Don’t Let These Roadblocks Delay Your Career

Don’t Let These Roadblocks Delay Your Career

In the landscape of your career there are a lot of pot holes and pitfalls you can fall into. It’s impossible to predict most of these, but some of them are avoidable if you know what to look for. Here are three career roadblocks to watch out for.

 

Choosing the less challenging route

Sometimes we get the job we absolutely want. Other times we settle for a job that’s okay and think of it as a meantime job. That’s all well and good unless the meantime job turns into the all-the-time job. It’s easy to get comfortable with a regular paycheck and an easy job and forget it’s not what we had planned for ourselves.

 

Go on like that too long and breaking the cycle of comfort becomes harder and harder until it doesn’t seem worth the effort at all. Others around you have qualifications and experience you simply never got in your meantime job. Then you don’t feel comfortable joining the race for the job you want anymore.

 

If you are in a meantime job set time limits. Continue renewing your qualifications. Keep getting experience that will help you in get the job you actually want.

 

Allowing yourself to be controlled by your career

Another thing that can happen to people who find themselves in a less than ideal job is that they’re actually really good at it. They end up getting promoted. Then given more responsibilities, and ultimately become really good at something they have no desire to continue doing.

 

It’s important to stay vigilant in regards to what you want from your career and your life and do your own steering!

 

Being too humble

Being modest is lovely, but in a career sense, you can’t sit back and let other people take credit for the things you do, or allow extra effort you put it to go unnoticed.

 

Be proud of your accomplishments and the person you are. Let people know how great you are at your job, and watch your career pull ahead!

Why You Should Think Like An Artist

Why You Should Think Like An Artist

What has art got to do with my career you may ask? Well if you think about it, thinking like an artist can help you advance your career.  Here’s why:

 

Innovation

A painter can not go around reproducing old works and expect to be successful. Neither can a musician go around pounding out the same tunes over and over, or a writer keep on churning out variations of the same sentence. In order to get anywhere in their careers, artists always have to think outside the box. The need to innovate.

Out of the box thinking isn’t a fun bonus for an artist, it’s what they need to do to get anywhere with their careers.

Art is one of those things that’s constantly getting pushed forward – people get bored of what they’ve already seen, so there’s a lot of pressure to do something new.

So instead of relying on the tried and true of what you’ve done countless times before, treat your career like an artist would. Tell yourself if you don’t innovate, no one will care about what you’re doing. Try new approaches. Look at what you’re doing in a new light. Work like an artist.

Practice

Artists practice constantly. Musicians and visual artists and actors all put in hundreds of hours of practice time. Otherwise they won’t be able to complete with all the other aspiring artists out there.

Not only do artists need to be the very best to get any work at all, but they’re also incredibly passionate. They practice not only because they need to, but because they WANT to. Because it’s who they are.

Treat your job like that. Find a career you where you WANT to hone your skills, where practicing is both a necessity and a pleasure.

Portfolios

All successful artists ones have portfolios of work. Actors have reels, illustrators have binders and binders of art. That’s how they get jobs – by displaying previous, great work.

If you want to get ahead, get into the habit of keeping a portfolio of your work. Not specifically for the purpose of showing people, but for the purpose of organizing your career thus far in your mind. Write a sentence about each thing you’ve done, so you can keep track of exactly what that accomplishment meant for the project and for you

That way, when the time for an  interview comes, or you need to tailor your resume to a certain job, you can think back to your portfolio. “What Have I done that applies? What should I include?” It’s all at your fingertips.

 

Think like an artist and watch your life turn into a work art before you.

Where To Look For A Mentor

Where To Look For A Mentor

Where To Look For A Mentor

As much as we might think we’ve got a pretty good handle on our lives and our careers, sometimes the help of a mentor is just what we need to get things moving with stronger direction and purpose. Whether you’re in sales or marketing or accounting or script writing, there are people who have been where you are. People who have more experience and insights than you. And who would be willing to share what they’ve learned to help you navigate the road ahead.

What exactly are you looking for?

The first step is determining exactly what you want help with. Has it got to do with a specific aspect of your career? With getting into a particular industry? With something more basic like getting organized? The more specific you are the easier it will be for you to find someone to help.

Your immediate circle

Once you know the aspect of your life or career where you want help, start by figuring out if you or someone you know (friend, neighbour, family member), knows someone with that particular skill.

Finding these pre-existing connections can be a huge help. From there you can impress them with your enthusiasm and willingness to learn and discuss the possibility of creating a more long-term relationship.

Human resources

Many larger corporations actually offer mentorship programs. Check and see if that’s available in your workplace or even if the HR person knows of someone in the organization with whom they could make an introduction.

Demonstrate your potential

One of the best ways of finding a mentor is by demonstrating that you are someone another person would be interested in helping along.  People will be more willing to consider mentoring you if they’ve seen examples of your work and your willingness to work. Get noticed by people ahead of you in your field.

Once you’ve got their attention don’t immediately jump in with a request for swaths of their time and attention. Offer to buy them a coffee.  Ask for some advice.

Be of benefit

From there you can offer to help them in some way. Maybe you could do some work for them for free and learn a few things while getting into their good books. A mentor/mentee relationship starts with a relationship.

Once you have a relationship established you can go on to asking for more advice and then depending how it goes, maybe some more.

You probably won’t get a mentor overnight, but by keeping lines of communication open with people from different aspects of your life you will be someone others are interested in helping.

Why You Need A Personal Mission Statement

Why You Need A Personal Mission Statement

Maybe you want to be an extraordinary sales person. Maybe you want to head an IT department, maybe you want to be everyone’s favorite airline attendant.  Before rushing headlong in pursuit of your ambition, make sure it’s something you would actually be happy doing.

 

Assess your strengths

To help you clarify whether or not this thing you want to do is actually something you can excel at, and something you’ll enjoy doing long term, you should start by asking yourself a few questions:

  1. What do I most enjoy doing?
  2. If I could have any job in the world what would it be?
  3. If money was out of the equation what would I choose to be doing?
  4. What do I excel at?

Hopefully you can use the answers to these questions to determine the right direction for your life. You want to find something you’re motivated about committing yourself to.

 

Ask yourself where you want to be in five years. In ten years. What kind of people do you most admire? Who would you like to emulate?

 

Create a personal mission statement

Creating a personal mission statement will help ensure this plan you have for what you want to do actually jibes with the things you find important in life. If you want to be an entrepreneur, but you also want to be home for dinner every night, with defined hours so you can pursue extracurricular activities, you’re going to run into some problems.

 

Your mission statement should be a clear description of your end goal and the person you intend to be in the process of accomplishing it.  For example, you might say. “I intend to be the most successful salesperson in the North East. I will accomplish this through my intense focus on customers, my infectious positive attitude and my continuing efforts towards self improvement.”

 

Use the mission statement to constantly asses how your actions and interactions measure up to your stated goal.

 

Define long term and short term goals

Don’t simply think of this as a wish-list of things you’d like to accomplish. Think of yourself in terms of resources (time and energy) that can be allocated in different directions to achieve your objectives. How do you maximize each of those resources in pursuit of those goals? What unique talents can you bring to a situation that will lead to successful results? If you don’t feel like you already have that unique talent, what will you do to create it?

 

Your talents will be put to best use when you evaluate your strengths and weaknesses then use what you learn to get really good at doing something you really like.

Surprising Benefits of Failure

Surprising Benefits of Failure

Would you ever go out of your way to choose failure? No of course not, no one wants to fail. Failing feels bad and can make us doubt ourselves and what we’re capable of. No one wants to fail, but everyone does fail sometimes. Counter intuitive as it may seem people who have great success actually fail a lot, because it’s impossible to get to the top all in one go.

Not wanting to fail doesn’t mean we should fear failure or try to avoid it because once we do either of those things we create limits for ourselves. In an attempt to avoid failure we won’t strive as high as we want to, in a misguided belief that it’s better to be a success in a so-so playing field than a failure among the stars. But if you don’t strive for the best you can never know what your best can be.

Great benefit of failure

It’s all a matter of perception. Instead of thinking of failure as an end result, or a lack of success we need to reframe it as another stepping stone on the way to success. A pit stop for learning. A chance to re-group and do better. Nothing teaches us how to do something as well as doing it wrong, and learning from that.  A failure means our next attempt will be stronger, more on point, better planned. If that attempt fails, it’s an opportunity to try again, with increased knowledge and skill.

Keep your attitude

A failure can only bring you down if you let it. You are the one in charge of your feelings and your perceptions. You can take the failure for what it is, an opportunity, or you can label it as an indication that you are not good enough and you should just stop trying right now and never bother trying anything again.

If you let it, failure will distort your perceptions about your abilities and your chances for success. Check out these 10 surprising facts about failure from Psychology Today.

In the words of Sun Tzu, “If you know your enemy and you know yourself you need not fear the results of a hundred battles.” Believe in your strengths and know that failure in no way diminishes your chances for success. Instead, see failure for what it is. An opportunity for learning and growth.

Failure keeps you sharp and strong

When a person succeeds immediately that success is easy to take for granted. That successful-off-the-bat person may only give 80% going forward because they have a sense of entitlement. When something comes easily it’s simply not perceived as highly as something that took more work, or struggle.

On the flip side, when someone fails once or twice or ten times on the way to success, that success, once reached is all the sweeter. Because that success means more, the person does more to protect it. They work harder going forward, they appreciate everyone that helped them along the way even more. They’re more apt to help the next person in line behind them with their struggles.

Failure opens your eyes to other possibilities

Aside from providing learning opportunities, failure also forces us to look at alternatives we may not have otherwise considered. If plan A doesn’t work but we’re serious about our success, then we’ll often start looking for other ways to achieve our end goal. Oftentimes those other ways turn out to be better or more efficient than our first choice, and we never would have come to them without that failure pushing us forward.

In the article, Lessons on Success: 3 Reasons Why Failing is Good Monster.com sums it up this way. “Success is good but failure is better.”

On the way to the monumental success she’s famous, JK Rowling describes herself as having failed to an epic degree. She says failure helps strip away the inessential and creates determination. She sums it up her feelings about failure this way: “The knowledge that you have emerged wiser and stronger from setbacks means that you are ever after secure in your ability to survive. You will never truly know yourself or the strength of your relationships until both have been tested by adversity.”

Make An Impact By Planning Your Conversations

Make An Impact By Planning Your Conversations

All of us have conversations all day long, but when we have an important piece of information to convey rather than just diving in like with any other conversation, it’s better to plan ahead.

 

The importance of the beginning

Whether speaking to a group or an individual, how you start is of utmost importance because it’s the first impression of that conversation. Those first few seconds are going to set the tone of what follows. They’re going to be a huge determinant of whether the person or persons you’re speaking to are going to pay attention and care about what you’re about to say or whether they’re going to mentally check out.

 

Before you start speaking you should know where you want to start and where you want to end. By the time you’re into the crux of what you want to say, you want your listeners leaning forward mentally, and emotionally prepared to take it in.

 

There are several ways for you to grab the audience or person you’re speaking to.

 

Well thought out compliments

A sincere, well thought out compliment shows them that you’ve been paying attention to them and they will reciprocate by paying attention back to you.

 

Attention grabbing facts

Get the most important or riveting fact about what you’re going to say out right away. Capture their attention. We broke sales records last month and I know exactly how we can do it again this month.

 

If there’s recently been any news related to what you’re about to say, have a tangible, physical copy of it there with you, so you can show it to the person, let them hold it in their hands or pass it amongst themselves as tangible proof of what you’re saying.

 

A smiling face

Pay attention to what your face is doing. Some people naturally smile all the time, others don’t. It doesn’t mean the smiling person is always happy and the more neutral faced person only rarely feels enthusiastic about anything, it’s simply where their face naturally falls. If you want to engage the person or people you’re speaking to, make a conscious effort to smile. Welcome them into your space.

 

You already know what you want to say. Instead of focusing on yourself, focus on the person or people in front of you. Look confident, build up positive expectations, take charge while staying authentic and humble.

 

 

Find common ground

Find commonalities between you and the ones you’re speaking to. Personal or professional, it doesn’t matter. These commonalities are a bridge to close the distance between you and them, while also serving as a conduit into the main topic of discussion you’re about to go into.

Budget Yourself to A Better Financial Situation

Budget Yourself to A Better Financial Situation

You know you make enough to have a little something extra at the end of every month. Yet somehow or other that extra money evaporates away into – who knows what!

 

Some people are organized and disciplined enough to create and stuck to a budget using no more than pen and paper. Or a spread sheet on their computer. Others of us need a little more help. That’s where budgeting apps come in. We’ve sourced a few for you to check out:

 

Mint

Mint is the go-to app for anyone new to budgeting. The app brings all of a user’s bills and accounts together. Including loans, credit accounts, bank accounts and creates budgets tailored to the user.

 

Mint features reminders for upcoming bills and warnings when funds are low.  It also provides access to unlimited free credit scores – along with tips to improve it. By classifying the budget into categories like “Shopping” and “Entertainment” users can determine if it’s possible to save by cutting back in specific areas of their lives.

 

YNAP

 

According the website of YNAP or You Need a Budget, the app will help teach you how to manage your money and get ahead. Their motto is, “Give every dollar a job.” The app is all about prioritizing the allotment of funds, then creating a plan to meet those priorities and following the plan. It’s especially great for helping people reach specific financial goals.

 

PocketGuard

 

The idea behind PocketGuard is to help you track your spending by linking credit cards, bank accounts, investments and loans in one place to see the big picture. By updating and categorizing your transactions as they happen, the app enables you to understand where your money is going and discover opportunities to save. PocketGaurd helps you build a personalized budget based on your income, bills and goals.

 

Albert

Once you’ve connected all your financial accounts to the app, Albert builds a unique budget based on your income, spending habits and goals and automates your finances. It notifies you when you are overpaying and helps you cut costs.

 

Users can text The Albert Genius anytime. (A team of human financial experts) The geniuses alert you to savings you’re missing, identify bills you’re overpaying, help you pay down debt faster and custom-tailor a financial plan for you. The app analyzes your income and spending every day and sets aside small amounts of money you can save safely.

 

Wally

Comparing income to expenses, , Wally helps users understand where their money goes and set and achieve goals by keeping track of daily details. To do that Wally gives users a 360 view of their money, what goes in, what goes out what has been saved. The app is free and available for both iPhone and android users.

 

Goodbudget

For people who want to try envelope budgeting without a paper envelope, Goodbudget is the answer. Each month users earmark their money for specific purposes and distribute it into virtual envelopes like groceries, accommodation, utilities etc.

 

Throughout the month they transfer money from the envelope to its designated purpose. It helps the user see exactly where their money is going every month. The app can be shared with partners across different platforms so it’s great for couples who want to pool resources toward designated expenses.