Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Are You Planning Your Career or Just Going wth the Flow?

Lego MovingAre you planning your career or have you decided to just go with the flow? Career planning is a continuous process where you decide in advance how, when, and where to take specific actions that lead you closer to your desired destination.

Here’s the first step of the Career Guidance Process I use with clients. The intent is to explore your career goals, strengths, and areas of opportunity.

Step One:
Begin with what I call CareerScaping. Dream about the contributions and accomplishments you wish to achieve while simultaneously fulfilling your purpose in life. Look to what you enjoy doing for important clues and give thought to the following questions:

  1. When you daydream, what do you see yourself doing?

  2. If you had unlimited time and resources, what would you choose to do?

  3. Which work life activities do you consider to be the most valuable?

  4. Which personal life activities do you consider to be the most valuable?

  5. What talents do you have?

  6. Are there particular things you feel you should do even though you haven’t yet? What are they?

  7. What functional areas interest you (i.e. sales, operations, finance, technical, management)?

  8. Do you have a specific job in mind? What is it?

  9. What skills, training or additional education will you need for that job?

  10. Who can help you find out more information?

Remember, career planning is a continuous process so whether you’re 18 or 80, the previous questions still apply. The answers shape your future. Where do you want to go?

Friday, January 27, 2012

Trouble with Women

Having some fun. I've been publishing about one short story per week. That schedule keeps me writing, keeps me practicing, and keeps me adding new titles into the marketplace for people to read. Trouble with Women is my first anthology of five of my short stories. You can find most on my work on Amazon, Barnes and Noble or iTunes.

Monday, January 23, 2012

About Quitting

Quit CovIn 2008 I published a book, How To Stay When You Want to Quit; Re-scripting your life from Whiner to Winner. I wrote it a few years before that but it sat in a drawer for a while. Before that it was a speech I gave to a few people who were feeling beaten down by work and before that ... well, I lived most of it.

The story is about two friends who are pressing hard at their careers. One is fortunate to be working with a great boss who has mentored and challenged her to be her best.  Unfortunately the other has had the opposite experience. He has been through a heavy rotation of managers, many of whom spoke a good game but never really showed up to play.

It’s a non-traditional business book in that it’s half screenplay and half workbook. I wrote it in the hopes that others would pick up a few tips they could use to help bring positive action to themselves or others who were disillusioned in their jobs.

Naturally I was thrilled to be asked to participate in Ken Blanchard’s LeadershipLiveCast, “Quit and Stayed” on January 25, 2012. As a recovering quitter I know how tempting it is to whine and blame everything on burnout even if you’re acting like an arsonist. For me, I knew I had to learn how to stay, even though I wanted to quit. So I began to re-script my life from whiner to winner.

I started with my attitude; I began to look at things as challenges aching to be solved, not insurmountable problems. Next I began to question what it was I really wanted? The answer didn’t come right away because I was so entrenched by all the things I didn’t want. So I tried a different tactic and asked myself, “Why are you still here?”  After all, when people want to quit, they quit. When they don’t, it’s because some secondary benefit is being met and usually it’s for one of three reasons.

  1. To work on your personal development.

  2. To work with enriching people.

  3. To work on something bigger than yourself.

Figuring that out helped me stay during a rough patch, It helped me to continue to provide for my family and as a manager helped me to reengage with my coworkers.

As a leader it put me in a better frame of mind and I used the same questions to help those who I saw were mentally quitting.

  • What’s going right?

  • What do you really want?

  • What’s keeping you here?

  • What will you do in the meantime?

Most people aren’t going to stay in the same position let alone same industry for their whole career. As a leader, if you can help them get to the next place faster, you’ll both be more engaged and productive.

I hope you’ll be able to join the webinar this week or pick up my book. I’ve learned a few things about people, business and publishing in the time that’s passed since it came out, so I’d love to hear your stories and feedback that I may include in a new edition later in the year.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Private Goals


When I was in my early twenties, friends and I used to start the year optimistically with some mantra or pithy phrase for the New Year.

In my thirties, I learned more about goal setting and how to achieve them faster. I also created elaborate documents filled with metrics and dashboards with pictures of success. My success rate was good, but I often became enslaved to numbers, not intent or purpose. As a result, any celebration felt lackluster, if I bothered to have one at all.

In recent years I’ve been getting back to basics and using words as a theme and compass for the year ahead. This year my focusing words are Create, Prosper and Confidence.

You can bet behind each of them I have a specific vision, strategy, tactics and measures of success, but I’ve become far less uptight about the bottom-line numbers.

I'm a believer in broadcasting a piece of your goals so people can help hold you accountable to them, but sometimes a public declaration can take the steam out of it. Once you declared something and people hold you accountable it can begin to feel like an obligation and people helping you feel like nags. This can be positive and powerful for some. I wouldn't have built a business around being an accountability partner if it wasn't. However, some goals should remain private.

They may not be for public consumption but they are no less grand, or inspiriting or noble. These are the secret goals that paint a smirk across your face when you work on them. There's a thrill and deep satisfaction knowing that you’re accomplishing something grand unbeknownst to others. This is the place where the overnight success is born. Away from the spotlight, in the shadows where no one is looking.

Private goals achieved is often far more satisfying because you did it yourself, without outside intervention. You could have quit at anytime and no one would have known or cared. Except you, and you cared, and you don't quit. These ones are too important.