Posts Tagged “career”

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One of the practices that contributes to Michael Phelps’ success as a swimmer takes place well before he gets into the pool. As part of his training regimen, Phelps visualizes every detail of his race—from responding to something going wrong (like ripping his suit) to crossing the finish line ahead of his competitors.

Phelps has used visualization (along with other training methods, of course) to achieve incredible things in his career, like winning 28 Olympic medals to become the most decorated Olympian of all time. But you don’t need to be a world-class athlete to borrow his tricks—and I’m living proof.

Visualization has played an absolutely essential part in hitting a number of my career goals, such as pitching high-profile clients with confidence, scaling my business to six figures, and tackling large, complex projects without feeling completely overwhelmed. My visualization practice has, in many ways, acted as the bridge between where I am in my career at any given moment to where I want to be—by allowing me to see and feel my future success before it actually happens.

“Think about building a jigsaw puzzle. Have you ever attempted to build one without having the box top to look at? It is extremely difficult to complete the puzzle without knowing what the outcome should look like,” says executive leadership coach Cynthia Corsetti. “You may fit pieces together, you may get bits and pieces of the puzzle done, but it will take longer, be more challenging, and possibly never reach completion.”

Corsetti believes the same is true of your career; the more clear and detailed you are when you visualize what you want from your career, the easier it will be to make it a reality.

Of course, while visualization can definitely help you improve performance, for the best results, you need to pair it with action. Phelps didn’t just visualize himself winning races—he also spent hundreds and hundreds of hours in the pool.

Want to give visualization a try? Here’s what you need to know to get started.

Visualization 101

What’s Visualization?

Before we jump into how visualization can completely transform your career, let’s quickly cover what, exactly, visualization is.

“Visualization is the ability to create a clear picture in your mind of the exact circumstance you wish to create,” says Corsetti. “It has also been called setting intention, attraction, and ‘positive thinking,’” she adds. It’s “an actual skill that a person can learn.”

Visualization is seeing, feeling, and completely embodying a future outcome—whether that’s snagging the corner office, completing a marathon, or buying your dream home—before it happens. By creating your desired future outcome in your mind in as much detail as possible, you can actually transform your visualization into reality.

The Science

How Does Visualization Actually Work?

When you visualize yourself hitting a specific goal, your brain interprets that imagery as reality—and, as a result, creates new neural pathways to support that reality.

“Visualization is effective at boosting performance because it activates the same regions of the brain that are activated when actually performing a task—athletic, academic, [or] anything else,” says Roselyn Smith, a licensed psychologist, hypnotherapist, and management consultant. “It actually changes the pattern of our electrochemical brain waves.”

In other words, by using visualization, you’re tricking your brain into acting as if your desired outcome—whether that’s nailing a presentation, landing a big promotion, or launching your own business—has already happened. And because your brain thinks your desired outcome has already happened, you’re more likely to take the actions necessary to align with your brain’s perceived reality.

Visualization can even cause physical changes. One study found that participants who visualized workouts were able to increase their muscle mass by 13.5% over the course of 12 weeks—even though they never stepped foot inside a gym. (Imagine how much more they’d have gained if they’d actually worked out!)

The Exercises

What Visualization Exercises Can I Do to Be More Successful at Work?

So research has shown that visualization can work. But how, in practice, do you use it to make you more successful? Here are a few exercises to get you started.

Start With Basic Visualization
If you’re just hopping on board the visualization train, you’re going to want to start with the basics. Carve out a few quiet minutes each day to sit down, close your eyes, and picture where you want to go, who you want to be, and what you want to do in your career. You can start small (like picturing yourself rocking an upcoming presentation) or go big (like celebrating your first six-figure year in business).

The key to this exercise is being as specific as possible. See what’s going to happen clearly in your mind. Home in on all the small details, from what you’re wearing to the way you’re speaking. And let yourself experience the emotions that go along with the visualization (so, for example, the sense of pride you’d feel when landing a raise or the rush of excitement you’d get when you launch a new product). The more realistic you can make your visualization, the more effective it’ll be.

Picture the Worst-Case Scenario

There are bound to be obstacles on any career journey. With visualization, you can anticipate what they’ll be—and come up with a plan so you know exactly how to handle them when they arise.

Let’s say, for example, that you’re gearing up to pitch a new project idea to your team. Visualize all the things that could go wrong—your presentation crashes, you forget important information in the middle of your pitch, your team says they’re not interested—and, more importantly, how you’ll handle them.

Entrepreneur Tim Ferriss calls this “fear-setting;” basically, you spend time imagining all the potential worst-case scenarios and how you’d navigate them. This way, you’ll be prepared and have a game plan if and when it happens, and you’ll be much more likely to succeed as a result.

Focus on Specific Skills or Goals

As the previously mentioned study showed, practicing a task in your mind can yield measurable results—even if you never practice that task IRL.

Want to become a better public speaker? Spend time visualizing yourself speaking to large crowds. Want to increase the number of potential clients you speak to each day? Picture yourself hitting the phones and connecting with tons of prospects each day. The point is, the more you practice the skill in visualizations, the better you’ll be at said skill in reality.

Write it Down

Have a hard time visualizing things in your mind? No worries! Writing down your visualizations can be just as effective as picturing them in your head—perhaps even more so.

“I have my clients write a story that describes in detail what they want their future to look like—down to the pictures on the wall of their office,” says Corsetti. “Adults learn by using all their senses. By writing the exercise they are using their thoughts as well as the physical activity of writing which seals the idea and makes it more concrete.”

The Next Steps

What Else Do I Have to Do?

Clearly, visualization is a powerful tool. But here’s an important reminder: If you want to see real results, you need to pair it with tangible actions. You can visualize yourself calling up 100 client prospects a day—but if you never actually pick up the phone, you’re not going to get the results you’re looking for.

It’s “more than just ‘think about it and it will happen,’” says Corsetti. “You see, when you visualize yourself as a leader, or as an entrepreneur…you have to start to respond [and act] as you would in that role.”

So, for example, if you’re visualizing yourself landing a coveted promotion, in addition to picturing yourself in this new role, you need to start acting as if you’re already in it, whether that means taking on more responsibility, mentoring newer members of your team, or logging extra hours at the office.

And when you pack this one-two punch—visualization and action? “Opportunities begin to present themselves. You attract people and circumstances that will help you get there,” Corsetti explains. “It literally steps up your game on a daily basis.”

Visualization is like a roadmap for that old saying—if you can dream it, you can achieve it. Because the right exercises can help you imagine the career you want. And with that vision, plus the corresponding actions, you can start making it a reality.

 

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/visualization-exercises-boost-career

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A job title is a nicely packaged label, but we’re more than just a title.

Your background and experiences provide a wide array of knowledge, skills, and strengths that you can transfer over to any job.

Instead of searching by title, I’d start by researching the responsibilities that excite and energize you. That means instead of confining yourself to a job title, start describing what’s involved with your ideal role instead.

Here’s How to Do That

I recommend starting with an exercise that resembles digging for career gold, where you’ll evaluate all of the positions you have held throughout your career and ask yourself things like:

  • What did I love about this job?
  • When did I lose track of time?
  • When was I most excited?

As you go through this process, jot down all of the responsibilities you enjoyed and skills you liked using.

Next, I want you to take a look at this list and start identifying common threads and patterns. Were you happiest when crunching data? Interacting with clients? Problem solving in a team? Building something from nothing? Working on one long-term project vs. multiple short ones?

As you start to understand your skills and interests, you can lead your job search by sharing the story of what you’re looking for. Each time you share your dream role including the skills and interests you align with, two things will happen:

You’ll open up closed doors as more people hear you stating what you’re looking for. It’s amazing what connections and opportunities crop up once we share our goals with the world.

You’ll hear recommendations from people that often sound like, “Have you ever considered [blank]?” or “Have you talked to [blank]?” Whether you’re talking to career experts, recruiters, friends, or strangers, everyone in the world has unique perspectives, contacts, and experiences that they are able to share with you in turn.

Once you figure out what types of roles really intrigue you, then you can craft your personal brand and ensure you’re highlighting a cohesive and consistent story in all of your online and offline marketing materials.

More importantly, you can start a targeted networking campaign to spark conversations with people who will be able to share more about the career paths you’re truly interested in. These informational interviews can lead into informal job interviews… which can lead to offers.

It’s easy to feel welded to your title in your job search, but that doesn’t need to be the case. Turn your attention to your skills and experiences instead, and I’m confident that you’ll find job opportunities that are way better suited to what you’re looking for. Good luck!

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/how-to-job-search-with-vague-job-title

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Being stuck in a rut sucks. If there’s one thing I could wish for you, it’s that you never have to deal with a situation that holds you back from being happy, successful, or fulfilled.

That, unfortunately, is an unrealistic wish (even more unrealistic than wishing I could turn everything I touch into chocolate). Because like failure, ruts are inevitable. And the good news about that not-so-fun fact is that they ultimately help make us stronger, smarter, and more successful individuals.

Just look at a few people in your life who you admire—how many of them went through a struggle that forced them to reevaluate their goals or path?

Since I’m someone who doesn’t love surprises (except the birthday kind), I’m going to tell you right now exactly which ruts you’ll find yourself in throughout your career.

 

1. Being Bored
No matter how much you love your job, how many hours you work, or how large the pile of to-dos is on your desk, there will come a time when you will find yourself suddenly underwhelmed, unmotivated, or unstimulated at your job for days on end.

It could be for a number of reasons. Maybe your boss has stopped challenging you. Or, maybe you’re making the mistake of not seeking out challenges, or looking for exciting projects. Or, maybe you’ve found yourself in a new role that isn’t as exciting as you thought it would be.

Whatever the reason, boredom is usually pretty fixable. You can ask your boss for better projects, or see if you can chip in on what other teams are working on, or find ways to keep learning, like taking online classes or attending conferences related to your industry. If that still leaves you no better than you were before, it may be time to move on and find a role that’s more engaging.

2. Feeling Unhappy
Unhappiness is a more serious sign to keep an eye on.

Why is it so much more common than we realize? Because for one, we’re fickle beings—we’re always changing our minds and shifting our priorities. Which means the things we want in our careers now may change one, two, five years from now. That’s OK!

The other reason is because sometimes we’re really bad at recognizing when we’re miserable. We’ll place the blame on other things (woke up on the wrong side of the bed, had a bad commute, a crazy boss) rather than accept that something bigger is affecting us.Figure out what is making you unhappy and use that information to decide what your next steps will be.

Maybe it means transferring roles internally, changing companies, or switching industries entirely. Or maybe it’s even more simple than that. Maybe it’s talking to your boss about an overwhelming workload. Or asking your co-worker to stop talking to you when you’re working at your desk.

Whatever the cause, take the time to identify it and start making moves to solve it.

3. Doubting Your Career Path
Unless you’re very lucky, you won’t find yourself satisfied in the same role in the same industry throughout your entire career.

Don’t beat yourself up if you’re unsure about what you want to do next—even if you’ve spent 10 years in your role and are now doubting everything. The good news is that it’s never too late to make a change, whatever that means for you. The even better news is that you don’t have to have it all figured out when you’re 30, 40, 50.

As Benjamin Franklin said, “When you are finished changing, you’re finished.” Don’t be finished.

 

4. Feeling Like Nothing’s Going Right
Ever have those months when nothing’s going right? You keep messing up basic tasks, your manager keeps sending your work back with heavy revisions, your co-workers keep shutting down your ideas?

It could be your fault—if you’re job searching, for example, and getting nowhere, it might be worth reconsidering you’re approach.

But it could also be due to external forces, like a company restructuring or a bad boss. If so, it’s worth figuring out whether these can be fixed, and if not, what steps you can take to better set yourself up for success.

 

5. Having to Deal With a (Big) Change
Your company just went through a huge merger, half your department got laid off, you got laid off, they brought in a new boss, or oyou’ve moved to an entirely new city for a job.

One day, something major will happen that will shake up how you do things and think about your career. While it’s practically impossible to prepare for something like this, remember that it’s common. And, that it’s salvageable. And, that the feelings of loss and doubt and frustration and sadness won’t last forever. And, that you’ll come out stronger and more equipped to handle anything that comes your way. If you don’t believe me, read this.

 

The last thing I want to emphasize is that it’s easy to feel alone when you’re in these ruts, or that no one understands what you’re going through. But I can confidently tell you that everyone experiences these. Why else would I write this article?

So, don’t be afraid to admit when you’re in one—if you don’t, you’ll regret not making a change sooner. And if you still feel like the only one, chat with people just like you (and get some reassuring advice) on our Stuck in a Rut discussions platform.

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/career-ruts-everyone-will-get-into-some-point?ref=recently-published-1

 

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Can you get me a job at your company, please?

Do you know the CEO—and can I talk to her?

Want to see my resume? It’s awesome, I swear.

These are the things we’d like to say to people when we’re networking, but for obvious reasons can’t.

So, the question always becomes, what can we ask?

I recently read Molly Beck’s book Reach Out: The Simple Strategy You Need to Expand Your Network and Increase Your Influence. And in it, she breaks down the art of networking into bite-sized steps—one of which talks about good versus bad favours.

The concept is simple: Some things you choose to ask your network are better than others. And this means the difference between someone wanting to help you out and someone wanting nothing to do with your request.

If you read the quotes above and cringed at the thought of saying them to someone you knew, you already know what a bad favour is.

So, what makes a good favour?

“The key to a great favour is to ask a particular, definable question whose answer cannot be found on Google and can be answered easily in a paragraph or so via email,” says Beck in the book.

Let’s break that down a bit more:

 

It Should Be Specific

Your ask should be tailored to the person and not super open-ended. Beck gives the example “Can I pick your brain?” as both being way too vague and asking too much of someone (and for free, mind you). You’re better off saying something like, “What advice do you have for someone who wants to break into finance like yourself?”

 

It Should Be Non-Googleable

Don’t ask someone a question that you can look up yourself. Beck uses “What open jobs does your company have?” as an example that you could easily search on your own time.

 

It Should Be Short

Many of your requests will be sent over email to someone who’s already pretty busy, Beck points out, so they should be able to answer it without spending hours crafting a response.

 

Now of course, if the person seems excited to chat with you, you can ask to meet in person. But, Beck suggests, “If and when people say yes, keep in mind that you are working around their schedule, not yours, and you should be traveling to go to a place that’s easy for them to get to. Additionally, when you do meet for coffee or even a meal, you should be paying for them.”

Finally, the author says, every favour should come with a gift. Because this person is going out of their way for you, you should do the same—meaning you should include at least two beneficial things in your initial reach-out. Now, before you worry that you have to send a fruit basket and a bottle of wine every time you ask someone to grab coffee, don’t. It can be as simple as a compliment, a book recommendation, or an introduction to someone you think they would benefit from knowing.

(But if they end up helping you out in a big way, you might want to send them one of these thank you items.)

One of the most memorable favours I’ve ever gotten asked was when a reader of my blog emailed me to say that her friend was a big fan of my writing, and would I consider doing a birthday shout-out on the blog to her? It made my day that she and her friend thought so highly of my blog, and it was such a cool way to make someone feel special on their birthday. Of course I said yes. That super-unique favour opened up a great line of communication between all three of us.

Your request may be simpler (or, even more complicated) than this, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth asking. If you follow the guidelines above, you’ll make it that much easier for someone to say yes—and be excited about it, too.
Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/a-networking-expert-on-how-to-ask-people-for-career-favors-and-get-a-yes?ref=carousel-slide-3

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My career over the past seven years hasn’t been perfect—in fact, we could all agree that if we had the chance, we’d probably turn back time and do certain things a little bit differently.

Alas, this isn’t possible (otherwise someone please tell me where can I get one of those time machines). However, I have learned several valuable lessons throughout my experience that might help you as you navigate your own career.

Pst—you’re not too late to do any of these things!

1. Invest Less in Materials, More in Your Mind

The trajectory of your career will be largely based on how you decide to spend your initial paychecks. You’ll be tempted to spend it on getting a nicer apartment, upgrading your clothes, and going out to fancier restaurants.

While these aren’t necessarily bad things—you deserve to treat yourself every once in a while—you might want to think about spending your money on knowledge instead. It’ll not only give you the greatest return on investment, but also be the one thing that lasts over time.

There are certain skills that are applicable to any job, such as communication, knowing how to effectively read and write, building strong relationships, networking, and time management, while there are obviously others that are more specific to your industry.

To expand on any of these, you have several options for investing your money (instead of having a luxurious weekend away)—you can take an online class, or buy a career-boosting book, or even hire a career coach.

2. Make Health a Number One Priority

Health is the foundation that accelerates everything in your life, including your career. It elevates your creativity, energy, and grit to get through the inevitable ups and downs you’ll experience.

For far too long, I struggled to find breakthroughs in my career because I was neglecting my health, both mental and physical. This led to having less willpower and discipline during my day, and thus being less productive over time.

Prioritizing your health isn’t just a one-time task. It actually has to take priority over everything you do. That means scheduling it into your calendar, making investments to buy the right food and exercise regularly, and even giving up other bad habits.

It’s true: Once you have your health together, everything else comes easier.

3. Learn How to Best Manage Your Time (Whatever That Means for You)

How we spend our time ultimately determines how much we accomplish in our lifetime. While 30 minutes here or there getting sucked into Facebook or taking one too many coffee breaks doesn’t feel like much, it can start to add up in a bad way.

The thing is, how you manage your time is something only you can figure out—everyone works through their to-dos in different ways.

The best time management tactics I’ve learned over time—that might help you get started—are usually the simplest. For example, you can try scheduling everything into your calendar so each task has a specific time frame for completion.

Or, you can try the “One Thing” strategy of asking yourself, “What’s the onetask I can complete that will make everything else easier or unnecessary?”

Or, you can try one of these six better productivity hacks for people who don’t love the “famous” ones.

We can’t control how time passes, but we can maximize it to be, do, and achieve more.

4. Treat Every Relationship as Life-Long

The person you meet today may be someone you work with two, five, or 10 years from now. He or she could be an employee you want to hire, a potential business partner, or even your future boss.

When you treat every relationship as a lifelong relationship, you’ll be more giving, more patient, and more pleasant to be around.

To practice this daily, you need to focus on giving first without expecting anything in return. This might mean checking in with someone you met at a networking event via social media or over email every few months to see what’s new with them. Or, setting aside time in your calendar to regularly have lunch with team members.

And, you never know how even the most insignificant relationships will help you down the road. For example, because she stayed in contact with a networking connection, Ann Shoket, author and former Editor-in-Chief at Seventeen Magazine, turned a one-time meetup into the job that launched her career.

5. Think Bigger

One of the most common regrets I hear from successful people I interviewis that they “didn’t think big enough.”

Many of the things we want in our lives will come to us as long as we give ourselves the permission to receive them. I’m sure there are things you have in your life today that five years ago you only dreamed about.

Whether you’re looking for a promotion, a new career opportunity, or a better life overall, it starts by thinking 10X bigger and raising your standards.

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/5-things-i-would-do-differently-if-i-could-start-my-career-again

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It’s pretty much a given that you’ll change careers at least a few times during your life. According to research, 35% of all U.S. workers have changed careers in the past three years while millennials average four positions before hitting 32).

With each new job comes the opportunity to build skills and expertise, which Peter Roper, Google’s Head of Mobile Brand Strategy, says is the most important priority when considering the responsibilities of new positions.

Roper advises that it’s best “to think about what skill sets you want to get at your next job,” rather than look at surface level features such as location and salary. When you think of each move as building on your prior experience, you’ll have a better chance choosing the positions that’ll grow your expertise.

And as Roper says, “You don’t have to have your career perfectly mapped out,” but it helps to think of each subsequent job as a building block, not as a blank page.

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/a-much-smarter-way-to-think-about-your-next-career-move?ref=recently-published-0

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Much like groundbreaking design, the best creative careers rarely adhere to a pre-determined template.

Nobody knows this better than Debbie Millman. An author, artist, illustrator, educator, and brand consultant, Millman’s career path looks much more like a winding road than it does a straightforward climb.

What’s more, it wasn’t always smooth. In fact, she describes the first 10 years of her professional life as, “experiments in rejection and failure.”

If you’re familiar with her work, this statement might surprise you—Millman is, after all, the author of six books on design; she chairs the School of Visual Arts’ Masters in Branding program; and her popular podcast, Design Matters, has accrued numerous accolades.

But arguably, those experiments, combined with a set of serendipitous curveballs, are what led to her success.

Whether you’re still contemplating the shape of your creative career or you’re looking for a bit of inspiration in your day job, take a page from Millman’s playbook on finding fulfilling work, navigating tough decisions, and defining success in a way that matters to you.

Follow Your Interests

Millman’s initial goal was to design magazine covers for a proper glossy in New York City, but despite being the editor of her college newspaper, her attempts fell short.

It wasn’t until her early thirties that she “fell into” a role in branding; the field was a perfect fit for her skill set, interests, and passions. At Sterling Brands, Millman began exploring the relationships between people and the brands they choose to integrate into their lives.

Then, in 2005, she started Design Matters—the world’s first (and now longest running) podcast about design—in which she converses with notable figures in the design space. It was the first thing that put her on the map, especially after garnering the People’s Choice Cooper Hewitt National Design Award in 2011; in 2012, Millman was invited to the White House and personally congratulated by former First Lady Michelle Obama.

Today, Millman dedicates a significant portion of her time to educating others about design. She finds her day job exceptionally fulfilling—a key litmus test for career success.

“I think that any time you are doing work that fulfills your soul, it has the opportunity to become much more universal—because chances are there are other people out in the world who it will fulfill, as well,” she says.

Look Beyond the Beaten Path

Recently, Millman found herself at a career crossroads: She was offered the position of CEO at Sterling, where she’d served as President for years. For many, it would have been the logical next step, but she wasn’t sure it was the right one for her.

“It was a really exciting opportunity, and one that I know I would have enjoyed—but it would have meant putting my own artistic and creative aspirations aside. It took me four months to decide to turn down the job. It was the hardest decision I have ever made,” she says.

The decision ultimately aligns with one of Millman’s core beliefs about careers: Financial and creative fulfilment aren’t mutually exclusive. Seeking the proper balance of both is key.

Plus, “if anything takes you four months to decide, you probably don’t want it,” she says.

Difficult choices aren’t the only element of Millman’s career that have led her off the beaten path—she’s also had the opportunity to travel to some of the most obscure corners of the country for her work.

“Travel has really impacted my career. As much as I am a homebody, I love seeing new places,” she says, adding that she’s always prepared for a spur-of-the-moment trip or opportunity. “I have a bag that’s always packed with the day-to-day things that I need when I travel. I keep everything that I need in that bag—all my toiletries, technology, cords… all of the things that make me feel comfortable when I’m not home. All I need to do is pack the clothes that I’m going to wear,” she says.

The Lowest Moments Can Reap the Highest Rewards

When Millman talks about the early rejections and hurdles, it’s easy to dismiss her protestations as humility. But, she insists, at one point in her career, she actually thought she might be “the most hated woman in design.” The low blow occurred when she read a piece in a blog called “Speak Up” criticizing the work she’d done for a major brand, as well as for a major film franchise.

Instead of folding when she faced criticism, she decided to actively join the conversation.
She connected with the blog’s founder, Armin Vit, and began contributing to the site, persuading the design community about the merits of her work. Millman and Vit went on to form a long-term professional relationship. Today, she’s the godmother of his oldest daughter.

“I look back on it now and think, ‘I’m so glad that happened,’” Millman says. “Almost every major [accomplishment of mine]—the kernels and the seeds—came out of that experience. Ultimately, that turned into one of the most profound, life-affirming, life-changing things. So, sometimes the worst moment of your life can be a catalyst for the best life you could possibly imagine.”

If You Can Dream it, You Can Be It

As an accomplished writer, it’s perhaps no surprise that Millman’s most emphatic piece of advice for young creatives is to turn to the power of the pen.

“Write an essay about the life you’d like to have five or 10 years from now,” she says. “Write it with as much detail as you can muster. What does your day look like? Where do you go? How do you get there? What does one perfect day in that life look like? Write it down, savor it, save it, reread it every year, and I will guarantee that the life you envision is one that you’ll get closer to.”

As for Millman’s perfect life?

“I’m living it,” she says.

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/how-to-design-the-career-of-your-dreams-advice-from-creative-genius-debbie-millman?ref=carousel-slide-0

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Have you ever desperately wanted to quit your job and find something you love, but then—fear. Desperate, overwhelming, soul-crushing, stop-you-in-your-tracks fear.

Maybe you’re ready to quit or maybe you’re just thinking about it. Maybe you’re thinking of putting in your name for a promotion at work or maybe you’re trying to work up the guts to tell your boss you want to change your role. Regardless, your stomach’s a pit of despair, and your mind’s screaming at you to stop trying to change the status quo.

Feel like I’m reading your mind? Well, good news, I’m not! Rather, you’re going through something very common. In fact I don’t know anyone, including myself, who didn’t freak out before making a leap.

So first things first. Let’s get over the idea that fear is a bad thing.

It’s not—it’s a biological reaction that tells you when things are changing so you stay alert and react. Or, if you prefer explanations that sound less textbook-y, think of it this way: It’s also a tool to help you on your journey.

Think about the last time you were on a roller coaster. Were you screaming your head off wanting to get the heck off of it as you inched towards that first big drop? But then as soon as it ended, wanted to get ride back on and live the thrill again?

That’s the roller coaster effect.

So, if you let of of of the idea that fear is a bad thing and instead think of it as a useful indicator that you’re about to do something amazing, what would you do differently?

For starters, you’d probably follow through more on things that scare you because you knew that getting through to the other side would be worth it. Maybe you’d finally make the first move to change careers because the initial discomfort would lead you down a path that you truly love. Or maybe you’d set up that meeting with HR to talk about an internal transfer. Or perhaps you’d sign up to give a presentation  at the company meeting.

Whatever it is that’s currently getting you excited, yet also making you want to curl up in the corner, do it! Really. Whenever you feel afraid I want you to acknowledge your fear, and recognize that it’s giving you a choice: Stay stuck and make no progress—or push through it and get to the top of that roller coaster ride.

Yes, it’s scary, but it’s also thrilling and exciting and in both cases—the roller coaster and your life—the only way to get to the fun part is to push through that fear.

 Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/being-scared-is-a-great-sign-youre-about-to-do-something-amazing-in-your-career?ref=carousel-slide-0
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Have you ever set out a clear career plan with specific goals for yourself?

When I first started out in consulting, my plan was simple: Get a big raise. Get a promotion. Start getting bonuses. Then break six-figures. Finally score an even bigger promotion (with a really nice title).

Years later I had all of the above, and yet—I was miserable. It took me a while to figure out that my career milestones weren’t making me happy, and moreover, I had spent years chasing the wrong goals.

Ugh.

I’d love for that to not happen to you.

So let’s break it down, shall we?

1. Standard Milestone: Get Promoted Early

Have you ever started at an entry-level or mid-level position at a company, met a few people higher in the ranks, and then thought to yourself: “Wow, I’d love to have their jobs?”

At my first few big corporate jobs, I was obsessed with getting promoted. I felt like it was a small stretch to go from where I was to the next rung on the ladder, and that getting promoted would make me happy. I’d get paid more, I’d get recognition for my work, and I’d be a bigger fish in a smaller pond.

Who doesn’t want that?

Except—it didn’t make me happy. Stretched over a year, the raise didn’t make a significant impact in my daily life, and the work I was doing didn’t really change.

What I Wish I’d Focused on Instead

Figuring out what kind of work would help me begin to tap into my potential as a person (and even lead to some real happiness!). That first promotion is a rush, but instead of focusing just on that, I could’ve read more books, attended interesting events, developed a few more skills, and spent that time learning and growing my network inside and outside of my company so I’d have plenty of options at my fingertips, and mentors to help me grow.

2. Standard Milestone: Getting That Fancy Office

Have you ever had office envy? I 100% did in my first big corporate gig. Everyone had their own office, but I was stuck in an inside windowless cell, while my more senior co-workers had lovely views and beautiful desks.

lusted after their offices.

I spent an embarrassing amount of time thinking about and campaigning to get one. I thought it would give me recognition, I thought I’d feel better about my job, and I thought my work day would be nicer. The office would save me!

I knew I needed to get promoted first, but I also knew that if I campaigned hard, I could sway my boss on which of the empty and lovely offices would be mine.

After less than a year, I finally got my fancy office—complete with a view of the river. I thought it would immediately confer recognition and gravitas to my career—I’d be taken seriously. I have a window!

But, it of course, did none of those things. And even more surprisingly—I was so lonely.

What I Wish I’d Focused on Instead

I was so caught up in the prestige of a fancy office, I lost sight of two milestones that are hugely important: working with people who motivate you and loving your workspace

When I changed jobs down the road, I ended up in a desk in the middle of 30 other people—and I loved it. The people around me motivated me to do better, entertained me when I needed a break, and made coming to work fun.

And I even liked my desk-in-the-middle-of-the room. Sure, it wasn’t fancy wood and didn’t have a view of the river, but it was way more comfortable and I felt good working there.

Both these things lead me to be a better leader and better version of myself—which is a way better milestone than the fake prestige of a fancy office. So think about that: Are you working with people who motivate and support you? And are you working in a space that allows you to feel comfortable and good at what you do?

3. Standard Milestone: Making a Certain Amount of Money per Year

After I changed jobs and got promoted a couple of times my new obsession became to break six figures in income before I hit age 30.

I felt like that salary would be an external recognition of how good I was at my job, that I was on the right path in my career, and that I was worth something. Obviously, they were paying me, right?

Yeah—are you seeing the theme here?

Chasing the money was a distraction from the fact that I didn’t really love my chosen career, and I couldn’t imagine doing it for the rest of my life. But, I kept telling myself that I needed a fancy lifestyle, and the money was an important piece of maintaining my makeup addiction (and therefore my happiness).

I feel into the trap of thinking that money is happiness, which we all know is so not the case. Not only is money not equal to happiness, but my focus on it also kept me stuck, because it made it easy to justify staying stuck in the wrong career.

What I Wish I’d Focused on Instead

I wish I had worried less about spending the money that I had (and making a certain figure) and more about the question: “Is this career fueling the life that I want?”

Sure, having some money is good! But if all you focus on is the money, it doesn’t lead to happiness. For me, the hard truth was that I was buying a lot of things I didn’t need because I wasn’t getting my happiness through work.

Don’t get me wrong, I like nice things. I’m a fan of shoes, and vacations, and being comfortable. But not if it comes 100% at the expense of myself and my career.

When I started my coaching practice I cut back on everything that was unnecessary, like vacations and trips to Nordstroms. And you know what was weird? I didn’t miss those things at all.

Why? Because the work kept me happy, and it allowed me flexibility, creativity, autonomy and freedom. Basically, it fueled the lifestyle I wanted, and that made all the difference.

To sum up: I think a better career milestone that a certain amount of money is asking yourself: “Do I love my life?” And then focus on the kind of work that helps you love all parts of your life.

4. Standard Milestone: Getting a High-Level Title Like Director or VP

I thought that I’d be happier if I had a really fancy title. Other people would instantly respect me, I’d obviously have achieved a certain level of success, yada yada. You’ve read this far, you know the drill!

But when I got the tapped to be made Director of my Business Unit, my internal monologue was just the sound of someone screaming.

Did I take the job? Of course! I thought I’d be crazy not to. Also, my business card would be even more stately!

But, after getting the title and shoving 400 new business cards into a corner, I found my soul died a little bit more each day. I had even more on my to-do list that I didn’t love. And, I felt like I was doing work I wasn’t even great at anymore—and that was pretty soul crushing.

Here’s the thing: A title is great, but not if it means you lose a piece of yourself or what you actually like to do.

What I Wish I’d Focused on Instead

One of the cool things about getting more experienced and recognized is the chance to increase your level of impact on the world.

Instead of chasing the title and being focused on a few words on a business card, think about: “What’s the next step to serve more people?” or “How can I make a bigger impact?” Or “What am I doing right now that helps the world in some way—big or small?”

Now I have one of the biggest titles around—that of CEO. But I honestly don’t even think about it, because what matters to me are the emails I get every week from someone in my community telling me how I helped them change their career (and change their lives!).

And that beats a fancy business card any day!

A lot of us look for career milestones that carry external recognition, like promotions or titles. But, if you aren’t happy on the inside, no title is going to solve that problem. Instead, try and map your milestones to things that bring you actual happiness, like doing work you love, working with people who support you, having a workspace or place that makes you feel good, having an impact (no matter how big or small), and really reaching your potential as a human being.

You are a pretty awesome person with tons to offer—now get out there and do it!

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/4-career-milestones-you-think-will-make-you-happy-and-what-actually-will?ref=the-muse-editors-picks-2

1

You know about IQ, and you can’t possibly have missed the memo on EQ, but have you heard about CRO?

Before you roll your eyes, I know that the last thing you need in your life is another work acronym. But hear me out because this one’s not only interesting, it’s also going to get you ahead because it involves you, your boss, and your reputation.

CRQ stands for the courage quotient. In the not-so-distant past, courage wasn’t a pre-req for most office jobs. You came in, did what was asked of you, and went home before doing it all over again.

But that cycle’s not as popular as it once was, and that’s because many CEOs and leaders are looking for “employees that have the courage and conviction to speak up and back up their convictions when challenged,” according to Jeffrey Kudisch of The Washington Post. Within this pushback, however, team members are expected to have both the EQ and the IQ to know when to exercise their opinions and when to quietly do the job. Indeed, there is often a fine line, a happy medium.

Take my friend who owns a small business, for example; he was recently complaining about a member of his staff who was extremely vocal, voicing her opinions over and over, and making certain she was getting heard every step of the way. While he was open to listening and accepting feedback, he didn’t want to receive that pushback on every single little thing. There wasn’t enough time in the day.

CRQ isn’t displayed by questioning authority at every corner, by suggesting a new way of doing things at every turn, by refusing to follow through on a task until you’ve questioned the very nature of it.

Rather, if you make a habit of demonstrating your convictions when it matters—and not just because—you will be heard.

Let’s say your manager asks you to scrap several pages of the client deck you created, but you believe that those pages are crucial to seeing the big picture. In a clear, calm manner, speak up, offer your reasons, and support them—don’t just try to get your own way (that’s not having convictions, that’s about needing to be right).

If your boss is willing to listen—and you’ve got to read the situation—but refuses to respect the proposal, let it go. There’s plenty of intelligence in knowing when to back down, too. But, you may be surprised to find that she is very open to hearing you out—in many cases, you may know a project far better that she does, meaning your insights aren’t just welcome, they’re very valuable.

Of course, depending on your work environment, you may never feel at ease pushing back, speaking up, or saying no. If you find yourself constantly keeping your thoughts to yourself, consider having a conversation with your manager about when (if ever) it’s appropriate for you to voice some dissent. If a discussion like this is impossible, or if you’re rebuffed, then at least you’ll know you’re not leaving opportunity on the table.

With that said, do try to find a way to demonstrate your CRQ in your daily work. It might get redlined or rejected, but at least you’ll have tried. Right now, that may be brave enough.

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/who-knew-that-doing-this-could-actually-boost-your-career-spoiler-not-us?ref=carousel-slide-0

1

Success means different things to different people.

For many, accumulating wealth or power are definitive signs of achievement. For you, it may be as simple (or complex) as being happy.

And although an attitude of continuous self-improvement reaps great rewards, it’s beneficial to stop every now and then and appreciate what we’ve already accomplished.

With that in mind, here are seven unexpected signs that you’re more successful than you think:

1. You’ve Made Tons of Progress

When I was struggling to learn a language, a wise person once told me: “Don’t think about how far you’ve got to go. Look back, and consider how far you’ve already come.”

This principle applies across our lives. Think about the version of yourself from five years ago. What experience have you collected? What lessons have you learned?

The truth: You’ve come a long way.

2. You Set Your Own Priorities

Your business may not be making millions, but you love what you do. Or, you’ve learned the invaluable lesson that money can’t buy more time—so you spend as much of that time as you can with family and friends (or doing what’s important to you).

Establishing priorities is half the recipe for success. The other half is sticking to them.

3. You Love to Learn

You’re a voracious reader. You love to try new things. You don’t mind making mistakes.

Why? Because every new journey broadens your horizons and helps you to better understand yourself, others, and the world around you. Mistakes aren’t failures—they’re only more opportunities to learn.

4. You Use Goals as Stepping Stones

We tend to measure success with the big things—graduating from school, earning our first promotion, even getting married.

But it’s the small, behind-the-scenes goals that lead to the bigger accomplishments: every passed test, every productive work assignment, getting past that horrid first date.

All great successes begin with smaller ones.

5. You Cultivate Good Habits

It’s been famously said by Aristotle: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”

You know how you get up early every morning? How about that fitness routine you stick to? Or the fact that you work hard to always arrive a little bit early?

Reaching goals requires hard work and perseverance. But regardless of where you’re trying to go, the right habits are helping you get there.

6. You Strive to Be Emotionally Intelligent

None of us can perfectly control our emotions.

But by working to identify your emotions, realizing the major role they play in your life, and using that understanding to inform your decision making, you’re vastly more successful than you would be otherwise.

7. You Haven’t Given Up

One of the biggest keys to success is persistence.

So many people give up right before crossing the finish line, or just before reaching the goal they’ve invested so much time and effort to achieve.

But that’s not you. You’re still here—day in, day out, moving forward, determined to leave it all on the table.

And that’s what makes you a success.

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/7-clear-signs-that-your-careers-going-well-that-have-nothing-to-do-with-your-salary