Author Archive

How To Stay Motivated In The Pandemic Era

Wednesday, May 27th, 2020

If you have had trouble staying focused and motivated in the pandemic era, you are not alone. COVID-19 has changed everyone’s routines, from going through government mandated lockdowns to changing the way that we visit the grocery store. But even in these uncertain times, we still have to work on our skills. The crisis isn’t going to be here forever, and we want to make sure that we’re working on developing our abilities so that we still maintain our competitive edge. Whether you are a public speaker, a social media marketer, a writer, or a team leader, continuing to work on your skills is a must. Here is how you can stay motivated during the COVID-19 pandemic:

Staying Motivated in COVID-19 Pandemic

Recognize That Everyone Is Going Through The Same Thing

Remember that you aren’t the only person going through this. Everyone in the United States and around the world has had their lives radically changed by COVID-19. Sometimes when we struggle with changes in our lives, we can feel as if we are the only people going through it. We can take solace in the fact that there are other people toughing it out in the same ways that we are. A great way to feel better is to vent with friends and family and share experiences. In lieu of that, you can join an online forum or group.

Focus On What You Can Control

Focusing on what you can control is key to staying motivated and improving your skills during the pandemic era. You can’t control the reopening process, you can’t control how the virus moves throughout the country. But you can control your reaction, you can control how you feel each day, and you can control the effort you put into getting better.

Work On Your Skills Every Day With A Purpose

When you are motivated to work each day with a purpose, you are bound to improve your skills. Just because you may not have any official public events coming up doesn’t mean you can’t work on your public speaking. Or your leadership skills. Develop a plan to work on your skills during the summer months so that you are ready to go for the fall. Set up some goals to reach so that you have something to strive for each day. The work that you put in during the summer will pay off when everything returns to normal.

Skill Development During COVID-19 Pandemic

Staying motivated during these times isn’t easy. Often, we know the exact events that we are practicing and getting ready for. In the same way an athlete prepares for a set date for training camp, a public speaker may know they’re preparing for an event on a specific date. Everything is in flux now. That’s why it is important to focus on what you can control. The guidelines might be constantly changing, and you may not know what to expect from one week to the next. But you can focus on developing your skills every day and becoming better at your craft.


Potential Alone Isn’t Enough

Thursday, March 26th, 2020

How many times have you heard the phrase, “They’ve got a lot of potential.” Potential is almost a dirty word, because it can cover up a lot of flaws. There are plenty of people who begin their careers with potential, but only a few of those people actually realize their potential. Talent isn’t as hard to come by as you may think. But hard work, dedication, and individuals who are willing to be part of a team concept are often the ones who have the most success. You need to internalize the reality that potential alone just isn’t enough.

Man Thinking About Potential

Potential Is A Responsibility

Potential isn’t just a nice word, it is also a responsibility. That means that the individual with potential has a responsibility to follow through and to put in the effort. There are plenty of people with potential who don’t ultimately maximize their abilities. You see it in sports all the time. Each year, players get drafted into professional sports leagues who don’t reach their full potential for a variety of reasons. The same thing happens in the world of business and nonprofits. Individuals who have potential must work hard to actually improve–they can’t expect that the work will be done for them.

If You Don’t Follow Through, Potential Can Be Wasted

The risk of wasting your potential is real. We’ve all seen individuals who have wasted great talent and ability because of laziness or narcissism. This is a real problem for hiring managers. Hiring managers must find talented individuals for their teams, but it can be difficult to know who is really willing to put in the work and be a team player. Hiring managers can get blinded by talent or potential, and end up choosing candidates who aren’t actually the best for the job.

Successful Individuals Are Hard Workers And Team Players

The most successful individuals aren’t just talented. They didn’t just have potential. They worked hard to realize that potential. They work well with others and understand how to fit inside of a team framework. Hiring managers must understand that finding the right candidate is a balance–it is a mix of finding talented individuals with potential and those who are willing to work hard inside of your team concept. Straying too far from this can lead to bad hires.

Team Work

By now, you fully understand that potential alone isn’t enough for success. Potential is a desirable trait, but it can lead to complacency and laziness. The best workers are those who have potential and understand that they need to work extremely hard in order to realize it. It can be very difficult to work with a talented individual who doesn’t want to put in the effort. That’s why most managers look to staff their teams with high character individuals who understand the value of dedication and teamwork.


How To Balance Teamwork And Individuality

Monday, March 9th, 2020

Both employees and employers are trying to find the right balance between teamwork and individuality. When you have too much individuality, teams can’t work together properly and team project goals don’t get reached. When you have too little individuality, individuals lack the creativity or autonomy in order to produce innovative solutions to work problems. There needs to be a happy balance, a medium, in which teamwork and individuality both flourish. Here’s how you can do just that.

Teamwork

Realize That You Can’t Accomplish Your Goals Alone

A big part of being a successful professional is understanding that you can’t get everything done alone. Trying to do everything on your own without delegating or team work will ultimately result in burnout, inefficient work, or both. You have to understand that you have to work within a team framework in order to have success. It is critical that managers hire employees who already know this and are ready to be a part of a team. At the same time, you want those employees to retain some individuality and creativity. Which brings us to our next point.

Each Team Needs To Allow Individuality In Order To Drive Creativity

Even though you want workers to work within the team framework, you still want to provide a certain level of individuality and autonomy to your workers. If you don’t, your employees will lose creativity and won’t be able to solve problems that arise on the fly at work. You want to encourage creativity as long as it is within the team framework, and doesn’t prevent other employees from doing their job.

Finding The Right Balance Depends On The Industry

The right balance of individuality and teamwork is going to depend on the particular industry. For some coders working on development teams, they can have a higher level of individuality because they may be working remotely and only connect with their teams once a week. For marketers working together on a big project at the company headquarters, teamwork may be more important than individuality. Each industry has its own needs and requires its own level of balance.

Employee Working Individually

Knowing when to lean more into individuality or teamwork depends heavily on the industry. But you are always going to need both. That is why managers want to look for individuals who are creative but understand how to work well with others. No matter what industry you are in, you aren’t going to be able to accomplish your goals alone. You are going to need help in order to reach your full potential as an individual. Knowing how to find the right balance will be key to your overall level of success.


How To Have Powerful Conversations

Saturday, February 22nd, 2020

Looking to have powerful conversations that can inspire others? Want to make more of your conversations memorable? You aren’t alone. Fortunately, improving your ability to speak with purpose and leave a lasting impression can be improved over time. Nobody is going to turn into a sage overnight, but you can work on developing your ability to have these powerful conversations with just a few tips. Let’s take a closer look at what you can be working on when it comes to connecting with others.

Conversations

Speak With A Purpose

When you speak with others, it is important that you speak with a purpose. That means getting to the point and being insightful. Don’t dance around the point that you want to make. Be direct and be detailed. Start your conversations with an idea of where you want to take the discussion, and then make sure to reinforce your points with examples. When you speak with a purpose, listeners are more apt to pay attention and really consider what you have to say. When you aren’t direct or specific, you are much less likely to leave an impression.

Value Your Time

It is important to value both your time and the time of your listeners. Think of the opportunity cost–there are plenty of other things that you can be doing instead of having a conversation! You need to make sure that the discussion is valuable enough that it isn’t a waste of time. That goes back to the first point–be succinct and speak with a purpose. Don’t waste the time of others with useless side stories.

Listen To Your Counterparts

If you want to have strong conversations, you need to make sure that you aren’t doing all of the talking. You need to make sure that you are listening as well. Are you actually hearing what others are saying? Are you making constructive points? Are you answering the questions being asked of you? People can tell when you are listening and when you are phoning it in. Make a real effort to listen to your audience and to answer the questions being asked of you. You want to ensure that your listeners are getting something out of your conversations.

Two Lady Having Powerful Conversations

When you speak with a purpose, value your time and the time of others, and make sure that you listen, you’ll find that you are having more powerful, lasting conversations. These conversations will be much more memorable, and you’ll leave a lasting impression on your friends, family, co-workers, and management. If you’ve ever listened to a politician, professor, or business professional and felt in awe of one of their speeches, this is the phenomenon that you are experiencing. You, too, can learn how to speak with a purpose.


How to Inspire Others Through Leadership

Wednesday, February 5th, 2020

The ability to inspire others is key to becoming a strong leader. The best leaders have been able to inspire others to dream big and produce their best work. Think of some of the biggest names in technology over the past twenty years. Steve Jobs. Elon Musk. Bill Gates. These are leaders who weren’t only visionaries in their own right, but who also had the ability to inspire their employees to produce their best work. Think about athletes like Michael Jordan, Tom Brady, and LeBron James. These are great athletes who didn’t only inspire their teammates to perform at the best of their ability, but who also inspired the next generation of athletes to compete at a high level. Here’s how you can be an inspiration to others in your position.

Inspire Others Through Leadership

Don’t Try to Be Someone You’re Not

People can sense when you are not being genuine, and it repels them. You want to avoid this problem, and the good news is that it is easy. You want to be comfortable being yourself. When you are feeling good in your own shoes, you are going to be a better leader than if you are pretending to be someone else.

Always Put Forth Your Best Effort

Just as others can sense authenticity, they can also sense if you are working hard or not. We’ve all had bosses who we worked harder than in the past, and it doesn’t make you feel good. Make sure that you are working harder than anyone else in the building so that you get people who look up to you instead of resenting you.

Work Harder

Take Time to Genuinely Listen To Others And Incorporate Their Ideas

It is important to make sure that your other employees feel valued. That means taking the time and effort to really listen to what they have to say. If you aren’t incorporating some of the ideas of your employees, then they may find another place to work which does. You want to ensure that your employees feel they are part of a time that cares about the work that they do and the ideas that they have. When you can do that, it is inspiring, and it makes these same employees want to work even harder for you.

The biggest part of inspiring others isn’t incredible talent. It is putting forth the effort, taking the time to listen to others, and being a genuine version of yourself. People want to see a leader who is comfortable in their own skin, and who can incorporate the views of other talented individuals. That means that leaders who don’t take the time to listen to others, who are selfish, and who don’t take responsibility for their actions, are much less likely to inspire people. Make sure that you take a positive attitude to work every day and focus on how you can do the best job you can do. You’ll find that you naturally inspire others that way.


Why Establishing A Social Media Presence Is Critical for Today’s Workforce

Tuesday, January 21st, 2020

In today’s workforce, having a social media presence is crucial for success. That is because so many businesses today are looking for talented employees who aren’t just skilled at their jobs, but who are also pushing the conversation in their industries as well. Employing someone who is also a thought leader could give you greater influence in your industry–and that’s why more employees than ever are looking to brush up their social media credentials. Let’s take a look at why you should be working on building your social media presence as well.

Social Media Posting

Today’s Employers Are Looking for Engagement

Employers in a number of industries don’t just want to hire skilled workers anymore. They also want these workers to engage with the public. Sometimes this engagement means talking with consumers, but more often it means talking with others working in your industry and having meaningful conversations about where the space is going. Employers want to know that when you tweet or you blog about a new product or service, people are going to respond with interest. That kind of engagement is important in today’s social media era.

Becoming A Thought Leader in The Space Has Benefits

Becoming a thought leader on social media often means getting invited to more conferences. It means being invited to speak at events. And it means that other companies are going to be keeping track of your work, potentially with interest in hiring you at some point. More competitive offers typically mean better pay over the long term.

You Want to Play A Role in Shaping the Conversation in Your Industry

Having a strong social media following means not only being part of the conversation but being able to shape it. When you can convince others that your position on issues of the day are correct, you will have the power to shape conversations that others don’t. This is something that employers are looking for, especially since they have their own products, services, and industry views that they want to convert others into believing. If you can shift the conversation and really change the opinions of others, then you will have a leg up on others in getting those key interviews.

Social Media Insights Check

It is important to understand that you aren’t going to get 10,000 Twitter followers overnight. But working on building a following can have a number of benefits. It makes you more recognizable to the major players in your industry. It also makes it more likely that a potential employer will give you a close look. These are real benefits that can ultimately result in higher pay over the long-term. You can start with something as simple as a blog, and then build it on social media platforms by following similar minded individuals and engaging with their content.


Strong Teamwork Is The Foundation Of Every Great Organization

Monday, January 6th, 2020

It can be tempting to think that you can go it alone when you are in a managing role of an organization. If you were one of the founding members of the organization, then it can be even more tempting to think that you won’t need the help or input of others to get things done. But the truth is that you are going to need the help of a lot of people if you want to your organization to succeed and thrive. Without strong teamwork, organizations can wither and fall apart. Here’s how you can make sure that your organization is ready for long term success.

Strong Team

Organizations That Don’t Work Well Together Fail

There are plenty of examples of organizations that don’t work well together. In your town, you’ve probably seen a small company go out of business because the employees didn’t work well with each other or with customers. You want to avoid this by any means. You’ll need to focus on both the kind of culture you establish as a leader and bringing in talented individuals who fit with your work environment. Let’s talk a little bit more about that.

You Have To Bring In Individuals Who Can Improve Organizational Chemistry

Having the most talented employees won’t matter much if they can’t work well with others. If your most talented employee refuses to help others and is creating a negative environment in the workplace, then are they really providing you with a positive benefit if they are dragging down the work performance of everyone else? These are the considerations you will need to make when thinking of these kinds of decisions.

Culture Starts At The Top

Ultimately, the creation of a positive work culture where employees want to communicate and work together starts with management. You’ll need to create an environment which is conducive to positive communication and teamwork. Everyone knows how bosses can create a toxic environment in the workplace and pit employees against each other. Think about how you can be a boss others want to emulate, who is a positive force in the work experience of his or her employees. That is the kind of person that you want to be.

Team Meeting

When it comes to teamwork, you have to build that foundation. That means you will need to create a culture that is conducive to people working together. Creating that kind of positive work environment starts with management. You’ll also need to bring in talented people who are good at working with others. Remember, organizations that don’t work together often find that things break down relatively fast. That’s because a lack of teamwork often leads to a lack of communication. And things only get worse from there. Avoid this problem by focusing on teamwork and working together early and often.


Learning How To Market Yourself

Thursday, December 19th, 2019

Ready to go find that new job? Trying to get promoted internally? Switching careers? No matter what you are doing, you are going to have to learn how to market yourself. Marketing ability isn’t something that you are born with. Instead, it is a skill that is developed over long periods of time. You might see people who are tremendous marketers or salesmen and think that they didn’t have to work for their abilities. That couldn’t be further from the truth. They put in hours of work behind the scenes practicing their pitches and learning how to sell themselves. Let’s take a closer look at how you can be a better marketer.

Market Yourself

Nobody Is Going To Do The Work For You

It is important to understand that nobody else is going to market you. You have to learn how to market yourself. Once you drop those expectations, you can get fully involved in learning how to improve your own marketing ability. You shouldn’t expect an old boss or a co-worker who you considered a friend to make calls on your behalf. In some cases, you may need reference letters. But those are things you’ll have to work for too–not everyone is going to be willing to help you in this process. Accept that.

Acknowledge Your Strengths

One of the biggest problems that job seekers have is that they don’t understand their strengths. If you don’t know what you are good at, then how are others going to figure it out? Learn what your strengths are, and then highlight them when you pitch others. If you have a website or social media, make sure that viewers easily know what your strengths are. They need to have a reason for considering you for a position at their company.

Lean Into Your Past Successes

Leaning into your past successes is critical for marketing yourself. You need to take those past projects and put them in your portfolio. That will help to make you a more attractive candidate for hiring managers. Others want to see that you’ve had past success in roles similar to the one that they’ll be asking you to take on. By leaning into your past success, you can put yourself in a better position to get that next job or that internal promotion.

Confident Man in Interview

Learning how to market yourself is a process. You aren’t going to become an all-star overnight. However, you can improve bit by bit over time as you learn what your strengths are and how to minimize your weaknesses. Recognize that nobody is going to do the work of marketing you, you need to realize what you are good at and how to highlight those strengths across different mediums such as social media. Leaning into your past successes is a great strategy, especially for in-person interviews. You should be able to leverage your past successful projects with reference letters and additions to your portfolio. This is how you market yourself so that you can take that next big step in your career.


The Power Of Repetition

Monday, December 2nd, 2019

The power of repetition is immensely powerful. How do surgeons become elite? By practicing for thousands of hours in medical school. How do athletes become elite? By training for thousands of hours in the gym. The power of repetition is undeniable, but unfortunately it isn’t something that is highlighted in our society. Too often, we glamorize the idea that the gifted were simply born with their skills. We idealize the concept of being “born with talent,” and neglect to talk about the hard work that is put in. Let’s take a look at the true power of repetition and why you should believe in it.

Work Harder

The 10,000 Hour Theory

Author Malcolm Gladwell developed a theory based on the power of repetition, called the 10,000 hour theory. The 10,000 hour theory essentially states that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to master any skill. This 10,000 hours can come in any time frame, but it has to be completed in order to become elite at something. You may not need to put in 10,000 hours of work, but it is important to understand the amount of time that you’ll need to commit to in order to reach your goals.

You Can’t Become An Expert Overnight

You can’t avoid the need for repetition. You can’t skip the line and become elite at a skill in a day or even a week. It takes months and sometimes years of practice to truly master a skill and to reach your full potential. Thinking that you can become an expert overnight is only going to set yourself up for failure and frustration. Avoid this and instead focus on how and where you can get in your practice repetitions. If you need to work on being a better speaker, maybe you could take classes on public speaking. If you need to learn how to code in Python, you can take online workshops. But you need to focus on the idea of repetition, instead of dreaming of overnight success.

Man Climbing Mountain

Embrace The Process

To reach your full potential, you’ll have to embrace the process of getting reps. That means staying locked in on your reps, even before you are thinking about the outcomes of your work. Think of it like a basketball player. If you are thinking about how many jump shots are going in before you get your form right, then you are going to get frustrated. But if you put the process of getting the form right first, then it doesn’t matter how many shots you miss at the beginning. You know that eventually, you will get the form right and the shots will go in. It is the same way with other things that you have to practice in life. It is important to realize the power of repetition. Nobody is born successful. Talent isn’t innate. People put in thousands of hours of work to become elite at their craft. If you want to master a skill, then you need to be willing to put in that same amount of time.


How To Build And Reinforce A Positive Culture

Saturday, November 16th, 2019

All managers want their employees to maximize their abilities. However, many managers aren’t putting their employees in a position to be successful. Managers need to understand the importance of building a positive culture and learn how to create and reinforce it. A positive culture can go a long way towards maximizing company efficiency by reducing turnover and increasing productivity. Let’s take a closer look at how managers can establish a positive culture in their companies.

People Working Together

You Want Team Members Who Want To Maximize Their Abilities

One of the things that successful companies all share is employees who are driven self-starters. You don’t want to have too many employees who don’t want to actually develop and gain new skills. Negativity and apathy can spread like wildfire, which is why you don’t want many of these traits in the first place. Make sure that when you are looking to fill new positions, you are looking for team members who are enthusiastic and motivated to reach their potential and maximize their abilities.

Reward Success

Managers need to reward success to keep up team morale. Rewards can be something as small as a trophy or a free lunch. They can be as big as a paid vacation or a promotion. But you need to reward success. If you don’t, resentment will build up on your teams and make it much harder for you to maximize company efficiency. You may begin to have problems with employee turnover too.

Root Out Toxic Behaviors

Toxicity can kill a company. You need to root it out whenever you find it. Make sure that you have policies and procedures established for your company early on so that your employees know exactly what kinds of behaviors are unacceptable. You need to make sure that repeat offenders are disciplined or let go. You want a positive culture where employees are motivated and excited to go to work, not one where toxic behaviors make employees work in fear.

Team Chilling Out

Creating a positive culture won’t happen overnight. It is something that your team will have to work towards over time. But developing such a culture can increase productivity and reduce turnover. It can help your employees develop new skills and maximize their abilities. Managers are like coaches–they play a critical role in helping all the individual pieces come together to form the whole. And that means that they have a responsibility to create a strong, positive culture where employees can thrive.

Take some time to think about what you can do as a leader to foster a positive culture. After all, creating a positive environment starts with management. Can you improve lines of communication between employees and leadership? How can you make sure your employees feel heard? Are you focusing on hiring motivated employees who want to maximize their ability? How are you dealing with toxic behaviors? The answers to these questions will determine if you can create a positive culture in your workplace.