What mindset are you?

What Mindset Are You?

Your mental game, or mindset, plays a critical role in whether you will just survive or thrive in your career. Everyone experiences tough challenges but do you see these challenges as a learning opportunity or a failure? That is, do you have a fixed or a growth mindset? What mindset are you?

What is a Growth Mindset?

Stanford University academic, Dr Carol Dweck, conducted an experiment with 10 year-old children to see how they cope with challenge and difficulty. She gave them a set of maths problems that were too hard and asked the students to solve them.

Some students responded to the situation like they would a catastrophe. They complained the tests were too difficult for their skill level and they felt their intelligence was being judged. These kids failed the tests. When asked what they would do next time, they responded with things like “cheat”, “find someone who did worse” (so they could feel better about themselves) or “run away”. These kids had a fixed mindset.

But other kids responded with comments like “oh good, I like a challenge” and “there are going to be lots of good learning opportunities today.” These kids had a growth mindset and not surprisingly, performed better in the tests.

What is your mindset?

In her TED Talk The Power of Believing You Can Improve Dweck also refers to a high school in Chicago that took a different approach to grading exams. If students didn’t pass their tests, they were awarded the grade “not yet” rather than “fail”.

“If you get a fail, you’re nowhere, but if you get a ‘not yet’ you’re on a learning curve – it gives you a path into the future,” said Ms Dweck.

So, a growth mindset is a way of approaching your career (and your life) that recognises you are constantly learning and growing your mind and capabilities.

How does a Growth Mindset Help My Career?

Many people I speak with are their own worst critics. In a 45-minute career consultation they can tell me every wrong decision they’ve made in their career and how it’s left them feeling unhappy.

They talk to me about the time they “should / shouldn’t have done” or “could / would have done” BUT “they didn’t”.  They see these decisions as personal failings.  One client said to me “if only I didn’t waste my time with that degree, then I wouldn’t be in this job”.  Another client often says to me, “you know if I hadn’t listened to my friends then I wouldn’t have applied for this job and I would still be happy rather than being here with you.”  Thoughts and feelings of failure occupy their minds, often consuming time and energy that could be focused on moving forwards, not dwelling in the past.

It’s easy to assign yourself a ‘fail’ grade for your career and resign yourself to staying in a job that makes you unhappy. But what if rather than ‘fail’, you told yourself “I’m not there yet but I’m on a learning curve” OR you said to yourself “OK this has worked what can I learn from this experience and what can I do to change it?”

This simple re-phrasing can open a world of possibilities.

Imagine you face a big challenge at work:

  • You are knocked back for a promotion.
  • Your contract is not renewed.
  • You have a tetchy relationship with your boss.
  • You are made redundant.

It would be perfectly normal to feel down about any one of these challenges.

But rather than label yourself a failure, imagine if your reaction was “there are going to be lots of good learning opportunities in this” or “oh good I was hoping this would be a challenge.” Or “OK know I have learnt what not to do”.

On one level, it sounds insincere and foolishly optimistic to react in this way. The point is not to trivialise your feelings but re-frame your thinking so you see a way forward when life throws you curveballs.

See Your Potential

This small shift in your thinking can make a seismic difference to your career.  Each of us is born with inherent strengths and limitations but our capacity to grow and learn is not pre-defined at birth.

In another study, researchers looked at the brains of children with a fixed mindset versus a growth mindset. The children with a fixed mindset registered almost no electrical activity in their brains whereas the brains of children with a growth mindset were on fire.

Growth Mindset

A growth mindset can have similar benefits in adults. If you engage your brain with a challenge and think your way through it, you develop new neural pathways. Your brain literally grows as it learns. If you run away from a challenge, you don’t benefit from the challenge. Your mental capacity is not fixed. With stimulation, your brain and its capacity to solve problems continuously grows.

When 16-year-old Jessica Watson said she wanted to sail around the world solo, she was told she would never make it and her parents were criticised for being irresponsible about her safety.  Her critics could only see how and where she could fail, whereas those with a growth mindset like her and her parents could see the opportunities for success.

Jessica said in an interview “I didn’t have a lot going for me but I did what I had to do to get there. It makes you think what else are people capable of?” she demonstrated her growth mindset.

On her first trial expedition, Jessica crashed her yacht into a ship, which broke the mast on her yacht. The naysayers delighted in saying “I told you so” but Watson was determined to achieve her dream.

“I don’t think a lot of people make the connection between a big goal and lots of realistic achievable steps along the way. There were so many positives that came out of hitting that ship (although I didn’t think it at the time). It made me more confident that I could handle the situation if everything fell apart at sea,” said Ms Watson.

By accepting challenges and thinking “I’m not there yet but I can learn” you develop your capacity to solve work and life challenges.

Your Career is a Marathon, Not a Sprint

A career is a long run that requires endurance – both mental and physical. A professional athlete trains so they are ‘match ready’ but it doesn’t mean they don’t suffer setbacks like injury or being side-lined for another player.

Most Australians will spend 40 – 50 years of their life working either full-time or part-time, stopping for breaks (either forced or by choice) along the way. And nearly everyone experiences moments when they feel like they’re ‘on the bench’ rather than ‘in the game’.

Having a growth mindset can help with endurance to last the distance and not give up when you’re on the bench.

Find the Right Support Crew

As a good friend of mine once said, “a problem shared is a problem halved”. Getting through challenges in your career is difficult so having the right support crew is critical.

Jessica Watson said there was no way she could have sailed around the world solo without a dedicated team of people who shared her vision. Her team, from boat builders to cheerleaders, all helped her achieve what the media and critics said was impossible.

“It was a matter of finding people along the way who were going to help me and I found some pretty awesome ones. I was always going to need people to support me and I could never have done it without them” said Jessica Watson.

The same goes for your career. Along your 40-50 year career journey, you need to find the right people who share your vision of who you are and what you can achieve – enablers to help you achieve your goals. Just as top performing athletes need a coach to achieve peak performance, so do professionals. I get a lot of satisfaction helping professionals develop a growth mindset and achieve success in their careers. Why not talk to me about your career, the challenges you face and let me help you be successful?

Click below to organise your free 45-minute career growth conversation

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For more information about how to cultivate a growth mindset:

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  • The Power of Believing You Can Improve
  • Jessica Watson (OAM): The World’s Youngest Solo Sailor

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  • How Your Brain Reacts To Mistakes Depends On Your Mindset
Finding the right career path

Know Your Strengths and Find Your Perfect Career

Are you unhappy in your career? Thinking that “this is not what I signed up for”? Or feeling that you don’t fit with your job and that this is not what you were put on this earth to do?.

If this is the case, then it is time to think about what you are good at, what skills you prefer to use to and what your true passions and interest are because somewhere in there is where your perfect career lies.

One of my favourite podcasts is the ABC’s Conversations with Richard Fidler and Sarah Konowski because it’s full of interesting insights on how people think.

Recently, Sarah interviewed Osamah Sami, author of Good Muslim Boy. As the son of Iraqi immigrants to Australia, Osamah believed there were two career paths open to him:

  1. Doctor
  2. Taxi driver

His father was a prominent Imam in Melbourne and his family expected him to become a doctor to maintain the family’s good standing in the community. When Osamah failed to get the Year 12 grades to entry into a medical degree, he used photoshop to fudge the results on his certificate so he could bluff his family he had ‘achieved his KPIs’. He even spent a whole year sitting in on lectures at the University of Melbourne’s medical school. Finally, his ruse was exposed and he had to confess to his family he had lied in an attempt to be the good Muslim boy they wanted him to be.

Osamah’s story is more dramatic than most but it did make me wonder how many people choose career paths to please others instead of being true to themselves?

Be True to Yourself

As a kid at school, Osamah was interested in acting and he was always putting on plays to entertain his family and friends. His strength was storytelling and entertaining the crowd. But he put his artistic flair aside and studied physics and chemistry, which he didn’t enjoy and wasn’t good at. It’s not hard to understand why he started to skip school.

In her TED talk, Grit – the power of passion and perseverance, researcher and psychologist, Angela-Lee Duckworth, says there are two factors that determine how successful a person will be:

  • Passion – having a love for what you do.
  • Perseverance – the ability to stick at it.

Together, these two qualities produce grit, which bears more influence on success than intelligence, education or socio-economic advantage.

“Grit is passion and perseverance for very long-term goals. Grit is having stamina. Grit is sticking with your future, day in, day out, not just for the week, not just for the month, but for years, and working really hard to make that future a reality. Grit is living life like it’s a marathon, not a sprint,” said Angela-Lee Duckworth.

If you are not passionate about what you do, you will not want to stick at it, and that makes it hard to be successful.

Osamah Sami is now an actor and author but his career path was a winding journey that took grit. But his story shows that you can take many detours on your career path towards the journey of finding the career that best fits you.

What If I Don’t Know What I’m Good At?

If you’ve been stuck in a job you don’t like for a long time, it can be easy to lose your self-identity and self-confidence, leaving you feeling disheartened and believing that a happy and successful career is impossible.

A client of mine once said “maybe being happy in my career is not meant to be for me”, which is the saddest thing I’d ever heard.

The good news is there are tools to help you identify your strengths and what jobs suit your personality. For example, I use a tool with my clients called Harrison Career Guide which allows us together to objectively assess their strengths and it also suggests career paths that aligns personality, skills and the things they like doing.

The advantage of using a tool like Harrison Career Guide is it can open your mind to alternative career paths.  Careers that you had not thought of previously.   It can be easy to define yourself by your job title but that way of thinking is closed-minded and doesn’t consider your potential for growth or the transferability of your skills. For example, you may be an accountant and one of your strengths is attention to detail. Attention to detail is a very necessary skill for an auditor but it is also useful for a process manager, an editor, event manager or professional organiser who helps people get their lives and homes in order.  Same strengths, same skills but many different outcomes.

Know Your Strengths and Find Your Perfect Career

Another way to evaluate your strengths is ask three people in your personal and professional network to give you two or three keywords they think sums up what they think you are good at.

In my article How to Find a Career You Love I talk about the need to explore and understand your character as the first step to cultivating a flourishing life. What is fundamental to your nature? As a child, what did you naturally gravitate towards, before you bore the responsibility of paying bills?

Use this research to remember who you are and what you love doing. Knowing your strengths can open up a world of career opportunities.

Finding the Right Career Path

Once you have a good understanding of your strengths, you are then in a good position to evaluate alternative career paths. You can start by making a list of jobs you think you would be suited to, then do your research and find out the entry points, salaries, locations and all the details you will need to make a decision.

Alternatively, it can be useful to seek independent professional advice on how to transition out of your current role into a new career. Changing jobs, let alone embarking on an entirely new career, is one of life’s big stressors so having someone on your side to talk to through the transition can make it easier.

Take the First Step

If you are thinking about changing careers, I offer a Career Switch program, which includes an assessment of your strengths and an appraisal on what roles might be suitable for you. This program is backed by my money-back guarantee.   If you don’t feel I’ve kept my promise of providing you with knowledge, tools or strategies to accelerate your career, then I will give you your money back.

It all starts with a free 45 minute career breakthrough conversation.  I invite you to book yours today and take the first step to becoming your future you.

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Are you searching for reasons not to go to work

Should I quit, or should I stay?

It has been a few years working for the same employer and the passion of waking up in the morning excited to go to work has disappeared.  Does that sound like you? Or are you searching for reasons not to go to work?  Or does the mention of your employer make you break out in Hives!!!!

Yes, workplace unhappiness happens.  It is a “thing”. It happens often and to most people.

A recent Gallup Survey revealed that 85% of the international workforce is disengaged at work. Most employees are unhappy with their career.  The reasons are many but the key for us in this blog is the fact that such a big number are chronically unhappy.

Being unhappy at work is terrible.  It makes unproductive as an employee but worse it makes us a bad person to be around. Workplace unhappiness causes stress, it impacts on our relationships, and it can make us sick.

However, before you quit test your decision with these simple questions.

Is my boss showing interest in my career development?

A common issue employees experience is their employer does not provide the fundamental tools to enhance their career.

Some organizations embrace the idea of their employees working towards their goals to potentially move to a new area of the company. An action plan with an employer to develop one’s career includes the following:

  • Quarterly career development meetings
  • Discussing areas of improvement
  • Continuous education
  • Mentor program with experienced colleagues

If you believe there is no opportunity to progress at work, it is time to start searching for a new job.

Is this a great place to work? Do people want to come here and work?

Let’s face it. Some workplaces condone an unhealthy work environment. As a result, employees feel uncomfortable at work to express their concerns to management. A work environment where office gossip, harassment or unprofessional behavior is accepted can prevent you from experiencing high levels of job satisfaction.

Is the Company is Growing?

Growing companies are happy companies and happy companies usually have happy employees. So, if you are in a growing company and unhappy then you might need to consider if you are a good fit for the business A company that is growing has the budget to hire new staff, invest in software technology, offer career development programs, offer bonuses for high performance

If a company regularly announces negative cash flow, missed targets, is laying off staff and its long-term growth looks unachievable then it may be a good idea to leave and protect your entitlements.

What stage of my career am I at?

The reality is many employees outgrow their positions at work.  This could be for many reasons however before you make the decision to quit you should think about: the opportunities in other parts of the business; what development opportunities exist for you where you are; your age, level of experience and the value you could bring to another business; the state of the employment market. As much as quitting may feel good it can very quickly turn into a bad decision if you can find immediate employment.

Is my health being affected?

If your job is making you sick then it is a “no brainer”, you need to get out of there.  Nothing should come before your health.

What to Consider Before Quitting

To quit or not to quit your job is a very serious decision and there are many things you need to think about.  Before making such a serious a decision you should talk to a professional career coach.

What the career coach can do is help you discover new insights about what is making you unhappy at work, suggest alternative ways of dealing with your unhappiness, and help you make the right decision for you.  Most importantly, a career coach will help you find that dream job.

If you are considering quitting your job, then I encourage you to first book a Career Breakthrough Conversation to talk with us about your career and your dream job and whether quitting is the right move for you.

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Our most recent blog I hate my job – what should I do?

Hate your job

I hate my job – what should I do?

Over the last year in Australia, there have been 500,000 searches on Google about what to do if you hate your job. That suggests there are a lot of unhappy workers in Australia!

Everyone has a few off days but if you consistently loathe going to work, you have a problem.

In my previous blog 5 Steps to Maintaining Your Well-being at Work, I talked about the ill-effects of workplace stress, which can result in both physical and mental disorders.

Many people tolerate unhappiness at work because they need the job to pay their bills. But if your work affects your well-being, it’s time to reassess. Without your health, you can’t work or live sustainably.

 Why Are You Unhappy at Work?

There are many reasons why you could be unhappy at work but according to research by the Australian National University, there are four factors that consistently lead to unhappiness:

  • Lack of control: minimal freedom to make decisions and exert influence.
  • Lack of security: concerns about the future of the company and the job.
  • Lack of pay: perceived unfairness in how performance is rewarded.
  • Lack of complexity: simplistic work, little learning, and an under-utilisation of employees’ skills.

Do any of these factors apply to your job? It may explain why you are unhappy at work.

Think first, speak later

Before you shout from the water cooler “I hate my job” – pause and think. Your boss may well be a jerk but there’s a good chance you’ll need a reference to secure your next job. While you may get a short-term burst of satisfaction telling workmates how unhappy you are, think about what you stand to lose from doing so.  One of my clients who hated her job unwittingly started to bad mouth her job, her colleagues, her boss and the business – classic “career unhappiness” behaviour.  She did not realise how indiscreet she had been until she applied for a new job with another firm and was told she was unsuccessful because they knew of her bad behaviour.

Take a break

Quitting your job or accepting a redundancy is often a smart thing to do if you really hate your job because it creates a “circuit breaker”.  It gets you out of the negativity.  It can, in many cases be a positive life-changing decision.  In my blog The 6 things about redundancy I talk about the value of taking a break to give yourself time to think about your next step. A holiday is a good idea because it will also give you time to re-charge your batteries, get the negativity out of your head and think about “what next” before you move on with the next phase of your life.  Many of my clients have taken a break after being made redundant and have reported that it was: “the best thing I could have done”, “a great freshen up”, “a chance to close off that chapter of my life”, and my personal favourite, “a chance to reconnect with myself”.  These are all very positive sentiments.

Psychologist Dr Susan Krauss Whitbourne says a successful holiday can benefit your physical and mental health.

“Vacations have the potential to break into the stress cycle. We emerge from a successful vacation feeling ready to take on the world again. We gain perspective on our problems, get to relax with our families and friends, and get a break from our usual routines,” said Dr Krauss Whitbourne.

Do Talk to Someone You Trust

If you’re unhappy, it’s not good to brew up your feelings. Instead of complaining at work, talk to family and friends. However, keep in mind family can’t always give you unbiased advice because they depend on your income and might be fearful of change.  I remember when I left my last job a family member said to me “what do I tell people you do?”.

Your friends will give you well-meaning advice but it can be unhelpful.  Think about it, have you ever received advice from family or friend that was objective, well-researched and appropriate to you?  I would guess rarely because they all have a perception of what you should be doing – according to them.  It’s amazing how many of my clients talk about how they changed things based on family or friend’s advice and it only made things worse!

Sometimes, you need an independent sounding board, like a career coach – a trained professional who will listen objectively and help you sort out what is best for you.  A career coach is the person most likely to give you the best advice that suits you.

Should you stay, or go?

The decision to quit or stay in a job can be complicated, particularly if you are the main bread-winner of the family.

To help make a decision about whether to stay or go, I recommend you write down:

  • A list of things about your job that are not working. Can you influence any of the things that make you unhappy at work? For example, if you don’t like your boss, can you request a transfer to a different area?
  • The costs and benefits of staying or leaving. When faced with the prospect of leaving a job, many people will act out of fear and list only the risks without thinking about what could improve in their lives.
  • Scenarios for what life would look like if you stayed or if quit and chased career happiness.

Writing down the facts on paper will help you assess your situation rationally, rather than emotionally.

Make a plan before you quit

If you have decided you want to leave your job then make a plan. Consider:

  • How much money do you need to live on?
  • Do you need to study or retrain?
  • Updating your resume and LinkedIn profile.
  • Asking for references or recommendations on LinkedIn from colleagues and customers before you leave.
  • Drafting a thoughtful resignation letter. Tempting as it might be to give some feedback, avoid saying anything that might tarnish your reputation.
  • Setting a date to hand in your resignation.
  • Start “working” your network to see what opportunities are out there.

Do you hate your job? I offer a complimentary 45 minute session where you can confidentially talk to me about your career. You don’t need to have all the answers, finding your best career path can start with a conversation. I invite you to click on the button below to book your conversation.

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Wellbeing at Work

5 Steps to Maintaining Your Well-Being at Work

Do you feel you are thriving at work, or just surviving? As I mentioned in my article How to Find a Career You Love, you will spend approximately 80,000 hours at work over your career. That’s a lot of time to spend doing something you don’t enjoy or that makes you feel unwell.

The Ill-Effects of Workplace Stress

Research of 30,000 Australian employees conducted by the Workplace Health Association of Australia  shows 65 percent of those surveyed experience moderate to high stress, and 41 percent were considered ‘at risk’ of serious health issues such as:

  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Some cancers
  • Mental health concerns

Dr John Lang, CEO of the Workplace Health Association of Australia, says the findings are concerning.

“This is an alarming insight into the poor levels of health experienced by most Australian workers. It highlights the urgency to deliver preventative actions in the workplace,” said Dr Lang.

But it’s important to remember you are not trapped. There are steps you can take to improve your sense of well-being at work.

What is Well-Being?

Well-being has both a physical and mental component.

The steps you can take to improve your physical health are more obvious, such as:

  • Exercise more
  • Eat healthy food
  • Give up smoking
  • Reduce alcohol consumption

But what if you do all these things and still feel unhappy at work? What can you do to feel better?

According to well-being expert, Dr. Martin Seligman, there are five key steps to finding and maintaining your well-being.

1.      Purpose

Purpose often relates to belonging to and serving something bigger than yourself. Finding your purpose doesn’t mean quitting your job and giving away all your worldly goods. It’s about understanding why you do the work you have chosen. Does it play to your strengths? Do you feel satisfied after a day of work or does it leave you feeling exhausted? If creativity is your strength but you crunch numbers all day, chances are it will leave you feeling drained.

In his TEDX talk, Start with Why, Simon Sinek talks about what makes Apple more successful than other companies. He says it’s because they are clear on their purpose and put it at the centre of everything they do.  If you understand your strengths and have a connection to your work, it will contribute to your general sense of well-being at work.

2.      Positive Relationships

Humans are inherently social animals who crave love, compassion, kindness, support and approval. Research by Gallup shows that having at least one friend at work can greatly reduce workplace stress and increase a feeling of belonging, trust and support during difficult times.

By contrast, a poor relationship with the boss is one of the main reasons people leave a job. Another study conducted by Gallup suggests 40 percent of employees would sack their boss, given the opportunity. Managing difficult bosses can be tricky but author of Emotional Intelligence 2.0, Dr Travis Bradbury, provides strategies successful people can use to overcome toxic bosses.

If you are unhappy at work, now might be a good time to revisit workplace relationships and assess what impact they have on your well-being.

3.      Achievement

A sense of mastery and success in your job will contribute to your well-being at work.  It’s impossible to win at every challenge but feeling absorbed by your work and feeling a sense of accomplishment will make your work life more enjoyable.

Think about marathon runners. Running 42km is probably one of the most illogical things you could ever do – it’s exhausting and painful – yet the sense of accomplishment marathon runners feel at the end of a long and challenging race is almost euphoric. Can you bring some of that into your work?

Positive Emotion

In his book, Flourish, Dr Martin Seligman talks about two different kinds of positive emotion.

Ebbs and Flows of Life

Your mood is a transient emotion that ebbs and flows, often in response to internal and external stimuli. For example, if you’ve had an argument with your partner in the morning, there’s a chance you’ll have a low mood at work that day. But often, a low mood doesn’t last – you kiss and make up and the low mood passes.

Satisfaction with Life

Understanding how you feel about life more broadly requires a more rational and in-depth analysis than the daily highs and lows. Do you generally feel optimistic about your life? Optimism has proven health benefits and like any skill, it can be learned and developed through daily practice. If, in the long-term, you feel pessimistic about work (and life in general) then it’s time to reassess.

Engagement

Engagement is closely linked to enjoyment, which comes from intellectual stimulation and creativity. Engagement is about being completely absorbed in what you do. You may not instantly recognise that you’re engaged while you are completing a task but on reflection you might think ‘that was good’.

Dr Amanda Allisey of Deakin University says finding out what you really care about is a good way to find a sense of engagement.

“If you ask someone today why they want a particular job, or want to work for a certain organisation, the answer isn’t just “because it pays well”. It’s more about the meaningfulness of the work, or having the opportunity to do something you really love. It’s about tapping into what people care about – and contributing to a sense of well-being,’ said Dr Allisey.

A physical and mental sense of well-being at work is an important factor to a long and happy working life.  If you are searching for your purpose or feel disengaged at work, then talk to me about how you can improve your well-being at work and live a more flourishing life. You can book your Free Career Breakthrough Conversation through the button below:

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If you would like to learn more about well-being, I recommend you:

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If your work is causing you stress and anxiety that is impacting on your immediate well-being then we encourage you to ring the Beyondblue Support Services on 1300 22 4636.

Happy Worker

How to Find a Career You Love

Have you ever heard people say “I love my career” and wondered “what are they doing that I am not?”.  Do you long for a job that makes you spring out of bed on a Monday morning?

Over the course of your career, it’s likely you will work approximately 84,480 hours. You will spend more time at work than you will with your children and loved ones. That’s a lot of important time doing something you don’t love.  It is almost insane to spend that much time doing something that doesn’t feel right.

It is said it takes 10,000 hours to master a skill. That means over your career you have the capacity to be a master eight-times over. So much time, so many possibilities.

Why Don’t I Love My Career?

If you don’t love your career, you’re not alone. A survey conducted by Deloitte in 2017 showed that despite US companies spending more than $1 billion on employee engagement, only 13 percent of employees felt passionate about their job.

It can feel like a first-world problem to not like your job. After all you do have a job, right?  You can put food on the table and pay your bills so, shouldn’t you be grateful?

Everyone has their off-days but research conducted by Jonathan Dirlam and Hui Zeng from the University of Ohio shows job dissatisfaction in your 20s and 30s can have cumulative effects that impact your health in your 40s and beyond.

“The higher levels of mental health problems for those with low job satisfaction may be a precursor to future physical problems. Increased anxiety and depression could lead to cardiovascular or other health problems that won’t show up until they are older,” said Mr Zheng.

What It Means to be Happy

Do you ever wonder why people climb Mt Everest? It’s cold, wet and windy. Mountaineers risk frostbite or even worse, death. It’s hard work and most certainly, doesn’t make them happy.

For mountaineers, striving to reach the pinnacle despite the risks and discomfort spurs them on to plan their next ascent no sooner than they’ve reached base camp. It gives them purpose.  It drives everything they do, it becomes an extension of their identity that others connect with.

Human Flourishing

In his book Flourishing, psychologist Martin Seligman defines human happiness and well-being using the acronym PERMA:

  • Positive emotion (of which happiness and life satisfaction are all aspects)
  • Engagement
  • Relationships
  • Meaning
  • Achievement

No one element defines well-being but each contributes to it.

Suffering is something all humans experience, and it is often beyond our control, so being happy all the time isn’t realistic. But flourishing is within your grasp.

So, how do you find a career that you love, so that you can flourish?

It can be broken down into three key steps.

1.      Explore and understand your character

Many people believe finding career happiness is defined by doing something you love like cooking, gardening or playing piano. However, the pressure to earn money doing something you love can sap the joy out of it.

You also have to be realistic. You may love playing golf but if don’t have the skill then no amount of trying and training will help you crack the pro circuit.

Beyond hobbies that you enjoy, consider what is fundamental to your nature.  Do you naturally gravitate towards people and enjoy asking them questions? Or are you a problem solver who likes to things apart and put them back together again?

Think back to when you were a child before you were burdened with the responsibility of earning money. What did you love to do, naturally? Ask family and friends how they define your character. Or work with an independent career coach who will give you unbiased feedback.

Understanding your fundamental nature can open up a world of career possibilities. For example, people who enjoy pulling things apart and putting them back together again suit a range of careers like being a surgeon, a mechanic or a sculptor.

2.      Where do you thrive?

Finding the best environment for your personality is a key component to finding a career you love. Yet the work environment is something many people over look.

Following on from the example above, if you love pulling things apart and putting them back together again but the smell of a hospital makes you choke, then a career in medicine is not going to make you happy. Likewise, if you enjoy writing but need solitude to do your best work, a loud workplace won’t nurture your creativity.

Another factor to consider is it may be your work environment that you don’t enjoy and not your career. For example, you may work in marketing in a government organisation that is bound by rules and moves at a slow pace. However, your personality might be better suited to a fast-paced advertising agency where decisions are made quickly and deadlines are paramount. Finding the right environment for you can save you chucking in a career you’ve spent years building.

3.      Define Success in Your Own Terms

There are more ways to define success than your salary and job title.

In many instances, definitions of success can be influenced by family. Well-intentioned parents who want their children to be comfortable in life set career and financial expectations before their children leave school. And the pressure to please Mum and Dad can carry on into middle-age.

So ask yourself “what do I mean by success?”. Listen closely and you’ll find you have a quiet inner voice that knows the answer. For some, it may be working part-time so they can enjoy spending time with their children while they are young. For others, it may be the flexibility to travel and explore the world.

Career advisor and TEDX presenter, Erica Sonsa, encourages people to be open to stories that provide different definitions of success.

“Your career is your chance to write your own story, so hold the pen and write the next chapter,” said Ms Sonsa.

To find a career you love, discover your true nature, work out where you fit and define success on your own terms.

If you are currently unhappy in your career, you lack clarity about what next or you want to explore other exciting options, then maybe a career conversation will be helpful to you.  I invite you to click on the BOOK NOW button below to schedule your free, 45-minute Career Strategy Conversation.

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Employment Skills Needed for Future Workforce

Right skills needed for the future workforce

This content is produced by The Australian Financial Review in commercial partnership with DeakinCo – by Simon Hann

Australians are constantly bombarded with stories of how the digital economy is changing the workplace and how employers are struggling to find people with the right skills needed for the future workforce. Federal and state governments talk incessantly about STEM learning and how we can ensure we’re creating a smart, innovative and globally competitive nation.

Yet while we are obviously undergoing vast technological change, what if the skills we really need to thrive in the future already exist in our workforces? A study undertaken last year by Deloitte Access Economics titled Soft skills for business success found while formal qualifications and technical skills are important, they’re only part of the requirements for modern employees.

The report commissioned by DeakinCo found “‘Soft skills’ and personal attributes are just as important to success. Indeed 10 of the 16 ‘crucial proficiencies in the 21st century’ identified by the World Economic Forum are non-technical.” In fact, the report found two-thirds of all jobs by 2030 will be soft skill intensive. Already we’re seeing soft skill intensive jobs grow at 2.5 times the rate of non-soft skill jobs.

So, what are some of these soft skills? Put simply, they’re the transferable skills everyone needs in the modern project-based, customer-centric and agile workplace. Skills such as the ability to communicate, to work in a team, problem-solve and have a high-level of digital literacy.

Most people tend to implicitly believe they have these attributes and more often than not they appear on a resume or someone endorses you for them on LinkedIn, but the problem up until recently has been how best to measure them. It hasn’t been an exact science.

With that in mind, DeakinCo have built a model around this emerging trend of micro-credentials. What we did was measure soft skills based on an individual’s capability to demonstrate a particular skill in action. From there, we created a framework in which to measure those skills by mapping those skills against global and industry skills frameworks in Australia as well as consulting with academic and industry experts.

The result is a framework outlining the criteria people need to demonstrate to show they have the necessary soft skills at advanced or master’s degree level, bachelor’s level or workforce entry level.

Once people meet all the criteria, we then issue a micro-credential through Deakin University in the form of a digital badge confirming an individual has a specific skill or capability. Importantly, the framework behind the micro-credential is robust in terms of measurement and in terms of measuring those soft skills.

These types of micro-credentials illustrate what the future of workplace learning might look like. Importantly for employers, it means not having to make wholesale changes to workforces as they can slowly introduce people to their new world of work by introducing incremental change.

For example, in the United States, telecommunications firm AT&T identified its business model was changing and needed to bring its people along for the ride. With over 280,000 employees, the company was not about to try and hire a whole new more technically adept workforce so it decided to completely re-educate it current employees. The initiative known as Workforce 2020 has seen AT&T make an unprecedented effort to re-educate its workforce.

According to a report in the Harvard Business Review, “tens of thousands of jobs, billions of dollars in shareholder value, and the future of one of the most iconic brands in corporate history are at stake. If AT&T succeeds, it will provide a blueprint for how legacy technology companies can compete against younger, digitally native firms such as Google and Amazon.”

They’ve stepped back and looked at what’s needed in the future and offered their workforce an opportunity to skill-up for that future.

Closer to home we are seeing companies like Westpac and organisations such as the Australian Taxation Office do the same. They’re pushing their employees to be the CEOs of their own future and their employees are engaging more with their work as they increase their soft skills base.

It’s about ensuring people acquire the specific skills they need. For most people, it’s not very realistic to go back and completely retrain once life kicks in so what individuals can now do is become more granular with their education and access the skills training they need at a particular time.

The whole face of education is beginning to change. Historically we relied on our schools, universities and employers to tell us what we need. The shift we’re seeing is people are taking responsibility for the skills they need. It’s about lifelong learning – an alternative approach to education in a global customer-centric economy.

You may also be interested in our webinar on Good Health and Career Happiness

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5 Awesome Tips to Start Building Your Network

5 Awesome Tips to Start Building Your Network

Last week I was talking about networking with one of my coachees.  They were very worried because they felt they did not have a network.  They understood that a network was important, but they could not identify their network.  They were concerned that a lack of a network would hurt their career, hold them back from achieving their career goals. You know what, they are right. Following are our 5 Awesome Tips to Start Building Your Network:

The Australian Government revealed that “The research shows that 17 per cent of all jobs are advertised through word of mouth alone.” Searching for new opportunities on the internet is no longer the conventional way to develop one’s career. It is the connection between people that can be the start of a rewarding career.  These are the connections that will refer you, support you and boost your chances of finding that dream job.

Networking is building a professional relationship with someone that has more experience that can turn into a mentorship, professional friendship or a sponsor that will recommend you for a promotion. One of the factors that some people tend to forget in a networking relationship is both people need to benefit. Network relationships are collaborative partnerships.

Here is a classic example of the beauty of networking. A previous colleague of yours is searching for a managerial position and a new opening is available at your company. Share the news with him and if he is interested in applying, recommend him to the hiring manager. In the future, he will remember your act of kindness and will return the favor. I call it the art of networking.

Below are some tips that can help you build a strong network.

Create a Public Profile  

Personal branding is the key to success. I recommend using promotional tools such as business cards, a website or a LinkedIn profile. Be creative and post photos while at networking events or write a blog about trending news stories in your industry. The power of an online presence will establish you as an expert. As a result, people in your industry will naturally be drawn to you.

Go to Networking Events

I strongly recommend attending networking events at least once a month. It can be a scary experience for introverts, but it is essential for career development. You will be surprised to discover human resources recruiters attend to search for fresh talent. If you show up with friends, walk away from the group to start conversations on your own. It will help to build your confidence to attend upcoming events by yourself.

Be Authentic

People surround themselves with individuals that are confident and are true to their individuality. Colleagues can notice a new employee that pretends to be the opposite of their true character. If you are an introvert, be comfortable with being a team player and use interpersonal skills to impress the manager. An extrovert can exhibit leadership skills and effectively communicate with introverted team members. The experienced professionals at the organization appreciate working with new hires with a pleasing personality.

Networking does not necessarily mean you always need to agree with other people’s opinions. New employees can bring a fresh perspective to a company because of the experience at other organizations. You can present strategic ideas that were implemented at your last company to help a company succeed. For example, you can express your opinion in meetings on strategies to help the company improve customer service, products or employee engagement initiatives.

Track Your Networks Important Life Events

I recommend that you track important events for people in your network. Some of the things you should remember:

  • Birthday’s
  • Work anniversary
  • Recent achievements / accomplishments
  • If they start a new role, send greetings or well wishes

It is the small details in life that matter the most. Pay attention to the small details and it can result in a significant opportunity to improve your career. By the way, all of this information can be gleamed by monitoring your LinkedIn page as the system notifies you of these events.

Get Involved in Volunteering

Volunteering is a fabulous way to build a unique network.  However early on in your career you should focus on volunteering that relates to your career or career goals.  For example, most industries have a peak-bodies have committees you can join or consider joining a chamber of commerce as they also have committees looking for volunteer members.

This will boost your profile and your personal brand in your industry and it will connect you to people who have a common purpose therefore making it easier to build professional relationship.

Do you need career networking advice? Do you want to become an effective networker? Well look no further, click on the “Book Now” button and book your 45-minute obligation free Career Strategy Conversation.

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You may also be interesting in this networking blog:  Networking for Introverts

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