Tag: career transitions


Do You Want to Be More Confident in Your Career?

Whenever I meet with a potential career coaching client, one of the first questions I ask is, 

“What do you wish you had more of: time, money, or confidence?”

The majority of people respond with confidence as their top choice.

Confidence seems to elude so many people. 

Why is this?


Why does confidence elude us?

K. Ann Renninger, a professor at Swarthmore College has reported that, before the age of 8, children will try anything. 

It’s between the ages of 8 and 12 they start to compare themselves with their peers and then continue to do so throughout much of their adult life.

 If they’re not as good as their peers at something, they become insecure.

And insecurity is the opposite of confidence.


I find Renninger’s report fascinating. You’d think the older we get the more confident we’d become. 

I mean, the older we are, the more we know, and the more we’ve learned from our experiences.

But it’s so easy to fall into the comparison game. Especially in today’s culture when everyone posts their “best” on social media for all of us to see. 

Rarely do you see an Instagram post of someone looking or feeling their worst.

Therefore we often end up comparing our worst to others’ best, which is like comparing apples to oranges.


Career comparisons

I’ve found in my career coaching that comparison is also likely to increase when a person is going through a career transition. This includes:

  • When applying and interviewing for a new job against other candidates.
  • When competing for a promotion against another co-worker.
  • When starting a business that’s in competition with another business.

This is likely why so many of the people I talk to are craving more confidence.

This is especially so when they’ve tried to approach their career transition on their own and aren’t seeing anything come to fruition.

Either their resume is not getting them the interview, or their interview is not getting them the job offer. 

Their lack of negotiation skills is keeping them from landing the big promotion.

Or, their inability to articulate their personal brand is preventing them from getting their business off the ground.

Instead of looking for help to improve in these areas which can build their confidence, they start looking around wondering what their competition has that they don’t have. 

This is a waste of time and it breeds further insecurity.

More insecurity means less confidence. 

Less confidence means less career opportunities because no one wants to hire, promote, or invest in someone who isn’t confident.

And so the cycle begins.


Jamie’s Story

Jamie came to me feeling very defeated. On a scale of 1–10, her confidence level was at a 4, an all-time low for her.

That’s because she hadn’t been able to find a job in two and a half years. 

I’m surprised her confidence wasn’t even lower. 

Jamie was a in her late 20s/early 30s, a veteran who had proudly served her country, possessed an MBA, and had started her own animal rescue non-profit. Obviously she had mad skills!

But for some reason she wasn’t able to land a job offer, or sometimes even an interview, despite the fact she was applying to companies that claim they prefer to hire veterans.

Jamie’s comment to me was,

“Obviously I’m doing something wrong, but I haven’t been able to figure out what that is. Maybe you can show me.”

She knew there was something she was missing. She just didn’t know what that was. After two and a half years she recognized her need for someone to point out her blind spots and show her the way.


Jamie’s career “makeover”

When I began working with Jamie, it quickly became apparent that she just needed to make some small tweaks on her resume and learn some new interview skills she’d never previously learned.

There were some things she’d included on her resume that she thought were assets but instead were being viewed as liabilities by recruiters and hiring managers. I had her remove those from her resume immediately.

Just a couple days later Jamie got a call for an interview. Her first in several years. 

I spent a few sessions preparing her for the interview, teaching her the interview skills she lacked and doing mock interviews with her while providing feedback on how to improve.

Jamie:

“I had no idea until now what I’ve been doing wrong all this time!”

Me:

“Given what you’ve learned in these sessions, where on the scale of 1–10 is your confidence level now?”

Jamie:

“At least an 8!”


A week later, Jamie got the job offer. 

In fact, the gentleman who offered her the job commented,

“By the way, you gave a really good interview. I have a family member who has a job interview coming up. Do you think you could help her prepare for it?”


It doesn’t stop there.

After Jamie accepted the job offer, it was time to shift focus. 

I told her with her remaining sessions we could start positioning her for promotion at her new company if that was her goal. 

She said it was, but was told in her interview that new employees aren’t typically promoted until they’ve served a full 12 months. 

I told her that doesn’t mean we can’t start planning now. We worked on the things she needed to do in her first 90 days and within her first six months on the job.

Nine months later, Jamie was already being considered for promotion.


How to be more confident.

Jamie’s confidence started to grow after she admitted she didn’t know what she was doing wrong and sought help. It was this help that increased her confidence.

Undoubtedly, her new-found confidence carried over into her interview, resulting in a job offer and eventually a promotion! 

So if you’re struggling with confidence in your own career, whether it’s due to unemployment, being passed over for promotion, or stagnation in your business, try the following:

1. Pretend like you’re 7 years old again and stop comparing yourself to others. 

You can’t compare your journey to someone else’s because everyone is designed to have their own journey. 

Comparison is unproductive, so stop wasting your time and energy. 

If the only thing that helps you do this is avoiding social media, then do so. 


2. Admit what you don’t know. 

If you’re trying the same cookie-cutter approach to the job search or following the free career advice you Googled that’s as old as the Internet itself and you’re not seeing results, chances are there’s something else you should be doing that you’re totally unaware of. 

Admit it to yourself when things aren’t working.


3. Seek help. 

Especially if you haven’t interviewed or been through a career change in several years. 

Some things have probably changed since you last had to look for a job or last asked for a promotion. Starting a business of your own also has unique challenges in this current market. 

Seek experts who have experience in coaching others in career transition to reveal any blind spots you may have. They can help you make necessary changes and improvements to your approach.


4. Recognize your uniqueness. 

Your experiences and accomplishments make you unique from others who possess the same skills as you. 

It’s these unique experiences and how you articulate them in your job search, performance review, or client meetings that will help you market yourself. 


In conclusion

Doing the above will build your confidence and therefore break the cycle of low self-confidence. 

Don’t let two and half years go by like Jamie did. 

Click here to start now!

confidence

Mindfulness: How to Be More Successful By Living In the Moment

I was all harnessed up and clipped in to the cables at the new Adventure Park Nashville when it was time to step out onto my first tree-to-tree bridge element.

I paused for a second and thought, there’s no way I can do this. It seemed not only uncomfortable, but also scary.

mindfulness

In the past I’ve had no fear learning how to climb at various climbing gyms. I’ve never minded the heights and always loved getting to the top for the sense of accomplishment and so I could repel down (my favorite part!).

But this was different.

mindfulness

Instead of looking at the holds right in front of me or looking up to where I was going, I had to look DOWN to see where and how to get my footing. This made me realize how far off the ground I was. Also, when climbing walls or rocks, they don’t sway and move like the bridge elements do.

This was a whole new experience for me.

Trying Melts Away Fear

I was tempted to turn back before I’d even started. But, I knew I would not be happy with myself if I did.

I had to at least give it a try.

Besides I’m always preaching to my clients about doing things that take them out of their comfort zone, and I also live my life that way as much as possible. This was another reason why I couldn’t turn back.

After taking the first step, my fear melted away and I completely forgot about the distance between the ground and me.

I just took my time and put one foot in front of the other.

When I reached the end of the first bridge element, I became a little more confident. I did it!

mindfulness

Mindfulness: Learning to Live in the Moment

Even though there were several elements ahead of me, I had to take each of them one at a time, asking myself what’s the best way to get across without losing my balance.

My confidence grew and grew after successfully completing each element.

While working my way across one bridge, I couldn’t think about the next bridge. I had to stay focused on the moment. It’s the simple practice known as mindfulness.

This was an unexpected lesson, and also the biggest take away from the experience.

I never went into it thinking I’d learn mindfulness. I just thought it’d be fun to do something new and to be outside in nature.

But it was a lesson I really needed because I’m the type of person who’s always thinking ahead and planning ahead.

For instance, I eat dinner with the question bouncing around in my head, “What do I want to make for dinner tomorrow night?” instead of just enjoying the meal right in front of me.

I need to practice mindfulness and live in the moment more often.

Not only for my own benefit, but also because I want to serve as a positive example for my clients.

Avoid Thinking Too Far Ahead to the “What ifs?”

So many of my clients are facing career changes and life transitions.

They know they have some bridges to cross, whether it means moving from one career to another, moving from working for someone else to working for themselves, etc.

For them moving from one stage to the next can seem scary and nearly impossible at first.

The path to get from one stage to the next can appear very unstable. It may not be clear to them how they should proceed or what step they should take first.

They often start thinking ahead to the “What ifs?”

Instead of focusing on what’s within their control at this very moment, they’re asking:

  • “What if I don’t fit in with the people at a new company?”
  • “What if I’m not as successful in a new industry?”
  • “If my business idea fails what will I do?”

Gaining Stability in Your Career Transitions

What I quickly realized with each bridge element was what appeared to be “unstable” was actually very stable, especially when I did my part to make things more stable.

I wasn’t going to be able to keep the elements from swaying and moving. But, if I:

  • slowed down and focused on one element at a time,
  • kept a light grip on the cable so my hands could easily slide as I moved,
  • put one foot in front of the other while positioning my feet in a way that kept me balanced,
  • and shifted my body weight so it was working with the movement of the elements instead of against them,

I was able to get across a lot easier.

And if I happened to slip or lose my balance, my harness would keep me from falling.

It would’ve been a small failure, but it wouldn’t have been the end of the world.

mindfulness

How to Get to the Other Side Successfully

If you’re facing a career transition and it seems scary trying to cross over to what’s next for you, remember these four things:

1. Embrace mindfulness and learn to live in the moment.

Embrace your current situation no matter how scary, uncomfortable or unstable it may appear.

Relish this time to re-evaluate your approach to things, to try different strategies, or to learn something new.

Don’t rush through this stage to the next one just because it’s uncomfortable. Doing so could cause some slip-ups that will likely slow you down instead.

Just stay focused on the present as you put one foot in front of the other.

2. Keep a light grip.

Instead of keeping a tight grip on your idea of how you think things should be or should work out, loosen your grip.

You’d be surprised at how much easier you’ll be able to navigate through your situation when you allow some flexibility in your results.

And you’ll be open to opportunities you otherwise would’ve quickly dismissed.

3. Be willing to make a shift when necessary.

If you’re stuck, be honest with yourself and admit you’re stuck.

Then, take steps to shift your approach so you can become unstuck.

This may mean asking for help or hiring a career coach to point out any blind spots or to show you a more effective way of getting across your bridge. A career coach can also teach you how to work with your unique challenges instead of against them.

4. Rely on your support system.

These are the people who aren’t going to let you fall even if you slip up or lose your balance. This can include your family, friends, professional network, career coach, etc.

If you need help with any of the above, feel free to reach out by completing the paNASH intake form. Click here to get started.

Related Posts:

Click here for tickets and more info on the Nashville Adventure Park. It really is a lot of fun!

mindfulness

What You Need to Know to Ensure A Successful Career


As both a career coach and a creative thinker, I’m always brainstorming ways to help my clients be successful in their careers with unique and out-of-the-box strategies.

It’s important to be innovative and unconventional when competition for opportunities is fierce.

It’s the only way to get the attention from the right audience (those who have the opportunities to offer) and to stand out from the competition in a good way.

That’s why I’ve shared posts like:


However, there is some career advice that stands the test of time, but only when it’s put into practice.

The problem is, some people still don’t even know about this timeless advice.

And even if they do, they fail to implement it and then wonder why they’re not having the success they’d like to have in their careers.

Don’t be one of these people!


Career Advice That Never Goes Out of Style

To have a successful career, you have to always work at your career, even when you think your job is secure. (Understand that it rarely is!)

So what is the best course of action and best use of your time? Following these career success strategies that never goes out of style!


1. Keep your resume updated every 6 months, even when you’re not looking for another job.

It’s a lot easier to remember what you’ve done in the past six months than in the past six years.

By then it will be nearly impossible to remember how you impacted the company’s bottom line with each project you worked on.

So, every six months, take an inventory of your most recent on-the-job accomplishments.

Ask yourself how each of your duties, ideas, or efforts made an impact on the bottom line.

  • Did they increase profit or revenue? By how much?
  • Did they decrease spending? By what percentage?
  • Did they save man hours? How does that translate to dollars saved?
  • Did they increase customer satisfaction or decrease customer complaints? By what percentage?
  • Did they make processes more efficient? How much time did this save?
  • Did they boost staff morale? How much did productivity increase with this boost?

Add your accomplishments to your resume each time you update it.

If you do this, you’ll be prepared for three possible scenarios:

  1. When you’re up for a promotion.
  2. When you’re ready to ask for a pay raise.
  3. Or when you need to look for a new job.

There have been times when I’ve been asked for a copy of my resume when I wasn’t even looking for a job, like the times I’ve been hired for a speaking engagement.

When that happens, I’m always glad I’ve got something up-to-date to send them.

(For more details on updating your resume, see my post Why You Should Update Your Resume Every 6 Months.)


2. Find a mentor. 

You should always pinpoint someone in your industry or company you aspire to be like and get to know and learn from that person.

Also, a mentor is something you can negotiate for when you’re offered a job and are negotiating salary and perks.

Asking for a mentor makes you look good because it shows your initiative to learn. It’s a perk that doesn’t cost the company any additional money, and you’ll gain priceless lessons and advice.


3. Serve on committees that match your interests. 

Every company or organization has various committees that need people from different departments to serve on.

Find one that matches your interests and dedicate a reasonable amount of time to it (1 to 4 hours per month).

Doing this will get you out of your daily routine and your everyday surroundings, introduce you to new people in other departments, help you develop your soft skills, and build your resume.

For instance, I have an interest in both sports and international travel.

When I worked in the career center at a university back in North Carolina, I volunteered to serve on a committee that initiated the athletic department’s implementation of the NCAA’s life skills program for college athletes.

I also represented the University of North Carolina’s Exchange Program and served on the Australia Exchange Student sub-committee.

And when I worked in the career center at Vanderbilt University, I partnered with both the Study Abroad Office and the Athletics Department to provide presentations to their students on how to market their unique collegiate experiences to potential employers.

These experiences enriched my career because I got to work with others in areas that fascinated me and I got to develop skills in public speaking and program development.


4. Take advantage of professional development opportunities offered by your employer.

This can include professional association memberships, conferences, in-house professional development programs, etc.

These opportunities also help you build your knowledge, skills, resume, and network.

In fact, there’s a company here in the Nashville that’s hired me to present my program on personal branding to several of their employees.

It says a lot about a company, its culture, and its dedication to the holistic development of their staff to offer such programs to their employees on the company’s dime.

So if your company offers it, take advantage of it of the free self-improvement!


5. Always build your network and maintain professional relationships, even when you’re not looking for a job. 

You’ll benefit from professional relationships whether you stay within the same field throughout your career or if you change industries or start your own business.

And because relationship building takes time, the sooner you start building and maintaining your professional relationships, the more your connections will be willing to assist you when you find yourself in need of their help.

But you have to be realistic about networking. While I’ve had some professional relationships that resulted in immediate career benefits, most have taken years of investment and being of assistance on my part before I fully experienced the benefits.


6. Prepare for a layoff, even if you don’t think one will happen

This goes hand-in-hand with #1 and #5.

You don’t want to find yourself suddenly without a job and having to scramble to write a resume because it’s been 15 years since you’ve last had to write one.

And you don’t want to have any awkwardness when reaching out to your contacts because it’s been WAY too long since you last spoke with them.

Instead, you want to always be prepared with the tools needed to find your next opportunity when the need arises.

Other suggestions to prepare for a layoff:

  • Always have a few months worth of expenses saved up.
  • Develop your transferable skills and your soft skills (i.e. communication skills, presentation/public speaking skills, interpersonal skills, etc.).
  • Develop the skills of an entrepreneur in case you have to (or desire to) work for yourself for a while.

Yes, it’s easier to be short-sighted and just do your job, focusing on the bare minimum and most immediate items on your to-do list.

But investing time and energy into the above strategies will lead to long-term success in your career and will pay off in spades down the road!

If you need help to ensure success in your career, sign up for a complimentary initial consultation by completing the paNASH intake form.

successful career

Feeling Trapped in Your Career? Here’s How to Cope (Re-Post)


A few weeks ago I took a mini-vacation down to my favorite area of Florida, Seagrove Beach on beautiful 30A. 

I was anxious to get my paddle board out on the beautiful emerald waters of the Gulf of Mexico, but the beach’s warning flags told me I should re-think my plans. 

There was a purple flag indicating dangerous marine life, and a red flag indicating high hazards and strong currents.

So, I improvised and took my board out on Eastern Lake, a rare coastal dune lake that runs under Scenic Highway 30A and eventually feeds into the ocean after a heavy rain or other inflow. 

Because it is a coastal dune lake, Eastern Lake is rather small. And since there hadn’t been a previous heavy rainfall to create an opening to the ocean, the sandy beach served as a barrier between the lake and the ocean.

feeling trapped

Photo source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Rfq05J2yyI


Feeling Trapped

feeling trapped

Photo by Lori Bumgarner

I paddled from the beach end (the south end) of the lake where the salt water mixes with the fresh, to the marshy north end where I’m sure some alligators make their home. 

It was only about a mile and a half from the beach barrier to the marsh end of the lake. 

Needless to say, for someone who is used to paddling on rivers that run for hundreds of miles, I felt a bit trapped.

And unlike the ocean, I didn’t have a wide open space to explore, so all I could do was just keep paddling in one big circle around the perimeter of the lake. 

Despite all the beauty surrounding me and the change of scenery from my regular paddle route, the feeling of going around in circles made me frustrated.


The experience of feeling trapped is one I’ve felt more than once in my career. 

Whether it was when I was trapped in a toxic office environment, or when I was restless because I wasn’t working in my purpose.

It’s not a fun place to be, at all (I’m sure you can probably relate).

When faced with these situations, I’ve used various coping mechanisms that have led to changes in my situation for the better.

My paddle around the lake that day reminded me of all the possible ways to cope when faced with the feeling of being trapped in your career. 


7 Possible Ways to Cope — Here Are Your Options:

1. Sometimes we don’t always get what we want when we want it, so be patient. 

This is probably the most difficult option since most people aren’t naturally patient, myself included. 

But, sometimes this is what it takes when certain factors aren’t within your control. All you can do are the things within your control. 

For instance, when doing a job search you can build your network, learn how to market your skills and strengths, conduct informational interviews, apply for jobs, and prepare for interviews. 

After that, it’s out of your hands and you have to be patient while the seeds you’ve sown grow into the right opportunity.


2. Make the best of your current situation. 

Maybe you can’t change your situation right now, but you can change some things about it to make the best of it until another opportunity comes your way. 

Check out my post 8 Ways to Make Your Current Job More Bearable.


3. Just enjoy and be content with and grateful for the beauty of your current place or situation because things will soon change for the better. 

Often my clients are in a period of transition which feels uncomfortable for them. 

I too have been in that same situation. 

Instead of letting it continue to frustrate me, I chose to make the most of that time by learning some new things and doing some really fun, awesome things as well. 

I learned to relish that time because I knew it was a rare opportunity to do so. 

That’s why I encourage my clients to relish periods of transition despite the uncertainty they’re facing. 

The ones who do, are so glad they did, and the ones who don’t, often regret it.


4. Wait to make your move until conditions are more favorable. 

You might have more control than you think, but you have to make sure you’re taking action in both a timely and responsible way. 

When I first started my business, I didn’t immediately leave my full-time job with benefits. Instead, I started taking small steps toward my goal before taking a leap of faith. 

To learn how to make a career risk doable, read my post Don’t Quit Your Daydream (Or Your Day Job).


5. Pay attention to the warning flags. 

Just like I had to pay attention to the beach’s warning flags, you also have to look at the warning flags in your career. 

For example, are you hearing rumors of potential layoffs at your company? 

Is your job at risk of being replaced by the latest technology? 

To know how to best prepare for such a situation, check out my post Want More Job Security? Do This One Simple Thing and also click on the related posts for even more tips.


6. You’ll keep going in circles if you don’t step out of your comfort zone

Once you’ve done some or all of the above, there eventually comes a time when you have to step out of your comfort zone and take a leap of faith. 

How do you do that? Click here to find out.


7. Don’t wait for an opportunity to come open. Make your own opportunity. 

Sometimes you have to take the bull by the horns and make things happen for your career. 

This could mean combining some of your skills and passions to start your own business. 

Or it could mean proposing a new or different role for you at your current company that better incorporates your strengths and interests, therefore improving the company’s bottom line. A real win-win!


Which Option Is Best For You?

The trick is knowing which option to choose at which time. 

In one of my own career trappings, I waited patiently for the conditions to be right to make my exit and spent that time wisely planning my course of action.

In another situation, I took a leap of faith.

Both coping mechanisms worked for me in those particular situations. But they probably would’ve failed had I taken a leap of faith when it was too early, or had I waited around when I should’ve taken action. 

Sometimes it can be difficult to know which option to choose. And even then it can be difficult to know the best timing for your chosen option. A good career coach can help you determine both.


What’s causing you to feel trapped in your career right now? 

Which option above is speaking to you? 

I invite you to share in the comment box below.

I also invite you to start setting some goals that support the option (or options) that works best for you at this time. 

Learn how to do so by subscribing to my newsletter and receiving a complimentary download of the 8-Step Goal-Achievement Plan.

feeling trapped

How to Take Responsibility for Your Career Growth

Lately I’ve had several people contact me who’ve said,

“I can’t seem to move up in my career. I keep taking on the same low-level jobs and don’t know how to get out of this cycle and move up to something better. I feel stuck!”

Oftentimes there’s a simple explanation for this phenomenon. People take a lower-level job expecting to eventually be promoted to a higher level position, but never take action on their part to ensure this will happen.

The Cycle

The cycle goes like this:

  • You take a lower-level job telling yourself it’s a good foot-in-the-door and will provide an opportunity to grow in the company.
  • You keep your nose to the grindstone and continue to work hard, hoping your boss will notice how good of a worker you are.
  • You get passed over for promotion after the first year.
  • You’re two to three years in, however nothing’s changed.
  • You wonder why you’re still stuck in the same position and aren’t advancing.
  • You begin to feel unappreciated, so you decide to look for a job with a different company.
  • You only apply for the same level job you’ve been in because you think that’s all you’re qualified to do since you haven’t been promoted.
  • You accept the same level job at another company with the same hopes of growing and moving up in the company.

And then the cycle starts all over.

career growth

Photo by Priscilla Fong on Unsplash

Breaking the Cycle and Creating Real Career Growth

So how do you break this cycle? By taking responsibility for your own career growth.

The people in these cycles are in them because they didn’t take responsibility for their own career growth. They went in with no plan of their own and instead expected the higher ups to recognize their potential and promote them.

But, just like a job doesn’t fall into your lap, opportunities for advancement don’t either. You have to do your part to grow in your career. Below are ways to start, along with links to paNASH’s online programs that show you in more detail how to carry out each action (get 15% off each online program from Oct. 12-17 with discount code FALL2017).

In addition, paNASH provides a one-on-one personalized coaching track that focuses solely on career growth. The Career Growth Track provides you an in depth plan you need to break the cycle. Also, it’s perfect for those who’ve just started a new job. It includes:

  • Successful onboarding in your new job.
  • Preparation for promotion and advancement opportunities.
  • Progression and transition planning.
  • Methods for asking for a raise.
  • “Fire”-proofing yourself.
  • Maintaining joy and challenge in your career.
  • And more!

Don’t stay stuck!

Don’t stay stuck in your career! The power is in your hands to become unstuck. You just have to learn how to wield that power by following the suggestions above. We can help you do that in two ways:

  1. With paNASH’s on-demand programs available online (get 15% off each online program from Oct. 12-17 with discount code FALL2017)
  2. And, with the personalized, one-on-one Career Growth coaching track.

Contact paNASH today and break the cycle!

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