Do You Need to Build Your Vision?

We hear a lot about goals, writing goals, SMART Goals and I am a big believer in the effectiveness of SMART Goals. After all, major companies and organizations and small companies alike wouldn’t create a business plan without measurable outcomes. Individual success is no different. But when it comes to being satisfied or happy in your career and the direction you are going, there is more to it than just goals. It is more than a big win, reeling in a big client, or hitting that next mark on the scale. It’s about seeing down the road and building toward a Purpose.

I realized back in the late 1990’s as I worked on my doctorate that there is a clear connection between Personal and Professional Goals. The impact of personal goals on a professional life can be just as profound as professional goals on a personal life. So integration of both is critical for optimal satisfaction. I have stories and stories of individuals who have accelerated their careers because of the impact of personal goals on their professional career. There have also been those that are the reverse and a professional goal dramatically impacted a personal life. But back to Vision.

James Clear in his 2018 book, Atomic Habits, said “Some experts estimate that half of the brain’s resources are used in vision.”  He went on to say, “For this reason, a small change in what you see can lead to a big shift in what you do.”  While he is obviously talking about what we physically see, I believe we can apply the same kind of theory to our sense of vision and seeing ahead, where we want to go or what we envision accomplishing.  

In a similar vein, John Heider in his 1985 book, The Tao of Leadership, addressed another art of building Vision when he said, “When group members have time to reflect, they can see more clearly what is essential in themselves and others.”  The art of building Vision is critical to the success of individuals and to organizations.  So it is no wonder businesses and organizations create Vision Statements.  Unfortunately, too often they become statements written in Annual Reports, Client Information Packets, and Marketing documents that all sit on shelves or in digital files and never really impact daily routines and life.  

When it comes to Vision, understanding the impact of family, friends, finances, religious beliefs, societal beliefs, abilities, and host of other elements is part of creating a Vision.   Understanding how Goals are a part of the equation is important also, but they do not stand alone when it comes to building a truly satisfying Personal and Professional Growth Plan aimed at identifying and living out Purpose.  It takes work, but the dividend potential is enormous!

Are you ready to invest in yourself? Are you ready to build a Vision Plan that moves you toward a Purpose? Contact me.

Reading, an Impacting Factor for Career Success

“The man who won’t read has no advantage over the man who can’t read.” –  Mark Twain

As an educator, we learn early on that reading, the ability to connect meaning to printed language, truly is a science.  We also learned that reading well is an art that then can project us forward and into careers and opportunities.  Interestingly, when Johnson O’Conner did the background work in the 1920’s as development of the Highlands Ability Battery, a test of natural abilities used to assist in understanding self and career matches, they discovered a link between vocabulary level and level of career achievement. 

When kindergarteners enter school having been read to regularly, they typically out perform their peers who have had less reading and language exposure.  Over a period of weeks and months the achievement of each group becomes dramatically evident…..rather like interest compounding daily in a bank or investment portfolio.  The readers are able to attach meanings more quickly and therefore success builds on success.  The non-readers continue to struggle with initial learning of letters, sounds and word formations.  The gap grows. 

The need to read is vital for success in school. But it continues to play out the influence throughout our lives.  The more broad our vocabulary, the greater our ability to provide effective communication.  Reading just 15 minutes a day can provide incredible on-going vocabulary building.  Find a book, find the time, invest in yourself.  As Mark Twain said, “The man who won’t read has no advantage over the man who can’t read.”

One of the Top Ten Things Successful People Do as evident in many surveys over the years, is reading.  Yep, 30 minutes a day devoted to reading.  Whether it is self improvement, business, industry specific, biography, autobiography, fiction, non-fiction…..read!  In fact, it has even appeared as an interview question, “What are you currently reading?” as an indicator of motivation, self improvement, cultural fit to the organization.

So, what are you reading? 

MUST BE PRESENT TO WIN

Have you ever bought a raffle ticket or attended an event and on your ticket it was printed, “Must be Present to Win”?  Sometimes I have felt like it was a ploy because I was so ready to leave, but I didn’t want to miss my chance.  Other times I was so engaged in the event I wanted to stay regardless of the raffle potential. Being engaged made the difference.

Engagement is such a critical piece of the satisfaction quotient when it comes to enjoying a career.  You really do have to be present to win.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics and numerous other sources, employment engagement numbers vary between 30-40%.  That means more than half of the people in the work force are not engaged in their work….they may be physically present, but they are not “Present to Win”

Athletes are notorious believers in similar beliefs: “Nothing left in the tank” or “Leave it all on the field”.  But the concept applies to more than sports.  Just like soft skills transfer across so many career options, success can happen anywhere, but you MUST BE PRESENT TO WIN. 

Being present is NOT demonstrated by, being late, frequent interruptions using social media not associated with the task at hand, conversations with peer colleagues about negative work conditions or other issues that do not further your positive movement forward.

Being present IS demonstrated by on-time behavior, limited personal interruptions, focused time on task, deadlines met and positive work quality. 

So, are you Present to Win?  Do your actions support your goals for a positive outcome?  What is your purpose and are you building toward it in an effective manner?  Think about it…every single day is a bit of a lottery and we have one ticket, one chance, to make it a win at the end of the day. 

Are you Present to Win?

Values and Values Disconnect

One of the most overlooked elements of job satisfaction is the correlation of our personal values to the  interaction of our job.   But values shift throughout our lives based on moments in time, who is most important in our lives in those moments, our interests, and a host of other ideals.  Those values can be critical for feeling a level of satisfaction or disconnect.   Who we work for, work with, and the work culture feed our values or deprive us and can initiate feelings of disconnect.

Several years back my family dynamic changed.  Loved my job, but suddenly I was missing key moments in my daughter’s life and my job satisfaction plummeted.  I made a decision that I had to find a new position because I wasn’t going to continue down that path.  She was more important.  I made an appointment with my boss, shared my dilemma of enjoying my job but not being willing to sacrifice those once in a lifetime moments.  I believed I needed to resign.  In a turn of events, my boss shared how much I was valued and that I didn’t need to make a decision to leave.   My boss helped me to understand a different perspective of leadership for both of us.   It enabled me to manage my own values more effectively and pay attention to the leadership or organizational values going forward.

Assessing values require that we evaluate what we really want, what is most important to us and to look at all of the angles before we jump ships, take on new roles, or give up.  Too often emotions drive us to react, but we take action blindly without assessing what is at the core.  What is at the core of your values?  Undecided what direction you are going?  Contact me.

Scary Times II

In October 2011 I posted a Blog titled Scary Times.  It was a play on Halloween and the issues facing seniors in high school as they navigated the world of changes ahead…college, work, sports.  Issues that were relevant. Perhaps scary, but also exciting.  Fast forward to today, Scary Times II.

Scary Times II is certainly not aligned with Halloween this time, and it is not targeting seniors in high school.  It targets everyone.  Those in high school as a sophomore or older, college students, and those in the work world already.  COVID-19 has made our world a very different place.  As a result, it has caused all of us to rethink how we interact with each other,  how we address learning, and how we continue in the world of work.  Yes, it is scary.

But, Scary Times can encourage us to spend time reflecting, to engage, educate and empower ourselves to move beyond where we were and into something more.  Who    are    YOU?  Are you an Extrovert?  Do you need diversity in your work, interactions with others, and a common goal?  Are you an Introvert? Need more time to yourself for reflection and recharging?  Are you diagnostic, analytic, experiential or consultative in your Problem Solving style?  How does that fit in your world of work?  If you are not sure, maybe it’s time to find out the answers to these and lots more questions that can guide you in your next steps.

The world of work is changing more rapidly that anyone expected.  Will you be ready?  Now is the time to take a Highlands Ability Battery and find out your Best Fit opportunities.

 

Networking is for Everyone – Including Students!

Social media is changing the way we network for career opportunities.  But we can’t forget to develop our in-person networks as well.  This is especially true for high school and college students.  As you think about career directions, this is the time to do some explorations and especially if you are not working during the summer.

Tap into those networks that are closest to you.  Parents and their employers, extended family members and their employers are all great places to begin.  Find out if positions exist within their organizations that you may interest you.  If so, a quick phone call or introduction followed by a couple of questions could well set the stage for an opportunity to spend a few hours or even a week exploring the career options related to the career you shadowed.  By shadowing, you have also extended your own network for future opportunities.  Career shadowing experiences help you to determine if there is more you want to know about a career or if it was just a whim.

In years past we only heard about networking as a business tool.  No longer!  It is a tool for everyone and students are no exception.  Whether you are building a network of coaches, admissions contacts or career professionals, networking is powerful.  While Facebook, LinkedIn and Yelp are all proven social media networking tools, don’t overlook the obvious.  Check out your own family network and the network of businesses and professionals used by your family.  It’s all part of promoting yourself, building experiences, eliminating the potential of stumbling into a profession you later wish you had gone another direction, and creating a path of satisfaction and success for yourself.

Contact me if you need more information or have questions.  Make it a great day or not, the choice is yours!

5 Tips for Students Making Career Decisions

Some individuals seem to have known from the time they were 5 years old what they wanted to be “when they grow up.”  Others seem to struggle their whole lives.  So here are a few tips to help you navigate the question whether you are in high school or college:

  1. Pay attention to the classes you really like in school.  They are often an indicator to your natural talents.
  2. Volunteering and part-time jobs can help you better understand what you want to do more of or never want to do again in your lifetime!
  3. Ask yourself these two questions, “What is my passion?  Do I want it to be my life’s work or part of the balance in my life?”
  4. Career shadow someone in the fields of work that you have interests.
  5. Understand the job market for your intended career expertise.

There is no magic wand to wave or ruby slippers to click together to figure out your career path and find satisfaction.  But there are steps you can take to move you in the right direction!  These five tips are part of a process.  This process combined with The Highlands Ability Battery can provide information and options for achieving career satisfaction.  Want to find out how your natural abilities link with career options?  Contact me.

So Incredibly Awesome

Have you ever been to a party, restaurant or buffet where you felt so overwhelmed by all of the incredible choices you simply had no idea where to begin? Do you have a favorite store like Bass Pro, Apple, Nordstrom or Barnes and Noble filled with those things you love to browse?  Do you usually begin your meandering through that place with a plan that includes some random wandering coupled with a distinct methodology so you don’t miss anything?

That’s how I feel about the new Highlands Ability Battery Career Exploration tool. It is so incredibly awesome!  When you take the assessment, your data gets linked to careers that are a good match for your natural abilities and provides an amazing array of opportunities to be explored. That array includes everything from careers right out of high school to careers requiring a PhD.  Perhaps you want a career with hands-on experiences but you don’t want 4 years of college, what’s available and a good match?

In my career as an educator I have watched the educational pendulum swing from promoting vocational education to dismantling vocational programs and promoting college for everyone. Now we hear STEM, STEAM and all the hype of the pendulum swinging yet again.  The reality is that neither vocational training nor college education is for everyone, but everyone has a place and everyone needs to be prepared to take the next step.  But it requires purposeful thinking and purposeful actions.

Having a career or multiple careers that you truly enjoy is so incredibly awesome. Are you ready to take the next step?  Contact me.

Finding Job Satisfaction

Have you ever felt you were going down the wrong path, maybe weren’t sure where the path was to start with, or maybe you got to the end of the path and said, “Is that all there is?” Life is way too short to not enjoy what you do in your chosen career.  It scares me when I read articles or research that reflect numbers of 50-65% of the population reporting they are disappointed in their career choice or feel that their work is not utilizing their talents.

Finding jobs over the last several years has posed a challenge, but jobs are out there and they run the gambit of requiring technical school training, certification programs, college or advanced degrees. There truly is something for everyone, but not everyone does their homework to figure out their best path.

Finding job satisfaction requires a bit of work. You have to pay attention to what you like and don’t like to do both in your class time or work hours as well as in those hours when you can spend your time doing anything you want. What makes you tick?  What turns you off?  Are you passionate about something and want to incorporate it in your work or do you want to keep it separate?  What are your Natural Abilities?  Did you know they are measureable?

Job satisfaction includes doing what you are good at, being valued by those you work with and for.  It includes doing what you enjoy and feeling that compensation is in line with the job and others in similar jobs.  Satisfaction includes lots of things including your quality of life.  Does your job satisfaction measure up?

Need help figuring it out? Click here to Contact Me.

It’s All About Perspective

As high school students and parents as well as some college students consider their next year of school or the path of a career, it’s important to think strategically about the investment in a college degree or technical school. After all, they are businesses.  While they intend to educate and provide opportunities for future employment and lifestyle, the reality is they must stay competitive to keep the doors open.  That means they must run it like a business, big business.

Recently The Wall Street Journal  interviewed Brian Casey, President of DePauw University in Indiana, a well ranked liberal arts institution. While he is talking about the importance of liberal arts education in today’s job market, he is also addressing the university’s need to remain competitive using a variety of recruitment strategies.  They are two different perspectives for promoting an institution or business and both are important to their survival.  But what perspective is most important to you?

When you think about your own strategy for being competitive in a job market, a college market and career path, it’s your perspective that is most important.  After all, they are your dollars going into their business.  Whether a liberal arts background, specific university program or technical school are best for you depends on many factors.  But rest assured they will all do their best to sell you on their institution.  So make sure you do your homework.

Need help navigating the college admissions process? Contact me

Need help figuring out your career path? Contact me.

Either way, click here to read the article and be more informed.