Strategy

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.

Free Coaching Session. Yes, That's Right.

Ever since I started my practice 15 years ago, I've always offered free coaching sessions to new prospects. Why? Coaching isn't something a typical person has encountered in their life. Also, coaching as a profession is very young - so most people don't even know it exists. That's why I sometimes get weird looks when I say I'm a 'coach'.

The comparison I use at parties and networking events centers around athletic coaching. It's kind of the same thing.

If you ever were in a sport in school, you had a coach. They were there to do a number of important things:

  1. Teach you how to play the game correctly.
  2. Teach you the basic moves and strategy.
  3. Keep you motivated when things get tough.
  4. Keep you focused on the goal.
  5. Address injuries and help you get back into the game.
  6. Play with good sportsmanship.
  7. Work well with the team.
  8. Keep your eye on the competition.
  9. And most of all: A good coach will change your life.

Guess what? That's what a business coach does. Unfortunately, not a lot of people have applied these coaching elements to their business or career. That's where I come in.

That's why I offer a free coaching session — so interested prospects can learn more about me, my background and how I coach. I then take them through a REAL coaching session — where they test drive what I can do for them.

Most of the time — it's transformational. I guarantee two things when I coach someone:

  1. You will be coached by a qualified professional about your unique situation.
  2. You will experience 1-2 significant breakthroughs during our session.

If you're interested, why not try it? What do you have to lose?

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.

Be Like Jack LaLanne.

I grew up with Jack LaLanne. I used to watch him, his wife Elaine, and his dog every morning on TV. Jack taught me a lot of things about life — especially to stay positive all the time. Why be like Jack? You might know him from his juicer — but he was so much more.

How To Eliminate Guilt About Not Doing Everything.

We all like Shiny Objects. We're attracted to them. Like moths to a flame. Whenever a new product, idea, solution, or strategy comes along, we sometimes catch ourselves getting distracted and focusing a lot of our efforts towards our Shiny Object. We want to get our Shiny Object and place it into our Shiny Object Repository.

Hitting A Wall In Your Career? You Need A Breakthrough.

It's tough today. It’s hard when everything is coming at you. Hard to think. Hard to act. Hard to react. As they always say — the first step is always the hardest.

Top 10 Reasons Why You're Not Getting A Job.

As a business and career coach, I run into so many different people every day. I attend conferences and events, I run workshops and webinars, and I host team masterminds for all types of professionals. And guess what? When I talk to the unemployed, I've heard all the excuses why you don't have a job. Here are the top ten realities of your job search today:

1. You're waiting for the phone to ring or the limo to pull up to your house and whisk you off to your new position.

This is my #1 pet peeve when I host job-search workshops. People say they are busy, they're sending out resumes, but the reality is they are mentally waiting for a knight in shining armor to whisk them away to a new cushy position. Guest what . . . it's never going to happen. NEVER.

Unless you're a recently fired CEO with massive connections to firms who want to hire you and subsequently ruin their company, no one is going to call and no one is driving up with a black stretch limo. Once you realize you are on your own and only YOU can change your situation, it's time for a mental ass-kick to get your head on straight.

What To Do: You want an mental ass-kick? Start listening to motivational speakers to keep your mental energy level up and constant. Check out Zig Ziglar, Dale Carnegie, Jeffrey Gitomer, and my favorite Bennie Hsu at Get Busy Living Podcast. He's the best!

2. You rarely go out.

You get up at 9 AM, you probably don't take a shower, you get dressed in your old geriatric Adidas sweatsuit, and sit in front of your laptop. WRONG!

What To Do: Get up at 5 AM, go for a walk/run outside, take a shower, and get dressed in real clothes. You don't like it? TOUGH. This is your workday and for the next 8-10 hours, I am your drill sergeant and you will deliver 110% looking for a job every Monday through Friday. Set up a schedule which takes you outside every single day. Meet people for coffee, hit the library, go to the gym, walk around the park. Strike up conversations with people — you never know who you will meet.

3. You check the web for postings, send out a few resumes, and watch Ellen, Rachael, and Jerry the rest of the day.

Unemployment is not a vacation. You have to attack your job search like any project you've ever delivered at work.

What To Do: You have to:

  • Focus on the marketplace - What companies are doing well? Where are the growth areas? Who are the movers and shakers?
  • Analyze your attributes against your competition - Do a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis on YOU. Figure out how you leverage your strengths and opportunities.
  • Develop key targets to go after - Analyze your commuting radius, find out all the potential industries and organizations within your circle, and begin to make a hit list.
  • Execute - Go after each one incrementally in a cascade pattern to ensure you are not inundated with tasks, but your search is progressing in a healthy fashion.

4. Your industry has changed.

You actually thought people were going to buy slide-rules FOREVER. Yes, that's right, you're industry is changing. And guess what? Everyone's industry is changing. Some are morphing into other forms, some are merging, many are shrinking, and a lot are just plum going out of business. If you thought you could keep your job or profession for 30 years, I have a DeLorean to sell you.

What To Do: Figure out where your industry is going and either stick around for the very bumpy ride or jump off at the station for the next train. Get to thee library, my dear young minstrel and start understanding what is really happening in the marketplace. Read the WSJ, Medium, BusinessWeek, Fast Company, Inc, and Foundr. Also meeting with industry luminaries doesn't hurt either.

5. You're too old.

Where did the time go? You were having so much fun as an executive in a corner office working on strategy and mergers, you never saw the axe coming for you until it was too late. Now you're 55 and no one wants you. Let me rephrase that — no 20-year old in HR wants you. The minute they do the college graduate math in their head (or on their calculator), your résumé is flying faster than a 767 into the circular file. And the funny thing is you keep doing it.

What To Do: Stop repeating something which doesn't work and expecting something different. You have to get out of the HR/Recruiter trap and move up the ladder and meet/engage/schmooze the hiring managers. Go to industry events, reach out to them via LinkedIn/Twitter, and google their name to get to know them. Then reach out and try to meet them.

6. You're too young.

Where did the time go? You were just in college wowing them with your 4.0 GPA and now no one will take your calls because you have no experience.

What To Do: It's time for you to get some experience! You need to call in every chip on the poker table of life and have them connect you with possible paid intern/entry level positions. Let's get real — you might have a little bit of knowledge, but your don't have the experience to hit deadlines consistently, run a meeting, handle an angry client, manage a boss, or run a complex project. You have to take a small hit position/salary-wise and build up those talents before you really hit the big leagues of life.

7. You're unrealistic about your position and your salary.

"Look, I was Vice President of Strategic Initiatives with a yearly base salary of $275K. Why doesn't anyone want me?"

What To Do: There are a finite number of positions out there which might fit your position/salary requirements, but you will never find them in time. I know, you might run into them, but most likely, NOT. You have to be a bit flexible on the Who/What/Where/How Much in the current marketplace. Try to broaden your scope and see what else is out there. It might not be a VP position, or one drowning in strategy. It might be a bit lower than $275K a year — but then again, it's higher than the $0/year you're pulling in now (great tax benefits though).

8. You have a glass-half-empty mentality.

No one likes a whiner. I just spoke with a prospect this week who could not stop talking about all the bad bosses and decisions they've made in the past 10 years. The first rule of your job search: Never, ever, say bad things about your past. Not only does it cloud anyone's opinion of you, it brings your mental state down into the basement.

What To Do: Start imagining what life would be like if you had that wonderful position RIGHT NOW. Where would you be? Who would you be working with? What would you be doing? How would you get there. Stop thinking and feeling guilty about the past and start preparing for your glorious future. Get your head half-full immediately.

9. You're afraid of Thinking Big and reaching out to the real power-brokers.

No one is going to think big for you (except me). You hamstring your search and actions by being risk-averse. You're afraid of rejection and will never put yourself in a position of actually touching key movers and shakers in your industry. No . . . you will continue to interview with 20-year-old HR reps who text more than they think and wonder why you don't have a killer position.

What To Do: Get a piece of paper and write down what would be your PERFECT job. Now actualize it in your universe — find those companies who fit the bill and reach out to the key people who run those positions. The funny thing is . . . these same people are always on the lookout for new talent. You're just not putting yourself onto their radar.

10. You've given up.

You've tried again and again to get a job offer, an interview or even a solid connection and it seems the cards are stacked against you. It's been years since you've worked and you're draining your savings account to keep your household afloat.

What To Do: You can always try again. Take a different tack, work on an alternate strategy, reach out to new people. In fact, I just worked with a client who was unemployed for two years and within three months, he had a number of offers and took an incredible job. You never know where your next break will occur.

Free image provided by iStockPhoto.

Top 3 Mistakes Made In Family Businesses.

I run Multi-Generational Peer Review Groups — and boy do we have fun discussing many issues inherent with family businesses — especially ones where the younger sons/daughters work for the older parents. And the parents have one foot out the door into retirement, yet they feel they need to keep active and still make decisions. Or they are still working 60-70 hours a week and never delegate key responsibilities to their sons/daughters.

Why I Attended My Coaching Session This Morning.

As I began to walk to my car to begin my workday I began to smile to myself and though okay today turned out to be a more meaningful session than anticipated.

Why You Never See It Coming — Deadly Blind Spots In Business.

There are things you know (e.g., how to run a meeting) and there are things you know you don’t know (e.g., open heart surgery techniques). Then there are things that you don’t know that you really know (how to stay focused and calm during an emergency).

How To Solve Your Problems With Bananas.

Do you find yourself doing replicating a process and each time you do it, 50-75% it doesn't work? Not that it fails entirely, but when attempted, it's either fraught with additional challenges, clients may be disrupted, or it's becomes such a big mess it throws your team into a tizzy?

But you still keep doing it because it's the only way you know how to do it — the only way you've been taught?

How To Successfully Change Your Game.

Yesterday, I wrote all about smart leaders in corporate and business change the game every 2-3 years. Today, I promised you HOW they do it. In the movie Fight Club (a male perennial favorite like ‘The Godfather’), the lead character works for an auto company and spouts out a formula they use for deciding whether to recall a model of their car or just let it go on killing people:

2011: What Do You Want To Change?

Buckle Up — this is going to be a fun ride. Answer these three questions with fast, (1-2 word) specific responses . . . don't just write 'work', write 'client calls', or 'Penske Project'. Don't just write 'business', write 'BNI connecting' or 'new website', or 'product expansion'. I'm looking for you to blurt out items without a lot of introspection. I want your gut responses: