How to Reduce Stress and Avoid Burnout

July 29th, 2015

23723300_sI had the unfortunate experience of reading a list of the top stressors in human life. You may have seen that list. Death of a loved one, divorce, losing a friend, major illness, moving, caregiving … the usual suspects. Then, thanks to grazing on brainpickings.org, I discovered the link between unrelenting stress and the deleterious effect on your memory, physical well-being and emotional stability. What a bummer. All bad news.

Well, there was a bit of good news. In the moment, a sudden stressor shuts down any unnecessary bodily function so the organs, systems and limbs you need get fully funded by your central nervous system. Plus they get first priority on blood flow and other physiological processes.

That’s why the caveman wasn’t standing at the sink eating a sandwich when the saber tooth tiger roared outside the opening of his cave. Caveman was suddenly in the mood to flee, or if necessary, fend off the beast. He got super focused in a hurry. Tunnel vision. Got his priorities in order.

The occasional rush deadline or your boss screaming about a missed delivery isn’t in that league of stressor. Most of us turn a blind eye, a deaf ear, or claim we were hacked so we didn’t get that email.

It’s when unrelenting problems meet unsympathetic responses that stress tears you down. It’s physiological, not a character issue. It’s your chemicals: hypothalamic, pituitary, and adrenal hormones that over time cause inflammation in the oddest places. Arthritis, colds, migraines … almost any ailment you can imagine may be triggered by stress.

So that creates more stress. Unmitigated, ongoing stress leads to a kind of numbness. We call that burnout.

The cure doesn’t seem obvious. “Gutting through it” isn’t a long term strategy. Running away isn’t always possible.

Probably the least obvious stress reliever is helping someone else. We’ve known for a long time that altruism benefits the giver more than the receiver. There is something about doing service for someone who could use your help that breathes new life into your worn out soul.

Maybe it’s walking shelter dogs. Lending your couch to someone who is temporarily displaced. Washing your roommate’s dishes. Reconciling a checkbook, doing the weekly shop or whatever else you can for a disabled or elderly neighbor.

Giving the gift of yourself reminds you that you are a gift.

Don’t do the old “give ‘til it hurts.”

Think: If it hurts, give.

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Eliminate Excruciating Problems Fast With 1 Simple Rhyme

July 22nd, 2015

39788261_sYou know how badly you need some go-to life hacks that really work.

We all do. We need super effective strategies that don’t involve buying one more app, signing up for a new dashboard or watching instructions on YouTube.

You certainly don’t need to be touted about TaskRabbit or Fiverr or any of these so-called insta-help services, because they actually involve a ton of communication and constant checking up. You can quit pretending that a stranger is somehow committed to your success for the princely sum of 5 bucks.

I have coached people through a tidal wave of their worst problems. Some of them were involved in hundreds of micro-projects because big success is often a process of taking countless small steps.

What’s worse at this time in your life? You don’t have an abundance of anything. You don’t have a lot of space, money, time or support.

You are beginning to feel a weird kinship with whomever said, “If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself.”

You ARE doing most everything yourself. It’s the way work is set up now. You and everyone else are supposed to do more with less. That means less of you to do more of anything.

It’s like you are no longer a person, but more like a self-cleaning oven. You’re pressured to make it, bake it and clean it up fast. Then: next!

So I assembled one simple set of 11 rhyming words that can instantly cue an abundance of solutions.

These words stand in for heavy lifting like: project management, increased productivity, people skills, and perfected processes.

Whatever is stopping you cold or making you pull out your hair, see if any of these words lead you to a fast way past a problem you’re stuck on.

1. Mending (making a quick fix)

2. Sending (getting it off your desk)

3. Depending (on someone else to handle)

4. Lending (or borrowing)

5. Bending (think rules or “normal” ways of doing things)

6. Fending (off and avoiding certain people entirely)

7. Pending (leaving open to see if it’s really worth tackling)

8. Rendering (doing a quick draft and letting it go)

9. Tending (improving rather than wasting)

10. Vending (sell, sell, sell)

11. Wending (finding a way out, to do what you REALLY want to do)

That’s my 11 word rhyming solution set for life hacking some of the projects, processes and people who are driving you nuts, and weighing you down.

Love to hear if you have other action words that get you over the humps (rhyming or not). Email: Nance@NanceRosen.com. Subject line: Problems

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The #1 Warning Sign You’re About to Get Fired

July 8th, 2015

33523010_sAdmit it… you don’t like your job.

You didn’t mean to take the first thing you got offered. But you did. Turns out it’s worse than you thought it would be. You don’t like the company, your boss, or most of your co-workers.

You can’t believe this is your life now. You have this dreary, I-do-nothing-important job that grinds you down every day.

Maybe you could earn as much going freelance. Consult. Maybe coach?

But you can’t help worrying….

Should you try to find something else full time, rather than risk leaving now and going out on your own?

Should you go back to school or get some kind of certification?

Should you just grit your teeth, be patient and wait for recruiters or clients to find you?

One thing for sure. You can’t stand this job much longer.

There you have it! The number one warning sign you are about to get fired is how you feel about your job.

Don’t think you are fooling anyone. And, don’t get fooled yourself.

Every client I’ve seen who’s been fired, spent at least six months – sometimes six years – hating the job they were in. And they thought no one knew. They thought the boss wasn’t paying attention.

Then they got fired. Funny thing is – they were SURPRISED! Angry! Bitter!

And really, really scared.

Losing your job is a very scary thing. And if you hated your job, you feel really strange. After all, what could be better than losing something you hate? Keeping it?

It’s time to start thinking about what you really want to do. And where you really want to work. Maybe you really do want to work for yourself. Maybe you really can be a successful freelancer, coach or consultant.

Then it’s time to spruce up your LinkedIn summary. In fact, you may need to make some radical changes in the way you present yourself on LinkedIn and on social media sites.

Just make sure your privacy settings block your network from knowing you are making changes. If not, everyone will know what you are doing – before you are ready to announce it.

Need some help with your LinkedIn Summary? Email me at Nance@NanceRosen.com. Subject line: LI Summary

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3 Wordplay Tricks For Winning Big Deals

July 1st, 2015

Businessman-Thinking1Your winning in business cannot depend on others taking a lot of time to understand you and what you mean. If you have had a cover letter and resume simply go into the email trash bin of an HR department, without your receiving even an acknowledgment of your existence, you know you haven’t mastered the language of getting attention, much less a positive response.

Saying what you mean – and getting a positive response – is akin to winning at Scrabble or Words with Friends. You have to be strategic in your thinking. You have to play the game, being tactically superior to others.

Words are what make the difference between your getting what you want or not. It’s not your good intentions that gets you a job or a new client. It’s not your sincerity. It’s not your big heart. It’s not your ability to work hard.

You must frame your position, argument or proposition in a winning way, one that generates a specific, positive response.

Here are three wordplay tricks that you might put to use.

  1. Take out as many pronouns as possible when you tell a story. Make it less about you, and more about the recipient of your effort. Big tip: don’t start with “I.” For example,

DON’T SAY:

I volunteer every Monday evening at the food pantry on Main Street, because I want to give back to people. I am especially drawn to families with kids, who are struggling to get on their feet. I worry they only have that one meal to look forward to, and I want to make a difference in their lives by bringing groceries and serving them dinner.

DO SAY:

One out of every six kids in America is “food insecure.” It’s hard to believe, but that many kids wake up not knowing if they’ll have a meal that day. So you’ll find me every Monday evening at the food pantry on Main Street, bringing groceries and serving dinner to families gathered there for perhaps their only meal of the day.

  1. Lead with what your recipient gets, rather than frame your offer about what you receive. For example,

DON’T SAY:

I want a compensation package of $117,000 annually as well as a modest moving allowance and a guaranteed expense account of $2500 per month for client entertainment.

DO SAY:

It’s great to have the opportunity to discuss compensation with you. I can meet all the job objectives as well as the quotas for production you have outlined and arrive ready to work on the day you prefer, for a salary of $117,000 annually as well as a modest moving allowance and a guaranteed expense account of $2500 per month for client entertainment.

  1. Kill your habit of saying: “like,” “you know,” and “I mean.” For example,

DON’T SAY:

At my last job, you know, I had a lot of responsibility. I mean, I worked overtime like three days a week for like months.

DO SAY:

At my last job, the amount of responsibility given to me required my working overtime three days a week on average for several months.

Some people don’t like these types of wordplay “tricks” because they believe it’s not authentic to change your natural speaking pattern. However, consider that your aspirations may have outgrown the way you express yourself. It may be time to strategically approach communication. These three tactical changes may jumpstart your success.

Do you have a worrisome speaking habit or are you looking to frame a delicate issue in the most diplomatic way? Tell me your concern and I will help. Email: Nance@NanceRosen.com. Subject: Speech

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Two Ways To Improve the Odds in Your Favor

June 24th, 2015

ContinuousImprovement_300Luck is the intersection of preparation and opportunity. Improving your odds of winning – being lucky and landing a fantastic job, well-paying new clients, a sold-out audience for your workshop, a big promotion or bonus depends on preparation and opportunity. AKA luck.

That’s why some people are always lucky. And, some people have no luck.

There is a trap door you may haven fallen through in life’s journey so far. It’s what puts you below our awareness. It drops you off our radar when we are looking to hire. It makes you invisible when we need someone who does exactly what you do. It makes you appear inferior even when you could be in fact, the very best at what you do. It cripples your good intentions.

That trap door is clarity. For you to be lucky – to be prepared and conscious of opportunities that fulfill your dreams – you must be completely and totally clear about what you want. Or what I call: what you really, really want.

Clarity is a synonym for commitment in this case. As you know, many people are commitment-phobic. You might be accustomed to thinking about commitment in terms of romantic relationships. There are self-help books about falling in love with people who can’t commit. The books all end the same way. The best advice: run away from people who are commitment phobic. You can only lose if you stay attracted and attached to them.

That’s how employers feel. How prospective clients feel. How investors feel.

We can feel your lack of clarity. We can sense your lack of commitment. I don’t mean in a romantic relationship, of course. I mean in a business relationship.

This is what a lack of clarity and commitment sound like:

“I hope I can …”

“I think I might …”

“If someone gave me …”

Having met thousands of people talking about their businesses and careers in this way, I now know why employers, and prospective clients or investors run away from the people who lack clarity and commitment.

You appear to want to burden us with your needs. How? You want us to imagine you. You want us to be clear on what you want. You want us to make your luck.

We don’t want to.

It is up to you describe exactly what you want – what you really, really want – in its most minute detail. The first person you should tell is yourself. Then, go about preparing yourself for exactly what you want. Take the classes or workshops. Do the reading. Follow the thought leaders. Practice and prepare. You’ll be amazed how the right opportunities land right in front of you. And how quickly your dreams become reality.

How should you start getting clear and committed? Be able to answer this question. If I called you up tomorrow, and said, “I have an amazing opportunity for you!” What would I be talking about? Just so you know, over ten years I have asked this question of thousands of people. In a decade, only three have been able to answer it on-the-spot.

What would you say is an amazing opportunity for you? Let me know. I might help you find it. Email: Nance@NanceRosen.com. Subject line: Amazing

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Are You from Another Planet?

June 17th, 2015

ASK-QUESTIONBefore you talk to a recruiter or hiring manager, ask yourself: “Am I from another planet?” Because you might be, when it comes to expectations, environment, hierarchy, and all sorts of corporate culture.

The number one reason why most people lose out on bigger salaries, plus a moving allowance, expense account and even a down payment on a house is?

You don’t know to ask for it.

If the “planet” you’re from has a culture that includes “don’t ask for more than we think you deserve,” you are leaving money, benefits, and perquisites on the table.

Your current planet might be a business where you are working, or it might be your family culture, where you never understood how much money came in and where it all went.

If you are a second child, your “family planet” has really compromised your asking ability.

After all, your eldest sibling had the “first mover advantage.”

A second child’s life is lived like you’re behind Microsoft, Apple, Oakley, Iron Man and Henry Ford’s Model T. The eldest child naturally has a winner take all mentality.

If you fall anywhere behind the eldest, you got trickle down everything. Clothes, bedroom furniture, books, music, computer, video game console and pie (or whatever dessert was left over after numero uno was full). Stuff just trickled down on little lucky you.

Of course, your life might not have been that harsh. And, you might be the eldest or only child (like the great majority of US astronauts and presidents).

If you are the eldest, you got treated either too well or too harshly.

The parental units either doted on you or cut their teeth on you.

If you’re an only child, you have been on your own planet for too long. You might lack empathy, patience and agreeableness. That makes you a great mergers and acquisitions executive, but a difficult employee all the way up the ladder to that post.

The truth is: no one has it easy interviewing at a new company. It’s a new planet. You don’t know what to expect. It’s hard to get ready for the unknown.

I worked at seven major media companies and Global 2000 corporations. Each one was a planet onto itself. Some had less gravity, thinner air, and way better perqs. Some had more gravity, thicker air and way less of everything else.

When I became a consultant, I realized that I was on a different planet with every phone call, meeting and strategy session. The ability to recognize that old rules do not apply, is imperative to your success. The ability to read the landscape and the people on it is mission critical.

My advice to you is “stay in the moment,” when you are in conversations with people you do not yet know.

Do not go forward with your old mindset.

You cannot imagine what is so much better and how to get it – if you persist in believing that you know how it is everywhere. And, you won’t know what to avoid, if you’re coming from a happy place and into a darker one.

A basic rule: ask for more than you think you deserve. Ask for a moving allowance. Ask for car service. Ask for a down payment on a house. And, if you think the company’s going to go places, get stock.

What is your biggest salary negotiation question? Ask me and I will answer. Email: Nance@NanceRosen.com Subject line: Salary

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Have You Made A Really Big Mistake?

June 10th, 2015

Frustrated-businessman-011-430x258The truth about your success is pretty grim. Success shines a light on your mistakes. Success often comes from the lessons you learned. They are most often carved out of experiences where you did not win. Where you lost, but got back up. Where you failed, but stood up to take another chance.

Your victories owe a huge debt to whatever keeps you going. In a word, we might call that thing: Persistence. Resilience. Patience.

Those words are all about your personal brand. They are all about what you have to bring to the fight, from the strength of your own work ethic, mental fortitude and psychological well-being.

But there are many mistakes from which you cannot pull yourself up without the help of others. These mistakes aren’t simple ones. They are the real big ones that happen at work. They are the ones that can destroy your career.

A client of mine is in finance. One mistake on a spreadsheet nearly cost her an entire lifetime of building up to the vaulted position she held. Yes, human error is still possible in the computation age. In the era of spreadsheets, a single human error on a data point cascades throughout the entire analysis (since the computation takes that error and spreads it like a virus).

So, no amount of persistence, resilience or patience could “cure” that mistake.

What saved my client was not anything she could do on her own. Not Persistence. Not Resilience. Not Patience.

Relationships saved her.

Kindness. Goodwill. Compassion.

You see, she had given these gifts to the people around her. Her boss. Her subordinates. Her peers. Her vendors. Since the day she was on the job, she showed them. Kindness. Goodwill. Compassion. It paid off. It’s called the Rule of Reciprocity. She earned what she received, even though she had hoped she would never need it.

In this life, you will be much more imperfect than perfect. You will make more mistakes than should be tolerated by your organization, by your boss or by yourself.

The smartest people are the kindest ones. They are betting realistically on the future. They know they will need forgiveness.

Would you like to tell me about a mistake you made, one that worries you? I’ll send back my best career coaching advice. Email: Nance@NanceRosen.com. Subject line: Mistake

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The 3 Job Interview Questions You Never Expect

May 27th, 2015

Would you be shocked into dumbfounded silence, if a hiring manager asked you these three questions in a job interview?

 

 

1. What have you invented?

2. What is your greatest achievement in life?

3. When have you stood up to authority?

What? These are BIG questions, taken from a real interview. They get at the meaning of your life. Your answers define you as a person with – or without – self-knowledge, self-worth, and purpose.

Would you be able to answer them on-the-spot?

Should you be prepared for them or momentous questions like them? After all, most people consider job interview questions a mere formality.

You might be one of these folks. You think the job interview merely gives the recruiter an opportunity to verify some facts on your resume. Or, gives the hiring manager an opportunity to eyeball you. See if you dress for success. See if you cleaned up the clutter on your desk, if you’re on skype.

You don’t understand that today, a job interview is more like the new ABC game show: 500 Questions. That show is about to be another blockbuster hit from Mark Burnett and Mike Darnell who gave us Shark Tank, Survivor, The Voice, and The Bachelor. In that show, each contestant must answer up to 500 difficult general knowledge questions. Get any three wrong in a row and you’re out.

500 Questions is promoted as the ultimate in self-reliance, since there are no lifelines to experts and no audience support. “Intellect, strategy and stamina are all equally essential in order to win,” according to the show’s website.

Wow! That is so unlike life, right? So unlike a job, right? Wrong. Wrong.

I’m sorry if you believe your life is a collaboration. Perhaps you misunderstood what a boss means by that “there’s no I in team” philosophy. FYI it means: you do the work, the team takes the credit. From time to time, it works the other way – but don’t hold your breath.

Can you imagine if it’s just you and those really big job interview questions?

Well, that’s actually what a job interview is meant for, if the company is serious about hiring you.

It’s just you and the questions. You cannot call an expert for help. You cannot poll the audience.

Except this one time. Choose one of the three questions and send me your answer. I’ll give you a direct critique. Email me at Nance@NanceRosen.com. Subject line: Question

 

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