There are times in all careers when problems arise. These problems can create stress, anxiety and worry. What is your first response or reaction when a problem arises? Do you address it or avoid it? Your response to a problem can greatly influence how you experience it. Looking a problem in its face can serve you well. In most situations, action by you is needed to make a problem go away.
You may naturally recoil at first from looking a problem in its face. Doing so is difficult, uncomfortable and you don’t know what the outcome will be. However, facing a problem is the start of getting rid of it. Mustering courage to face a problem serves you well. Be strategic and before you know it, the problem will go away thanks to action taken by you.
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What a time you are living in. There is so much confusion, uncertainty, stress and polarity. You don’t really know what’s next, do you? It is useless to pretend that you have control and know what the future will bring. The only way to make it through times like these is to stay close to yourself and what you are feeling and doing.
Take a moment today for some reflection. Note what is happening in your immediate world and the world-at-large. Are you doing ok? Is there anything you need? Taking this time may help you ground in the present and find your way to thrive during these times.
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Recently I listened to an episode of This American Life titled In Defense of Ignorance. In the episode, they discussed The Dunning–Kruger Effect, a cognitive bias wherein unskilled individuals suffer from illusory superiority, mistakenly assessing their ability to be much higher than is accurate. The theory was developed in experiments conducted by Dunning and Kruger of the department of psychology at Cornell University in 1999. The study was inspired by the case of McArthur Wheeler, a man who robbed two banks after covering his face with lemon juice in the mistaken belief that, because lemon juice is usable as invisible ink, it would prevent his face from being recorded on surveillance cameras.
Have you seen the Dunning-Kruger Effect in action in your workplace? You deal with all kinds of personalities in your workplace and need to use your emotional intelligence to remain effective. What do you do when you run into people with an unshakable sense of superiority? How do you keep doing your work well amongst them?
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1. What “button” of yours has the situation pushed? What is the source of your defensive feeling?
2. Is it a good idea to remove yourself from the situation for a time to center and assess before you respond?
3. If another person is involved, what does your emotional intelligence tell you is the most effective way to respond to them?
4. Is the situation even worth responding to or is it more effective to walk away?
5. What is the source of your defensiveness? What are you protecting yourself from?
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A recent article in the New York Times said, boldly, that job interviews are utterly useless! The article presented findings of a Yale School of Management study on how well free form unstructured job interviews allow an employer to get to know a candidate.
Whether you are interviewer or interviewee, how do you get the best results? As interviewer, do you need to be egalitarian and have a uniform structure for all candidates? As the interviewee, how do you let your best self shine through in an interview?
Workplace cultures, collaboration and interpersonal dynamics are complex. Perhaps you cannot know, only from an interview, if a candidate or organization is a good fit. Recognizing that an interview is a simple approach to a complex decision may be a starting point in seeking additional methods for your hiring decisions.
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When you deny that something exists, you take a risk. Consciously or unconsciously, you may feel safer in denial, but that does not change the reality of a situation.
It is tempting to stay in denial. Sometimes you do not even realize that you are there. Certain situations are hard to face, such as when you have a conflict with someone who has influence over your future, you have something difficult to tell a colleague or there is something you are doing that you know is not good for you, but will be hard to change.
When you are in denial, part of you is asleep. You are blocking out reality. This cannot help you and you risk suffering consequences that you are not ready for. Sometimes, it can take a while before you realize you are in denial. However, once you do, it is in your best interest to face what is there and to move on.
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When something “hooks” me, either in a good way or bad, I find it useful to ask myself “does it matter?” The reason I do this is that some experiences and situations can knock me off balance and my response can be out of proportion to what is happening.
The next time you have an experience that creates a strong reaction, try asking yourself does it matter? Doing so allows you to gain perspective and respond from a place of power. Asking the question centers you, allowing you to get through experiences in control of yourself and to avoid creating messes you have to get out of later.
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Being busy seems to be a badge of honor these days. This is worth examining. Staying busy because it looks good does not have much merit. What matters is accomplishing what you set out to do, being efficient and staying out of overwhelm.
Working harder is not the only key to success. It may be a part of it, but equally important are having the skills you need, maintaining stamina by staying balanced and being smart about the goals you set.
This month, take a look at how busy you are. Are you productive? Are you getting where you want to go? Are you performing at your maximum? Being busy is not an end in itself. Nor is it a badge of honor. If you need to, let being busy go.
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Good skills training is provided by many organizations. Usually, training is in the form of courses presented over several days, in-depth online courses or in-house training. Keeping your skills up with the training your organization provides or training that you seek out as an entrepreneur advances your career.
There is another level to this, however. Efficient, self-directed training enhances your skills and keeps them top-notch. I take training courses offered by thought leaders I resonate, with, organizations that are expert in marketing services and coaching and customer service organizations. I know where my skills need polishing and keep an eye out for courses that will help me do so. Have you heard of Skillshare? They offer over 15,000 free and low-cost classes in a variety of topics including business, technology and design. I like their approach. They are creative, efficient and expansive. Lynda.com is another site that you may already know of. This site offers over 5,000 courses in software, business, design, technology and other areas. If you want to learn or advance in using a certain software, they are particularly good for that.
It’s not just about keeping up the skills you need in your current job. Allow yourself to take some training courses relating to your interests and passions. They spark ideas, develop new skills and can advance your career in ways you may not now imagine.
How far are you reaching now to advance your career? Reaching puts you ahead of the crowd, gets you beyond the status quo and keeps you growing. There are many ways to reach. Here are a few:
• Identify a skill that can use improving and take a class, find a mentor or employ another way to improve that skill.
• Identify a career goal that stretches you and go for it.
• Ask someone you trust what he or she thinks you can improve relating to your emotional intelligence and work to do so.
• Pick a personal goal that stretches you and go for it. For example, running a marathon or entering a speech contest. Personal improvement has a positive effect on work performance.
Reaching serves you. Find something to reach for in the next month and be the best you can be!
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