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!

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!

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!

3 Ways To Know If You’ve Lost Passion For Your Career…Or If It’s Your Work Environment

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” – Viktor E. Frankl

 

Losing passion for something can be a real challenge; especially if you’re fortunate enough to do your passion for a living. What intrigues me most about passion is that it’s really nothing more than an interest that takes over; our passions make us feel great, make us feel worthy of status, and above all make us unique. However, how does one lose passion for something? All too often we enter careers that we think we will love and enjoy, only to turn around and either change paths completely; or end up hating our original passion. Why is that? What happens to us? I strongly feel often times it’s our work environments. To me, there is little doubt that humans as a species can do anything we put our minds to. There are some really gnarly jobs out there and there are people who love doing them. My theory is that it’s not really so much what we do, but the environment we do it in. Here are my three signs you’ve lost passion for your career, or if you’re a victim of your working environment.

 

Low Energy – When you come home from a job you once loved, and feel absolutely drained you know something is up. But what? When we are fatigued, stressed, and anxious our bodies are telling us there is an imbalance in the force. Since I spend probably 90% of my time working I can usually relate any change or feelings of imbalance back to work. When feeling drained take a deep breath and meditate on it. Ask yourself why are you feeling drained? If it’s a deadline, or a tough boss or client, it’s your work environment not your passion that needs to change. How do you change your work environment, preferably without quitting? Communicate. Share with your clients or coworkers that you’re burning out and are going to take it easy on yourself the next few days. Schedule vacation days and personal days, above all shut off your phone and relax! You deserve to take some time for yourself!

 

Outside Forces – I think at one time or another I’ve heard from every friend of mine in the teaching profession that they were considering a career change. It wasn’t until I really sat down and thought about it, that I really understood what teaching as a profession is up against; a lot of outside forces. Whether it’s administration, parents, or children there are a lot of outside forces that can affect how your day can go. I think many times people get disappointed when they mistake a passion for a position. What I mean by that is we all get excited when we start a job or career but when something turns out to not be the way we thought, or want it to be, we start to question our motives and why we even tried in the first place. Outside forces are always going to happen whether in personal or professional life. The only thing we can control is how we react to them. Don’t blame your passion or motive, look inward and think of ways your passion might be salvageable in your current environment.

 

Meet Your Needs – Needs are what drive our passions. We might have a need to help others or serve, a need for ourself to have a high paying job to ensure financial security, or a need to create value for others; our needs drive our passions. I don’t believe any teacher or firefighter would choose such that career because they absolutely hate people and never want to help… it’s the exact opposite; they want to influence, save, and impact. When feeling really down on your career it’s so important to look at what need isn’t being met by your career. Here’s the tricky part: Needs change! Your needs at 25 when you first started your career might be completely different than the needs of you now. I would suggest to sit down with yourself and do some self reflection. Think about not only what you want out of life, but what you out of your career; often times the same needs we like to be met in our personal lives carry over to our professional careers.

 

Conclusion – Falling out of love with our careers is tough; but before we jump to conclusions after having a rough day really sit back and analyze the environments we subject ourselves to. Remember in the right environment anyone can do anything! Really take time to connect to the needs that you want to meet and always re evaluate your goals both personally and professionally. It’s a wonderful way to check in with yourself and continue your personal growth. What do you think? Do you think a bad work environment can take away someone’s passion? Do you have any tips on how someone can rekindle their passion? Let us know in the comments below!

3 Steps You Can Take To Advise Yourself Through College

“Adapt what is useful, reject what is useless, and add what is specifically your own.” -Bruce Lee

 

Ever wonder why peer advisement for college courses isn’t more of a thing? I do. I never really thought much of it until I went to go schedule my classes for my last semester of college. Me, being the ambitious guy I am, wanted to take 18 credits, stack my schedule, and pretty much hightail it out of college. The classes I needed to take however, needed to be approved by my advisor; a professor of mine. As I was sitting across from my professor I had all my courses and a checklist laid out: electives? Met. Gen Ed’s? Met. Credits needed to graduate? Shy by 18 credits. My advisor looked down at the classes I lined up that I wanted to take, looked up at me, looked back down at my list, sighed a little, and then said “why take so many credits? Why not take less credits and take some next semester? I mean what’s another semester, right?” The last sentence he said penetrated my scull, and immediately I made the connection. “What’s another semester!?” I thought to myself, “another five thousand dollars, is what another semester was.” Needless to say I went on to take my 18 credits (6 classes) and pulled a B or better in each of them. Here are my three steps you can take to advise yourself through college, without an advisor:

 

Pick Your Classes – I know typically when we think of educational institutions, business isn’t the first thought that comes to mind. Honestly the institution I attended was a non profit. Yet, I realized that college professors do not take into account the student’s financial situation. In my case there’s a reason I wanted to bust my butt to finish up with college; money. I didn’t want to pay for another semester of books and tuition. To this day I think that having college professors who are paid from the tuition you pay, and advise you for the classes you should take, is a bit of an inside job. So how do you get around this? I know in my situation my classes did need to be approved by my advisor, but I pretty much got to call the shots. If you have a decent GPA and know you can handle the work and courses you want to take. I say go for it.

 

Know Your Requirements- I had another really great experience with advisement that I’d love to share. Majoring in both economics and history my university would offer courses that could count towards both majors (#score) So when I saw a class that said Economic History and was advised to take it, I jumped on it! I mean what could go wrong. Well… essentially everything. So it turns out the course wouldn’t be accepted by the business college to go towards my economics degree, and would just count towards my history credits; not exactly what I was hoping for. Yet, after the smoke cleared there was a valuable lesson. Advise yourself. Especially if you are picking up majors in different areas of study, do not count on communication between different colleges within the university. So how do you advise yourself? Online you can find all of your course requirements for any majors and minors that you’d like to pick up. When scheduling or viewing available classes be sure to have a checklist on what requirements you need to take each class. After picking out your classes for the semester go to your advisor and get your selections approved (*I’m sure this process is different in all institutions, so double check what the process is for your college). By you taking on the responsibility you’re assuring yourself your advisement is done right, and at the same token taking the responsibility off the advisor who might not be as educated in the realm of advisement as you might think.

 

Peer Advisement – I know the university that I attended did not offer peer advisement, but I certainly hope this changes. One of the most useful tools I utilized while advising myself was asking my peers. The great thing about college courses is that there are tons of people who are in different levels of their college careers. You might have seniors and freshman in the same classes. I was quick to find a group of students who I had multiple classes with and asked them what their next moves were, and I remember even sitting down with some going over my own schedule. If colleges aren’t utilizing peer advisement I’m not sure what they are waiting for. It was an excellent way to network, and get better information on what professors and courses I should take.

 

Conclusion – “So what’s another semester?” You tell me. With a generation drowning in student debt I would make the assumption if another semester could be avoided it would be appreciated both personally and financially by the student. Remember while advising yourself to do your homework. Make sure you know and understand your requirements, prerequisites, and always be sure to put yourself out there to your peers. The work alone in college can be challenging enough, but sometimes you need to step up and make your own luck; something that in my life, proved to be immensely beneficial. What do you think? Do you think professors should advise students on what classes they should take? Do you attend an institution where peer to peer advisement is a thing? Let us know in the comments below! I’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions!

Three Not So Obvious Interviewing Tips

“Charm was a scheme for making strangers like and trust a person immediately, no matter what the charmer had in mind.” – Kurt Vonnegut

 

It’s been awhile since I’ve wrote a blog and I’m certainly due. A recent conversation with a friend of mine jarred my senses about interviewing and the interview process. Everywhere you look I feel the same approach is being said: be strong and confident, bring two or three copies of your resume with you, and of course have your resume memorized to the tee, blah, blah, blah. But there is so much more behind what goes on in an interview. Trust me, I’ve been on countless interviews and it wasn’t until I started to think of some non conventional ways of interviewing, did it finally sink in. Take a look at my top 3 not so obvious interviewing tips, I hope you find them as useful as I did when interviewing:

 

Double Down On Your EQ – There are still many people (including interviewers) who have no idea what EQ is. EQ stands for emotional intelligence. Ever hear the saying “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know” well your EQ is responsible for “who ya know.” It’s the ability to tap into not only your emotions but read the emotions of other people. When you are interviewing, pay attention to the interviewer’s body language. Are they sitting back? Are they on the edge of their seat? What ever they are doing with their body language mimic just that; you may do this without even realizing it. However EQ isn’t just about mimicking body language; it’s about listening. When you are on an interview I always like to take a 80/20 approach. Where the interviewer does 80 percent of the talking and I talk for 20 percent of the time. Of course it’s tough to hold back nerves but being able to listen and respond accordingly is a big part of any position

 

Dive Into Your Roots – Now I’m not exactly an anthropology guru but there are some deep seeded traits all humans have. The number one thing to realize when interviewing are that all interviewers are 100% human. What does this mean? Well it means you need to establish who has the dominant upper hand in your relationship with the interviewer. Look at it this way: For a moment pretend you’re a chimp (I know what you’re thinking, hear me out) you are now entering a new chimp tribe that you want to become a part of. In order to get into that tribe the alpha’s henchmen (the interviewer) must approve of you. So what are you going to do to make them like you? You are going to play the part of the submissive chimp. Let the interviewer guide the conversation, speak in a calm slow voice. To some, this might seem incredibly natural. To naturally dominant people it might be tough to play this part. Understand you’re joining a new tribe and once you are part of the new tribe your journey to become alpha (if you want to become alpha) can begin.

 

Show Your Superpower – If you’re like me, you really hate talking about yourself. When someone asks me what I’m good at (#doeseatingcount?) I usually don’t reply with confidence. However, I’ve recognized a few super powers in myself; work ethic, humility, and empathy are my biggest powers that I over emphasize on any interview. What are yours? Recognize your superpowers, tune into them, and then use them to your biggest advantage during an interview. Note being great at pivot tables isn’t really a super power (I mean I guess it could be?) but really dive deep into yourself and think what excites you or what keeps you going. Think of specific traits that separate you from every other candidate out there and and why you are the best candidate for the position. Use those super powers to leverage yourself. I’d love to hear what some of your super powers are, and how you’re going to use them to drive yourself forward!

 

Conclusion – I hope these tips have helped you identify ways that you can make yourself stand out in a non conventional way during your next interview. Keep in mind interviewing is nothing more than becoming a part of another tribe. Whether it’s friends, meeting a significant other’s family, or on the job search we’ve all been interviewed before. Tap into your superpowers and share your personal tips, successes, and experiences with the community!

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!