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.

What Will They Remember

I’m usually writing about careers, education, workforce, but on my run yesterday I was reflecting on several conversations with clients and parents as well as family members. Coronavirus has pushed everyone’s buttons. And in a time when so many are out of work or in limbo, a common stress I heard were conversations surrounding the feelings of falling short as the educator in the family in lieu of regular school for their kids. Tears had been shed over maintaining “school hours”, who had or hadn’t logged on or violated someone’s assigned time, and the worst…assignments that were confusing or misunderstood leading to frustration and incomplete lessons.  Has it happened at your house?

The word “CAN’T” permeated lessons, balancing work and family at home and for some the end of the rope loomed way to close. My past life as a principal came rushing back. What would I have done? It hit me….treat it like travel. Yes, being on time, having lessons complete, checking all the boxes for the grade book is important.  But, when a family would ask if they could be excused for an unusual family travel experience, my answer was always emphatically “YES”!  Nothing educates like travel. Learning new geography, currency, customs. They are all genuine life learning experiences that make connections in our brains unlike learning in a book or even catching it on an electronic device.

COVID 19 has put us all in unusual family/work experiences, and we can choose to make our memories of this around the word “CAN’T” or we can frame it around the words “WE DID”. So how bad would it be if a tearful lesson in math got put away until later and a cooking experience commenced. Or how about a distance challenge calculating steps through the house if one was to suddenly become blind…. the possibilities are endless. The point is to use the imagination, take the pressure off of each other. I’m not advocating throwing in the towel on curriculum, but I absolutely advocate that in a time when everyone is navigating this virus as best they can, we need to feel empowered to make decisions that move everyone forward. Learning goes well beyond the walls of a classroom. It goes beyond the walls of our perceived imagination.

So, what will you DO to ensure that when your children look back and talk about their memories during the quarantine of COVID 19, they remember what “WE DID” and not what they “couldn’t”.

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.

 

Career Conundrum

When billionaire Mike Bloomberg spoke to the recent graduates of Harvard Business School about their careers, he told them, “Make decisions based on the quality of the opportunity and where you’ll have the most fun and the most room for growth.”  His message to them was rooted in understanding themselves.  It’s a lot like the message Erika Boissiere wrote about in her April 22, 2019 Forbes magazine article, “When You’ve Made the Wrong Career Choice”.  She says, “You can’t shelve unhappiness forever.”

Identifying the Career Conundrum:

Rarely does a week go by that I do not get a phone call, email, or run into someone who is experiencing disappointment in their career choice.  They are in a Career Conundrum, with the nagging questions of:

  • Do I stay or do I go?
  • What else can I do?
  • How do I know I won’t feel this same way 5 years from now?

So, is she right?  Does unhappiness keep you awake at night, distract you while you work and drive, gnaw at your stomach, and diminish your performance?  That feeling of being stuck is a miserable place to live.

People who love their work are highly motivated.  But I believe that everyone has the potential to be highly motivated.  Finding the “right fit” career is key.  In fact motivation is one of the five key pillars of Emotional Intelligence and key to career success.

Counter the Career Conundrum:

Are you ready for a successful process? Contact me about taking The Highlands Ability Battery and creating a new path!  Finding the “right fit” career is a process and requires an investment in self.  Investing is the act of putting something in, like time, money, effort.  We invest in our 401k and we expect an improved outcome.  Why would anyone invest endless hours at a job that doesn’t feel right when there are so many other options?

Are You the Best You Can Be?

Whether you follow football or not it is hard to escape the hype of the Super Bowl.  I happen to love it.  Who’s the best quarterback, the best rookie, the best commercial, the best Super Bowl party food, the best over the top fan attire….I love it all.  It expresses a passion.  And whether it is a hobby, an ethnic food, team logo wear or the work you do, passion adds to the enjoyment of life and helps us to be the best we can be.  It helps us connect with others that have similar interests.

High school students, if you don’t know what your passion is, explore more and find it!  Colleges and universities want to know what moves you and why their institution will be a good fit for you.

College students, whether you are applying for an internship or getting ready to graduate and applying for that first “just out of college” job, that potential employer wants to know that you have passion too.  Happy employees make for more productive employees.  Demonstrate your passion for the company you are looking to embrace.

Even you guys in the workforce, are you demonstrating a passion for your work?  If not, why not?  Sometimes we still enjoy our work but the balance of life brings us to a place that seems to have diminished that passion.  What do you need to do to rekindle it?

Life is a balance.  Being the best we can be includes enjoying the work we do, balancing it with spending time with family, friends or activities we enjoy and paying attention to the passions that make us better people.  Are you the best you can be?

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.

Change – The Art of Improving Performance

For the first time since 2005, College Board is making changes with the SAT.  Well, actually, Educational Testing Services made the changes as offered through College Board.  But, all students and colleges really care about is the new format, expectations, and outcomes.

The test goes into action spring 2016, so sophomores and freshmen get ready!  The changes are intended to capitalize on student learning in class and less on how well they are coached to perform on a standardized test.  That doesn’t mean that preparation isn’t still important in the way of test prep programs, but it does mean that more is at stake in the classroom and that coaching will be even more dependent on process thinking and less on strategies for guessing.   For now, check out the update at www.collegeboard.org/delivering-opportunity/sat/redesign.

Up 10%

I speak frequently about the ridiculous amount of student loan debt in our country. Not that there aren’t times and situations that they are warranted, but all too often they are a product of irresponsible choices.  Irresponsible meaning that students and families do not invest the time and effort into exploring options before they commit to majors and then change their mind.  In changing majors, you loose at least one semester, so the graduation target gets pushed back and the monetary investment gets extended.  The national average indicates that students will change majors 3-5 times in the course of their four-year degree, but in doing so they end up graduating in six years instead of four.

The newest data shows that loan debt has increased 10% over last year.  Here is a very cool interactive map that shows state-by-state the amount of loan debt and % of students with loan debt. http://money.cnn.com/interactive/pf/college/student-debt-map-2012/?iid=EL

Need help exploring your options and developing a plan NOT to be one of the statistics.  I am not a financial consultant, but I am  a college and career advisement specialist.  Contact me.