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12 Things Successful People Do Differently   Leave a comment

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I’ve always been fascinated by people who are consistently successful at what they do; especially those who experience repeated success in many areas of their life throughout their lifetime.  In entertainment, I think of Clint Eastwood and Oprah Winfrey.  In business, I think of Steve Jobs and Warren Buffett.  We all have our own examples of super successful people like these who we admire.  But how do they do it?

Over the years I’ve studied the lives of numerous successful people.  I’ve read their books, watched their interviews, researched them online, etc.  And I’ve learned that most of them were not born into success; they simply did, and continue to do, things that help them realize their full potential.  Here are twelve things they do differently that the rest of us can easily emulate.

1.  They create and pursue S.M.A.R.T. goals.

Successful people are objective.  They have realistic targets in mind.  They know what they are looking for and why they are fighting for it.  Successful people create and pursue S.M.A.R.T. goals.

S.M.A.R.T. goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely.  Let’s briefly review each:

  • Specific– A general goal would be, “Get in shape.” But a related specific goal would be, “Join a health club and workout 3 days a week for the next52 weeks.”  A specific goal has a far greater chance of being accomplished because it has defined parameters and constraints.
  • Measurable– There must be a logical system for measuring the progress of a goal.  To determine if your goal is measurable, ask yourself questions like:  How much time? How many total?  How will I know when the goal is accomplished? etc.  When you measure your progress, you stay on track, reach your target dates, and experience the exhilaration of achievement that spurs you on to continued efforts required to reach your goal.
  • Attainable– To be attainable, a goal must represent an objective toward which you are both willing and able to work.  In other words, the goal must be realistic.  The big question here is:  How can the goal be accomplished?
  • Relevant– Relevance stresses the importance of choosing goals that matter.  For example, an internet entrepreneur’s goal to “Make 75 tuna sandwiches by 2:00PM.” may be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, and Timely, but lacks Relevance to an entrepreneurs overarching objective of building a profitable online business.
  • Timely– A goal must be grounded within a time frame, giving the goal a target date.  A commitment to a deadline helps you focus your efforts on the completion of the goal on or before the due date.  This part of the S.M.A.R.T. goal criteria is intended to prevent goals from being overtaken by daily distractions.

When you identify S.M.A.R.T. goals that are truly important to you, you become motivated to figure out ways to attain them.  You develop the necessary attitude, abilities, and skills.  You can achieve almost any goal you set if you plan your steps wisely and establish a time frame that allows you to carry out those steps.  Goals that once seemed far away and out of reach eventually move closer and become attainable, not because your goals shrink, but because you grow and expand to match them.

2.  They take decisive and immediate action.

Sadly, very few people ever live to become the success story they dream about.  And there’s one simple reason why:

They never take action!

The acquisition of knowledge doesn’t mean you’re growing.  Growing happens when what you know changes how you live.   So many people live in a complete daze.  Actually, they don’t ‘live.’  They simply ‘get by’ because they never take the necessary action to make things happen – to seek their dreams.

It doesn’t matter if you have a genius IQ and a PhD in Quantum Physics, you can’t change anything or make any sort of real-world progress without taking action.  There’s a huge difference between knowing how to do something and actually doing it.  Knowledge and intelligence are both useless without action.  It’s as simple as that.

Success hinges on the simple act of making a decision to live – to absorb yourself in the process of going after your dreams and goals.  So make that decision.  And take action.  For some practical guidance on taking action I highly recommend Getting Things Done .

3.  They focus on being productive, not being busy.

In his book, The 4-Hour Workweek , Tim Ferris says, “Slow down and remember this:  Most things make no difference.  Being busy is often a form of mental laziness – lazy thinking and indiscriminate action.”  This is Ferris’ way of saying “work smarter, not harder,” which happens to be one of the most prevalent modern day personal development clichés.  But like most clichés, there’s a great deal of truth to it, and few people actually adhere to it.

Just take a quick look around.  The busy outnumber the productive by a wide margin.

Busy people are rushing all over the place, and running late half of the time.  They’re heading to work, conferences, meetings, social engagements, etc.  They barely have enough free time for family get-togethers and they rarely get enough sleep.  Yet, business emails are shooting out of their smart phones like machine gun bullets, and their daily planner is jammed to the brim with obligations.

Their busy schedule gives them an elevated sense of importance.  But it’s all an illusion.  They’re like hamsters running on a wheel.

The solution:  Slow down.  Breathe.  Review your commitments and goals.  Put first things first.  Do one thing at a time.  Start now.  Take a short break in two hours.  Repeat.

And always remember, results are more important than the time it takes to achieve them.

4.  They make logical, informed decisions.

Sometimes we do things that are permanently foolish simply because we are temporarily upset or excited.

Although emotional ‘gut instincts’ are effective in certain fleeting situations, when it comes to generating long-term, sustained growth in any area of life, emotional decisions often lead a person astray.  Decisions driven by heavy emotion typically contain minimal amounts of conscious thought, and are primarily based on momentary feelings instead of mindful awareness.

The best advice here is simple:  Don’t let your emotions trump your intelligence.  Slow down and think things through before you make any life-changing decisions.

5.  They avoid the trap of trying to make things perfect.

Many of us are perfectionists in our own right.  I know I am at times.  We set high bars for ourselves and put our best foot forward.  We dedicate copious amounts of time and attention to our work to maintain our high personal standards.  Our passion for excellence drives us to run the extra mile, never stopping, never relenting.  And this dedication towards perfection undoubtedly helps us achieve results…  So long as we don’t get carried away.

But what happens when we do get carried away with perfectionism?

We become disgruntled and discouraged when we fail to meet the (impossibly high) standards we set for ourselves, making us reluctant to take on new challenges or even finish tasks we’ve already started.  Our insistence on dotting every ‘I’ and crossing every ‘T’ breeds inefficiency, causing major delays, stress overload and subpar results.

True perfectionists have a hard time starting things and an even harder time finishing them, always.  I have a friend who has wanted to start a graphic design business for several years.  But she hasn’t yet.  Why?  When you sift through her extensive list of excuses it comes down to one simple problem:  She is a perfectionist.  Which means she doesn’t, and never will, think she’s good enough at graphic design to own and operate her own graphic design business.

Remember, the real world doesn’t reward perfectionists.  It rewards people who get things done.  And the only way to get things done is to be imperfect 99% of the time.  Only by wading through years of practice and imperfection can we begin to achieve momentary glimpses of the perfection.  So make a decision.  Take action, learn from the outcome, and repeat this method over and over again in all walks of life.  Also, check out Too Perfect .  It’s an excellent read on conquering perfectionism.

6.  They work outside of their comfort zone.

The number one thing I persistently see holding smart people back is their own reluctance to accept an opportunity simply because they don’t think they’re ready.  In other words, they feel uncomfortable and believe they require additional knowledge, skill, experience, etc. before they can aptly partake in the opportunity.  Sadly, this is the kind of thinking that stifles personal growth and success.

The truth is nobody ever feels 100% ready when an opportunity arises.  Because most great opportunities in life force us to grow emotionally and intellectually.  They force us to stretch ourselves and our comfort zones, which means we won’t feel totally comfortable at first.  And when we don’t feel comfortable, we don’t feel ready.

Significant moments of opportunity for personal growth and success will come and go throughout your lifetime.  If you are looking to make positive changes and new breakthroughs in your life, you will need to embrace these moments of opportunity even though you will never feel 100% ready for them.

7.  They keep things simple.

Leonardo da Vinci once said, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”  Nothing could be closer to the truth.  Here in the 21st century, where information moves at the speed of light and opportunities for innovation seem endless, we have an abundant array of choices when it comes to designing our lives and careers.  But sadly, an abundance of choice often leads to complication, confusion and inaction.

Several business and marketing studies have shown that the more product choices a consumer is faced with, the less products they typically buy.  After all, narrowing down the best product from a pool of three choices is certainly a lot easier than narrowing down the best product from a pool of three hundred choices.  If the purchasing decision is tough to make, most people will just give up.  Likewise, if you complicate your life by inundating yourself with too many choices, your subconscious mind will give up.

The solution is to simplify.  If you’re selling a product line, keep it simple.  And if you’re trying to make a decision about something in your life, don’t waste all your time evaluating every last detail of every possible option.  Choose something that you think will work and give it a shot.  If it doesn’t work out, learn what you can from the experience, choose something else and keep pressing forward.

8.  They focus on making small, continuous improvements.

Henry Ford once said, “Nothing is particularly hard if you divide it into small pieces.” The same concept configured as a question:  How do you eat an elephant?  Answer: One bite at a time.  This philosophy holds true for achieving your biggest goals.  Making small, positive changes – eating a little healthier, exercising a little, creating some small productive habits, for example – is an amazing way to get excited about life and slowly reach the level of success you aspire to.

And if you start small, you don’t need a lot of motivation to get started either.  The simple act of getting started and doing something will give you the momentum you need, and soon you’ll find yourself in a positive spiral of changes – one building on the other.  When I started doing this in my life, I was so excited I had to start this blog to share it with the world.

Start with just one activity, and make a plan for how you will deal with troubles when they arise.  For instance, if you’re trying to lose weight, come up with a list of healthy snacks you can eat when you get the craving for snacks.  It will be hard in the beginning, but it will get easier.  And that’s the whole point.  As your strength grows, you can take on bigger challenges.

9.  They measure and track their progress.

Successful people are not only working in their job/business, they are also working on it.  They step back and assess their progress regularly.  They track themselves against their goals and clearly know what needs to be done to excel and accelerate.

You can’t control what you don’t properly measure.  If you track the wrong things you’ll be completely blind to potential opportunities as they appear over the horizon.  Imagine if, while running a small business, you made it a point to keep track of how many pencils and paperclips you used.  Would that make any sense?  No!  Because pencils and paperclips are not a measure of what’s important for a business.  Pencils and paperclips have no bearing on income, customer satisfaction, market growth, etc.

The proper approach is to figure out what your number one goal is and then track the things that directly relate to achieving that goal.  I recommend that you take some time right now to identify your number one goal, identify the most important things for you to keep track of, and then begin tracking them immediately.  On a weekly basis, plug the numbers into a spreadsheet and use the data to create weekly or monthly trend graphs so you can visualize your progress.  Then fine-tune your actions to get those trends to grow in your favor.

10.  They maintain a positive outlook as they learn from their mistakes.

Successful people concentrate on the positives – they look for the silver lining in every situation.  They know that it is their positivity that will take them to greatness.  If you want to be successful, you need to have a positive outlook toward life.  Life will test you again and again.  If you give in to internal negativity, you will never be able to achieve the marks you have targeted.

Remember, every mistake you make is progress.  Mistakes teach you important lessons.  Every time you make one, you’re one step closer to your goal.  The only mistake that can truly hurt you is choosing to do nothing simply because you’re too scared to make a mistake.

So don’t hesitate – don’t doubt yourself!  Don’t let your own negativity sabotage you.  Learn what you can and press forward.

11.  They spend time with the right people.

Successful people associate with people who are likeminded, focused, and supportive.  They socialize with people who create energy when they enter the room versus those who create energy when they leave.  They reach out to connected, influential individuals who are right for their dreams and goals.

You are the sum of the people you spend the most time with.  If you hang with the wrong people, they will negatively affect you.  But if you hang with the right people, you will become far more capable and successful than you ever could have been alone.  Find your tribe and work together to make a difference in all of your lives.  Tribes  by Seth Godin is a great read on this topic.

 12.  They maintain balance in their life.

If you ask most people to summarize what they want out of life they’ll shout out a list of things like: ‘fall in love,’ ‘make money,’ ‘spend time with family,’ ‘find happiness,’ ‘achieve goals,’ etc.  But sadly, a lot of people don’t balance their life properly to achieve these things.  Typically they’ll achieve one or two of them while completely neglecting the rest.  Let me give you two examples:

  • I know an extremely savvy businesswoman who made almost a million dollars online last year. Based on the success of her business, every entrepreneur I know looks up to her.  But guess what?  A few days ago, out of the blue, she told me that she’s depressed.  Why?  “I’m burnt out and lonely.  I just haven’t taken enough time for myself lately, and I feel like something is missing in my life,” she said.  “Wow!” I thought.  “One of the most successful people I know doesn’t feel successful because she isn’t happy with how she has balanced her life.”
  • I also know a surfer who surfs all day, every day on the beach in front of our condo complex in San Diego.  He’s one of the most lighthearted, optimistic guys I’ve ever met – usually smiling from ear to ear.  But he sleeps in a rusty van he co-owns with another surfer, and they both frequently panhandle tourists for money.  He has admitted to me that the stress of making enough money to eat often keeps him up at night.  So while I can’t deny that this man seems happy most of the time, I wouldn’t classify his life as a success story.

These are just two simple examples of imbalanced lifestyles that are holding people back from their full potential.  When you let your work life (or social life, family life, etc.) consume you, and all your energy is focused in that area, it’s extremely easy to lose your balance.  While drive and focus are important, if you’re going to get things done right, and be truly successful, you need to balance the various dimensions of your life.  Completely neglecting one dimension for another only leads to long-term frustration and stress.  For some practical guidance on balancing your life, I recommend Zen and the Art of Happiness .

The One Question That Ruins An Interview   Leave a comment

The One Question That Ruins An Interview

Most HR representatives and headhunters agree on one thing: that few candidates arrive at the interview prepared to answer the one question that is almost always asked, “What is your greatest weakness?”

Although the question is seldom phrased like that anymore, it doesn’t matter how they word it because the response has to be the same. The interviewer wants you to tell them your weakness, where you need to improve, where you’re not as strong in technical skills or management experience, or something.

Candidates get flustered with this question more than any other, and for no good reason.

I’ll Let You In On A Secret…

Most of the time, the person asking that question doesn’t even want to know the answer. They ask the question because they want to see how you answer it.

After listening to responses from thousands of candidates, and discussing the issue with dozens of clients, I’m convinced there is only one way to answer the question, and that is by being…

Honest

Honesty is a much abused virtue. Really, the only time you see or hear of someone being honest is when they’re apologizing for already being caught. A politician with his pants down or his hands in the till. A comment that “slipped” out and offended any number of ethnic groups or religions. Or, a more general act of civil disobedience. The one thing in common is that the “honesty” part only surfaces after the guilty party is exposed. People are forgiving souls though, and if the apology is well-written and presented sincerely, all ends well.

This Is Not So In An Interview

You don’t get that second chance in an interview. You don’t get to rally the troops, have someone write a speech, and then proffer an apology. In an interview, you’re stuck with what slipped out of your mouth, so you better be prepared.

This is not difficult. You should know what your weakness is. People have probably been telling you all of your life—parents, spouse, co-workers—and by now it should have sunk in. If you don’t know it, think hard about the term “self-awareness.”

In any case, it doesn’t matter because that weakness you’re about to blurt out is nothing the interviewers haven’t heard before. In fact, if you didn’t know this, here’s another secret for you—everyone has a weakness. Even Superman can be hurt by kryptonite.

The reason you’re being interviewed is because the company thinks you might be able to help them solve their problems. They brought you in because of your strengths and accomplishments—accomplishments that you achieved even with your weaknesses. If you show them you can solve their problems, you’ll stand a good chance of getting the offer. Being honest with this response will go a long way toward getting the offer because they’ll know that, if you can be honest about your weaknesses, they can probably trust your other responses.

Don’t Try To Be Clever

The worst possible response would be to try and pass off a weakness as a strength. I’ve seen people recommend doing this, and it’s garbage advice. If the best answer you can come up with is that you are a perfectionist or that you work too hard, you have far bigger problems than you realize.

So, how do I answer the question? I’m not going to tell you how to answer the question. No one but you can do that. But I’ll show you an example of a normal response that’s a good one:

Let’s assume you’re a design engineer.

“I have a tendency to rush things. In the past that resulted in a few quality problems with the finished product. The second boss I had worked with me on that, and I’ve had to resort to desperate measures to slow myself down. If you walk into my office, you’ll see sticky notes all over my computer and desk, with notes that read, ‘SLOW DOWN’ or ‘Double check everything!’

“I also set alarms on my phone that pop up twice a day reminding me of the same things. When I see these reminders, it hits home. The good thing is, the process works. The last two products we put out have been finished on time, on budget, and, so far, with no field problems or quality issues. It’s actually made me a much better engineer, but, I still need those reminders.”

This kind of weakness people can relate to because it really is a weakness. The difference is you’ve shown that you learned how to deal with it.

Preparation

You should practice your response so you’re comfortable discussing it, but don’t make it sound like a rehearsed speech. Also, be prepared for the interviewer to probe deeper. Some interviewers like to dig a little to see if there’s any fluctuation in your answer or if you try to back off when pressed.

Bottom Line

Always be honest, even if you think it might hurt your chance for an offer, although it probably won’t. To summarize, here’s what to do when you’re asked the question.

  • State your weakness.
  • Let the interviewer know you’re aware of it.
  • Show them you’ve figured out how to deal with it.
  • Show them that solution worked.

15 THINGS YOU NEED TO GIVE UP IN ORDER TO BE SUCCESSFUL!   Leave a comment

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Here is a list of 15 things which, if you give up on them, will make your life a lot easier and much, much happier. We hold on to so many things that cause us a great deal of pain, stress and suffering – and instead of letting them all go, instead of allowing ourselves to be stress free and happy – we cling on to them. Not anymore. Starting today we will give up on all those things that no longer serve us, and we will embrace change. Ready? Here we go:
 
1. Give up your need to always be right. There are so many of us who can’t stand the idea of being wrong – wanting to always be right – even at the risk of ending great relationships or causing a great deal of stress and pain, for us and for others. It’s just not worth it. Whenever you feel the ‘urgent’ need to jump into a fight over who is right and who is wrong, ask yourself this question: “Would I rather be right, or would I rather be kind?” Wayne Dyer. What difference will that make? Is your ego really that big?
2. Give up your need for control. Be willing to give up your need to always control everything that happens to you and around you – situations, events, people, etc. Whether they are loved ones, coworkers, or just strangers you meet on the street – just allow them to be. Allow everything and everyone to be just as they are and you will see how much better will that make you feel.
“By letting it go it all gets done. The world is won by those who let it go. But when you try and try. The world is beyond winning.” Lao Tzu
 
3. Give up on blame. Give up on your need to blame others for what you have or don’t have, for what you feel or don’t feel. Stop giving your powers away and start taking responsibility for your life.
 
4. Give up your self-defeating self-talk. Oh my. How many people are hurting themselves because of their negative, polluted and repetitive self-defeating mindset? Don’t believe everything that your mind is telling you – especially if it’s negative and self-defeating. You are better than that.
“The mind is a superb instrument if used rightly. Used wrongly, however, it becomes very destructive.” Eckhart Tolle
 
5. Give up your limiting beliefs about what you can or cannot do, about what is possible or impossible. From now on, you are no longer going to allow your limiting beliefs to keep you stuck in the wrong place. Spread your wings and fly!
“A belief is not an idea held by the mind, it is an idea that holds the mind” Elly Roselle
 
6. Give up complaining. Give up your constant need to complain about those many, many, many things – people, situations, events that make you unhappy, sad and depressed. Nobody can make you unhappy; no situation can make you sad or miserable unless you allow it to. It’s not the situation that triggers those feelings in you, but how you choose to look at it. Never underestimate the power of positive thinking.
 
7. Give up the luxury of criticism. Give up your need to criticize things, events or people that are different than you. We are all different, yet we are all the same. We all want to be happy, we all want to love and be loved and we all want to be understood. We all want something, and something is wished by us all.
 
8. Give up your need to impress others. Stop trying so hard to be something that you’re not just to make others like you. It doesn’t work this way. The moment you stop trying so hard to be something that you’re not, the moment you take of all your masks, the moment you accept and embrace the real you, you will find people will be drawn to you, effortlessly.
 
9. Give up your resistance to change. Change is good. Change will help you move from A to B. Change will help you make improvements in your life and also the lives of those around you. Follow your bliss, embrace change – don’t resist it. “Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors for you where there were only walls” Joseph Campbell
 
10. Give up labels. Stop labeling those things, people or events that you don’t understand as being weird or different and try opening your mind, little by little. Minds only work when open. “The highest form of ignorance is when you reject something you don’t know anything about.” Wayne Dyer
 
11. Give up on your fears. Fear is just an illusion, it doesn’t exist – you created it. It’s all in your mind. Correct the inside and the outside will fall into place. “The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself.” Franklin D. Roosevelt
 
12. Give up your excuses. Send them packing and tell them they’re fired. You no longer need them. A lot of times we limit ourselves because of the many excuses we use. Instead of growing and working on improving ourselves and our lives, we get stuck, lying to ourselves, using all kind of excuses – excuses that 99.9% of the time are not even real.
 
13. Give up the past. I know, I know. It’s hard. Especially when the past looks so much better than the present and the future looks so frightening, but you have to take into consideration the fact that the present moment is all you have and all you will ever have. The past you are now longing for – the past that you are now dreaming about – was ignored by you when it was present. Stop deluding yourself. Be present in everything you do and enjoy life. After all life is a journey not a destination. Have a clear vision for the future, prepare yourself, but always be present in the now.
 
14. Give up attachment. This is a concept that, for most of us is so hard to grasp and I have to tell you that it was for me too, (it still is) but it’s not something impossible. You get better and better at with time and practice. The moment you detach yourself from all things, (and that doesn’t mean you give up your love for them – because love and attachment have nothing to do with one another, attachment comes from a place of fear, while love… well, real love is pure, kind, and self-less, where there is love there can’t be fear, and because of that, attachment and love cannot coexist) you become so peaceful, so tolerant, so kind, and so serene. You will get to a place where you will be able to understand all things without even trying. A state beyond words.
 
15. Give up living your life to other people’s expectations. Way too many people are living a life that is not theirs to live. They live their lives according to what others think is best for them, they live their lives according to what their parents think is best for them, to what their friends, their enemies and their teachers, their government and the media think is best for them. They ignore their inner voice, that inner calling. They are so busy with pleasing everybody, with living up to other people’s expectations, that they lose control over their lives. They forget what makes them happy, what they want, what they need….and eventually they forget about themselves.  You have one life – this one right now – you must live it, own it, and especially don’t let other people’s opinions distract you from your path.

Job Search Strategy: Marketing yourself in a job hunt | recordonline.com   Leave a comment

Job Search Strategy: Marketing yourself in a job hunt | recordonline.com.

I Choose To Be Happy! Do You?   Leave a comment

Choose Happiness – Then Act To Make It Real!    

Choose Happiness

“I have decided to be happy,” wrote the French writer Voltaire,”because it is good for my health.”
 
Is this true? Can choosing to be happy make you healthier?
 
Apparently so. Especially if you back up that choice with action such as paying attention to what you’re grateful for.
 
 
 
 
 
Gratitude Makes You Healthier

In his book “59 Seconds,” psychologist Richard Wiesman describes an experiment in which some people wrote for 15 minutes a week about things they were grateful for, while others wrote about what annoyed them and still others wrote about neutral topics. 

The results of the study showed that the gratitude group was much happier than the other groups. They were very optimistic about the future. And they were physically healthier!
 
Other studies of people who keep “gratitude journals” show the same kinds of results. And writing seems to increase the effect over simply thinking grateful thoughts. 
 
I do both. I keep a daily gratitude notebook and, at the end of each day, write down a half-dozen things for which I’m grateful that day. They’re not often big things. More often they’re small things that have a big effect such as “sunshine,” “birdsong,” “a delicious meal,” “a letter from a friend,” “a good book.”
 
I also go for “like walks” during the day. Going for a 10 minute walk about every 90 minutes can prevent stress hormones from accumulating. It can energize you. And, if you focus on things you like as you walk, it can tilt your positivity ratio in toward the healthy range where you feel happy, confident and optimistic.
 
 
 

Healthy Self-Talk Makes You Happier

“The happiness of your life,” said the Roman philosopher Marcus Aurelius, depends on the quality of your thoughts.”
 
 We’re always chattering away to ourselves in our minds, but are often unaware what we’re saying to ourselves.  Another way to choose happiness is to pay attention to your own self-talk — to the thoughts, beliefs and stories you tell yourself.
 
If your self-talk includes many negative thoughts such as “this will never work,” “I always screw up,” “nothing will come of this effort” you will feel negative, pessimistic. 
 
But, if you catch those negative “trigger words” and soften them and make them more realistic — “this might not work first time,” “I succeed as much as I fail and learn from my mistakes,” or “there’s a chance that nothing will come from this, but at least I’ll know and can try something else — you’ll feel much better.
 
As well, much unhappiness stems from “shoulding” on yourself, others or the world. Shoulding turns normal desires into hard-to-live-up-to demands. Instead of “I’d like to do well,” we say “I should do well.” If we don’t do well, we judge ourself negatively. And feel down. 
 
But, if you can catch your “shoulds” and turn them into desires — preferences — it makes a huge difference. 
 
If you prefer to do well and don’t do so, you can say, “okay, that didn’t go the way I wanted it to go. So how can I fix it? What can I do next?” 
 
Again, you’ll feel better, more energized to act, and happier with yourself.
 
 
 

 

We Are Happier Creating Desired Results Than When Solving Problems

Many of the “problems” we focus on and take action to “solve” are not really problems and are not solvable by conventional problem-solving strategies. 
 
They are, rather, challenges to rise to and opportunities to create what matters. They are life’s normal limits and inevitabilities. They’re not problems to overcome but rather realities to accept and work with.
 
“By accepting life’s limits and inevitabilities,” said Greek philosopher and teacher Epictetus, “and working with them rather than fighting them, we become free.”
 
Problem solving focuses primarily on what we don’t like and don’t want and on action to get rid of it or get relief from it. 
 
Creating, on the other hand, focuses on what we like or love and action to bring it into being. 
 
Whereas most problem-solving at best promises only relief, creating promises real and lasting results — and the good feelings that accompany the creation of such results.
 
 
 

Choose To Be Happy

So, yes, you can choose to be happy and it’ll work — if you take the right kind of action to back up your choice on a daily basis.
 
Expressing gratitude, monitoring and changing negative self-talk to more positive self-talk and shifting from a problem focused life stance to the stance of the creator will all help you become energized, feel freer and happier.
 
There are many other ways to make choosing happiness work for you, but these three are a good place to start.
 
As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, Nothing can bring you happiness but yourself.”
 
 
 
 

  Leave a comment

The Death of the Paper Resume

For some employers, paper resumes are hopelessly out of date. Instead, they’re checking Klout scores and asking for resume submissions via Twitter.
        

 

When IT company Enterasys decided to hire a social media marketer, one thing stuck out in its job posting: no paper resumes accepted. The application requirements said qualified candidates will be identified using social influence metrics on Klout, Kred and Twitter. Using the hashtag #SocialCV, a marketing professional could apply for the position.

Enterasys develops, manufactures and delivers enterprise networking products in a business-to-business space. The Boston-based company employs approximately 1,000 people and serves clients at universities, banks and hospitals.

“The paper resume is dying,” said Vala Afshar, Enterasys’ chief marketing officer and chief customer officer. “And in the near future talent acquisition will use the Web for an applicant’s CV and social networks as mass references.” Afshar, who also co-authored The Pursuit of Social Business Excellence, isn’t responsible for acquiring talent solely in the marketing department; he’s involved in many integral aspects of the 30-year-old operation.

“If you’re not a social employer, you’re irrelevant over time,” he said. “I don’t have a resume, but I’m highly active. I believe that the very best talent, they are too busy changing the world, they’re not actively looking for work, but they are active on social networks.”

The hiring campaign was launched after Afshar said he found himself spending more time searching for a candidate on the Web than staring at a candidate’s paper resume. To be even considered for Enterasys’ social marketing position, an applicant must have a minimum of 1,000 Twitter followers. Also required to land an interview is a minimum Klout score of 60 and a minimum Kred influence score of 725.

Afshar said there’s going to be a lag until engineering, human resources, finance and other “back office” functions will require an applicant to have a social presence, but he warns that day will come. “I’m certain that we are going to find exceptional talent and whether it was the process or not, I’ll let other people judge. I’m just looking to bring a talented person into the company,” he said.

The use of social media is considered fair game for talent acquisition; a digital footprint can benefit both job candidates and recruiters. However, this hiring practice might also provide false positives.

Dino Baskovic, a digital strategist in Detroit and adjunct professor of technical and professional communication at Lawrence Technological University in Southfield, Mich., said it’s important to keep quantity versus quality in mind when looking at these numbers because one’s social profile isn’t the only place to network. Baskovic said Klout, Kred and Twitter followers are good early indicators, and give a manager or recruiter a sense of one’s ability to navigate the space. “It gives me an initial sense that this person more than likely has the competency I want for a social media position, but having said that, it’s an indicator, not the ‘be all, end all’ indicator.

“I’m a big believer in professional recruiters; they live and breathe this stuff every day. They know how to vet candidates more so than hiring managers would and they are going to know a lot of things about one’s background that a typical hiring manager may not,” Baskovic said.

He warns that while a candidate may have a wonderful blog and an abundant supply of followers, the candidate may be just a couple years out of college, or have no experience working within the organization’s industry. This is where a professional recruiter, he adds, can help a hiring manager employ the right prospect.

“I think it’s interesting to see that there’s a willingness to take what was formerly a very private and very trusted infrastructure that’s talent acquisition and shed a little more light on it,” Baskovic said. “We need to tread very carefully there because it’s untested and the waters are so uncharted, and I’d hate for a candidate or a company to get into trouble, inadvertently, over seemingly innocent online discourse.”

Career Decisions – Risk or No Risk? Harvard Business Journal   1 comment

Embracing Risk in Career Decisions

by Ron Ashkenas | 7:45 AM June 18, 2012

Comments (4)

Risk management is critical for business decisions — but may not be healthy for making decisions about your career. In fact, if you want your career to take off, you may need to do the opposite of what risk managers try to do: Instead of focusing on how to reduce risks, you may need to embrace and enhance them.

In organizations, the basic purpose of risk management is to rationally identify and analyze threats that might compromise success, and then recommend steps to mitigate them. Since many risks are invisible until after-the-fact, the risk management function uses its tools and analytical abilities to uncover them early to reduce their impact. Because human judgment is involved, this doesn’t always work — as in the case of JPMorgan Chase’s trading losses — but in many cases the process is effective.

On the surface, career decisions should follow the same process. There are multiple sources of risk in making a decision to change jobs or enter a new field: economic considerations, future potential, family, relationships with co-workers, the need to learn new skills, stability of the employer, and many more. Obviously all of these issues are part of the decision process, and it would be logical to think that reducing the associated risks would be a good thing.

However, for many careers, minimizing these risks is much less important than considering two other major parts of the decision:
1.Happiness criteria: At the end of the day, your career success is determined not just by tangible indicators (compensation, title, reputation) but also by the underlying enjoyment you derive from your work. Though highly subjective, this “happiness” factor often overwhelms all other career issues; to the extent that a person can have an apparently stellar career but still be miserable, or vice versa.
2.The attitude factor: Also driving your career is your ability to learn and adapt over time — to deal with new situations, different personalities, and ongoing surprises — and make the most of them. Although people can paint logical pictures of their career paths in retrospect, in reality most careers are unpredictable — influenced by particular people, seminal moments, or unique opportunities. Having the attitude to grasp these surprises and leverage them is critical.

Because career success depends so heavily on happiness and attitude, you need to treat these factors differently, and not just as two more parts of an overall risk-mitigation model. This means that career decisions need to start not with risks, but creating a prioritized list of “happiness criteria,” or aspects that will critically determine your long-term satisfaction. The second step is to think through which of these criteria are non-negotiable and — if compromised — would force you to make a trade-off that could increase your risk in some other area.

Here’s a quick example: After several years of leading the flagship product of a fast-growing technology firm, Rachel* was asked to lead the company’s largest division. Although this was clearly a pathway to the C-suite, she turned it down because it would have meant relocating away from her extended family and spending too much time away from her children, which were non-negotiable “happiness” criteria. As a result, Rachel took a staff job with less responsibility and status, but that passed the happiness test.

But starting with happiness doesn’t mean that your career needs to be compromised. That’s where “attitude” comes in. As long as you are focused on what is important to your long-term satisfaction, then the challenge is to grab other opportunities that might otherwise seem risky or even crazy. Rachel, for example, used the staff job to reinvent herself as a leader for innovation, and eventually helped the company build a replicable process for starting new businesses. Her success in this area opened up other opportunities that never would have emerged otherwise.

The key point here is that career success is not about reducing risks. Rather it’s about maximizing your happiness in a way that also allows you to find surprises and push yourself into new territory. To do that you may need to maximize your risks rather than manage them.

How do you manage the risks in your career?

*name disguised