Use The Art of War to Win The Battle For Your Career

Use The Art of War to Win The Battle For Your Career

How, you might think, is a book about waging war relevant to your career? Here are a few things everyone can from “The Art of War” by Sun Tzu.

“Know the enemy and know yourself; in a hundred battles you will never be in peril.

Imagine if you prepared for every situation, job interview, resume writing, discussion you’re your boss, conversation with your co-worker as if your life and the lives of the people around you depended on it. You would go into every situation, having thoroughly researched what’s going on, and armed with a meticulous plan. If that was the case, you would never find yourself in trouble because you would be prepared for all contingencies. Knowledge is power and always has been.

 “To be prepared beforehand for any contingency is the greatest of virtues.”


That means exactly what it sounds like. Always have a backup. When pure knowledge isn’t enough, have a way around whatever problems that the world flings at you. Never be caught in a weak moment of not knowing what to do. Always have a plan A and a plan B and if necessary, a plan C

 “When one treats people with benevolence, justice and righteousness, and reposes confidence in them, the army will be united in mind and all will be happy to serve their leaders.”

This is advice for someone in a position of some kind of power, but it is a good reminder for your professional life in general: always treat people with respect.

If you show faith in the people around you, they will work harder to deserve that faith.

Be prepared, have a backup plan, treat people as best you can

Essentially you should prepare for life and your career by educating yourself, having a backup plan and treating people in the best way possible.

These three tips just barely skim relevant wisdom in an ancient book The Art of War is one of those books everyone should read at least once.

Use Yourself as Your Benchmark for Success

Use Yourself as Your Benchmark for Success

Sometimes I look at the people I admire and think about how much I’d like to be like them or if possible – better than them? What would that be like?  To have even more success than the people I aspire to emulate. Other times I think about people who I’d really actually like to better. The ones whose success I resent because I’m pretty sure I’m more competent than they are.


Wasted energy

Aspiring to be like the people who inspire us is a good starting point as we set out on our quest for success. Setting ourselves into competition against those whose talents we believe we surpass can certainly fuel us forward. The problems start to show up when those other people we are working to emulate or beat take up too much of our mental space.


The time you spend thinking about other people and dwelling on what they did/are doing/will do is time you could have spent thinking about what you should be doing. Why waste energy thinking about someone else when you could be using that valuable commodity (your mental energy) thinking about yourself?


Make your future self the person you aspire to become

Imagine yourself already having achieved everything you aspire to. Future you has all the qualities you envision for current you. Current you is the person you want to better, the one you want to beat on your way to reaching future you.


By casting yourself as the hero of your story AND the person you are competing against, the person you end up focusing all your energies on is YOU. You are constantly thinking about ways to better yourself to reach tomorrow you. About ways to get to your destination faster than yesterday you.


Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to better yourself every day, on the way to becoming your best self.

Smile! Your Life is About to Improve

Smile! Your Life is About to Improve

You know the old adage, fake it till you make it? How you’re supposed to live like the person you want to one day become. Carry yourself as you would were you already the successful, established person you aspire to be. Wear the clothes you will wear. Speak with the authority engendered by your many successes. Set the stage for this person you are cultivating to enter – and eventually they will take their place under the spot light.


The life changing smile

That whole faking it till you’re making it thing can start with something so easy babies regularly do it. Smile!


Whether you are smiling because you are genuinely happy or because you just plastered one on your face, you are flooding your body with feel good chemicals – dopamine, serotonin and endorphins. You automatically feel good and more relaxed.


Two way mirror

A smile is like a two-way mirror. In general, you smile because you’re feeling good. At the same time when you smile you actually make yourself feel good. And while you’re going around feeling good you’re also more energetic, which helps you become more productive.


A round for the house

Not only are those smiles you’re going around wearing helping you feel good, they’re also bringing smiles and feel good feelings to everyone around you. Smiles are contagious. Smiling faces all around, people are more inclined to like each other.


Not only that, according to the article 9 Superpowers of Your Smile  from Psychology Today, smiling can make you seem courteous, likeable and competent. So if there are projects upcoming or opportunities in the offing, the person who is conceived of as likable and competent will most likely be chosen over their less captivating counterparts.


So smile and watch your world smile around you!

Take The Time To Make The Most of Your Next Interview

Take The Time To Make The Most of Your Next Interview

You’ve already got your next interview scheduled. You might think you’ve got what it takes to go there and wing it. If so you’ll most likely be knocked off your perch by others who took the time to prepare.


Write down the most relevant things you want to convey at the interview

There are things you want to ensure the person doing the interview knows about you. If you just think about them, there’s a spectacular chance they’ll fly out of your head when you come face to face with the interviewer. If you write them out before hand and read them a few times before the interview, they’ll dance out of your mouth at the appropriate time like choreographed works of art.


Take timing into consideration

There’s a thing called decision fatigue that comes over people as the day wears on. Essentially everyone has a finite amount of decision making capacity throughout the day. As the day wears on decisions become harder to make and the quality of decision making deteriorates. When booking your interview do your best to get yourself scheduled earlier in the day when the interviewer is still at their decision making peak.


Invest in business cards

You might think the only people who carry business cards around are the ones who already have jobs, but that’s not necessarily the case. Rather than thinking of it as a business card, think of it as a calling card. Something to set you apart from the other candidates. A tangible reminder of who you are and what you’re all about. Include your name and all your contact information and a line or two about what you do. It’s a great way to make an impression and ensure the potential employer remembers who you are!


Create a field of positivity around yourself

Do all your homework in advance. Research the questions you think they’ll ask and your answers in the days before. Don’t do any more preparing the day of the interview. Go in knowing you are qualified and experienced and ready to take on new challenges. Ensure you arrive well before the interview, cool, calm and collected. Radiate positivity. Leave them wanting more!

The Cultivation of a Champion

The Cultivation of a Champion

Joe Frazier was the undisputed heavyweight champion from 1970 – 1973. Was he a champion before that? Yes absolutely!


Aspiring to the ring even as a kid, Joe filled an old burlap sack with rags, leaves corncobs and moss and hung it from a tree. Then, he says, “For the next 6, 7 years, damn near every day I’d hit that heavybag for an hour at a time. I’d wrap my hands with a necktie of my Daddy’s, or a stocking of my Momma’s or sister’s, and get to it.”


A champion is created through actions and thoughts

Every hour he spent hitting that heavybag, Joe Frazier was a champion. He was a champion every single day that he got up at the crack of dawn to start working out. Every moment he dedicated to practicing in the ring. All the times he visualized his craft. The times he saw himself winning. Every positive word he said to himself was a championship word. All the encouraging thoughts that beat through the negative ones were championship thoughts.


Champion in the making

Each of us is a champion in the making. When we choose to get out of bed and embrace the day rather than giving in to the whispers from our pillows to stay just a little longer. All the times we get back up after falling more times than we care to remember. Every day that we strive to be a little better than the day before is a champion making day.


Some of us will be publicly recognized for all our work and our achievements. Acknowledged champions. What about the rest of us? If no one hangs a medal from our necks does that mean our efforts were less commendable? That we are not champions? Absolutely not! As wonderful as it is to have our efforts recognized publicly the most important recognition comes from within. When you’ve completed a project to the best of your ability, or achieved a milestone you’ve been working toward or overcome a difficult situation, recognize yourself for the champion that you are!


On The Job Hunt? Clean Up Your Digital Footprint!

vOn The Job Hunt? Clean Up Your Digital Footprint!

With graduation vastly approaching, now is the best time to tighten up your online presence AKA your digital footprint. Everything you’ve ever done on the internet is probably still there and might not paint you in the best light. So before you send in those applications, spruce up those cover letters, and schedule interviews, make sure you are aware of how your online presence presents you.

What’s a digital footprint anyway?


A digital footprint encompasses all of your online activity. Everything from likes, comments, online purchases, and social media posts are all connected to your name on the internet. Every time you post something online, websites collect all of your information by installing cookies on whatever device you’re using. They can gather your login credentials, IP address, and any other personal information about you available online. All of these tidbits of information add up to your digital footprint. Whether it’s good or bad is up to you…


How do I clean up my digital footprint?


There are several ways to change and edit your digital footprint. As long as you take the time to be tedious and do your research, your footprint will look a lot cleaner and hopefully represent you in a more professional way. Get started with some of these tips:


Make strong & secure passwords:


It’s important to make strong and secure passwords to keep your digital footprint in check. These strong passwords can also enhance your online privacy. Create complex passwords that don’t include any personal information about you that people already know or could publicly see online. For example, any birthdays, birth years or even nicknames could easily be guessed by someone who has seen your information online. Try to use symbols and numbers to mix up your passwords, making them harder to guess. This includes using caps, @ signs, 0 instead of O, and so on. Don’t forget to change your passwords every couple months to ensure you are keeping your information secure from hackers.



Google yourself:


This may feel cliche or unnecessary, but don’t worry, it’s not. Google yourself using your full name and the shortened version of your name, if you have one. For example, try searching “Michael Owens” and “Mike Owens” to make sure you don’t miss anything that might be listed under your name. Pay attention to any questionable written content you wrote maybe in college or even earlier in your career that might get brought up during the job hunt. This can also include any of your social media posts. Check the first couple pages of Google to make sure everything you see is positive and professional. Don’t be afraid to try other search engines as well (Bing, Yahoo, etc.) so you can be sure all the information about you matches up.


Implement changes:


Now that you’ve done all the preliminary work to enhance and update your digital footprint, it’s time to start making the necessary changes. Assess your social media accounts first, since those will be the first area your future employers will most likely look into. A recent study showed that 54% of employers found content on social media that caused them not to hire a candidate. Make sure your usernames are appropriate and professional; “@sarahlovesbeer” should not be something a future employer sees when searching your name.


Browse through any old photos of you to see if any need to be removed from your profile or hidden from public view. Read through tweets and any status updates or location check-ins that you might not want future employers to see. Now is the perfect time to adjust your privacy settings if you haven’t in a while. There is always the option to make your social profiles private which means your personal information will be hidden from the public, except for a small profile picture and your name.


Taking the time to clean up your digital footprint should be just as much a priority as updating your resume. It’s essential to show the best version of yourself, and that starts with your online persona. Follow these steps to enter the job hunt ready and prepared for a successful future!

“To overcome difficulties is to experience the full delight of existence.” Arthur Schhopenhauer

"To overcome difficulties is to experience the full delight of existence." Arthur Schhopenhauer

Some projects are so difficult they make my brain hurt. There are hard deadlines that have to be met. Other people that need to be coordinated with. Details that can’t fall through the cracks. Lists. All dancing around the actual work itself. Dancing around all of that is the rest of life. Family, exercise (that I remind myself must be squeezed in) eating right.


The desert island of my imagination

When the going gets particularly difficult I imagine what it would be like to pick up and leave everything behind. I revel in the joys and peace of solitude on a desert island. However, since desert islands are out of my snack bracket I push through. And day after day things manage to get done.


The domino effect of accomplishment

As each part of the project falls into place, the next piece feels slightly more doable. Accomplishing leads to more accomplishing. Light begins to illuminate the way through the darkness of I’ll never get through this. The half way point is reached and inevitably the project is complete.


The delight of existence

The feeling of accomplishment of a completed project is better than the imagined joy of the desert island. It feels as great as the thought of everything involved in doing the project in the first place felt terrible.


That’s the thing about life. You cannot really understand light unless you understand dark. Happiness is far more tangible and strong when compared to sadness. The thrill of achievement is much stronger when set against the difficulties traveled through to get there. No one likes overcoming obstacles. Going through difficulties is stressful. We are not here to say difficulties are a good thing. What we are here to say is that there are benefits to going through them in terms of learning and growth. And that the taste of success is sweeter for the bitterness ingested along the way.