Posts Tagged ‘career services’

Busting Free from the Control of Email

Monday, August 20th, 2012

Remember the 1980s movie, “Ghostbusters?” The plot involves a trio of ghost exterminators who try to save New York from supernatural doom when a river of slime grows unchecked under the city, threatening to obliterate humanity.

After 13 years of working in my virtual career coaching business, I admit that I’ve been “slimed” by the over abundance of emails – email drives my business and I am tired of it!

When I boot up my computer in the morning, the first thing I do is check my email. I get invigorated from the thrill of never knowing what awaits me. It might be a potential client’s inquiry, it might be a sign-up for my newsletter, or it might even be a new client contract! More likely, though, hiding behind cloaked headers are unwanted solicitations for anything from male sexual enhancement drugs to how to get my Santa letters addressed from the North Pole.

After reviewing 50 or more email headers in my inbox, deleting what I perceive as junk mail, saving my subscription newsletters for future reading, handling requests for information about my career services, and responding to clients who have emailed me overnight, whew! – I feel like I’ve worked a full day and it’s only 8 AM!

At this point, I’d probably be OK having invested only an hour or so into my email management. However,

Read more here…

Break Time

Monday, September 27th, 2010

“The time to relax is when you don’t have time for it.”  ~Attributed to both Jim Goodwin and Sydney J. Harris

Careful what we wish for, right? Every entrepreneur longs for success, for their concept to skyrocket and become something to be proud of. We’ve talked about how we all define success differently, and that’s certainly the case, but we still crave success as opposed to failure.

I’m thinking about success again, now, as I scramble to fit all the tasks that need to be done into the day. These past few months have been a blur of activity. Fabulous, productive, positive activity. Still, it sometimes prompts this little voice inside that says ‘now is the time to breathe.’

Because when we’re successful, sometimes we forget to breathe. We get so caught up in the doing that we forget the why behind the activity. So I’ve made a very entrepreneurial decision: I’m taking October off.

Now before you think I’m jetting off to work on my tan on a white sand beach, let me  clarify. I’m still working, organizing and most of all breathing. Just not doing it as publicly through the GUMP It Daily blog as I have been. I need to step back, reassess, and make sure that I am bringing you my A game. So I am giving myself permission to use October to refuel, rebalance and reflect.

As I do this, I’d love to read your feedback. Do you like getting thoughts from me each week, or is monthly more your cup of tea? Are there topics you’d like to explore or have I provided thoughts that have been helpful to you? Email and tell me.

See you in November!

Busy vs Productive

Monday, September 20th, 2010

Do you ever stop to notice the words we choose during the day? I’m thinking now about time, and how so many of us say something like “I spend my time…” or “I wasted so much time….”; but I don’t believe I’ve ever heard anyone say “Today I invested my time wisely”.  Why is that?

There is no shortage of advice about leveraging the time we have, and we all know that regardless of our level of success we all start with the same 24 hours each and every day. So why is that some of us get so much  more done than others? I’m going to be bold and say that it’s because productivity is not an accident. It is a conscious, ongoing decision to invest whatever time we have wisely. All too often, we mistake activity for achievement when, in reality, the two could not be more different.

Where does it start? With that decision to stop wasting or spending time and instead deciding where our investment of time will bring the greatest return.  Step one: Prioritize. You can’t do everything at once. Step two: Re-tool your to-do list. Because it’s impossible to map out every single minute of every single day, interruptions and surprises included, consider a weekly to-do list rather than a daily checklist. Constantly review and update, so you can see everything at a glance and choose what you can do that will fit the time you have available.

Try it for a week. Then reassess and see if you’ve gone from running in place to moving forward.

Can you do it alone?

Monday, September 13th, 2010

Can you do it alone?

It doesn’t even really matter what “it” is, if it’s important the answer is probably no. Not that we are incapable of action on our own. Rather, acknowledging that we need partners in the journey is a key step to increasing productivity, results and success.

Think about some of the greatest athletes of our time….Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Wayne Gretzky.  Crazy talented, skilled and blessed with a discipline that many of us would kill for yet still they all had coaches (coaches–plural). Why? Because even with the most amazing skills we all need a little prodding, encouragement and tough love along the way.

Having a partner who holds you accountable is a key factor in continuing to conquer our greatest goals, both professionally and personally. Think about losing weight; we’re much more likely to trek to the gym at 5 a.m. if we know our workout partner is there waiting. Professionally, we’ll work harder and smarter so as to not disappoint our project partner. There’s something about disappointing ourselves that’s easy; but to disappoint someone else? Unthinkable for most of us.

So why wait for a special project to find a partner in crime? Choose someone you respect, who will have no qualms about being brutally honest when necessary and who isn’t too much of a friend to hurt your feelings. Schedule a 30 minute accountability call once a week to discuss wins, losses and goals and challenge each other for better results the following week. What do you have to lose?

Are you ready to rock?

Monday, September 6th, 2010

Rock and roll is commitment. Rock and roll is passion and spirit. ~ Mick Fleetwood

Are you a rock star? The question has nothing to do with whether you can carry a tune or dazzle with a guitar riff. In real life, the question has everything to do with passion and execution.

Don’t we all want to be friends with the rock star? As employers we strive to pack our ranks with rock stars in various capacities and in networking we are smart if we can hang with the rock star. How often, though, do we do what we need to do to be the rock star? Let’s break it down…a rock star has superior talent, can harmonize with the band, has adoring fans, is a leader, and has that certain swagger that sets them apart from the crowd.

Regardless of discipline, becoming a rock star can be boiled down to three key elements: passion for what you do, never-ending hunger for knowledge and improvement and confidence in yourself and your abilities.  Concentrating on what you are really passionate about, being a life-long learner (whether that is through formal sources or simply the school of life) and cultivating belief in yourself will get you one step closer to that spotlight. But there’s one more aspect: execution. Rock stars have to take consistent action and continually execute their vision to retain rock star status.

So, tell me: are you ready to rock?

Time is free, but priceless…

Monday, August 30th, 2010

“Time is free, but it’s priceless. You can’t own it, but you can use it. You can’t keep it, but you can spend it. Once you’ve lost it, you can never get it back.” -Harvey Mackay

How often do you find yourself wishing for just a few more hours in the day? Telling yourself that if you just had ‘a little more time’ you’d be able to be more efficient, more accomplished, more successful?

Is it time, though, or direction that you are lacking? If there’s one thing that is certain in life (besides taxes!) it’s that time is finite. We cannot create any more time. What we can do is make sure time is working for us rather than letting it run over us.

One of the most common time wasters is confusing activity with accomplishment. Surely you’ve had days–like I have–where you were incredibly busy but you accomplished nothing of substance. That’s because you confused activity with accomplishment.

Big question becomes, then, how do you accomplish more and give in to activity less? This is where our good friend the list comes in handy. I’m not talking just about your normal ‘to do’ list, but a list of what you want to accomplish today. Do you have one? If not, you should. Write them down, the big things as well as the small ones, and take it with you. The more you can cross off the list, the more you stoke your motivation to keep going!

What’s on your accomplishment list? I’d love to hear about it–shoot me an email and tell me!

Defining Success

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

“Success doesn’t come to you; you go to it.”  – Marva Collins

Do you ever feel like you read something and it was written so vaguely that it’s trying to appeal to every single person who might run across it? Think of all the articles and posts you read about success and being ‘successful’. How can someone write about what it takes for me to be successful when they aren’t in my shoes? Do they have any clue what it actually means to me, to be successful? I realize we’re all looking for the same things: happiness, financial stability, love, acceptance. So how can our journeys be so different when we’re working toward the same goals?

It’s because we’re not working towards the same goals. What I define as happiness might be vastly different than what makes you happy. So how do we start on the same level, and speak in a language where we actually understand each other? We start at the beginning and ask ourselves a few questions to define what we really mean.

Question 1: What would I need to be perfectly happy? Write it all down, every little detail, of a life that would make you happy. Think about your family, your finances, your health, your recreation, your love life, your spiritual self, your appearance….write it all down.

Question 2: Where in my life, right now, am I NOT perfectly happy? A little tougher, because this forces you to look at the reality of your life and admit what isn’t working. Start from the time you open your eyes in the morning until your head hits the pillow again at night….write it all down.

Question 3: When I look back over my life, when and where was I the most happy? Write down the circumstances, why you felt happy, who you were with, what you were doing and everything else you can think of about that time. Be honest, look for themes or common threads…..write it all down.

That’s a good start and gives you the knowledge you need to be able to start crafting a life that fits your personal, unique definitions of successful.

Defining Mid-Year Goals

Monday, August 16th, 2010

Last week we talked about reassessing those goals that we set at the beginning of the year. While it is important to revisit those goals and see where we stand, I think it’s equally important to dig a bit deeper and consider why we set those goals in the first place.

Take a look at them. Are they wants or shoulds? There is a huge difference, especially when it comes to motivation. Consider the vast difference between these two statements:

“I should lose 30 pounds this year” and “I want to lose 30 pounds this year”.

Which one do you think has a head start? Of course, when you WANT to do something you work at it more diligently than if you feel like you should do something. Let’s take that a step further and define the motivation a bit more clearly:

“I want to lose 30 pounds this year because I will feel more energetic, sleep better and fit into my skinny jeans.”

Listing the specific reasons why you are setting a goal allows you to see the final picture in your head; it transforms your goal from a wish to something you can *almost* touch and motivates you to keep going.

So go ahead, pull that list out again. This time, though, make sure it lists goals you WANT to accomplish and that they are clearly defined. Only then will you really, truly, be on your way to success.

P is for Don’t take it Personal

Monday, August 2nd, 2010

P–Don’t Take It Personal

“There are no facts, only interpretations” ~Friedrich Nietzsche

Just like children, we often operate in an egocentric world. Think for a second about when someone cuts you off in traffic; what is your first thought? I’d venture to guess it is something like “HEY! I was driving here! Didn’t you see me? I’m in a hurry and who do you think you are pushing me out of the way to get ahead?”

Do you see the assumption here? The assumption that the person cut YOU off specifically. Seems silly when you really think about it, doesn’t it? The reality of it was you just happened to be there; the cutting off was all about the other driver and had absolutely nothing to do with you. That driver was in a hurry, late for an important appointment, preoccupied with stressors, reacting to an emergency, was simply rude…..or a multitude of other possibilities.

The rest of our life is just like this traffic example; we often assume that the actions and decisions of other people have everything to do with us when, in fact, the opposite is true.  The real truth, as Don Miguel Ruiz explains beautifully in The Four Agreements, is that nothing others do is because of you. Everything others do or say is a projection of their own unique reality.

One of the most important things we can remember on our own personal journey to success is that we must become immune to the opinions and actions of others. When we allow ourselves to embody the actions and opinions of others, we give our power away. We allow someone else to determine our mood, our actions and our success.

U is for Uplift

Monday, July 19th, 2010

U  means Uplift someone else every day.

Few of us write great novels; all of us live them ~ Mignon McLaughlin

Uplift…sounds like a lofty goal, doesn’t it?  The thought of being responsible for someone else’s good mood or outlook on life can seem daunting at best, even on our good days.

Is that really what anyone expects though?  If you are a parent, you know that you teach your children more by your example than by your lectures. Same is true, I think, of life in general.  Sometimes all it takes is a bit of perspective and a tweak in attitude to remind us what our role in life really is.

Bottom line is, we only live once.  We are each given 24 hours per day; what we choose to do with that time is what sets us apart from others.  Even on down days, if we choose to believe that our chances are unlimited and that we have a countless number of “things” to be thankful for, we are more able to offer a kind word, a nudge of encouragement or a boost to someone else who really needs it.

This week’s challenge: make a list of 5 people you want to stay in touch with, and jot a word next to each name relating to how you can uplift them in some way.  Make a conscious effort  to reach out to just one of these people–a phone call, a handwritten note, or even coffee if time allows.  You just might find that after that first meeting you’ll have an even greater desire to cross more names off that list.