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Creating Successful Leaders

Category Archives: Changing Your Life

To be human is to change.

As we go through life, we experience countless changes—some physical (our health, our appearance), some professional (transitioning careers, changing professional goals or roles), some relational (friends moving away, relationships ending). We might not notice the changes day to day, but over the years most of us change quite a bit.

How often have you heard someone remark on how “naïve they were in their twenties” or “how much energy they used to have”? Or, maybe you’ve heard someone remark on their appearance (“When did I get so many wrinkles!”) or comment on how their industry has changed throughout the years.

Here’s the bottom line: Change is inevitable, and it’s a good idea to make peace with it. In fact, it’s an even better idea to plan for it.

Of course, you can’t plan everything. Sometimes, all we can do is go with the flow and adapt as best we can. However, we can pave the way for our “future selves” in some ways.

Take your career aspirations, for instance. How often do you pause, examine your current state, and ask yourself what you’d like for yourself in the future? Do you think much about the next steps in your career? Or are you typically so bogged down with daily tasks, that you rarely look ahead to the future?

I challenge you to set aside some time this week to simply examine where you are now and think about where you’d like to go. Spend time reflecting, jotting down a few notes, and truly digging in to your current state of mind. Are you relatively content, or itching for a change? Is your path clear, or is it a bit murky? Is there anything that’s been weighing you down lately?

These moments of examination and reflect are vital for both professional success and overall happiness. Sure, you might be making progress every day…but are you heading down the right path?

During this reflection time, spend some time visualizing “future me.” What does your future self look like? What are you doing? What are you accomplishing? How did you get to this ideal future state? Visualization is a powerful tool (used by everyone from professional athletes to Oprah) and can help you to begin seeing your future success as a reality.

So, block off some time on your calendar (even half an hour!) and commit to reflecting on your current circumstances, your goals, and your “future me.” You, and your career, are worth making this time investment. It could make all the difference.

MARGARET SMITH IS A CAREER COACH, AUTHOR, INSIGHTS® DISCOVERY (AND DEEPER DISCOVERY) LICENSED PRACTITIONER, AND FOUNDER OF UXL. SHE HOSTS WORKSHOPS FOR PEOPLE WHO NEED CAREER OR PERSONAL GUIDANCE. 
CHECK OUT MARGARET’S ONLINE LEADERSHIP COURSE. 

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“Use what talents you possess – the woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best.”

Henry van Dyke

Allow me to make a bold statement: You are talented. If you don’t believe me, you’re being far too critical of yourself and I encourage you to step back, think about your myriad accomplishments, and rework your definition of “talent.”

Step One: Take a Step Back

When you’re “in the weeds” in your professional or personal life, it’s easy to lose sight of your talents. They become hidden under piles of routine work and everyday tasks. They are placed on the backburner of your mind.

That’s why it’s helpful to step away from your day-to-day tasks every once in a while and consider what you’ve achieved. If you are having trouble pinpointing your talents, enlist the help of others or consider taking an assessment test. (As an LP of Insights Discovery, I recommend that one!)

Step Two: Consider Your Accomplishments

When thinking about your talents, cast a wide net. Think about what you’ve achieved in both your personal life and career. Consider what you’re good at, whether these things come naturally or have taken a good deal of effort to achieve. For example:

Have you organized a multi-family Thanksgiving dinner with multiple courses and activities? That’s a talent!

Do you have a knack for interpreting data? That’s a talent!

Are you adept at leading team meetings? Writing reports? Recognizing strengths in others? Talent, talent, and talent.

Just because something comes naturally to you, doesn’t mean it does for everyone. It’s just that you’ve mastered a skill and take your expertise for granted. It’s time to recognize that you DO have skillsets that others might not. You DO have talent.

Looking for a job change? Or, hoping to accelerate your current career? Check out the career resources (both FREE and paid) on my website!

MARGARET SMITH IS A CAREER COACH, AUTHOR, INSIGHTS® DISCOVERY (AND DEEPER DISCOVERY) LICENSED PRACTITIONER, AND FOUNDER OF UXL. SHE HOSTS WORKSHOPS FOR PEOPLE WHO NEED CAREER OR PERSONAL GUIDANCE. 
CHECK OUT MARGARET’S ONLINE LEADERSHIP COURSE. 

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A while back, I introduced my “5 P’s of Courage,” which are: Prepare, Pep Talk, Power Pose, Project Energy, and Plan B. If you’d like an explanation about all five, read this article. Otherwise, I’m going to focus on the first of the five P’s: Prepare.

It is difficult to overemphasize the importance of preparation. Whether you’re planning for a job interview, thinking about going on a long hike, or creeping up on your annual review, preparation is key. Though some of us are lucky, luck “favors the prepared.” If you practice and plan long enough, you don’t need luck on your side at all. Even if things don’t go perfectly, you’ll be prepared enough to muddle through.

Preparation is an essential career skill—perhaps one of the most important there is. With enough foresight and planning, you can do just about anything! You can pull off a successful speaking engagement in front of 250 people. You can nail your team meeting. You can earn a raise or promotion. You can tactfully field a difficult conversation.

Preparation isn’t always easy. It takes time (e.g. putting together notecards or a PowerPoint presentation) and practice (standing in front of a mirror and going over what you’re going to say). You might have to engage the help of others, or you may have to do a bit of research. However, your preparation has the potential to pay dividends.

Aside from readying yourself to face a particular situation, preparation also has a fortune side effect: it gives you a boost of courage. If you know you’re prepared and know your stuff, you’ll inevitably feel more confident than if you were unprepared or underprepared. Not only that, you’re less likely to be ruffled if someone throws a curveball at you or something goes wrong. It’s your secret weapon when it comes to acting and feeling more confident.

In short: it pays to prepare. Why lean on luck when you can make your own?

Looking for a job change? Or, hoping to accelerate your current career? Check out the career resources (both FREE and paid) on my website!

MARGARET SMITH IS A CAREER COACH, AUTHOR, INSIGHTS® DISCOVERY (AND DEEPER DISCOVERY) LICENSED PRACTITIONER, AND FOUNDER OF UXL. SHE HOSTS WORKSHOPS FOR PEOPLE WHO NEED CAREER OR PERSONAL GUIDANCE. 
CHECK OUT MARGARET’S ONLINE LEADERSHIP COURSE. 

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