Category: Career Advice

Is someone watching me? (probably)

Filed under: Behavior in the Workplace, Career Advice, Decision Making, Good Habits

Would you approach your job at a fast food restaurant the same way you would at a Fortune 500 company? You should, because in both roles, you never know who might be watching how you’re doing your job and how important their impression of you will be to your career. I’ve worked in some valuable roles for some amazing employers throughout my career, but I picked up some of my most valuable habits early in my career by working long hours as an unpaid intern. You think you’ll pick up those valuable traits after you reach a comfortable point in your career?

No, you definitely won’t.

First of all, there’s no such thing as a comfortable point in your career – even if you make it to the top, your status will be so perilous there that you won’t be comfortable. You always have to struggle to get where you want to go in life. After you get to the top, you have to keep fighting to keep your spot up there. That’s not all bad as your struggles make you stronger and less likely to collapse when tested. But get used to the fight because it never stops.

The 5 Qualities of Successful Young Leaders

Filed under: Career Advice, Personality, Professional Development, Your Career

The best way to become an effective leader is to disregard it as a goal and instead focus on a learning journey that combines formal experiences in a workplace with selective experiences of your own making.

I recall in my early years that volunteering in different environments enabled me to test my capacity in unfamiliar circumstances with people from all walks of life. In many ways, these were far more enriching moments than my nine to five jobs provided me.

I began to learn the importance of exposure and reflection as a way to live a big life. Each time I exposed myself to a new situation, I knew I had learnt something valuable and I reflected on my response to it. This in turn kept redefining who I was and what I was capable of. I began to realise and continue to believe that we can all be borderless in our mindset if we keep testing our own capacity in different circumstances. It is my way of life.

Here are my five priorities for young people interested in becoming effective leaders:

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10 Simple Things Productive People Do Better (And So Can You)

Filed under: Career Advice, Efficiency, Good Habits, Productivity

Productive people appear to have the ability to do it all, but that’s only an appearance. The truth is they’ve figured out some important lifestyle habits, that while simple, most of us have not yet mastered.

Here are 10 simple things that productive people are doing better than you — at the moment:

1. Get enough sleep. Your body literally restores itself during sleep. In the four stages of a healthy sleep cycle, the first three are all dedicated to what is called Non-REM sleep and specifically act to restore the physical body. You know from experience what a bad night’s sleep feels like the next day. You feel slow, sluggish and foggy. Your brain isn’t firing on all cylinders. You body is craving carbs and sugar. You need to make sleep as important of a priority as your waking day and devote yourself to at least six hours of good sleep a night.

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4 Pieces of Career Advice You Should Never Take

Filed under: Career Advice, Professional Development, Success, Your Career

Think of the most successful people you know and the people you aspire to be like. Did they follow conventional wisdom? Did they walk well-worn paths? Most likely, the most successful people are also the ones who blazed their own trail and threw conventions to the wind.

But we’re still much too likely to listen to the same tired advice we’ve heard over and over again when it comes to our career. Oprah probably wasn’t following this kind of advice when she rose to prominence as a talk show host and tastemaker. Mark Zuckerberg clearly wasn’t following the maps left in career advice columns when he started Facebook wearing his signature hoodie.

The most successful people are those willing and able to think outside the box. So why are we still following the same career advice? Here are four pieces of advice you’ve probably heard over and over again, and why it might be time to hit mute:

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How to Own Your Talent, Ambition, and Success

Filed under: Attitude, Branding, Career Advice, Quick Tips

You need to own your – fill in the blanks: success, authority, confidence, power, compassion, status, role, product, influence, etcetera. Yet every time you hear someone use the idea of owning something – your talent, skill, ambition, commitment – they always say it as though what you need to “own” is self-evident but with little or no indication as to how.

I am willing to bet that most people who tell you to “own it,” if you ask them “How?” they would fill the air with nothing that can actually tell you what to do as they navigate their way past that treacherous “How?” as fast as they can.

“You need to own your…” carries with it a serious burden because it sounds really good if not essential to do, but when you try and can’t because you have no process for accomplishing such ownership you end up feeling like there’s something wrong with you.

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7 Ways to Achieve Work/Life Harmony

Filed under: Best Advice, Career Advice, Work-Life Balance

Establishing and maintaining a healthy work/life balance is something many of us aspire to but struggle to achieve. As my professional and personal lives progressed over the last 10 years, and my responsibilities grew, striving for balance felt increasingly like the wrong goal for me.

This notion came into sharper focus when Jeff Weiner introduced me to the idea of aiming for “harmony” rather than “balance” in life. “Balance” means a state of equilibrium, while “harmony” means agreement or a pleasing arrangement of parts. I love my work, but it pales in comparison to how much I love my family and personal life. These two parts of my life could never achieve balance because they are not of equal value to me. So rather than attempt to balance two inherently unequal parts, I’ve found the pursuit of a harmonious integration of those parts to be much more fulfilling. I now strive for harmony in my life, and here are a few techniques that have helped me achieve it:

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8 Things to Do During Your First Month at a New Job

Filed under: Behavior in the Workplace, Best Advice, Career Advice, Your Career

Congratulations, you’ve landed your first full-time job after graduation.

Now comes the hard.

College graduates’ first month on job sets the tone of their career, according to experts, which means they need to be proactive and put their best foot forward.

“It’s about the approach you take to your job — none of these are tasks, but attributes that you take on,” says Lynda Fraser, vice president of Human Resources Contract Division at Solomon Page Group. “It’s your behavior that will determine, ultimately, how successful you are.”

Setting and executing goals is key to career success at any level, but it’s particularly helpful for new workers.

“Don’t wait to shine,” says Nicole Williams, LinkedIn’s career expert. “As soon as you become a new hire, look for every opportunity to become ingrained in the company DNA. You’ll stand out as a star right away, and first impressions are so important.”

Don’t worry too much if mistakes happen at the start, just be sure to rectify the situation quickly. “There’s a bit of latitude and people do expect new hires to stumble in the first month — these can become teaching moments for the manager and the new employee,” says Mike Steinerd, director of sales recruiting at career website

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Eight Rules for Success at Work

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

We desire success at work and a satiating career. But what does it take to get there? In this article, I have jotted down traits that I have always adhered to. These work for me. These generic guidelines transcend industries and will help you too. If widely followed, they will also make the work environment a positive place for everyone.

  1. Be open-minded: All workplaces are not the same. So, it is best not to bring in rigid notions about your job, your team or your company. Instead, being open-minded allows you to imbibe the company culture and to successfully navigate through its dynamics. Observe, understand and quickly calibrate yourself to your new work environment.
  2. Learn: Boredom at a job typically sets in when you stop learning. Consistently strive to learn new skills and to apply them more efficiently. As Tennyson says, work “to strive, to seek, to find and not to yield.” This will keep you enthused and help you deliver more value for your organization.


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How to simplify your future

Filed under: Best Advice, Career Advice, Efficiency, Productivity

We live in a volatile world, so the future makes many people nervous, instead of excited. Here’s how to increase the odds your future will be bright:

Be generous and expert, trustworthy and clear, open-minded and adaptable, persistent and present.

I’d like to suggest that you commit that sentence to memory, and that you do your best to live by it.

Let’s break it down.

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Change from the Inside Out

Filed under: Career Advice, Good Habits, Personality, Social Impact

Is change coming at you from the outside in, or the inside out? My experience in working with top leaders from business, government and education on five different continents is that the majority of change comes to us from the outside in. For example, when a new law is passed, we have to make changes in order to comply with the new law. When a new competitor comes into our marketplace offering lower prices, we must change some aspect of how we do business. When a new technology comes out that changes customer behavior, executives inform the IT department that they must keep up with customers. When the boss changes corporate strategy, employees scramble.

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