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Tag Archives: margaret smith career coach

A few weeks ago, I spent some time with family on the East Coast. We had a few responsibilities and appointments, but in between our little tasks, we laughed, relaxed, swapped stories, and generally enjoyed each other’s company. Stepping away from my responsibilities in Minnesota gave me a little perspective. Suddenly, my list of house projects seemed less important. My coaching work and other responsibilities were less urgent. What mattered most was family and being present for one another.

That’s what happens when you take a break. You allow yourself the space, time, and peace to reflect and gain perspective. You might start to realize what’s truly important in life. You might remember what truly makes you happy.

Taking a break is good for your mental and physical health as well. I’ve read numerous articles on how taking a meaningful break can rejuvenate your body and improve concentration and motivation. One study by a professor at the Wharton School of Business found that when people spent more time on family, community, and self, “their career satisfaction increased by 21% and their work performance (self-assessed) improved by 8%. Happiness with family life grew even more.”

That’s because we’re not meant to work 60 or 70 hours per week. If we go, go, go, chances are, our batteries will quickly become drained and we’ll end up working harder instead of smarter.

That’s why I advocate for taking a break. Make it meaningful. Make it a real break, and not just a “working remotely” situation. Step away from your laptop, your email, your responsibilities. Go somewhere without wi-fi or cell phone reception if you have to! Just take a break. Your body and mind will thank you for it.

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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Work relationships are important, and yet, how often do we truly offer others our thanks and appreciation? Oftentimes, we take for granted the little things people do to make our lives a bit easier. And then there are the big things–the time a co-worker stepped up and covered your work when you had an emergency, the co-worker who took on extra work so the team would succeed.

How can you show your super star co-workers your gratitude? It’s not always as easy as showing appreciation to a friend, a significant other, or your child. Relationships with co-workers are (usually) different, even if you consider them friends. Even so, there are several ways to recognize a co-worker’s good deeds.

Here are 10 ideas:

1. Send a hand-written thank you card

A thank you card is a simple, classic gesture that I’ve used many times. Be sure to make note of something specific your co-worker did and don’t just give a generic “thank you.”

2. Give a car wash punch card

This is a practical gift that almost anyone could use. Especially appropriate for the co-worker who does a lot of driving.

3. Recognize them during a team meeting

Unless your co-worker doesn’t like being singled out, it can be fun and uplifting to be recognized in a team meeting. Keep your statements brief and, if you’re not running the meeting, make sure to get permission for your shout-out.

4. Treat them to lunch

Express your thanks by taking your co-worker to their favorite lunch spot. Be sure to let them know why you’re treating them and make it clear that the tab is on you!

5. Recommend them for a reward

If your workplace gives annual rewards, consider nominating one of your co-workers. Unless the co-worker asks, there’s no need to let them know you were the one who nominated them. After all, this is about them, not you!

6. Fill in your boss

Send you boss an email to let them know about the stellar work your co-worker is doing. Be sure to mention specific instances when your colleague truly shined or went the extra mile.

7. Offer to help

A simple offer to help a co-worker can convey your appreciation for them. Don’t make a big deal about helping. Just help.

8. Say thank you

Really. It’s as easy as it sounds and it doesn’t happen often enough. Simply giving someone a sincere ‘thank you” can be powerful, especially if the “thank you” is followed up with a specific reason for showing your appreciation. For example, “Thank you, Sam, for working late yesterday and making sure our sales figures matched the spreadsheets. I appreciate it.”

No matter how you choose to show your gratitude, it’s important to DO IT. Your appreciation can make a big difference in someone’s day.

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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“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second-best time is now.”

Chinese proverb

What have you been meaning to do that you’ve put off?

Think about that question for a minute. I’ll wait.

You might have multiple things you’re putting off.

You might even want to make a list…

Have you thought of a thing (or seven) you’ve been putting off? Why do you suppose you haven’t acted? What’s holding you back?

It’s human nature to put off what is uncomfortable or potentially difficult. Why have a tough conversation if you don’t have to? Why clean the attic if you can ignore it? Why start writing your memoir when you could be spending the evening relaxing on the couch?

We also tend to put things off that seem low-priority. Cleaning the desk in my office? I can put it off. Joining the gym? That can wait until next month.

Another reason we might put something off is if we think it will eventually take care of itself. If you meant to apologize to a friend for missing her party, you might put it off and put it off until…everyone has forgotten about it, right?

Another example: If you’re part of a team at work and you don’t feel like tackling a certain aspect of your project, you could put if off until someone else caves and does it for you.

As you’ve read through all these scenarios, you may have noticed something they have in common:

They are all problematic or potentially problematic.

If we put off a difficult conversation, the current situation might continue to get worse.

If we continue to delay working on a special project, that project will never be completed.

If we fail to clean the work desk, items will inevitably continue piling up until we can’t find anything, we feel completely scattered, and we lose valuable time and productivity searching for items we need.

If we don’t apologize for a past wrong, we risk creating a misunderstanding or losing a friend. Plus, it’s an opportunity to clear the air and acknowledge the mistake.

If we delay acting because we think someone else will eventually cover for us, that’s a recipe for creating grudges! Others will view you in a poor light and think you’re lazy or irresponsible when, really, you might have averted the crisis by expressing your discomfort with the task and requesting a new assignment.

Even though acting NOW might be uncomfortable or inconvenient sometimes, it is almost always worth it. If you’re putting something off, take a step back and ask yourself WHY. What barriers do you perceive? What’s holding you back? If you’re worried about the outcome of a particularly tricky task/conversation/action, that’s okay. It’s normal to delay action in the face of worry. But you’re stronger than that. It’s time to break through the barriers that are holding you back and ACT.

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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