How to speak up for yourself at work

How to speak up for yourself at work

Knowing how to speak up for yourself at work is a critical career-building skill, particularly as you climb the ladder into leadership positions.

Do you ever feel trapped into saying ‘yes’ or worse still saying nothing at all when you’re served the raw end of the prawn? It’s not unusual, especially if you feel like you’re operating from a position of low power. No workplace wants nay-sayers but being a pushover won’t earn you respect either. The key is learning how to speak up for yourself in a way that makes you credible, likeable and builds your authority.

Why Do I Hesitate to Speak Up?

According to social psychologist, Adam Galinsky, most of us have a range of acceptable behavior. Sometimes, our decisions are too weak and we regret not speaking up. Other times, we go too far and we regret speaking up.

“When we stay within our range of acceptable behavior, we are rewarded. When we step outside our range, we get punished in a variety of ways; we get dismissed, demeaned or even ostracized (sic),” said Mr Galinsky.

Source: How to speak up for yourself  by Adam Galinsky

Galinsky says our perceived power influences our willingness to speak up. If you believe you have a low power-base, your range of acceptable behavior will be narrower than someone who perceives they have a high-power base. For example, a graduate will perceive they have less power than a senior executive therefore, the graduate avoids speaking up in meetings because they fear being ignored or worse damaging their personal brand in front of the boss.  This in turn creates what Galinsky calls the Low-Power Double Bind – you don’t speak up, therefore you go unnoticed and as a result, your powerbase remains small.  This bind works to keep you silent.

But your powerbase isn’t constant, it changes based on your situation.

“Our range isn’t fixed, it’s dynamic. It expands and it narrows based on the context. And there’s one thing that determines your range more than anything else, and that’s your power” said Mr Galinsky.

Source: How to speak up for yourself  by Adam Galinsky

There are two sides to feeling powerful:

  • Feeling powerful myself
  • Others seeing me as powerful

“When I feel powerful, I expand my own range. When others see me as powerful, they grant me an expanded range” said Mr Galinsky.

On the other side of the coin, people are social beings. Being liked and belonging in social circles is important so we fear behaving in a way that will jeopardise our social standing.

Why you won’t be respected for being the ‘yes’ person

Consciously or not, you teach people how to behave towards you. This is especially true as you move into leadership roles, when your team and other leaders are watching how you behave. Being obliging might make you popular but it doesn’t always earn you respect. In the wild wilderness of the workplace, creating professional boundaries is a way of marking your territory and letting others know about what you will and won’t tolerate.  It gives you an identity that frames how people treat you.

For example, if you are not invited to an important meeting and you don’t speak up, you teach others it’s okay to exclude you. Or if you’re railroaded into taking on more work when your plate is full, you teach others you can be pushed around.

Knowing how and when to take a confident stance will teach others what you expect and accept.

When Is the Right Time to Speak Up?

When can you assert yourself? When can you offer an opinion? When can you make an audacious ask?

When it’s necessary

Asking yourself “is it necessary to speak up about this issue?” is a good litmus test to decide when is the right time to speak up. If it’s a small, low impact issue and you have very little gain from speaking up then consider letting it slide. If you make noise about the small stuff, you jeopardise your chances of being listen to when the issue really matters.  But if it’s a big issue (in terms of ethics, cost, risk or impact to the business and team) then you must find your voice.  I wonder how many people named in the Banking Royal Commission now wish they spoke up?

When it’s your responsibility

Imagine you’re the General Manager of IT and a big website project hasn’t gone to plan. Some of it is your team’s fault, some of it isn’t. The Head of Marketing is furious and is ready to throw your whole team under a bus. Do you let the team take the heat or speak up? Of course, as the manager, you must speak up, it is your responsibility to be an advocate for your team.

When it’s true

Speaking up about an issue when your unclear about the facts is risky because you can wind up making an invalid argument, or worse looking silly. It’s always a good idea to do your research to find data or evidence to support your position before you turn the spotlight on an issue. Then you can speak up with accuracy and confidence.

How to speak up and stay professional

As I mentioned previously, workplaces are social circles, which makes speaking up risky. But these five techniques will help you maintain respectful relationships and your credibility.

1.       Walk a mile on someone else’s shoes

When you take the perspective of others and find out what they really want, you’re more likely to get what you want and maintain a respectful relationship. But it’s hard to do, especially in a crisis when there’s pressure and emotion.

Back to the earlier example; imagine that you’re the manager of an IT team and the Head of Marketing has publicly blamed your team for a website project flop.

Instead of having a shouting match in the corridor about who’s to blame, book a meeting. Use this time to listen to your colleague’s gripes and understand their concerns. Start by accepting and acknowledging your team’s errors and let marketing know you want to work together to get the project back on track. In a firm manner, also let the CMO know that publicly shaming your team saps their motivation and doesn’t encourage their best work. Ask them to raise any concerns about your team’s performance with you privately and assure her you will address them with your team.

When you take the other’s perspective it allows you to be assertive but still likeable.

2.       Advocate for others

One skill that women have shown to be particularly good at is advocating for others. Galinsky’s research showed women are more audacious in their requests and get just as much as men when they negotiate for their team. Through being an advocate, you discover and expand your own comfort zone and become more assertive. But it’s not always about helping others, sometimes you have to help yourself.

3.       Be flexible and provide choices

According to Adam Galinsky, you’re more likely to negotiate a win and still be likeable if you provide options.

“My research shows that when you give people a choice among options it lowers their defenses and they’re more likely to accept your offer,” said Mr Galinsky.

One of the oldest sales tricks in the book is to give a choice between two good deals. For example, if you’re negotiating for a new salary package with your boss, do your research. Find out the salary benchmarks from your role (many recruitment agencies provide this data for free) and ask HR what you can include in your salary package. Many companies offer additional annual leave or paid study. Put two alternatives on the negotiating table (and deliberately exclude the third alternative, no pay rise!).

Package 1 Package 2
+ 15% cash +10% cash
No extra leave 10 extra annual leave days
Study allowance $2,000 Study allowance of $5,000

This is a far more powerful position than saying “I deserve a pay rise” without any research or data to support your claim.

4.       Build Social Support

This approach can help if you need to catch the eye of senior managers to get ahead but don’t want to be seen as boastful.

Having a broad support network makes you feel more powerful. And when you feel more powerful, you are more likely to speak up for yourself.

There are two ways you can build social support at work:

  • Get others onside by advocating for them. It helps you expand your powerbase in your own eyes and the eyes of others.
  • Ask more powerful people in your workplace for advice on how to accelerate your career. It demonstrates humility and it helps build an ally from above.

Having good working relationships with peers and seniors will build your powerbase and help you find your voice.

5.       Play to your strengths and passion

When you play to your strengths and find your passion you give yourself permission to speak up and your enthusiasm becomes infectious.

If you feel you’re coming off a low power base, get some evidence about your strengths. This could be:

  • Results you’ve achieved listed against the responsibilities on your job description
  • Testimonials from customers, managers and colleagues about your work

Being passionate about your work will build your own perceived power and others will grant you permission to speak up.

Speaking up for yourself is a difficult but very necessary skill to learn if you want to step up in your career.  As a professional coach, I can help you build your personal authority and practice how to speak up for yourself at work. Book a career breakthrough session today and feel more powerful at work.

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5 Ways to Stay Connected to your Business Network

5 Ways to Stay Connected to Your Business Network

A business relationship is like any other – to last the distance it has to be based on mutual respect and benefit. We’re all guilty of getting caught up in the daily grind, prioritizing the ‘to do’ list over making time to nurture valuable relationships, the rock on which supportive networks are built . But failing to stay connected to your business network is costly – these people are your tribe who will support you (and you them) to build a successful career. This blog provides 5 Ways to Stay Connected to Your Business Network.

Why is a business network important for my career?

Have you ever noticed that geese fly in a “V” formation? When the lead goose tires of flying at the pointy end of the “V”, it drops back and another goose moves up to take the lead. The tired goose is carried by the updraft of the other geese. And the beautiful thing is, these geese are not driven by self-interest. By working collectively, each goose advances more easily. Like geese, people have a great capacity to support each other in their careers and life in general.

According to Ohio State University Professor, Tanya Menon, you are more likely to find work opportunities through acquaintances than your immediate friendship and family group.

“Most people don’t get their jobs through their close ties…their father, their mother, their significant other…they instead get jobs through their weak ties, people they’ve just met…the people you’ve just met today are your ticket to a whole new social world” said Ms Menon.

Let’s face it, careers are challenging. First, they span a large part of your life, probably 40 years or more. Secondly, the nature of work is constantly changing. You need to learn and adapt to stay employable. Thirdly, people are social animals and we are compelled to belong to tribes. This is why you need your business network – a team of champions who lead, inspire, encourage, supports and advocates for you. But don’t be a taker, instead be like the lead goose, who works their heart out to support the other geese, you to should focus on giving to others before asking for something in return.

How to build influence, credibility and trust

A business network isn’t something you can just tap into when you want something. To keep professional doors open, you need to build and maintain your social status, which is largely based around your influence, develop credibility and trust. And social status isn’t just for the bold and the beautiful, introverts can be highly influential too.

Influence

Every day, everybody needs to solve problems. Build your social influence by helping people at work and in your business network. If you’re an expert in your field, use your knowledge to answer questions, or introduce people or provide articles of interest. Lend your support to others and it will be returned when you need it.

Credibility

Credibility is the key to keeping doors open. There is no one behaviour that defines credibility, it’s a compound made from authenticity, transparency, honesty, consistency and visibility. When you communicate with your colleagues and business network, have a clear purpose. Be honest and transparent. If you’re seeking an introduction, be upfront and tell them why. Make sure your relationship isn’t compromised in any way and show gratitude when you’re given help. Demonstrate these characteristics each time you interact with your business network and you’ll build a credible personal brand.

Trust

A trustworthy person is someone you can rely on, who delivers on promises, who keeps sensitive information confidential and acts credibly (see above). Being someone with integrity will make you a trusted member of any business community.

The importance of giving recognition

Existential recognition sounds like something out of a philosophy text book but plainly speaking it means noticing a person is alive and letting them know they’re important to you. Giving recognition authentically to people at work and in your network shows you care, is a great way to build rapport and a good excuse to get in touch.

You can save recognition for major milestones like birthdays or anniversaries, or be proactive and recognise people for minor achievements. “Hi Tom, I read your article on LinkedIn and thought it was really interesting. Well done.” A sentence as simple of this one will make you memorable for all the right reasons.

5 Ways to Stay Connected

There’s no right or wrong way to stay connected. There’s a time and place for each type of communication I have listed below. Think about your purpose: why are you interested in building a relationship with the person you are contacting? What is the best way to build the relationship that benefits both of you? You need to combine the reason why you are communicating with the right type of communication.

Social Media

Social media is a quick and convenient way to communicate but it’s probably the least personal. Show your interest by reading other’s posts and articles and engage with them via a share, like or comment. This is a good way to build rapport with new contacts.

On Linkedin, ‘follow’ someone you’re interested as a soft way to show you’re interested in them and their ideas. It also gives you a chance to build up your understanding before you ask to connect.

However, following and commenting on posts and articles is a one-way form of communication – it doesn’t really allow you to start a conversation. To further your relationship, you need to make a connection.

When you make a new connection, I encourage you to write personal messages rather than click on pre-scripted button – it shows you’re genuinely interested. For example, you might say “I’ve been following your posts on <subject> and I’m interested to find out more. Would you like to connect?”. That way, your invitation doesn’t arrive unannounced and out of context.

Email

Email is more personal than social media but again, you miss out on verbal and physical cues, which is a big component of communication. Sending an article of interest is one way you can connect and show you’re thinking about your contact. And of course, make your email personal and make sure you have permission to send an email to your contact, or you could be breaking the law. But before you send an email, think about your purpose – is your email genuinely helpful or are you just adding one more to the list?

Connect Others

As the old saying goes, it’s often about who you know rather than what you know. If you want to expand your business network, look for ways to help others succeed and provide introductions. Your generosity will be remembered and likely, reciprocated.

Another way to make stay-in-touch is to invite people from your network to attend events that will help their careers and provide introductions to your network in-person.

Call

In the digital era, a phone call might seem old fashioned but it shows a personal touch. A well-timed phone call to congratulate your contact on a recent business win shows thoughtfulness. But while phone is more personal and allows for a two-way conversation, it is also more time-consuming so consider your timing and make it convenient for both of you.

Face-to-Face

Face-to-face is the most personal way to connect but also the most time consuming. It’s a great way to listen and building your mutual understanding of each other because you benefit from visual and emotional cues as well as the content of what the person is saying. This helps you to build a stronger connection. A coffee catch-up is ideal when you want to dive deeper but remember – don’t ask for a meeting only when you want something.

In summary, be generous and considerate with your network and they will always be happy to hear from you.

Building and maintaining a professional network is a key ingredient to making your career successful. But it’s also a skill many of us find challenging. I can help. Book a free 45-minute career breakthrough conversation and I’ll help you learn how to network.

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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.

The Importance of Creativity for a Long Career

The Importance of Creativity for a Long Career

The importance of creativity for a long career is more critical than ever, to stay relevant and employable in the age of automation

According to an article by Business Insiders Australia, one in three Australian jobs will be automated by 2030. And it’s not just manufacturing, white-collar professions like accounting and legal are also at risk.

It’s easy to feel gloomy about the future of work but it’s not all bad. Author, Daniel Pink, says that right-brainers (people who think creativity) will rule the future because their skills are both highly valued by organisations and not easily replicated by robots.

“Lawyers. Doctors. Accountants. Engineers. That’s what our parents encouraged us to become. They were wrong. Gone is the age of “left-brain” dominance. The future belongs to a different kind of person with a different kind of mind: designers, inventors, teachers, storytellers — creative and emphatic “right-brain” thinkers whose abilities mark the fault-line between who gets ahead and who doesn’t,” said Daniel Pink.

So, creativity is not just important for your career, it’s a must-have skill to ensure you have a career.

What is Creativity, you ask?

Does the word creativity conjure images of the artist Pro Hart exploding cream cakes onto a giant canvass?

The good news is you don’t have be an artist or in a typically creative job to think creatively. Most people, if they put their mind to it, have the capacity to be creative and use creative thinking.

According to Linda Naiman, Founder of Creativity at Work, creativity is “characterised by the ability to perceive the world in new ways, to find hidden patterns, to make connections between seemingly unrelated phenomena, and to generate solutions. Creativity involves two processes: thinking, then producing.”

All you need to do is look at the “disruptors” that we are fond of talking about to understand this point. Take for example, Uber. They saw the problem of poor taxi service and provided a creative solution in ride-sharing. LinkedIn saw the time and effort to create and maintain a professional network and provided a creative solution. Freelancer saw that small business had a problem in getting stuff done and created a hub to connect small business with skilled freelancers. Each of these business are examples of reexamining old problems with creative solutions.

Therefore, creativity is finding new and innovative ways to fix business problems. And building your reputation as a problem solver will help you grow your career because every organization wants to hire self-starters who bring solutions rather than problems to their role.

Can Creativity Be Learned?

Many people think creativity is a gift you are born with or receive through divine intervention. However, training yourself to think in new and innovative ways is a skill you can and must learn for a sustainable and successful career.

Tanya Seelig, author of inGenuis: A Crash Course in Creativity, says that creativity is one of the most important skills we can learn.

“With enhanced creativity, instead of problems we see potential, instead of obstacles we see opportunities, and instead of challenges we see a chance to create solutions. Creativity is critically important in everything we do, including designing products, growing businesses, and building alliances between nations. We are literally inventing the future every moment. And these skills can be learned,” said Dr Seelig.

How Can I Be More Creative?

It really doesn’t matter how you get your creative juices flowing, the important thing is that you find a creative process that works for you. Practiced regularly, creativity becomes a professional and personal habit.

Here are five ways you can bring creativity into your work life

1. Change Your Mind

One way to boost your creativity is to look existing work problems differently. Put yourself in the shoes of a customer and think about how they use your product. Or think about the types of complaints employees make in the lunch room. Connect different parts of the business, combine ideas and challenge traditional business assumptions. For example, consider the invention of smart phones. A mobile phone used to be a tool to make phone calls and send text messages. But companies like Apple reimagined its potential and now mobile phones are used as cameras, diaries and even credit cards.

2. Look Outside Your Industry

Researching other industries can be a great way to spark your own imagination. In a world of 7.5 billion people, it’s unlikely you’re the first person to experience any given problem. Google is a great place to start. Consider re-framing your question so it’s not specific to your industry or job and learn how others have tackled the same or similar issues.

3. Make a Plan

Creativity isn’t something that just happens. In fact, it is a discipline. You need to set aside time to think, research and engage in problem-solving. And you need to make a start. Don’t wait for divine inspiration, put pen to paper and allow yourself to play with different ideas without expecting to nail it in the first five minutes.

4. Team Up

No one has all the answers. If you have a specific problem that needs a creative solution, talk to others and ask for their suggestions. In particular, talk to people who work in different industries or professions as they can suggest a different angle.

5. Walk Away

If you’re not getting anywhere by sitting and starting at a problem, walk away. In her TED Talk, Want to be more creative? Go for a walk, behavioural and learning scientist, Marily Oppezzo, suggests going for a walk is all you need to get your creative juices flowing.

As I read and contemplate all the research about the future of work, one thing is clear: to have a successful career, you’ll need to think creatively.

Let’s work together to secure your future career. I can help you tap into your creativity and bring your ideas to life.

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Watch:

• A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future
• Want to be more creative? Go for a walk.

Read:

• The Future of Human Work Is Imagination, Creativity, and Strategy
• Bet You Didn’t See This Coming: 10 Jobs That Will Be Replaced by Robots
• RISE OF THE MACHINES: New research predicts a third of Australian jobs will lost to automation by 2030
• Who Says Creativity Can’t Be Learned?

 

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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Further Reading:

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.

Book Now

For more information on what to do if you hate your job:

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Personal branding

Why Personal Branding Is Important for Your Career

It’s easy to dismiss personal branding as a product of “Generation Me” but if you’ve ever secretly Googled yourself then chances are, you’re interested in and aware of your personal brand.

The convergence of a competitive job market and the dominance of digital platforms (where almost everyone can be searched and seen) has brought self-marketing and personal branding to the forefront.

Your personal brand can open up more career opportunities therefore, it’s something you need to consider as part of your career strategy.

What is a personal brand?

A personal brand is a trade mark of your most distinctive values and characteristics, as observed and assessed by others.

Everyone has one. Consciously or not, how you talk, think, interact with others, execute your work and even how you dress are all part of your personal brand.  If you listen carefully you will hear people make brand statements about others all the time.  For instance, have you ever people say things like:

  • “Ohhh she is great at solving problems”,
  • “Ring (name) because he is great at …”
  • “(name) is so good at talking in front of an audience, she just oozes charisma”
  • “That’s the person we need working here”

Personal branding strategist, Dr Dra Natalia Wiechowski, says that personal branding is about managing other’s impressions of you.

“If you position yourself in a great, in a positive and impressive way, people will choose you. And not the other individual. Because they know what they will get when they work with you and what you stand for,” said Dra Natalia Wiechowski.

Why is personal branding important to my career?

Understanding and managing your personal brand can help you stand out from the crowd.  It gives you a point of difference you can use to engage with and connect to your network.

If you’re no Kim Kardashian, don’t worry, your personal brand isn’t superficially just about looks (in fact looks has very little to do with it). Appropriately communicating your personal brand can help you to:

  • Build trustworthy relationships
  • Highlight your strengths and expertise
  • Gain positive exposure
  • Be suitably remunerated
  • Achieve promotions
  • Be noticed by recruiters
  • Create new and valuable connections

Through developing self-awareness and remaining true to who you are can build a credible brand. Best-selling author, Ben Angel, says it’s about playing to your strengths.

“It is about taking key characteristics and turning on the volume on them, so you have the ability to truly captivate an audience,” said Mr Angel.

How do I create a personal brand?

 To begin, you need to look closely at who you are and how to utilise your features to make yourself remarkable.

1.       Discover Your Authentic Self

Take a quiet moment to reflect on who you are and what do you stand for. Finding the answers can be daunting, so try breaking them down into these aspects:

  • Values:
    • What are the core values that describe you best?
    • What standards and behaviours do you consider correct in the way you live and work?
    • One of the activities I set my clients is to have them ask five friends:
      • What are the values that best describe me?
      • What are the things that make us such good friends?

Both of these questions will reveal your values as understood by others.

  • Personality:
    • What are the main features of your personality that have a positive influence in the way you interact with others? Are you empathic? Are you the “go to” person for relationship problems? Are you funny? A good listener?
    • Again, a good exercise is to ask five friends to describe your personality traits.
  • Your passions:
    • What motivates you?
    • What are your interests?
    • What gets you angry?
    • What brings a smile to your face?
  • Interpersonal skills:
    • How do you communicate and interact with others? Think of the way you express yourself, the wording you use and your body language. These two things are crucial to a positive personal brand.
    • How can these characteristics enhance your personal branding?
  • Your image:
    • What does your personal presentation, clothing, hairstyle and facial hair say about you? Remember first impressions are cast in the first seven seconds of meeting someone so your look is important.

Reflect on your career achievements:

  • Experience and studies:
    • What experiences have impacted your career and are worth of being emphasised?
    • What have you studied and how can be a stand out in the achievement of your career goals?
  • Strengths:
    • What are you good at?
    • What are your specialities?
    • What do others say you are good at?

In my article, How to Find a Great Career, I talk about how personality profiling tools like Harrison Assessments, can help you gain an objective understanding of your personality and strengths. You can also talk to your manager and colleagues to get an outsider’s perspective, or ask a career coach.

2.       Analyse your goals

 Take a moment to think what you want to achieve, where would you like to see yourself in the future, and what connections you need to make to get there.

Consider:

  • What are employers looking for?
  • How can I gain their attention (in a good way)?
  • How can I connect with potential employers?
  • How can my network help me connect with potential employers?

Social media can be a good tool for this.   Make the effort to post positive things regularly on your social media.

Otherwise, take time to read, like and comment on content published by people and companies you want to work with.

Your personal branding must be a vehicle to attract attention from the right people and help you achieve your goals.

3.       Make Your Own Statements

Your personal brand is more than just a visual statement – the words you use to describe yourself make a significant contribution. Writing out your personal brand statements will help you to define and refine what you want to say about yourself and align your personal brand with your goals. As a starting point:

  • Re-visit the points you raised in step 1, and decide what you want to say about your professional self in public.
  • Consider your purpose (why have you chosen your career) and your elevator pitch (how your work and your approach make you stand out from the crowd).
  • Draft these ideas into short statements for your CV and LinkedIn profile.

4.       Have a Good Look

It’s also a good idea to audit your visual brand. For example, when was the last time you updated your profile picture on LinkedIn? Is it a good quality shot that presents you in the best light? If not, consider having a new photo taken.

I know one professional who wears a red dress every time she is asked to speak publicly. Red is one of her brand colours and the red dress really makes her stand out on social media in the photos. In fact, wearing a red dress has become her signature.

Mind your personal brand’s digital presence

A lot of networking and first impressions are now made online. Most companies use search engines and social media tools to seek and screen future employees.

According to Open Colleges Australia, digital platforms have opened up a world of possibilities for personal branding and self-promotion.

“The current rise of social media, management of a personal brand is easier. You can choose to utilise Facebook, Twitter, personal blogs and LinkedIn to develop and maintain your own brand,” says Open College Australia

You can strategically create and share content related to your expertise, broaden your network, design and edit your profiles and be visible to prospective employers.

Ensuring you share only appropriate content on social media is crucial to protecting your own brand and maintaining your online reputation. Almost everyone has an online footprint – make sure yours is a desirable one!

How do I evaluate my personal brand?

It’s important to keep an eye on how well you are communicating your personal brand and if it is giving you results.

Some ways of evaluating it are:

  • Type your name into Google and see what comes up. If it’s within your control, make sure you get rid of anything that appears unprofessional. To help you monitor your brand, you can set up a Google Alert, which means you’ll be emailed every time you receive a mention (hint: if you have a popular name like John Smith, make sure you set up your Google Alert for local mentions or your inbox will be bombarded with alerts!)
  • Keep track of any new connections you make and how they could lead to new opportunities.
  • Ask your manager and colleagues how they perceive your brand at formal and informal reviews.

What if I don’t like self-promotion?

It’s logical to think your work stands for itself, and it may well, but in such a competitive work environment it’s important to be aware of your strengths and develop a well-defined brand that helps you to project your uniqueness.

Self-promotion and personal branding don’t have to be aggressive, over the top and in your face. You can apply more subtle strategies to suit your own style.

Creating a personal brand requires an accurate self-assessment and working with a professional coach who provides objective feedback can help you tremendously. If you are interested in creating your personal brand, I can help you. Let’s work together to create a clear and consistent personal brand strategy that will be your platform to be seen and recognised.

Go to my contact icon in LinkedIn to BOOK your free personal brand conversation – LinkedIn – Rob Cugno

Watch:

The One Thing You Really Need to Know About Personal Branding

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JryQOkW7pZk

The personal brand of you

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rGbsb6aXbzc

 Read:

The art of self-marketing

https://www.seek.com.au/career-advice/the-art-of-self-marketing

The best way to measure your brand success

https://www.forbes.com/sites/piasilva/2018/08/01/the-best-way-to-measure-your-personal-brand-success/#65797de83038

Personal branding 101

https://knowing.swinburne.edu.au/post/166801894179/personal-branding-101

The complete guide to personal branding

https://www.opencolleges.edu.au/careers/personal-branding-guide

 

 

Best work places

The best places to work for 2018 – By HR Online

Workplace culture has been dominating headlines due to a spate of poor behaviour and high profile toxic work environments. So, it’s refreshing to focus on those employers who are getting it right for a change.

 What makes for a great place to work? Free food? Standing desks? A company ping-pong table? While these perks may enhance the employee experience, the crux of workplace satisfaction is linked with personal satisfaction; working somewhere where you feel valued and supported and are able to contribute in a meaningful way.

Great Place to Work Australia (GPTW) released its 2018 Best Place to Work benchmark report last week, highlighting the organisations that have worked hard to nurture a positive work environment.

As Zrinka Lovrencic, managing director at GPTW Australia, pointed out, we can spend up to 10 hours per day at work. That’s a huge chunk of our time that we’re not spending with our friends, family and those we love. An engaging and  positive work environment is not just “nice to have”, it’s imperative to a business’ vitality and success.

And the winner is…

Taking the top position for companies with over 1,000 employees was Salesforce, a large provider of customer relationship management (CRM) software. It’s not the first time Salesforce has scooped the winning position, receiving first place in 2016 and second position in 2017. So, what’s the key to their success? Mark Innes, general manager and executive vice president, APAC, says it’s all about creating a family culture.

“In Hawaiian culture, the word ‘Ohana’ represents the idea that families – related or chosen – are bound together, with their members feeling a sense of responsibility for one another. When Salesforce was created, all those years ago, [co-founder] Marc Benioff realised that the true meaning of Ohana didn’t really exist in corporate culture. So, he built Salesforce from day one around the spirit of Ohana.”

He describes an effective culture as one that is “a never-ending journey, not a destination.”

“Our people are at the heart of our company. So, for us, the honour to be named the #1 Best Place to Work in Australia, alongside other inspiring Australian companies, is a testament to the diverse and talented people in our Ohana,” says Innes.

Think beyond traditional

 Salesforce is a good example of an organisation that thinks beyond traditional means. They aim to “live and breathe” their four core values of “trust, customer success, innovation, and equality”.

One way they’re doing things differently is through their 1-1-1 philanthropic model, in which they dedicate one per cent of their products, people and resources to not-for-profits. Each employee is encouraged to spend 56 hours per financial year giving back to the community.

For the top 100 employees that complete those hours, Salesforce will donate $10,000 to the charity of their choice. By setting aside time for your employees to volunteer to a service of their choice, you’re giving them a higher purpose and instilling a community-minded approach in the rest of your workforce.

The company is forward thinking in other respects too, offering their workers access to their Adoption and Fertility Program – which includes parental leave, adoption and fertility support,  and baby bonus policies – as well as spending $8.7 million in an effort to close the gender pay gap.

“Salesforce is committed to providing our employees with the best possible care plans when it comes to planning, building, and raising families. We understand that everyone is different, so we’ve provided our employees with flexible programs that support equality for every family across APAC,” says Innes.

Salesforce proves that you can’t create a good culture overnight. If you’re serious about wanting to make a change, you’re going to have to put your money where your mouth is.

Top 10 organisations (with over 1,000 employees)

The best places to work - over 1,000 staff

Top ten organisations (with between 100-999 employees)

Best places to work - under 1,000 staff

Top ten organisations (with under 100 employees)

 Best places to work - Under-100 staff

What makes your workplace a great place to work? Please share your experiences in the comment section.

What career is right for me?

What Career Is Right for Me?

I was driving behind a bus the other day when I noticed a billboard which said, “Enjoy yourself…it’s important for your mental health”.

It sounds so obvious, right? Intuitively, we know we have to enjoy our lives. But how many of us battle through careers that don’t bring us any enjoyment? What is the point of dying with a million dollars in the bank if you suffered through every cent you earned? What is the point of doing that career that is expected of you just to end up disillusioned, unhappy and bitter towards the people you blame for making you do it?

The right career for you is the career that aligns with your values, strengths and purpose. A career aligned with your true self will always give you the greatest satisfaction.

What Is Purpose?
In my blog How to Find a Career You Love I talk about the five elements that contribute to human flourishing. Top of this list is purpose.

Purpose is finding a meaning in what you do, having a reason to pursue your goals, make an impact and pushing your own limits. Having a sense of purpose is like having an engine that allows you to get up every day to keep working, feeling comfortable with yourself and what you do.

Author and Senior lecturer in psychology, Steve Taylor, says finding purpose is key to feeling connected in your career.

“When you’re ‘in purpose’ – that is, engaged with and working towards your purpose- life becomes easier, less complicated and stressful,” said Dr Taylor.

What If I Don’t Know What Career Is Right for Me?
You probably know if your career is not right for you – your day to day tasks don’t bring you any joy, Monday mornings bring about feelings of dread, and worse, you live with prolonged stress or anxiety about your work. You know because you are “that” person who is always negative about your job or employer, you find yourself “whinging” all the time and your colleagues just roll their eyes when you go on your tearful rants.

In the best-case scenario, you justify you’re your distress because your salary is competitive maybe even excessive, so you say to yourself “I will grin and bear it”. Effectively you are destroying your soul if what you do does not reflect who you are, the emotional cost you pay is too high irrespective of the money you earn.

Recently, I spoke with a friend who is a lawyer earning fabulous money but by her own admission “the job isn’t doing it for me”. In other words, she is not working to her own purpose. After months of angst, soul searching and questioning “what is wrong with me?” she decided to leave law for a new, different role and in our most recent chat she said, with a massive smile, “the new job feels right”.

Many people ignore those unpleasant feelings and collect their pay cheque to pay the mortgage. But what you need to recognise is those feelings are red flags, it always means you’re in the wrong place or doing the wrong role.

How do I Pick the Right Career?
In my experience working with job seekers and career changers, many people feel lost and apprehensive when it comes to making career choices.

There a lot of factors that influence your choices: what you want, expectations of your family and friends, your cultural upbringing and even economic trends. Weighing up all these considerations can be stressful. Indeed, it may feel easier to live up to other people’s expectations than put in the mental energy to work out your purpose.

The reality is, making this major decision is a journey of self-discovery and the process can be just as interesting as the end result. It has to do with learning who you are, what you are good at, what makes you feel connected to your work and yourself and what brings you joy and satisfaction.

It doesn’t matter if you are a recent graduate entering the workforce for the first time, or someone looking to make a career change, these three steps will help you discover the right career for you.

1. Reflect on yourself

When was the last time you paused for a moment and thought about your true self? If you’ve been pushing away your true feelings and just getting on with the job, chances are you’ve lost sight of who you really are. Here is an easy exercise you can do on your own that help you work out your true self

• What is important to you?
• What are your strengths?
• What kind of tasks do you enjoy and which ones do you really dislike?
• What kind of work environment do you prefer?
If you find it hard to paint an accurate picture of yourself, ask people who know you for their perceptions. If you’ve experienced other jobs think about what factors made those jobs enjoyable.

This first step will give you a good foundation to assess your preferences and career options.

2. For an Objective View use Personality Profiling

Life is hectic. When it comes to big decisions, such as career choices, many of us tend to rely on other people’s opinions. When there are kids to feed and jobs to do, the exercise of looking at yourself in the mirror ends up down the list of priorities. Often, you end up making the decision based on a projection of yourself that has been drawn by your friends and family.

Their vision of a suitable career for you is not to be disregarded. It’s actually a key part in acknowledging who you are. However, it is subjective and often based on opinion, rather than fact. This is where career-oriented personality tests can be useful.

Personality tests can bring to light strengths you, your family and friends have overlooked. For example, you may be very good an organising but you don’t consider this a career skill. Or you may be very creative at home but you work in a job that doesn’t allow you to use your flair. Every part of your character is significant and can help you find the right career.

A good assessment tool should not only help you to discover what are you good at but also show you what you can actually do with those skills and personality characteristics.

There are many tools out there but as a professional career coach, my preference is the Career Navigation Report produced by the Harrison Assessment Talent System, which I use with my clients. This personalised and interactive assessment tool provides predictive insight into career enjoyment and career success by assessing 175 relevant factors and then compares the results with 650 careers.

It’s more than a test. It allows you to play and interact with the results and provides you with career options that best suit you, encouraging you to open your mind to new opportunities. The Career Navigation Report is remarkably accurate in matching you to your dream job.

3. Draft a Plan to Achieve your Desired Career
Now that you have taken a career focused personality test, what’s next?

It’s important to plan the course of action you need to take in order to achieve your ideal career. Brain storming ideas, searching for opportunities and allocating a timeframe for each stage are all important parts of the process.

A professional career coach will offer support by helping you to understand and interpret your test results and to explore and discuss your options. More importantly, a coach can help you to transform your test results into a structured plan that helps you to step into your ideal career path.

The purpose of my career is to inspire and coach you to achieve your career goals, so that you can lead a rewarding and satisfying work life. Among my services, I structure personalised one on one programs and together, we craft the career that fits you. A career conversation will be helpful to you if you are looking to have more clarity about your next move.

I invite you to click on the BOOK NOW button below to schedule your free, 45-minute Career Strategy Conversation.

Book Now

For more information about how to find the right career for you:

Visit:
• FutureU Coaching Harrison Career Guide

Watch:

• How to Know When You’ve Found Your Purpose in Life
• Oprah Explains the Difference Between a Career and a Calling
• Consider a change in career
Read:

• Aussie careers no longer a fixed path as life long learning provides opportunities for change
• Interview with 5 inspirational career changers
• Career transitions are possible at any age

 

Nervous about finding a new job?

Nervous About Finding a New Job? Here are 3 ways to build your confidence

Do you feel nervous about finding a new job? You’re not alone.

According to a survey by Hired of 2,500 workers across Australia, the UK and USA, 8 out of 10 working adults said finding a new job is stressful (more stressful than visiting the dentist!).

Stress caused by job hunting is often caused by the unknowns:

  • Not knowing if the new job will be a better fit.
  • The uncertainty of knowing if you’ll get the job.
  • Wondering how you will perform during the recruitment process.
  • Preparing for rejection.

All of these unknowns can arise from fear, and in particular, a fear of change.

The Hired survey also revealed that 44 percent of people day dream about leaving their job on a monthly basis but only 14 percent actively look for a new job.

So why do people day dream about finding happiness in their career but then do nothing about it?

Sabotage by The Inner Critic

Each person has their own inner-critic and for some, their critical voice speaks so loudly it holds them back from pursuing their goals.

In my blog “Tame Your Inner Critic”, I examine the nine different saboteurs who hold us back from finding happiness in our careers and lives.

Two of these saboteurs are:

  • The avoider – why bother looking for a new job? I won’t find something I love anyway.
  • The hyper-achiever – I can’t risk failure how will I look to others?

I had one client who, despite being unhappy in her role, was scared to look for a new job because her inner critic told her “I will disappoint them” and “I’m not good enough to find another job”.

Listening too closely to your inner-critic will keep you hostage in a job you don’t enjoy and can diminish your self-belief that you can do better.

(Re) Gaining Self Confidence

Sometimes looking for a new job is a choice. Other times, it’s not. You may have taken time off work due to illness, parental leave or perhaps you were made redundant.  It doesn’t matter the reason why, it can be a big blow to your self-confidence and leave you questioning your self-worth a competitive job market.  You might also be worried about how you to explain your absence to a potential employer. In this frame of mind, it can be difficult to find the confidence and motivation you need to search for a new job.

I remember when I quit my job and then took months to decide on what to do next.  I knew what I didn’t want to do BUT did not know what I wanted to do.  This period made me question my self-worth and my identity, which I had tied to my job. It really knocked my self-confidence.  Now, each time I meet with a client who has been out of work, I recall that feeling. No-one is immune, not even the career coach. It’s not the knock downs in the career that define you – the important thing is how you recover. And beating yourself up if you’re already feeling flat won’t help you shift gear into job-search mode.

Here are three things that I did to rebuild my confidence and shift my mindset. These three steps helped me start my own business as a career coach.

1.      Challenge the Critic

The antidote to the inner-critic is the sage – our true nature, the one we knew as a child, who believes we are capable, creative and wants us to thrive. The key is knowing how to tune out from the critic and connect with your sage.

The sage knows that every outcome or circumstance can be turned into opportunity, even those you might consider failures.

I know it can be difficult but when I challenge my inner-critic (which is often), I ask myself “what is the worst thing that can happen?”. When I look at the situation logically, the worst outcomes are more imaginary than real. It is better for me to try and fail than do nothing. At least I can be satisfied I gave myself a shot.

Another way I tackle my inner critic is to write a list of my fears. I then rate each one out of five. Next, I ask myself: “Are any of the outcomes life-threatening?” “If one of these outcomes eventuates, could I bounce back?”

It can be easy to personalise rejection, especially if your self-confidence is low. But nobody wins every time. If you get a knock back, try not to catastrophise it.  There is always, the next opportunity which might actually be a better opportunity for you.

2.      Cultivate a Growth Mindset

In my blog What Mindset Are You? I talk about how to cultivate a growth mindset. 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.

Psychologist and researcher, Carol Dweck, recommends if you don’t succeed at first, rather than label yourself a failure, think “I’m not there yet but I’m learning”.

“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.

A growth mindset is cultivated by looking at everything you do as part of a broader, longer life learning journey rather rating yourself as a “success” or “failure” every time you participate in life’s activities.

3.      Ask for Help

If you feel stuck in a rut, it’s a good idea to talk to others you trust about your feelings.

In her TED Talk, How to Make Stress Your Friend, psychologist Kelly McGonigal says seeking help from others helps relieve your stress.

“Oxytocin is the body’s natural stress defence.  One of oxytocin’s main roles in your body is to protect your cardiovascular system from the effects of stress. It’s a natural anti-inflammatory. The physical benefits of oxytocin are enhanced by social contact and social support. I find this amazing that your stress response has a built-in mechanism for stress resilience, and that mechanism is human connection,” said Ms. McGonigal.

If you can’t talk to family and friends about your situation, consider talking to a professional. An independent career coach can talk to you about finding a career to suit your strengths and personality, give you practical advice on your resume and interview techniques but most importantly, provide emotional support to bolster your resilience.

If you’re feeling nervous about finding a new job, talk to me about the challenges you face and let me help you find a satisfying career.

Book Now

For more advice on how to beat the job-hunt jitters:

Watch:

Read:

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.

 

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