“I don’t know, it just seems like you’re trying too hard,” she wrote.
That’s the feedback I received when I recently asked a colleague to look over my marketing materials.
At first I was angry. I thought, “what am I supposed to do with that?! That’s not good feedback!”
“Is there anything more annoying than nonspecific feedback,” I ranted to no one in particular.
Then it hit me.
The reason her feedback bothered me is because I was trying too hard. Yikes.
I looked back at my efforts the past few weeks and I realized the reason I was feeling frustrated and stuck was because I was trying too hard in just about every area of my business.
I call it the “I just need to work harder” mentality. Maybe you recognize this pattern in yourself.
When something isn’t working, do you try harder? Do you decide you need to do more? Do you say, “I just need to figure this out!”
Yes, my friends, all of those statemetns are variations on trying too hard. They’re also the patterns of people that try to control the uncontrollable.
Sure, we can call ourselves “determined”. We might describe ourselves as “hard working”, “thorough”, and even “results-oriented”. We may also call ourselves “stubborn”, “type A”, or “perfectionists“.
The problem with trying too hard is it’s not going to get results. Admit it, we feel better when we’re taking action, and “figuring it out” is just another way for us to distract ourselves from the pain of frustration, discomfort, or- gulp- failure.
The moment I realized I was trying too hard is when I realized I needed to stop trying too hard. I needed to do less, not more. Success happens when I doing the right things, not do more things. It’s about doing my best and forgetting the rest. All I have to do is take a deep breath, trust myself, and be myself.
Oh, so simple, isn’t it?
So tell me, friends, will you join me and stop trying too hard?
And while you’re at it, join my newsletter!Join the Conversation
As a Career Coach, I work with career professionals and entrepreneurs who are looking to level up. They are usually looking for work or looking to increase their income. There are lots of tools and support I use to work with clients to help them reach their goals.
There is one tip I give every client I work with.
That’s right, one piece of advice that works for everyone in every situation! This advice works for everyone equally.
Now when I tell you what it is, you might think I’m crazy. You might protest, “but, Chrysta, what does this have to do with finding a job, getting a raise, getting clients?!”
So I hope you’ll bear with me for a minute here because I promise you, it works. And it might not be what you think. I encourage you to be open to the tip I’m about to share.
Before I tell you, I want to share how it’s worked in my life- very specifically the last two weeks.
A LOT has happened in the last two weeks. The floor drain backed up and partially flooded our basement. Then it was my husband’s birthday party, followed by his birthday. A few days later I participated in a 2-day event I’ve been planning for 6 months. While I was out-of-town at the event, my cat went missing. That weekend I moved into my new office. The very next day our garage door opener broke. A few days after that we found my cat.
That’s a lot to happen in two months, let alone two weeks. And through it all I stayed relatively balanced, centered, and ready to face the day. How did I do it? From this simple tip I have to share with you.
Are you ready?
My best career tip is to start a regular gratitude practice. Write a daily gratitude list and I do mean write- put it down on paper. Take 60 seconds each day to pause, reflect, and be grateful.
Yep, that’s it. Be grateful.
Still skeptical? Let me tell you why it works.
A regular gratitude practice gives you something positive and hopeful to hold onto no matter what happens in your day. In this way gratitude is an anchor to the good stuff in your life.
Gratitude tempers the highs and lows, the ups and downs. Gratitude helps you connect to the present, grounding you in good things you have right here, right now.
Gratitude also boosts your energy and mood, giving you an extra reserve of motivation, and helping you face challenges as they come.
I’ve heard lots of advice from successful entrepreneurs and gurus that suggest starting a variety of daily habits- from getting up early, to daily exercise, to meditation. It’s true, all of these positive habits will help you be more successful. But what I like about starting a gratitude practice is it’s so easy to do! The best thing about starting a gratitude practice is it takes very little time and everyone can do it. Gratitude will help you be more successful in all you do!
So, that’s it. Start a regular gratitude practice. Write down a gratitude list every day. Notice the difference in your overall attitude, energy level, and ability to handle problems.
If you get discouraged, start a gratitude practice.
If you’re feeling stressed, start a gratitude practice.
If your energy is low, start a gratitude practice.
If you’re feeling great, start a gratitude practice.
It won’t solve your problems but it will help you be prepared to solve them. Give it a try and see what happens!
If you find this advice helpful, sign up for my newsletter and get more tips, tricks, and positive motivation!Join the Conversation
For many years, I found it much easier to say no in personal situations and much harder to say no in professional situations. I feared being labeled “uncooperative” or “difficult”, and I was afraid saying no could even cost me my job.
I’ll never forget the time in early 20s when the CEO of the company asked me to work late and I said no. I was so nervous but I said it anyway. Or, well, what I actually said was, “I can’t stay late tonight. Can I get that report to you first thing tomorrow morning?” His response went something like, “okay, sure.”
HE WASN’T MAD. I DIDN’T GET FIRED. EVERYTHING WAS OKAY.
Huh, go figure.
Thinking back on my career, I can’t think of a time I regretted saying no. I can think of plenty of times I regretted saying yes.
Since I started my career coaching business, it’s even more important to say no. Saying no is a way to set boundaries with clients. It increases trust and accountability.
Saying no is the difference between succeeding and failing as an entrepreneur. Fortunately I get plenty of practice saying no with dignity and integrity.
When to say no
Saying no is one of the topics I often speak about in public. In my presentation, Communicating with Confidence in Business, I talk about why it’s so important to say no in business and how to do it.
Really, knowing when to say no is pretty simple.
Are you ready for it?
Say no when you’re unwilling or unable to agree.
See, I told you it was simple.
Easier said than done, am I right? Those fears I had before haven’t gone away. I still fear what people might think of me. I still fear loosing work because I say no.
I say no anyway. I say no because when people can trust my word, they know they can trust me. I say no because I don’t want to say yes and do a crappy job. I say no because if I don’t take care of my health and happiness I’ll be sick and miserable.
And then I realized my presentation was missing something. I was talking about when to say no, but I wasn’t talking about when to say yes.
I considered my own professional and business experienced and realized it’s just as important to know when to say yes as it is to know when to say no.
When to say yes
We are presented with opportunities every day- opportunities to get out of a rut, to change our situation, to challenge ourselves, to grow.
By my own advice I could let myself off the hook by saying no to a new opportunity but here’s the thing- when an opportunity is life-changing, it’s easy to say no. It’s much easier to do what I’ve been doing than do something different. Opportunities that require growth are scary, and it’s tempting to say no but that’s exactly when I should say yes.
It’s always going to be hard to say yes to change but if the change is for good then it’s worth it to face the fear and say yes.
The next time you’re faced with a choice, ask yourself if you’re being offered the opportunity to grow. If you’re being given an opportunity to change your situation for the better, you better say yes.
I’m going to test this out right here, right now.
If you’re in a job you hate, if you’re stuck in a career rut, if you know you have more to contribute at work- I am offering you the chance to change.
Maybe you’re in a job you should have left years ago. Maybe you know you were meant for something bigger and better. Maybe you’re tired of living paycheck-to-paycheck. Maybe you’ve tried to find another job and it seemed like staying put was your only option.
Most people reading this will say no to this opportunity. That’s okay. I’m looking for just one or two people who are ready to say yes. People who are scared but willing to face their fear for an awesome payoff.
“Chrysta really gave me the insight on where I was cutting myself short and what I should do to lift myself out of the slump I was having. So far I am starting my own business and slowly creating a client base along with a thicker portfolio and new connections.” –Rebecca Robinson
Email me at email@example.com to schedule some time to talk about your career. If you say yes to this opportunity, I’ll help you figure out why you’re stuck and what needs to change.
“Chrysta has helped me with many professional struggles and always guided me to my truth. She is an ace you want in your pocket! “ -Amanda Oliver
Are you ready to say yes?Join the Conversation
Do what you love and success will follow. It’s never too late to pursue your dream. Go out and build your empire.
Since the 2008 recession entrepreneurship has become increasingly popular. Technology has increased opportunities for new business ventures and made it even easier to become an entrepreneur. But what does it mean to do work you really love? What is entrepreneurship and what does it take to be an entrepreneur?
If you’ve been thinking about becoming an entrepreneur, let me tell you something, self-employment is not for everyone. It’s hard work – really, really hard work – maybe the hardest work you’ll ever do. So why do it? How do you know if being an entrepreneur is right for you?
It starts with the entrepreneurial spirit. Being an entrepreneur isn’t about wanting freedom or the desire to make money. What drives many entrepreneurs isn’t the rewards of being an entrepreneur but the desire, joy, and purpose in pursuing their passion, regardless of the reward.
Let me share the story of three women entrepreneurs and what drove them to pursue a life of passion, working hard to create their own business.
Women’s Stories of the Entrepreneurial Spirit
I have been starting businesses since I was a young girl.
I was a babysitter, a house cleaner, and a landscaper. As young as 8 years old, I solicited various household services to neighbors and family friends. At age 12 I made Christmas tree ornaments and sold them door-to-door.
I co-owned and operated a fictitious radio station with my sister, complete with tagline, deejays, radio segments, and even commercials, recorded on hours of cassette tapes.
In high school I began working on a business plan for my future used bookstore and cafe. After much deliberation I settled on the store name, Dog-eared Pages, and began collecting inventory.
I had an unlimited supply of ideas and I was willing to do the work.
Working in a traditional job was always a bit of a challenge for me as I continued to have ideas but my ideas weren’t always appreciated by my boss, even when I offered to take on new tasks and opportunities to grow business.
I always wanted to be a part of something bigger than me. I didn’t want to sit on the sidelines. I wanted to be right in the middle of it all. I wanted to make an impact.
I would start a job filled with excitement for new challenges and learning and typically within a year I was back to feeling stifled and stuck, wanting to do more than what was in my job description. I was always on the lookout for bigger and better challenges.
In 2015 I started my career and business coaching business full time. I am grateful every day to not only to do work I love, but to be challenged every day, taking my ideas and sharing them with the world. The sky’s the limit!
“Freedom and growth are my highest needs,” said fitness coach Tangia Estrada of Hello Gorgeous Fitness, “I always felt that I was a bad employee because no matter what role I played within a company, I felt like I was living in a cage.
Plus, employers generally don’t appreciate it when I ask why or say that I don’t like the direction the have chosen, which I have said to every employer I’ve ever had. My performance reviews repeatedly stated to me that I was too ‘edgy’ and did not ‘go with the flow’. My response was always to ask why that was a bad thing.
My jobs were very high stress and required long hours in the office. My health really suffered and I gained about 60 pounds and began experiencing chronic migraine headaches and anxiety attacks, among other things. I hated it, and I used to sit at my desk and fantasize about having the time to work out or simply go for a walk in the middle of the day.
Eventually, I decided my health and feeling good about my body was important enough that I was going to get into shape no matter what. I worked hard and lost over 70 pounds in six-months to compete in a bodybuilding competition. From that point on, I couldn’t go back. I later realized that my knowledge and support was something people wanted. So I got certified and turned my health coaching hobby into a business. ”
Content strategist Brittany Taylor of See Britt Write said, “I like to pick what I do and I like to ask questions. I like to have purpose. I don’t enjoy being told what to do and having to do it ‘just because’. I’m a writer. My best work comes when I understand and am aligned with the purpose of whatever it is I’m writing, whether it’s for me or for a client.
I think I’m unemployable. I was laid off from my job doing something I loved, but in a really toxic environment. I felt burned and bitter about having a boss – bad boss – and the more I read about management and bosses, the more I don’t want to have another one. That’s why I’m self-employed. I am the best boss I’ve ever had.”
If you have entrepreneurial spirit, you probably know it. Maybe it’s been there, in the background for many years, or maybe it’s been a driving force in your life.
Are you being called to do something different with your life? Becoming an entrepreneur is a challenging and rewarding opportunity. It takes incredible courage, confidence, determination, and drive. It’s an amazing journey for those to choose it.
If you’re an entrepreneur, what’s your story? Tell us a little about yourself in the comments below!
If you’re reading this and you know being in business for yourself isn’t for you, you can still enjoy a fulfilling and rewarding career. Find work you love, do the work, give value, and love every minute of your work and your life. Let us crazy entrepreneurs inspire you and enjoy your career.
And if you’re looking for more inspiration, sign up for my newsletter for more stories, how-to’s, and motivation!Join the Conversation
The feeling of dread rises up every Sunday night. Tomorrow is Monday morning, and tomorrow you have to go back to the job you hate.
Walking in the door every morning is defeating.
You’re overworked and unappreciated, or you’re bored and ignored.
You leave work feeling drained and its all you can do to fall into bed at the end of the night. The exhaustion of just being there takes it’s toll. You’d look for another job if you had the time or energy but you don’t.
You cringe when you see your boss’s car in the parking lot, wishing she was away and you could get some work done without her interference. Isn’t it great when your boss is out of the office? Well, today is not your lucky day.
I get it. I really do. I’ve been there. And I know how to make it better. Are you ready?
You’ve got to work with what you’ve got. At least, that’s where you start.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not talking about accepting less than you deserve. What I am talking about is getting good at tackling challenges, discovering solutions, and making the best of what’s in front of you every day.
You make the best of the job you hate because sometimes your situation improves when you improve your part in the situation. You make the best of the job you hate so you can respect yourself. You make the best of the job you hate so you can approach your next job with confidence.
Because, my friends, that’s how you begin to create a kick-ass life you’re gonna love. Now let’s get started.
How to love a job you hate
Show up every day. I mean really show up. Don’t half-ass your way through your work day.
If you’re bored at work, set challenges for yourself to keep things interesting. If you’re overwhelmed, give the task at hand 100% of your attention, one task at a time.
Make an impact
Don’t just do your job- do your best job.
Make an impact in your role, in your department, and in your organization. Make yourself an MVP.
Track your accomplishments
Keep track of your accomplishments. Not only will it come in handy at your next performance review, acknowledging your accomplishments will boost your mood and motivation.
Ask for what you need
Talk to your boss about your future. Don’t wait for your annual review- if you even get one.
Schedule a meeting with your boss and tell her what you’ve been working on. Ask for more work, or less, depending on your situation.
Ask your boss how you can exceed expectations. Want a raise? Ask your boss what it would take to get it. Ask for what you need.
Complaining is the fastest way to misery.
Sometimes you pick up the slack for your lazy co-worker who is the boss’s favorite. Sometimes you feel like you’re not good enough.
Stop comparing yourself to others and you’ll find those things don’t bother you as much as they used to.
Be thankful for your coworkers, your boss, your job. There’s always something to be thankful for.
And while we’re on the subject of being thankful, don’t forget to say thanks.
Never stop growing professionally. Join a professional association or networking group. Become a Toastmaster. Take a class online. Learn a new skill. Become an expert in one area of your work.
Knowledge is its own reward, but of course you’ll also have great skills to help you move ahead when the time comes.
Never stop growing personally. Read books and blogs that challenge your heart and mind. Watch Ted Talks. Go to therapy. Hire a life coach.
Keep becoming the best version of you.
Plan your next bold move
Don’t languish in your job or your life. Make the most of each day, and while you’re at it, make plans for your next bold move.
You can be Ms. Sunshine and hate your job. You can be a star employee and get overlooked. You can do your best but it’s not going to change a crappy corporate culture or a bullying boss.
Do you hate your job and nothing’s going to change it? Are you stuck in a dead-end job? Have you tried everything and you continue to be passed over for promotion? Are you out of options?
It’s time to plan your next bold move, and you may need to enlist the help of a career coach. (Hey, I do that!)
I have a 100% success rate as a career coach.
I have had the honor of helping people achieve their next career move. I helped them get the job offer, the promotion, and the raise they wanted 100% of the time.
I know you want to have a fulfilling career, without stress and always being undervalued, but you struggle with clarity and confidence and a plan of how to make a career move. This is where I come in.
If your current work situation is less than what you want and what you deserve, this week I am offering a complimentary strategy session on how to uncover your next bold move and how to get there.
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule your complimentary strategy session.
Please consider this for yourself or pass this on to any friends, family or colleagues that need this kind of support. If you are a business owner and struggling with clarity and confidence about your next move or focus, this is for you, too.Join the Conversation
If you want to be promoted, be authentic. If you want to grow your business, be authentic. If you want to be respected, be authentic. If you want to stand out in business, be authentic.
Authenticity is an attribute that isn’t often mentioned when it comes to professional development, yet it’s a major factor in business success. Why? Because we want to do business with people and companies that are genuine, real, and trustworthy.
Being authentic in business isn’t always as easy as it may seem. I learned just how hard it can be when I started my coaching business.
I began my business being encouraged, excited, and eager to change the world, one client at a time, but business isn’t just about delivering results; I had to bring in clients which meant I had to learn sales and marketing.
As I dove into the sales and marketing mindset, I stopped focusing on changing the world for my clients and started focusing on making money. My underlying motivation changed from getting results for my clients to getting results for myself.
Let me tell you, it’s hard to sell transformation when you’re focused on the selling, not the transformation. Nobody likes to be sold to, and people can tell when you put your interests before theirs.
Fortunately I learned this lesson quickly, and was able to readjust my mindset. I reconnected with my big why- why I started this business in the first place. I’m doing this to help women recognize and communicate their value, to stand up and stand out in business.
I had to acknowledge my failure, be honest with myself, and get authentic.
What does it really mean to be authentic in business? This was the question I had to consider.
How to be authentic in business
Examine your motives
What motivates you to take action? What is your desired outcome? What result are you looking to achieve?
Being clear about your motives helps be transparent and clear, and you’ll come off more authentically.
Don’t try to be something you’re not
It’s tempting to agree to any and all inquiries with agreement when you’re trying to build a name for yourself in business, but agreeing to something you can’t deliver is a risky move.
In business it’s not about having all the answers or being an expert in every area. Focus on your strengths, and standout in a few key areas. Saying no when it’s appropriate is authentic!
Be (selectively) vulnerable
None of us are perfect and that’s totally okay! Sometimes it’s even good to let people see our imperfections. People relate to us through our imperfections!
Share your vulnerability from time to time- particularly when you’ve overcome a hardship or challenge. Doing so allows others to relate and connect with us authentically.
Own up to your mistakes
See above re: none of us are perfect. Yep, you’re going to make mistakes. Trying to cover up or ignore your mistakes erodes trust.
When you make a mistake own up to it, learn from it, and move on.
Be open to (most) feedback
Ask for and listen to your customer’s feedback. If you care about your customers, they’re more likely to care about you. Just be mindful of constructive versus destructive feedback- listen to one and not the other!
Authentic businesses build relationships with their customers, and feedback is a great way to build that relationship.
Know your why
Why is what you do important? Why do you do it? Who are you helping? How are you helping them?
Get clear on your why and let it guide you in all your business interactions.
Be of service
Are you focused on what you have to give, or have you fallen into the trap of focusing on what others can give you?
Being of service allows you to reflect and readjust your thoughts, words, and actions in business. It allows you to stay focused on what’s important and why. The easiest and simplest way to be authentic is to ask yourself, “how can I be of service in this situation?”, because, in business, it’s not all about you.
How do you view authenticity in business? What other ways are you authentic in your business interactions? Join the conversation and leave a comment below!Join the Conversation