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Tag Archives: Breakdown Breakthrough

Longing For a True Breakthrough? Make a Change Today

 

Last weekend, I had the great pleasure of joining a number of inspiring local authors from Fairfield County, CT at the Wilton Library, to meet our area residents and share about our books and our work. It was a wonderful experience to connect with talented authors in my community – accomplished writers of a wide range of material including non-fiction, novels, memoirs, sports, etc.  who have poured their talents and brilliance into their works to share their ideas and perspectives with the world.  (I was very inspired to launch my 2nd book which is with a great agent now, and finish my screenplay this summer.)  I sat next to Jack Cavanaugh, for instance, whose book Tunney: Boxing’s Brainiest Champ and His Upset of the Great Jack Demsey was nominated for a Pulitzer prize, and I was awed by his vast body of work.

In talking about my book Breakdown, Breakthrough: The Professional Woman’s Guide to Claiming a Life of Passion, Power and Purpose, it brought back the powerful experience I had in 2006-7 of conducting my yearlong in-depth research study on women overcoming professional crisis. I interviewed over 100 professional women across the country who’d experienced deep challenges in the workplace and in their careers, to dimensionalize and understand more deeply the key challenges and issues, and bring new solutions to the table.  We explored the many social, cultural, organizational, and individual factors that contribute to these 12 “hidden” challenges professional women face, and identified more clearly how to successfully navigate through them.  I learned in my subsequent quantitative follow-up study that 7 out of 10 working women ages 30-55 are experiencing at least one of these hidden challenges, and on average, they’re facing three at the same time.

Here’s a bit more about Breakdown, Breakthrough and paving the way to career bliss, from my interview with The Wilton Bulletin editor Jeannette Ross:

As I mentioned in the interview, while Breakdown, Breakthrough was published in 2008, it’s as relevant today as it was then.  In my coaching, teaching and career consulting work with over 10,000 women in 10 years, I see and hear daily how these 12 challenges hit women hard, and over half don’t know what to do about it.

The 12 “hidden” challenges the book explores are experiences of disempowerment, professional paralysis and emotional pain that fall into four categories: our relationship (and empowerment – or disempowerment) with Ourselves, Others, the World and our Higher Selves.  Here’s a brief look at these challenges:

Empowerment With Self

1. Resolving Chronic Health Problems

2. Overcoming Loss

3. Achieving Self-Love

Empowerment with Others

4. Speaking Up with Power

5. Breaking Cycles of Mistreatment

6. Shifting from Competition to Collaboration

Empowerment with the World

7. Escaping Financial Traps

8. Using Real Talents in Life and Work

9. Helping Others and the World

Empowerment with Higher Self

10. Falling Together After Falling Apart

11. Balancing Life and Work

12. Doing Work and Play You Love

One thing I’ve seen countless times in my career consulting programs – the vast majority of people wait until a true crisis hits before they take action to change how they operate in the world.  I lived this experience as well – staying for 18 years in a corporate career and life that was terribly ill-fitting and unfulfilling (even damaging) for me. I waited until I’d experienced all 12 of the crises I write and speak about, before I finally snapped and said “I’m done with this! I refuse to feel like a victim one minute longer.”

If any of these challenges ring true for you, I hope you’ll make this the day you finally take one concrete action to improve your life. It doesn’t have to turn your whole life upset down, and you don’t necessarily have to chuck your entire career out the window. (As I love to say, “Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.”) But you do have to do something different, to modify and improve the way you operate in the world. Whether it’s committing to taking the necessary time to restore and rejuvenate yourself from the toxicity around you, or taking my Career Path Self-Assessment to gain more clarity on what you really want going forward, or finally mustering the courage to have that tough conversation with your boss (or your spouse), today is the day to do it.

Don’t wait until true crisis smacks you in the face before you realize that you deserve better in your life and work, and you’re ready to get it.

For more on how to pave the way for career bliss, visit my career consulting programs and the Amazing Career Project, and check out my book Breakdown, Breakthrough.

 

6 Ways Pushing Past Your Comfort Zone Elevates You To The Next Level

 

As a women’s career coach and leadership developer, I’ve seen that one of the most damaging things you can do in your career is to stay for years where you’re comfortable. I’ve done it, and what often ensues is that you begin to doubt your value in the marketplace. You wonder if you really have the abilities and experience to succeed and thrive outside your current employer.

I’ve learned too (the hard way) that no job is secure. The only thing that is secure in life is you – your spirit, your heart, your talents and gifts, and your ability to contribute at a high level to something that matters to you in life. When you live from that knowledge and experience, you’ll find (and create) gainful, rewarding work no matter where you go, despite the turbulence around you. And to do that, you need to continually push yourself out of your comfort zone.

I recently connected with David Van Rooy, Walmart’s Senior Director of International Human Resources Strategy and Operations, who shared his insightful views about pushing yourself out of comfort as a critical career success move. David is responsible for working across Walmart’s non-US markets to develop and drive the execution of the international HR strategy. In his prior role at Walmart he was responsible for the world’s largest performance management and employee engagement programs, covering nearly 2.2 million employees globally. Before Walmart he held leadership roles at Marriott International and Burger King Corporation. David has a Ph.D. in Industrial and Organizational Psychology and has published over 20 peer reviewed scientific business articles and book chapters.

His book, Trajectory: 7 Career Strategies To Take You From Where You Are To Where You Want To Be explores the concept of Career Trajectory and how you can leverage your skills and create new possibilities around you to forge a positive path and reach your highest goals.

Here’s what David shared about the importance of pushing beyond your comfort zone:

“I’ve seen in my work at Walmart that maintaining placement as the top retailer requires staying ahead of change and a willingness to ‘swim upstream.’ So much of what everyone does at Walmart – whether it is the size or scale of an endeavor, or launching an entirely new idea – has never been done before. This can be daunting because it includes an element of risk and necessitates people stepping out of their comfort zones. The people who do this successfully are able to make a tremendously positive impact and find even more opportunities to make a difference. This can create a fast track for accelerating their career trajectory. It is possible to be successful maintaining the status quo, but true differentiation is achievable only for those who are willing to dive into new areas.

I learned a great deal about my own comfort zone recently. I was sitting in the dark and couldn’t see a single thing. My fingers were sticky and covered with food that I couldn’t see. I was highly uncomfortable and totally out of my element. And this was by design. It was part of an event called Dining in the Dark, which is intended to improve awareness and understanding of visual impairments.

Not only did it succeed with its mission, it made me think deeply about my own comfort levels in various situations – both at work and outside of work. I found that my natural instinct at the event was to do what made me comfortable, not what the blind people in attendance were comfortable with. But I would miss so much if I didn’t break through my lack of comfort.

The event reminded me of a time when I was forced out of my comfort zone at a critical juncture in my life. I was staring at multiple rejection letters from my preferred graduate schools and was beginning to wonder what I would do with my life if I didn’t receive an offer soon. I finally received one acceptance letter and it included both tuition coverage and a stipend. There was just one problem: it was in Miami, which wasn’t where I wanted to live. Growing up in Northern Michigan I had grown very comfortable with the “quiet life” and was anxious about what I would experience when I arrived in Miami. It started worse than I could have imagined. I had no car and my only transportation – my bike – was stolen the first week there. There were issues with my paperwork and I spent countless hours just trying to get enrolled in classes. I was struggling with a language barrier and cultural differences I had not experienced before. The caliber of students was intimidating and I wasn’t sure how I would match up. It seemed like I couldn’t get anything right, and I was beginning to wonder if I would last through the first semester.

But I worked through it and despite the many difficulties I encountered – including a failed initial defense of my thesis. I grew to love Miami, and embrace the challenges that came with it. For financial reasons I really had no choice but to leave my comfort zone in this situation, but I can’t imagine what my life would be like now if I hadn’t. I earned my Ph.D. there; met amazing people, including a great mentor who helped me in countless ways; got my first “real” job; met my wife. It’s also where I learned that maintaining comfort may be easier and safer, but it doesn’t often result in what is best for you. If you never feel uncomfortable in your life and career you are undoubtedly limiting your opportunities to do greater things than you might never have imagined.”

David shares how stepping out of your comfort zone brings 6 critical benefits that will liberate and empower you.

You will let perfection go.

Nobody is perfect – don’t expect it and don’t long for it. Let go of that unnecessary pressure. As soon as you accept this you will find that you will lose the hesitation that has held you back in the past. You will learn to take risks where before you would have run. With risk comes the chance of failure, but more importantly, a chance of greatness. Failure is a given when you take risks, but the more you can embrace and learn from it, the better off you’ll be in the long run.

You will inspire others.

What you do is noticed by others, whether you realize it or not. People are watching you, and what you do gives them an inspiring role model for growth and change. This applies not only at work, but at home with setting an example for your children. We all have a teacher or someone in our lives who unknowingly inspired and motivated us to do more than we thought we could. Taking risks and believing in yourself allows you to be that person for others.

You will have no regrets at the end.

To me the idea of running 26.2 miles for a marathon seemed preposterous and impossible. I never had any serious intention of running one, but agreed to give it a shot when my sister asked if I would do one with her. I may never run another marathon, but because I gave it my all I will never have lingering doubts about my performance. Had I held anything back I would have been left with regret and uncertainty about what I might have been able to do had I just pushed myself. Regrets come when we wonder, “What if?” yet don’t act. Don’t wonder – take the plunge.

You will define yourself authentically.

Comfort is often defined by doing what everyone else does – conforming to norms and to the pressure around you. By pushing yourself into new areas you will have a chance to authentically define who you are, and break free of the limitations of what others think you should be. You are then far freer to shape your career and your life as you truly want it.

You will gain control.

When you step out on your own path, you get to live and work on your own terms. Eventually you may be forced to break free of the limitations around you anyway, so take control now and become the one who sets the rules and initiates change. Having a sense of personal control is not only essential for well-being, but research has shown that it lowers stress and increases job satisfaction as well.

Your life experience will be fuller.

Those of us who’ve been forced to change understand that what is comforting is often not what is best for you. Leaving your comfort zone can create a tremendous feeling of euphoria and self-respect as you learn what you are truly capable of doing and creating, which is far greater and more expansive than you ever dreamed. Pushing past your limits helps you find the fulfillment, excitement, and meaning you have been searching for in all the wrong places.

If you never leave your comfort zone you are likely sabotaging your chances for lasting success and happiness. Don’t be afraid to try something new in any aspect of your life. You will find you are more resilient, capable and courageous than you once believed, and as you rise to these challenges, more exciting ones are waiting in the wings.

Ask yourself, when was the last time you really wanted to try something but you shied away? Next time you find yourself hesitating, go for it. The reward (and the lessons learned) will be, without question, worth the risk.

To learn more about David Van Rooy and his new book Trajectory, visit www.liveyourtrajectory.com and connect with him via Twitter and LinkedIn.

(To build a happier, more successful career, take my 6-Day Amazing Career Challenge and join my community at KathyCaprino.com.)

Moving Beyond Anger When People Ask For Free Help

This week, my colleague Ashley Milne-Tyte, who publishes a fascinating blog and podcast series The Broad Experience, reached out to ask me my thoughts about women who are beleaguered by people asking for free help, and how to best handle it.  The question got me thinking more deeply about the situation, and when I did, I realized that over the past few years, I’ve evolved beyond my initial anger and resentment over people reaching out with their hand out, asking for help.

I remember when it first started to happen in a bigger way to me – that strangers by the hundreds would ask for free help. Two years ago, a Forbes post of mine about LinkedIn and busting the 8 damaging myths about what it can do for you, went a bit viral, and that week, I heard from over 900 people asking for help to review their LinkedIn profiles, resumes and career directions. I was stunned, and frankly, really pissed off.  I thought, “Don’t they understand that this is how I make my living, as a career coach and consultant?” And I also scratched my head at the audacity of people to reach out to a stranger asking for help, hoping for it quickly, without offering anything in return.

Now, I feel quite differently.  After speaking with Adam Grant and reading his amazing book Give and Take, I was struck by the shame and sadness I felt at not being willing and happy to help more people in deep need.  I realized that I didn’t just want to be of service to the affluent; I long to help people of all socioeconomic levels and all walks of life.  So I got going building free and low-cost programs and resources that anyone and everyone can take advantage of, and be supported.  And I feel so much better because of it.

Many of us who run service-related businesses (and many who don’t), want to be of help in the world.  Yes, we run businesses and need to earn money through these ventures, and we have to learn how to charge fairly and appropriately for what we offer, but we also want to use our talents and abilities to move the needle in some important way. I’ve found that creating free and low-cost programs (that cost me very little to produce) as well as offering my top-level services is the way I can move the needle.

Below are 5 key lessons I’ve learned these past few years about how to view, experience, and handle being asked to give free help:

Stop being mad – it’s a waste of energy.

It’s best to simply get over being mad and resentful that people reach out for free help.  We need to realize that people don’t necessarily understand our business model, and aren’t trying to be disrespectful when they ask for help.  We need to educate them on what we offer and what we don’t, and be clear, without apology.

We actually can be of great help in just a few seconds or minutes of time.

Judy Robinett (author of the great book How To Be a Power Connector) demonstrated to me that you don’t need to spend hours with someone to be of help.  Just a few minutes, an email intro, a powerful connection, an opened door  – that’s all it takes.  Finding ways to help people without exhausting yourself to the bone is the way to go.

No, I no longer let people “pick my brain” for free, but where I can, I offer quick tidbits, insights and ideas.

Developing free or low-cost programs that help people who can’t afford your services is a WIN/WIN.

I’ve now created an array of great free and lower-cost resources that I point everyone to, when they’re asking for free help. I’m excited about these resources because I’ve seen that they move people forward. The free materials include Career Path Self-Assessment, Career Success Readiness Quiz, Resume Guide, LinkedIn Primer, Study Guide for my book, etc.). I also have more affordable training programs that a larger number of professionals can take advantage of.

I’ve found that having these resources to point people to allows me to be of service at the level I wish to for folks who can’t pay my coaching fees.  It also allows me to protect my private time and my private coaching work, which comes at a premium. I recommend this step — developing great, free materials that you’re happy to give away — a teleclass, newsletter, an audio, a video, downloadable guide, etc. —  to all folks in the service business who want to help people in the largest way possible. And the kicker is that the free materials always generate a great return of some kind for me as well.

Craft an authentic, personal response that works.

Because I hear from hundreds of folks a month, I can’t respond personally to each one. But I’ve developed communications that I’m able to customize and send out to folks who reach out to me wanting free help, explaining that due to the high volume of requests I receive for free help each week, I’m unable to offer tailored recommendations to folks who aren’t my clients, because to provide effective help I’d have to know much more, and that requires time and commitment. But I’m happy to point them to my free and low-cost resources that will be of service.

I value connecting with my community and with most everyone who writes me, but I’m not developing each response from scratch.

Helping people who need it doesn’t make you a doormat.

Read Adam Grant’s book Give and Take and you’ll see that many of the most successful people in the world are the most outrageously generous givers.  Giving something for free doesn’t make you a loser, it makes you a giver. The key, however, is to give in ways that nourish, enrich, and support you, not break you down.  That requires clarity, commitment, systems that work for you, a well-defined vision of what you want to achieve in the world, and powerful boundaries to support that.

In the end, I’d ask this: What would you rather feel – resentful and angry or happy to be of service in bigger ways than you ever imagined?

What’s your biggest challenge in addressing requests for free help?

 

 

5 TraitsTo Embrace To Live Without Regret

Today I had a shock. I heard from a mother of a lovely young woman I had spoken with on the phone nearly three years ago about career coaching. I learned from her mother that this beautiful, vibrant young woman was gone. She had passed away in her home in June 2011, just one month after I spoke with her. And amazingly, the young woman was from my home town.

I was truly rocked by this news. I was so touched by the mother’s beautiful note to me (she hadn’t wanted to just “unsubscribe” her daughter from my newsletter, but wanted to explain, and share the sad news personally). I was rocked because I have beloved children myself who are so precious to me, and I can only glimpse of the pain a parent feels at losing her dearest child so young.

And finally, I was rocked at the idea that this young woman’s life and my own had intersected only for a brief moment in time, and I wondered how she would have experienced and remembered our interaction. I prayed she would have thought of it as helpful and caring. If not, I would deeply regret it.

That got me thinking. We strive so hard to live good lives, to be “happy,” to find our way, and to create success and joy, and share it with others. But I’ve realized lately that it’s just not that complicated. It’s very simple, in fact. Maybe living well, with happiness and without regret, is simply about demonstrating in physical reality five essential traits that help us leave this world a better place than we found it.

If it were truly this simple – just five essential behaviors — would we all do a better job of living without regret, of embracing and sharing joy and love with others, and feeling much better every moment of our existence? I think so.

What are these 5 traits that are essential to regret-free, joyful living? I believe they are:

Kindness

Kindness is the sweetness of life. It’s a gentle hand when we’re down, a non-judging, listening ear when we have a problem, and it’s an unselfish act that puts the best interests of others first. It’s giving without looking for “what’s in it for me.”

I, like you perhaps, interact with hundreds of people each month, and I endeavor to be kind to each one, but sometimes I fail. When I’m tired, over-worked, stressed, frustrated – you name it – my kindness wanes.

Truthfully speaking, I can often get grumpy and agitated when strangers desperately want and demand something from me. But I have found that I can overcome that agitation, and I am more successful at that when I’m more “present” in my life. When I can step back from what’s at hand, take three deep breaths and remember what I’m doing here on this planet, and when I connect to a higher dimension of myself that isn’t so worn down from the obligations in front of me, my access to kindness opens. Then, I’m able recalibrate and re-energize, and find my heart again. It’s not hard – it just takes commitment and practice.

Kindness heals sorrow, binds broken relationships, and mends souls (our own and others’). So why then are we so unkind?

What takes you away for your kindness and what helps you restore it? Can you make a habit of rekindling your kindness each day?

Caring

To me, caring is about taking the time to give a hand to someone, to show that their issues and problems are important, and their worldview matters. Caring means that you validate the individual before you, and show that you understand who they are at their core, and love and respect that essence.

The opposite of caring is the snarky back-stabbing, gossiping, hateful behavior we see around us every day – online and in person. Making someone wrong and judging them mercilessly is a hallmark of it. This lack of caring reveals that you’ve forgotten one core truth – that everyone is inextricably connected, and each person is a facet of you. So if you’re hateful to another person, you’re hateful to yourself.

Are you as caring for those around you as you’d like to be? Are you caring to yourself in equal measure (that’s where most women fall down.) What holds you back from exhibiting more care and concern for yourself and for others?

Compassion

Of all of these traits, I believe compassion is the most powerful to heal the world. Compassion represents the feeling of empathy for others, the emotion we feel in response to the suffering or experiences of others that inspires in us a desire to help. In my work as a therapist and coach, I’ve observed that those who were raised without compassion, without empathy – by parents who were narcissistic, cruel, distorted, and unable to feel compassion – are those who suffer the severest forms of pain, isolation, and suffering.

Is your compassion for others and the world somehow being strangled by your current struggles and your mindset? Can you find a new way to grow your compassion for yourself, and for others?

Helpfulness

In working with women to move away from careers they dislike, there is inevitably a sense of meaning, purpose and helpfulness that is missing and that they long for. As Maria Nemeth shared in her powerful book The Energy of Money, we are all happiest when we’re demonstrating in physical reality what we know to be true about ourselves, when we’re giving form to our Life Intentions in ways that help others.

I know too many people who focus only of what they have in front of them – either their struggles and strife or, on the flip side, their wealth, achievements and outer “things” (toys, cars, houses, bank accounts) they are amassing — with no regard of how they can be of help in the world.

In the end, if you focus only on yourself and your tiny sphere of influence, you’ll be wasting your talents and your abilities, and losing a precious opportunity to make a real difference in the world. The result will be that, at the end of your life, you will experience deep sadness, regret and remorse that you wasted your precious time, energy and your life looking out for only yourself.

Who can you help today?

Truthfulness

Finally, I’ve seen that people experience deep pain and suffering from the lies they’ve told – to themselves and to others. Lying reflects a deep-seated fear that we are not “enough” – not strong, smart, courageous, good or powerful enough – to deal with the real consequences of our true actions and beliefs, so we lie. But lying hurts. When you lie to yourself, you rob yourself of the chance to evaluate accurately and fully how best to move forward. And lying to others limits their ability to make the right choices and decisions for themselves. The bottom line: lying stops you and others from growing, living and loving life to the fullest.

The flip side – truthfulness – does indeed set you free. Truthfulness allows you to be free with and accepting of yourself, and lets others be themselves, and act with honesty, authenticity and transparency as well.

Where are you being false, and what truth can you share today that will change everything for you?

* * * *

These five traits can be viewed as agreements you make with yourself. If you commit to being to being more kind, caring, compassionate, helpful and truthful each day, I guarantee, without reservation, that your life experience will improve dramatically, and regrets will fade.

(For more on the power of giving, check out Adam Grant’s great new book Give and Take. For information on helping others and the world through your career and professional life, check out Breakdown, Breakthrough  and the Amazing Career Project.)

 

 

Successful People: The 8 Behaviors They Avoid

In my work, I’ve been fortunate to learn from amazingly successful, impactful professionals and entrepreneurs.  I’m defining “success” here as achieving what matters most to you, individually and authentically – not as some objective measure of outer wealth, accomplishment or achievement.  Observing people in action who are living fully on their terms and absolutely loving it, I’ve seen how they think, react, interrelate, problem solve, and lead.  I’ve applied these lessons to my own life, and to those I coach.

I’ve noted that people who love what they do for a living and have created tremendous success and reward, not only engage continuously in life-supporting behaviors, but also avoid certain negative actions and mindsets that other, less successful people habitually get lost in.

The 8 self-limiting, negative behaviors successful people avoid are:

Engaging in “below the line” thinking

“Below the line” thinking refers to a particular mindset that shapes how you view the world in a limiting way.  It leads to your believing that what’s happening to you is outside your control and everyone else’s fault – the economy, your industry, your boss, your spouse, etc.  Below the line thinking says, “It’s not fair what’s happening, and I don’t have what it takes to overcome these challenges. I didn’t expect this and I can’t handle it.”  Above the line thinking, on the other hand, says, “I clearly see the obstacles ahead, and I’m addressing them with open eyes.  I’m accountable for my life and my career, and I have what it takes to navigate through this successfully.  If I fail, I’ll still wake up tomorrow exactly who I am, and will have learned something critical.”

Mistaking fantastical wishful thinking for action

Successful professionals pursue outcomes that flow organically from their current actions. Unsuccessful individuals attach to fantasies that may relieve them momentarily of their situational pain but have no basis in reality.  For instance, I’ve heard from corporate professionals who share, “Kathy, I really hate my job and desperately want to leave.  I’ve been wanting to write a book and become a motivational speaker for several years now.  What’s your advice?”  I’ll respond, “OK, great.  Are you writing and speaking?” and more often than not, the answer will be, “Uh…no.”  You can’t write a book if you’re not writing anything, and you can’t speak in public if you haven’t developed any material to speak about.   It’s critical to take bold action toward your visions, in order to create success.  Successful people develop huge goals too, but they crush them down into smaller, digestible (but courageous) action steps that they then build on, which leads naturally to the end goal they’re pursuing.

Remaining powerless and speechless

Successful people are in touch with their power, and are not afraid to use it and express it.  They advocate and negotiate strongly for themselves and for others, and for what they care about, and don’t shy away from articulating just how they stand apart from the competition.  They know how they contribute uniquely and the value they bring to the table.   In addition, they don’t wait to bring up concerns – they tackle challenges head on, speaking about them openly, with calm, poise and grace.  They don’t hide from their problems.  And they don’t perceive themselves as hapless victims.

Putting off investing in themselves

I see this behavior over and over in those who feel thwarted and unsuccessful – they are incredibly reluctant to invest time, money and energy in themselves and their own growth.  They are comfortable only when putting other people’s needs ahead of their own.  They’ll make any excuse for why now is NOT the time to invest in themselves or commit to change.  They feel guilt, shame and anxiety over claiming “I’m worth this.”  Successful people don’t wait – they spend money, time and effort on their own growth because they know without doubt it will pay off – for themselves and everyone around them.

Resisting change

Successful people don’t break themselves against what is or drown in the changing tides.  They go with the flow.  They follow the trends, and embrace them.  They are flexible, fluid and nimble.  They react to what’s in front of them, and improvise deftly.   Those who are unsuccessful bemoan what is appearing before them, and stay stuck in the past or in what they “expected,” complaining about how life is not what it should be and why what is feels so wrong.

Honoring other people’s priorities over their own

Successful people know what matters most to them – their priorities, values, concerns, and their mission and purpose.  They don’t float aimlessly on a sea of possibility – they are masters of their own ship and know where they want to head, and make bold moves in the direction of their dreams.  To do this, they are very clear about their top priorities in life and work, and won’t be waylaid by the priorities and values of others.  In short, they have very well-defined boundaries, and know where they end and others begin.  They say “no” to endeavors and behaviors (and thinking) that will push them off track.  They know what they want to create and the legacy they want to leave behind in this lifetime, and honor that each day. (To get clearer on your priorities, values, and desires for the next chapter of your life and work, take my free Career Path Self-Assessment.)

Doubting themselves and their instincts

Those who doubt themselves, lack trust in their own gut or instincts, or second-guess themselves continually find themselves far from where they want to be.  Successful professionals believe in themselves without fail.  Sure, they acknowledge they have “power gaps” or blind spots, and areas that need deep development.  But they forgive themselves for what they don’t know and the mistakes they’ve made, and accept themselves.  They keep going with hope and optimism, knowing that the lessons from these missteps will serve them well in the future.

Searching for handouts and easy answers

I can often tell from the first contact I have with someone if they’ll be likely to succeed in their new entrepreneurial venture and career, or not.  How? By the nature of their expectations, and how they set out to fulfill them.  Here’s an example – if a complete stranger reaches out to me expecting free help without considering what she may offer in return, it’s a bad sign.  Let’s say she asks something like this: “I’m launching my new business and wondered if you can give me some advice. I can’t pay you because I’m a startup, but I hope you can help me anyway.”

From this one email, I know she’s not ready to make it happen in her own business.  Why? Because successful professionals (and those destined to be) wouldn’t consider asking for help in this way.  Instead, they: 1) understand that they have something important and valuable to offer in any situation, 2) are willing and happy to share or barter that in return for what they want, and 3) they treat others exactly as they would like to be treated.

Successful professionals are respectful, resourceful, curious, competent, tenacious, and they figure out how to get the help they need without asking for handouts.  That doesn’t mean they don’t seek assistance when and where they need it , or make use of the many free resources available to them (like Score.org, etc.).  It means that they don’t expect something for nothing.  They treat others equitably and fairly and know they deserve the same.  Successful professionals realize that if they’re not willing to pay for products and services they want, then others won’t be willing to pay them (yes, it works like karma).

They also know that their success is directly proportionate to the effort they put inMost of all, they understand there are no short cuts or easy answers on the road to success.

(For more about achieving greater success in your career, visit Ellia Communications, my free teleclass Breakthrough to Your BOLD Plan for More Happiness, Success and Reward, and my book Breakdown, Breakthrough.)

 

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