By CAREEREALISM-Approved Expert, Kris Parfitt Considering a career change? Thinking of going for that promotion? Looking for a job? Something is motivating you to consider your options, but have you asked yourself the one question which once answered really identifies what would happen if you didn’t pursue the change? That question is simple in content yet profound in context: What do you have at stake? In other words, what do you have to lose in your life if you do NOT seek this transition? I ask this question of all my clients and it causes them to pause and really think about what aspect of their life they are putting on the line. One of my clients said she had her health at stake. She knew if she didn’t change some aspects of her position at work her health issues would increase. As a mid-level manager she worked 60+ hours a week, was continually stressed and ate mostly from the vending machines or nearby fast-food restaurants. She liked her company and career direction so didn’t want to leave or change careers. However, she couldn’t go on working at the same level of intensity without jeopardizing her well being and life balance. This may be a common experience for many people, but it’s a valid reason to seek change in our lives rather than the change happening to us – like a heart attack, diabetes, or the inability to work at all. Regardless of our circumstances we all have something important to our vitality at stake that if we did not pursue making a difference we would lose. What do you have at stake? That which if it were lost, given up, sacrificed, could have a debilitating effect on your life or immediate future? Enjoying this article? You could get the best career advice daily by subscribing to us via e-mail. Let’s take a look at the change you are considering: Is it a career change? Promotion? Employment? Choose one for this exercise and ask yourself the following questions: 1. What is the impact your current situation has on you? 2. What do you get out of not doing anything about it? 3. If you did nothing about your situation, what would happen? 4. What is missing, that which if it existed, would make a difference in your situation? 5. What would be the result if you put what was missing into the picture? The client whose health was at risk considered these questions and the answers made her very aware of what she had at stake, which then motivated her into action. The impact of her current situation was on her health, fitness and partnership eligibility. What she was getting out of not doing anything was the “bliss” of being in denial and ignoring the issues which was really a way not to be responsible for herself or her future outcomes. If she didn’t do anything she risked becoming a diabetic, obese and as she put it, pitched out of the dating game. What was missing for her was courage and a personal belief she could have a different yet fulfilling position at her company and better health. She saw if she reached out to her friends, coworkers and spoke to her boss about her condition and her future goals, she could make a difference in her current situation. We worked together on a Well Being Campaign that included her creating a job description for herself that met the needs of her responsibilities yet gave her more life balance. Together we rehearsed what she would say to her boss about this new position by creating a powerful context for her to share, from such her boss would be inspired to help her make a difference. Also, she started talking to family members and friends about joining a weight-loss program with her. She knew if she had support and people to hold her accountable for what she said she wanted, she would be more motivated to lose weight and reach her targeted health goals. She reinvented herself as a courageous woman who believed in her personal happiness. She talked to her boss about her idea for a new position and the impact her current position was having on her life and health. He was so impressed with her presentation and enthusiasm he adjusted his budget to create the new position for her and gave her a raise! Also, to date she has lost 50 pounds and recently posted a profile on a popular online dating site. Originally when asked, she said her health was at stake. However, when she distinguished what she would lose if she didn’t address her weight she saw her job, her future in a long-term loving relationship and more importantly her integrity to herself. Any of these could have been what she had at stake and any of these would have shifted regardless of what she changed. Taking some aspect of our life we have at stake will profoundly change the direction of many areas of our lives, guaranteed, it will change anything in our lives to the good, to the dynamic, to the fulfilling. She created a goal which in return provided her a future to live into. Having a future we declare creates a fulfilled life – thus beginning a brand new playing field for our game of life, career and relationships. By answering the questions about what she had at stake and what could happen if she didn’t do anything compared to what could happen if she were in action to change her situation, she was motivated to make a difference in her situation. She didn’t want the results she would get if she continued to do nothing. Through the coaching she fully distinguished she is ultimately responsible for her happiness and alone was, and continues to be, her main motivator. Did you enjoy this article? Read more articles by this expert here.Kris Parfitt is a career strategist and leadership branding coach who is committed to finding your roadblocks and moving them out of the way so you can have the career success you want. Kris has over twenty years experience in leadership, counseling, and training positions all of which have provided an exceptional education which allows her to be a dynamic coach, one that focuses on inspiring you to acknowledge and express your extraordinary abilities and potential. Connect with Kris via LinkedIn or follow her on Twitter.
8 Ways You're Being SHUT OUT Of The Hiring Process
1-hour workshop to help job seekers figure out what's getting them tossed from the hiring process
September 28, 2022
Are you terrified of screwing up a job interview? Does the thought of writing a cover letter horrify you? Are you scared to network with others? What do you even say, anyway? If you're struggling to overcome your job search fears, this live event is for you.
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December 02, 2022
Work is important to a lot of us. And we all have egos. The trick is to balance our own view of work and success so that the ego remains a helpful source of support and not a tyrannical master. One is the road to relative contentment, the other to continued misery. Have you struck the balance?
We particularly need to know we have the balance as close to right (for us and others at work—everywhere!) especially given the likely turmoil and stress employees, colleagues, leadership, and ourselves may feel because of the ongoing uncertainty surrounding us right now.
Why do I even write about ego and why should any of us in business care about it?
To understand the influence of our own ego at work, let's first get a working definition of what ego is. Oxford Languages defines ego as, among other things, ‘the part of the mind that …is responsible for reality testing.’
So, what does reality testing look like on the ground? How do we implement reality testing at work for us?
Our Internal Rule BookBigstock
Through a rule book. Our own internal rule book. An individual set of rules we each carry around inside our heads for how we deal with the world including at work.
Everyone has their own internal rule book. Your job is to make sure that your internal rule book continues to support and serve for the benefit of all including your stakeholders, your colleagues, your team, your company, and yourself at work.
We all have this internal rule book for all parts of our lives. So, our internal rule book pervades our waking moments including at work.
Almost from birth we acquire, adopt, and develop our own set of rules which drive what we expect and therefore what we impose on others and ourselves as a way to decide what is going on—that is we are reality testing.
For instance, simple rules picked up through experience like if you pay a baker for a bread roll you expect them to hand over a bread roll. If they don’t hand over a bread roll then you start reality testing. In this example, where the baker didn’t hand over the bread roll as you expected (rule about exchange) you might immediately reality test the situation by asking ‘Did I hand over the money to the baker’ or ‘Did he hear my order correctly?’
You see how the rule book works—it's reality testing what you expected. You expected a bread roll after handing over the money (a rule about exchange), yet the baker didn’t hand over a bread roll. So, you try to understand what happened given your rule explains there ‘should’ have been an exchange. You could call this sort of rule a ‘standard rule’ as many people follow it. In this scenario, the rule of exchange is a standard rule because it is widely followed and understood.
So, applying the rule book to work, if you delegate to someone and then they don’t meet your expectations...here is where things can get interesting. Remember our internal rule book guides and drives our expectations.
Your rule book is active 24 hours, 7 days a week in your subconscious, whether you’re at work or not, and whether you are always aware or not. The application of our rules often happens on ‘autopilot.’ Remaining mindful of how you apply your rules will increase your likelihood of successful interactions and activities at work and in general.
Because being mindful means you are in that very moment, live, and you are adjusting to the actual, live situation and the interaction or person in that very moment. Rather than applying the rule when it may have first formed for you.
Remember, right now, people may be in a heightened state of stress for other reasons than the immediate interaction with you. So make sure your rule is the best possible fit, in the moment, to that situation and people.
This mindful assessment of the ‘best fit’ of your rule in the moment will lead to better, healthier, more successful interactions and outcomes the more you can do it.
Remember: a negative emotion you may feel during the day at work, with others or during an activity you are doing—e.g., reading a work email, for instance (anger, frustration, annoyance)—is a pretty good indicator that someone or something has tripped over one of your rules.
This is then a split-second opportunity for you to grab hold of how you are feeling, and then recognize that it’s actually because of a rule you have in play. You then have the immediate opportunity to do something potentially different to how you would ‘normally’ react.
This can lead to a different (and possibly) better outcome for you and the person or situation than might otherwise have been the case.
Let’s continue with the example mentioned of delegating work to someone. You have more choices in this latter example scenario of delegating work to someone which is of course more complex than a simple transaction of buying a bread roll—obvious right?
What may be less obvious is that you and the person you delegated to don’t just have standard rules (i.e., widely followed and understood what is expected). We all have non-standard or individual internal rules as well. In other words, everyone has a standard set of rules that are widely followed and understood by others and non-standard rules where expectations between people might vary.
It’s also worth thinking about how you apply your rule book in say, difficult work situations like distressed projects and teams (see "6-Point Checklist For Taking Over A ‘Distressed’ Project Or Team" for more on this).
Let’s say in our delegation example you explained to your colleague that she keeps you in the communication loop on the progress of work you delegated to her. Let’s say she doesn’t copy you in on an update email and you find out from a colleague instead how the work is progressing.
This is the second time you have found out indirectly rather than directly from the person you delegated to. Do you apply a rule that says this colleague cannot be trusted or is slack or absent-minded? Or could it be that your rule instead interprets your colleague’s behaviour as they are purposely leaving you out of the loop.
What if her behaviour of leaving you off the update email is actually because she is continuously overworked and doing her very best and slips up sometimes because of how busy she is?
Take your pick of how you respond in this scenario.
Your response is driven by your internal rule about what you expect—in this scenario, what you expected when you delegate work to someone. So, when your expectation wasn’t met, your internal rule book kicks in (to reality test) and then reacts by judging the situation (and the person).
Remember that our rule book is built over time and evolves through observation, our own experiences, as well as our beliefs—a topic for another (many!) blog series.
How much you check, question, and validate your own internal rules that you use and apply to a given situation, such as the example above, will potentially influence your attitude and behaviour towards this person as well as similar scenarios in the future.
Tips To Make Sure Your Rulebook Is A Healthy, Balanced One:Bigstock
Ask yourself, ‘Do my rules...
- Serve me in regards to my work?’
- Serve my stakeholders including my team, direct reports, sponsor, and colleagues?’
- Place onerous hurdles that serve little purpose except to continually reassure me?’
- Need to be removed in some areas?’
- Hinder or support fast progress at work?’
- Need streamlining, changing, revision, updating, editing, or deleting?’
I’ve barely mentioned ego throughout this blog yet that’s where we started. We could spend a lot more than my 1200-word limit allows. So instead, I focused on a practical example of what is driven by our ego—the internal rule book.
At its most basic, our internal rule book is there to protect us and reassure us that we are in control as we deal with and decide what is going on around us at work (and beyond).
It’s important you place as much effort as you can muster into making sure, especially in today’s uncertain work environment, that the application of your rule book (i.e., in situations with stakeholders like colleagues, employees, or leadership) remains as balanced and unemotional as possible, no matter what is going on for you and your stress levels. Not an easy ask I realize—but I know you can do it!
The tips I provided aim to help you recognise and understand your own internal rule book, the one you apply at work especially, and help you ensure it remains supportive rather than one that drives unhelpful behaviours that can make things worse for you and those around you.
Remember the ultimate aim of our internal rules is to help not hinder.
Would love to hear about your internal rule books and how they serve you or how you review your rules regularly to make sure they continue to support you.
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In today's job market, your resume is the most important document you have to get your job application in the hands of the hiring manager. If you can't get your resume past the ATS, it doesn't matter how much experience or how good your cover letter is. That's why you need to be strategic and intentional about the words you include in your resume.
The Importance Of Powerful Resume Words
When a hiring manager is seeing the same old resume time and time again (which includes the cliché words and phrases such as "highly dedicated individual" or "great team player") you are guaranteeing that your resume will be tossed. Not only is it probably not optimized with the right keywords, but by taking up space with subjective statements, you're missing out on the chance to quantify your experience, skills, and accomplishments on your resume.
Poorly chosen words and clichéd phrases can destroy the interest of the reader. Powerful words, when chosen correctly, can have the opposite effect of motivating and inspiring the reader.
Here are the most powerful resume words you should use to stand out from the competition and increase your chances of getting hired...
Top 100 Powerful Resume Words
The next time you're writing your resume, be sure to include some of the powerful words above. Your job search depends on it!
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This article was originally published at an earlier date.
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