Why the Good Survive and the Best Enjoy Success

August 13th, 2014

I believe there’s a list in the universe like the one we believe Santa keeps all year. At his annual retreat with senior elves, Santa wrestles with finite resources he allocates at the end of Q4, among all the good boys and girls. At work, the good get to come back next year, and keep doing what they’ve done. In a metaphysical context, the list of deeds you’ve been racking up becomes a karmic accounting of your character. As such, you’d be worried not about this year or even next, but rather how you’ll fare in the coming lifetimes. If you own a business you’re often basing what you can do in the afternoon, on what you’ve netted in the morning.

So whether your perspective is today, this year, next year or a lifetime from now, it’s a good moment to take stock of yourself. We’re more than half past 2014. We’re just in time to ask whether you see evidence that your stock is worth investing in, or would an objective analyst recommend a sell order.

I am mixing as many metaphors as I can, to help you consider two things.

Thing One: Are you the person you wished you would be, when you made resolutions?

Maybe those resolutions came at the beginning of this year, and maybe they are as old as a decade or more, when you thought a certain career or business would the highest and best use of you. Maybe you never got to do that thing you thought would be amazing, or maybe you did – and now feel like it’s a failure, you’re a failure or the company you keep is failing you.

The only three questions that matter right now are gross measures of success.

  • Are you doing as good as you thought you would?
  • Are you doing something better?
  • Are you the best you can be?

Thing Two: How are you going to approach the balance of this year?

Take advantage of summer doldrums, before the bite of a crisp autumn apple seduces you into believing you’ll get moving after the holidays.

Success never takes a holiday.

It’s never too late or too early to take one hour to review your goals, revise your course and even plan for your next big move. You might do this each week – I do my own “Is this success?” assessment, each Friday at 3 PM PT. This meeting appears on my iCal calendar, permanently. If I have to move it, I get an automated prompt with one of the scariest messages I’ve ever received:

Do you want to change all events in the future?

Sometimes I do. Not just the weekly calendared hour with myself to ask “Is this success?”

Sometimes I want to redefine success entirely. So I do.

Perhaps you need to ask, with a blank paper in front of you:

  • What is the best use of me?
  • What is the depth of misery?
  • What is the height of awesomeness?

You and I grow up a little every day. It pays off to take stock of whether this is the best we can be, or is this just good enough – even when it’s a bit better than the last time we checked.

Kick this day, this week, this year and your career into high gear. Set the best expectations for yourself. Revisit and repeat. Each week let your brain route the shortest, most joyful course to what you want. What you really, really want.

When you take time to see yourself at your best, you’re it.

More from Nance…

You can find Nance on
Facebook
LinkedIn
Twitter

Why Your Boss Probably Hates You

August 6th, 2014

angry bossAs a career coach specializing in communication, I’m presented with a wide spectrum of work stories. Some end in, “I don’t know why my boss hates me.”  Variations on this are:

  • My supervisor hates me
  • The project manager hates me
  • The recruiter seemed to hate me
  • Everybody at work hates me

Of course, hate is an awfully big and painful word. Most often given some details, I realize hate isn’t the appropriate word. It’s more accurate to describe the situation as:

  • I get a weird feeling from her
  • There’s a lot of tension at the office
  • I don’t like the way I’m treated
  • I don’t get recognized for doing my job

So it’s not hate, but there are a lot of negative feelings between managers and staff, or business owners and employees. A lot of suspicious, unfriendly recruiters.

Where do these negative feelings come from? What could be the origin of so many employees feeling underappreciated and undervalued?

You probably have never done anything wrong at work, but consider all the people who have come before you. They trained your boss to be skeptical, distrusting, and irritated by the mistakes, waste, slacking and even outright lies some employees dole out.

I got a call on Sunday evening from a business owner as he was getting off the roof of his building, taking care of the endless chores associated with running a physical therapy practice. He had cleaned the exterior of the building, swept out the parking lot, folded towels, put away piles of files that were laying behind the front desk, and was about to take a shower before completing the charts he prepares each evening before he meets clients the next day.

“I pay a lot of people,” he said. “When they’re broke or in trouble, they come to me for loans – and I always say yes. I accommodate their school schedules, friends’ wedding plans that take them off shift, sick days and everything else they feel free to ask of me. They ask me for advice, and I always make time for them.”

“Now, I’m doing maintenance and chores that the cleaning crew left, my staff overlooked and it’s all things my clients see. Some days it’s really clear that no one really cares about me or this company. Maybe a few people do on occasion, but four years is a long time to learn that unless you’re hard on people, they take it easy.”

No, this doesn’t mean YOU take it easy at work. It just means people who can’t avoid being held accountable like a manager or business owner may be worn out by the staff who came before you.

Getting a weird vibe at work? Make a contract with yourself to do a really good job everyday and to look for one more thing to do, that’s outside your specific duties. Let your boss or the recruiter learn that you are that one in a million, the person who really understands that work is more than a paycheck.

More from Nance…

You can find Nance on
Facebook
LinkedIn
Twitter

The Second Biggest Mistake You Are Making

July 31st, 2014

10745740_lMy career transition practice is full of amazing people with a huge well of talent, potential and experience. Each person is completely different. And with each person, I’ve identified a specific obstacle they are overcoming, so they can quickly move ahead on their goals. That problem identification and problem solving is the primary focus of our work together.

Typically that obstacle has arisen from a mistake in their understanding of the specific challenge or opportunity they have, and the right way to approach it. Of course, this would be a specific problem to solve in each specific situation.

However, no matter how specific the #1 mistake or obstacle is for each individual, the #2 mistake they’ve been making is pretty much the same. I suspect you are making the same mistake as well. The second biggest mistake people make in a career transition or business is this…

You think you need something else.

You think you need something more than what you have right now at your fingertips.

I hear these things:

- “I need to brush up on my Spanish skills.”

- “I need more ideas. I need new content.”

- “I need a website. I need a new website.”

- “I need a contact management system.”

- “I need a project management app.”

- “I need more recommendations on LinkedIn.”

- “I need to get another certification, MBA, to finish my AA…”

- “I need a partner.”

- “I need an investor.”

- “I need an office.”

- “I need to convince ….”

No. You. Don’t.

You don’t need a business card, location, degree, another degree or anything else. If you are reading this from some device with your own eyes and you understand this content: you have everything you need right now.

Stop yourself from looking for reasons not to succeed. Stop yourself from wasting one more moment.

You have you. That’s what you need. Anyone who ever told you a piece of equipment, the perfect resume or portfolio, or anything else is wrong. Anyone who ever told you that you are not enough is wrong.

Now go tell everyone you know exactly what you do – or want to do. Speak plainly. Then, ask them whom they know among their friends who might need what it is you do. Or, could possibly connect you with someone who might.

What you need is hiding in plain sight. Stop looking for it. See it.

More from Nance…

You can find Nance on
Facebook
LinkedIn
Twitter

The Second Biggest Mistake You Are Making

July 30th, 2014

21393495_sMy career transition practice is full of amazing people with a huge well of talent, potential and experience. Each person is completely different. And with each person, I’ve identified a specific obstacle they are overcoming, so they can quickly move ahead on their goals. That problem identification and problem solving is the primary focus of our work together.

Typically that obstacle has arisen from a mistake in their understanding of the specific challenge or opportunity they have, and the right way to approach it. Of course, this would be a specific problem to solve in each specific situation.

However, no matter how specific the #1 mistake or obstacle is for each individual, the #2 mistake they’ve been making is pretty much the same. I suspect you are making the same mistake as well. The second biggest mistake people make in a career transition or business is this…

You think you need something else.

You think you need something more than what you have right now at your fingertips.

I hear these things:

- “I need to brush up on my Spanish skills.”

- “I need more ideas. I need new content.”

- “I need a website. I need a new website.”

- “I need a contact management system.”

- “I need a project management app.”

- “I need more recommendations on LinkedIn.”

- “I need to get another certification, MBA, to finish my AA…”

- “I need a partner.”

- “I need an investor.”

- “I need an office.”

- “I need to convince ….”

No. You. Don’t.

You don’t need a business card, location, degree, another degree or anything else. If you are reading this from some device with your own eyes and you understand this content: you have everything you need right now.

Stop yourself from looking for reasons not to succeed. Stop yourself from wasting one more moment.

You have you. That’s what you need. Anyone who ever told you a piece of equipment, the perfect resume or portfolio, or anything else is wrong. Anyone who ever told you that you are not enough is wrong.

Now go tell everyone you know exactly what you do – or want to do. Speak plainly. Then, ask them whom they know among their friends who might need what it is you do. Or, could possibly connect you with someone who might.

What you need is hiding in plain sight. Stop looking for it. See it.

More from Nance…

You can find Nance on
Facebook
LinkedIn
Twitter

What’s Wrong With Your Image?

July 23rd, 2014

NRBimage
You may not realize you have an image.
And the image that exists for you may not be ideal. The goal of reputation management and personal branding is to intentionally and authentically put together an image that is coherent, consistent and compelling.

What distinguishes your image from your personal brand or reputation? Your image is more diffused. It encompasses much more about you, although it plays a big role in your personal brand and reputation.

You may be very surprised that how you earn your living is the LEAST important aspect of your image.

I have described my new concept to many of my coaching clients, and they are surprised at what matters to recruiters, hiring managers, and even their bosses and co-workers – much less all their contacts.

So I created a simple way for everyone to think about the image we hold in our heads about you and the other people who pass through our lives, businesses, networking events and more.

I – What are you IMPROVING? What can you say you are actively learning about, studying, seeking more information about, and otherwise trying to add to or modify about yourself? Could be something like learning a language. Or something smaller, like learning good manners for cross-cultural business etiquette.

M – What are you MANAGING? What financial matters, education courses, workload, community commitments, family circumstances, and more are under your control? You are your Chief Life Officer, after all. What would we be impressed to know you manage now?

A – What are you ADVISING other people about? What expertise, knowledge, or special skills are you imparting to others? Do you do some informal or formal mentoring? Could you be a resource on a topic that another person or business needs to know about? Do you use social media to get out that information for free, or perhaps do you exchange services or even do it for free (right now)?

G – What are you GIVING? Where is your social philanthropy, your cause-oriented work, your support for people in need, pets in need, the planet itself or simply in your own family and community?

E – Finally, how are you EARNING your living? What are the large (and small) jobs you have and have held in the past? Do you do more than one thing? That’s so good for us to hear. Perhaps you hold down a full time job and do freelance work in another field. I have a client who manages a small business, she does bookkeeping for it and another company, plus she is a dance instructor. How impressive is that? That’s real multi-tasking.

When you fail to let us know these great things about you, something’s missing from your image. We may overlook you, just because someone else IS prepared to talk about these major dimensions of their life and personal brand.

Pepper your conversation with all these dimensions of your image. If you want to try out this formula for yourself, just jot down your thoughts for each letter, and send your IMAGE to me at Nance@NanceRosen.com. Subject line: IMAGE.

More from Nance…

You can find Nance on
Facebook
LinkedIn
Twitter

What Secret Weapon is Hanging in the Air?

July 16th, 2014

21454525_s(2)
Scientific American cites some shocking news about time
. The more quickly you have to respond to a question or report results, the more likely you are to lie. Or, consider the reverse. The more time you take, the less likely you are to lie.

Lying is in the air. Literally, the fewer breaths you take, the more lies come out of your mouth.

Mentally hitting pause is your secret weapon!

Want to tell the truth, so you don’t have to remember what you pretended to know? To quote Faith Hill: just breathe.

That is the only way to avoid the “lying bias.” That is the tendency to lie when put on the spot. Keep in mind, lying undermines everything else about your personal brand. I’d rather have an employee who’s slow, mediocre and annoying, than a liar who’s fast, talented and charismatic.

So, take your time before responding to your boss or a co-worker who appears to be pressuring you for something. The question might be as simple as: “Do you want to go to lunch with us?” “Do you want to put in $25 for Penelope’s baby gift?”

The question might have bigger ramifications for our trust in you. Your boss might ask: “Did you visit all of competitors when you were at the trade show?” “When was the last time you called on your prospects?”

The problem with lying is not just a moral one. The problem with lying is what happens to you when we find out the actual facts. You aren’t just wrong, you might be fired. Demoted. No longer sent on those special projects. Experience a seriously stalled career.

How do you prevent a neuro-chemically induced, reflexive lie?

I advise my clients to frame their brain before responding to ANY question. I use two techniques:

  1. Silently repeat this mantra when you know you’re about to be questioned: “Wait for it, wait for it, wait for it.” That gives your brain ready to open its file cabinets and come up with the true answer.
  2. Have a trigger word or phrase that allows you to speak while you are thinking. “On trigger” is an expression I use to describe automatic words and phrases that come out of your mouth with no thought at all, so it appears you are responsive, and not just stalling.

When you are asked a question, say aloud, “Let me think for a moment.”

This not only lets people know you heard them, it also commands your brain to do exactly what you said.  After all, your brain only needs a moment to actually find information that it stored awhile back.

There’s an old expression. When in doubt: deny, deny, deny.

Let’s change that. When in doubt, breathe.

More from Nance…

You can find Nance on
Facebook
LinkedIn
Twitter

Do You Deserve a Better Job?

July 10th, 2014

29302409_sYou will not always do what you are doing now. You will go on to as many as seven distinct careers, ten to fifteen different jobs, perhaps a dip or dive into your own entrepreneurial venture and hopefully, some significant philanthropy.

That’s why the thing that you do, what you actually accomplish at work, may not be all that interesting to the people you’ll meet in the future.

It’s likely the job you have now won’t even exist in the future.

What will exist into the future? Your character, intelligence and persistence.

So, if you are seeking something grander than the job you have now: don’t focus on the nuts and bolts of what you do when given the chance to talk about yourself. Recruiters, hiring managers, investors and graduate school interviewers are listening to your stories to ascertain your core values and evidence of your curiosity, focus, friendliness, good manners, and empathy.

We care about the inspiration for your aspirations.

We want to know what’s in that portable device you carry with you all the time: your brain.

So, when you’re asked, “What do you do?” or “What did you do at Acme Insurance?” make sure to follow up your job title, with HOW you do your job. That’s where the secrets about you are, when it comes to your character, intelligence and resilience.

More than any special skill or vast amount of knowledge you’ve accumulated in a field like engineering or a function like social media manager, it’s your ability to articulate your analytical process and decision-making that’s really important.

The big winners in any occupation, profession or venture are people who can crisply say why they act the way they do, and how their behavior has changed as they learned more and held greater sway.

Simply put: the most desirable candidates are brimming with personal insights.

So, spend some time reflecting on the how and why of what you do. Then, be ready to explain how your thinking and working processes – not your duties – are your real assets.

Those of us in your future, want to welcome you to it.

More from Nance…

You can find Nance on
Facebook
LinkedIn
Twitter

What’s Inside the Worst LinkedIn Invite Ever

July 4th, 2014

MTU-Faculty-10-Jan-BlogAsking a complete stranger to connect on LinkedIn can be fine! No worries. Just have something – like a group – in common. That means you look up who you want to link with, and join their group. Participate two or three times, and then fire off that invite. You might write: We are both in XYZ group, and I’d like to be a connection of yours on LinkedIn.

So, what’s the WORST invite ever? A sloppy outreach to a stranger with no reason for wanting to connect – followed by a request for referrals, and a vague description of what you do. Here’s an example I received last week:

Thanks for agreeing to be my connection. I appreciate any referrals. I empower women to get out of their comfort zones.

What? Even if I knew YOU, I have no idea what empowering women means. I have no idea what’s wrong with a comfort zone. And, I don’t know why I would want you doing whatever this is, to anyone who might trust ME.

Make sure you tell people what you do.

Not just on LinkedIn. Anyone. Anywhere. You. Go.

That means you have a simple, clear, specific sentence that describes what you do.

What’s wrong with this fine example of the worst ever LinkedIn invitation?

1) Whatever she apparently thinks is inherently bad about a comfort zone, I might think it’s great. My comfort zones are work, home, family, friends, my dogs, or Cream of Wheat in the morning with bananas and blueberries. These are things that I love. They bring me comfort.

2) When she leaves her “empowering” to my imagination, I think:

A makeover? A resume rewrite? A pep talk? Frankly: I have never seen anyone do empowering – and I’ve been a lot of places.

The solution: Speak plainly. Be specific. Give examples.

Remember: you really cannot go wrong, when you do the simple things right.

More from Nance…

You can find Nance on
Facebook
LinkedIn
Twitter