Practicality Or Passions

“Be practical as well as generous in your ideals. Keep your eyes on the stars, but remember to keep your feet on the ground.” – Theodore Roosevelt

 

It’s often said if we do what we love, we’ll never have to work another day in our life. Yet, is that completely true? While we may love what we do, will we love who we do it for? Where we do it? How we are doing it? How much we get paid to do it? Will we love it forever? How do we know what we love today, will be something we are so passionate about in five, ten, fifteen or twenty five years? Do you truly believe that if you got a job doing what you love at 25, you’ll be in the same career when you retire (hopefully) at 65? The fact is we most likely have no idea what we will love to do the rest of our lives. Yet, as children, we are given the impression that we should follow our dreams and pursue something that we love. Unfortunately, this viewpoint can cost us a lot of wasted time, opportunity and debt. Is it worth taking on $100,000 worth of debt in student loans for something you think you love only to find out you can’t get a job doing it or discover that it isn’t something you liked as much as you expected?

 

Quite frankly, while we are told by educators and our schools that all degrees are valuable and you can get a multitude of jobs with any degree, the “real world” doesn’t work that way. In fact, I would argue, there are very specific paths most of us should follow in order to reduce our debt, maximize our time, and give us ample opportunities to succeed. Let’s discuss college first, as that is what a majority of high school graduates do afterwards. STEMM is science, technology, engineering, math and medicine. These career paths will bring you a plethora of opportunities at the cost of plenty of hard work up front, and potentially a lot of debt without scholarships and or grants etc. Also, just deciding to major in one of these paths won’t automatically result in a job. Certain degrees in science are in higher demand than others and not everyone who majors in engineering may be guaranteed work. If you live in Rhode Island and don’t plan on moving away, would there be a point in majoring in Petroleum Engineering?

 

Let us jump over to the liberal arts side of things. I would argue, that unless you have a specific desire to pursue a liberal arts career, do not focus on these degrees. In other words, if you want to study Anthropology, then know in advance where your opportunities may lie, such as field work studying primates, working in a museum or teaching. Don’t study anthropology with the notion that you can always get a job as a Business Analyst. If that’s your plan, then just pick a business concentration and study that. If a hiring manager for a Business Analyst position has to choose between two similar resumes but one candidate has a degree in Anthropology and the other in Business Process Management, who do you think they will go with?

 

Likewise, unless you want to be a historian, a history teacher, or a historical author and have a plan to make these things a reality, maybe consider a different major than just history. Philosophy is another possible example. Unless you want to become a Doctor of Philosophy and work in a university, this major might not be for you. If you choose philosophy and figure you can always get a job as a some sort of business relations manager- think again. Just study business management and save yourself the time from the start ensuring that the debt you may accrue will have greater potential value.

 

Again, there is nothing wrong with choosing a liberal arts degree, but don’t choose one just because it’s something you love to do, with the false belief you can always “get a job in business.” College is an expensive investment and with high expenses comes practicality. This is the biggest financial decision of your life being made before you are even 20 years old. By putting practicality ahead of your passions you may see greater potential in your career along with less stress, job security and favorable financial health.

 

Remember, you can always keep your passions while going through school. Just because you love playing an instrument, doesn’t mean you have to stop. If you love to write, there is no reason why you can’t keep writing (maybe start a blog??). If you enjoy being active then keep staying active. It’s good to dream big and see into the future, but don’t forget about what’s happening right in front of you. Remember, college is not for everyone. Plenty of jobs are available by learning a trade or even joining the military. A high skilled tradesman can live just as well as any college graduate while being in just as much if not more demand for their skills. This spans everything from plumbing, electrical, carpentry, mechanics, HVAC, iron workers and so forth. The military has hundreds of career paths you can follow to learn a myriad of important skills both technically and socially. Even better, they will usually pay for your schooling!

 

The explosion of college, doesn’t make hands on work any less important. Only more important! If you are going to college, my ultimate advice to you is simple; Remember to choose a degree that will afford you as much opportunity as you can get. In the end, you will be able to buy your time to do the things you truly love to do. What are your thoughts on this topic? Do you think practicality needs to be set ahead of passion? Or do you think there is a healthy combination of how both can be achieved? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Why Workplace Culture Matters

“Live your passion. What does that mean, anyway? It means that when you get up for work every morning, every single morning, you are pumped because you get to talk about or work with or do the thing that interests you the most in the world. You don’t live for vacations because you don’t need a break from what you’re doing—working, playing, and relaxing are one and the same. You don’t even pay attention to how many hours you’re working because to you, it’s not really work. You’re making money, but you’d do whatever it is you’re doing for free.” – Gary Vaynerchuk

This is the first blog I’ve written in a while. Things have been busy, for sure. However, I’m glad to be writing this to connect with the community on The Thrive Vine. Today’s topic is just why Workplace Culture is so important. In my personal life I’ve recently made a job change that has proven to be excellent financially however the workplace culture, has proven to be challenging. I’ve found that many of us in the beginning stages in our careers or even fresh out of college might not know what to expect or even what to value in a workplace. If you are unsure of what to look for in a workplace culture, you are in luck because this blog is for you! Sit tight as we dive deeper into exactly why Workplace Culture is so important:

What Are Your Values –  Before you can be aware of what you are looking for in a workplace you first need to be aware of what you value. Do you value camaraderie amongst your co-workers, do you value a quiet space so you can perform your best work, or do you put a high priority on leadership and development? Aside from all of these topics being wonderful interview questions, these are also wonderful aspects to ponder to gain a self awareness of what you value. The million dollar question is how do you know this, or how would you figure out what you value in a Workplace? I feel Corporate America has kind of set us up via trial and error. Aside from a self awareness for what you are looking for the best way to understand what you value, and what you do not value, is to experiment with working at different places, networking with different professionals, and doing some introspection on what you value, and can you achieve your goals based on the company culture and vision. 

Safety and Acceptance – When we think about Workplace culture we tend to think about the time off policy, the layout of the office, happy hours, etc… However in reality Workplace culture is nothing more than achieving basic needs of humans as a species. In order to thrive in any environment humans, or any social species, need to feel Safe and Accepted by their family or pack. When our behavior doesn’t match what is around us, we might feel as an outcast or that we don’t fit in. Realistically when we are in our 20’s and 30’s we spend most of our waking hours as work. If we don’t feel safe due to workplace conflict or accepted due to the culture, issues such as workplace stress and anxiety can ensue and can take a huge toll on our mental health. 

So how can we combat workplace stress and anxiety? This very topic is what I’ve been thinking about for the past few months. In my personal situation I was offered a position at a not so “emotionally intelligent” workplace where excessive swearing, slamming of phones, and yelling doesn’t seem to bother anyone… except for me. However the money is wonderful and sometimes it makes sense to “suck it up.” Yet, as most of us know after a while of being in an environment our body reads as toxic, biological effects take place such as anxiety, panic, and stress. Here is what I did personally to combat these feelings and get myself mentally back on track:

  • Getting up from my desk and taking more frequent walks. Sometimes taking yourself out the environment for short periods of time can do wonders for your mental health
  • Taking a step back and thinking long term. What I mean by this is that the probability of me being at this new job for the rest of my life is extremely slim. By taking things into perspective and realizing that I can use the pay increase I received by taking this job, to invest more aggressively; will help me reach my goals faster. I look at this opportunity as just a mere page in an entire book of my life.
  • Always keep an eye out for new opportunities. It’s really important to remember that you are in control. Especially when it comes to your employment. Even if you’ve worked at a place for a week and the work culture is not what you expected and is being toxic, there is nothing preventing you from starting your job search again or pursuing your own entrepreneurial endeavors. There are always options and you should never feel trapped in a toxic environment. 

Purpose/Support – I think most of us have been raised to think that our purpose of working for a company is to make the company money, or produce a level of value to the company so it secures our employment. Yet, most of us don’t realize that value is a two-way street. As much as we provide value to a business or company, it is the businesses job to enrich our lives not only through the transaction of money; but through purpose and support. If you really think about it, any job on the planet can be a great job (or at least more enjoyable)  if it’s in the right environment and we are surrounded by the right people. I understand first hand how hard it can be waking up when Monday morning comes around, however I encourage you to really think about what value and purpose does your job/career/workplace give you. You should feel a good feeling when you help a customer, or you make a big sale, and I encourage you to celebrate those wins; however the place you work for should also help you celebrate those wins and in turn be there when you are struggling.


Conclusion –  In Corporate America there seems to be a generational disconnect of what each generation and individual values. Is it practical for each company to heed to a generation’s needs? Probably not. However, in my opinion, a business is more than just a place people go to work. It’s a place where employees spend most of their time, and should be obligated to provide safely, sustainability, and support to the people who are growing it as a direct result of their time. What do you think? How can we do a better job with providing a better culture to employees? What are some aspects  you value in a workplace? Share your comments below, we’d love to hear from you!

3 Ways You Can Network During The Holiday Season

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” -Vanessa Van Edwards

 

Oh the holidays! Nothing quite like the smell of peppermint and gingerbread, and all the little kid’s faces when they open their presents (#warmandfuzzy) Still fresh in my mind, I remember six Christmas’ ago exactly what I wanted… no it wasn’t a Red Ryder BB gun; it was a job. Being fresh out of college and not interning at a single place, I was finding quite the challenge in actually landing that elusive rewarding career. When I look back, I was an absolute fool to not utilize the holiday season. Aside from the songs and good cheer, you’re getting a complete network in front of you! Here are my three ways you can network during the holiday season:

 

The Family – In my world family comes first and networking is no exception. This holiday season when you might see family who you don’t usually see, really voice your needs. I used to be incredibly shy or even scared if I told family that I didn’t have a job or my life together. Screw that! Voice your needs and put the energy of what you want in your life out there. Really share your goals and the steps you want to take to achieve them. You’ll be surprised who is listening!

 

Spread the Wealth – Businesses love individuals who go above and beyond. They want well rounded associates not only professionally, but people who go above and beyond in their personal lives as well. A great way to get an employer’s eye is to ask to set up a toy drive or donation box at their facility. Even if you don’t work there (but one day might want to) it’s such a great gesture and will be sure to catch someone’s eye. Monitor your donation drive, speak to company employees about your passion for the drive, and see the project through. At the end of your drive thank the company for participating, and then voice your interest. You’ve already made your first impression and have shown the company you can successfully start a project, connect to its purpose, and see the project through. All the while giving to a tremendous cause.

 

Get Out There – Aside from Family and Volunteering there is one more strategy to network… get out there! Shopping for holiday gifts, taking a break for lunch, or even checking in on LinkedIn during the holiday season, all boast opportunities to build and gain connections. Of course we never know when a networking opportunity will hit, which makes it so important to be open to introduce yourself and get a conversation going; it could just create the opportunity that you’ve always wanted.

 

Conclusion – This is the season of giving; but not just to others. Be sure to give yourself the gift of opportunity. Networking happens everywhere and anywhere; take your time and really voice what you need and what you’re looking for. What are your dreams and what are you working towards? People want to know, including me! Share in the comments below what you’re working towards, and what you want to accomplish in the New Year!

Three Reasons Why You Should Substitute Your Master’s Degree For A Real Estate License

“There is no more profitable investment than investing in yourself. It is the best investment you can make; you can never go wrong with it. It is the true way to improve yourself to be the best version of you and lets you be able to best serve those around you.”– Roy T. Bennett

 

Ah, Spring is here and as usual the creativity is running through The Thrive Vine. Today’s topic is near and dear to me; mostly because this is the approach I took with my educational journey. I racked my brain for years wondering if I should go for my Master’s Degree (who knows someday I still might) but in the short term I opted for the not so conventional substitute of getting my Real Estate License.

 

Overall, getting my license has paid off. In my best year so far I was able to make 32k in commissions while working part time as an agent (if anyone wants to know more about how I did this I can certainly write a blog on this). Being in real estate has been a really fun and exciting path, and I think both short term and long term it has been a better investment than going for my Masters would have been.

 

Usually when I talk about getting a real estate license most people out the gate protest “I don’t want to sell real estate” or “I’m not a good salesperson” well that’s perfect! Because in today’s blog I’m going to explain why getting your real estate license isn’t just for selling houses, it’s just down right a more practical decision than going for a Master’s Degree. Here are three reasons why you should substitute your Master’s Degree for a Real Estate License:

 

Practicality –  In the opening of this blog I mentioned that getting your Real Estate License is more practical than getting a Master’s Degree. Why do I feel this way? Because whether you are going to be a homeowner or renter I’m about 100% positive you’ll want to know what your contract/lease means. We have to look at buying a home as being one of the biggest financial decisions of our lives (aside from college) and just having the knowledge of different types of loans, the options you have, and how the process works is beyond beneficial. You’ll never have to worry if someone is looking out for your best interest; because you’ll have the tools necessary to do so.

 

Supplement Your B.A – When driving myself crazy about whether to go for my Master’s Degree or not I started to ask myself some introspective questions, such as: What will a Master’s Degree do for me? Is it worth going into more debt? (this was a big one for me) and possibly what is my goal in my career? The answers to these questions I still have with me today.

 

I believe for most, a Master’s Degree ultimately means a larger potential salary, faster career advancement, and makes you certainly more marketable to employers down the road. Yet when I thought about it; these same qualities are what a Bachelor’s Degree was supposed to accomplish 20 years ago. So 20 years after I receive my Master’s Degree, would it be obsolete? More importantly, would I be obsolete? Could I be dispensable by a younger generation coming out of school with PHds? All of these questions came in to play and aided my decision. Instead of spending the tens of thousands of dollars on a Master’s Degree I went towards my Real Estate License, which including books and a 2 week class, was a  total of a thousand dollars.

 

When thinking about pursuing a real estate license many people assume you need to sell real estate. Although that’s what it’s most commonly used for, you can also use the credential to supplement your Bachelor’s Degree. How you might ask? Well think about real estate development companies, commercial real estate investors, property management companies, real estate investment trusts, even healthcare such as senior living companies, etc… any company or non profit that wants to expand, has a targeted demographic, and wants the best success for their business will have a need for someone who knows real estate.

 

Personal ROI – I lastly wanted to talk a little bit about Personal ROI (return on investment) between a Masters Degree and a Real Estate License. Let’s look at some numbers: Say you spend 20k on a Master’s Degree and get a job for about 70k-80k, if you have industry experience, or possibly 50k-60k if you don’t have any industry experience and just your Master’s Degree. If you’re coming out of school with debt, you won’t see the full return on your investment until you pay off your debt completely. On the other hand, real estate offers different kinds of Personal ROI. Keep in mind your total investment of your license is about a thousand dollars; so even if you sell one home you’ve made your money back on your initial investment.

 

But say you don’t want to sell houses, or choose to not, use a real estate license to supplement your career. Then how does getting a real estate license make sense? The answer is investing. Simply put, if I didn’t have my real estate license I probably wouldn’t have gotten into real estate investing as fast as I did. It was because of my real estate license that I was able to see properties that hit the market first, meet mortgage lenders and get great rates on my personal mortgages, and additionally meet wonderful people and form relationships along the way. As I’m sure you can tell, I feel getting a real estate license has the potential to have tremendous Personal ROI.

 

Conclusion – This blog admittedly a tad biased in favor of substituting a Master’s Degree for a Real Estate License. My goal here is not to deter anyone from pursuing their Masters, but really bring awareness in making a conscious effort to explore what additional credentials will do for you, and most importantly is it worth the debt you’ll take on. Furthermore think about your personal ROI, and hopefully, the joy and personal fulfillment a Master’s Degree might bring to you.

 

I sincerely believe having a real estate license is such a useful tool, to not only build wealth; but make connections and form relationships as well. What do you think? What does a Master’s Degree mean to you? Would you ever consider getting a real estate license? Let us know in the comments below!

Why You Should Apply For Every Job That Interests You

 

“Man often becomes what he believes himself to be. If I keep on saying to myself that I cannot do a certain thing, it is possible that I may end by really becoming incapable of doing it. On the contrary, if I have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it even if I may not have it at the beginning.” – Mahatma Gandhi

 

When was the last time you looked for a job? Perhaps you have been on the hunt recently and still are? Or maybe you’ve been in the same position for years, are getting bored , and want to look for something new and exciting! Looking for a job is one of those things that we all need to do at some point, but never really want to spend the time or energy doing. Additionally, it may hurt your motivation when all the jobs you want to apply for have a description that sounds like a league (or many) above you. Sometimes, the only jobs that seem like we can do are the jobs that are similar to the ones we do now. Yet, often these positions will keep you doing more of the same at similar pay and continually reduced interest.

 

I suggest, rather than being discouraged, apply to those jobs which initially may come off above your comfort zone. Many times, job descriptions are written in such a broad sense, that some of what is asked, is rarely or ever actually needed. Additionally, if you don’t meet every requirement, you aren’t automatically disqualified. It’s impossible for HR to find candidates with every possible quality they want, so instead they list a bunch that are related and look for the best fits – not perfect match. Also, remember, you will always be learning something new and it is always expected that you’ll be learning in your new position for many months. Your new coworkers will hopefully be eager to help you and mentor you along as you grow in the new position.

 

Keep in mind, if everyone was perfect there would be no need to interview. You would simply apply for a job and get hired. However, because there is so much variety and uniqueness in the workforce, the hiring process exists to help companies find the best fit. Assuming you aren’t a good fit because you miss a few requirements or are a couple years short in experience does not guarantee you to be out. In fact, if you applied to 10 additional jobs that you deemed “beyond your level” you would probably hear back from at least 3 of them – if not more!

 

Therefore, my new advice to you – apply to any and every job that interests you. If it’s somewhat related to your line of work and you feel genuinely compelled to go for it, then the only person stopping you is yourself. If you get told no, or don’t hear back then you can simply move on, but if you get a call, get the interview and get hired, then looking beyond your inside voice of doubt was well worth the few minutes it took to send in your resume and hopefully the beginning of a great new career!

 

How do you feel about applying for a new job? Do you get discouraged when you think you aren’t “qualified” for the position? Do you apply anyway? Have you ever been told no for a job you thought you were qualified for? Share below in the comments!

How I Learned Web Page Design From a Plumber

 

“Believe in yourself, your abilities and your own potential. Never let self-doubt hold you captive. You are worthy of all that you dream of and hope for.” – Roy Bennett

 

Lately I’ve been getting alot of compliments on the new look of the site. It was a big move for sure, and so much was learned during the site migration. It wasn’t until recently that one of my friends asked how I knew so much about web page design, site layout, reading source code, yada yada yada. I started thinking about how to answer this question and thought this would make a really empowering blog topic.

 

You see, from the job descriptions we read, to the tasks we only “wish” we could achieve; it becomes apparent that we put some major limitations on ourselves. However, today’s blog is going to be my story of how I learned web page design; not from college, or even webpage design classes, but from a Plumber. Without further adieu here is the story of how I learned web page design…

 

The Plumber’s Story –  Everyone loves a good story, and this one picks up on one summer day in my Mother’s kitchen of all places. She hired a plumber to fix her kitchen sink and as he was just finishing up and heading out, I came home from my college classes. He asked me, “hey I’m starting a webpage design company, your ma says your good with computers. Wanna come work for me?” Now, this guy was like Mario straight out of Nintendo. Before me stood a sicilian Plumber in overalls with an italian accent that persuaded me just enough to say yes. I’d be lying if I wasn’t a little scared of being “whacked.”

 

On my first day with the Plumber I met him in a little office in Greenwood Lake New York. When I say the office was little, I mean my bedroom closet was bigger… Nonetheless I came to work and learn, and that’s just where we started. It turned out the Plumber had a dream of his own, starting a giant database of all the master plumbers all across New Jersey, and building these plumber’s websites.

 

After a few weeks of hands on training I learned to not only design websites but read and create source code. Some of it was absolute monotonous work, copy and pasting the same code over and over. However it taught me the importance of everything being uniform. Everything had to be linked, meta tags inserted, and the page completely SEO’ed (search engine optimized) so people could find us on google. The amount of attention to detail was crazy to me; but taught me to always double check my work.

 

But Why –  After a year of working for the Plumber, I finally asked him “when did you come up with this idea, and why is it so important?” He then explained to me that in just a few years it was planned that he would go blind due to macular degeneration. He had already had several operations on his eyes and would no longer be able to rely on plumbing to support his family. His goal was to get his website design business started and be able to create some sort of income for his family. He taught himself web page design by reading books, and watching youtube videos. He, like me, never took one class on web page design.

 

The Takeaway –  Whenever I get really down on myself I think about the lesson the Plumber taught me. There are too many times in life where credentials are over weighted. We convince ourselves that we can’t do things because we don’t have MBA’s, 10+ years experience, or don’t have “advanced” skills in excel or SAP. The biggest truth in life is that any skill can be learned.

 

The next time you’re challenged, connect to the scenario “what if I had to.” What if you had to learn a skill so that you can go deeper in your career, to bring in more income for your family, or even so you can be happier? If a Plumber can teach himself web page design, if a real estate agent (such as myself) can blog about personal finance and career advice; there’s certainly no reason you can’t do anything that your heart desires. The key takeaway I really want to drive home in this blog are that the only limitations that exist are the ones we set upon ourselves.

 

What do you think? How do you overcome your obstacles and stay focused on your goals? Share with us in the comments below!

How Quitting Your Job Can Save You Money

“There are many things money can buy, but the most valuable of all is freedom. Freedom to do what you want and to work for whom you respect.” – J.L Collins

 

Reading the title of this blog you might be thinking “this guy is way off his rocker.” I mean you don’t need to be a financial guru to know that you need money in order to live. But you see, that’s exactly it! You need money to sustain a lifestyle of your choice, not necessarily a job. Whether your idea of comfort is a 6 bedroom house with a courtyard, or a 2 bedroom home nestled away in the woods; that part is up to you. When most of us think about how to get money we think, we need a job. However in today’s blog I’m going to propose that in some instances we can actually save money by quitting a job/profession we dislike and replace it with something that is much more flexible and purposeful that we do like. Here is how quitting your job can actually save you money:

 

Commute – Let’s face it gas prices aren’t going down, in fact according to the U.S Energy Information Administration “the United States consumed 143.85 BILLION gallons of gas in 2017 that’s a daily average of about 391.40 million gallons of gas.” With a demand like that, oil companies have the upper hand with fuel prices, plain and simple. So what can we do about this? And what on earth does this have to do with our jobs? Well.. since you asked… one of the first things I ask people when they say they do not make enough money is: what does your commute look like? Are you driving an hour, or two hours to work everyday? After bringing awareness to this it’s extremely easy to see where our paychecks are going.

So there are a few options here: Either you can get a more fuel efficient vehicle, find a job that is closer to you, or limit your commute all together. Now you might ask, how do I limit my commute altogether!? I’m glad you asked! We are witnessing a revolution when it comes to positions and employers that allow employees to work from home/ or freelance. Sitting at home blogging and writing content is amazing! The best part about it is that you can get paid to do it and you don’t need to sacrifice your hard earned money to your gas tank! This ties into our next point:

 

Working From Home –  Does your employer offer the option from home? If your employer is like mine, they probably don’t! (#didn’tseethatcoming) so how can you work around this. Well take a look at your position and figure out how maybe you can work from home. Think about it; even if you could swing working from home two days a week, that still saves money on items like gas, vehicle maintenance, and even items like possibly child care. But most importantly it saves you time. How does it save you time? Well every 30minute, 45minute, or hour commute add up! What could you be doing in that time aside from driving or sitting in traffic?

I know what you’re thinking – How the heck am I going to convince my boss to allow me to work from home, even for a few days a week? The best advice I can give is that you have to establish yourself as an absolute linchpin and incredible asset in your company first. What I’m saying is after 3 months on the job to not ask your employer if you can work from home; but maybe after 3-5 years when you’ve proven yourself and your employer knows what an asset you are to the company. People have much more leverage than they realize and this could be a wonderful option to keep your same pay and cut down on your expenses.

Time –  Only you know the best use of your time. But like I discussed in the previous point, I know it can be used better than sitting in traffic. The thing about time is that it’s the only resource that we can’t get more of. If you might be thinking about leaving your job or thinking about “what’s next” think about how you can make things easier on yourself. From all the time that you spent sitting in traffic what could have you been doing to make yourself profitable or happy? What’s the opportunity cost? What is your time worth and can you use it better to create results that can yield income that you’re missing out on by commuting?

Conclusion – So what do you think? Is it possible to actually save money by quitting your job and exploring a career like blogging/freelancing or working from home?  What if you didn’t have to pay for as much fuel, possibly save on child care, drop to a one car household, and didn’t have to sit in traffic for an hour? Most importantly what would you to do with the time or money that you could potentially save? Tell us what you think in the comments below!

Three Ways Curiosity Can Save Your Career

“The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled.” – Plutarch

 

Ok I’ll admit it… there are some days I get crazy bored at work. In fact, there has never been a job that at some point or another I haven’t stared aimlessly at the clock waiting to go home; there I said it. Yet, I’ve always managed to not only keep those jobs, but stay productive and essentially thrive at them. How did I do this? Curiosity. When I think about work I think about a game. I think of it as mission that I’m on to not only make the business better (regardless if I like the business or not), but how efficient I can make things. This all stems from an undying curiosity. Here are my three ways curiosity can save your career:

 

The Curiosity To Learn – If you asked me if I liked learning, I’d probably say it depends on the subject. But when working, learning is actually pretty fun. There are so many angles to approaching learning from. You can learn your co workers behaviors and concentrate on social science; or you can learn more about what everyone’s roll in the business is and how everything completes (or in some businesses doesn’t complete) the puzzle. Once you really have that opportunity to sit back and analyze your environment, you’ll actually develop strategies on how to approach people; and a feel for what the business needs. In both of these instances you’ll become not only more observant with your day to day duties, you’ll become more productive.

 

Curiosity About Yourself – Ever feel crazy overwhelmed or frustrated at work? I think we’ve all been there at one time or another. I think so many times the “go-to” solution for this is to eventually say “ I don’t get paid enough to do this, I’m quitting” which in some instances might be warranted. However, before I choose to leave a job I try to get curious as to why I’m feeling aggravated? What about the work or people I’m around is making me stress out? I know for a fact I don’t stress out when I’m by myself so what’s different about the work atmosphere? It’s so important to realize we are creatures of environment. Next time you want to leave or quit a job try learning a little about yourself before you go. Remember, if the same situation occurs at a different job you’ll more than most likely react the same way.

 

Curiosity About The Business – I’m a huge fan of the Christmas classic “It’s A Wonderful Life” and when I get crazy stressed I essentially think about what the business would be like without me. When I do this something kinda weird happens; I actually get more motivated. Why? Because when you think about it, you’ve made a difference. Whether you’ve been at your job for one day or one decade you’ve put in solid time and energy into your work, and that’s something to be proud of. Think about it, by just showing up and doing your job how many people get to help their families through the pay check you helped create! Really connect to your position and realize it’s so important not only to you, but your co workers families. If I never had the curiosity to be able to turn my attitude around; my work life would be much more difficult.

 

Conclusion – What are you curious about? How does your curiosity make you better in what your doing and leverage you up? Think of some ways that your curiosity could not only make your work environment a little easier, but possibly some ways that it could even make you personally happier. From my experience when we approach life with more of a curious mindset, we get to think why are we stressed? Or why is something not working out? When you question everything you might be able to find more than you ever anticipated! Please share your thoughts below! I’d love to hear what you think!

Three Ways You Can Increase Your Focus At Work Today

“If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten. ” – Anthony Robbins

 

Work can sometimes be well… boring. Lots of times we plan productive days but end up somehow losing focus or in many cases watching amazing cat videos. I think all to many times we might blame ourselves for not being passionate about our work, or we create “busy” work for ourselves to get through the day. Yet, there are a few things we can do, if not for our co-workers and team mates, certainly for ourselves that can help our growth and development throughout our careers and day. Here are my three ways to stay focused at work… even if you love cat videos.

 

Think Of The Bigger Picture – It is unbelievably easy to get consumed in your personal life, your job, and everything around us. When we perform the same tasks day in and day out we start to feel stagnant in our life. So how do we shake this? I always try to sit back and think of the bigger picture and task at hand. What am I trying to accomplish, and how will this affect me for the better? In essence I daydream for a little bit. I set my alarm for 5 minutes, let my mind wander, and then I bring my focus back to what I’m doing. This exercise really helps my mind take a break, think of my bigger goals in life, and in turn gets me motivated to do the task I may be avoiding. Once you remind yourself of where you want to be, getting there becomes a little easier.

 

Walk Around – You’re probably thinking how is walking around supposed to help me increase my focus and get any work done? It comes back to letting the mind take a break. We kind of need to come to terms with the fact that human beings as a species are not meant to be sitting down for 8-10 hours staring at a computer screen. It just doesn’t work that way. Sometimes to be the most productive we need to get up, get the blood flowing, and focus our attention on something else. How does this help? When you come back to your work you’ll be able to approach it from a different angle. This strategy also works great if you are dealing with a really tough client or situation at work. Do your best to take a walk or get away from your desk. Studies have shown it takes at least 20 minutes to come down from an event where you get emotionally overwhelmed. Take the time to come down. The work will always be there; it’s really important to take care of your health, both mentally and physically.

 

Create A Game – When I feel my focus drifting at work I create a game out of it. I try to time block, and say I bet I can get this amount of work done before lunch time. I also challenge myself to think about other departments and how they function. What ideas can I think up that would help a certain department? Or what challenge is my department facing that I can help out with? By creating a game of time blocking and problem solving it really allows my creativity to flow (something that is very important to me) and make work not feel like… well work. I think these “games” or strategies will be different for everyone. Really think of what is important to you; whether it’s creativity, organization, work flow, etc.. and see how you can make it more efficient. The funny part about this strategy is, more times than not you’ll think of great ideas while doing it. This strategy has created the most value for me and my professional career, and has been responsible for a lot of growth throughout my life. Take the time and be creative!

 

Conclusion – Sometimes staying focused can be work on its own. Even if we are doing something we are incredibly passionate about; we all need to take a break and step away for a bit. When we come back to our tasks at hand, we can approach it with a fresh perspective. It’s so very important to remember to take care of ourselves both physically and mentally. There are parts of all jobs that can drive us crazy! Remember to value your mental and physical health, and put yourself first! How do you bring more focus to your life and work? Do you have any good strategies to “get in the zone”? Let us know in the comments below!

3 Ways You Can Reinvent Yourself Today

“The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.” – Albert Einstein

 

It was a cold dark February morning. I rolled up to work the same time as usual. My boss just pulled in behind me and got out of his car and started to open up the company. I wasn’t exactly crazy about this job, I landed the position right out of college and was still learning my daily tasks. The specific position was a technical inside sales representative position located in Northern New Jersey. During the interview I admittedly didn’t know too much about their product line; but they mentioned they would train me and get me up to speed. In the past weeks things were busy with the business; which was good. We were getting alot of product calls and all the other fellow salesmen were on the phones doing business; yet this was tough for me, because the time to actually train me to do my job, drastically diminished. On this particular day I spent two months with the company; I personally felt I wasn’t able to create all that much value due to not having the proper training and knowledge, but I felt it would all be ok and work itself out.

 

“Hey, do you have a minute” my boss said to me as he turned on the lights to his office, “of course” I replied. As my boss sipped from his coffee he started talking in a low quiet tone “Listen, you’ve been doing a really great job, you have a hell of a work ethic; you’re always the first one here, but we’re going to have to let you go.” I had just been fired. I literally had no idea what to say; they said they were going to train me, they didn’t deliver, and now I pay the price? I thanked my boss for the opportunity, packed up my desk, and started on my way home. All I could think about were the words “sorry, we’re going to have to let you go” as if someone was playing a proverbial game of catch and release with my life. Fast forward six years and getting fired from that place was probably one of the best things that happened to me. However, it was what awaited me that was the biggest learning experience. Here are my three ways to reinvent yourself before having a chance to actually invent yourself:

 

Get Creative – After I was fired I literally had no experience in the field I wanted to go into (pretty much anything with business) I just spent two months at a place I got fired from, do I put that on a resume? What if an interviewer asks what happened? I was still incredibility defensive and sensitive about it. So how did I get around this? One thing that helped me immensely to landing another job was creating a professional website. On the website I included a professional picture of myself, listed all of my relevant coursework and writing samples from college, included my resume, and included a mission statement of my website.

 

Nowadays with social media there is no reason to not only have a professional website. I would even take it a step further and record a video of you stating your mission statement. What does this do? It really allows recruiters and interviewers to vet and get a good look at you before meeting you. Putting a face to the name is such a powerful tool! Not sure how to build a website or where to start? I would definitely suggest checking out Wix or WordPress. Both content management systems make it incredibly easy to build a nice professional website. Picture yourself as just one fish amongst an entire school; you need to stand out and a website can certainly help with that!

 

Reinvent From Within – There is no way I am the same person I was six years ago. After I got fired I was absolutely fuming. I embraced and doubled down on the victim mindset. It was their fault I had no money to pay off my loans, it was their fault I was now set back in my life. Nothing could be further from the truth. It was my fault. You’ll hear me say time and time again that, at times, the only thing we can control in our lives is how to react to a situation.

 

The Thrive Vine is my reaction to my situation, which took place close to over six years ago. Why? Because I want to help others who might have gone through the same circumstances or who might be as frustrated as I was. It’s not an easy place to be in; but so much more positive can come out of a negative situation than you could ever expect; it’s all mindset. So how do you reinvent yourself from within? Analyze your character. Ask your closest friends and family how they perceive you and be open to their feedback. If you are currently working ask your supervisor three things that you suck at, and then concentrate on making yourself better at those three things. It’s all about self improvement and be open to always changing yourself for the better.

 

Do Your Homework – If you are not working, or even right out of college; the employment scene is something to study up on. The first thing you need to study is what are employers looking for? What kind of “must have” traits do all candidates have? Take this time to connect to recruiters. With tools like linkedin and facebook; feedback and help is just a click away. Stop viewing your phone as entertainment, and start thinking of it as an incredibly powerful tool where you can reach thousands if not millions of people from a single tweet. Do your homework on what is going on around you, pick up on those trends, adapt, network, get the job. Sounds like alot, but remember you are not the only one, and only the strongest candidates survive.

 

Conclusion – Having to reinvent yourself is not easy but incredibly necessary. I’m sure everyone has heard the Heraclitus quote- “nothing is constant but change.” Just as our species would have never endured without adaptation the same proves true for the job market. What are you doing to adapt? What tools or creative strategies do you use to constantly reinvent yourself? I’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions in the comments below!