Ditch The Resolutions But Don’t Ditch Your Career Dreams

December 18, 2012

‘Tis the season for celebrating with friends and family and for making resolutions. If career improvements are on your radar for 2013, I’d like to encourage you to ditch the resolutions and set yourself up for career success instead!

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Brand YOU Starts with Why

December 1, 2010

Ah ha! You have a personal brand whether you choose to take control of it or not. As more people find themselves working as independent contractors or entrepreneurs, there is an increasing realization of the importance of taking control of our personal brands.

It’s in the taking control of your brand, however, where it becomes apparent that a strong and effective personal brand is a LOT more than websites and marketing.

It’s easy to jump in and set up a personal marketing plan – to figure out what events to attend or set up, to put up a website and do some work sorting out which social media applications you “click” with best.

That’s because these things are “what” we are doing. Until these “what” activities are built on a solid foundation of  ”how” and our own very personal “why”, our personal brand is in real danger of being unclear and/or empty to others… and even worse, being nothing more than busy work to ourselves. If you’ve forgotten to do some work in figuring out “why” you’re doing what you’re doing, your brand is in real danger of confusing others.

or empty to others… and even worse, being nothing more than busy work to ourselves. If you’ve forgotten to do some work in figuring out “why” you’re doing what you’re doing, your brand is in real danger of confusing others." target="_self">Read the rest...

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Yeah, But… What’s Really Stopping You From (Career) Success?

July 12, 2010

I'm a career-changer. In my mid 30s, I left my job in biotech to retool as a high school teacher. When you make a significant change to your life, you expect to encounter challenges. The most interesting, though, came not from institutions (like the bank or university) but in the form of people's sometimes negative and hostile responses. I upset not the people who were closest to me - but work colleagues and acquaintances. My decision struck a nerve that made a number of people defensive.

I figured that once I'd explained my decision to my parents and explained about how even the bank was happy to float me a line of credit that that would be that. Y'know? Afterall, I reasoned, my parents would be the people most likely to object to a career change.

My parents, I discovered, were the easy sell. I had the financial angle sorted out, and most of my dad's family were teachers, so my parents' questions were easily answered. While my parents lived their lives well within the 1970s and 80s rules of working for one employer for the majority of a career, they had instilled a few rebel thoughts into the heads of my brother and me. My father repeatedly turned down promotions into management because he was a stereotypical Dilbert-style engineer who was (and still is) self-aware enough to know that managing other people is not in anyone's best interests - especially his own. My brother and I learned that there are always alternatives to doing things differently than in the ways that other people take for granted.

My father was also the person who first started to tell us that times were changing and that people would increasingly have more than one career during their working lives.

My parents taught me to look critically at cultural norms. I didn't realize how different that made me - until I decided to change careers.

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Forget Sticks & Stones: Lose This Dream-Killing Word

July 5, 2010

Try not. Do, or don't do.  (Yoda)

Yoda distilled the first rule of almost every self-help book down to one phrase.  In a previous post, I talked about moving from whiner to winner. Here's one little change to your thinking and speaking that will give you a big payoff in becoming a dream-following success.

“Can't” is an excuse word that people use (and accept from others) to absolve themselves of responsibility for their choices. An "easy out", perhaps, but it comes with a price that's just too much to pay.

Yoda's not here, so I'll tell you: "Can't" is not your friend!

“I can't follow my dreams because [fill in excuse here]” is an overwhelming statement– to you and everyone around you. The negativity lingers like a bad smell. Blame permeates your being and keeps you down.

Change "can't" to "won't". When you change that one little word, the statement becomes “I won't follow my dream because [fill in excuse here]”, and you magically put the whole problem into context. The statement is positive and it just begs you to question its validity.

Are you really too old? Are your goals really too lofty? What changes do you need to make so you can set up your life to allow you to go back to school? Or keep your pension?

Your dreams aren't asking you to stop upholding your responsibilities – they're asking you to start listening more to them.  Take baby steps. Find advice. Start talking to people about your dreams, and begin your journey with one life-changing action: ditch the word “can't”.

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How To Establish Yourself As A Credible Expert

June 21, 2010

A big part of personal branding is in knowing and defining yourself and your niche audience.

Your goal is to connect authentically with the people you can help.

Establishing yourself as an expert isn't about false and overinflated claims - it's about using opportunities to share your knowledge with your audience. Most people I've met have difficulty in promoting the skills and knowledge they have. They undersell themselves and are reluctant to toot their own horns.  My job usually becomes one of helping people find or create venues that will allow them to share their knowledge and passion with their audience. Sometimes I even have to convince people that there is an audience!

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