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.

Are You a Designated or Silent Leader?

Remember the Zamboni driving goalie?  He saved the day by rising to the occasion and became a silent leader. He wasn’t the designated goalie that would lead the team to victory.  But he stepped up to the challenge and with each save he brought each member of his team and the fans along with him on an amazing experience.

Silent leaders step up from the ranks.  They bring others along through voice and actions, they listen to what the team is saying, they keep their eyes and ears engaged with learning and tap into that knowledge when the need is evident.  Along the way they continually build trust and appreciation with their teammates.

Jim Collins, author of Good to Great, addresses the power of Level 5 Leadership.  Tapping into humility and will.  The power of Silent Leadership capitalizes on opportunity and maximizing that humility and will.  The Zamboni driver upped his own game and others followed.  His ego stayed in check and the high of his will drove him forward.

Designated leaders carry the position identifier or title, coach, owner, CEO, president, manager, captain, you get the idea.  Silent leaders emerge from within the group and often are the catalyst in critical times.  Our interest and desire impact our decision to take on one or the other role, but our humility and will can be the game changers.

We have all been a leader at some point.  If you ever played Follow the Leader as a kid you’ve been a leader.  Maybe you lead a group in school,  served as captain of a team, perhaps you lead a department at work or even own your own company and carry the title CEO.  All of these carry this common denominator, everyone else was following.  Some leaders are designated while others are silent.  So, what leadership characteristics are natural to you?  What skill set do you need to build?

Are you wanting to take the next steps in your career?  Want to up your game?  Let’s figure it out…..let’s connect!

Be the Catalyst

Does the word Evaluation cause you to get anxious, nauseous, maybe filled with cautious anticipation? Is it usually someone else evaluating your performance? What do you gain?
The reality is, evaluations cannot be just annual events that leave you feeling like you finally just earned a great bonus or completely at a loss for all the hours you invested the last year with no gains.  Gains can be in your hands as easily as in someone else’s, but you have to take control. Be the catalyst! You have to ensure you have a plan that is filled with SMART goals that will provide your next opportunity. Be in control of your future!
Everyone Needs to Self Evaluate:
So whether you are an NFL player being evaluated every day you are on the field, a teacher in any district across the country being evaluated annually or quarterly, or even an engineer with a manufacturing company and an annual performance review tied to your bonus, you are in control. You choose how to enhance whatever it is they are looking for by continually evaluating yourself and applying what you learn.
Create Targets of Improvement:
A singular review of your performance will not be enough to guide you into the next steps. You will have to be the catalyst. Monitor your performance on a regular basis.  Stretch for that next position by gathering additional responsibilities, new experiences, on-going learning. When you expand your learning, either through new challenges, courses, or self-enhancing growth tools, you put a new and improved you at the center of the evaluation process.
How do you measure up next to the individual in your same position? Where are you compared to the position you want? What are you willing to do to get there?
Take the time to evaluate your own performance. Then, be the Catalyst.  What’s your next step?  Need help?  Click Here.

Considerations for Choosing or Reevaluating a College Major

1 – Family Influence – Parents and family members influence our considerations for college, advanced degrees and career outcomes.  Their involvement and discussions may or may not support specific areas of study the student finds of interest.  The work done by parents or extended family members may set an expectation for the college student and therefore the selection of a college major is predetermined by family dynamics.   Knowing where family influence comes from can support an open range of major areas of study or it can create an expectation that may or may not fit.

2 – Media Impact – Television programs like CSI, The Closer, have created increased demand for degrees in Criminal Justice and Forensic Science.  However, enjoying a television program doesn’t make it a good career fit.  Understanding the requirements of the courses and the potential career opportunities that are related to these courses can help in determining a good fit and major area of study.

3 – Values – Knowing yourself and what you value is an important factor in choosing a major area of study.  Whether it is time management, making a difference for others, religion, recognition, physical challenges or spending time with family or friends, these and many others are key factors in considering career directions and major areas of study.

4 – Interests – Interest surveys are great tools for beginning a process of determining career direction and major areas of study.  Because interests can change due to our experiences, it is good to take them periodically.  While interests may shift, you may also find a trend develops with one or two.

5 – Natural Abilities – Natural Abilities are the way in which we are hardwired.  Like our fingerprints, they are part of who we are and they do not change.  They appear as the things we do naturally and easily.  They impact the way we learn, interact with others, the environment we feel most comfortable at work.  Natural abilities are driving forces within each of us and can be capitalized on for maximum performance and satisfaction or we can work against them and question why we are not as happy in our chosen careers.  Natural Abilities are measureable so ask me how to get it done!

6 – Goals – Having clearly defined goals can help in choosing college majors.  Do your goals require 4 years or 8 years of school?  Do you have a financial plan to support those goals?  Will the outcome of your major area of study provide career opportunities based on labor trends, where you choose to live and your social or cultural expectations?  Clearly defined goals along with a financial plan will assist in meeting the challenges of completing an “on time” degree as well as reduce potential costs associated with changing majors and prolonged graduation dates.   Talk with your financial planner to assess your own college and fiscal needs.  I can help with the college and career pieces.

Six Considerations in Choosing a College Major

The following post has been one of my most frequently referenced and visited blog posts in the past 2 years.  I hope it provides good information for those new to my work, but for those returning, I hope you always get a new little something out of the information or perhaps even a gentle reminder.  Happy 2013!

1 – Family Influence – Throughout our lives, parents and family members influence our considerations for college, advanced degrees and career outcomes.  Their involvement and discussions may or may not support specific areas of study the student finds of interest.  The work done by parents or extended family members may set an expectation for the college student and therefore the selection of a college major is predetermined by family dynamics.   Knowing where family influence comes from can support an open range of major areas of study or it can create an expectation that may or may not fit.

2 – Media Impact – Television programs like CSI, Law and Order, or The Closer have created increased demand for degrees in Criminal Justice.  However, enjoying a television program doesn’t make it a good career fit.  Understanding the requirements of the courses and the potential career opportunities that are related to these courses can help in determining a good fit and major area of study.

3 – Values – Knowing yourself and what you value is an important factor in choosing a major area of study.  Whether it is time management, making a difference for others, religion, recognition, physical challenges or spending time with family or friends, these and many others are key factors in considering career directions and major areas of study.

4 – Interests – Interest surveys are great tools for beginning a process of determining career direction and major areas of study.  Because interests can change due to our experiences, it is good to take them periodically.  While interests may shift, you may also find a trend develops with one or two.

5 – Natural Abilities – Natural Abilities are the way in which we are hardwired.  Like our fingerprints, they are part of who we are and they do not change.  They appear as the things we do naturally and easily.  They impact the way we learn, interact with others, the environment we feel most comfortable at work.  Natural abilities are driving forces within each of us and can be capitalized on for maximum performance and satisfaction or we can work against them and question why we are not as happy in our chosen careers.

6 – Goals – Having clearly defined goals can help in choosing college majors.  Do your goals require 4 years or 8 years of school?  Do you have a financial plan to support those goals?  Will the outcome of your major area of study provide career opportunities based on labor trends, where you choose to live and your social or cultural expectations?  Clearly defined goals along with a financial plan will assist in meeting the challenges of completing an “on time” degree as well as reduce potential costs associated with changing majors and prolonged graduation dates.

Goals and New Year’s Resolutions

Do you remember what your New Year’s Resolution was for 2011?  Did you follow through to achievement or abandon it somewhere between February and June like 90+ percent of the population?

If you were successful with your Resolution, chances are you wrote it down and had a plan like we talked about last week with SMART goals.  If you were not successful, why not?  What derailed you in the process?

Resolutions are like Goals.  They are a personal commitment to self improvement.   But in order to be a successful Resolution, it must be relevant to you and it must have a well defined foundation.  That foundation creates a structural support system so that you can take action and successfully achieve your Resolution and celebrate your success!  What a great feeling to achieve something that you have identified as important for your self improvement.

Remember this; work SMARTer, not necessarily harder in the New Year!  If you need help writing a SMART goal or developing a plan to support that goal, contact me.  Good luck, Happy New Year, and may 2012 bring you great success!

Writing Goals is SMART

Writing goals is smart.  In fact, when we commit goals to written form we increase the odds of achievement by about 94 percent.  Why do you think all of those diet companies have you sign a contract with specific goals and time lines?  A written format works.

So here is the formula for effective goals:

S – Your goal must be specific.

M – Your goal must be measurable.

A – Your goal must be attainable.  Notice I didn’t say easy, but it must be within reason.

R – Your goal must be relevant.  It must be important to you.

T – Your goal must be timely.  It has to be measurable within a given time frame.

That’s it.  SMART goals are that easy.  Write them down according to the formula.

What goals are you serious about for the coming year?   Serious enough to be SMART and commit them to paper?

Three Goal Considerations

I’ve always been a goal driven individual.  Even as far back as being in the third grade I can remember wanting to be a teacher.  I played school in elementary, joined Future Teachers of America in high school and eventually got a bachelors degree in elementary and exceptional student education.  One goal led to the next and here I am today with a doctorate degree and life path that has opened more doors than I ever dreamed.  Goals work.

What goals have you set for yourself?  If you haven’t, here are three things to consider:

1. Goals give us a well defined purpose – “You need a plan to build a house.  To build a life, it is even more important to have a plan or goal.”  –  Zig Ziglar.

2. Goals foster our desire and keep us focused – “Each of us has a fire in our hearts for something.  It’s our goal in life to find it and to keep it lit.”  –  Mary Lou Retton

3. Goals provide a sense of achievement when accomplished – “Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.” – Theodore Roosevelt

What do you want to do?  What is your passion?  What is your plan to get there?  Need Help?  Click here to contact me.

Shortchanging Ourselves

If you sat down and began identifying the dreams and goals you have had, what would you list?  How many have you achieved?  Now think about you today and what goals or dreams you have for your future?

In one of the presentations that I make for career directions, I address the importance of having, writing and achieving goals.  Edgar Mays said, “Failure is not, not reaching your goal, but in having no goal to reach.”  I find it interesting that statistically, the majority of the population does not write goals and yet research has proven that writing goals significantly increases our achievement rate.  Just look at the number of weight loss programs advertised on TV and what they offer.  They are centered on a goal, baseline data, a set of strategies and a monitoring plan.  Success ensues as long as the plan is realistic and maintenance and monitoring occur.  But all too often success is diminished because the plan is not maintained or monitored.  Goals must be realistic, updated and the rest of the plan accordingly.

Now transfer that same rationale to career direction or anything we do in life that we want to improve upon.  A friend, great golfer and talented Mind and Sports Performance Coach says it this way, “We can become afraid to raise the bar and set high expectations for ourselves so that we don’t have to feel the frustration and disappointment of what we mistakenly think of as failure.  We can also set unreasonably high standards that we don’t really believe to be true and sabotage our efforts by becoming very unkind toward ourselves.  Fear only exists because we don’t believe that we have the power inside of us to achieve absolutely anything that we want and desire through the power of the Mind.  If we knew beyond a doubt that we could direct our focus, imagination and intention to create anything we wanted, we would never be afraid again.” – Tim Kremer  www.myspiritofgolf.com

Creating the best you requires that you reflect on your own achievements, goals, talents, dreams and fears.  Creating the best you requires a commitment to writing a plan.  Have you shortchanged yourself by not having goals or giving in to fear of failure?   What’s stopping you today?

Evaluate Your Needs

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started.  The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks and then starting on the first one.”  –  Mark Twain

This quote rings true with me each time I hear someone ask, “Where do I start?”  My response is always, “Break it down.”  Unfortunately, that’s where a lot of people break down.  They have a fleeting idea of a goal; an immediate reaction to how to get there, and then an impulse act that they hope will bring about the end result they originally imagined.  Creating that successful summer experience requires that you have a plan though, not just an act of impulse.  Whether you are a high school student or a college student, you are on a path that can provide enormous opportunity and create background experiences that set you up for success.  So, as part of the plan, begin by evaluating your needs.

As a student, there are four “needs” to consider when planning your summer.  Keep in mind, your plan may include parallel paths to meet these needs.

1. Financial Need – Do you need to make money for spending cash or are you in need of making money to be able to make expenses when you return to school?  Do you need to make money to pay for college?  If “financial need” is a primary concern for your summer, then getting started on your pursuit of summer employment is immediate and last week’s blog included some informative and helpful websites for that search.

2. Experience Need – Experience presents itself in many forms.  It can be an internship, externship, or participation with an organization.  Internships may be with or without pay, but the big payoff is experience with a company that can build toward future employment with them or at least the benefit of learning what you do or don’t want to do in your future.  Participation with an organization may be in the form of an athletic team and building skills and stats toward college or professional opportunities.  Either way, the experience is your primary need.

3. Volunteer Need – This one is of particular importance to high school students but should not be dismissed by the college student.  Volunteering speaks to your character.  Many high schools require community service as part of their graduation requirements.  Universities look at volunteerism as one element of consideration when admitting students.  Companies look at your community involvement as commitment, community outreach and opportunities to be seen as a positive extension of their own business.  Assess your schedule and your need to increase your volunteer capacity.

4. Education Need – Do you need to take summer courses?  Does your graduation date indicate that you are on track with completing your diploma or degree on-time?  Do you want to get ahead on your timeline?  Assessing your summer needs for education requires that you know where you are today in your plan, seeing the end-date, and working backward on the calendar to ensure an on-time completion.

With these four identified needs, evaluating your potential summer activities now becomes more focused and allows you to take the steps essential to creating great opportunities.  Your path may be consumed by one of these “Needs” or you may be able to combine paths if you have multiple needs and a schedule that will accomodate.  Either way, by planning now you can design a unique opportunity setting yourself up for future success.

Remember, ” The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks…”  Need help breaking it down?  Contact me.