When was the last time you tried something new? Variety is, indeed, the spice of life and trying new things is a great way to learn and grow and enjoy yourself doing it! Life is more interesting and more satisfying when you challenge yourself and experience new things. All you have to do is take the leap!
What I tried: Public Speaking
In the interest of writing from my experience, just this week I did something entirely new- I spoke at Ignite Fort Collins. That’s right, I got up in front of a crowd of strangers and talked for 5 whole minutes. That doesn’t really sound that scary, right? (It was a little scary! And totally fun! What an amazing experience!)
As a member of Toastmasters it’s fair to say I have some experience speaking in public, though I have thus far only completed two speeches. Two speeches- I’m practically an expert, right? Okay, maybe not an expert. But my Toastmasters club is warm and friendly, and they are hardly strangers.
Fortunately for me the Ignite Fort Collins audience was just as warm and friendly as my Toastmasters club. In fact, the audience included friends, family, and some of my fellows Toastmasters who came out to support me.
What are you going to try? 5 Things to Try Today
I look forward to sharing video of my speech with you soon. In the meantime, I invite you try something new today. You don’t have to speak in public to try something new. Taking a small step is always the first step getting the most out of your life. I’ve made it easy for you, here are some ideas of things to try that are sure to improve your day!
1. Strike up a conversation with someone you don’t know very well.
2. Be friendly towards someone you don’t like.
3. Smile at every person you encounter!
4. Compliment a stranger.
5. Take 15 minutes just for you!
Whatever you do, try one new thing and have fun doing it!
I love your comments! What new thing have you tried recently? What are you going to try today?Join the Conversation
Setting the right goals is an important first step in personal and professional success. Often when you set goals for yourself, you focus on a goal that doesn’t address your core values and your intentions.
When your goals are not aligned with your true objective, you are more likely to become discouraged and frustrated when achieving those goals doesn’t get you the results you actually want.
Perhaps you’re focused on getting a raise or a higher paying job, but what does this really mean to you? When you get that raise, how will your life be different or better?
Consider instead setting a goal to pay your current household bills, pay off debt, increase your savings, and afford a fun vacation once a year. While it might seem that having more money will give you all those things, it’s far more likely reaching your goal is the result of both earning a good salary and living an enjoyable life within your means.
I experienced this for myself. I’ve earned more money than I truly needed to achieve my goals, and I’ve earned less money than I truly needed to achieve my goals. When I earned more than I truly needed, the comforts and habits of my lifestyle became more expensive as my salary increased, yet I didn’t experience the happy life I truly wanted. I also found the more money I had, the more I decided I wanted and needed. My true goal was to live a financially stable and sustainable life.
To be successful in achieving your goals, you have to set goals that focus on what you seek to accomplish instead of only considering what you want or, perhaps, what you think you need.
Here are some ideas for setting results-oriented goals:
Ask yourself, “what’s missing?” Why do you want to make a change? What is and isn’t working in your current situation? What is the problem you’re looking to solve?
You can’t discover a solution without acknowledging, without judgment, where you are today. Look beyond the surface, and answer these questions with your heart, not your head.
Ask yourself, “why does it matter?” Understanding what’s behind your goal is important to aligning your goal to your values and intentions. What does your goal mean to you?
Ask yourself, “what do I seek to accomplish?” What does personal and professional success look like to you?
Think about living a life that sustains you instead of only having or doing. What does that life look like to you? How do you feel in that life? Set goals for an outcome that actually meets your needs.
A raise, or a new job are unlikely to bring you personal and professional satisfaction if the result you really want is financial security, or professional engagement. You have to look deeper and set goals that matter to you, and what you want to accomplish in your life.
Whatever your goal, setting your goal based on results instead of your current wants and needs is important to living a life that engages and enriches you!
I love your comments! How do you determine your goals? Do you give priority to a life that fulfills you?
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Have you dreamed of quitting your job and risking it all in pursuit of your dream career? I encourage every one of you to pursue passion and purpose in your career without buying into the idea that your life will be great when… when you get a promotion, when you get a raise, when you finally have the career you’ve always wanted.
Your happiness at work isn’t a result of an ideal work situation, it’s the result of your mindset and attitude. Choose to be happy and create love in your work-life today.
You can get the most of the career you have now and find contentment and happiness in your work-life. Dare to dream and explore, just not at the expense of your present joy.
You can love your work-life through active participation and engagement. Here are some tips to love the work-life you have:
Take advantage of training opportunities.
Find out what training opportunities your employer offers and take advantage of them. Does your employer offer tuition reimbursement? What about internal training programs? Does your company sponsor membership in professional associations?
Training opportunities engage you in learning and loving your career. They build confidence and increase commitment.
Find a mentor.
If you know someone that has what you seek in your own career, ask them to mentor you. A mentor works with you one-on-one in your career development, sharing knowledge and resources and supporting you in your career goals.
Sharing your experience and career success with a protégé builds leadership skills, and allows you to gain perspective through the eyes of your protégé.
Mentoring others can help you track your career progress and build your confidence.
Do your best work.
If you’re not passionate about your job it can be easy to check out, doing only the minimal amount of effort to get the job done.
Challenge yourself to do your best work every day. You’ll feel a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction and you’re efforts will likely gain notice of people who can help you achieve your goals.
Track your accomplishments.
Keeping track of your professional accomplishments will help you recognize your strengths, as well as increasing your confidence in your abilities.
As an added bonus, you can leverage your accomplishments in your performance review and during salary and job negotiations.
Volunteer for special projects and assignments.
Build your skills by volunteering for special projects and assignments.
You will feel more engaged in your job if you have challenge and variety in your work, and you’ll have the opportunity to exercise problem solving techniques.
Build positive, friendly relationships with your co-workers. Not only are your co-workers part of your professional network, having a friend at work will help you reduce stress and provide opportunity to have fun at work.
Participating in committees, groups and teams will increase your engagement at work. You will have a voice, learn how the company works, and raise your visibility.
A positive attitude goes a long way, especially in the workplace. Your co-workers will be drawn to your positive attitude and you’ll soon find you enjoy being at work.
Seek out solutions to problems without being asked and show initiative!
Try something new.
Learn a new aspect of your current job, or apply a skill in a new way. Be innovative and creative!
Do work at work, and leave it there.
Focus on work when you’re in the office, and don’t take your work home with you. Work-life balance goes a long way to increasing your satisfaction with your job.
Dress appropriately for your work environment.
We all like to be comfortable, and dressing comfortably and appropriately for your work environment can help separate work and play. Maintaining a professional persona at work is important in balancing your work and life.
Use your talents and skills.
Find ways to use your talents and skills in your current job. Not only will you keep your skills up-to-date, you’ll enjoy your work more.
Like taking on a special project, cross-training is a great opportunity to gain new experience and add variety to your work day.
Helping others strengthens your connection to your network, and can help build credibility and a positive reputation at work.
Being engaged in your work will improve your work experience. Every one of these tips will also help you transition into a career of your dreams where you can love what you do and do what you love.
I love your comments! I invite you to pick 2 of these tips to implement in your work-life. Which 2 will you try?
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You may think mindfulness is a spiritual or meditation practice but mindfulness is so much more than that. The benefits of mindfulness are many and you can put mindfulness into action in your work and your life today. Mindfulness allows you to have greater enjoyment of life, as well as improved concentration. Mindfulness can focus and inspire innovation and productivity.
Psychology Today defines mindfulness as, “a state of active, open attention on the present. When you’re mindful, you observe your thoughts and feelings from a distance, without judging them good or bad. Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to experience.”
How can a practice of mindfulness benefit your career? Mindfulness can help you do your best work, and feel confidence in your abilities without the stress of your boss’s, client’s or your own expectations. When you are being mindful in your work, you are working in the moment and awakening to your success. Paying careful attention to your work, without judgment, allows you to consider alternative methods to accomplish your work, gain a deeper understanding of business concepts, and opens your mind to innovative and creative ideas.
Let’s consider mindfulness as more than an abstract thought. You can put mindfulness in action in your life this very minute.
Inventory your work
Just as a retail store counts and records the quantity of their product stock, you can inventory your tasks, talents and time.
The purpose of this exercise is not to judge your tasks, talents and time as good or bad, positive or negative. The purpose of your inventory is to assess what you need, what you have, and how much time it will take.
You can start your inventory by answering these simple questions: Who?, What?, Where?, Why?, When?, and How?
Who is the end recipient of the information?
Who will be involved with the task?
What is the purpose of the project?
What do you need to accomplish the task?
What is the desired result?
Where will your report be put to use?
Why is it needed?
When is it needed?
How will you accomplish the task?
How is the desired result measured?
Recognize your limitations
Once you’ve taken your project inventory, assess the tools you need to accomplish the desired result. It’s important not to judge your inventory results, only to recognize what you have versus what you need.
It’s likely there are tools, skills or resources you need that you don’t have. This is your opportunity to ask for help, delegate, ask for more time, or determine a boundary. Setting a boundary may sound something like, “I haven’t been trained on this project, but I’m willing to give it my best effort.”
Accepting your limitations doesn’t mean you’re not up to the task, it does tell your employer or client you’re taking ownership of your product, that you care about communication and meeting shared goals and needs.
Engage yourself in your work
Have you ever worked on project that didn’t require much thought or attention and you simply did exactly what you were told without considering the task in front of you? Don’t be content to merely do, instead you can be present. Think about what you are doing!
Consider your actions. You are encouraged not to judge your actions as right or wrong, simply consider them. What are you doing? What other method, software, or process might you use? Brainstorm possibilities from the realistic to the ridiculous, even if you don’t change your action. Sometimes it’s enough to know your options.
What skills, talents and experience are you putting to good use? Think about past projects where you may have used similar solutions or methods. Perhaps you can refresh an languishing skill or expand your experience.
How does your work align with your client, team or company? You are part of something bigger, an essential member of a larger community. What you do affects that larger community, just as your community affects you. This awareness can lead to collaboration, information sharing, and appreciation.
Be thoughtful about what you’re doing. Engaging in your work means you are mindfully participating, considering your actions, methods and your responsibility. When you are being mindful in your work, you are actively engaging and participating in your career and your success.
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Don’t be content to sit back and let your performance review happen to you; opt instead to participate and shine! Your performance review is an opportunity to highlight your accomplishments, communicate your value, create a positive working relationship with your boss, and set your goals for the coming year.
Think of your performance review like an interview, it is your chance to showcase your qualifications and experience to your employer and direct your career success. Like an interview, it is important to come prepared and doing so will allow you to speak intelligently on the topic of you and your career.
Facing my first performance review at a new job after working for over seven years working without a performance review was daunting and a little unnerving. I did some research and came up with these ideas to prepare to rock my review and I have enjoyed positive experience with performance reviews since. Here are 7 ways to ace your next performance review.
1) Revisit your most recent review. Consider any feedback you received and any improvements you’ve made. If you received constructive criticism, how have you changed? If you received positive feedback, how have you continued to build on your success? Be prepared to talk about your progress and take an active role in your professional growth.
2) Make a list of your accomplishments. Have you completed additional training or learned a new skill? Did you work on a major campaign or project? Did you increase efficiency or productivity? Recognize the value you bring to your employer and don’t be afraid to own your success.
3) Evaluate your work and come up with a list of skills you want to build in the coming year. You can impress your supervisor by recognizing and actively seeking to improve your weaknesses. Be honest with yourself, and also gentle in your assessment. It’s important to be fair without being too hard on yourself. Acknowledging areas that may need improvement shows you are thoughtful, proactive, and care about doing good work.
4) Create a list of goals for your career. Your boss may or may not ask you about your goals, either way it pays to be prepared to answer this important question. Whether or not your goals come up in your performance review, knowing your own goals will help you make informed decisions about your career and take advantage of opportunities that arise.
5) Outline how you will improve your skills and reach your goals. Your performance review is a great opportunity to actively involve yourself in your career success and show your employer how you focus on solutions. Research training opportunities, when they are coming up next and how much they cost. Find a mentor that is successful in an area you want to learn more about. Whatever your solution, tell your employer exactly how you will build on your career success.
6) Consider what you truly enjoy about working for your employer and, specifically, working with your direct manager. Being a supervisor is a tough job and most employees don’t think to say “thank you” to their boss. Use your performance review as an opportunity to share your gratitude with your manager. Let him or her know exactly why and how much you appreciate working with them and what you like about your working for your company.
7) Be prepared to turn negative feedback into accomplishments. If negative feedback is given, ask questions about how you can improve, what outstanding performance looks like to your supervisor, and how you will know when you’ve done great work. Resist the temptation to argue, complain or stay silent. Asking questions shows your employer you want to succeed and you are willing to see their point of view and make improvements.
Preparing for your performance review and actively participating in your performance discussion will boost your confidence, highlight your value to your employer, and help you focus and direct your future career development.
Are there other topics would you like to read about on Live Love Work? Reader questions are welcome and I’d love to explore areas of challenge and growth in your professional life.Join the Conversation