Entries categorized "Career" Feed

Inspiration for Changing Careers and/or Creating New Employment

I have a number of posts about job hunting tips, managing your net rep (Internet Reputation), cultivating entrepreneurial success and more (see Career or Business archives--note that articles date back to 2006). Today I thought I'd share some links to articles that would give you some inspiration.

One is a story that a reporter wrote that I find truly inspiring. While, yes, she may have quoted me in the story--let me tell you what she's doing with her career. An accomplished reporter who has covered business and technology for Wall Street Journal, The Associated Press, and MIT's Technology Review  to name a few, has taken the brave move to pursue a newfound dream brimming with passion and meaning for her--she is going back to school to pursue veterinary medicine. I'm so thrilled for her and think she's an inspiration for many who feel like it's too late to switch careers. To read the article she wrote after interviewing dozens of other brave souls that took a similar turn, click here http://www.timesunion.com/business/article/Changing-careers-means-tolerating-risk-and-doubt-1413412.php. To follow her success and adventures in vet school, see her blog here jessicamintz.wordpress.com.

While Jessica provides inspiration for those who are thinking about changing careers, how about the folks that are trying to find a job and are feeling neck deep in despair? I wrote a post for Psychology Today on the topic. I shatter some myths about job and career security and try to provide some ideas to help. See my article, "Overcoming Unemplyment, Reclaiming Spirit."

As always, please let me know what you think of anything I write--and please share any ideas for topics you'd like me to address.

 


When Things Go Wrong - Travel!

Have you ever noticed that summer comes at just the right time? Exhaustion from life’s demands seems particularly high around this time. It’s as if mental burnout rises alongside the rising seasonal temperatures (as experienced here in the U.S and definitely in Texas).  If you can relate, traveling is your antidote.

In today’s economy, vacations at home (“staycations”) have become popular. The downside to a staycation, however, (and, no, this is not a paid endorsement from a travel agency) is that you may miss something critical that a travel experience provides you—fresh perspective.

We get so wrapped up in daily rituals that we end up getting stuck in a box and then we feel overwhelmed with life. Tunnel vision is the result.

The solution to tunnel vision is getting out of the box of your everyday experiences and changing your surroundings. This allows you to see things from a different point of view and to gain a fresh perspective. You can discover alternative solutions that you would have never dreamed possible. Traveling is the best way to achieve it, as Kent Nerburn points out in his book, “Simple Truths.”

Travel, no matter how humble, will etch new elements in your character. You will know the cutting moments of life where fear meets adventure and loneliness meets exhilaration. You will know what it means to push forward when you want to turn back…you will understand that there are a thousand, million ways to live, and that your life will go on to something new and different and every bit as worthy as the life you are leaving behind.

Whether you’re leaving a piece of life behind or an old way of seeing a situation, travel can have a profound affect on you. It can reinforce deep bonds with your family and loved ones. It can open your heart and mind to possibilities. It can connect you to your inner passions and dreams. It can uplift your spirit and restore your energy. It can also serve to foster brotherhood with all of mankind.

Whatever is happening in your life right now—deadlines, relationship troubles, career challenges, grief, money troubles, parenting issues, crisis of faith, general malaise—go out and discover your personal solutions by traveling. Make plans for a real vacation. Leave for a weekend getaway. Learn new cultures. Go explore. Have an adventure. Then drop me a line (KimberlyATencompasswf.com) and tell me how it changed your life.

Bon voyage !


Secrets of How Successful Entrepreneurs Survive Fear

fear Behind every successful entrepreneur lay a field of hidden landmines riddled with fear (“fearmines”). Some were stepped on. Others lay dormant, under the surface, affecting the journey just the same. The key is to be aware of them, know where to step, and what to do when you step on one.

The first and most important thing to know is that EVERYONE has fear.

Successful entrepreneurs just know how to work with it. In fact, successful entrepreneurs were once unsuccessful—the difference is that they continued taking steps on their path in spite of the obstacles (the biggest being their own fears).

àStep one is to get comfortable with your fear and reassure yourself that it’s a natural part of your journey’s landscape.

Once you realize that you’re not alone and that fear is normal, you can then employ measures to avoid needlessly stepping on fearmines all the time.

Fearmines often look a little different. They tend to leave a little bump on the surface and can easily be seen IF you take the time to look. Once observed, you’ll recognize it as some old sensitive wound.

Maybe the wound was something your parents told you (“Get your head out of the clouds!” when you were daydreaming or coming up with new inventions.) Or perhaps it was from being ridiculed by your peers, the ones who insisted you’d never amount to anything and would be doomed to poverty.

àWhatever the wound, take time to recognize it so you can avoid stepping on it and repeating the damage (e.g. like when you repeat the damage by yelling at yourself “Get your head out of the clouds!” after you’ve experienced a let down).

Another common fearmine includes control. Being able to adapt to change and uncertainty is the prerequisite for succeeding as an entrepreneur. People who need a high degree of control will tend not to be as spontaneous, imaginative, flexible, and inventive. Usually they’re like this because of fear.

When we feel out of control and overwhelmed, we tend to take control. However, control is a tricky illusion. The irony is that our fear reaction tends to make us take control where we don’t have it and give up control where we do have it (with ourselves).

àTake stock of your feelings and recognize if fear is making you overcompensate with controlling and/or self-sabotaging behaviors.

A couple of common fearmines have been addressed, but what do you do when actually you step on one?

Failure (getting lost in the fear) is part of the process. Fully feeling the fear and moving through it builds your resilient muscles—and it’s exactly these muscles that make you thrive as an entrepreneur (and as an artist, as a human being, as a parent, as a soul). What counts is taking that deep breath and continuing on the journey knowing that unresolved issues will still be there, but you’ll be stronger the next time when you inevitably reach them again.

àRecognize and repair once you’ve stepped on a fearmine. Honor it. Feel the feelings.  Control your part and avoid overcompensating. Then get back up and keep going. 

By now you’re seeing the pattern that fear creates action (even if inaction)—actions which aren’t always healthy for our self-worth or our entrepreneurial ventures. Understanding how your personal fearmines influence your behavior and how best to compensate for them makes the difference. Knowing this is a normal process helps you to keep going. Recovering from a fearmine is the success. 

Remember that everyone has felt like a pretender and questioned their talent and venture. It’s fundamental human nature to seek understanding, desire approval, and dream of complete acceptance—and fear when we don’t have these things. To fear is human and to recover from it, divine. When treated properly, fear can propel us into depth, growth, and inventiveness beyond any of our perceived limitations.

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How the Hidden Blueprint of Childhood Directs Your Career

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How can a damaged upbringing hurl you into career greatness?

You’ve probably heard of numerous examples where people have beaten all odds and succeeded in accomplishing their dreams. The subtle message in these cases seems to suggest that rough beginnings and hardships are the secret ingredients to success. That’s why I laughed and laughed when I heard the line “Don’t fix your Daddy issues!” on Samantha Who?, a former ABC sitcom starring Christina Applegate as an amnesiac who finds herself in a successful job but learns she wasn’t a very nice person to many people. The friend that cautioned her from getting to know her father better said that those initial family problems were exactly why she was so good in her job. (Clearly this advice isn’t so good for my job. But if you watch the show, you’ll learn she’s a much happier person by reuniting with her emotions and changing her former greed at all costs approach to life.)

Similarly, I’m often asked how our childhoods can affect our jobs—especially the risk-taking nature of an entrepreneur. It’s highly individual of course, but here’s a theory that can satiate your curiosity a bit. See if you can identify yourself in any of the following categories and learn how it impacts you, your loved ones and your career and  business ventures.

The attachment theory is one of my favorites and a lot of empirical research has given it more validity over the years. The simple description of attachment theory is how you initially bonded with your primary caregiver (Mother? Father? Adopted parent?) forms the basis of how you will interact (or attach) to everything else in your life. This can be a relationship, hobby, home, career and/or your business venture. 

Secure Attachment – The person who has a secure attachment received the perfect balance of love and nurturing from their parent. The parent was attentive to their needs and empathetic (could feel their feelings). The parent was not intrusive (bugging the baby even if the baby expressed displeasure) or neglectful (not paying attention to the baby). The securely attached person grows up with a sense of confidence, trust, and wisdom. They do not stay in situations that do not work. For example, they would move on if a relationship or venture showed clear signs of failure. Conversely, they would not just give up either. They would make the appropriate amount of effort. (Not everyone has this attachment style, but it’s something we can all learn to cultivate in life.

Avoidant Attachment – The avoidant person had a parent that was more neglectful. The parent could not empathize or was just so busy that they could not be as responsive to their child. Consequently, the child learned that being alone was normal. The avoidant adult is not as good with empathy. Moreover, they do not handle intimacy very well as it can feel suffocating and provoke anxiety. They prefer to keep a distance. This can translate into getting into relationships but not being very close (perhaps traveling or working a lot to maintain adequate distance). It can also mean growing tired of ventures and needing new things to do more frequently.

Insecure Attachment – An insecure attachment simply means that the parent swung from being available to not being available, leaving the baby confused and feeling more anxious about losing and/or attracting the parent. The insecure adult brings this underlying anxiety into their relationships and constantly battles with the fear of losing relationships and the desire to have distance. This person most experiences the tension of the togetherness and separateness continuum. In their venture, they may vacillate about what to do as a consequence.

Paying attention to your anxiety is key to healing the wound if you find yourself identifying with the latter two styles. Re-nurturing yourself can help shift you into a more secure attachment style. You can also go to a counselor or coach as this is one of the secret reasons such processes work. The bond you develop with your therapist or coach can form a new attachment style when your interactions are trusting, open and positive. 

(Stay tuned for the next blog post as it will discuss ways you can self-nurture and self-heal.)


The Biggest Reason Entrepreneurs Fail

I’ve seen companies succeed and I’ve seen companies fail. In fact, I’ve been part of companies that were able to sustain steady growth and still thrive today while others collided as soon as they took off. One company, in particular, that comes to mind never should have failed, but it did. It’s also the reason I transitioned out of engineering and got into entrepreneurial coaching in the first place.

Their cause of failure was caused by relationship strive and power struggles (see my book at www.TenKeysToPowerStruggles.com if you or anyone you know is experiencing this problem). Yet, this post is entitled the biggest reason entrepreneurs fail and although I believed at one time that businesses failed because of problematic human interactions, I’ve now come to realize that there’s an even lower common denominator than that—and it’s something most business experts have missed.

Take a moment and think about what you’ve heard, read, or experienced as the leading cause of business failure.

Are you listing them?

Let’s see if any of these are on the list: 

Did you come up with inadequate or lack of planning?

How about marketing? 

Did you say stupidity? (Well, surely you’ve had that sentiment from time to time.)

Okay, what about not having enough capital?

Or, as my previous experience revealed, how about relationship challenges (this can include battling with a partner, investor, staff, or just plain overlooking the customer’s needs).

According to entrepreneurship author and Case Western University professor Scott Shane, there’s even the possibility that failure is a measure of a good economy if your venture folded. He purports, “Having fewer entrepreneurs means that we are experiencing economic growth. The more developed a country is, the fewer people work for themselves.”

This post isn’t about telling you to go work for a high growth company. (Although it’s cool if you do.) This is about providing support and insight so that you can make your entrepreneurial venture succeed—and maybe even turn it into one of those high growth companies that Shane says is good for our GDP. If that interests you, then please read on.

I listed some of the common reasons people say that businesses fail. There’s a lot of research out there that provide reasons and many of the stats contradict other researchers’ findings. There’s also the discussion about teasing out superfluous data and accounting for confounding variables, etc. However, What I’ve found to be at the core of most of my client’s issues is this one basic human flaw that undermines even our best intentions.

This flaw explains why smokers can’t seem to quit even when the doctor says it’s going to kill them and they desperately desire to quit.

It also accounts for the billions of dollars that are spent on gym memberships, self-help programs, and other health and wellness miracles that end up unused and untried as soon as the commitment was made.

I believe this flaw translates into business start-ups and reveals why most business fail (8 out of 10) within the first year (64% by the fifth year).

This flaw, while seemingly simple, is the disease responsible for ruining your best intentions. It’s why you can’t focus—and, unfortunately, it’s worsened with the advent of video games, microwave ovens, and microblogging sites like Twitter.

It’s not ADD or ADHD, but it is this distracter gene’s ancestor and it resides in ALL of us. 

It’s our primal reptilian brain that causes us to be so immediate focused that it takes us right off track from our original agenda. It’s the source of procrastination. It’s the source of emotional hijacking. It’s why the best-laid plans go awry.

The primal reptilian brain feeds off of distraction, drama, and holds tight to emotional traumatic triggers that transform wisdom and grace into momentary flights of rage and despair. 

The good news is that the primal reptilian brain can be your best ally. You just need to learn how to harness your inner power and make your primal brain work for you rather than against you. 

For instance, let’s say you want to make X number of marketing calls a week, but you never seem to get it done. Basically you keep finding yourself procrastinating. You might loathe the task. Maybe you have some fear of failure or rejection. You could even have fear of success. Or you get distracted with all of your other responsibilities. Whatever the reason may be, your primal brain is working against you if you’re not making the calls—and it’s feeding off the energy from the fear, loathing and/or distractions.

The trick to making your primal brain assist you in making those marketing calls can be two-fold. You can employ that good old-fashioned work ethic that says you have to make X number of calls a day before you can relax or have some type of reward. Secondly, you can also up the ante by offering a penalty payment to your assistant, colleague, mentor, or a family member each time you don’t make the required calls that week. However, in order for this last part of the trick to work, it needs to be realistic but painful enough to make you miss the money that was doled out as your penalty payment.

This last tricks works because it makes your primal brain want to protect you from the pain of the money loss. Before that, your primal brain sensed the pain from the fear and loathing and worked hard to keep you off your task no matter how much you tried to motivate or convince yourself.

Did you get that? Your primal brain is motivated to protect you and any sign of fear of loathing activates your primal brain, causing it to rescue you from the source of your pain.

Now think about what happens when you start a business. That’s right—fear of failure. Fear of those looming statistics that say you’re probably going to fail. Fears from your family, friends and colleagues who shake their head at your decision. Fear from the loss of security, benefits and support staff that makes you feel safe when you’re working for a stable company. Fear of your own decision-making skills. Need I go on? The inherent and pervasive fear from kicking off an entrepreneurial venture can activate your primal brain to protect you and make you abandon your venture (either through procrastination of a needed but dreaded task, overwhelmed helplessness, poor relational functioning, etc.).

However, your primal brain can be your most powerful ally and loyal protector. The key is learning how to make it work for you so that you can accomplish the goals your frontal lobe creates (e.g. business plans, entrepreneurial ventures, networking, writing a book, losing weight, going on dates, listening, eating healthy, etc., etc.). 

If you would like to learn specific methods for harnessing your inner ally and making your primal brain work for you rather than against you, please join me for a special-request seminar focused on entrepreneurial coaching methods that will help you harness your inner power and achieve greater success in accomplishing goals based on your passion and purpose. This is an intimate gathering of pre-screened committed entrepreneurs only with limited spots available. If you’re interested in attending, please contact me at 512.617.6356 to discuss where you’re at in your business and how this seminar can help you.

Harness Your Inner Power Seminar

Jun 26-27 

(NEXT SEMINAR in SEP 2009)

What to Expect: Presentation with interaction among group members sharing their experiences with the common pitfalls of entrepreneurship, life management and ineffective habits. Bring a list of the challenges you want to overcome in your business, life and even your family, and learn customized approaches to harnessing your inner power and making your primal brain work for you rather than against you. You’ll leave with renewed energy, motivation AND real applicable strategies that will make you overcome the procrastination and devastating habits that cause 8 out of 10 businesses to fail within the first year (64% by the fifth year).


The Danger of Getting Stressed Out by the Current Economy

No matter what country you live in, you most likely feel effects from the current global economic difficulties. People are losing homes, jobs, relationships, and security. When this happens, desperation and despair takes over. Stress thrives and is contagious.

According to a survey by the by the American Psychological Association (APA), 58% of people take their stress out on their loved ones. Other APA research reveals that stress manifests as illness in the body for even more people—up 77% of people in stress report having physiological symptoms and 73% of people in stress reported psychological symptoms. When this happens, more people are impacted by stress and a viscous stress cycle continues to grow and expand.

What can you do to keep stress at bay? Take time to heal yourself before stress gets out of control. Take time to breathe throughout the day (deep breathing can be a miracle cure for many ailments). Remember what’s important. Get back to basics. Stress thrives in chaos and confusion, and tends to diminish in simplicity. Live simply—from the heart—and you will feel better. So will the people around you.

 

If you are experiencing serious side-effects of stress, please seek help with a therapist or counselor immediately. Stress gets worse if left untreated. If you're out of a job and can't pay, many will work with you if you ask them. Please feel free to contact my office if you would like to discuss your needs.

 


Getting a Job after Being Laid Off…Stage Three: Employing Top-Notch Interview and People Skills

Business pople world As discussed in the previous series of posts, by now you’ve been working through the grief of your lost job, did some soul-searching, identified your skills and job desires, polished your résumé boilerplate and customized it to fit each job opportunity, networked, and now you’ve landed a job interview for that job you really want. What do you do?

 

This is where I point you back to stage one. Grief. You may still have some unprocessed grief that can make you a little extra panicked about the job interview. It’s normal. Take a moment to feel the feelings of any fear or panic and then breathe and reassure yourself that you WILL be okay if you don’t get this job. Yes, you read that correctly. Let it go and feel the feelings that everything will be okay if you do not get the job. Clinginess and desperation often repel people, so releasing any of these feelings will make you more approachable.

 

When you go into the interview, you may be asked a series of questions about your background and why you are the best match for the job. Some of the questions may even be ridiculous, like what kind of animal you would be in your career. Don’t worry about those. There are no wrong answers. The key is to be Genuine, Present, Respectful, and Real. Listen to the interviewer and hear the question behind the question. For instance, you may be asked why you spent such a short amount of time at your previous jobs when what they really want to know is whether you’ll be committed to the company and dependable for the long haul. If it is the job you desire (and it must be if you’ve followed the steps in this series) then you can look the interviewer directly in the eye and assure her/him that you are completely committed and would like to see yourself working with them for years to come.

 

This brings me to my next point. The interviewer is a human being—not a judge. Build a relationship and make Contact with them. Connecting to them as a genuine person and professional can reap rewards beyond the job. It will help you to settle in the job if you get it, as you will have an inside team member advocating for your success. Or, if you both discover the job is not a mutual fit, you can still ask for their assistance, referrals or even work with them down the road.

 

To recap, being Genuine, Present, Respectful and Real leads to making Contact – which provides you with one of the most essential skills the U.S. Department of Labor says is needed in today’s global economy. To aid your memory, your interview and “people relations” formula for success is: G+P+R+R=C

 

Sometimes contact gets broken because of other factors, like power struggles. People tend to fight for their turf and want to feel that their sense of worth isn’t being trampled by a new person. Interviewers and managers can also suffer from such struggles—especially if they’re new at interviewing or managing and not very confident in their own skin. They might tend to overcompensate and act controlling or micromanaging. If this is the case, you might want to utilize some proven power struggle cures.  They are in my new eBook, Ten Keys for Staying Empowered in a Power Struggle, which many are praising as a powerful tool for curing conflict. You can access it at www.TenKeysToPowerStruggles.com   


Getting a Job after Being Laid Off...Stage One: Overcoming Grief

Storm_clouds_over_swifts_creek  Losing a job can be one of the most painful losses a person can experience—especially when it is unexpected. Losing a job creates an indescribable grief for many. The knee-jerk reaction is to jump back up as quickly as possible and start looking for a new job. However the uncertainty and fear that is produced from the job loss, if not illuminated, can creep up (even in a new job) and potentially cause a downward spiral in the person’s career and overall life. Understanding this and working through the grief is key to getting effectively and satisfactorily re-employed.

Handling the job loss

First, if you haven’t been let go, but fear that it’s imminent—try talking to your employer about cost-effective alternatives that would allow you to continue your contributions to the organization. This could be a part-time position, contract work, or even limited part-time volunteer work in exchange for office and/or computer use. Often times the organization doesn’t want to lose a valuable employee that they’ve trained, so they are often open to creative solutions like this. In addition, maintaining a connection with them can decrease your grief a bit while enhancing your job search opportunities.

 

If you have been dismissed and cut-off from the organization, know that it is completely normal to experience deep grief, shame, loss of identity and meaning, fear, and other negative feelings even if part of you is glad to be away from the company drama. These feelings tend increase and to be in direct proportion to the length of time you were at the organization and the higher your position.

 

During this stage, you may also find that you are reaching out to other former employees and discussing problems and people in the organization at length. This is part of the grieving process. However, this situation becomes a problem when it slips into obsession (can’t stop thinking or talking about the job) or when it never appears (the job loss is immediately replaced by another job…maybe even across the country…but then the grief gets displaced onto family members (via a divorce) or shows up in affairs, addictions, and other escapes).

 

In order to completely process the grief, try working with a counselor. Join a support group. Write about your thoughts and feelings in a journal. Understand how your job was connected to your identity. For instance, do you consider your identity as an individual person with unique thoughts and feelings or do you think of yourself more by your career (Engineer nerd, nurturing teacher, artist, over-achieving doctor, high-powered CEO, etc.)? If your identity seems to be steeped in your career, try cultivating the other hidden aspects of your identity. Get in touch with your inner child. Discover what makes you laugh, cry, curious, scared. Heal the wound of the job and identity loss through nurturing yourself with loving self-care and positive self-talk. Cultivate inner peace by realizing that you are not your job and find acceptance for yourself where you are this very moment. Doing this can heal your grief while gaining a self-identity is less fearful, more courageous, compassionate, and wise—and just the kind of person everyone wants to be around and hire.

This is the first post of a three-part series. The next post will address tips for packaging and marketing your résumé.

 

 

 


Managing Your Net Rep

Do you know your Net Rep? It’s that little impression that comes up when someone searches your name in Google or Yahoo. Advertisers call it brand image and work hard to give a good impression or feeling of a product they want to sell. Your Net Rep (Internet Reputation) gives a similar impression and feeling about you. But it can be positive or negative, depending on how you’ve managed it and IF you’ve managed it.

 

First, how does a Net Rep get built in the first place? With the widespread usage of the World Wide Web, people across the globe have used the Internet to join social networking sites (like LinkedIn, Facebook, MySpace, Plaxo Pulse and more). They have posted their résumés on various job search sites. They have joined special interest networking group sites (such as photography groups, hiking groups, and other network groups centered around various hobbies). People also ask questions and post responses to other inquiries on topic-related sites (think medical support groups, diet groups, book reviews, movie reviews, etc. where some, but not all are anonymous postings). Every time a posting or profile is made, Google and other search engines’ spiders take note. The more your name is posted on various sites, the higher your search engine results are going to be. That means everything you post on the Internet paints a picture about you and all of the pieces of that picture will be seen by one simple search on a search engine.

 

Marketers know the power of Net Rep building and purposely try to place a product or client’s name all over the World Wide Web in strategically advantageous places. You can do the same, but first you need to figure out what your existing Net Rep reveals. To do this, reexamine the content on your social networking sites from the prespective of a boss, employee, or client. Consider what your information reveals about you and how it may impact your professional reputation and credibility. 

 

An example of how social networking content can backfire on someone is by using sites for dating searches. A senior executive was borderline harassing employees and potential employees through public sites. The behavior was observed by investors and became an issue for the company, along with almost costing the executive’s job.

 

One more cautionary note is that privacy locks on your sites do not always work. Member profiles still show up on “friends” and group lists along with any comments that have been made on other people’s sites. Basically, a trail of Internet bread crumbs leads anyone back to a site that is even marked private, so be cautious about the friends you accept and the posts you make.

 

The upside is that you can use the Internet bread crumbs in your favor by posting positive material that reinforces the image you want to convey. People like to see the humanity behind a person’s name, so posting favorite quotes, movies, and philosophical views can be positive if that’s the image you want to convey—especially when it’s congruent with your inner self. Sharing a personal story through your site profiles and revealing what you care about can go a long way. Even microblogging updates about what you are doing right now can enhance your Net Rep as long as they are true and not too abundant (e.g. Preparing for marathon to help abused children; Finishing grant proposal for mental health study on career mobility; Attending professional economic conference; Going on hike and smelling the flowers.).

 

Managing a Net Rep can be a lot like tending a garden. Plant good and healthy seeds and maintain upkeep. Revisit sites you’ve joined and keep the content positive. If people have posted negative things about you, make positive public comments or delete the profile if you’re getting harassed. You can also combat a negative posting through increased positive postings by colleagues and friends. Ask for public referrals, recommendations, and testimonials. Be professional and courteous with all of your postings—even in listserves. People across the world are watching, so communicate on the Internet with caution and wisdom.


Your $5 a Month Personal Coach for Health, Wealth & Happiness

What one thing do clients get the most out of our sessions? New positive thought processes. While I can work with clients on issues that are unique to them and their circumstances, I have found repeating patterns among many - especially in these current economic conditions. Fear has been at an all time high right now as people fear losing their savings, jobs, homes, and primary relationships. This is made worse because fearful thoughts form deep neural pathways of negative thinking that reinforce and actually manifest the very thing that's feared ("self-fulfilling prophecy"). The flip side is that you can focus on what you want and create it in your life, like Walt Disney's famous quote "If you can dream it, you can do it."

Many know this, but few achieve it. Why? There are a few reasons. People get distracted and respond to issues in the moment. Fear and negative thinking are difficult to override. The negative messages in the environment (sometimes referred to as the "real world") compete with positive intentions. Over time, people go back to their normal way ("set point") of thinking and believing. For those who can afford it, coaching helps and keeps people on a path that overcomes these obstacles. Yet, not everyone can afford a coach. In addition, coaches cannot be with their clients 24 hours a day.
I'm so excited to share that we have a NEW SOLUTION for you! We have developed InstantMotivator.com to serve as your personal coach. Simply visit the site and create an account to send a motivational message as a text message to your phone at any time interval you select. Some clients have used "I have more money than I can imagine" and had it sent to their phone every three hours. They meditate and imagine it's true every time they see the message...and guess what? It's been working for them. Others have used it to connect to and nurture their inner child, creating peace and healing old emotional wounds. Still others have used it to reignite the love and passion in their relationships. The service is limitless and you can change the message any time to work on a new manifestation or healing. Please visit the site and see the affirmation examples as well. For $5 a month, it'll be the best investment you've made for yourself.
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Secret to Entrepreneurial Endurance

Entrepreneurs take risks. Good entrepreneurs take the right risks and reap rewards. Some of these rewards include monetary success, freedom, satisfaction, meaning, purpose and a bunch of other highly individual aspects that come from reaching one’s goal. However, not all is rosy for any entrepreneur. Taking risks has costs. Families may not be as supportive. Friends can frustrate through cajoling and competitiveness. Even the entrepreneur can get deflated with their own internal voice that chides in the middle of the night, “When are you going to settle down and get a REAL job?”
If you’re an entrepreneur and can relate to any of this, you might be wondering if it’s possible to decrease the costs of risk-taking while increasing the benefits. It IS…and the secret lies in HOW you take the risk.
First, and something I see with A LOT of entrepreneurs, is the ENORMOUS amount of TIME that’s put into busy work. STOP. I understand that taking risks as an entrepreneur can be scary. It feels worse when people around you don’t understand and can’t offer support (which is critical and essential for anyone to succeed). Busy work makes it worse and increases the costs of risk-taking. To avoid this, you’ll have to understand why people engage in costly busy work.
Typically, when people feel any form of anxiety, they try to decrease the anxiety with some kind of action. Often, it’s just plain busy work that’s not really effectively productive. Rather, it’s an anxiety release that just feels productive. It’s actually not too far off from obsessive-compulsive disorder (as displayed in the show, Monk)…one feels anxiety about something like, say, germs on their hands, so they “obsess” about the germs and then “compulsively” wash their hands repeatedly to relieve the anxiety about the germs. Not that dissimilarly, an entrepreneur can fear lack of money or success from the risk-taking nature of their entrepreneurial pursuits…and then obsesses about it…and then compulsively engage in busy work to relieve the fear/anxiety.
Examples of these anxiety-relievers (busy work) include:
• Spending way too much time writing volumes and volumes of a business plan instead of getting in front of faces of investors
• Spending a lot of time making calls to unqualified leads
• Wasting more time than necessary on elaborate filing systems, detailed databases, and other minutiae (remember, the devil is in the details)
• Talking to the same people over and over again instead of meeting new people and making new leads
• Cleaning, filing, procrastinating, and other time-consuming activities that are not resulting in sales
Here’s the secret—and it’s a paradox—when you work EFFICIENTLY, you actually INCREASE your FREE TIME. Having more of that allows you to spend your time with loved ones and nurture relationships so that those relationships can then provide you with the necessary support to keep you going. It’s that simple—prioritize your time and use it efficiently and wisely. If you’re still having difficulty with fear and busy-work or you’re not getting the critical support you need, feel free to contact me for a little coaching and we’ll work on a plan of action that fits your specific needs and situation.

Changing Careers an American Tradition

I often remind clients that the average person changes careers 5-7 times in their lifetime. Some think it’s a new phenomenon, but take a look at what de Toqueville observed about Americans in 1831…

Excerpt from Alexis de Toqueville’s “Democracy in America”…

The inhabitants of the United States experience all of the wants and all the desires that result from an advanced civilization; and as they are not surrounded, as in Europe, by a community skillfully organized to satisfy them, they are often obliged to procure for themselves the various articles that education and habit have rendered necessities. In America it sometimes happens that the same person tills his field, builds his own dwelling, fashions his tools, makes his shoes, and weaves the coarse stuff of which his clothes are composed. This is prejudicial to the excellence of the work, but it powerfully contributes to awaken the intelligence of the workman. Nothing tends to materialize man and to deprive his work of the faintest trace of mind more than the extreme division of labor. In a country like America, where men devoted to special occupations are rare, a long apprenticeship cannot be required from anyone who embraces a profession. The Americans therefore change their means of gaining livelihood very readily, and they suit their occupations to the exigencies of the moment. Men are to be met with who have successfully been lawyers, farmers, merchants, ministers of the Gospel, and physicians. If the American is less perfect in each craft than the European, at least there is scarcely any trade with which he is utterly unacquainted. His capacity is more general, and the circle of his intelligence is greater.

(Vol 1, 425)


A Must-Read for Career & Leadership Success

People often ask me for a book recommendation that will help them or their team overcome self-defeating behaviors that sabotage their success. For instance, have you or someone you know ever battled with procrastination and missed a critical deadline? Or perhaps you can relate to those that are trying to cultivate courage to leave a secure but unsatisfying job. Maybe you or an employee is struggling with defensiveness and being closed off which causes one to become ostracized from the team and miss out on promotions. There's also the other groups of folks that you might relate to that are afraid of confrontation and have trouble speaking out in meetings or experience extreme difficulty in letting an ineffective employee go. All of these situations and more are addressed in a fabulous book that is sure to be one of your favorite resources for yourself and those you're leading. It's "Get Out of Your Own Way at Work...and Help Others Do the Same" by best selling author Mark Goulston, M.D. Dr. Goulston is a revered business consultant and psychiatrist who writes the syndicated column "Solve Anything with Dr. Mark" for the Tribune Company papers and Fast Company. Moreover, he's the kind of respectable and inspiring leader that walks the talk of providing strong leadership mixed with genuine empathy. He has mastered quality of life balance and can help you do the same. You'll like his practical advice, usable insights and wisdom on wellness.


Studies Reveal Differences in Artists & Engineers, Republicans & Democrats

My first career was in engineering (environmental), so I was particularly interested in a recent study published in The Career Development Quarterly that described thinking style differences of artists and engineers. Now, while you might immediately react with a "Duh! Of course artists and engineers are different!," look a little more closely at these differences and notice how one could have difficulties if they ended up in the wrong field.

First, artists and engineers have high visual-spatial abilities in common, so it could be easy to translate that skill into a more lucrative field (e.g. a variety of engineering jobs...not to mention that the U.S.A. needs more scientists and engineers). But this is where the commonality stops.

Engineers, as the study confirmed, think linearly and hierarchically and prefer a highly prioritized thinking style. Engineers also do extraordinarily well in carrying out the plans of others. (task-driven, follow the rules...in order).

Artists, on the other hand, did better without rules and input from others. They also displayed more emotionality, introspection, and had higher aesthetic interests.

What are the potential dangers if one thinking style ended up in a different thinking-style field? If an engineer style were in an art field, they could be branded as "in of the box" (uncreative) and could flounder if not given a strict set of rules to follow. The artist style in an engineering field could be perceived as difficult to work with and too emotional. Over time, the employee's confidence and self worth could decline if the labels are introjected (accepted and reinforced through negative self-talk). Ideally, organizations could grow to embrace both styles and value the differences of each—which could lead to improved products and output, but generally one style dominates organizational culture and flow.


EEGs of Democrats & Republicans
Interestingly, artists and engineers weren't the only group to be found with differences. A study published in Nature Neuroscience revealed neural activity differences in Republicans and Democrats. Electroencephalographs (EEGs) were performed while study participants engaged in a Go/No-Go decision task in an effort to measure their "conflict monitoring." EEGs revealed that liberals had a higher tolerance for ambiguity (able to shift gears/adapt to quick changes) while conservatives displayed more structure and consistency (persistence).


Employees & Family Roles: More Similar than You Think

You can't be heard if someone isn't listening. Similarly, you can't be in charge if people aren't following. Harvard University JFK School of Government lecturer Barbara Kellerman is releasing a new book next month about followers, Followership: How Followers Are Creating Change and Changing Leaders. (You can read an adaptation in the latest Harvard Business Review.) Kellerman describes five types of followers in an organization that are strikingly similar to roles in a family system. "Isolates" are detached and practically invisible to the organization, only doing what is needed in order to get by and with zero enthusiasm. "Bystanders" will go along passively as long as it serves their best interest, but are not motivated to engage. "Participants" invest their time and energy into their jobs and the organization's mission and can be strong supporters of the leadership or can create dissension by opposing leadership. "Activists" feel even stronger one way or the other and can work on behalf of their leaders or work hard to undermine them. Finally, "diehards" are rare, deeply devoted and prepared to go down for their cause. She suggests that whistleblowers can even be a type of diehard.

Family roles that are similar include the hero child. This is usually the first born and the one that takes the lead, accepts responsibility and is often the overachiever and star in the family. There is also the rebel, which is often the second born child. This role gets filled by rebelling against the hero and acting out in self-destructive ways. The next child may fill the role of the clown or mascot and is the person that tries to get the group together with humor. Their focus is on keeping the family bond united. The last child role in the family literature is the lost child. This one doesn't have an active role to fill and becomes almost invisible or agreeable to the point of not voicing their needs or desires.

How are these similar? Notice the continuum of participation. The hero child might be more like the diehard, activist or participant (or leader!) that steps us, takes the lead and derives satisfaction from doing a great job. Rebelling against the leadership can be indicative of both a hero and a rebel (depending on the leadership). Bystanders, and to some degree participants, can be like the clown/mascot and get involved when it serves their best interest (status quo). The lost child has obvious linkages to the isolates.

The theory behind the family roles is that one role gets filled by one child and squeezes the other children out, leaving them to find different roles. In other words, there's only room for one hero, so children find a way to differentiate themselves. Traditional hierarchical structures (in families and organizations) can reinforce the rigidity of these roles. Think of family heirlooms and legacies that have been reserved for the first born...or the big corner office for top performers. Often a healthy solution in a family is to cultivate the sharing of roles by rewarding the "hero" in each child. Give quality time and attention to each child and recognize their unique talents. In an organization, everyone can be given a voice by allowing employees to share their insights in a safe way (via satisfaction surveys, anonymous comments & suggestions, team meetings, open-door policies, etc.). In addition, in large organizations randomized coffee chats (via a lottery type system) can be instituted that unites leadership with different employees across the vertical and horizontal lines of the organization. Like good parenting, equal opportunity to access of being heard might foster improved team relations and positive participation among all role-players.


Get HELP for Toxic Workplaces

As some of you know, my company, Encompass Work & Family, was born out of my continued experience with clients that are significantly impacted by their work. Think military, physicians, high-tech start-ups, etc. However, there's another person that is even more affected by their work--the person who gets bullied.

There's another word for describing abuse and harassment in the workplace that is widely understood and addressed in Europe and is just beginning to gain recognition in the United States. It is called Mobbing and is “aggression used against ‘anyone’…using harassing, abusive and often terrorizing behaviors” (from Davenport et. al.'s "Mobbing: Emotional Abuse in the American Workplace"). It is intentional and used to force a person out of the workplace. It happens over time and often gains momentum to the point of no return. It is dangerous for the employee and has been referred to as a “cancer” in an organization.

The five phases of Mobbing include:

1 Conflict
2 Aggressive Acts
3 Management Involvement
4 Branding as Difficult or Mentally Ill
5 Expulsion

Some specific behaviors in the five phases described by Dr. Heinz Leymann may include:

1 Impacting Self Expression and Communication (your supervisor or colleagues restrict your expression; you are constantly interrupted; you are yelled at or scolded; your work is constantly criticized; your private life is constantly criticized; you are terrorized on the phone; verbal or written threats are made)
2 Attack on One’s Social Relations (people do not speak to you anymore; you cannot speak to anyone and/or access is denied; your work space is isolated; colleagues are forbidden to talk to you; you are treated as invisible)
3 Attack on Your Reputation (people talk badly behind your back; unfounded rumors circulate; you are ridiculed; you are treated as if you’re mentally ill; you’re forced to undergo psychiatric evaluation; people imitate your walk, voice, gestures or ridicule you; your nationality is ridiculed; your decisions are always questioned; you are called demeaning names; sexual innuendo)
4 Attacks on the Quality of One’s Professional and Life Situation (there are no special tasks for you; supervisors take away assignments; you are given meaningless jobs to carry out; you are given tasks below your qualifications; you are continuously given new tasks; you are given tasks that affect your self-esteem; you are given tasks far beyond your qualifications as a way to discredit you; causing general damages that create financial costs to you; damaging your home or workplace)
5 Direct Attack on Person’s Health (you are forced to do a physically strenuous job; threats of physical violence are made; light violence is used to threaten you; physical abuse; outright sexual harassment)

Mobbing is more injurious than a physical wound because the effects are deep and can be traumatic. It also strikes all levels within an organization (top to bottom, side to side). Like a burn it has been described as having three degrees of impact:

Mobbing of the 1st degree—The person escapes with minimal impact. They are rehabilitated in the same workplace or gain employment somewhere else.

Mobbing of the 2nd degree—Person cannot leave immediately and suffers from temporary or long-term mental and physical difficulty, most often experiencing difficulties re-entering the workforce.

Mobbing of the 3rd degree—The person is impacted to the point of not being able to return to the workplace. Physical and mental injuries are beyond rehabilitation unless specialized treatment protocol is applied.

Solutions to Mobbing are multi-pronged. Laws protect people the in fifth phase of Leymann’s description, but could still improve (some states are adopting more thorough protection). The media can help promote awareness. Further research can also help with building awareness and testing treatment and prevention measures. Management, human resources and organizational consultants should have training in this area for prevention and abatement. While Employee Assistance Program (EAP) professionals are sought out during Mobbing situations, not all employers promote the same level of confidentiality, so the EAP professional may not always serve the employee’s best interest. In addition, they may perpetuate the blame on the employee by not conducting a systemic assessment or understanding the damage from Mobbing.

In closing, Davenport describes a healthy workplace where “Leaders empower, affirm and appreciate their co-workers… (and where) Employees…participate in decision-making, feel appreciated, and have a sense of belonging.”

To learn more about Mobbing, Mobbing Syndrome, Identification and Prevention, please feel free to contact me at Kimberly@EncompassWF.com. To learn a little more about depression (a common effect of Mobbing), see my blog entry from August 20, 2007.


7% of U.S. Workers have Depression, Costing $30-$44 Billion in Losses Each Year

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) Report has released findings that 7% of U.S. workers (aged 18-64) experienced a major depressive episode in the last year. Report estimates reveal depression in the workplace costs U.S. companies $30 to $44 billion dollars per year. In addition, the research shows that depression rates in the workplace vary by occupation. The highest rates for depressive episodes in women were found in food preparation and serving related occupations (14.8%) while the highest rates for men experiencing a depressive episode were in the arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media occupations (6.7%). The lowest rates of depressive episodes in both men and women were found in the life, physical, and social science occupations (2.3% for males and 7.2% for females).

The NSDUH Report is an annual survey sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA).


College Students: Take a Career Course for Career Success

Did you know that a number of researchers through the years (most recently, Osborn, Howard & Leirer) found that students benefited when they took a career course in college? Students who took such courses had fewer problems with career indecision and other negative traits. In addition, students had increased self-esteem, vocational identity AND even higher graduation rates! So, go enroll in that career course and who cares if it'll cause you to earn an extra credit or two. It'll pay off!

Don't fret if you didn't go to college or if you've already finished. Try seeing a career counselor. You can contact me directly or look up a counselor in your area with the NBCC Counselor Locator.