|Posted on April 12, 2014 at 6:45 PM||comments (93)|
You may be wondering why all the promotions are passing you by.
There are a number of things you can do to set yourself up to progress in your career.
1) Consistently exceed expectations.
Doing your job well is normal behaviour, that is what you are paid for, but walking the extra mile is extraordinary. It's what makes your customers happy and wanting more. It makes you feel that you are useful, that you have a purpose and it creates your reputation for being an overachiever who is always striving to do the best for her clients, team, co-workers, boss and ultimately the company.
2) Don't wait to get noticed.
Be your own ambassador, make sure everyone knows what you projects you are working on and what you have achieved. If you can manage to do this gracefully, without boasting, you will build a solid brand. Careful not to overstep it and get a reputation for being a show-off.
3) Get a mentor.
Experienced colleagues can give you invaluable tips about how to navigate through your organisation's cultural paradigm. They will tell you what is accepted and what is not, they will guide you through the politics and help you select your best career development strategy. They might also share their network with you. By definition Mentors act out of selflessness and because they believe in you and your talents. Always be honest and grateful for their support.
4) Develop yourself.
Don't ever think that you have nothing to learn. Improve on yourself constantly, take courses, read specialized work-related articles and books, widen your general knowledge (nobody is interested in a super-specialist who doesn't know who Dante was, or who thinks that Africans speak African).
5) Stay authentic
Your only Unique Value Proposition is YOU. So don't try to be anyone else. People will see right through a fake. You do, don't you? Stay authentic, there is nothing more wonderful and precious than being yourself. Your authenticity is your charisma.
6) Say thank you
To anyone that helps you on the way. We never do it alone. Being grateful and giving credit is your way of giving back and consolidating a reputation of being the kind of person people want to have around them.
7) Have a plan, but more importantly, have a purpose
Having a career plan is great, but you must discover what your life purpose is. Why do you want to progress ? If it's just for the money or the title, your happiness will be short-lived. Understand what you want to contribute and who this will benefit. When you have a deeper sense of purpose, you will find that your career unfolds before, with very little effort on your part and lots of joy in the process.
|Posted on February 9, 2014 at 5:00 PM||comments (1)|
by Beatriz de Meirelles, Cross-Cultural Coaching, Languages & Communication, NLP Trainer
Mindfulness seems to be more or less accepted as one of the highways to stress relief, clarity, creativity, tapping into Energy, connecting to oneself and to others and so on (see our Nov 3, 2013 blog). As such, you find it as a mainstay of very many forms of coaching, and it is considered by many coaches as a “must” starting block for successful days, projects, events, meetings etc.
Mindfulness can be seen as a Western version / translation of basic, mainly Asian centuries-old meditation techniques. Not surprisingly, I’ve found that a great many people in Europe have difficulties in getting a real grasp on it: they feel and practice and work (rather than relax!) their way into it and around it for months, often reaching some sort of result, but most report a general feeling of not having quite mastered the state and process.
I came across an approach and explanation that seems to be more accessible and rapid, in the Martha Beck book “Finding your Way in a Wild New World” (Free Press © 2012 Martha Beck). To begin with, she calls it “Wordlessness” which in itself is a simplification and clear explanation of what is involved on a mental level. She explains it rather convincingly, and offers a variety of simple exercises to drop into “Wordlessness”. Having tried some of the exercises for a couple of weeks, my overall impression is that this is in fact mindfulness, and that it is readily available to anyone by means of a very simplified routine, while focusing on moving out of verbal thinking. The Wordlessness /Mindful state you can reach is extremely relaxing and re-energizing and also seems to lead to unencumbered and more effective problem solving…
The next stage Ms Beck leads readers to is “Oneness” - translated: as we are one with the “whole”, practicing feeling this unity allows us to communicate with the whole in (extremely) surprising ways. This could also be explored, as it seems to flow naturally from Wordlessness
A word of warning: the third and fourth stages described in the book (“Imagination” and “Forming” are probably not to everyone’s taste, and are not generally part of mainstream coaching. However, reading through these sections can be interesting if you’re a curiosity-driven person, even if not particularly attracted to the world of animals, although the sheer quantity of animal references and anecdotes can be a bit overwhelming. Unless you’re into “The Secret”, “Abraham” et al, you might be put off by the direction the author takes in these last two stages, with her descriptions of Imagination ( translate “visualization” and Forming (translate “manifestation”;). But here again, what’s remarkable is the background and clarity of her approach and explanations.
|Posted on January 25, 2014 at 6:55 PM||comments (0)|
How many people can claim they love their job? Unfortunately not many. According to Gallup’s research on the global workplace, a great majority of employees in the world experience low levels of fulfillment at work. The Gallup report paints a rather dismal picture, especially given today's job market where so many people would love to have a job to start with. Getting a job will certainly meet the basic needs of financial security, but there is no guarantee that it will lead to professional fulfilment.
Julie Ray, Gallup analyst and writer comments:
“The bulk of employees worldwide -- 63%-- are "not engaged"; they lack motivation and are less likely to invest in organizational goals or outcomes. Twenty-four percent are "actively disengaged"; they are unhappy, unproductive, and liable to spread negativity.”
- Full Gallup "State of the Global Workplace: Employee Engagement Insights for Business Leaders Worldwide Report" available at http://www.gallup.com/strategicconsulting/164735/state-global-workplace.aspx
Employee engagement is obviously essential for organizations to be able to reach their business goals, but it is equally important for employees themselves to have a good quality of life at the workplace. After all, we spend a third of our life (and half of our waking life) at work. If this is not quality time, our health and emotional well-being will inevitably be negatively affected.
With 63% of employees who are not engaged, and 24% who are actively disengaged, that leaves only 13% who are engaged, committed and fulfilled that work.
What group do you belong to?
Some companies take employee engagement and well-being very seriously. They try to improve the situation by initiating major culture changes, introducing reward schemes, teambuilding activities and so on. Employers must make every effort to create the conditions for employees to be fully engaged but it is a complex affair and not all companies succeed, and many don't even try.
But in the meantime what can the employees themselves do to improve their lot ?
As an individual organizational member you can be proactive and take a number of steps that will drastically improve the quality of your life at work.
Here are seven steps you can take to make your job more fulfilling
1. Decide to make each day at work a great day
Every working day, start the day with a strong intention of making it a great day for yourself. Start off on the right foot, with a deep desire to spend the next hours of your life in the most fruitful and satisfying way irrespective of circumstances. With this approach you will be more tuned-in to seeing the interesting opportunities and you will naturally gravitate more frequently towards pleasant people. It will help you to stay centered and positive even a difficult situation.
2. Actively seek out interesting work, don’t wait for your boss to give it to you
Take initiative to get yourself out of the routine, beyond the boundaries of your “job description”, even if it means having to make a little effort, and even if it doesn’t lead immediately to a monetary advantage or a promotion.This will get you more involved in work that you find stimulating.
You can volunteer to help in a project that you like, take initiative to develop something new, attend open meetings or seminars to see what else is going on in the organization, make new contacts with colleagues you don’t know yet, find out what other people are working on. Gradually, you can take ownership of more interesting tasks.
3. Let go of grudges and improve your relations with colleagues
Grudges are a drain on your mental and emotional energy. They keep you stuck in a rut of resentment. Most of the time the person you are resentful against doesn’t even know about it, and anyway wouldn’t really care since they are going about their own business.
If you hang on to a grudge long enough it will poison you and turn you into a bitter person that nobody wants to talk to. There is absolutely nothing to gain in holding a grudge. By letting it go you clear out your mind and make space for more valuable things in your work life. You will create new partnerships and new doors can open up to you.
4. Make a list of who benefits from your work and how it has an impact on their life
Consciously make the connection between what you are doing in your daily work and the ultimate impact of your company’s product or service on its clients. How does it affect their life? Are they more comfortable, healthier, more educated, safer, entertained ? Think of the results of the combined efforts of you and your colleagues, and the results produced for your client ? What is your personal contribution to this value chain ?
As you identify your role more clearly, you will feel more connected to the deeper sense of the work.
5. Improve on your skills, learn how to do things better, innovate on your working methods
Improving your own skills is a sure-fire way to boost your own self-esteem, up your performance and increase your visibility. As you take pleasure in performing really well, in being really good at something for the sake of it, you will gain in self-confidence. People would look at you for expert advice and for someone who is able to find innovative solutions.
6. Focus on what you can do, avoid dwelling on what others should do
Make sure you spend more energy on taking action for yourself than on mulling over what other people should or should not be doing. If you are waiting on others (the colleauges, the boss, the management, the system) to change in order to be more fulfilled at work, you might have to wait a long time. Focus on what you can change and take action.
7. Monitor your progress and celebrate success
Regularly set goals for yourself and monitor your progress. One of your goals could be to create a warmer relation with your office mate, or learning a new skill, or getting a new project approved. Setting goals, even small ones, will help you to committ to taking action.
If you fail, just learn from it and start again. If you succeed, make sure you take the initiative to celebrate ! There is nothing more deflating than a success that goes unnoticed. So invite colleagues for a drink, or take your family out for dinner. Celebrate, always celebrate each step forward !
By changing your attitude and taking these simple steps, you will be surprised at how easily you can increase your level of satisfaction at work.
Feeling good about yourself in your current work is just as important as finding ways to get a promotion and advancing your career.
|Posted on January 12, 2014 at 1:10 PM||comments (4)|
The motto "know thyself" is frequently attributed to Socrates although other Greek philosophers such as Thales and Pythagoras also held this precept. The importance of knowing oneself as a precondition for knowing the universe and greater truths has been vastly appreciated from antiquity up to modern philosophy. Many Eastern cultures encourage the path of self-realization, the knowledge of the self through direct experience.
Nowadays, we often refer to this as "self-awareness". Self-awareness implies a thorough knowledge of our person, of how we function internally, why we do what we do and what determines the way we relate to others. Self-awareness also implies the capacity to change and grow, to manouver our thoughts and behaviour so that they are beneficial to our life and environment. It is considered a desirable competence because through self-awareness, we gain more power over ourselves and our lives. We lead our life instead of simply following events.
Although the expression "self-awareness" may appear to be somewhat esoteric, it actually describes some very down-to-earth concrete skills that are accessible to everyone. The only pre-requisite towards gaining self-awareness is the desire to do so.
Many unexpected aspects of ourselves are revealed to us through deliberate introspection and self-observation. For example, by taking the time to make a list of all the things you hold as truths, rules or realities, you will come up with a comprehensive (and sometimes surprising) catalogue of your beliefs. Beliefs are very important because they determine your thoughts and your behaviour. Which of these beliefs are useful and sustaining ? Which of these can you discard? What new beliefs can you adopt that will empower you ?
Another important aspect to be aware of is your inner dialogue. What do you say to yourself all day long ? What phrases do you repeat over and over again ? Are you nice to yourself ? Strict ? Scolding ? Encouraging ? Lamenting ? Spend a few days carefully listening to yourself. Pay attention to all the little words and expressions that you whisper in your mind.
You'll be surprised at what you hear. You can always improve on the words that you use in your mind. Any limiting words or phrase can be replaced by more resourceful ones. "I'll never make it" can be replaced by "I'll make it this time".
You may also want to be more aware of what you say to others and especially, how you say it. This will give you insight into how you impact other people by your words. Perhaps you will realize that you want to improve your communication skills with your spouse or at work when you have to make a presentation.
The more you become aware of what's going on within you, the more options you open to yourself with respect to the behaviours you want to adopt. By making these conscious choices you will become capable of changing your thoughts, attitude and actions to produce better results in your daily life.
When you increase your self-awareness you realize you have power over yourself and you tend to focus more on how you can improve your life than on how others are stopping you from achieving your goals. Taking responsibility means taking ownership of your life, and when you hold the reins, it's alot more fun and exciting !
The path to self-awareness does not require that you permanently contemplate your belly-button! It just means that once in a while you take time for yourself, to have a look at what is really important and what can help you the most to move forward in the direction that you want. Other than that, being spontaneous, making mistakes, starting all over, having moments of genius and inspiration, being down in the dumps or bent over laughing are all very human activities that should not be renounced !
You can turn to professionals to help you with strategies and techniques on how to gain self-awareness. However there is only one person who detains all information about yourself, and that is you. You live with yourself 24 hours, 7 days a week, you speak and hear your inner dialogue, you are the owner of your memories and the master of your wishes. You know what you like and don't like and you know when something feels right or wrong. You remember your past, interpret your present and create your future. It's all within you, all you need is to tune in.
|Posted on December 30, 2013 at 4:40 PM||comments (2)|
by Beatriz de Meirelles, Cross-Cultural Coaching, Languages & Communication, NLP Trainer
The New Year is right around the corner, or at least the Western version, with other traditions following suit in the following weeks in other parts of the world .
New Year is a good time to take stock of things, of how one has fared in the last 12 months, for good and for worse, but it can be a specially apt time to project oneself into the future and to strive to make plans for the next year.
Why strive? Because most people have at one time or another, or even year after year, sat down to draft their plans for the new year, their “good resolutions”, or “good things I’ve decided to do”, and like most “to-do” lists, it ends up only partially done, or forgotten, or what’s worse, niggling at the back of one’s mind as a reminder of our lack of determination and consistency as we slip back into our comfortable habits that often don’t serve us well.
If you want to inject energy and enthusiasm into your life planning, the very first thing you can do is to indulge in a session (or various sessions) of looking inwards, dreaming, visioning and framing some sort of personal life vision statement. A real one, made up of what you really would like your life to be like 3, 5, 7, 10 years on.
That’s your framework for the coming year: what could you choose to do in the next few months to move in that direction? What would you really like to achieve?
If you’ve tackled the new year again and again with the same tools, the problem could simply be that you need to tackle your change-plans differently. Starting with the fact that planning is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. Different people plan differently, and while specific deadlined goal-setting can be inspiring for some, it can actually act as a deterrent and depressant for others.
Indeed, James Galvin (http://www.slideshare.net/jimgalvin/what-is-your-planning-style ) has identified 4 major planning styles:
1 - Objective oriented, “in which you set goals, objectives, milestones”: this is the most “classic” style of planning, at least in terms of management, but if you’re talking about your personal life goals, you might find it dry, or limited or even stressful (think about it, put it down on paper, and be aware of how you body feels – if you feel a tightening, a discomfort at some level, this might not be a good idea for you)
2 - Domain and Direction planning “ in which you use strategic maps to move forward”: with your life-vision in mind, you move in the general direction of where you want to go, finding , identifying and setting up tasks or objectives only as you move along – which could strike some as a bit wishy -washy, with no clear push effect
3 - Task oriented based on a list of “to do”: it’s a breakdown of small steps, which can feel less daunting for some people than a big jump ahead, but maybe give others a feeling the planning isn’t sufficiently coherent and directed
4 - And present-oriented, “focused on what’s happening now”. Some people don’t actually plan, and though classic coaching generally emphasizes that without a plan you risk ending up where you didn’t plan to go , moving along with trust in life, in the universe, in the inner flow can work for some people. Or can work in some situations where there are things you really have no control and unfolding circumstances could be future cues as to how to proceed.
What’s yours ? Or rather, which is the combination that works best for you? Which is the way ahead that brings a smile to your face and a desire to get started?
|Posted on November 3, 2013 at 9:50 AM||comments (1)|
Working mindfully means being aware of what we are doing, how we are doing, why we are doing it, and how it will benefit us and others.
Some people take a few moments to think of such things or perhaps run or meditate before work, any activity that will get them into flow and heighten their awareness level.
Even if you don't take time for reflection but plunge directly into activity as soon as you get to work, keeping these queries in mind will naturally reduce stress, improve your efficiency and reorient your sense of purpose.
Just reminding yourself that you are mindful, will calm the pace around you and bring clarity to your work. Try it!
|Posted on October 15, 2013 at 10:25 AM||comments (0)|
Check your competencies on a regular basis. Most of the time you are so busy working, doing this, finish projects, meeting deadlines......
Before you know it, a year has gone by and you've spent so much time fire-fighting that you haven't had a moment to look at your own professional development.
Stop and make an inventory of the competencies you are lacking and that would really help you to do your work better, or even progress in your career.
It may be as simple as mastering the new software packages that have been introduced in your company and which you are using at a bare minimum of their functionality, or it could a bigger challenge, such as learning a new language that will help you advance to a more interesting job.
Once you've made a list of the new competencies you need to acquire and the ones you need to improve on.
Once you've completed the list of your learning needs, make your own learning plan. Determine your learning objectives, when you will do it, what resources you need, and finally establish an action plan to get you going.
Employers sometimes have good training programmes, but if you sit back and wait on them to provide you with the learning opportunities you need, you may be waiting for a long time. Training budgets are constantly being reduced and besides, the course you are dreaming of may not be available in the company training programme.
After all, improving yourself for your career progression is your responsibility, and no one can work it better than you!
Make sure you get support from a close friend or family member to encourage and reward you in your learning efforts!
|Posted on September 25, 2013 at 6:15 AM||comments (2)|
"Go Ahead: Ask your employees if they are happy", by Allison Rimm, is an excellent HBR blog post, containing some priceless tips for managers on how to treat their people well and at the same time increase performance.
Surprisingly, it seems that common kindness and consideration for each other don't necessarily come naturally in the workplace. The basic behaviours of a normally socialized person have to be "taught" by consultants and coaches.
Leaders and managers are constantly being reminded that fulfilled employees perform better, and are also better contributors to their family and community.
With so many cases of bad people management resulting in stress, burn-out, and all sorts of disorders, one must wonder.......what part of simply "being decent" is so hard to get?
Not everyone is endowed with high Emotional Intelligence, enabling them to manage their own feelings and to motivate others through empathy, recognition and positive reinforcement.
The good news is that Emotional Intelligence can be learned !
Any manager aspiring to developing leadership skills, increased effectiveness, a higher degree of influence and charisma, better relational and networking capabilites, improved reputation, and a greater self-fulfillment at work, ought to seriously look into enhancing their EQ.
|Posted on September 17, 2013 at 6:05 AM||comments (0)|
Do you often find yourself saying "yes" when you actually wanted to say "no"?
Do you often end up accepting invitations you don't want to go to? running errands for others when you haven't even done your own? spending hours in conversations you are not interested in? always being the one who stays late for "emergencies" at work?
On the whole, most of us have been brought up to be nice, helpful and accomodating. Which is a good thing. The capacity for giving is an essential part of our socialization. Through generosity and a certain degree of self-sacrifice, we learn what makes us human, capable of empathy, love, compassion and solidarity.
Problems arise when we give in to others unthinkingly, to the detriment of our own selves, even in situations where it is neither necessary nor useful. We give in to others because we associate being "good" with saying "yes" and in some ways also because we seek their approval. Since childhood, being "nice" is what gained us approval, sympathy and affection from others. Compliance and obedience were rewarded whereas independence and refusal were often frowned upon and viewed as a form of defiance. It is not surprising that as adults we are inclined to try to please others by saying "yes" and are reluctant to displease them by saying "no".
This reasoning, however, is erroneous. What we most need, to be balanced and capable of giving, is approval from ourselves rather than from the outside. Furthermore, to be a "good" person, we must practice with ourselves. By respecting our own space and needs, we can truly respect others.
By accepting only requests that we sincerely agree to and are able to fulfill, we become aligned with our values and feel more confident about having our own, legitimate space in the world.
But enough theory, find practice tips in our next posts!
|Posted on September 15, 2013 at 7:35 PM||comments (4)|
Anything achieved or created by a person, first started in the imagination.
What do Marco Polo, Michelangelo, Albert Einstein, Nelson Mandela, Pablo Picasso, Lee Iacocca, Muhammed Ali, Luis Pasteur, Ghandi and Stelios Haji-Ioannou have in common ?
They had a desired outcome, a dream, a vision - call it what you want - they imagined a clear goal in their mind, they determined to make it come true and they took action.
We can all think of at least one person in our entourage who had a fixed idea about something and sooner or later achieved that dream.
Any individual can determine goals and find the ways to achieve them.
People usually have a combination of big life-scale projects: a long desired career change, a move to a different country; or small objectives: organizing a party, re-decorating the house, re-organizing the office.
Whatever your goals may be, a systematic approach will help you towards their realization.
The first and most powerful thing to do is to use your imagination to explore what goals are most important to you. Once you’ve identified what you want to achieve, use your imagination again to visualise your goal in detail and anchor it in your mind so that it is a constant beacon, inspiring you to take action in order to reach it.
Exercising your imagination is far more important than trying to force yourself to have more willpower, working harder and harder or bracing yourself for a struggle.
Imagination is the essential starting point of goal achievement, however by itself it is not enough. Other steps are necessary so that you can bring your idea from imagination to reality. See our next posts for more !