Blog

Category: Best Advice

Finding Happiness Within Each Work Day

Filed under: ambition, Attitude, Behavior in the Workplace, Best Advice, Career Advice, Happiness, motivation, Professional Development

One of my mom’s favorite stories to tell us as children was the tale of the traveler and the three bricklayers.

In the story, the traveler meets the bricklayers, who are hard at work, and asks them what they’re doing.

The first man responds, “I’m laying bricks.”

The second man responds, “I’m building a church.”

The third man responds, enthusiastically, “I’m building a cathedral!”

Despite each of the bricklayers having the exact same job, their subjective experience varied significantly.

There’s a great takeaway from this parable. When we can see how what we’re doing fits into the whole—when we’re aware that each metaphorical “brick” we’re laying is contributing to something greater—we feel happiness and fulfillment.

And just like that enthusiastic bricklayer, we too can actively seek to find meaning in our work. The “why” behind what we’re doing isn’t always obvious or inherent, but it’s there, trust me.

A recent survey of over 2,000 American professionals across 26 industries found that employees experience more satisfaction at work when their jobs feel meaningful. The same survey found that raises and promotions are more common among employees who find their work meaningful; these workers also tend to be harder working and more productive.

These findings leave little room for doubt that actively finding purpose in our work every day is the single best thing we can do for our careers. But knowing this and actually applying it are two different things. That’s why we need to learn to exercise a little something I like to call the “meaningfulness habit.”

How to Embrace the Meaningfulness Habit at Work

It works like this: Any time you’re starting a new task, take a moment to ask yourself, “Why am I doing this? What meaning can I give to this task?”

In High Performance Habits: How Extraordinary People Become That Way, author Brendon Burchard shares a similar practice called “Release Tension, Set Intention.” This involves embracing the transitions we experience throughout the day—going from eating to working, writing to attending a meeting, making a phone call to sending emails—as opportunities to release any tension we may be harboring and set an intention before going into a new task or environment.

Building on this habit, if we take a moment at each transition throughout the day to ask ourselves why we’re doing something before we do it, we can inject more meaning into the task at hand and make ourselves more motivated to complete it. This meaning could be something significant, such as furthering a cause you believe in or helping others in some way, or it could be something small, such as peace of mind or development toward a personal goal.

Not every task needs to be connected to world peace—it just needs to give you some positive feeling, identifiable with perhaps a slight smile, a sense of satisfaction, or a heightened ability to focus.

In some cases, like when you’re working on a particularly dull, repetitive task, the meaning you find may just be to keep your boss happy so you can keep your job and continue to support your partner or kids. And that’s OK!

Here are some other examples:

  • Why am I going to give this presentation? To help get more support for this project I believe in.
  • Why am I going to clean up my inbox? To reduce my stress levels and feel lighter before I go home.
  • Why am I going to fill out this spreadsheet? To keep track of our records so our team functions efficiently.
  • Why am going to attend this meeting? To support the people I work with and offer help where I can.

Even if we’re not tangibly building something—like the bricklayers—there can still be meaning behind it. It may be a stepping stone to something greater; it may be an opportunity to be an example to others; it may be a creative outlet; it may be a way to support our retirement. No reason is a bad one.

(If you’re still struggling, try reading this article on finding meaning in a meaningless job and this one on caring about more than just your title.)

Ultimately, whatever we’re doing, there’s a reason why (otherwise we wouldn’t be doing it). Which is good news because that means there’s always meaning (and happiness) to be found.

For the original article: The Muse.

How to Ace Your Phone Interview

Filed under: ambition, Best Advice, Career Advice, Communication, Confidence, Efficiency, Focus, Goals, Good Habits, Hiring, How To, Interviews, Job Market, Persistence, Personality, Productivity, Professional Development, Quick Tips, Success, Thought Leadership, Your Career

Hiring managers are more often opting to start the interview process over the phone in interest of saving time and resources. Some even choose to hire a candidate based solely on a phone screen. Although efficient, these interviews can sometimes put a candidate at a disadvantage because they don’t have the opportunity to impress the hiring manager with a face-to-face interaction. Gregg Gavioli, Managing Director of the Accounting & Finance division of Solomon Page, offers the following tips on how to improve your phone interviewing skills and increase the probability of being called back for an in-person follow up.

Be Prepared

Most individuals often underestimate the significance of a phone interview in the hiring process and therefore do not prepare adequately. This mistake can lead the hiring manager to believe you are indifferent or uninterested in the position. To avoid missing out on a job opportunity because of this, try out the following tactics:

  • Research the company: Be sure to learn everything you can about the organization and be prepared to talk about it.
  • Research the person you are speaking with: Always look up the person you are scheduled to speak with on LinkedIn, Google, and the company website, if applicable. Look for common interests that may be useful to bring up if the timing is appropriate.
  • Find a quiet place: Make sure you are in a quiet place where you will not be disturbed for the duration of the interview. If you cannot do the phone screen at your home, check with your local library to reserve a private room.
  • Confirm logistics of the call: Make sure you know the exact time of the call and who is calling who. If you plan to take the call from your cell phone, make sure you are in a place with good reception that won’t cut out during the interview. Test the location for the quality of the reception prior to the interview.
  • Reference your résumé: Be sure to have a copy of your résumé printed out or on screen in front of you to reference during your conversation.
  • Take notes: Keep a paper and pen nearby and jot down notes when the hiring manager is talking—refer back to them when it is your turn to ask questions.

Be Awake, Alert, and Enthusiastic

The downside to phone interviews is the interviewer cannot see your face and therefore your facial expressions. This can hinder them from getting an accurate gage of your interest in the position. To help, try the following:

  • Stand up: It is easier to project with our voices when we are standing. Standing will help you sound more engaged and articulate.
  • Smile: Your voice will sound more enthusiastic if you simply smile while you’re talking.
  • Wake yourself up: This is most relevant in early morning interviews, especially if you are not a morning person. Make sure to give yourself ample time to wake up and try drinking coffee, taking a shower, or exercising before your interview.

A phone interview is one of the initial stages in obtaining a new position, and can also be one of the most important. To ultimately stand out to employers be sure you are prepared and engaged—because what was once a job opportunity, can soon be a job.

By: Gregg Gavioli, Managing Director, Accounting & Finance division of Solomon Page

6 Ways to Use Your Fear of Failure to Succeed

Filed under: Best Advice, Confidence, motivation

Whenever you start striving to reach your goals or chase your dreams, that little voice turns up. The one that tells you you’re not good enough, or smart enough, or strong enough.

It’s your fear of failure and those lies it whispers can become truths if you listen long enough. No matter how hard you try and ignore it, it can stop you powering forward. The bad news is that it never really goes away. The good news is that according to Tony Robbins, some of the most successful people leverage fear in their lives.

Here are 6 strategies to help you stop your fear of failure sucking the life out of you, and use it to succeed:

1. Accept yourself

When you fight something you give it power, and trying to control your fear will make it stronger. Instead, when you feel it, close your eyes and look inwards. Use a little acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT). Stop judging and start feeling and observing what’s happening in your body.

Click here to read the rest on Addicted 2 Success >>

Career Tip For Millennials: Be Clear, Concise And Compelling

Filed under: Best Advice, Career Advice, Millennials

It is hard to be clear. It is hard to be concise. It is hard to be compelling. It is really hard to be all three at the same time! For that important presentation, however, mastering the art of being all three is essential to creating passionate support from your audience. It is the difference between “that sounds good; let’s review it and get back together” and “Wow, we need to do this now!

Be Clear. It is human nature to be vague, even when we try to be clear. Language is imprecise and often the words we use cannot completely describe the thought. And then there is our unspoken body language, which often confuses or distracts from our words. To further complicate matters, we often start with only a “rough idea” of what we want to say. Being clear starts with taking the time to fully think through exactly what we are proposing and why.

Click here to read the rest on Forbes >> 

Interviewing 101: Attire & Hygiene Checklist

Filed under: Best Advice, Good Habits, Interviews, Job Search

When interviewing, it’s important to present yourself in the best light possible. Appearing disheveled, unorganized, or unprofessional may hinder you in your job search. The following list highlights some general good practices for interview attire and hygiene. Every situation is unique; so use your best judgement to decide what makes sense for your situation.

Clothing + Accessories

  • Wear a clean, pressed, properly fitted (not too tight, short, or loose), neutral-colored suit. (TIP: Carry a stain removing stick if you plan on eating or drinking prior to your interview).
  • Check that your shirt is tucked in, buttoned, and clean. Ensure your tie is properly tied and your shirt is fully buttoned.
  • Avoid wearing anything overly revealing.
  • Wear clean, polished, and comfortable shoes. You may be invited on a tour of the office, be sure to choose shoes you can walk in with confidence.
  • Refrain from carrying too many bags with you; a purse or messenger bag is acceptable.
  • Avoid costume jewelry or anything overly flashy, as this could be distracting to an interviewer.
  • Consider covering tattoos and removing facial piercings, if possible. While tattoos are generally accepted, there is no way of telling how a hiring manager may feel about them. Avoid the risk of offending anyone by covering them for the interview.
  • Refrain from bringing coffee cups or any other beverage with you. Keep your hands free to shake hands with your interviewer.
  • Leave personal items, such as laptops, tablets, and smartphones in your bag. Do not take them out at any point, even if you are waiting in a room for the interviewer to arrive.

Personal Hygiene

  • Brush, floss, and use mouthwash prior to your interview. (TIP: If you are concerned about bad breath, carry a small bottle of mouthwash and use it in a coffee shop bathroom immediately before your interview).
  • Comb or style your hair in a professional manner; avoid dying your hair bright colors (blue, purple, pink, etc.) prior to starting a job search.
  • Clean and manicure your nails. If you choose to wear to nail polish, choose a neutral or clear color.
  • Keep your makeup natural.
  • Avoid wearing perfume or cologne. Your hiring manager may not like the scent you have chosen, have a previous association with that scent, or be allergic to it.
  • Wear deodorant. If you sweat when nervous, you may want to choose a clinical strength brand.
  • If traveling on a hot day, give yourself enough time to freshen up in a restroom prior to your interview.
  • Do your best not smoke prior to an interview. If you do, give yourself a few minutes after your cigarette before entering the building, then wash your hands and use mouthwash.
  • If you are chewing gum, dispose of it prior to your interview.

Ready to start your job search and gain more insight into acing your next interview? Join Solomon Page’s Talent Network and let us find you the BEST opportunities!

27 Highly Successful People Share the Best Career Advice for New Grads

Filed under: Best Advice, Career Advice, Millennials, Success

If clichés like “Follow your passion,” “Give 110%,” and “Be true to yourself” just aren’t cutting it for you, then we’ve got some fresh takes on how to get a head start on your career.

From “Don’t work too hard” to “Relax,” here’s some of the best — and often unconventional — advice for you from some really successful people:

Richard Branson: Never look back in regret — move on to the next thing

Richard Branson’s mother taught him that.

“The amount of time people waste dwelling on failures, rather than putting that energy into another project, always amazes me,” the Virgin Group founder and chairman told The Good Entrepreneur. “I have fun running ALL the Virgin businesses — so a setback is never a bad experience, just a learning curve.”

Click here to read the rest on Business Insider >>

Your Comfort Zone Is Killing Your Success

Filed under: Best Advice, Insights, Success, Your Career

Applying for jobs just out of college or grad school, comfort may have seemed like the ultimate goal: to find the perfect job that was a natural fit and have a long, fulfilling career there.

Forget all of that: comfort is the enemy. If things are easy, it’s time to shake up your career.

Remember when you were young, and you first attempted to write a bicycle? Were you scared at first? Absolutely. Was the end result worth it? I’m betting it was.

Hopping into a new job or career path is indeed a lot like that first ride on a bike: a heart-pumping, adrenaline-inducing risk– and the payoffs can be as meaningful as the life-changing freedom of mastering two wheels.

Getting out of your comfort zone is a must if you want to achieve extraordinary success. I like to think of it as a shift into your “strength zone”: identify, highlight and hone in on what makes you unique and lean into it so you stand out.

Click here to read the rest on Entrepreneur >> 

10 Tips For Adding Value By Showing Initiative

Filed under: Best Advice, Career Advice, Quick Tips, Your Career

In these tough times, it is absolutely critical you continue to demonstrate your value to your employer, clients, and colleagues on a daily basis. Adding value is THE buzzword for “safe-guarding” your career and propelling yourself to the top of your profession.

Showing initiative is a must-do in demonstrating your value at work. Initiative correlates strongly with personal achievement and professional development. It is the act of taking personal responsibility for your growth, and it is a clear sign of your capacity to develop as a leader.

So, what are you waiting for? Take action today; don’t wait to be asked – be proactive. Consider the following ideas for lighting the fire of initiative in your daily work life:

  • Always be alert for ways to make something work better. Make the suggestion.Volunteer to take ownership for getting it done.
  • Take it upon yourself be the first to adopt and implement the newest company policy.

Click here to read the rest on Careerealism >>

Become an Effective Problem Solver: Learn to Listen Better

Filed under: Best Advice, Career Advice, Insights, Quick Tips

The art of being a good listener can make you more likable and effective in the workplace. Too often people think that leadership and confidence are tied to directing conversations and taking command. Research on effective leaders shows the opposite is true. Great leaders are empathetic towards others and display finesse in harnessing others’ strengths. Knowing when to voice your views and when to hold back is an art and it requires the listener to have empathy.

Good Listening is tied to good problem solving

When you allow others to talk, you could begin to appreciate new ways of thinking. Considering different points of view could help you and your team think more broadly and critically about things to come up with better, more innovative solutions. If you want to become more effective in tackling problems at work, it pays to listen with more empathy.

Let go of the need to constantly express yourself

Research shows that active listening combined with empathy or trying to understand the others’ perspective is the most effective form of listening. If you’re always worrying about what you’ll say next in defense or rebuttal or you’re talking to much and forget what the other person said, it may hurt your  ability to interpret issues and create consensus with others. Active listeners don’t just hear words, they seek to understand what the other is saying so they can be helpful.

Click here to read the rest on Personal Branding Blog >>

 

Don’t Bring Your Boss Only One Solution To A Problem

Filed under: Best Advice, Career Advice, Good Habits, Quick Tips

Imagine you discover a significant problem at work; the kind you need approval from your boss to solve. So you work up a proposal, bring it to your boss, and wait for approval. You’re a problem solver, and that’s what problem solvers do, right? You find a problem and generate a solution.

But imagine that instead of giving your proposal the green light, the boss says “that’s a good try, but I’d like to go in a different direction.”

Now what? Many employees will be pretty irritated. (I’ve seen more than a few employees pout, backstab, become passive-aggressive, and even sabotage the boss’ solution). After all, you just created a smart proposal, with a good solution, and the only thing the boss had to do was say “yes” and let you do your job. On paper, this should have been a slam-dunk.

So what went wrong? First, we’ve got to recognize the natural desire to feel useful (something which bosses do share). Many bosses, like people in general, don’t want to be a rubber stamp; they want to put their own unique stamp onto a solution so that later they can reflect on this masterpiece and exclaim “yeah, I did that!”

Click here to read the rest on Forbes >>