel like I'm letting my BNI colleagues down.

I feel that I'm missing out on something good.

That regular burst of enthusiasm I receive from attending will not be there this week.

Honestly, I shouldn't feel guilty. NOT ONE BIT. Why? Guilt is all about the PAST. And guess what? There's nothing I can do about it. NOTHING. It's in the past.

I've made a decision, I've prepared my absence — I've taken all the steps to ensure I shouldn't feel guilt about missing my meeting. So it's time to confront my guilt and realize I have to live in the present and move on from this 'fake' feeling. Why?

It's holding me back — I'm focusing on something that really doesn't matter.

I'm expending mental and physical energy towards a belief that is not true.

I'm not focusing on the present or planning for the future. This is where I can make serious progress towards my goals.

So the next time you feel GUILTY, remember it's all in the past and there's nothing you can really do about it. Take that guilt and repurpose its energy into the present and future. You will find yourself working faster, better, and with more enthusiasm.

Guilt is a mechanism for us to remember past mistakes so we don't repeat them — don't let it paralyze you.

I'D LOVE TO HEAR ABOUT YOUR GUILT AT WORK. LET ME KNOW BELOW.