How Just 1 Conversation Impacted My Life

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Photo by Greg Rakozy

It hit me like a brick over the head this morning…

Actually, I’ll start from the present and work my way backwards. As some of you may know, I had been struggling with my previous career choice for awhile. I was in a technical role that caused me a great deal of stress, didn’t feel right, and made me feel inadequate.

I had been telling myself, and everyone who would listen, that my brain isn’t wired to be in a technical related role. I believed in my very core that this was the reason for all of my stress and unhappiness.

But for some reason this morning I woke up and recalled a conversation I had with my high school science teacher. I had enrolled in Human Biology because it would keep my options for post-secondary education open. But she strongly advised against it. She felt I wouldn’t succeed in this class and since I had already fulfilled my science requirements for my diploma, I should stick with courses I could pass. AHA! 

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not blaming her for anything. Her intentions were good, she was trying to save me from what she felt would be failure. She simply made an observation, based on her professional opinion, and I chose to buy into it. Without a second thought, I switched into a different course and started telling myself that I’m not good in science. I carried that belief throughout high school, post-secondary, and for the first part of my career.

However, recalling that 1 conversation taught me 2 powerful life lessons. First, I need to question my other limiting beliefs and where they stem from. And secondly, there’s a difference between “can’t” and “won’t”. I’m not interested in science and engineering, so therefore, I won’t continue to pursue a career in it, but I’ve already proven to myself, that I can, if I want to.

Are you a cruiser or the captain?

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Photo by Katherine McCormack for Unsplash

Since finishing college, I was just cruising along in my career. I’d apply, get an interview, sign the offer, and go to work Monday through Friday. This worked well for me for years. I had pursued higher positions, earned decent money, and enjoyed the friendships I’d made along the way.

However, something changed in the past few years. I craved more. I would wake up Monday through Friday with dread. But I wanted to wake up looking forward to my day. I wanted to feel meaning and purpose. 

As a side note, meaningful work looks different for everyone. Some people want to be doctors because they love healing, some want to be teachers because they love educating. But to some, it could mean they are building a family’s new home or cleaning a hotel room so the next guests will enjoy their stay. Only you can decide what your career means to you. 

I decided it was time to own my career. Be the captain of my career-ship.

But to be honest, I hadn’t given too much thought to what my purpose even was. Funny enough, I had been resume writing and career coaching, to some degree, since college and enjoyed it, yet, hadn’t even thought to pursue it. But once I realized how much I love helping people with their careers and learned from personal experience why career management is so important, I was driven. I completed two certifications, and continue participating in professional development. I started seeking the help of coaches and mentors that could help me get to where I was aiming. Now I have the pleasure and the opportunity to help others figure out their purpose and the steps they can take to pursue it.

Being the captain of your career requires work, analyzing yourself and your goals,and is an ongoing process. But it’s worth it.

Are you a cruiser or the captain of your career-ship?

What’s Your Gig?

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Photo courtesy of Ben White for Unsplash

With the rise of the gig economy and the shareconomy, many people express their concerns about how they will stay afloat financially. They like the idea of full-time, permanent positions that offer steady paycheques, group pension plans, and benefits.

But as this article suggests, these new trends don’t have to be scary. It can be the doors to a world of opportunity. I, personally, like the idea of being able to better balance life with work, do meaningful work, telecommute, and now more than ever, this is possible. Technology and the internet mean we are always connected. The gig economy also means that we are going to have to keep learning and developing our skills.

The world of work most likely won’t revert back to what it was. We’re living in different times, where the jobs now, could be obsolete in a few short years. But this doesn’t have to be a bad thing. We have resources easily accessible at our fingertips that gives us the power to pursue the things we want, when we want.

What’s your next gig?

 

 

 

Being Me…

Be you! Those are the best words of advice I can give you.

A hard life lesson I recently learned is that being yourself feels a lot better than being who you think others want you to be, or who your loved ones push you to be.

I think I know myself well, I’ve done a lot of personal reflection, I know what drives me, my strengths, my weaknesses, and what drains my energy. So when I realized that the job I had started wasn’t a good fit for me, it took a lot out of me. It was highly technical, and I’m an emotional person. I love helping people, whether it be in their careers or personal lives. I’m also an introvert at heart, who still loves and needs social interaction in small groups or one-on-one, but also needs my own space to regroup.

I didn’t want to leave that job because I felt I would be disappointing a lot of people around me, so I stayed. I tried to work harder, I studied more, asked more questions, and tried to figure things out on my own. I tried to convince myself that as long as I kept saying that I could do it, I could. I struggled constantly because I didn’t feel fulfilled at the end of the day, and instead felt mentally and emotionally drained. If you’ve been there, you know the feeling. It eats away at your spirit, your wellness and confidence.

One day, I came to the realization that I had been the one responsible for keeping myself stuck. But on the flip side, I was also the one that had the power to change it too. It was a very tough decision. I laid awake for many nights going over every possible scenario. But I knew I was postponing the obvious. I made up my mind that I had to move on. At first, I felt uncertainty, then grief, then acceptance.

Now I know it was the right decision. I can pursue work that I’m strong at, that brings me meaning and where I’m motivated and driven. I feel more empowered and confident than I have in the past few years. I believe in myself and won’t make the mistake of ignoring who I really am again.

If you are living your life in the way that a loved one, your boss, your friends, even strangers are shaping for you, find the courage to just be you.

Who are you being right now? Leave me a comment.

Doors of Opportunity

In the famous words of Alexander Graham Bell, “When one door closes another opens. But often we look so long, so regretfully upon the closed door that we fail to see the one that has opened for us.”
Are you staring at a closed door and obsessing over it, only to be missing other opportunities in the meantime?
I recently found myself in this situation.  Normally, I shake myself off and keep moving forward in life, looking and creating more opportunities but this one weighed heavily.  I felt discouraged and disappointed about myself and the situation.  But as bad as I was feeling, my thoughts about the situation was just fueling the fire within.  Here’s the process I use, at these times, in order to move forward:
Name the feelings: I had to really think about what was bothering me about the situation and name each feeling one by one.  At the time, I didn’t have a pen and paper handy, so I made a mental list of all of the emotions I was experiencing.
Analyze: Are the emotions based on facts or have you given what has happened a meaning based on your own perception, thoughts or self-doubt?
Look for the lessons or opportunities: Instead of dwelling on what isn’t, think of what is.  What lessons can you take away and apply moving forward?  In my case, I realized that I needed to learn to be more authentic and true to who I am.  The door might be closed to that one opportunity but which ones are you now missing while pining away for that lost one?
Remember to think abundantly: There are always more opportunities, you just have to find them!

Writing a Strategic Resume Part 1

Writing a strategic resume takes planning and work.  There is no “one size fits all” approach and different rules may apply to different industries and situations.  There are so many articles out there about formatting, length, etc. The purpose of this series is to go over different components of the resume but to start, I just wanted to go over some key considerations that apply to your overall resume.
1. Know your audience. Your resume is to prove you can succeed in the role and to move you further along the hiring process. When writing your resume, imagine being the hiring manager with hundreds of resumes to sort through.  Keep in mind that on average a recruiter initially scans the resume for less than ten seconds before making a decision to keep reading or to disregard a resume.  Make your resume engaging and compelling.
2. Be honest and authentic.  Don’t over-exaggerate or embellish your qualifications or skills.  Let the employer know what you have to offer and how you will contribute to the organization. Be true to yourself.
3. Customize every resume you send out.  There really isn’t one generic resume that will fit every single posting.  Take the time to connect your skills to the individual posting and position.
4. Proofread. Read your resume multiple times to ensure there are no spelling or grammatical errors.
These are just general rules to keep in mind while you are writing your resume.  Stay tuned for more tips and hints on writing an effective resume.

Why are you doing what you’re doing?

Did you consciously choose the industry or role you are currently in?
After I finished college, I applied to any position that I felt confident I could do and felt qualified for.  I really had no specific field or career path that I wanted to pursue and I really wasn’t even sure what a Business diploma could do for me.  I just kind of landed in media, but I hadn’t had any kind of plan. Luckily, I enjoyed my role and the environment. However, I started to realize that a lot of my friends and family weren’t as lucky, and had ended up in positions they didn’t like.  Because of my inquisitive nature, I started exploring why people pursued the paths they did.  Some had been persuaded by their parents or spouses that a certain position would secure their financial future, while others liked the idea of a prestigious title, and a few, like me, hadn’t thought to plan their career paths. If you have a nagging feeling that you are meant to do something more, don’t ignore it. Instead, start moving in the direction that brings your life meaning and fulfillment.
If you aren’t sure how to make a living with passion, here are some steps you can take:
  1.  Get clear on your passion.
  2. Set goals.
  3. Make a plan to move you closer to where you want to be.
  4. Start taking action.
  5. Seek help and support when needed.
Imagine looking back on your life when you are 90 years old, are you living your life the way YOU would have wanted to? Are you living a passionate life?