Friday, December 31, 2010

Putting a New Year in Perspective

I am ending the year with some tips for keeping your life in balance.

  • Take stock of your activities to be sure you are spending sufficient time in all important areas of your life--work, family, spiritual, and extracurricular activities
  • Renew relationships with relatives and friends you have not been in touch with for a while
  • Purge excess belongs and donate them to charity
  • Meditate
  • Exercise
  • Create a workable budget
  • Volunteer
  • Devote time to your hobby or favorite activity
  • Start a gratitude journal and write in it daily
  • Read a few good books
  • Listen to uplifting music
  • Be flexible
  • Let go of worries and stress
  • Keep a sense of humor
  • Share with others
  • Establish priorities and eliminate things that do not add value to your life
  • Strike negative words from your vocabulary
  • Forgive
  • Take it one day at a time

Happy New Year!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Career Resolutions

Christmas with all its hustle and bustle is over. This weekend we will celebrate the end of one year and the beginning of another. What a great time to make those resolutions! This blog will be devoted to career resolutions. If you are looking to start a new career, implement some of the following strategies in to your job search to increase your chances of success:

  • Develop a positive attitude
  • Assess your personal characteristics and your skills
  • Let your enthusiasm show during every interview
  • Make a good impression with your resume, cover letter, and interviewing skills
  • Learn about the company you are applying to and be ready to discuss that knowledge during the interview
  • Dress for success during the interview
  • Choose references carefully
  • Keep up with the latest technology
  • Utilize online employment sites by posting your resume
  • Joined LinkedIn and create a professional profile
  • Join online job boards and participate
  • Network with everyone you know and everyone you meet
  • Join a professional association and attend meetings regularly

Treat your job search like a job. Put the necessary time into your search.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Enjoy the Season

The holiday season is upon us again. It seems to come around faster and faster each year. That should be a clue that perhaps our lives are too busy. Do yourself and your loved ones a favor by taking some time to take time.

  • Remember to take time to be with family and friends and enjoy their companionship.
  • Listen to carols and enjoy the decorations.
  • Instead of thinking of all you have to do for the holidays as a chore, enjoy the beauty of the season and the fun holiday activities are meant to bring.
  • Visit a shut-in or someone who is lonely.
  • Bake some cookies or make fudge.
  • Entertain dressed in your best attire.
  • Attend to your spiritual side.
  • Spread love and cheer wherever you go.

Balancing work, play, spirituality, and physical well-being is the best way to enjoy the holiday season and life in general.

Tis the season. Slow down and enjoy.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

December--Take Care

December descended cold and snowy in PA, which calls for extra caution when driving and working and playing outdoors. It can actually be a reminder to show a little extra caution in the workplace, too.

Take care to use safety in the workplace, especially with the evenings becoming darker earlier and with holiday decorations being displayed (all those extra cords and items in the way).

Take care to use extra patience since people are under more pressure and stress at this time of the year. Kind words often work wonders in volatile situations.

Take care to not take on too much, especially with all the extra time extended to holiday preparations.

Take care of old negative business--mend relationships, forgive grudges, forget about unattained goals, and forgive yourself for personal failings.

December is a great time to wrap up loose ends from the year and get ready to begin anew when January comes.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Be Grateful

Being grateful ranks high on the list of what you can do to attract good things into your life, and Thanksgiving is the perfect time to be grateful. One of the many things I'm grateful for is that I turned in the last chapter of my new book on time. It feels good to have accomplished the feat! The book deadlines also kept me too busy to blog.

Don't forget to think about all areas of your life when giving thanks--physical, mental, spiritual, health and well-being, talents, peace of mind, and so forth. You get the picture. Take some time in the next few weeks to get centered and open yourself to all of God's blessings.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Push Yourself

As president of Pennwriters, Inc., a 400+ member writing group, I write a column for our Penn Writer newsletter. Our October theme made me think of some positive words to pass along to everyone.
  • Define your goals clearly and write them down
  • Identify your supportive forces (friends, family, books, classes, etc.)
  • Reward yourself for victories
  • Develop an action plan and set deadlines
  • Take action
  • If you do not get the results you want, change your tactics
  • Reach out to your support system
  • Think and speak positively

When you take positive steps in the right direction, you are headed for success.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Happy Fall, All

Autumn begins this week and with it Fall Fix-Up season, making it a good time to fix-up things in our lives such as these:
  • Personal relationships
  • Workplace relationships
  • Time management
  • Organization of home and office
  • Careers
  • Eating and exercise habits
  • Social habits
  • Online presence

You can find tips for time management, organization, workplace relationships, and career help in my former blog posts and on my website.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Where Does the Time Go?

Since returning from my Disney World vacation, I have been totally focused on writing my new book, Seeking a Job After 50. I turned in the first two chapters yesterday and am diligently working on Chapter 3.

All this work brings to mind time management and organizational skills. My website,, has a list of time management and organization tips if you need a little help in these areas.

With fall coming, it's a good time to take stock of where our time goes and how we can make the most of it. Soon we will be facing another holiday season and all the time crunches that come with it.

Do yourself a favor and take time to enjoy life.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Vacation from the Career

I'm taking a much needed vacation and will be leaving for Disney World tomorrow morning. My blog will resume in a couple of weeks. In the meantime, find a way to squeeze in some time for relaxing and de-stressing. We all need that if we are to keep productivity high at work.

Enjoy the last days of summer!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Succeed in Your Career Despite the Economy

Another round of dismal employment news was released yesterday. To succeed in your career in this economy, you must constantly improve yourself and remain in good standing with your company.

  • Establish your goals for advancement
  • Learn what you need to do to reach those goals
  • Develop and implement a plan of action
  • Persist with an optimistic purpose and clear sense of direction
  • Commit the time and effort necessary to reach your goals

Get a clear picture in your mind of what success means to you and then work toward it.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Hold Onto Your Job

Today's news on the economy is once again bleak. It is more important than ever to keep the job you have. One of the best ways to do that is to provide excellent customer service. Another is to do everything you can to make your boss's job easier.

Here are some other ways to help yourself and others through tough economic times:

  • Always speak kindly to everyone every day.
  • If there is something special you can do for your customers, do it.
  • Spread words of encouragement and appreciation.
  • Treat people fairly and never take advantage of them.
  • If you must offer criticism, find something positive to say first.

The way you walk your career path is especially important in this economic climate.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Marketable Skills Equal Career Success

One way of increasing your chances of keeping your job and advancing in this tough economy is to remain marketable by keeping skills fresh. Skill maintenance is an ongoing process, especially with changing and evolving technology, new research and development, and modernized equipment. Ever-changing job descriptions, assignments, procedures, and the like affect what and how much you need to know and how well you perform.

Some competencies that are always in demand include:

  • Computer Equipment and Software
  • Marketing
  • Sales
  • Customer Service
  • Oral and Written Communications

To determine the best way for you to update:

  • Review your job description and verify core competencies and skills you need
  • Assess your competency in these areas
  • Ask your supervisor if he/she feels there are competencies you need to acquire
  • Ask the HR director or company trainer if there are skills/competencies you should acquire

After you have determined the skills/competencies you need, decide how you will obtain the training and the date by which you will begin training.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Summer Fun and Career Success

During the summer it's easy to get in the fun-in-the sun mode and or take a vacation at work. Guard against slacking at work if you hope to achieve career success.
  • While on the job, do your work and give it your all.
  • Complete assigned tasks with efficiency, accuracy, and expediency.
  • Keep interruptions you can control to a minimum.
  • Avoid complaining and complainers.
  • Periodically assess yourself and how well you complete your tasks. Determine if you need to increase productivity.
  • Track where your time is spent and use time management techniques.
  • Observe others who do similar jobs, and compare your productivity to theirs.

There will be days you may feel tired, irritable, or bored. Professionals move past these feelings to continue performing at top-notch levels.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Be Dependable for a Career You can Depend On

As summer continues, so does our work life. Be dependable and show up for work every day. Repeatedly missing work and letting the boss down may result in the loss of your job. In today's job market, that can be devastating.

Show your dependability by not leaving a string of unfinished tasks, broken promises, and unacceptable work. Build a reputation as someone who can be counted on to keep his word.

  • If you say you will do something, do it.
  • If you have a deadline, meet it.
  • If you make a promise, keep it.
  • Make sure you know what is expected of you so you know if you can do it.
  • Be someone supervisors can approach with an important, demanding task.
  • Put your best into each and every job you do.
  • Whenever you finish a job, follow-up

Enjoy the summer, but meet your responsibilities.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Happy Fourth--Happy Freedom

Have a happy and safe Fourth of July. Remember all the freedoms this country has to offer.

Speaking of freedoms, this might be a good time to think about the freedom to:
  • Choose an attitude that will best serve you
  • Consider the type of job where you will most enjoy working
  • Set the goals you would like to pursue
  • Aspire to loftier career heights.

God Bless America!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Get Your Career Going--Show Enthusiasm

What happens to the new hire who shows up to work the first day bubbling with enthusiasm? Where does that eagerness go after a few months or years? How does he/she get it back? Let the boss declare an impromptu vacation day for everyone and you will see enthusiasm skyrocket.

Enthusiasm is something over which we have some control. People in similar positions in similar companies approach their jobs with different degrees of enthusiasm. We can make up our minds to be enthusiastic. Consider people you know or have read about who are passionate about what they do--Olympians, athletes, mothers raising their children. What is it about these people that sets them apart? What makes it apparent they love what they do? How can you project that enthusiasm?

  • Be more pleasant, enthusiastic, and motivated.
  • Show a zest for life and a love for your job through your actions and personality.
  • Be a coworker others will want to work with.
  • Be an employee the boss will want to promote.
  • Get others excited about what you do and how you do it.

Truly enthusiastic people radiate passion in all they do. They do not let that passion fade. They rejuvenate themselves by seeking ways to keep their lives interesting.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Balance Your Career and Personal Life

Living a balanced professional and personal life is crucial to your successful well-being. Too much emphasis and time on your professional life to the exclusion of your personal life will cause you to miss out on important "self" time. Too much attention to your personal life and not enough on your professional life will lead to career stagnation and sabotage.

  • Develop a routine that will personally fit your life plans
  • Take steps to maintain a healthy physical and mental balance for yourself before things get out of hand
  • Take corrective action when you feel your life is out of balance
  • Consider all areas of your life including work, health, family and friends, finances, personal growth, professional growth, spiritual, hobbies, and the like

When your perspective in any area of your life is out of balance, make necessary adjustments to create balance.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Keep Your Career and Job Fresh - Never Stop Learning

As schools wind down and students begin summer vacation, keep in mind that we are in a period of lifelong learning. We must strive to grow each day on the job. Learning does not stop with formal education. Get as much education and training as possible that will help you perform better in your job and also enhance your career possibilities.
  • Become an expert in an area that is lucrative
  • Challenge yourself to reach higher positions
  • Update skills to increase your value to the company
  • Learn new sought-after skills
  • Learn something new each week to keep your mind fresh and open to creativity

There are lots of ways to stimulate learning--both informally and formally. Look for opportunities and take advantage of them.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Get Organized

I gave a talk on getting organized to a writers' group today and thought I'd share some tips. Anyone can use them to get organized.

  • Locate things you use most often in a convenient place
  • Use bins, baskets, folders, etc., to get organized
  • Put things back every time you use them
  • Consider your work habits and make your environment work for you
  • Have a specific place for incoming and outgoing mail. File all correspondence and your manuscript in one folder (or storage box)
  • Only file useful papers
  • Use temporary storage like portable file boxes for work in progress

Getting organized will save you time and cut down on stress.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Persistence in Career Development

I attended the Pennwriters Conference last weekend and listened to some wonderful speakers. One of the recurring themes these speakers touched upon was persistence. Although they spoke about writing and publishing, their message of persistence applies in everything we do. By being persistent, we can:
  • Advance to positions we aspire to hold within the company.
  • Reach our personal and career goals.
  • See our dreams come true.
  • Learn and grow in any situation.
  • Accomplish nearly impossible feats.

Persist in all your endeavors. Keep going when things get tough. By not giving up, you might be surprised at what you can accomplish.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Pennwriters Conference

I'll be heading to the Pennwriters Conference in Lancaster tomorrow so figured I'd pass along some thoughts about networking, since I'll be doing lots of it this weekend. Networking is a great way to maintain friendships and work associations.
  • Have a clear idea of what you hope to gain from networking.
  • Get out there and mingle--introduce yourself.
  • Find common ground--it's not all about you, rather it's about both of you.
  • Become an active member of your professional organization by volunteering.
  • Be prepared to discuss industry news.
  • Carry and use business cards.

Networking is a great way to maintain friendships and work associations. It is a way to increase your odds of getting a job, creating new friendships, gathering information, and learning new things about your career field.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Plan for Career Advancement

When considering career options, determine if a company has an advancement plan to meet your goals. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Is there a suitable position to which I can advance within the company?
  • Do I have the education and skills to advance to this position?
  • Am I prepared for a promotion?
  • Do I go above and beyond in my current position?
  • Have my performance reviews been above average/superior?
  • Do I meet my commitments on a consistent basis and in a timely manner?
  • Do I keep up with industry trends?

It is sometimes difficult to be objective when it comes to determining our worth to our employer. Solicit feedback from your employer for an objective opinion.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Career Appreciation

Today is Teacher Appreciation Day, and I have a beautiful basket of flowers on my desk from my appreciative boss. This is a time when all of us can show our appreciation to all the former teachers and mentors who have enriched our education and careers. It is also a good time to take personal note of how we can help others by becoming their mentors and sharing our knowledge and expertise with them. Showing a solid appreciation for others is one way we can improve workplace relationships. Other ways include:
  • Helping people build on their strengths
  • Supporting others
  • Speaking kindly and respectfully
  • Keeping the lines of communication open

A big thank you to all of my former teachers and mentors.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Career Development and Success--Keep Learning

I attended the St. David's Writers One-Day Conference on Saturday, which made me think about how we all need to keep learning and honing our skills. Employees today cannot merely be as good as their coworkers. They need to be better.
  • Take time to evaluate your skills and update as needed.
  • Never stop learning new things.
  • Read all you can about the latest developments in your field.
  • Attend workshops and conferences related to your field.

Staying on top in your field requires effort on your part. Take advantage of any learning situations that you can.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Provide Great Customer Service - Keep Your Job

I spoke at a Chamber of Commerce luncheon yesterday on indispensable customer service. Here are a few tips that just might help you keep enough customers to be able to keep your job. After all, if it were not for customers, there would be no jobs and no paycheck.
  • Make the customer feel good. No one complains about being treated too well.
  • Learn as much as you can about your customers. Identify their needs and wants and then try to come up with ideas to help them.
  • Provide the best possible products and services.
  • Obtain customer feedback - listen.
  • Act on problems and deal with complaints immediately.
  • Do something to make your customers feel extra special.
  • Keep your promises - always.

Keep those customers coming back by being indispensable to them and to your company.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Learn From Mistakes to Keep Your Career on Track

If you think you are beyond making mistakes, think again. We all make mistakes, no matter how skilled or experienced we are. It's human nature. Assume responsibility for mistakes and look for ways to correct them.
  • Find out exactly what you did wrong.
  • Admit your part in the mistake.
  • Brainstorm ways to correct the mistake.
  • Learn from the mistake. Determine what caused it and what you need to do differently in the future.
  • Put measures in place to prevent a similar mistake in the future.

Admitting and correcting mistakes builds your credibility and develops your judgment for making better decisions in the future.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Career Advancement

To advance in your career, demonstrate your value to your employer and those around you. Be highly visible and take charge of situations when warranted. Continuously challenge yourself and members of your team. Act like management material by following these guidelines:
  • Take advantage of every available opportunity to learn and grow.
  • Establish behaviors that stand out positively in the minds of supervisors.
  • Develop excellent critical thinking skills.
  • Be a self-directed worker who performs duties with proficiency.
  • Act professional at all times and display integrity and ethical behavior.
  • Take on extra responsibilities and help others.
  • Become an expert in your field.
  • Participate in lifelong learning to keep your expertise up to date.

Take a long, hard look at your personal qualities and adjust your strategies to align yourself closer to the way management level people behave. With an inner drive and a determination to achieve, you can position yourself to rise to a higher level.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Take Time to Enjoy Easter

Take time this Easter to enjoy family and friends and to renew yourself spiritually. Living a balanced personal and professional life is crucial to your successful well-being. Too much attention to your professional life to the exclusion of your personal life will cause you to miss out on important "self" time. Too much attention to your personal life and not enough on your professional life will cause career stagnation. Develop a routine that personally fits your life plans and make corrections when it is out of balance.
  • Take steps to maintain a healthy physical and mental balance.
  • Practice good time and stress management.
  • Get and stay organized.
  • Maintain a positive attitude.

When you think of balance, consider all areas of your life, including work, family, friends, health, finance, spiritual, hobbies, and everything else that fits into your life. Balance in all areas of life is a key to contentment.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Career Advice - Build Better Work Habits

Build positive work habits by continually searching for ways to improve yourself and the way you do your job.
  • Correctly interpret and follow directions.
  • Pay attention to every detail and step.
  • Learn the why behind the tasks you perform.
  • Look for ways to increase your productivity.
  • Meet daily goals, quotas, and deadlines.
  • Assess how you perform tasks and determine if there is a better, cheaper, faster way to do them.

Prove you are a competent, resourceful employee by performing your job efficiently and accurately.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Provide Excellent Customer Service to Add Value

Whatever happened to customer service with a smile? It seems to me it is difficult to find it some days. Adding value to your boss and company might be as simple as providing the best customer service. Customers mean business. Repeat customers mean business is going well. Put forth your best customer service efforts if you want to succeed in the business world.
  • Focus on the customers' needs and concerns.
  • Watch for nonverbal clues customers provide.
  • Develop a personal connection with customers.
  • Be knowledgeable about your products and services so you can provide accurate information.
  • Anticipate problems and concerns.

By treating customers with care and personal attention, you will go a long way toward making yourself valuable to your employer.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Add Learning Something New to Your Goal List

It is important to keep your mind stimulated by learning something new. Learning can take place in formal and informal situations. The main idea is to grow professionally.
  • In meetings concentrate on any information related to your position and duties. Think of ways to apply the information to your tasks.
  • Be open-minded when others propose ideas even if those ideas do not pertain to you. Perhaps a variation of the ideas can be applied to your tasks.
  • Listen to and ask questions of coworkers who are more experienced than you.
  • Attend professional organization meetings and seminars.
  • Research online.
  • Listen to news programs and read newspapers and company newsletters.
  • Learn as much as you can about your company and its products and services.

To attain career success, it is important to grow and develop by continuously learning new things.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Be Enthusiastic About Your Job and Your Career

Did you see the recent Academy Awards acceptance speeches? Now those actors and actresses displayed enthusiasm for their jobs. The smiles, the tears, the thanks--all reflective of the heart and soul poured into a job and the culmination of it over a career. Too bad we can't be as enthusiastic about our jobs. Or can we? What would make you gush about your job? Can you do something to get that feeling if you don't have it? If you have lost it, can you get it back? Yes. Enthusiasm is something we control by making up our minds and doing it.
  • Look for ways to project enthusiasm--smile, speak positively, surround yourself with upbeat people, etc.
  • Find ways to enjoy your work.
  • Create passion in all you do and say.
  • Embrace work and life with an open mind.
  • Excite others about what you do and how you do it.
  • When you feel your enthusiasm fading, rejuvenate yourself by taking time for yourself, having fun, spending time with friends, relaxing, and appreciating yourself and all you have accomplished.

Create your own passion; and show it with a winning smile, enthusiastic voice, and positive words.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Continued Career Success

Here are additional ideas for making yourself indispensable to your employer and increasing your career success.
  • Do more than is required of you. Be willing to take on additional responsibilities. Offer to assist coworkers and your supervisor.
  • Update your skills. Keep up with the latest technological developments that affect your skills and the way you do your job.
  • Think quality in all you do--your work, your dealings with others, your attitude, your dress and mannerisms, etc.

Little things often make the difference when it comes to building a great career.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Career Success is in the Ideas

If having a successful career is on your goal list, take steps to assure your success by making a positive contribution to your company.

  • Don't wait for someone else to come up with good ideas. Become an idea person who offers suggestions for saving the company time and money.
  • Search for ways to become more proficient at what you do. Can you perform your tasks better?
  • When you have a problem, look for a solution by brainstorming ideas.
  • Share ideas with your boss and coworkers; listen to the ideas other people contribute. Work as a team to put the ideas into practice.

Sometimes your ideas and suggestions will not be accepted. Because there are a number of variables that affect the implementation of ideas, do not be discouraged. Keep contributing.

Thursday, March 4, 2010


As February gives way to March, take time to evaluate how you are progressing toward your goals.
  • Re-do deadlines and action steps if necessary.
  • Commit time to reaching a goal.
  • Address problem areas and look for solutions.
  • Become passionate about reaching your goals.
  • Challenge yourself daily.

By making sufficient changes, you can reach goals faster and easier.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Get Control

Although there is much you cannot control about how to reach your goals, there is a lot you can control; and that is where you should start. Things you can control include these:
  • the amount of time you set aside to attain your goals
  • your attitude toward attaining your goals; including being positive and persevering
  • your actions--what you do to move yourself closer toward your goals
  • making honest assessments about the steps you are taking to see what is working and what needs to be changed
  • your choices

By taking control, you can fulfill your goals.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Go After Your Goals

Get to work on reaching goals by taking immediate action. Stop procrastinating and finding excuses (not enough time, too difficult, don't know what to do, etc.). If you want to reach your goals, YOU have to make it happen. Commit the necessary time, work, and dedication to the attainment of your goals.
  • Make time
  • Find out WHAT you need to do in order to achieve your goal(s)
  • Find out HOW to do what you need to do
  • Enlist help from others who have what you want or who know how to get what you want
  • Tell yourself you can do it
  • Break down big goals into manageable steps
  • Do something today--no matter how minor

Visualize reaching your goal(s). What have you accomplished? How did you do it? How does it feel to have succeeded? How can you use this feeling of success to reach another of your goals?

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Take Action By Making Changes As Needed

Snow, snow, and more snow. This week we have been pummeled by record-breaking snowfalls. It threw everything off schedule and shut down schools and businesses. It has also reminded me how easy it is to get off track with respect to our goals. Sometimes we need to be flexible enough to change course or adjust in some way when striving to reach our goals.
  • Be Flexible. If you have not taken appropriate steps toward reaching your goal, don’t waste time worrying about it. Get back on track by taking a small step immediately. Do something—anything—that will move you closer. Re-examine your action plan to see if it still fits your present needs and abilities. For example, you may need to skip a step or two for the time being or else backtrack and redo a step you have completed.
  • Change Course. When life throws you the kind of curve that thwarts your plans to pursue your goals, look for an alternative path. For instance, if you are looking for a job and the perfect interview did not produce results, evaluate what went wrong. Is there something more you could have done? Can you change something about your resume or your interview presentation? If so, change what needs to be changed, and begin again with your job search. Always be on the lookout for a better way of doing things.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Take Action and Reach Your Goals

Here are two more ideas to get you to take action on your goals:
  • Utilize Your To-do List. Copy one of the steps from your action plan to your daily to-do list. For example, is there one thing you can do today to bring yourself closer to your goal(s)? Write it down on your to-do list. Then, make it a priority for the day. Take the step—move closer to your goal. Each day, add a new step to your to-do list that will move you toward your goal. Without taking some kind of consistent action, reaching your goal will be difficult. Many people write down their goals and create an action plan, but they fail to take action on them.
  • Use Affirmations. Another way to increase the likelihood that you will take action is to repeat positive affirmations to yourself regarding your goal. For instance, if your goal is to garner a promotion, you might use these affirmations: I am learning and growing in my career. I am becoming more skilled in my area of expertise. I am making strides toward a management-level job. I am finding an appropriate mentor to help me reach my management goals. I am emulating people in management that I hope to join in a position someday.

Put goal steps on your to-do list and find personal affirmations that will work for you.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Take Action on Your Goals - Find a Mentor to Ensure Career Success

The next couple of blogs will address ways to take action on your goals. If possible, find a mentor who is willing to teach you what you need to know to attain your goal(s). This mentor should be someone who has the character traits you admire and who is in a position you aspire to hold or is doing what you hope to do. He or she should give you straightforward information and honest, positive critiques. You don’t want someone who says, “Yes, you are wonderful,” without providing proper guidance and criticism that will mold you into the person you hope to be.

How do you find a mentor?
  • Network, network, network. You have to put yourself out there and ask for help. Most people are willing to help others.
  • Join groups and seek successful members.
  • Observe others in the workplace. Who would be the best person from which to learn?
  • Take a class, get a tutor, or hire a coach.

Your mentor should be an expert in the area in which you want to learn. In addition, he/she should be able to teach; that is, get information across in an easy-to-understand way. Some people are experts in their fields, but they cannot convey information to others clearly.

Modeling successful people who have achieved what you want provides a readymade road map to reach your goals.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Develop an Action Plan to Achieve Career Goals

Develop an action plan to reach your goals by listing several steps you can take to move yourself closer to those goals. Make your plan easy to implement, and use a viable timeline. Periodically, check your plan to determine if it needs to be adjusted or if it is working for you.

Using the example goal of joining Toastmasters in order to improve communication skills, here is an example action plan:
  • Within the next two days, check local listings or search online to find the nearest Toastmasters' group.
  • Contact the group by the end of the week and express an interest in joining.
  • Attend the next available Toastmasters’ meeting.
  • Network with at least two group members at the first meeting.
  • Learn speaking tips and techniques from members.
  • Become an active participant in the group and continue networking with members.
  • Implement changes in presentations according to information obtained at meetings and from constructive criticism following personal speeches.

Develop a similar action plan for each goal you want to achieve and follow through by completing the action plan steps.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Setting Goals for 2010

Once you have decided on your goals for 2010, write and post them where you will see them daily. Goals that are out of sight are also out of mind and inactive. Keeping track of your progress toward goals will help you attain them.

Make sure to personalize your goals—you are the only one who can achieve them. Do not reply on others to fulfill your goals. For example, your goal can be to write a novel and submit it to a traditional publisher, but it cannot include having the traditional publisher publish the novel. That would be relying on someone else to fulfill your goal, and you cannot be sure anyone else will complete your goal. Also, don’t strive for goals that someone else wants for you.
  • Rank your goals in order of importance to you. Focus your energy on attaining your goals and commit to reaching them.
  • Develop a step-by-step plan for reaching your goals. If you are not sure what steps to take, seek help from others and/or emulate people who have attained such a goal.
  • Visualize reaching your goals. Many athletes and successful people “see” themselves becoming winners.
  • Reward yourself when you reach a goal.

More on creating an action plan in the next blog.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Setting Career Goals

If you have assessed your career by answering the questions in the last blog post, you have a pretty good idea of how you spent your time on the job in 2009. Now, it’s a matter of deciding how you would like to spend your time in 2010.
  • Decide where you need to make changes in order to become indispensable to your employer. For example, do you need additional training to advance in your position? Let’s say you decide that you need to be able to make better presentations. Set a goal to make the change. For example, I will join Toastmasters to improve my communication skills.
  • Spend some time considering three or four goals you would like to achieve during the next year. Make sure your goals are attainable and measurable. Incorporate a timeframe for achieving the goals.

In the next blog, I will discuss creating an action plan for attaining goals.

Monday, January 4, 2010

2009 Career Assessment and Setting 2010 Career Goals

Where did 2009 go? I mean literally. How did you spend your time in 2009 while on the job? Did you
  • Contribute to the best of your ability?
  • Work smarter?
  • Embrace learning and new technology?
  • Perform each task with efficiency and in a timely manner?
  • Stand out in a positive way?
  • Get along with the boss, coworkers, and customers?
  • Accomplish what you had hoped for in your career?
  • Meet your career goals?
  • Advance appropriately on the job or make career strides?

Answer the above questions to prepare for a stellar 2010 career. As we head into the new year, I will be blogging about making yourself indispensable at work—giving yourself that edge over the competition and earning a rewarding career.