Posts Tagged ‘work’

9 Ways to Get Ahead Faster

December 7, 2011 Leave a comment

From strollwithoutshoes. I’m not sure the list is comprehensive, but it’s all good advice.


From staying motivated to protecting your mental health, here are 9 ways to move closer to happiness, one focused step at a time.

Focus On Your Long-Term Goals

Whether it’s dealing with a difficult colleague or moving past the ending of a relationship, getting “stuck in the moment” is something that comes quite easy to the most of us.  Instead of placing what was said and done on a loop in your mind, think about what your ultimate goal is and use the “big picture” as a magnifying glass. You’ll likely navigate through your current situation with greater ease.

Respect Yourself

Think about the things you value, your goals and needs and what you consider to be respectful behavior.  While we all value different things and are motivated by our own specific moral code, it’s important that we honor what lies closest to our heart.  Pushing yourself to behave differently in order to “fit in” or with the hopes of finding happiness will only bring regret and sticky situations.

Be Grateful

Those people who support you, reach out to you, show you compassion and love?  They don’t have to do it, they choose to give you these gifts.  That job you complain about pays your bills.  That clean bill of health? A big deal.  If you need a little help appreciating something, simply spend a few moments to imagine it being taken away from you right this moment.

Respect Others

Mr. Buechner had it right when he said that people will forget what we say and do but will always remember how we made them feel.  I have also found that remaining calm and kind gets me through situations (and closer to the outcome that I want) much faster.

Be a Person of Honor

Be where you say you will be, do what you say you will do, be honest about your intentions and stay close to your values, even when no one is watching. Not only will this make life less complicated, it will keep your reputation polished.

Steer Clear of Toxic People

We all have periods when we feel depressed and defeated, but surrounding yourself with compulsive critics, procrastinators, complainers and drama kings/queens is going to do little more than pull you down, fog up your mental space, hold you back and get your name and persona associated with the negative emotions they evoke in others.

Stay Focused

In this digital age, there are more ways to distract yourself than ever before.  Sit down and plan out your day by placing yourself on a schedule.  Put in some “downtime” and remember what Will Smith said, “You may be smarter and more talented, but you will not out run me.” Stay on track.

Move “Onto The Next”

Know that life is a living and breathing (and moving) thing.  You don’t have to jump in and out of relationships, jobs, situations, but you do need to understand that everything will follow the times (and therefore it will twist, turn and morph). Be flexible and move with it.

Be Willing To Do The Work

Only children have an excuse to think that life will always be easy.  Adults  know that relationships will not always be easy, jobs will not always be secure, friendships will not always be happy, sex will not always be great and metabolisms will not always be high.   Everything worth having takes work, and successful adults roll up their sleeves to do it.


photo credit: denbyenergy


How to Succeed In Your Career

November 18, 2011 Leave a comment

Found a new blog today called “Adventures in Personal Development”. It’s pretty entertaining, and there’s some good content there. Here’s the post I liked the best:

Why do some people manage to climb to the top while others struggle to even make it to management? Why don’t the hardest workers always get promoted the fastest? The answer is as easy as pie: Performance, Image, and Exposure.

I first heard of this model from one of my mentors at my current company. It really resonated with me at the time and it’s stuck with me ever since. It’s a very simple model that applies to anybody who is interested in moving up into positions of greater responsibility.


The first piece of the pie is Performance. This is your entry ticket into even being considered for the next level of responsibility. Every day you should be coming in to work with the goal of creating as much value as possible. We all see things in our companies that could be changed for the greater good of the organization. Be the one who steps up and helps see that change through.

Things to keep in mind:

  • Make a difference on every job and perform every day with the goals of the organization in mind.
  • Develop a reputation for delivering results.
  • Do everything with a sense of urgency and a drive to win.
  • Take on stretch assignments… always be on the look out for the biggest challenge.
Your performance is key. You must continue to grow to stay above the bar as it is being continually raised.


Think of image as your personal brand. The way that others perceive you is important because often times “perception is reality.” The only way to truly understand how others see you is to simply ask. This can be done informally or formally through 360 degree feedback.

Many of us have heard the statistic that 93% of communication is non-verbal. This means that a mere 7% of what we are communicating are the words coming out of our mouth. Image includes your confidence, attire, demeanor, and attitude. Whether you like it or not, people take notice of the way you carry yourself.

Things to keep in mind:

  • The only way to see yourself as others see you is to ask others for an honest assessment of what they see.
  • If your goal is leadership, it is helpful to take a measure of your image and compare it with the qualities of other successful leaders in the business.
  • You can always change your image if you are open to self-improvement.
Comparing yourself with the qualities of other successful leaders that you admire does not mean you have to totally become that leader and lose your authenticity. Take the best characteristics of each leader and build your own personal brand. Never stop being yourself.


Exposure is all about managing your network. You own your own career and you are responsible for creating connections and opportunities for yourself. By being visible to those who can influence your career, you’ll find yourself being presented with a greater variety of opportunities. Learning to get to know others on a personal level and really listening when they tell you about themselves are important skills in any profession.

Remember, the word networking has the word “work” right in the middle of it. Which means it takes hard work! Successful networking requires the productive time of time and resources to achieve your desired outcomes.

Something that a lot of people forget is that the main goal of networking should be to create value for other people. Understand their needs and help them to come up with solutions, preferably by leveraging someone else in your network that might be able to help.

Things to keep in mind:

  • The main goal of networking should be to help other people.
  • It’s far more important to understand their needs before you tell them about your needs.
  • Always try to provide as much value as you can.
  • Develop the habit of introducing people.
  • Keep in touch through social media, lunch, phone calls, messages, emails, and personal notes

And remember, networking is important, but your performance always comes first. Without solid performance, all the networking in the world won’t help you a bit. It might actually hurt you.

Putting The Pieces Together

Performance is a given in a high performing organization. Everyone is smart and everyone gets their work done. So it’s the other two pieces of the pie that will really help you advance in your career.

You might be thinking to yourself, “That’s not fair! Why do I need to worry about all this other stuff rather than simply be recognized for my hard work?” Because companies are not like schools. There is no simple gradesheet that ranks everyone by their work.

Companies today need lots of employees, but for the few that they promote into leadership roles, they need more qualities. They need visionary, inspirational, passionate leaders who will be able to rally the organization together in the purpose of a common goal.

So always be conscious of how you are showing up in the office. Really think about the qualities that you need to be a great leader and start to internalize those. And if you’re not quite where you want to be yet, simply “fake it ‘til you make it.” One day you will wake up and find out that you have turned into the leader that you have been striving to become.

It Ain’t Easy…

November 17, 2011 Comments off

Came across a great post at the Burn Brighter blog. I bolded the part that I really appreciate – it’s at the bottom of the post.

An older woman once said to me, “I always thought that there would be a golden age between zits and wrinkles where my skin would be perfect and radiant without me having to work at it.”  I laughed.  Then one day I realized that I had this same attitude toward my life.  I thought there would be a point where I would come through all the countless tests and trials and questions that helped build my life and I would slide easily into the land of milk and honey where I could lean back and have all my dreams fall into place without any further work on my part – perfect and radiant.  Aaaaah, success.

It didn’t happen. It’s not going to happen.

Working towards your life’s purpose is tough. You give it everything – time, energy, finances, emotions, and more. You wonder if you’ll ever finally turn that corner where you feel you’re actually getting somewhere with it.  So many times you want to give up, but you keep fighting. Then one day everything comes together, everything is set in motion, you’re where  you’ve always wanted to be, you’re living the dream. If your life was an inspirational movie, this is where the music would swell, the camera would pan back, the credits would roll, and the audience would applaud.

But life purpose doesn’t wrap up so neatly.

You realize your grip isn’t quite as tight as you thought it was and you lose a chunk of your hard won dream and you ask yourself, “Did I miss a turn?  Did I miss everything? Did I not do enough? Do I go back and start over? Do I keep moving on from here?”  You feel as if your life is a tragic movie, the music clashing, the screen dimming, and the audience leaving silently.

You need to change the script.  It’s in your hands.

You have to maintain the momentum to keep it going, which can be rougher than what it originally took to get you there.  You realize that you’re not quite as satisfied as you were sure you were going to be and it’s time for your goals to expand a little more – which takes even more work.

You see, the work never really ends.  But the goal is not to conquer your purpose in order to sit back and enjoy your life.  The goal is to enjoy your life as you are working – hard – towards your purpose.

Role Modeling For Success

November 17, 2011 Leave a comment
Every morning I get an email from Early to Rise, and this morning’s message was really powerful. I’ve re-posted it here for your benefit.
Role Modeling For Success
By Ryan Murdock

Do you struggle with Goal Setting?

I’m not surprised.

“Goal setting” has either been beaten into unbearable dullness by the anal retentive authors of certain business books, or it’s been co-opted by unicorn-riding New Age “thinkers” who tell you all you’ve gotta do is imagine really hard and that Lotus Esprit will show up in your driveway. So you’re either doomed to drooling boredom or confined to strait jackets and padded rooms.

It doesn’t have to be that way. Goal setting is simple, and it forms a key pillar of the Shapeshifter Lifestyle strategies I share with my fitness clients.

So you’ve got your big dream. You know what you want. But how do you break it down into concrete, achievable steps? That’s exactly what one of my readers wanted to know…

Dale asked me: “I know what I want to achieve, but trying to set all the little goals to get to that point kills me. If your goal is something you have never achieved, how do you realistically know the steps to get there?”

It’s an excellent question, and an honest one. Your goal is pretty much always something you’ve never achieved. Otherwise why would you bother? But how the heck do you orient your compass when you don’t have a map?

It’s actually pretty easy. You just map the process of another person who has achieved the same or a similar goal.

Find a “role model” who has the sort of lifestyle you’re trying to create. What did he or she go through to get there? What specific things worked, and which “dead ends” should you avoid? What skills or traits does this person embody?

Compare these details to where you are right now. Then figure out what’s missing from YOUR equation – and how you’re going to get it.

I’ll share a personal story that illustrates exactly what I mean.

When I’m not helping average folks redesign beautiful bodies with the Shapeshifter fitness program, I’m also a professional travel writer. How did I learn to write well enough that magazines would want to send me on expeditions at their expense? I didn’t have a teacher, that’s for sure! I did it by myself, sitting alone in a room. Writing isn’t something you can be taught – but it IS something that can be learned.

When I was first starting to write, I devoured the work of a writer whose style and worldview I admired. His name was Lawrence Durrell. I read absolutely everything he published, right down to the most obscure collection in university libraries. Then I read his published letters. Then I read all the biographies that had been written about him. Finally, I read critical articles about his work to see if I agreed with the opinions formed by these authors, or if I’d missed any nuances.

By the time I was finished I knew so much about Lawrence Durrell’s life, and I’d followed his creative process at such a deep level through his work, that I had a pretty clear sense of the skills he developed and how he got there. I also assessed myself – clearly and honestly – to see where my own writing fell short. And then I worked backwards from my vision to my current state to build the skills I needed, step by step.

Yeah, that sounds like a lot of work. But it wasn’t enough…

I followed this same process with every writer whose work resonated with me on a deep level: Paul Theroux (who I consider the greatest living travel writer), Henry Miller, Jack Kerouac, Arthur Rimbaud, and Steve Kilbey.

I lived and breathed my craft. I read the classics. I read poetry to understand how to manipulate images in original ways. I read history and psychology to inform my work. I read old explorer’s journals to honour those who came before me. And I’m still doing it a decade and a half later.

So yeah, that’s it. That’s how you do it.

Mapping is a sure fire way to discover the path to the dream you want to live rather than just wish for. All it takes is a little work.

So who do YOU admire? Who has the type of business you aspire to create? Who lives with the kind of energy and joie de vivre you’d like to experience? Who has surrounded themselves with the kind relationships and friendships you want in your life? And who embodies the career of your dreams?

Pick one person and start your own modeling process. This person can be someone close to you, someone famous, or even a fictional character. The important thing is to go deep and truly feel, know and understand what makes that person someone you admire. How do they act, think and feel? What would they do in a given situation?

Then start imagining, practicing and applying those actions and reactions to yourself.

[Ed. Note: Ryan Murdock is coauthor of the Shapeshifter Body Redesign program. When not helping people rediscover the body of their “glory years,” Ryan travels the world’s marginal places as Editor-at-Large (Europe) for Outpost magazine. Ryan’s work has also appeared in Alo Magazine, the anthologies Traveler’s Tales Central America and Traveler’s Tales China, and Toronto’s Eye Weekly. His Outpost feature “Taklamakan: The Worst Desert in the World” was nominated for a National Magazine Award in Canada.]


My Two Cents: Goal setting is really what this blog is all about. If you’d like to learn a simple step-by-step process that will help you achieve your goals and dreams, download the free e-book that’s available here.

How to Get Promoted

November 14, 2011 Comments off

Another great article from LinkedIn:

When you want to get a promotion or move to the next level in your organization, it is critical to position yourself as a strong candidate for the role.  Just being good at your current job isn’t enough.  Consider what your boss or the hiring manager looks for when deciding who to promote, and translate those needs into specific actions you can take to increase your chances of success.

The hiring manager probably has several candidates, internal and possibly external as well, to choose from.  She wants to make the right choice for the team and the business.  Here are some of the primary factors she will most likely consider:

Can you do the job?
The manager wants to make sure you have the skills needed to succeed.  These may be technical skills or “softer” skills such as customer service, supervisory, or communication skills.  The manager has identified a list of skills and performance characteristics that she considers important to the success of the role.

What you can do:  Identify your own skills, strengths, and experience. Actively manage your personal brand at work to become known for your best attributes, particularly those valued at the next level.  If there are skill gaps between the role requirements and your own experience, invest in training, volunteer for projects to gain experience, or find a mentor to help you obtain the necessary skills.  Make sure you handle your current responsibilities calmly and capably; if you’re consistently overwhelmed at your current level, it will be hard to make the case that you’re ready to take on a larger role.

Do you want the job?
The fact that you want the job may seem obvious to you, but managers are not mind-readers, and she wants someone she knows is interested in the role and the responsibilities involved.  Many people make the mistake of assuming that “someone” knows they want the job, and waiting to be offered the position.

What you can do:  Before proceeding, first make sure that you really want the job – that you will enjoy the role and responsibilities, and the change will help you reach your personal and professional goals.  Then ask for what you want.  Clearly state your interest in the position, and ask to be considered for the role.  Be prepared to share why you want the job and why you’re the right person for it.

Will you make me look good?
The manager wants to find someone who will help her achieve her objectives, and whose presence will make her look good to her bosses.

What you can do:  Pay attention to the characteristics, actions, and thinking that people already at that level demonstrate, then behave and dress like you’re already there.  This shows the manager that you’re up to the task and will conduct yourself accordingly.  Identify what goals are important to your manager, and align your actions to help achieve her metrics and objectives.  Focus on completion of tasks and achieving “wins.”

Will you make my job easier?
The hiring manager prefers to find someone who will be able to step into the position easily, handle the responsibilities, and solve problems.   If she thinks a candidate will require a lot of training, hand-holding, or create problems or headaches for her, she will look elsewhere to fill the position.

What you can do:  Cultivate a solutions-focused mentality.  If you need to highlight a problem to your manager, also provide a possible solution.  Keep problems off her desk, rather than piling more on.  Complete tasks well and on time.  Be credible and consistent – others need to trust that if you say you will do something,  you will do it.  Cultivate positive relationships with colleagues and demonstrate the ability to work well with others.

By focusing on how you solve the needs of the manager and the organization, and clearly showing how your value aligns with the responsibilities of the position, you will look like the ideal person for the role.  Having a solid record of accomplishments and achievements using the core skills the manager is looking for indicates your ability to handle future roles as well. Just don’t forget to speak up and ask for the promotion too.


My Two Cents: If getting a promotion is a goal you’d like to set for yourself, remember that a real goal is something that lies within our control. That means that “I want to get a promotion by the end of the year” isn’t really a goal – after all, we can’t control whether or not the hiring manager chooses us. What we can control are all the behaviors that are highlighted in this article. Set goals that will allow you to develop the necessary skills and show your interest in the job, and rest well knowing that you’ve done everything within *your* control to get the job you love…