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Career for Recent Graduates

 

Career for Recent Graduates

Career for Recent Graduates

I was recently reminded of the stress, curiosity and overwhelm involved in finding a job after graduation.  Determining how to navigate a career for recent graduates can be a daunting task with many questions, it certainly has been for me.  There seems to be a definite commonality among this experience, whether its high school, college or graduate school, there is the all too common question of “what’s next?”

What I’ve learned along the way is that taking stock of my values, strengths, and longer term goals has always eased the process.  I wondered what may have been helpful for me to hear in the earlier parts of my career.  I came up with a few suggestions and some interesting data that I think may have been valuable for me to hear and hopefully is valuable to others in the midst of transition to or through the work world.

  • Don’t be afraid to take action  

I recently read in the Wall Street Journal that according the Bureau of Labor and Statistics – 50 percent of people between 20 and 24, have been with their current employers for under a year.  The message here is that the job you are starting out with, may not be the job you stick with forever.  Taking the first step towards developing your career can help to build your own understanding of strengths, weaknesses and areas you are truly passionate about.

This same rationale may apply to graduation from graduate school or any serious educational commitment that results in embarking in a new kind of career.  Taking action towards this new career is the first step.  The real learning occurs after we take this step.

  • The goodness of fit of the opportunity

Considering basic information (location, hours, salary etc.) when looking at the possibility of a new job is a start.  To truly understand if it is a good fit though, you must first ask yourself what is your longer term objective with this job.  The nature of jobs change over time.   Understanding your own goals, both inside and outside of your career, will help in determining if a job opportunity truly fits with who you are.

  • Decide the “deal breakers”

Deciding what your “deal breakers” are could be done by asking how the job will get you closer to your longer term career and personal goals.  In addition, exploring what kinds of sacrifices you are willing to make to meet your goals may be an exercise to review.   Another way to explore this may be to look at what challenges you are willing to accept, in addition to or instead of, framing the experience as what you are willing to sacrifice.  Having a clear vision of what you want, is of course the first step.  Once you understand your vision for what you would like out of your career and personal life, determining deal breakers will be easier.

  • Stay the course

We often get distracted by all the bright and shiny objects in our world.  Stay the course of what your longer term goals are and this will help you to ignore the irrelevant input.  Be careful of FOMO (fear of missing out).   FOMO can come in many shapes and sizes and may be related to work, friends, socializing, internet crazes or many other distractions.  Having a process for working and ways to avoid distraction may be helpful in holding momentum towards your goals.

 

Thanks!

Michael

 

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Where do you see yourself in 5 years

 

Where do you see yourself in 5 years

Where do you see yourself in 5 years

I was recently watching an interview that Tony Robbins did regarding Tips for Getting out of a Funk.  It’s worth a watch.   He talked about setting intention, living more consciously and goal setting…in addition to some reflection on our current economy.  This had me thinking about the direction that I’m heading.  I also was recently encouraged by a coach to create a vision board.  The idea being an exercise in response to the question – “Where do you see yourself in five years” This concept of setting a trajectory is one I find so important.

If you’re curious about goal setting and vision boards, check out this cool resource.

Exploring this idea of where I be in five years has been a helpful exercise.  It makes me think about a lot more than goal setting.   I know that goal setting is important.  I have seen evidence of this in my own life time and time again, in addition to most of the clients I work with.  I think that unless we are setting strong intentions, then we may just be letting someone else lead. We can either choose to be the creators of our direction or allow our direction to be created.

Expressing goals can really change results.  According to a study by Psychology Professor Dr. Gail Matthews, 70 percent of participants who shared their goals achieved them, while 35 percent of participants who did not share or write down their goals had been unsuccessful in accomplishing them.

I think finding a direction can be challenging.  There are so many distractions available to us.  Depending on your disposition you may have what is often referred to as – “shiny object syndrome.”  This means that there are always so many things to do, to see, to be involved with, to study etc.   This constant pull in a multitude of directions can take us away from what we are truly after.  I have found the following tips helpful in creating goals and creating a five year plan.

Five tips for creating a 5 year plan

It’s more than a 5 year plan

Remember that creating a five year plan is more about just answering the question – where will you be in five years.  Hopefully it’s about establishing new patterns of intentionality so that going forward you know more about what you want, where you’re headed and how you’ll get there.   Setting a trajectory for success is about creating long lasting change, not just creating a plan.

Where were you five years ago

Often times looking at where you have come from and how you got to where you are can lead to identifying patterns.  These patterns can show up as positive or negative ways that have impacted your goals and aspirations.  Alternatively, you may identify that over recent years there has not been much intention about where you were going, which may show the necessity for more self-direction.  Keeping in mind the important concept from Marshall Goldsmith – “What got you here, won’t get you there.”

What are you willing to give up

Setting an intention for self-development or improvement in some area in life may involve giving up other things.  We only have so much time every day and setting priorities for what we want will sometimes mean letting go.  A great exercise to consider in this evaluation of what you are willing to give up is to regularly ask yourself this question –

“How is what I’m doing right now getting me one step closer to where I want to be in five years?”

How self-disciplined are you and how can this improve

Similar to asking the question of what you’re willing to give up is looking at how self-disciplined you are.  Any sort of change takes a certain level of self-discipline.  If you decide that your self-discipline needs improvement then exploring ways to practice may be helpful.  Discipline can be built in a number of ways.  For more detail, see this post on – growing self-discipline.

Letting go of limiting beliefs

Exploring what beliefs serve you and which ones don’t, will help to not only develop your five year plan but also assist in the process of manifesting this plan.  Fear often gets in the way of exploring goals that you think you may not be able to achieve.  Reducing fear and limiting beliefs will allow you to see options available and set your trajectory higher than you think.  Here are some strategies for how to let go of limiting beliefs and fear in more detail.

Challenge –

What is one thing you plan to accomplish in five years?

 Best,

Michael

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Trusting Your Intuition

 

Trusting Your Intuition

Trusting Your Intuition

Here is a challenge I’ve been having this week. How do I determine the difference between what my gut says vs. an old pattern I have or the difference between recognizing an intuition vs a fear?  So why not write about it.  There are definitely some questions I find helpful when exploring if/when to trust your intuition.

But before we get into tips let’s look at some research around intuition.  According to  an article on Psychology Today – two different studies reference people’s ability to “intuit” correct answers, in very different scenarios, before the answers were provided.  This was measured by a physical response that was happening as a reaction to the answer.

Another study looked at intuition as it relates to major life decisions, such as buying a car.  In some studies it shows that people who have trusted their intuition first often end up happier than those that analyzed thoroughly and decided against their own first instinct.  However, there is of course some debate about this.  Psychologists and scientists continue to debate the nature of intuition.

Some believe that intuition comes from a reptilian part of the brain that is tapping into some unconscious awareness of danger.  While others look at intuition as a tapping into the unconscious, but in a way that looks at stored information that is available to us but perhaps lost from our conscious mind.

Regardless of the debate, it seems that there exists large bodies of literature that at least agree on one thing – your intuition is worth listening to, for a variety of reasons.

I often live by my intuition…perhaps too much at times.  So finally, here are some strategies that I think are helpful to explore when looking at ones intuition –

Evaluate how this relates to old patterns –

To consider trusting your intuition vs an old pattern of decision making, evaluate it.  Does the decision fit into a habit or pattern for you, or is it an instinct that you have?

Fear wrapped up in intuition –

When there is a hunch towards a decision, make sure that the hunch is not just preventing a direction that may be unfamiliar or uncomfortable.  Of course, this should be weighed with reason, but determining if it is intuition or fear that is driving the decision may be beneficial.

What is the impact of this decision in 5 years or 20 years –

Trusting your intuition can be hugely beneficial! So can weighing out the implications of your decisions.  For instance, if this decision won’t make that big of a difference in 5 years, then perhaps it’s ok to move forward.  On the other hand, combining intuition with some logic may be worth exploring if this decision will impact you in 20 years.

If I don’t trust this intuition will the result be regret or potential failure –

Remember, logic and reason is great, but so is taking risks.  Ask yourself if the decision will result in feeling scared, or regretful for not doing something different.  A little fear isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  A great quote by Lucille Ball –

“I’d rather regret the things I’ve done than regret the things I haven’t done”

How has my intuition been accurate in the past and where has this led me –

Looking at past gains and failures may be advantageous.  Making a list of the times intuition has led to positive results may help to instill some confidence in trusting yourself.

 

How has intuition worked for you?  I would also be curious to hear from anyone who chooses not to trust their intuition.  Please share or comment below.

Thanks,

Michael

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Growing Self-Discipline

Growing Self-Discipline

Growing Self-Discipline

Discipline has been on my mind lots in the last few weeks, so I thought I would do some exploring.  I am currently experimenting with a month long restricted diet (Whole30), definitely an act of discipline.  However, not in a bad way.  Most of the time when I explore ways of eating, exercise routines or other practices I find it interesting and at least somewhat eye opening in some way.  Usually I find that there are discoveries to be found when pursuing an act of growing self-discipline.

I found that it my life, practicing martial arts has been a continually evolving way to build self-discipline.  Certainly there are many ways to build self-discipline, but the question may be – why?  There are many findings on the impact of self-discipline across many aspects of the human experience.   The advantages of having good discipline start when are young.

In a longitudinal study by The Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania found that self-discipline accounted for twice as much variance as IQ in final grades of eight grade students.  These habits and their results may have significant impact on children’s ability to be successful later in life.

A study in The Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology showed that implementing a school based martial arts program had a positive impact on children’s cognitive self-regulation, an aspect of self-discipline.

According to Alphie Kohn it may be more valuable for children to be able to build the capacity to choose when to exercise self-discipline as well as what kind of self-discipline, and that this ability to choose may be more valuable than the self-discipline itself.

However the impact of discipline is not just found in kids.  In a study by The Department of Psychology, Washington University in St. Louis, MO it was found that enhancing self-discipline and self-concept may improve subjective memory in older adults.

According to a study in The Journal of Depression and Anxiety, low self-discipline has been associated with anxiety and depressive disorders.


5 Tips for Growing Self-Discipline

  • Take your time – Building any new habit takes time. Taking small steps slowly over time will great the greatest recipe for success.  Remember that creating significant change is a process.
  • SMART goals – Goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely will be the easiest to keep track of and the most likely to be achieved, leading to greater confidence and success overall.
  • Find your practice – Building self-discipline, will be most effective if the practice is something that you really enjoy doing. Finding a practice within the category that you are trying to create discipline around will help to build momentum and success overall.  You may find that creating discipline that is at least somewhat connected to your purpose or passion will be easiest.
  • Record your process – Explore the ups and downs of what it is like to create a new discipline in your life. This will be helpful in examining what works, what doesn’t and accomplishments along the way.
  • Practice creating routine – Practicing some kind of routine, even if it is outside the context of your goal will help in building the mindset of being more self-disciplined.  There are always opportunities to create new routines every day, take advantage of this.

How have you created self-discipline in your life?

Best,

Michael

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Dealing with Uncertainty

 

Dealing with Uncertainty

Dealing with Uncertainty

This week as I was searching for a topic to write about, I felt uncertain.  It’s not like there is a lack of things to choose from in the personal development, counseling or consulting arena.  There are a ton of topics to choose from.  However, I was feeling uncertain.  So, why not just write about it.  I think as a culture we are dealing with uncertainty on a daily basis.  Having access to 1,000 choices in every avenue of life will do that.   However, there are strategies to battle this uncertainty.

Feeling stuck is common.  We often are wanting a change from a career, a hobby, a relationship or a habit.  In my experience, getting caught in the weighing out of which decision to make can sometimes be exhausting. So how do we deal with uncertainty?

I was talking with a friend recently about a new relationship they are in.  We were talking about the draw to this new partner, the things they have in common, the fun they have etc.  When the idea of how or if to move forward came up, I had thought to ask the question – what is the motivation to be with this person?  Obviously we feel connected to others, we fall in love or we have a connection that isn’t so strong.  So my curiosity is about where this connection is coming from.  Understanding our motivations may help us to deal with uncertainties and move on from a place of “stuckness.”  Understanding what motivates your direction is a good starting place, below are five more tips to resolve uncertainty.

Five Tips to Resolve Uncertainty

Learning to Follow Your Gut – This may seem obvious but there is lots of power in understanding what our instincts tell us.  Since there are so many options in most things we come across, this may distract us from our own wisdom. Practicing ways to reflect on our own thoughts or feelings like journaling, therapy, meditation or some daily practice may help in learning to follow your gut.

Take a Break – It’s easy to get caught up analyzing a choice to death.  Analysis Paralysis.   Walking away from a decision or giving yourself a temporary break from deciding may offer up some new clarity in which direction to choose.

Unbiased Third Party – Speaking with an unbiased third party like a coach or counselor can be an effective way to work through a decision.  Having someone who does not know your situation may be able to offer questions or insight that a friend or relative may not see.   Sometimes when we are asked a unique question this helps to switch our perspective and make things clearer.  

Meditate – Meditation is a great tool to help with staying present.  More and more we see the benefits of meditation in reducing stress, anxiety and even have an impact on us biologically.  Being present is another way to tap into our own understanding of what is the best decision for us to make, and what our own intuition tells us.  In addition, meditation may also offer relief from dealing with the discomfort that often accompanies uncertainty.

Get Up and Move – The mind/body connection is present in everything we do, even when we are dealing with uncertainties in life.  When we are unclear about what decision to make, this creates a particular stagnation in the mind, and perhaps even in the body as we sit and weigh all the pros and cons of our decisions. Getting involved in some kind of regular exercise or even simple movement may trigger a new way to look at the problem.

What will you decide to take action on this week?

Share or comment below.

Thanks!

Michael

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The 100 Day Intention Experiment – Part 2

The 100 Day Intention Experiment Part 2

The 100 Day Intention Experiment Part 2

I recently finished an experiment on intention that I had started about three months ago.  My intention was to complete 100 days of a regular morning routine.  To see some details read The 100 Day Intention Experiment – Part 1.  I had been in an accident that gave me some new perspective about how focused and present I was being with my time, a great lesson.  Basically, through this 100 day experiment, the idea was to build more intention to the start of my day, in order to positively impact the rest of my day.   I have been starting my day out with different forms of meditation and exercise and then writing.

I wanted to write a reflection of this experience since as I suspected, it was great!  At this point it’s hard to imagine not going through this routine, as I have come to enjoy it so much.  However, some things will continue to evolve and change, as they should.  I have already started another 100 day challenge but am setting specific goals for exercise, business, and personal development.

I recently read my last 100 daily entries of journaling and noticed some themes come up.  Some of these ideas stood out and I thought I would highlight them, as they may be valuable to other people too.

Lessons from 100 Day Intention Experiment 

  • The importance of gratitude – I recently wrote a post about this, but in summary – when I am feeling stuck or irritated I can remind myself of all that I already have as well as the difference between my needs vs wants.
  • Follow through – Being diligent with tasks, keeping focused on my One Thing (which is a book I read recently and worth checking out if you haven’t read it)
  • Patience – I have found that my timeline and how things have been unfolding are a bit different. A great opportunity to practice patience and continue with follow through and direction towards goals.
  • Self-Worth – Through this experiment and refection I am reminded that my self-worth is not dependent on the goals I reach.
  • The importance of sleep – I have noticed that the more I get regular sleep (at least 7.5 hours a night) the more productive, focused and aware I am.
  • Abundance – Thankfully I am in a community were this idea is supported. There is lots of opportunity to look at all the other practitioners in my field as competition. I am reminded though that this is a perception and the truth is that there is plenty of work available for all of us.
  • Remaining present – Having spent more time recently meditating, remaining present has been an important focus. I have noticed that the more I can focus on the now the less stress I experience.
  • Making connections is important – I have surprised by how making connections in the community continues to lead to more opportunity. I believe that speaking about our work and passions with others will bring more opportunity to have these passions and work expressed in our lives.
  • Writing about my dreams has been helpful – I have been finding some interesting insight and themes in my dreams as I have been writing about them daily. Some themes make sense (based on what I’ve been involved with recently) while others have brought me more insight into the ways I interact, think and feel.

How does your daily practice impact you?

Share or comment below [udesign_icon_font name=”fa fa-smile-o”]

Thanks,

Michael

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The Importance of Gratitude

The Importance Gratitude

 

I was on a flight last week heading out to California for what I expected to be a very transformational conference, and it was.  I was excited to be going in the first place but returned with even more gratitude.  The conference was called – The Most Awesome Conference, and indeed it was.  It was put on by a group of savvy therapists, consultants and business strategists.  This conference was unique, not only did we get to hear presentations on important strategies of running a business but we got to participate in creating new ways to market, promote and manage our business.  The amount of connection and support I felt from this weekend conference was intense. I was reminded of the importance of gratitude.  It is with this gratitude that I continue to be propelled forward.

I would like to give thanks to the following people for putting together such a great weekend full of learning, laughter and action! A special thanks to – Joe Sanok of Practice of the Practice, Kelly & Miranda of Zynnyme, Dr. Julie Hanks, Jo Muirhead, Mari Lee of Growth Counseling, Ernesto  Segismundo of Fylmit.com, and all the wonderful attendees of The Most Awesome Conference!

I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to learn from them and to have had the chance to share ideas and explore how to build the field of counseling, coaching and consulting.

I reference this story for a few reasons –

  • It is important to me to be thankful.
  • Gratitude can improve our lives socially, psychologically, and even physically.
  • Gratitude impacts others, thus impacting the world!

Three reasons why expressing gratitude may be beneficial to you

  1. According to Robert Emmons, a leading researcher on gratitude, there are a number of benefits from offering regular gratitude including – stronger immune system, higher levels of positive emotions, more forgiving attitude and less feelings of isolation.

  2. Gratitude can have an impact on your relationships. According to John Gottman, a leading expert in marital relationships, it is very important for a couple to maintain a ratio of more positive interactions than negative, for the marriage to be successful.

  3. Gratitude has an impact on others around you. If you want to make a difference in how you interact with others, consider adding an element of gratitude. This shift in interaction style may have a great impact on your relationships and communication.  Others are more likely to respond to gratitude than discontent.

When I think of the times in my life that have been particularly challenging, one of the things that brings me back from feeling like nothing is working, is to be thankful for all that I have.   The truth is that when we cut out all the things we have from the things we need, most of us are richer than we think.

So the question at times may be – “What am I grateful for?”  This may be an easier or harder question to answer, depending on the day. However, just like everything, if you practice it becomes easier.  So, please see the following challenge –

Challenge of the Week!

  • Think of someone or something you are grateful for and why.
  • Express this gratitude by writing a small thank you message and tagging them via social media.
  • Share this post.
  • Move through the day with ease.

Thankfully,

Michael

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The 100 Day Intention Experiment – Part 1

 

The 100 Day Intention Experiment

 

About two months ago I was involved in an accident.  Since this accident I’ve had lots of questions, first of which was how did I survive. I had slipped and fallen off of a high waterfall and landed in about 1.5 feet of water, but mostly rock.  When my friends arrived down to where I had fallen, the look on their faces was as if they had seen a ghost.   Thankfully they were able to help me hike out of the woods.  I’m lucky to have such great friends.   The waterfall was 75 feet.  I managed to grab some branches and rocks on the way down so the free fall was only 30 feet or so.  I went over the falls head first, but managed to turn myself around and point my feet down so that I was falling vertically.  I am very thankful for years of martial arts training that taught me to relax and focus during times of stress.  I believe it was this ability to focus, as well as being able to relax and exhale on impact that helped to reduce trauma.   After a series of x-rays it was determined that I didn’t even break anything.  It was a miracle.   I’m still working on rehabbing my ankles and knees, but overall I’m good.

This post is less about that story and more about what this experience pushed me towards.  Like I said, I’ve had lots of thoughts since this accident; gratitude, curiosity, wonder, fear etc.  One thought that has come up regularly is intention.  The experience made me ask a great question – “How intentional are my moments, days, weeks and general direction?”  So I decided to create an intention experiment.

I definitely have lots of good things going on right now and am busy, but wasn’t as intentional as I would like, so I changed.  Today is day 50 of a 100 day experiment I decided to start.  This experiment was inspired by my study of daily practices in graduate school, my martial arts practice and an inspirational story I heard about a man named Hal Elrod.    If you don’t know Hal’s story, you should look into it.  He wrote a book called The Miracle Morning, which is also worth checking out.  The idea is about setting a routine at the first part of the day that then sets the tone for the rest of the day, physically and mentally.   So, why 100 days?  It seemed like a nice round number and also enough time to form a new habit, which is my goal.

Having a daily practice is not something new for me.  However, I haven’t had a regular routine like this that is regimented and covers a few different focal points.  I want to share the routine because I’ve found it to be so helpful.   The order has had some variation but for the most part this is how it goes:

  • I wake up, brush my teeth, splash some water on my face and sometimes put in my contacts.
  • I do 10 minutes of seated meditation. The meditation I do is mostly just focused on relaxation and how I’m breathing.   I do this first because I’ve noticed that I recall my dreams much better, which often times there are some nuggets of inspiration there for me.
  • A short warm up, stretching and moving and then into a Tai Chi form that I have been practicing for the last 7 years or so. I think I’m at the point now finally that I can do this form and feel like a beginner.  There is so much to the art of Tai Chi, but that’s for another post.
  • I then start a Chi Kung which I have also been practicing for some time now. Chi Kung is another kind of meditation.
  • I do about 10-15 minutes of movement that helps to get my blood flowing even more. Usually this consists of martial arts forms/movements/stances, pushups, pull ups, sit ups and some stretching.
  • To wrap it up I journal. The journaling usually has three elements.
    • I write about whatever mood I wake up in or what’s on my mind.
    • I write about my dreams I remember and what kind of meaning I can draw from them.
    • Most importantly, I write about my intention for the day. I find that writing my goals and what I intend to accomplish for the day has been a powerful exercise for me.  Sometimes I write down intentions for longer term goals as they relate to what is happening currently.

Since I started this routine I’ve noticed some really great opportunities develop in my business, I have been feeling better physically and seem to be more productive.  This may just be coincidence, although I don’t believe that.  I do believe that creating clear goals and intentions for our time, creates results.  I have noticed that my time has been spent more focused.  This routine has helped me get clear about the direction of my business as well as directions and goals I am taking on personally.

I really believe having a daily practice has so much to offer.   My story and practice is unique, just like yours.  Starting the day with focus on mental clarity, physical health and intention seems to be a great recipe for success.  It works well for me because I’ve incorporated some practices that I already love.  Combining practices that I really enjoy with ones that are harder to do (especially in the morning) has been a good mix. I look forward to reflecting on this practice after another 50 days.

What is your recipe for success?

Best,

Michael