Wouldn’t it be great if relationships with our parents were like a Hallmark card? Speaking as a daughter and a mom of 3 daughters, I know for a fact that the family journey can be a rocky ride. We start our life with unquestioning adoration. By our teenage years, our parents often become stupid—not to mention frustrating when we feel they are out to make our lives miserable by not allowing us to do things we want to do.
But luckily, our parents get their smarts back as we become older. While we can’t appreciate their wisdom and experience when we’re younger, we eventually “get it” as we begin to experience similar challenges in our lives and hear their voice in our heads and realize just how wise they were.
Despite everyone’s good intentions and love, we all end up with baggage. There are inevitable memories that haunt us—something that was said or done–that hit us in a vulnerable spot and carries in us for many years.
Sometimes there are negative attributes or habits that we “catch” from our parents like a cold that doesn’t go away. Often we are unaware how this occurred because it happens so gradually or seems so natural—and it is—because that’s the way we have learned in it our household.
I probably shared this example before, but the one I always remember was going to the Jersey shore with a bunch of my college friends. As we started cooking, someone was looking all around for the Crisco (remember this was years ago) and couldn’t find it. After I walked in the room, I went right to the refrigerator where I had put it. I was the target of the joke—because I was the only one in the group who put Crisco in the refrigerator.
You can imagine that when I got home I asked, “Why do we put Crisco in the refrigerator, Mom?” My mom answered that she had a problem years ago with ants in the cupboard and decided to keep the Crisco there from then on–so the ants wouldn’t get at it.
Although this is a silly example, many times that’s exactly how we create accommodations. We react to something in our life and develop a “cure” or a coping mechanism. The problem is that after the event or events are long forgotten (or buried), we continue to use our coping tools. The event can be serious, chronic, life-changing, or a simple event that no one even remembers–except you.
Forgiveness. Consider a gift of forgiveness. Writing a letter baring your soul is one way to get to that point. Put as much down on the paper. Then burn the letter or rip it in pieces. The act of writing it down is key in being able to release any pain you still have. You may have to do it more than once, as forgiveness is a process.
Acceptance. If there is a trait, habit, or value you “got” or didn’t get from your parents, get to a point where you are a peace with your past. Instead of blaming someone else or a situation, put all that energy towards making a change for the better. You are not a victim. If you’ve been reading my newsletters, you know I’m all about taking control of you. Now’s a good time to do that!
Love. It is true that some parents (and this goes for kids too) are really a mess. Their baggage is alive, well, and thriving. This I know for sure that you can’t change anyone but yourself and perhaps the only gift you can give them is simply love.
I can distinctly remember thinking during one of my own family twisty curves, “But I did the best I could.” It was at that time that I realized that if I did the best I could, surely my parents did as well.”
Do you have a goal you want to accomplish? Many people want to make a change in their job and/or their career, but they are not willing or able to to start down the path. Maybe in this generation of instant success, we imagine that we too, can wish it and make it so. Unfortunately, that doesn’t normally happen.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed with where you want to go and all that needs to take place. My best advice is to keep your goal in your mind and heart, while you just focus on the next best step you can do. It’s easy to get discouraged, but just keep moving step after step.
If you reach an obstacle or find you are going down the wrong path, pause, then reevaluate your direction. Many times it may need a different plan. It’s all part of the journey after all. Unfortunately, it takes time—usually more time than we had planned, or want.
But think about where you’ll be in 2 years. Will you be further down the road or stuck in the hole you’re currently in. Momentum and motivation builds as you move forward, but sometimes you have to give yourself a little kick start!
Perhaps this has been the worst period in our lifetime when so many people have experienced rejection. And while this post is not addressing the kind of rejection you feel after a partner break-up, the emotions you go through are the same.
I wish I had some magic words that can help you through this period of your life. Here are a few of today’s work situations where you experience an emotional roller-coaster:
Company Lay-Off. Despite the fact that you know about the economy, many times you can’t help but feel, “why me”? Perhaps others did survive and you didn’t–what did you do wrong? Rejection.
Applying for Work. These days my clients wonder what they are doing wrong. They believe they have a good background–lots of good experience and yet, they hear nothing. Although most don’t even receive a rejection letter that was typical years ago, they still do feel that rejection.
Not Selected after Interview. The good news is that you landed an interview, but then you don’t get the job. It may be even made worse if you go back for follow up interviews, because the more time you put in, you start imagining yourself working at that company. It’s a hard blow when you aren’t the final candidate.
Here are some things to remember:
It’s not personal. Yes, it FEELS personal because it impacts your livelihood. Even if you are selected in a lay-off, many times it’s a numbers “game.” There is just so much money and so many people have to be eliminated. It really isn’t you. Matter of fact, many well-qualified people find themselves in the same situation. You are not alone.
Move on. The faster you are able to get over the anger and the hurt, the faster you can reach your desired goal. But do allow yourself time to feel the pain. Work is a big part of who we are–we feel it is part of our identity. However, we are MORE than what we do. Remember, we are human beings, not human doings.
Let it go. Control what you can, let the outcome go. Continue to do all the things you can in a job search. If you dwell on when you will get a job and how, you will drive yourself frustration.
I know this is all easier said than done. But keep your eyes focused on your future and not your past. Find support if you are struggling and you may need to get out of your comfort zone to find new ways to land that perfect job you want!
Although your network can be the key to your next transition, I find a lot of job seekers resist it. While it does take time to do–it could make or break your success.
Perhaps folks are uncomfortable with asking someone if they have a job. But here’s the good news–you don’t have to do that. Matter of fact, you should not do it. You are simply asking for some information.
First, do your homework. What is your job target? Can you come up with a list of companies where your target job would exist? Then, write a list of everyone you know. Identify which folks you feel most comfortable in talking with first (for whatever reason).
Then, you go on a scavenger hunt–trying to get information from each of those folks. You goal? To get to either a person who has a similar job like you want or find one of your targeted companies.
Before you contact anyone–imagine how your informational interview will go. How will you start your discussion? What questions will you ask? What information do you want from that person? How will you end it? How will you contact this person? People love to talk about their career journey, so having a good conversation with folks should be fairly easy.
Then start with one of the people on your list–start with an easy prospect first to give yourself practice. Besides some answers to your questions, ask the person on your list to give you 2 more names to contact. In that way your list of 10 will grow to 30.
If you continue to follow this recipe, your network will pretty soon increase like bunnies!
When I’m approached by folks wanting me to help them find their ideal job, there seems to be an inherent pressure on them.They want to finally get it right… this time. Most of them have the belief there must be only one right answer and unfortunately, they haven’t figured it out as yet.
Although I can certainly empathize (I’ve been there), we seem to put so much pressure on being “right.” We want to avoid unnecessary expenses by going down the wrong path and wouldn’t it be nice if we could just take the short cut.
Unfortunately, I have learned that even when we are listening to our heart and feel strongly we are headed in the right direction, there may be some surprising curves in our path.
When I got laid off back in 2006, I recognized it was an opportunity to follow my dream of becoming a coach. And I was right–my talents and interests were a natural fit for coaching. But what I didn’t expect was how starting my coaching career was just a beginning of another journey.
Initially I wanted to “step away” from business and HR in my coaching focus. It was time to take a break and I did…for awhile. But now 6 years later and 6 different business cards later–I look back and realize how much I evolved, grew, and became so much clearer than when I first started out.
And so my suggestions to my clients is to relax. Go with the best answer, the best direction…for now. Relax and enjoy the journey.
What is it about reviewing performance that everyone seems to dread? Matter of fact, there are many opinions that say they do more harm than good. However, it’s my experience that most companies do it no matter what. Otherwise, how could they defend the amount of merit pay they dole out–or don’t give out?
Preparing for an annual review is actually a year-long process. Just like setting goals, it’s something you need to practice some discipline. One quick way to keep on-going records, is to create a file where you put copies of positive letters from satisfied customers or co-workers in.
Also, keep a record or notes to yourself of all the projects you worked on.While you think you won’t forget, it’s likely you will 12 months later. Better to keep more information, then too little–you can always group goals and accomplishments if need be.
And don’t forget to look back at comments and recommendations from last year’s review. Did your boss want you to do something more or maybe do something less? How did you accomplish this throughout the year? Again, it’s best to look at this periodically–maybe quarterly.
Perhaps your company has a self-evaluation form you have to complete and send to your supervisor before the review discussion. Let’s face it, lots of time, your supervisor may forget projects you’ve worked on–so isn’t it great that you remind him/her?
When preparing for your review–focus on the problem you solved and what you did to solve it. You don’t need to go into every detail of how you went about it. Measurements are awesome if you have them! Really impressive.
If you are struggling with a challenging review, consider scheduling a session with me–I can help you be prepared!
When I talk with a potential new client to complete their resume, I often have to remind them that NOW is the time for them to talk about the good work they’ve done.
Women, especially, struggle with talking about what they have done. We have been taught to be humble and we interpret that to play down all we’ve accomplished. I still have to catch myself in doing the same thing at times.
But in looking for work and writing a resume, you need to “get over it”–stand up tall and talk boldly about your work.You need to be honest, but be careful to not play down your performance.
Identify what role you had in getting something done. Often I see a person write on their resume that they assisted in this project or that. What does that mean exactly? You did something to get a task/project done–what was your role in it?
There are several acronyms that are used in helping us develop these accomplishment statements. The one I use is CAR, where C=Challenge you encountered; A=Action you took; R=Result you got.
Whether you are developing a resume or not, keep a log of the things you’ve accomplished this year to prepare for your annual review. Have your list ready to share with your boss. Being human, they often forget what you’ve achieved. Don’t assume they will remember–they may not!
And, furthermore, it’s great for you to look back at what you have done this past year. We keep our focus on what we haven’t done or what we still need to do, we forget or think it unimportant to remember that you HAVE moved forward!
I often write blogs and articles recommending that you improve your life by suggesting some positive behaviors to incorporate into your life. In this blog, I want you to think about what you need to stop.
Do you find yourself obsessively worrying or complaining? How often do we spend our time today by rehashing what happened yesterday or worrying about what could happen tomorrow. Or perhaps you cling to a hurt that happened long ago and find yourself unable to forgive.
Negative thinking can become a habit–a way of living. When you are focusing on past issues–you aren’t able to think about positive thoughts. The possibilities of the future, what steps you could take to move forward with your goal or to reach down and continue to have a positive hope for the future.
Negativity can be contagious. When I was in human resources, I often noticed a phenomenon going on at work. At times there would be a lot of negativity and complaining from one particular department. Many times it was directed at the supervisor.
So often, when a particular malcontent person left or was transferred and I would later find there was just one person who stirred up the negativity of the rest of the team. “Did you see what he/she did?” “I can’t believe he/she did that!” People who were basically minding their own business were challenged to think about things they would have previously ignored.
Have you been in that type of situation before? Well, if we find we are doing that to ourselves, we can make a change. Harness your mind for good, positive, and hopeful. We can then turn around our view of life and our future.
So, when you discover your thoughts are not helping you today–then say, stop it! (Maybe to yourself, if you don’t want people looking strange at you!) Picture a stop sign in your mind.
You have control of your thoughts. And just like any other bad habit–you can make a change. So, stop it! I mean, start it–the new habit that is!
Although we often complain we don’t have enough time to get everything done, I have discovered having a limited time to get things done actually stimulates you to make the most of the time you DO have. Years ago, when I was off because of a maternity leave, I thought of all the things I was (finally) going to get done.
Instead, I discovered I was making the beds right before my husband came home. Why? Because I could do it anytime—and so I put it off.
So here are a couple of techniques I’ve learned that are helpful in accomplishing your goals.
Identify the time-frame. Identify your top 3 goals. Perhaps you want to take a certification exam. When do you want or need to complete this exam? Sometimes your goal has a specific time constraint—other times, you need to establish a target date yourself. Once you set the drop-dead date, you can work backwards to set mini-steps. I call them munchies.
What is the next step you need to take? In order to pass the exam—what do you have to do? Read/study a certain amount of pages? Come up with a do-able goal for each day or each week. Don’t set up yourself to fail. Start with a time frame you can achieve easily. Success breeds success. Then increase it!
Schedule your day and your week. By actually scheduling each of your munchies on a calendar, you are in fact, envisioning yourself complete these next steps. I like the idea of having a Sunday evening business meeting with yourself each week to plan out your week.
Set up an accountability partner and/or reward. Checking in with someone and/or giving yourself a reward is a great way to keep the motivation going. Before you think about the next week, it’s a good thing to look at the previous week and to note your progress!
“Keep on going and the chances are you will stumble on something, perhaps when you are least expecting it. I have never heard of anyone stumbling on something sitting down.”—Charles F. Kettering
Chellie Campbell, who wrote The Wealthy Spirit, one of my favorite resources, just wrote about The Processional Effect–in a recent post. She shares how you start towards a goal and of course, acquire skills and experiences. Because of the insights you learn along the way, a new goal may appear to you–something that never occurred to you when you first started out. You couldn’t see your new goal or the new opportunity at the beginning, you needed that additional insight to “get it.”
I can so relate from my recent experiences starting my own coaching business. When I was first laid off from Corporate America, I decided to step away from my human resources experiences. Surely, now was the time to focus on something entirely new with my coaching career.
I began with a generic sounding company called, Best Life Consulting. After I relocated to North Carolina, I then focused my marketing towards helping other singles relocate. Eventually, I realized that none of my clients were single and none of them wanted to relocate. What they needed was help in finding what’s next for them–usually a career.
I soon realized that my prior business experiences could help others who suffered while they were working and for those who have experienced a job loss. That realization started me down the path of looking at the parts from my past that I should bring forward.
I joined WaggleForce–a national network of career clubs that was a brain-child of Tory Johnson (Workplace contributor of Good Morning America). The day I decided to become a leader with them, I felt it was the right step for me. Little did I know that it would lead me to where I am now.
Once I met with my career club members, I jumped in and helped them with their resumes–which were sorely in need of a tune-up. That led me to pursuing a a certification in resume writing and expanding my practice to focus on career coaching.
Although I wish I would have gotten to where I am sooner, I am embracing the processional effect and know that everything happens in its own time. As Chellie reminded me that the importance of a goal is that it is a path leading you in a particular direction.
Our job, then, is just start along a path and begin. Trust that it doesn’t matter what you choose, life knows what you need and will guide you to where you need to be–if you pay attention.
As you look back over your life, can you now see what lessons you were learning and where life was leading you?
What feels good to you today? What feels empowering, creative, and exciting? Those are signposts that Life is giving you. Go do that.