Do More of What You Want By Saying No

2016-06-12_13-46-18It’s only by saying no that you can concentrate on the things that are really important.” Steve Jobs.

Steve Jobs knew  that saying no allows you to focus on what is important to you.  Yes, we are all so bogged down with our career “have to” tasks that we cheat ourselves of the “want to”.  And, the bad news is there will always be demands placed on us at work and at home that often distract us from getting the high priority items done.  Let’s also remember as kids we are taught to never say no.  However, to do more of what you want, you must re-learn how to say “NO” to the “have to.”

Think about all the things you do daily, weekly, that you feel you don’t want to do, but are still doing.  How can you break that cycle?  It isn’t easy.  Here are seven tips:

  1. Be aware. Take a sheet of paper and draw a line down the middle.  Label one side “Have To” and the other side “Want To”.  Capture your thoughts in both columns.  Does the “Have To” column overshadow your want to?  If it does, you must be feeling a lot of overwhelm and a great burden.  Work probably isn’t a lot of fun.  Awareness is the first step in making positive change.  Say Yes to self reflection.
  2. Ask the hard questions.  Why are you really doing this with such an obligation of “have to”?  How did you wind up doing this in the first place?  Have you become a master of “have to” and a novice of “want to”?  What would be different if you did say No?  Say Yes to being honest with yourself.
  3. Reframe the “Have To”. Some “have to” on your list are about survival.   For example, if you are working for monetary reasons and it is a necessity of life, then it probably needs to stay on the list.  However, your thinking around it could change – you are working to provide support to yourself and your family.   This makes the job more palatable.  Say Yes to family because they are really important.
  4. Be clear about your career plan. Ask whether the “have to” tasks are a part of a learning process in your career plan.  If they are, you may need to master the tasks and move on.  Say No once you excel at the tasks.
  5. Could you delegate it or dump it altogether.  What is it about the job that makes it feel like a “have to” burden?  An analysis of your work tasks might be in order to determine which activities you could delegate or dump to free up time to do what you love to do.  Say No if you can delegate or dump it.
  6. Learn the art of saying No.  Focus your work and personal life around your wants and make commitments to do them more.  That means having to say no to people in order to make time for the activities that you love or to spend more time with certain people and not others.  No has a negative connotation.  However, saying it in a way that suggests you would if you could makes it easier.  For example, I would love to help you with that (charity work) (committee) (project), but right now I have a full plate – check with me in a few months.  It is an acquired skill which includes seeing where the other person is coming from and being able to tell them why you are saying no.  Say No to activities that are going to stretch the limits of your time.
  7. Drop the guilt. Yes, it is difficult saying no to our colleagues, family and friends.  We always feel it is going to damage the relationship in some way.  But, if you can’t give it your all, what will they think of you in the end when you are not at your 100% best.  Realize that saying “No” frees you up to do more of what you want to do.  Say No to guilt.

Remember that we have fewer and fewer days as we get older.  There are only a finite number of days left.  Take those years and work your own agenda to make your own heart sing with the “Wants.”  Say no to everyone else’s agenda if it doesn’t strike a chord with you.  Take time for yourself and stand up for yourself – just say NO.  

To Your Career Success,

Katie Weiser

© Katie Weiser, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author/owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Katie Weiser with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Keep Your 2016 Goals Alive

From everyday “to do” lists to New Year’s Resolutions, goal setting has become a part of our work and personal life.  Even as we get older, goals are just as important because reflection and forward thinking are key ingredients to having a successful career and a healthy life. It’s not too late to get 2016 started the right way. Here are 10 key tips to creating goals:                                                                        

 

  1. Big, hairy, bodacious goals. If your goals are small, you will reach small goals. However, if they are big and make you shake in your boots – you are stretching yourself. Make your over-arching goal a BIG one. Then, you can add subset goals allowing smaller goals to be stepping stone to your big one.
  2. Ask why and visualize achievement.  Just like kids who ask why all the time, be sure to ask yourself why you want this. Will this goal help you achieve what resonates with your values and beliefs? Is there a greater cause you are fulfilling?  Once you have those answers, close your eyes and visualize already achieving the goal. Enlist your five senses in your picture of achievement – what do you hear, smell, taste, see, and feel?
  3. Write it down. There is research that shows that for those who physically capture a goal by writing it down, they wind up achieving their goals over those who do not write it down. Writing combined with a visual reminder is a powerful duo. Whether taped to your computer monitor, a mirror, or a piece of paper folded up and placed in your wallet – you pick it.  Just remember to look at it regularly.
  4. Keep at it.  Check your progress and give yourself a pat on the back as you reach milestones. Make it a public celebration with those who know about your goals.
  5. Share your goals.  Friends, family and colleagues can keep you accountable for what you say you are going to do. They may also be the very people who can help you.  Just make sure to pick someone who will be supportive and encouraging.  Sometimes, others unconsciously sabotage us when we work towards improving areas in our lives.  You want to set yourself up for success.  If you don’t feel comfortable with someone in your circle, consider hiring a professional.  Coaches, consultants and therapists are there for YOU!
  6. Be appreciative.  Every evening think about what you have accomplished towards your goal and appreciate yourself for your work and dedication.
  7. Never, never, never give up.  We have Winston Churchill to thank for that wonderful saying. So many people quit just before the finish line. Sometimes when it is toughest, that is where the learning lesson is hiding or we are on the brink of self-discovery.
  8. Celebrate.  How often do we accomplish a goal and then move without pause on to the next goal? Take time to celebrate your victories, no matter how small they may seem to you.
  9. Thank your supporters.  Just like the Oscars, be sure to roll out your short list of those you want to thank who helped and supported you.
  10. Key learning lessons.  Reflect back on what lessons you learned along the way to reaching your goal. What strengths did you use and how can you use them for future projects?  Goals can be tedious when you are working on them, but they can also be the light that leads the way to action and insight.

So, set your BIG goals, and go for it!  

To Your Career Success,

Katie Weiser

© Katie Weiser, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author/owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Katie Weiser with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Love Your Career All Over Again?

One of my favorite HGTV shows is “Love It or List It”.  The two conceptual questions are:

  1. What changes could be made to your home by a professional designer, based upon your pre-determined budget, would cause you to “love” your current home and stay?
  2. What home could a realtor show you that would meet your requirements and be in your price range that would cause you to “list” your current home and buy the new house?

Case in Point:  These two concepts made me think about so many of my clients who are struggling with “loving or listing” their current job.  If a job opportunity does not arise quickly after previewing and interviewing, what can one do to “love” the current job?   

Here are 6 steps you can take to turn your current job into one you want to keep…

  1. Create a blueprint.  Take time to list out on paper what changes would make you happier at work – use your plan to take action steps to propel you forward.  Focusing on what you want is an energy booster and often results in exactly what you asked for.
  2. Deconstruct existing thinking.  What current thoughts and feelings about your work are contributing to bad feelings about your job and leading you to inaction?  What new thought could you use to replace the old thought that would lead you to a different way of feeling about your job which would result in positive action?  Only you can control your thoughts.
  3. Sharpen your saw.  Stephen Covey taught this principle.  Perfect your craft, be excellent at what you do currently at work and be proud.  It could lead to recognition or a promotion.
  4. Build new infrastructure.  Expand your relationships at work.  Take at least one person to lunch a week – preferably off campus.  Volunteer for company events and special community projects.  You will be surprised at the different perspectives there are on life at work and you may make some life-long friends and build your network.
  5. Keep hammering. Even when it seems like the job dissatisfaction will never end; make the decision to invest more of yourself than you anticipated so you can check off the items on your “job happiness” list as done.
  6. Home sweet home.  Take time to think about all the wonderful things about your job.  We often focus on the 3% of what we don’t like about our jobs. What about the 97% that is working for us?

Moral of the story: See if you can fall in love with your job all over again before you “list it.”

To Your Career Success,

Katie Weiser

© Katie Weiser, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author/owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Katie Weiser with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

Do You Have a Strategic Career Plan?

Strategic career planning often conjures up groans when I talk with my clients.  They think it is complex, a pain to do, and not necessary since things change so quickly.  So often in our careers, we just wind up in a job that carries us forward year after year.  We don’t often pause to think about creating a 5-10 year career strategy.  From time to time, it is critical though, to take stock of your career and assess where you want to be in the future.   A career strategy will get you from where you are today to where you want to be in several years.  

To start your career planning, establish 5 year and 10 year time frames.  Ready to get started?  Below are eight key questions to ask yourself.  I recommend writing down your answers so that you get a clearer picture and keep it on hand so you can review it every six months to monitor progress.  

  1. What’s Your Career VISION?  This is a statement of what you will be doing in five and then ten years from now?  It should paint a picture of the impact that you will make through your work.  Your vision statement should inspire you.
  2. What’s your DEFINITION OF SUCCESS?  Everyone’s definition is different.  Is it wealth, power, contentment, fulfillment?
  3. What are your VALUES?  These are the guideposts for your life that you want honored at work.  Things like integrity, respect, security, family, independence.  Everyone has their non-negotiable values list.
  4. What are your STRENGTHS?  Think about what you do at work that makes you lose track of time.  That’s a sign that you are using a strength which is the combination of talent, knowledge and skills.  You will want to do more of this.
  5. What would be your ideal LIFESTYLE?  Are you able to do all the things you would like to do in your life?  Maybe it is having a family, going on exotic vacations, owning a home, exercising daily.
  6. What is your COMPENSATION progression?  Put an actual number down for both the 5 and 10 year plan.  Think BIG!
  7. What is your WORK/LIFE BALANCE?  Do you care if it feast or famine, would you prefer a flexible work arrangement, is it 9-5?
  8. What’s your LEGACY?  At the end of your life what do you want to be known for – it’s your personal Brand.  How will you make a difference?

Get inspired by the great quote by Yogi Berra: “If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.”   So, take a stab at your strategic career plan and see where it takes you.

To Your Career Success,

Katie Weiser

© Katie Weiser, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author/owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Katie Weiser with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Career Skills Wanted

Nonprofits are the stomping ground for workers who want to make a difference and be a part of a larger effort for the greater good. Working as a team, volunteers bring diverse skills, expertise and passion as they work towards a common vision.

In a nonprofit environment, your unique career skills are gold.  And, while they are not handing out any gold to line your pockets, know that the sense of accomplishment and appreciation can far outweigh the paycheck.  

There are many reasons to volunteer your time and talent.  The times during a career when volunteering is an opportunity are:

  • When you are out of a job.  You are at loose ends and miss the daily structure you had before. Sometimes it takes months to find another job. Volunteering could be your key to sanity and in filling a work gap on your resume.
  • When you are headed for retirement.  You now want to do something meaningful — consider an organization that tugs at your heart strings. A local charity could provide full time employment and keep you very busy.
  • When you are still at work.   You feel you want to be a part of a bigger effort. Squeeze in a few hours a month and feel the joy that comes from making a difference, even on a smaller scale.  This is also a network booster – you meet many more people who may be instrumental in helping you land a different job in the future.
  • When it’s a company effort.  Take a stand and lead your company to rally around a local charity by donating to it or taking a company day and selecting a much needed community project. Ideas include everyone cleaning up a local park, reading to nursing home residents, painting a playground, planting flowers, etc.  Many companies are doing this; and they often receive favorable press which is great free advertising.  In addition, you meet new people in your company – you have expanded yourself beyond your group or division silo.

You would be surprised at what services nonprofits might need; your skills may be just what they’re looking for.  The return on your investment is priceless.  As Nike says, “Just do it.”

To Your Career Success,

Katie Weiser

© Katie Weiser, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author/owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Katie Weiser with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.