What happens when we find ourselves running through life on automatic not pushing our limits, but just running, until it’s time to retire or die? I do a lot of running outside and one day I was thinking about the difference of running on a treadmill. On a treadmail you get a great workout, but you are stuck in one place, on automatic, just running until your time is up. How many times have you bumped into someone unexpectedly after several years and you ask them how they are doing and they say “Same old same old.” Really? How depressing! Life should be full of challenges, adventures and individuality.
If you’re running on automatic then you need change in your life.
If you get really clear about: your vision, purpose, goals, you make things measurable, you respond to feedback, you persist then your going to create a fun filled successful life.
You don’t have to know how you’re going to achieve the goal. All you have to do is set the goal, then the ‘how’ will start to fall into place. How many of us use GPS systems in our cars? Normally how they work is you go in the car you type in the address you want and the car figures out the directions. We also have GPS systems in our brains. As soon as you decide what it is you want your brain your subconscious starts to figure out how to do it. You will feel joy when you’re in the right direction. You will feel miserable when your not.
What I have learnt from dealing with people is that many people don’t take responsibility for their own lives. You must take 100% responsibility for your life/. If you don’t have the job you want instead of blaming the economy, the government, your ex-boss, whatever it might be, ask yourself what is it that you really want. Your energy is better focused this way and is more likely to produce results rather than sitting around blaming and complaining. Now ask yourself what are the obvious next three actions that I need to take today to start implementing what I want. If you take three action steps everyday, six days a week then your going to start putting yourself toward what you want.
The fastest way to change is to develop awareness. There are different stages of change. The first stage is pre-contemplation where you deny that you have a problem with your behaviour. The next stage is contemplation where you recognise you have a problem but don’t know if you want to do anything about it. The third stage is preparation where the person might pick up a self-help book to discontinue the behaviour. If that stage is successful the person will move onto the action phase
I challenge you to take responsibility and to look at your life to analyse whether you are stuck on that treadmail going nowhere. Why not take responsibility for your life and create positive change.
Job loss, rejection and inexperience can significantly undermine your confidence in the job search. Employers and recruiters can tell the difference between candidates who possess confidence and those who don’t. If you’re one of those who don’t, employers are likely to wonder why they should have confidence in you if you don’t have it.
Confidence doesn’t come naturally to most people. The good news is that you can develop it, just like any muscle or character trait, if you’re willing to work hard at it. Here are some tips to help you strengthen your confidence.
- Mindset – knowing that you are capable is central to a positive self-image. Believe in yourself and your abilities. You must believe that you are the ideal employee who can produce great results for your targeted employers. You can accomplish this by minimising doubt, viewing failure as a temporary setback, and looking for the good in every adverse situation.
- Goals – decide what you want to accomplish, both in your career and personal life. Reaching goals is a tremendous confidence builder. It also spurs you to set higher goals.
- Comfort zone – push yourself beyond your known limits, and see how successful you can be. When you realise what you can accomplish, your confidence soars. Your potential is unlimited. You are the only one who can limit it.
- Failure – accept that failure is not the end of the world. Learn from your mistakes. Understand that the pursuit of perfection often limits your accomplishments. Many great achievements have been far from perfect, but were more than good enough to be proud of..
- Comparisons – glossy magazines bombard us with images of celebrities who in turn become our: ‘role models.’ We beat ourselves up when making comparisons between us and them. I learnt the hard way, growing up, that to compare yourself with others is a wrong path to take. Don’t compare yourself. Focus on your own achievements and ambitions, not anyone else’s.
- Teach people – people consciously and unconsciously notice and treat you according to how you think about yourself. If you expect to be walked all over, ignored or dismissed, you will be. You need to teach people how to treat you, change the way you treat yourself.
- Saying No – saying “yes” is easy. There’s no hassle in saying yes. The master skill, however, is saying “no.” Everyone can say yes. No is hard because it causes conflict in relationships. A confident person will be able to say no with no hesitation.
- Happiness – what makes me happy? It’s a question we all should ask ourselves. You might think winning the lotto will make you happy or a new house or a new car or your dream job. But in trying to answer this question you will probably find it to be a more difficult question than you would expect. What I have learnt from life and the adversity I have faced is that it is the little things that make me happy.
You’ve just landed a job interview for a position you really want. Congratulations. Now, you know you only get one chance to impress, but how exactly do you do that? Given all of the conflicting advice out there it’s no wonder that job seekers are confused about how to best prepare for and perform in an interview.
One common piece of advice is to “take charge” of the interview.
- Prepare – You can take charge in an interview by being prepared. You should find out as much as possible about the company, how it’s organised, its culture, the relevant industry trends, and some information about the interviewer.
- Strategy – Before you enter the room, decide what three or four messages you want to convey to the interviewer. These should “show the connection between what you have achieved and the job spec.
- Potential – Focus on your potential and how the company will stand to benefit.
- First 30 seconds – First impressions matter. People form opinions about your personality and intelligence in the first 30 seconds of the interview – how you speak – how you enter the room, and how comfortable you look are really important. People who perform best in interviews start off by speaking clearly but slowly.
- Being flexible – Even with all of the right preparation, you can never predict exactly how the interview will go. You need the radar working in the room. A good candidate knows how to tweak the performance to play to different situations. Ask yourself: Do I need to supply better answers? Do I need to work on my tone? Do I need to just shut up? Adapt to the circumstances.
Last week I was on a panel of speakers. The majority of speakers had spoken on the topic except me. A lawyer in the audience remarked that he found it strange that the topic related to persons with disabilities yet the one person with the disability hadn’t spoken so far. At that point I still didn’t interject. I waited for direction from the chairperson. I gave my comments to the subject matter and then continued by inviting the other panel members to join in.
At the end of the session a lawyer from the audience made a comment that it was his experience that some people with disabilities abuse the quota rule where you have to hire a certain number of persons with disabilities. He said once they got the job they didn’t work hard. At this point my passion came through and I decided to take charge and let my ‘voice’ be heard. I told the panel that I didn’t want a session ending on a question of whether persons with disabilities ‘abuse’ the job quota rule. I accepted that while some may abuse the rule, it was unfortunate to end the session on that question. The room was suddenly very quite, you could hear a pin drop. I had taken charge. The chairperson said that he would end on the note of what we can do for the future to help create greater understanding. We can all use our voices to highlight our passions.
In life we need to understand ourselves before others can. We need to recognise not only our successes but also our failings, our mistakes, and the life lessons that can be learned from such situations. Some life lessons that I have learned are as follows:
- Teach by example – teach people who you are and your values.
- Be true to yourself – it will be an example to others around you to be themselves.
- Forgiveness – sometimes bad things happen good people. People hurt other people. I try not to hate or hold grudges because it just causes more pain.
- Nourish the brain – no matter what level of education you have – whether it be a certificate or a PhD, what I have learnt is we should all: ‘continually’ strive for excellence.
- The C’s of life – you got to make a choice, to take a chance, to change your life.
- Traffic lights of life – in trying to self-develop in a positive way my tip is to look at your life like a set of traffic lights. Red – what are the things that you need to stop doing. Amber – what are the things that need further thought? Green – what are the things that you need to keep doing.
There are useful and important actions that you can take on an ongoing basis in order to ensure that you manage your career and personal development successfully.
- Seek feedback regularly – you will need to ask other people for feedback which can be challenging and uncomfortable. However, without feedback you will find it very difficult to learn anything about yourself. Be bold and direct in seeking the feedback but be equally as open to listening to the feedback.
- Focus on Learning – focus on learning points from each activity, each hardship, each up, and each down. What are you learning about yourself? What are you learning about your capabilities, your style of operating and your impact on others?
- Make a plan – Prepare a positive action plan. Ask yourself: ‘what is your expected outcome?’ Express in the positive as to what you want. Make it as specific as possible. After you write out what you want then write out what actions you will take to achieve your outcome. Write down any potential obstacles that you foresee. Now write out what you will do to overcome your identified obstacles. .
- Reflect and review regularly – put time in your diary on a weekly basis to reflect on what has been different this week. Ask yourself: ‘what have I achieved against my action plan this week’ and: ‘what can I continue to build on next week’?
- Be creative – in your job search be creative, this allows you to spot opportunities. Not everyone can move rapidly upwards in their career, so be willing to make the most of the daily opportunities to grow and develop.
- Self – discipline – push yourself! Your job search development will often rely on you having to actively push yourself forward, to ask for opportunities, to stretch yourself and for you to take the risk of trying out new challenges and working in new areas.
It’s normal to feel hurt, vulnerable, or angry after losing a job. The good news is that despite the stress of job loss and unemployment, there are many things you can do to take control of the situation.
You can get through this tough time by taking care of yourself, reaching out to others, and focusing on your goals. Losing your job can also be an opportunity to take stock of your life, rethink your career goals, and rediscover what truly makes you happy.
Our jobs give us structure, purpose, and meaning. That’s why job loss and unemployment is one of the most stressful things you can experience. Losing a job also comes with other losses, some of which may be even harder to face. These include:
- Professional identity
- Self-esteem and self-confidence
- Daily routine and purposeful activity
- A work-based social network
- Your sense of security
These emotions are normal. You have every right to be upset, so accept your feelings and go easy on yourself.
Also remember that many, if not most, successful people have experienced major failures in their careers. But they’ve turned those failures around by picking themselves up, learning from the experience, and trying again.
You can grow stronger when bad things happen or when unemployment happens. Trust me I have been there I know how it feels. What I have learnt from my personal experiences is that you become more resilient in the process of overcoming barriers.
Here are some suggestions to overcome any job blues:
- Face your feelings – Fear, depression, and anxiety will make it harder to get back on the job market, so it’s important to actively deal with your feelings and find healthy ways to grieve.
- Beware of Pitfalls – Taking refuge in your “cave” may provide temporary comfort, but is little help if your time spent there is not constructive. Surrounding yourself with positive, supportive family and friends may better help your self-esteem.
- Addictions – It takes courage and strength to face up to any type of addiction, whether it’s alcohol, drugs, nicotine, gambling, the internet, or self-injury. But no matter how bad the addiction or how powerless you feel, there is hope and help available. Don’t give up, even if you’ve tried and failed before.
- Reach Out – Don’t underestimate the importance of other people when you’re faced with job loss and unemployment. Be proactive. Let people know that you lost your job and are looking for work.
- Job Club – Join or start a job club – Other job seekers can be invaluable sources of encouragement, support, and job leads.
- Involve your family – Unemployment affects the whole family, so keep the lines of communication open. Tell your family what’s going on and involve them in major decisions.
How do you prepare for meetings? Do you have certain routines you always follow? There are a number of steps that can help you put your best foot forward.
- Know your audience. Who are you meeting? Have you done a Google search on them?
- Practice makes improvement. Nobody’s perfect, but you should be comfortable enough with your material that it flows naturally and you’re not relying on notes during the meeting.
- Follow up. If you tell the people you meet you’ll get back to them on a particular issue, make sure you actually do it. Keeping promises goes a long way and reinforces the quality image and brand you want to project.
Recently, I have attended meetings with senior entrepreneurs and politicians. What I have learnt from attending these meetings is:
- You have self-respect for yourself
- You have respect for the person you are meeting
- You be mature
When doing business with senior figures whether you realise it or not you are being analysed on how respectful you are and how mature you are. No businessman or politician wants to deal with a dizzy blonde or someone who can’t articulate their point.
Instead being mature and professional is preferred. Maturity can be gained through education, life experience, or both. Given my life experiences I have matured faster. From a very young age I was surrounded by adults. I use to go with my mother to meetings campaigning for the rights for guide dog owners. Also I have encountered adversity. It takes a mature attitude to bounce back from it.
Every ‘meeting’ is an interview. Connecting, engaging and striving for a result are what you should aim for in any conversation. Last week I went toLondonto meet former UK Home Secretary, David Blunkett. I wasn’t going for a job interview yet the questions he asked me were similar to an interview. I had to convey my USP – Unique Selling Point. Yet, a balance has to be drawn in conveying a USP.
If I spend the whole time talking about me and what makes me ‘unique’ then the other side will become quickly disengaged. I felt privileged to have the meeting with Mr. David Blunkett in the Palace of Westminister. A lot of people have asked me how did I get such a meeting and it all comes back again to connectivity and showing personal leadership.
This meeting was planned but sometimes we end up in situations and in the company of people where it is unplanned. On the same day of meeting Mr. Blunkett, by pure luck, I ended up having a conversation with another interesting man. This is why it is so important for job hunters to know what their USP is and how to articulate it. You never know when luck is going to show its head and when it does you need to make yourself memorable.