Tag: Nashville career coach


The Enneagram: What You Need to Beware Of

I cringe a little bit inside every time someone shares their Enneagram number with me, as if this defines their worth or excuses their behavior.

The enthusiasm over the Enneagram in recent years is a bandwagon I’ve always been leery of. Only recently did I learn why I had such gnawing suspicions about the Enneagram. Turns out, it’s neither scientific, nor based in Christianity like so many of its enthusiasts think it is.

If you’ve fallen for the Enneagram hype, get ready to have your mind blown.

The Enneagram is not scientific

The Enneagram did not originate out of the field of psychology and it did not come from any psychological studies. More importantly, it has never been proven by social scientists to meet the criteria required for an assessment to be considered scientific, including the following:

1. Reliability

Reliability means the test produces the same results each time you take it.

Most people who’ve taken the Enneagram more than once have said they got a different result each time. Or, their wing number changed when taking it again.

This folks, is not the definition of reliable!

2. Validity

For a test to be valid, it depends on how well it measures what it claims to measure.

For the Enneagram to be valid, it should measure the personality types it says it measures. But instead of measuring personality types, it measures strengths and values. This is the same as trying to measure length in ounces or pounds instead of inches or feet.

Furthermore, its results are too broad and too general.  This is why people easily identify with it and feel their results are so “spot-on.”

As a result, Enneagram numbers are completely arbitrary.

3. Independent

The measures of a true personality test should be independent. However, the Enneagram’s different personality types are not independent from each other.

I can be a helper, an achiever, an investigator, and an enthusiast all at the same time. I can be an enthusiastic, helpful, loyal, and achieving reformer. And I can be an individually investigative peace-maker who challenges non-peaceful efforts.

Are you getting the picture here?

Scientifically speaking, the Enneagram is about as valid and reliable as your daily horoscope. And people read into it what they want to, much like they do their horoscope.

The Enneagram is not based in the Christian faith

There are a lot of claims the Enneagram is ancient and is based in Christianity. This is one of the reasons why it’s so popular among Christians and has made its way into the church. But a simple investigation into the tool reveals its theories are based on esoteric teachings and an occult worldview.

It originated in the early 20th century, first as something called the Enneagon, from an esoteric teacher named George Gurdjieff. Gurdjieff’s follower Oscar Ichazo, an esoteric occult teacher, had a student named Claudio Naranjo. Naranjo says he and Ichazo claimed the Enneagon was ancient when they knew it wasn’t.

Naranjo added the nine personality types to the Enneagon in the mid-20th century, making it the Enneagram. He admits his nine personality types came partly from his own observations, and mostly from the New Age practice of automatic writing. From there it became popular among New Age followers.

Jesuit priest Bob Ochs learned about the Enneagram from Naranjo, and then introduced it to the Catholic church, which is how Richard Rohr learned of the Enneagram. Since then, it’s made its way into the Protestant church through Rohr’s various followers and readers. (See the link in the source list below to a video that gives a full history.)

The Enneagram Institute is a New Age entity, not a Christian entity. Therefore, if you are a Christian, the use of the Enneagram goes against your biblical beliefs. You may find this surprising since so many churches and people of faith have been promoting the use of it. Perhaps they are just as unaware of the above information as you may be.

But don’t feel bad. We’re all susceptible of being deceived by things appearing to be based in Christianity but aren’t. This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who reads or believes the Bible since it warns,

For false messiahs and false prophets will rise up and perform great signs and wonders so as to deceive, if possible, even God’s chosen ones. See, I have warned you about this ahead of time.” Matthew 24:24-25

Now that you’ve been warned, you may want to reconsider using the Enneagram, especially if you’re of the Christian faith. Use this as a lesson to be more discerning before accepting something just because “everyone else is doing it!”

You are more than just a number!

Regardless of your beliefs, the biggest warning of the Enneagram is, it can cause you to filter who you are and why you do things through your Enneagram number. (Some people even use it as an excuse for bad behavior!)

Instead, take comfort in this fact: you are more than just a number! Your identity is not in your Enneagram type. You were made to be so much more!

Sources

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How to Know When It’s NOT the Right Time for Career Assessments

How to Land a New Job With the Help of a Face Mask

Regardless of your feelings or beliefs on wearing a face mask during the pandemic, you might want to consider it as a potential networking tool during these uncertain times. Especially if you’re currently in the market for a new job.

We know networking opportunities have been limited due to months of quarantine. But as I share in my on-demand program The Secret to Successful Networking, networking can happen any time, any place. Even at the essential places like the grocery store, the drug store, or the curbside of your favorite restaurant.

You never know who will be standing in line six feet ahead of you, or six feet behind you. It could be the person who works for a company currently hiring instead of downsizing. This person may know the hiring manager where he or she works. This is the perfect person to start a conversation with to begin the path to a potential new job.

But how do you do so when wearing a face mask?

A face mask is a creative conversation starter

The idea of using a face mask as a networking tool and conversation starter first came to me as a funny thought. I didn’t really take it seriously. But then, as I started thinking more about it, I thought, why not?

Why not have a little fun with a face mask and perhaps open a door to a new contact who can lead to your next job offer? It could be something worth trying, kind of like an interesting social experiment.

So what exactly does this look like? What if you were to write your elevator speech on your mask?!

I know, this may sound strange, but hear me out on it. If you follow the rules I give on how to write a better elevator speech than the outdated recommended rules, it could actually work as a creative conversation starter.

How to write an elevator speech like none other

Keep it short and create opportunity for dialogue

Most career experts will tell you your elevator pitch should be 30-60 seconds, as if this is considered brief. If you’ve ever listened to someone go on for 30 seconds or more about their work, you know it feels very long. Especially if you don’t have a clue what the industry jargon they use means.

Other career experts will also tell you your elevator speech should be a statement about your skills. This is not the way to start a conversation or pique someone’s interest in what you do.

Instead, your elevator pitch should include one simple question about other people’s common problem. Specifically, a common problem you have the skills to help solve.

Why a question? Because it opens the door to a dialogue, a real conversation, instead of a sales pitch monologue.

And, you should be able to ask your question in seven seconds or less! You never want it to be so long or confusing they have to ask you to repeat the question. In other words, it should be so short you have the space to write it on a face mask in letters big enough to read from six feet away.

Make it relatable and create curiosity

So how do you come up with a concise yet clear question?

When thinking about the typical problem or challenge of your market (this can include the employer or the employer’s customers), what words do they usually use to describe it?

For instance, I’m a career coach who specializes in helping people make career transitions to work they’re more passionate about and cut out for. But this is not what I use as my elevator speech.

Instead, I take into consideration the words my market uses when they first reach out to me. Typically what they say is, “I feel stuck.”

Almost everyone can relate to this feeling at one time or another in their career. Therefore my elevator pitch is,

“Have you ever felt stuck in your career?”

This question is simple enough to resonate with most people, short enough to write on a face mask, and thought-provoking enough to lead to a dialogue. And even in the rare chance the other person hasn’t felt stuck in their career, it’s likely someone close to them has.

When the person responds to my question with a “yes,” I say:

“Well, I help people get unstuck.”

That’s it. That’s my whole elevator speech. It’s at this point most people are curious enough to want to know how I do this.

So when they ask me how I help people get unstuck in their career, I now have their permission to tell them more about my skills and experience. Then, I continue to ask more questions to better understand their concerns. This keeps the conversation going.

Face mask or no face mask

Writing your elevator pitch on your face mask may or may not be the best idea. But the point is, having one that’s simple and short enough to do so, is a good strategy. It’s the first essential piece in networking your way to a new job.

And it’s a much better approach than forcing people to listen to a monologue. You’ll stand out as refreshing and interesting, compared to the job seeker who bores everyone with their cookie-cutter elevator pitch.

Related sources:

A Summer Reading List That Will Boost Your Career

So summer 2020 didn’t pan out the way you’d hoped it would. You’re probably not getting to take your annual vacation due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. Therefore, you have even more time for summer reading this year.

So what should you spend your quarantine time reading? You should always have a healthy mix of fun fiction, but also some books that will help you learn and grow as a person and as a professional.

Lori’s summer reading recommendations

I’ve been reading and listening to a lot of books already this spring and summer. Most of which I’ve checked out electronically from my local library while they were closed for COVID. And now the library is offering curbside pick-up of physical books, so I’m reading even more.

Below is a list of the ones I recommend to help you boost your career and grow you professionally, so you can be ready for whatever comes next in your career during these uncertain times.

(Please note: I do not receive any financial gain for recommending or endorsing the following books.)

Lead Yourself First: Inspiring Leadership Through Solitude

By Raymond M. Kethledge and Michael S. Erwin.

While you may be completely bored with all the solitude and isolation you’ve had the past several months, there’s a lot of good that comes from times of solitude, when it’s time spent well.

While this book focuses on how leaders have used solitude to become even more effective, it’s not just for leaders. It shows how the practice of solitude can give you clarity to solve complex problems you may face, both in life and in your work.

I love the examples the authors share of the struggles of beloved historical figures. People like Martin Luther King, Jr., Jane Goodall, Winston Churchill, and Abraham Lincoln. This is a great read, especially if you’re a fan of military history, or history in general.

After you read it, you’ll be motivated to put your phone a way and turn off Netflix, to see what kind of solutions to your problems you’re able to come up with.

Wisdom @ Work: The Making of a Modern Elder

By Chip Conley.

A client of mine told me about this book, so I checked it out. It’s great for mid-career folks who work in a company or industry with multi-generational employees (which most people do!).

The book shares the secret to thriving as a mid-life worker, which it describes as, “…learning to marry wisdom and experience with curiosity, a beginner’s mind, and a willingness to evolve.” It confirms how older generations still bring value to the table, especially in the role of a mentor. But it also reminds the older workforce they still have a lot to learn from the knowledge and skillset of the younger generations.

All generations are relevant and valued, and they need each other to create success. This book explores the issues of ageism and age diversity in today’s workforce.

If you’ve been forced to make a mid-career change due to the economic impact of COVID, and now find yourself struggling to compete with younger candidates, this book will help you write the next chapter of your career.

Halftime: Moving From Success to Significance

By Bob Buford.

Speaking of mid-career, here’s another great resource for mid-lifers, or for anyone who cares more about making a difference and an impact with their work, than just making a fortune.

This book focuses on how to multiply the skills and gifts you’ve been given, and in the process, give back to the world in significant ways.

And I love the questions it asks at the end of each chapter. They’re great for personal reflection or for group discussions. It even includes assignments to help guide you into the next phase of your career.

The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future

By Chris Guillebeau.

I always like to include one or two books on entrepreneurship, for anyone who’s thinking of leaving corporate to start their own thing. These kind of books were helpful for me when I started my own business, but there were a lot of them out there, so it was hard to know which ones to read.

I wouldn’t say The $100 Startup is as good as Pat Flynn’s Will It Fly, which I reviewed in a previous post. But, it is different because it provides numerous examples of other people who’ve started their own businesses.

These examples include every day people, with no entrepreneurial skills, who discovered how to monetize aspects of their personal passions. This allowed them to restructure their lives and careers, in ways that gave them more fulfillment and freedom.

Their stories are super inspiring, and they provide enough detail to give you ideas of how you can accomplish what they’ve accomplished.

Never Go Back: 10 Things You’ll Never Do Again

By Dr. Henry Cloud.

Have you struggled for success in your life and in your work, but always seem to fall short? Do self-defeating patterns keep you stuck where you are, personally and professionally? Then you’ll definitely want to read Never Go Back, by bestselling author Dr. Henry Cloud.

In this book, Cloud outlines 10 bad habits successful people have learned never to return to. They’ve become successful, largely in part by not making these common mistakes again. You can do the same, and Cloud shows you how.

I encourage you to at least read the preface and the introduction of this book before passing it over. I firmly believe this book can boost all areas of your life.

Lori’s summer reading list

In addition to the fun books I’ve been reading, I have plans this summer to read books my clients may also find helpful. This includes:

  • Escape From Cubicle Nation: From Corporate Prisoner to Thriving Entrepreneur, by Pamela Slim, who also wrote a book I highly recommend, called Body of Work
  • Off Balance: Getting Beyond the Work-Life Balance Myth to Personal and Professional Satisfaction, by Matthew Kelly
  • The Rhythm of Life: Living Every Day With Passion and Purpose, also by Matthew Kelly
  • Powershift: Transform Any Situation, Close Any Deal, and Achieve Any Outcome, by Shark Tank’s Daymond John

I also invite you to check out my own books and e-books I’ve published, available on Amazon, in paperback and on Kindle. And feel free to share your book recommendations in the comment box. I’m always looking for good books to read!

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How to Re-Direct Your Career in a Time of Uncertainty

My older brother is a unicorn. He’s been with the same company his entire career, almost as many years as I’ve been alive. This is extremely rare these days. Most people change companies (or even careers) seven to ten times in their lives.

However, in all his years as a hard-working and successful employee of a strong company, my brother has faced the threat of the organization’s frequent mass layoffs.

Each time he faced such job uncertainty, it would send him into such deep anxiety he would get physically ill. Add to this the daily stress of his job, plus his lack of passion for it, and you get misery and depression.

So why did he stay all these years? Because on paper, it’s a “good” job. But he also stayed because of:

  • A false sense of security.
  • Self-imposed restrictions.
  • Fear of instability.
  • Discomfort with change.

Does any of this sound familiar to you? Even if career change isn’t new to you, you may be experiencing some of the same negative issues due to the uncertainty of our current job market.

But this is one of the best times to take your uncertainty and nervous energy, and use it in a positive way to re-direct your career. Let’s look at how to do this.

Re-directing your fears and uncertainty

My brother has stayed in his current job all these years because he assumes it’s secure. Even though he’s seen numerous layoffs at his company. He recognizes he’s been lucky to escape the layoffs. And each time he has, he thinks to himself, “since I didn’t get laid off, my job is secure for now.” Well, maybe it is, until it isn’t.

If we’ve learned anything from the economic impact of COVID-19, it’s nothing is certain. And, there’s no such thing as job security. But this has always been the case. Yet we tend to fool ourselves into thinking if we have a steady paycheck and benefits, we’re secure. This in turn leads to a place that’s comfortable yet complacent at best.

Instead of fooling yourself there’s such a thing as a secure job, or freaking out because there isn’t, focus on exploring your potential options to diversify your skills and your income. This could include developing multiple streams of revenue, changing industries, or developing a new skill. While this may feel uncomfortable, think of it as a way of saving for a rainy day.

If you’re currently furloughed or laid off, this is more important than ever. But even if you still have your job, you need to spend time taking stock of your interests, passions, skills, strengths, and experience. Look to see what problem(s) they help solve, and for whom.

This process helps you identify which of your skills are in demand and which market will pay money for them. It opens your eyes to opportunities you may have never previously considered, such as a different job, or working for yourself. And it’s a process I walk you through step-by-step in my on-demand career success videos.

Watch your uncertainty turn into confidence

Once you’ve completed the process of taking stock of your unique skillset and value you bring to the table, you’ll notice an increase in your confidence. A boost in confidence may be what you need right now, especially if you’ve lost your job.

Then, once you experience renewed confidence, you’ll more likely have the gumption to apply for a job doing something new or different, or to start your own thing. Once you’re mentally ready for this, it’s time to take what you’ve discovered about your unique skillset and market it.

This includes putting together a resume, elevator pitch, and interview presentation that stands out from your competition’s cookie-cutter job search efforts. paNASH’s on-demand career success videos teach you all the steps to market your unique assets, so you won’t blend in with all the other job candidates.

People are drawn to confidence and competence. Your renewed confidence, along with an attention-grabbing marketing plan of your skills, is what will help you re-direct your career.

Don’t live a life of regret

My brother will be retiring next year. That is, if he doesn’t face another potential layoff before then. He’ll get a pension for all his years there. But he won’t ever get back the years he spent doing work that made him depressed instead of fulfilled.

In fact, a few years ago when he was visiting me, he admitted how he wished he’d had the gumption and the courage to leave his job and start his own thing like I had. He regretted never trying something different. It broke my heart to see him look back over his “good-on-paper” job and have nothing but regrets.

The good news is, it’s not too late for him to do something more fulfilling, if he wants to, after he retires next year. And it’s not too late for you either, no matter where you are in your career. You always have the opportunity to re-direct your career, both in good times and in times of uncertainty.

You can take your job security into your own hands. And you can start now!

How to get started

My on-demand career success video courses have always been an affordable and effective way to prepare you for any of the following scenarios:

  • Discovering what’s next for your career.
  • Making a career change.
  • Finding a new job.
  • Improving your resume
  • Preparing for job interviews.
  • and much more!

And best of all, they’re available to you on-demand anytime, allowing you to work at your own pace.

There are other online career and job search programs that make you wait every week for the next course to air, further delaying your job search.

Why spend two months completing an 8-week course when you can complete 8 courses in the time frame you prefer, and therefore find your next job sooner?

The paNASH on-demand bundle includes:

  • 8 courses with 23 episodes, both on finding your purpose and practical ways to stand out in the job search
  • 16 instructional handouts, résumé samples and templates
  • 5 e-books
  • 1 résumé critique

And this summer, you’ll receive access to live group coaching sessions to get your specific questions answered (available for a limited time).

Click here to get started right now.

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How to Stop Procrastinating During and After the Quarantine

As I sit down to write this post, I’m procrastinating. I don’t feel like writing it because it’s a beautiful day and I’d rather be paddleboarding. It’s one of the few things I was able to continue doing during the quarantine.

While I don’t usually procrastinate, there are times when I do. And this is one of them.

Another time was when I was a junior in high school. I had an English class assignment to read a book entitled, A Walk Across America, and write a journal entry for each chapter of the book.

I did read the book. But I was procrastinating on the journal entries. I told myself I’d go back and do them after reading through the entire book first. This was not a good idea.

After reading the book, the journal entry portion of the assignment now seemed too daunting. I never did finish the full assignment. I only turned in three or four journal entries and therefore did not get a good grade. Thirty years later I still remember this.

Better late than never

About five or six years ago, I decided to re-read the book and even journal the rest of the chapters.

In doing so, I learned the author, Peter Jenkins, now lives near me just outside of Nashville. I contacted Peter and told him the story above. He got a good laugh out of it and of course said, “Better late than never!”

I often wonder to myself, “What if Peter had procrastinated and never took his walk across America?” He surely wouldn’t have high school English instructors using his book to teach young minds about the importance of pursuing goals and adventures.

How to stop procrastinating during the quarantine: get to the root of the problem

Procrastination isn’t a good thing. But it’s easy to do, both when you have more time on your hands, like during a quarantine. And, when you’re busy getting back in to the swing of life post-quarantine.

Because so much has been put on hold due to the pandemic, it can be tempting to also put your dreams and goals for your life on hold.

How many years have gone by where you never did what you said you wanted to do? How many more years do you want this to continue happening once we’re past this crisis?

Make this crappy year of 2020 the last year you say next year.

Here’s how:  you first have to get to the root of what causes you to procrastinate, especially if you’re a chronic procrastinator. So let’s first figure out your reason for procrastinating.

1. Is your goal not urgent enough?

If you don’t think your goal is urgent, then ask yourself if you’ll be disappointed again if you haven’t completed it by the end of the pandemic. If the answer is yes, then your goal has now become urgent.

Look at some of the other goals you have for yourself and ask the same question. Then choose the most urgent of those you said yes to, and commit to beginning it now.

2. Do you feel like you don’t know where to start?

Well, whether you realize it or not, you’ve already started just by reading this post and determining which of these reasons are causing you to delay your goals.

And if you’ve read last week’s post (“How to Stay Focused on Your Goals During the Remainder of the Pandemic“), you should’ve already started with the first few steps in the complimentary 8-Step Goal-Achievement Plan. If not, go back and do so.

Now you have a place to start, so you can no longer use this as an excuse.

3. Are you afraid of failing?

You won’t be considered a failure if you at least give your goals a try. It’s when you don’t try at all you’ll be seen as a failure.

I’ve written a lot in my blog about the fear of failure. If this is your reason for procrastinating, I suggest you type the word “failure” in the search box of this blog and read what pops up!

4. Do you work better under pressure?

This might be about the only legitimate reason to procrastinate, but be honest with yourself about it. Is this really true about you? Or are you just saying this because you don’t want to admit any of the other reasons?

If you know this is true for you, and you honestly produce your best work having a tight deadline, then keep doing this (since it seems to work for you!). But go ahead and set your deadline for your goal.

5. Do you just not want to do the work?

If the amount of work it takes to accomplish your goal feels overwhelming, choose some other goals you’re excited about. Ones you won’t easily get bored or overwhelmed with. Start with those.

Once you see how you’re able to accomplish these goals, you’ll find it easier to accomplish your other goals.

How to stop procrastinating after the quarantine: take action

Now that you’ve figured out which reason or reasons for your procrastination, it’s time to set and prioritize your goals. Again, use the free 8-Step Goal-Achievement Plan I gave you in last week’s post.

Then, find an accountability partner. Someone who you can report to periodically on your progress (but not someone who’s going to nag you about it). Someone who wants to see you succeed, but doesn’t necessarily have a personal stake in the results of your goals.

Also, write down dates in your calendar and set alarms on your phone for check-in points (either every month or every 90 days).

I recommend using a Passion Planner since it’s specifically designed to help you accomplish the goals you’re most excited and passionate about. I’ve used one every year for the past five years. I honestly don’t think I would’ve accomplished as many things as I have without my Passion Planner.

Finally, at the end of each quarter, look back over what all you’ve accomplished thus far. This will give you the confidence and the momentum you need to finish out the remaining steps and tasks for your goals.

The truth is, post-quarantine won’t be any different than pre-quarantine if you don’t make the choice to change.

By the end of this pandemic, instead of saying, “I’ll do it later,” you’ll be saying, “What’s next?!”

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