Category: Career

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.

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.


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.

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.


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.

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.

Have you ever given thought to what is driving you? Why are you trying to reach your goals? Do you want to do better for your children? Are you focused on getting a promotion or going back to school and changing careers? Have you taken the time to write down your specific goals and the steps that it takes to get there? How would you feel if it didn’t happen on your timeline, or if it didn’t happen at all? Learning what is driving you and focusing that drive and energy can be critical to your success. You want to be driven by positive emotions and feelings and not negative ones. Having a positive drive will keep you feeling good and motivated even when work gets hard. Here are some of the questions you need to ask yourself.

Free Road

Have You Written Down Your Goals?

Writing down your goals is absolutely key to success. You want to be able to see them each day. Write them in a notebook, or in your phone, or perhaps put them in a list on your wall. Seeing your goals written down will help bring your drive to the forefront. That can help to keep you motivated and energized all day. For example, if you want to change careers to better the lives of your children, write down that goal and all the steps necessary to get there. When you see that goal each day, you’ll visualize your children and the kind of life that you want for them. That will only motivate you to work harder.

Are You Motivated By Positivity or Negativity?

Some people are motivated to reach their goals by negative emotions like hate, jealousy, and revenge. Embracing that negativity can feel good for a bit after you’ve felt wronged. But negative emotions are unstable and unsustainable. You can’t rely on them for a long time, and they often just make you feel worse. But when you are motivated by positivity, such as helping others or wanting to build a better future for yourself and your family, you can achieve your goals and more. Positive emotions are easiest to draw on and use when things get tough.

Fresh Start

If you are motivated by positive energy and emotions, you can really achieve a lot. When you are motivated for the wrong reasons—negative emotions like revenge or jealousy—it gets easy to quit when the going gets tough. Make sure that you write down your goals, but also write down the reason you want to achieve them. Keep that positive drive and energy centered in what you are doing. If you know and understand what is driving you, then you’ll be able to draw on that when you run into tough situations. Your drive can help keep you on the right track when you feel down or want to give up. Make sure you put yourself in the best possible position to succeed by fully understanding your drive.

* Free Road image credit goes to: Sergey Pesterev.

* Fresh Start image credit goes to: Danielle MacInnes.

Building character is a respectable pursuit. Most people want to become a better person, but not everyone has the determination and work ethic to actually follow through and make it happen. Building character is a skill just like anything else. Nobody is born with strong character. It takes a long time to develop it, and it must be maintained over the years. That means that anyone can develop into a high character person, as long as they are willing to put in the work. High character individuals are typically highly respected and are more often placed in leadership positions at work.

Reach Out to The World

Character Is About Core Principles

Have you ever worked with a boss that you had a lot of respect for? Chances were they weren’t making up the rules as they went along. Instead, they probably had core principles that they worked from. They probably had established rules that were firm, but fair to everyone in the workplace. What are your core principles? Do you believe in giving second chances? Third chances? How do you handle setbacks? How do you reward the people you work with? How do you handle dishonesty? These are critical questions that every leader must ask themselves.

Stick With Your Principles Even When It Is Difficult

The hardest part about having core principles is sticking with them when things get tough. And believe me, they always will. There will be a situation that pushes you to the brink and causes you to question whether you should uphold your principles. Maybe you don’t believe in giving out third chances for blatant errors made in the workplace. But the person in question is your most skilled employee, and there is a difficult project coming up which they specialize in. Those are the types of moments where principles matter the most.

High Character Individuals Tend To End Up In Leadership Positions

Coffee Mug on Bed It is no secret that high character individuals tend to end up in leadership positions. That’s because people tend to have a higher level of respect for people who have core principles. If you are looking to move up in your career, start working on developing your character strengths and the principles you are going to espouse as a leader.

Being a high character individual isn’t about chance. It is about choice. You can choose to have a high character, but you are going to have to put in the work to make it happen. It means outlining your principles and sticking to them, even when things get difficult. It means making hard decisions and not passing the buck to someone else. But being a high character individual also means gaining the respect of your peers and being placed in charge of projects. It means that other people will trust you to get the job done. If you are ready for more respect and responsibility, then it is time for you to stretch your boundaries.

* Reach Out to The World image credit goes to: Benjamin Davies.

* Coffee Mug image credit goes to: Heather Schwartz.

Often, we are led to believe that taking small steps towards our goals means that we will never reach them. When we fear taking incremental steps, sometimes we take big steps that we simply aren’t ready for. The goals we have—whether they are expanding our business, completing a big project, growing a relationship—typically can’t be completed in one fell swoop. Taking the time to break down your goal into smaller steps isn’t a bad thing, in fact, most times it is actually very beneficial to helping you reach your goals. Sometimes you have to think of the bigger picture, even if it means spending more time working than you thought.

Dividing Goal into Small Steps

Trying To Finish a Big Task All At Once Is Daunting

The first reason why you shouldn’t try to finish a big task (like that 20 page paper in college that you put off) all at once is that it is daunting. It is easy to get overwhelmed by how large the task is, and when you are overwhelmed, you rarely put forth your best work. You don’t want to put yourself in a tough position before the work even begins. Not being able to complete a huge task all at once isn’t a bad thing. Taking the time to prepare and segment your work almost always leads to superior results.

Dividing Your Task Into Smaller Pieces Makes Things Easier

When you divide your project into smaller pieces, generally things start to get a lot easier. Instead of focusing on a large, daunting task, you can focus on each of the smaller, individual portions. This way of simplifying things makes a big project a lot easier. That 20 page college paper we were talking about earlier? Instead of trying to write all 20 pages at once, someone who divided the task into smaller portions might focus on four 5 page sessions. The same applies to a project that you might be working on at your job. Or building up your business. Nobody tries to go from a small startup to a multinational corporation in a single week. In the same vein, you should understand that you have to segment the path to success into smaller fragments that you can focus on one at a time.

You Can Give Yourself a Psychological Boost Each Time You Successfully Complete A Step

Have you ever worked on a long project and felt Business Man Celebrating Success like you were losing motivation midway through? That isn’t uncommon, especially when it feels like it will take forever to actually finish what you are working on. That is why splitting your task into smaller pieces can help. Each time you complete a smaller portion, you get the psychological boost of knowing that you successfully finished a step. Instead of pushing those feelings off, you should celebrate your small successes each step along the way, until you have finished your project in full. It is important to acknowledge your successes!

Have you ever been in a situation where you felt that your group was about to make a bad decision, but you didn’t step up and speak your mind? Many people have been in that exact scenario, but speaking up isn’t easy, especially when you are going up against the consensus viewpoint. However, it is important to note that just because most of the group agrees on something, doesn’t mean that it’s the right decision. Sometimes, large groups of intelligent people get together and make poor decisions for a variety of reasons. Sometimes dissent is silenced, and sometimes the rank and file is afraid to voice a viewpoint that doesn’t align directly with leadership. You have to learn to get past these difficult situations and make sure that if you have disagreements with your employees or your bosses on vision that you make your voice heard, especially if it is a critical decision that is being made. Sometimes, a fresh perspective can make all of the difference, and help the entire group move towards a better decision.

Speak Up In A Meeting

Groupthink Can Lead To Dangerous Decisions

Sometimes, groupthink can lead to dangerous decisions. Perhaps company leadership is set on making a new acquisition, or maybe they want to roll out a project that hasn’t been fully completed yet. There are times when the rank and file don’t want to upset their boss and rock the boat, and they’ll be silent or go with the majority instead of voicing their concerns. When there is no dissent, or when dissent is actively silenced, there is no debate, and there is little or no analysis to learn from. When decisions aren’t properly analyzed, bad things can happen. You don’t want to make a bad decision that can damage your company for the long-term. If you find that everyone in the room agrees on a major company decision, you might want to take a second look.

Telling the Truth Is Important, Even When It Isn’t Popular

Telling the truth isn’t always popular. If you know that a certain decision isn’t going to work, or even if you have strong reservations, you should speak up. The fear or embarrassment you have about speaking up pales to the damage that could be done to your organization if a bad long-term decision is made.

Discussion With Leaders

Learning When to Speak Up

This one can be hard. Perhaps you don’t want to speak up about your reservations during a large meeting in front of all of your company’s leadership. The good thing is that you don’t have to. You can pull aside a leader that you trust, or meet with them as a confidant and let them know your observations. Perhaps it might not be appropriate for you to speak up at a certain time, but you still have to make a point to talk to someone in leadership and make your voice heard.

At one time or the other, everyone has been told to be Positive Thinking positive. We understand that positivity isn’t as easy as it sounds. It is easy to get cynical when someone tells you to be positive. It is easy to think that it isn’t possible to be as positive as a motivational speaker or your old high school football coach. Still, investing in becoming a more positive person can directly impact your career. Positive people are more likely to bounce back from setbacks and are more likely to fight through adversity and stressful situations. Your attitude is one thing that you can control in a world of things that you can’t directly influence. No work environment or relationship in your life is going to be perfect, but if you bring a positive attitude, you can overcome almost anything.

1. Negativity constrains you while positivity repairs, renews, and builds

Have you ever felt emotionally drained around a negative person? It is sort of like that person just saps the energy right out of the room right? Negativity is limiting, and negative energy constrains what you believe that you can accomplish. Positive energy does the opposite. It empowers you, renews you, and builds on what you believe that you can do. That’s why people with positive attitudes accomplish their goals more often. That’s especially important in a work environment.

2. It helps you become more resilient

Let’s face it—Unexpected & bad things are going to happen to everyone in life. You might lose your job. Your girlfriend might break up with you. You might have a large unexpected bill. All of those things can be immensely stressful and difficult to deal with. In the workplace, stressful situations aren’t uncommon, especially in high pressure situations or when a large amount of work needs to get done. Being positive helps you to be resilient in the face of adversity and helps you to bounce back when things don’t go your way. That can be the difference between a successful project and a failed one.

Role Of Positive Psychology

3. Helps you leave a greater impact on your colleagues

We are naturally drawn to positive people. We don’t want our leaders to be negative energy drainers. We want them to be positive people that give us good energy and make us believe that we can achieve our goals. Being a positive person will help you to engage better with your colleagues and better influence them to improve their performance at work.

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