Monthly Archives: May 2011

Lunch on Friday?

I usually have lunch with my Dad, age 93, on Fridays but since he is still working (corporate attorney) sometimes he can’t make it.  This week was one of those times . . . so I found myself thinking about whom I could call for a late lunch on a beautiful sunny Friday afternoon. 

Stretch & Call Someone New

It’s easy to call old friends but I reconsidered . . . how about calling someone who’s on that list “I really would like to get to know them better”.  So often, we meet someone professionally at a networking event and promise to get together but we never somehow get around to it.  This time, I knew I would be hungry after teaching an awesome tele-class and ready for a relaxing lunch and some great conversation.  So I called a colleague I hadn’t seen for ages –  and she was available and hungry too.  So off we went . . .

A New Connection – A Renewed Friendship  

Over a great lunch we shared work updates, talked about career trends, emerging opportunities here in Northern Nevada and several “hidden” resources that could benefit my career coaching clients.  As I drove back to the office I was glad I hadn’t eaten at my desk again but rather made the effort to connect professionally with someone I had lost track of but whom I always admired.  Try it yourself – next Friday for lunch!

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Networking Made Easier!

Whether you are in the job search, exploring an entirely new career path or marketing your own business networking is critical to your success.  There is simply no better way to advance your career than to personally connect with people that are in the know – people that can open doors for you and send opportunities your way.  And in turn, you are doing the same for them. 

Easier Said Than Done

Sounds easy?  Networking doesn’t come easily for most people especially for introverts.  Many people find that networking can be quite overwhelming or even intimidating especially in larger events or with complete strangers.  It’s a skill that takes practice, practice and more practice.  

3 Steps for Easy Networking

Here’s three steps to make networking not only easier but more fun and productive.  First, think of networking as making connections – building relationships.  This is a different mindset entirely.  Set the intention of having one or two significant conversations – not “working the room”.  Second, listen  in these conversations with sincere curiosity.  Be curious about everything – the focus is on them not you.  Give them the gift of listening.  Third, think of what you can offer them – how can you help them get what they need – perhaps an introduction; a good book or resource or a shared idea.  

You will be pleasantly surprised how this shift in your mindset (and expectations) takes much of the stress out of networking.  It’s an other-directed approach that is much more productive.  Bring a couple of business cards back, enter them in your database and send a quick email to just say how much you enjoyed the conversation.  Now that’s powerful networking!

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Can’t Quit Now – Cross Country Skiing

It was a gorgeous Sunday – the blue skies and the deep snow (over 65′) of the Sierra Nevada Mountains were awesome.  A small band of us (husband Wally & friend Cary) were out to do one last long trek to Point Mariah at the Royal Gorge ski area on the Donner Summit.  It sounded pretty easy – and we had been working up to it – but it turned out to be a long, long way out to the farthest point which overlooks a magnificent gorge – feels like you’re standing on top of the Grand Canyon.

Mindset Makes the Difference

But we’re cheerful, healthy and young so we just kept going and going and going.  After all, you can’t quit.  You’re way out in the middle of nowhere – no place to go but back to where you started.  It reminded me of my old days of running half marathons – finishing is all about your mindset.  There is definitely a trick to relaxing your mind, focusing on the moment and just pressing on.  We really have amazing strength and persistence when we put our mind to it.  And having others with you that also don’t quit is essential.  So we just kept going . . .

”Wally Walks” Go On & On

By the end of the day, we had skied over 12 miles up and down hills and through beautiful forests.   It took us almost six hours since we were on classic skies (slower that skate skies).  As we came up that last long hill, the ski patrol were already taking down the signs and closing up the lodge.  We felt good – we were tired, hot and hungry but we made it.  And we were even able to send the ski patrol back out to check on two young college boys who were still out at the point on their rental skies. 

Over a glass of wine and a wonderful dinner in Truckee we toasted another fun story and memory.  We call these “Wally Walks” which means you never quite know where you’re going, how far it is or when you’ll be back.  Wally is always optimistic (and does carry a map) but never quits.  (He’s an ‘ole retired marine pilot.) This was a challenge but I learned again that I actually can do a lot more than sometimes I give myself credit for – and I bet that goes for many of you too.  So challenge yourself and enjoy your successes!

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80% Works Fine Most of the Time!

Have you ever bogged down over a project because you just couldn’t get it exactly right?  It’s almost done but you keep going back and fine tuning it over and over and over again.  And then it never quite gets off your desk because you’re never really satisfied that  “it’s good enough”.   

Maybe you’re writing an article, working on your website, preparing a presentation or even just drafting an email.  Many of us are perfectionists – we want our work to be perfect each and every time.  And that is an admirable quality (and skill) for high stakes projects – where our expertise, experience and credibility is visible to others that matter.  But many times that’s not the case . . . 80% is actually just fine.

Kind of a Radical Thought

Perhaps you’re one of those naysayers who say it can’t be done.  Doing every project 110% has become your norm and in all honesty it has become your comfort zone as well.  But what does that standard bring you on a daily basis?  If you are like many professionals in today’s work world, you are being asked to do a lot more with less time, resources and support.  The result is often a nagging  feeling that you’re never going to catch up – you are that hamster running on the spinning wheel.  So . . . this may be somewhat of a radical different approach but it could make your work life a bit easier.

Give Yourself Permission

To stretch your comfort zone with this idea, give yourself permission to just play with it.  See if there are times when it doesn’t have to be perfect.  When you have something that needs to get off your desk and it’s relatively low stakes, do your best with it the first time through, brush it up one time and then hit the submit button.  And then move on to another task in your in-box.  It takes practice, but you’ll be pleasantly surprised that 80% actually works fine most of the time.  An added bonus . . . your stress level starts to go down, the work is going out the door faster and it actually looks pretty good.  Try it and let me know what you think!

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How to Identify Your Natural Talents

Now you may be asking yourself . . . what actually is a “natural talent” and how do I know what my natural talents really are? As we get older and more skilled, experienced and savvy in the World of Work, it can be a bit challenging to remember who we are when we’re really at our best.

So try this . . . step back and simply watch yourself, especially when you really are enjoying what you are doing in that moment. What do you see? You’re seeing your natural talents in action! A natural talent is the way we think, act or behave that comes easily to us with genuine enjoyment. It’s like “second nature”.

Look for these five things:

  • What do I gravitate toward?
  • What appeals to me spontaneously?
  • What comes easily to me?
  • What attracts others to me?
  • What do they say I’m good at?
  • What do I genuinely enjoy doing?
  • Who do I enjoy being?

Identify 3-4 talents for yourself. Now take it a step further . . . is there a theme running through your talents? Our natural talents often have a central theme to them – much like a golden thread running through them.  Once you know this theme it’s easier to choose work settings and responsibilities that allow you to be at your best. This is a tremendous benefit to you and to your employer – you are genuinely, positively engaged in your work, you feel more fulfilled and you’re bringing the best you have to offer to your employer. It’s great for your company’s bottom line and for yours as well!

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