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.
When I start with clients who are in-transition, we meet at my office in Stamford and I cover the Five Behaviors Of Successful People. I do this to help them focus, get out of a mental 'rut', and move forward with enthusiasm, passion, and determination.
In retrospect, I actually cover these five areas with all of my clients, but I do it differently — I'm a bit more subtle:
TRACK & PLAN You need to know where you've been, where you are, and where you're going at ALL TIMES. This means tracking your time (schedule) minute by minute and accounting for all of your time and energy. You should be sticking to a plan, taking discrete steps each day, and taking it to its natural conclusion.
FAIL: If you're just winging your calendar or making large swaths of time blocks, you're not tracking effectively. If you don't have a plan (try setting up 90-day plans — they're manageable), you will fail.
BE BOLD One of the original taglines for my coaching practice was "Be Bold In Life". I still love it because it embodies the swashbuckler spirit that we all need to be successful in business. You need to take chances, uncover opportunities, and most of all, you need to be BOLD in your thinking.
FAIL: Just keep saying "I can't do that!". Or constantly ask for permission to do things instead of just doing them. Or not doing them because you know they're going to fail.
THINK & ACT This is the cornerstone of my coaching philosophy — figure out what needs to be done and DO IT. Don't second guess yourself and get caught up in analysis-paralysis. Look at your options, make a decision, and take action. Worst case, if your wrong, step back, reassess, and take action.
FAIL: Procrastinate, contemplate forever and try to come up with every permutation. Push for perfection.
CHALLENGE Life is a series of challenges you must overcome to keep moving and stay happy. Work, relationships, kids, etc. are all made up of small and large challenges that we must deal with. Here's the secret — embrace each challenge with enthusiasm and vigor or you will go through life with a glass half-empty existence.
FAIL: Moan, complain, and run away from your problems. The faster you come up with a plan and deal with your challenge, the faster you will get on with your life.
OPEN UP You can spend your life closed down and not interacting with anyone or you can open your heart to the world and make a lot of new friends. Try to make a new friend every day — an acquaintance, a connection — take an avid interest in your fellow man. Most of all — SMILE!!!
FAIL: Stay home, watch TV, cocoon, close your office door, keep your head down and let your voicemail/email take over all of your connections. Oh yes — forget to smile.
Ever have a REALLY bad day? Here's how to get up and get GOING.
It's Friday — time to talk about the big things in life. I've been coaching for 15+ years and I frequently recognize certain situations and problems clients run into time and time again. I thought I would document some today . . .
1. Stay in the present.
If you live in the future, you will get anxious — if you live in the past, you will get depressed. Generally, you have eight sleep hours, eight work hours, and eight personal hours — focus on what's in front of you. It's the only thing that you have the power to change or to shape or to use. It's your canvas. It's your material. So use it well.
2. Your happiness is not something to pursue — it is a by-product of doing the right thing.
So many people try to 'attain' happiness — and then get frustrated when it slips through their fingers. Try to focus on whatever the right thing is - and happiness will follow. Angry at yourself that you got nothing done during the day? Maybe it's because you slept in late, you spent your workday surfing fun sites, and had an overly-long lunch.
On the surface, each of these behaviors should make you 'happy' — but I've found that when I'm feeling most depressed, its usually based on actions I either did or (more importantly) did not do. Don't hunt for happiness — it will come when you do the right things.
3. You've been sold a fake idea of what success really is.
You're being played — everyday, everywhere. On TV, the street, when talking with friends or family - it seems like everyone confuses the concept of rewards with success itself.
When it comes to money, fame, recognition, praise, the rewards usually belong to someone else. That's wrong. Think of success as sustained effort of will. It begins and ends with YOU, and no one else. NO ONE ELSE.
Think of any goal you may have — say, you've always wanted to be a highly successful businessperson. Close your eyes and imagine it. What does that look like?
I guarantee you're thinking about big offices with lots of people buzzing around, jetting off to far-away lands for lunch meetings, and being interviewed by Fast Company, Forbes, or the Wall Street Journal.
In reality — you're fantasizing about BEING a great businessperson and not actually doing the work to become a great businessperson. This thinking is deceiving because it places the emphasis on passive recognition over active, sustained effort.
If you shift your focus onto your own actions and the more you create a sustained effort, the more likely rewards will follow.
It's that simple.
P.S. Are you caught in one of these three traps? Let’s talk. I’ve worked with people from all over the world who wanted to take aggressive steps in their career — call me to schedule a complimentary session.
The great Jim Rohn once said: "Success is a few simple disciplines, practiced every day — while failure is simply a few errors in judgment, repeated every day."
Now step back and look at what you do every day. What actions or people move you forward? What actions or people keep you back?
Stop being a baby — you absolutely know your bad behaviors. Surfing on your laptop, overly long and gossipy conversations with ineffectual people, doing the same busywork that you know won't get you business. And the worst — hanging around people who are also fumbling their careers.
Conversely — you absolutely know every good action and person who can move you forward. At light speed.
You're just too afraid to reach out and ask them. Or just take the action that scares you silly.
When I coach my clients, we have these conversations frequently — ME: "Why don't you just call them?" THEM: "I can't do that! I wouldn't know what to say!" ME: "Yes you would - just make the call." THEM: "They don't want to hear from me!"
And so it goes — and I ultimately break down all of their excuses until they make the call. And guess what — they get the business. Or they meet someone they would only dream of meeting. It happens every day.
Today — I want you to start improving your positive disciplines — pick a few and DO them. You'll be surprised how fast your luck changes.
A great Quora answer from Justine Musk (Elon Musk's ex-wife) on what it takes to become a billionaire: "Shift your focus away from what you want and get deeply, intensely curious about what the world wants and needs. Ask yourself what it is that you have the potential to bring to the world that is so unique and compelling and helpful that no computer could replace it, no one could outsource it, no one could steal your product and make it better and then club you into oblivion (not literally). Then develop that potential."
"The world doesn't throw a billion dollars at a person because the person wants it or works so hard they feel they deserve it. (The world does not care what you want or deserve.)"
She is so spot on — too many people try to dream their way into success and forget if people will really want or need it. Once in awhile, someone will develop a new idea which attracts buyers, but most of the time (95%), no one really cares.
Read the entire Quora answer here.
The venn diagram above is one I present to clients to help them navigate their businesses and careers. 'The World Needs It' and 'You Are Paid For It' are very important parts of this model. Enjoy!
P.S. I've tried to shy away from any reader comments that might focus more on her divorce settlement and pay attention to her advice. Stick to the facts.
If you know me, I am an avid podcast listener. At any one time, I have between 15-20 podcasts on my iPhone and I listen to them in the car when I commute to my office on the water. I've been a fan of Tim Ferriss ever since he published his first book "The Four Hour Workweek". Unfortunately, many people, to this day, still chide him for his egregious title - "No one can fit 40 hours of work into four hours!".
They're missing the point. Tim sets the stage not to curtail your workweek into four hours, but to constantly look at all the things you do and use tools, techniques, tips, gear, and habits to streamline your behavior.
His new podcast (he just started over a year ago) is PHENOMENAL. Well thought out, interesting, insightful and most of all, Tim procures the BEST people to interview.
Here are some of my favorites:
Sit back, load them on your iPhone, put your headphones on, and enjoy. Each one has changed my life and thinking.
This year, I would like to offer up my Top 5 motivational videos I watch regularly to help add a little bit of energy and enthusiasm to your life.
Frequently, I am asked questions from people within the website Quora — I try my best to answer most — but candidly, there are too many. Here are some of my best answers to great questions concerning people's careers:
Both are difficult and rewarding in their own ways:
All kidding aside (but I was telling the truth) - both have their ups and downs, sometimes you feel in control with both, and sometimes you feel out of control with both.
I've done both - 20 years in corporate - 14 years coaching - and both are hard/easy, rewarding/frustrating, but all in all - it's a great ride.
My suggestion? Start a company.
On average - 3-6 months. Not only do you need to meet, develop and hone relationships with key people, you need to learn the whole business - how it works, what are the levers/movers, what are the clients like, etc.
You also need to see how the company reacts to emergencies, slow-time, reactive decisions from management, and industry shifts.
I hate to say 'settle in', because when I'm settled, I'm bored. You need to constantly challenge yourself - do new things, meet new people, etc.
Are you not getting traction with your current résumé? (a lot of opportunities/recruiters/
If not, don't do anything. If so, and if the gaps are frequent and wide, you might want to fill in those gaps. Some suggestions:
#3 might rankle some readers — but there are a lot of people who are lost right now looking for a replacement job and they've gone YEARS without employment.
Extra-Credit: Keep up with TECHNOLOGY. I'm 52 and get so angry at people my age who have problems, disregard or disparage simple technology I use easily. YOU LOOK OLD immediately if you have frequent problems with email, the web, your phone (get a smartphone), etc.
Do you know how to radically elevate your career or business? Here's how.
How has Jerry Maguire influenced your business career?
Neil Pasricha's blog '1000 Awesome Things' savors life's simple pleasures, from free refills to clean sheets. In this heartfelt talk, he reveals the 3 secrets (all starting with A) to leading a life that's truly awesome. (Filmed at TEDxToronto.)
Catch Neil's blog here: http://1000awesomethings.com Catch more TED talks here: http://www.ted.com
Image sourced from video.