Tips for Setting Strong Goals for the New Year

Tips for Setting Strong Goals for the New Year  

Published on SharpHeels: http://sharpheels.com/2017/01/setting-strong-goals/

As we move into the New Year, we often write goals and resolutions hoping to make changes, and about two months into the New Year, they may be thrown to the wayside. Many articles about comprehensive goal setting miss a key aspect of why it is so difficult to accomplish goals — change is hard! Certain things are not discussed when it comes to goal planning. Here are a few key considerations in setting appropriate goals for the new year.

  • Are the sacrifices and discomfort in achieving your goals worth it? Many of my clients want a new job, yet when it comes to getting one, they do not want to experience the discomfort that comes with the process — from the introspection that is required in evaluating yourself and your career options to the rejection experienced in being turned down after an interview. Part of the career change process is experiencing pain and discomfort and persevering through it. It means sacrificing free time and other activities to achieve the long-term outcome. The process is much like losing weight — you have to actually sit with the cravings and push through the workouts in order to drop the pounds.
  • What if the grass is not greener? We often think that if we achieve a career goal, we will hit a pinnacle of happiness, money, and work-life balance. Of course, this is not true. How many times have you achieved a goal only to be happy for a short period before reality sinks in again. I often hear job seekers say, “What if I get a new career and I don’t like it?” or “What if I get my dream career, and I don’t have work-life balance?” A change in careers may not mean a change in our emotional state. Even if we get what we want, we may have to continue to do the internal work to change to a more positive emotional state. Going back to the analogy of losing weight, often women who lose significant weight do not like the attention it brings to them. Now they have to do the emotional work of the weight loss and the changes it brings.
  • What if you achieve your goals? That means you must live with the outcomes. Remember,change is hard. If you actually achieve your goals, it means you have to experience and live with new outcomes — new thought and behavior patterns, emotions, people, and much more. Sometimes these changes are embraced, but that does not mean they are not difficult or even overwhelming. Your life could look different, even for the better, but you still have to deal with that change. Once again to reference the weight-loss analogy, once someone loses weight, he or she has to maintain it, which takes a lot of effort as well. 

Once we consider these points, how do we move past these emotional hurdles to achieve our goals?

  • Learn to accept and embrace discomfort. I always suggest trying something small and moving up in your discomfort level. We are a pain-avoidant society, and we have created an entire economy to make us feel more comfortable and pain-free, so this process takes time. Try one thing at a time to push yourself out of your comfort zone. If networking feels uncomfortable, then start networking with someone you know and eventually move to someone you do not know. Use this opportunity to get to know and push yourself. You’ll be surprised how amazing the experience can be and how it builds your grit.
  • Evaluate how your goals will fulfill your deepest desires. Look at what the outcomes will bring you and the deepest desires it will fulfill. This includes really detailing what outcomes you would like, why you want them at a deep level, how they will make you feel, and how they will change your life. For example, if you have a gift to offer to the world, and you cannot do it through your current career, making a career change will fulfill that deep desire. Your new career may not be perfect, but it will fulfill you on a deeper level. The book The Desire Map by Danielle LaPorte can assist with this process. I also use journaling and honestly evaluating several areas — the reasons I want to set the goals, my fears and worries, as well as all the reasons I may not want to set and/or achieve the goals. Sometimes being brutally honest with myself on why I may or may not want something allows me to work through my hurdles.
  • Shift your perspective about the concept of reaching a pinnacle. When we drop the dream or concept of reaching a pinnacle, whatever that means to you, we take a great weight off our shoulders. We also set ourselves up for more realistic expectations of our lives knowing that we will always evolve and that the journey is more important than the endpoint. Our goals become about fulfilling our deep desires opposed to thinking we are going to reach a peak. For this New Year, I suggest when creating your goals to evaluate them at a deeper level.  If you waver about a goal, perhaps it is not the right time and maybe you should hold off. If you are ready, set the goal and prepare to be uncomfortable, to break old patterns, and to live with the outcomes of your change. Most importantly, shift your perspective from the concept of reaching a pinnacle to enjoying the journey.  This allows for the process to become more gentle and self-loving.

Moving into the new year, may this be a year of personal growth, evolution, and learning!

Traveling to Havana Cuba? How to Prepare.

Traveling to Havana Cuba? How to Prepare:

Hotel Nacional de Cuba

  1. Do your homework- Cuba is not the easiest place to travel because they are still building the infrastructure. Book hotels, tours, and restaurants in advance and do your research on Trip Adviser or Lonely Planet.  Internet is hard to come upon, so it’s not like you can easily look something up. Some of the best articles we found were:

http://www.globotreks.com/destinations/cuba/40-things-know-before-traveling-cuba/
https://www.southwest.com/html/promotions/new-service-cuba.html
https://www.tripadvisor.com/Guide-g147271-k1550-Havana_Ciudad_de_la_Habana_Province_Cuba.html

  1. Print your itinerary including lodging confirmation, dinner reservations, and addresses ahead of time.
  2. Get Euros before the trip. If you exchange USD, there is an extra 10% fee for the exchange. Take lots of cash with you because you will not be able to pull money from ATMs or use your credit card. We also recommend you exchange your money at the airport as the banks in the city have long lines.
  3. Purchase a map of Havana and any other places you want to visit in advance. Mark the addresses of the places you are staying and restaurants you want to try on the map (it helps when you are navigating the city and to show taxi drivers where you want to go).

    Havana

  4. Cubans are very friendly. Some will just want to chat while others will want to talk you into purchasing tours. Say no to purchasing tours that are not provided by the hotels or travel agencies as they are most likely a scam (we took a BS tour around old Havana when we could have easily walked it).
  5. Bring someone who speaks Spanish or learn to speak it yourself. Havana is not the easiest city to navigate without knowing the language.
  6. Don’t drink the water! Purchase bottled water.
  7. If you prefer not to plan your trip, definitely go with travel agency. This is not a country where you can wing it.

Most importantly, have a great time! This city is awesome!

3 Benefits of Peer Accountability to Achieve Your Career Goals

As we move into the New Year, we start making resolutions and goals for 2017. We often set goals for our career and do not stick with them.

There are many reasons why we don’t stick with our goals. Perhaps they are not goals we want to accomplish in the first place. Or our goals are too lofty to accomplish. Or perhaps our self doubts get in our way. Perhaps one of our greatest hindrances to achieving our goals is that we don’t have anyone holding us accountable.

It is common at the executive level for CEOs, Presidents or Senior VPs to have mastermind groups, round-table discussions, or peer coaching. One of the reasons they are so successful is because they have another set of eyes on their business strategy.

Sadly, it is not as common for mid-career professionals to seek the support of their peers. Peer accountability is one of the best means to help develop strategy to forward your career, increase your performance, and achieve your goals.

Here’s are the top 3 reasons peer accountability is essential for your career success:

1. Peer Accountability allows you to look at your goals from all angles: When we set goals we often do not see all sides of the situation. Having peer accountability helps bring perspective to your situation and carefully evaluate all aspects of your goals – from the sincerity, to the strategy, to the execution of your goals.

2. Accountability helps ensure you have an effective strategy: Once you have a stronger perspective, you are better positioned to form concrete strategies. Peer accountability allows you to build measurable goals and to identify specific benchmarks with a team to help you work out any roadblocks that could get in your way.

3. Accountability helps you stay engaged:  Sharing your goals helps affirm and stick with your commitment. Moreover, it’s fun to celebrate your successes and wins with those who have been along the journey with you.

That is why I suggest that coming into the New Year, you do one of several suggestions in committing to yourself and career goals:

1) Set goals and hold yourself accountable: If you are going to set goals for this New Year, hold yourself to it. Do not allow yourself to not move forward and make your failed goal more proof that you’re not good enough or deserving. No more self-fulling prophesies of failure! It is better to set no goals then to set them and not pursue them.

2) Get an accountability partner and meet with them regularly: Make sure this is someone who is committed to themselves and to you. When you set meetings, stick with them. I recommend that you call to check in once a week and meet in person once a month. Set a format to your meetings and stick with it.

3) Join a peer accountability group:  I’m hosting a monthly Peer Strategy Group on Feb 7th, March 7th, April 4th, May 2nd, August 8th, Sept. 12th, Oct. 10th, and Nov. 14th from 6-8 PM MST. You can join us in-person at my office off Colorado and I-25 or virtually using Zoom.

This group is designed to provide a safe space to receive insights and honest feedback about your career goals, to brainstorm solutions to problems in the workplace, and to build relationships. You will also connect with an accountability partner to support you in between meetings.

I will also be having top coaches in their field present on their area of expertise during each meeting. Topics include networking coaching, resume writing, financial coaching, and effective communication in the workplace.

To learn more or register, please email me: danielle@innercompasscoach.com.

4 Things You Can Do If You’re Burned Out From a Job Transition

4 Things You Can Do If You’re Burned Out From a Job Transition  

Published on SharpHeels: http://sharpheels.com/2016/12/making-a-career-change/

Have you been spending hours contemplating your career direction, applying to hundreds of jobs online, and talking about your next career steps? Are you sick of the pressure of everyone asking you “What’s next?” Are you at the point where thinking about your career for one more moment makes you feel like you are going to go mad? If you have answered yes to one or all of these questions, you are probably experiencing career transition burnout.

We are not properly taught how to handle career transition. Most career services teach us that we need to take career tests and network to make a transition. This is great advice when we are in the proper frame of mind. However, if we aren’t, this advice can be counterproductive and lead to compulsive job searching, eventual disillusionment, and burnout. It seems counterintuitive, but if we give ourselves the permission, time, and space to be introspective and reflect on what we really want, we can more easily pinpoint what is next. We need to take a break from the career transition process.

If you are burned out from your career transition, these four steps can help you re-energize so you can return to the process with more motivation and clarity.

  • Give yourself permission to not think about your future career. This is easier said than done, but if you focus on giving yourself enough time and space, your next steps will become clear. We very rarely have epiphanies when we overthink, so limit how much time you allow yourself to ponder your next career next steps. Spend quality time with loved ones to distract yourself or think about other things that are important to you, redirecting your thoughts if your mind starts to wander.  Even if you’ve already taken time off, if that time was filled with anxiety and pressure, it really was not time off. You will be amazed at all the “aha moments” that come when you give yourself permission to not think about your future career–usually when you least expect them.
  • Cease all career research and job applications. It is amazing how addicted we can become to applying to jobs online. With access to job websites at the touch of a finger, it can be hard to take a break, but it is important to do so. When we are burned out, we are more likely to make mistakes on our applications and apply for roles that are not a good fit. Even a few days’ break will make you more mentally clear. You’ll be able to make better decisions about the type of jobs to target, less likely to make mistakes, and have more energy for the process. If you are really strapped for cash, you’ll be better prepared to evaluate, search, and take contract work to make some extra money.
  • Schedule personal time and keep that commitment. It is okay to watch a little television, but make sure to fill your time playing, having fun, and doing the things you love. Having fun lets you re-energize and reconnect with your true self, providing tremendous insight to what you like and dislike. You’ll be more likely to identify careers that are a good fit and able to articulate to others what you are looking for.
  • Do things and wear clothes that make you feel beautiful. When we go through stressful transitions, our eating habits often become irregular and we don’t dress as fashionably. Employers like to hire confident employees, and the way you dress expresses how you feel about yourself. Get rid of clothing that doesn’t make you feel good, and find ways to get outfits that make you feel beautiful, whether you purchase them or host a clothing swap with your friends. And do things that make you feel confident to reinforce your inner strength and beauty, because when you go back to your career transition, you’ll want to look as beautiful and self-assured on the outside as you feel on the inside.

Taking a break will motivate you and give you the clarity to pursue your next steps. There will always be jobs to apply for, careers to research, and people to meet, but after your break, you will be able get back to your career transition with the positive energy that will get you hired.

4 Ways You Can Take Advantage of the Holidays to Find a New Career

4 Ways You Can Take Advantage of the Holidays to Find a New Career

Published on SharpHeels: http://sharpheels.com/2016/11/holiday-job-hunting/

We often believe that hiring slows down prior to the new year. This is a myth! Hiring managers are still searching for applicants, but interviews and hiring decisions may be slower because of the difficulty in getting a team of coworkers together during the holiday season. The holidays are an excellent time to get in the pipeline for the first-quarter hiring wave when everyone returns to the office in January. Below are four tips to take advantage of this time of year to find a new job or change careers:

Network
Do you ever feel like you need time away from your loved ones during the holidays? Keep in mind that you are not the only one who feels that way! That’s why the holidays are a great time to network. The reason networking meetings (also known as informational interviews) are so effective in helping you get a job is that companies are more likely to hire someone through referrals. When you first begin to network, your goal isn’t to ask for a job, but to build relationships. After you have connected with someone, you can ask him or her to pass along your résumé to a hiring manager or inquire about upcoming career opportunities within the company. There are many articles available that discuss effective ways to schedule a networking meeting. Below are a few quick tips to guide you.

  • First, reach out to an old colleague, coworker, or friend who is working at a job, company, or industry you are interested in. If there is a chance that the person may not remember you, remind him or her of who you are and when you met last. Include your headshot in the signature of your email. Share what you have been up to (employment, education, etc.), the reason you want to meet (do not ask for a job), and invite him or her to meet you for coffee.
  • During your meeting, ask questions about his or her career, company, or industry to obtain information that you cannot find on the internet.
  • Toward the end of your meeting, ask if he or she would be willing to introduce you to other people with whom you want to connect. Be specific about the individuals you are interested in, e.g., “Do you know of anyone who is in x role and x company? Would you be willing to make email introductions?” You are more likely to have a new contact agree to meet with you if you are introduced by a mutual contact.
  • Lastly, be sure to send a note thanking the person for his or her time, advice, and support.

You will be surprised how many people are willing and able to get together this time of year because work slows down. Take advantage of it!

Show Your Gratitude 
When you are looking to change careers, you are going to want others to share job leads, provide references if you are offered a position, and advise you along the way. That’s why relationships are so important for your career success. One of the best ways to foster your relationships is through gratitude. If you are still connected with people who have helped you in the past with your career, send them a holiday card, email, or even a gift, if it is appropriate. You will probably need their help again, so these small gestures show that you care and appreciate their support. If the people who have helped you in your past realize that you are grateful, they will most likely help you again in the future.

Update Your Cover Letter, Résumé, and LinkedIn Profile
Because the trends for cover letters, résumés, and LinkedIn profiles change every year, the holidays are a great time to update them, especially if you have not applied for a position in a while. Spend some time researching the most common trends from reputable career, recruiting, and business magazines. Compare your résumé with the job descriptions you want to target and make sure you are mirroring the roles and responsibilities, industry language, and keywords.  Also, research others on LinkedIn who are in similar careers, companies, and industries, and update your application materials as necessary. If you know someone with excellent editing skills, ask him or her to review your documents–you don’t want any mistakes on your application materials! Also, if you know of anyone in a job, industry, or company similar to the one you are applying for, have him or her provide feedback on your cover letter, résumé, and LinkedIn profile, as well.

Take on Side Projects
As New Year’s Eve quickly approaches, so do the resolutions. Many business owners want to reorganize their office, catch up with administrative work, or market their business. The new year is an opportunity to provide temporary support to a small business while building your portfolio. If you are highly organized, know how to use Microsoft Office, or have other applicable skills, offer to help a small business owner and see if he or she would be willing to compensate you. This is a great way to build your résumé, demonstrate your skills, and fill in any employment gaps. If you find it challenging to find paid work, then volunteer. Volunteering is a great way to build your skills, receive training in a new area, and network with a nonprofit or people who could potentially hire you.

Whatever you do, don’t slow your job search efforts this holiday season. Get yourself out there, touch up your application materials, and keep the job search going. Don’t let the holidays pass you by; take advantage of this time of year, when most people are in a generous mood and are happy to help others.