Tag: Nashville career coach


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

When Is the Right Time to Leave Your Job?

The short answer to this question is when you:

a) have enough

AND

b) have had enough!

There are several different items that can fall into both the a) and the b) categories. 

When You Have Enough

It may be the right time to leave your job when you have enough:

  • job offers
  • interest from other companies
  • potential clients (if deciding to start your own business)
  • savings
  • financial support (from a spouse, an inheritance, etc.)
  • fill in the blank ______________.

Have Had Enough

It may also be the right time to leave your job when you’ve had enough:

  • of a toxic environment or poor company culture
  • illness caused by the above
  • of the little to no opportunities for advancement
  • abuse from managers or co-workers
  • of unfair/unequal pay
  • harassment of any kind
  • fill in the blank ______________.

For me, I’d had enough

You may find your situation leans more in one category than the other.

For me personally, when I was contemplating leaving my full-time job at a prestigious university to take my part-time business full-time, I was more in the “have had enough” situation.

While I had a little bit of savings and some financial support, I didn’t have a lot of clients yet.

But I had enough of a toxic culture and a micro-managing boss that was making me physically ill and offering me very little opportunity for advancement to want to leave. Plus, my creativity was being stifled.

I knew I couldn’t stomach another fall semester there. And I would’ve been of no use to my students if I’d stayed.

The thing that helped me make the decision to leave was a bit of a safety net being offered to me as a result of my networking efforts. My contact said,

 “Lori, it’s never going to be the right time for you to leave your job to start your business full-time.”

He knew I probably wouldn’t leave without something there to support me, and offered to provide a way for me to build my contacts in a 3-month period so I could quickly increase the number of clients I needed to make the jump.

Good Timing vs. Bad Timing

I left my job on August 1, 2008…just a month and a half before the economy tanked and the US went into a recession.

Some would say my timing was bad.

But I know in my heart of hearts, if I’d not left my job when I did, I probably never would have.

Once the economy tanked I would’ve been too scared to leave. And I probably would’ve been stuck in a toxic environment for several more years, getting sicker and sicker.

So I’d say my timing was good.

I was already learning the things I needed to learn and hustling to do the things I needed to do to grow my business.

Other people I knew who were laid off during the recession and were forced to start their own business just to survive were a month and a half behind my learning curve.

And in November of 2008 when people were really starting to feel the full effects of the recession, my replacement in my job at the university quit…

…Only 4 months after she’d replaced me…

…At a time when no one in their right mind who still had a job would leave it.

What does that tell you about how bad things were there? Huh?

Factors to Consider Before Leaving Your Job

Of course if you find yourself asking the question,

“When, if at all, should I leave my job?”

…there are a lot of factors to consider, including financial, mental, and physical.

Only you know your financial situation and your health situation. You have to make the best decision with the information you have. Is your health going to deteriorate if you stay and therefore cost you more in medical bills?

Or is it possible your health will improve if you leave, therefore saving you some money to help tide you over until you find your next opportunity?

There’s also the factor of timing.

Is it clear this is a good time to leave? For instance, do you have another job offer on the table?

Is it clear it’s a bad time? For example, is your spouse currently out of his or her job on medical leave and you have those medical bills rolling in?

Is the only thing that’s clear is that you’ll never be able to predict the best time? (This scenario is usually more likely than the previous two.)

Sometimes it takes someone like a career coach who’s objective to help you see all the factors and the options available to you. Especially when you realize you’re being led too much by emotions such as fear and panic. 

But you shouldn’t focus just on the factors that affect you. Consider how your current work situation is affecting others.

If you stay, will you make things better or worse for your co-workers, your customers/clients, the company’s bottom line?

I knew if I didn’t leave my job, my students would feel the effects of the toxicity in my work environment, and they didn’t deserve that. They didn’t need that negativity spilling over into their own college experience and their own job search.

If you stay, will your family have less time with you? Will they have to deal with your irritability, anxiety, and depression due to the stress from your job?

How to Create an Exit Strategy

If, after taking all the factors into consideration, you realize it’s the right time to leave, you have to create an exit strategy.

1. Clarify your goals

Start by clarifying your goals, both short-term and long-term. Step out of your comfort zone and brainstorm a list of steps you can begin taking now to achieve those goals.

Check out “Be Honest: Is Your Comfort Zone Really All That Comfortable?”

For instance, your short-term goal may be to leave your current department or company for a similar job. Some steps would include visiting a career coach, updating your resume, and getting in touch with your network.

2, Have a plan B in place

Next, develop an alternate plan in the event your first plan doesn’t pan out.

For example, if you aren’t finding any job openings in your field with your experience, what are some other ways you can monetize your skills and expertise?

Could you consult? Could you start a side business? Or a full-time business of your own?

Check out: “How to Make the Risk of Starting Your Own Business Doable”

If so, start taking steps toward that goal such as determining your target market, their pain points, and how you help them solve their problem.

Determine where your potential customers spend their time so you can know when and where to market to them.

3. Find ways to cope

In the meantime, while you’re waiting for your exit strategy to take root, do what you can to make your current job as bearable as possible.

For ideas on how to do this, check out my post “How to Make Your Current Job More Bearable: 8 Ways to Cope Until You Can Get Out”.

Related Posts

right time to leave your job

What You Need to Know About a Job Loss

As a career coach and outplacement counselor, I work with many people who’ve been laid off from their jobs.

Some saw the writing on the wall and knew the layoff was coming.

Others were completely blindsided.

If you expect (or even suspect) you’ll soon be losing your job, here’s what you need to know.


What to Expect When You’re Expecting a Job Loss

1. Expect to experience grief.

A job loss, especially an unexpected one, can lead to the same stages of grief experienced with the death of a loved one.

The stages of grief don’t always happen in order. Some repeat and some may last longer than others.

It’s important to understand this is natural and to let yourself feel and express this grief.

It’s also important not to wallow in your feelings or let negative reactions spill over into your job search. Hiring managers and recruiters can easily pick up on any negative feelings or attitudes when interviewing you. You have to learn to manage your emotions during those crucial interactions.


2. Expect to have a new outlook on your career and life.

One of my clients who suffered a layoff had a very positive outlook on her situation.

She started calling herself “funemployed” because she now had the time to do some things she didn’t have time for when working full-time.

Once she had her few weeks of fun, she then turned her focus toward her dream of starting her own business.

A layoff can be used as a time to pursue your passions, to discover new passions, or to give yourself or your family some much-needed quality time and TLC.


3. Expect it to take time to conduct a job search.

It’s important to have realistic expectations when it comes to how soon you may find your next opportunity.

The average job search can take three to nine months, even in a good job market. You should also expect to spend at least 20 hours per week on your job search.

You must be patient with the process, do everything in your power, and leave the rest up to fate.

Also, you mustn’t take the first thing that comes along, especially if it’s not a good fit. You don’t want to find yourself looking for another job again a year later. Allow yourself to be a little selective for as long as you financially can.


4. Expect online job boards to be (somewhat) a waste of your time.

Most people who find themselves back in the job market immediately jump online and start applying for jobs through job boards.

While you want to use all the resources at your fingertips, you also want to use your time wisely.

Since 80% of the current workforce found their jobs through networking, 80% of your job search should be spent networking.

The other 20% of the time should be spent searching and responding to job ads, preferably with a more targeted approach through LinkedIn, professional associations, company websites, and select job boards. The more specific the job board, the better, as opposed to a large “one-size-fits-all” job board.


5. Expect to take advantage of available resources.

In addition to my work as a career coach, I also work under contract providing outplacement counseling.

This is where a company provides and pays for all career coaching for each person being laid off. It’s usually part of the employee’s severance package.

While most employees opt for this service, I’m shocked at how many who don’t.

I mean, it’s free! The company is paying for this service. Why wouldn’t you take advantage of every resource made available to you?!

If your company doesn’t offer outplacement counseling as part of your severance package, there are still some affordable and helpful options for you to brush up on your job search skills. (See below.)


6. Expect to have to sell yourself.

In today’s job search, accomplishments are king! You will have to sell your experience by showing the results of your skills and previous job duties.

Now is the time to start making a list of your on-the-job accomplishments and start collecting any numbers or figures that quantify the results of your work. Many people fail to collect this information before their layoff.

You should always record this information every six months whether you are looking for a job or not. Then you’ll want to add it to your resume.

Having accomplishments on your resume will help you secure interviews, where you should expect to tell the story of those accomplishments. When backed up with details and quantitative data, your stories will help you land job offers.


In conclusion

A job loss can be devastating.

But, losing a job doesn’t mean you’ve lost the ability to work.

Remember to stay positive, remain realistic, and use the resources available to you.

Resources

  • Free advice: free advice is always good and this blog provides a lot of that, from “how-to” tips on resume writing, interviewing, and networking, to encouragement to keep you motivated when the job search gets tough.
  • Goal-Achievement Plan: when you subscribe to the paNASH newsletter you’ll receive a complimentary 8-Step Goal-Achievement Plan.
  • Affordable online instruction: when your employer doesn’t provide you a career coach or you can’t afford one on your own, there is the option for paNASH’s affordable on-demand videos, available online 24/7.

Related Posts:

job loss

How to Overcome Questionable Gaps on Your Resume


“If someone hasn’t had a job in a while (let’s say a couple years), what, on the resume, would make you consider them for the job?”

This is a common question among job seekers with resume gaps. The following answer was originally published on Quora by investor and consultant, Bernie Klinder. He’s graciously allowed me to publish it here under a new headline and format.


Legitimate Reasons for Resume Gaps

Long gaps on resumes are a red flag for HR. 

It could mean you are covering up a reason for the gap, or that you’re just unemployable and that other employers have consistently passed you up.

But there are many legitimate reasons for a gap: 

  • raising children, 
  • taking care of a sick relative, 
  • or other personal reasons. 

I have a 2-year gap in my mid-30’s because I traveled the country after selling my business.


How to Address the Resume Gaps

You need to address the gaps, as openly and honestly as you can. 

The more obtuse you are, the more the hiring manager will think you’re hiding something.

You also need to show what you’ve done with that time, or at least the last few months to stay relevant in the marketplace. You need to show that your skills are still current.


Years ago, I interviewed a candidate that had been unemployed for over a year. I felt bad for him. 

But when I asked him what new skills he had learned in that period, he didn’t have an answer. 

There is a world of free information and training available at your fingertips, especially in information technology.

I would expect a candidate who hadn’t worked in several years to be able to demonstrate that they’ve taken the initiative to keep their skills up to date and maybe even learn something new. 

This can be accomplished through:

  • Industry certifications
  • LinkedIn Learning courses
  • MOOC’s (Massive Open Online Courses) (like the ones found on Coursera.org).  
  • College classes
  • Local community education classes
  • Anything that shows you’ve not just been sitting on your butt. 

Be able to talk about current or cutting edge industry trends and things in the news.

Always show interest in the hiring company. 

You have to demonstrate that your head is still in the game, and you’re ready to work!


Why Networking Helps

Ultimately, the hiring manager needs to know that you can hit the ground running and be ready to work day 1, and not “Oh, I’ve never used this version of the software before”, or I’ve never seen that technology before.”

I would also leverage your social network for referrals. 

Managers expect candidates from job boards and other online sources to be sketchy. They far prefer referrals from someone they know and trust.


Be Confident, Despite the Gaps

Above all, don’t beg or seem desperate — even if you are. 

The good employers will pass on you and the bad ones will take advantage of you. 

Be confident, have an attitude of “I got this, and I’m chomping at the bit to get back at it,” and you’ll stand out in a good way.


Thank you Bernie for sharing your honest feedback!

Lori