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Curiosity cat

Curiosity is a…curious thing. It’s a personality trait that is often overlooked. It’s easy to measure intelligence, and there are several tests that can more or less determine your EQ (emotional quotient), but how do you measure curiosity?

Even though it’s not easy to measure, we shouldn’t brush aside curiosity. Various studies have shown that certain personality attributes associated with curiosity are linked to career and life success. Here are a few ways that having a curious personality can bolster your success:

Better Relationships

Curious people are typically good listeners and are great at asking questions. They genuinely want to know about the person sitting across from them and learn about their experiences.

A Happier You

According to Emily Campbell of Berkeley University, research has shown curiosity to be “associated with higher levels of positive emotions, lower levels of anxiety, more satisfaction with life, and greater psychological well-being.”

It Helps You Learn

Curious people ask questions and tend to be more engaged with new material that comes their way. This leads to higher academic achievement, as well as greater learning, engagement, and performance at work.

It Triumphs Over Anxieties

Even if you’re a naturally anxious person, curiosity can help you overcome your fears. By taking a genuine interest in the world around you, you set yourself up to enjoy new experiences, instead of shying away from them.

The overall lesson: DO let your curiosity get the better of you! Don’t be afraid to ask questions, take unexplored paths, and put yourself in the middle of a new experience. Your natural curiosity will help you succeed in the workplace and in your personal life. What would you like to learn today?

MARGARET SMITH IS A CAREER COACH, INSIGHTS® DISCOVERY LICENSED PRACTITIONER, FOUNDER OF UXL, AND CO-FOUNDER OF THE TAG TEAM. YOU CAN VISIT HER WEBSITE AT WWW.YOUEXCELNOW.COM

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Insights Workshop MinneapolisAfter last weeks’ successful Insights Deeper Discovery workshop, I am eager to bring this innovative and empowering program to anyone and everyone who is undergoing a transition or is feeling in need of guidance.

You may be familiar with Insights® Discovery. It’s a program based off the principles of renown psychiatrist Carl Jung that uses a four-color model to talk about our individual capabilities and challenges. This model can be used to capitalize on personal strengths, overcome challenges, and communicate better with those around you. As an Insights® Licensed Practitioner, I’ve personally seen some astonishing transformations (both individually and office-wide). Suddenly, people start opening up in ways they never have and allow themselves to flourish and grow.

This is why I’m excited to announce that Insights® Discovery now has a new, more in-depth model that builds off the basic principles of Insights®. Even if you’ve never been through the original program, this new model helps foster growth and development in your career, personal life, communication skills, and interactions with others.

What is Deeper Discovery?

Deeper Discovery is a continuation of the Insights® Discovery journey. Using Archetypes of Discovery as a lens (more about that on the Insights® website), individuals and teams embark upon a journey of improved self-understanding. Through use of the new Deeper  Discovery wheel, participants discover their potential in engaging and memorable ways and apply their learning to the workplace and life.

Unlock Individual & Team Potential

Build on the simple and accessible Insights® Discovery model.

Explore individual, team, and leadership effectiveness.

Enhance a long-term program of development.

Develop a profound level of self-understanding to transform your life and your work.

Understand what drives and motivates others. Become a more authentic and inspiring leader.

Sound Like Something You’d Like To Explore?

Great! I’ve partnered with Dr. Jean Davidson to put on several Deeper Discovery workshops. You can find more information on our Intentional Discovery Website, or you can contact me directly with questions.

Let’s discover your best you!

MARGARET SMITH IS A CAREER COACH, INSIGHTS® DISCOVERY LICENSED PRACTITIONER, FOUNDER OF UXL, AND CO-FOUNDER OF THE TAG TEAM. YOU CAN VISIT HER WEBSITE AT WWW.YOUEXCELNOW.COM

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SimonSinek_bio

Simon Sinek, photo credit: StartWithWhy.com

How can you get one person to act? How about a bunch of people? How about an entire movement? Great leaders can inspire this kind of action. They lead revolutions and motivate people to buy their products. There is something different and powerful about great leaders. What is it?

Leadership expert Simon Sinek attempts to explain.

“People don’t buy what you do,” Sinek said in a recent TED Talk, “they buy why you do it.” You have to believe in your product or cause so deeply that it inspires others to believe as well. It’s the principle that Martin Luther King Jr. used in his activism. As Sinek says, Dr. King had an “I have a dream” speech, not an “I have a plan” speech.

If you’re not driven by belief and you don’t know why you do what you do, why would anyone else buy into what you do?

The principle makes sense and has been proven over and over again, from Apple to the Wright Brothers. If you have a few minutes, I highly recommend watching Sinek’s TED Talk. It will make you ask yourself, “Why do I do what I do?”

Happy watching:

MARGARET SMITH IS A CAREER COACH, INSIGHTS® DISCOVERY LICENSED PRACTITIONER, FOUNDER OF UXL, AND CO-FOUNDER OF THE TAG TEAM. YOU CAN VISIT HER WEBSITE AT WWW.YOUEXCELNOW.COM

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the power of laughter

The power of laughter, demonstrated in a photo booth. Photo Credit: Bubble Gum Photo Booths

Combat stress! We live in a stressful world. Recent research from the American Psychological Association shows that the majority of Americans experience significant amounts of stress. In a 2014 survey, 67% of those surveyed reported experiencing emotional symptoms of stress and 72% reported experiencing physical symptoms of stress.

One great way to fight your stress is through the power of laughter.

I attended a Brave New Workshop (BNW) class several months ago and one of the subjects they addressed was laughter. BNW is an improvisation group that works with people to boost confidence, connectivity, mental agility, and attitudes. Throughout their classes, you’ll often hear groups roaring with laughter. This isn’t an accident.

According to a publication put out by BNW, “Laughter is a powerful tool in helping individuals move away from fear and into discovery.” In a recent study, researchers from Loma University showed that laughter reduces cortisol, thus reducing stress. Other researchers have shown similar results of the stress-decreasing quality of laughter and have paired it with improved immune system response.

So, watch a funny movie, go to a humorous play, play an interactive board or card game with friends, or take an improv class. Begin to see the funny side of life 🙂

 

MARGARET SMITH IS A CAREER COACH, LICENSED INSIGHTS DISCOVERY PRACTITIONER, FOUNDER OF UXL, AND CO-FOUNDER OF THE TAG TEAM. YOU CAN VISIT HER WEBSITE AT WWW.YOUEXCELNOW.COM

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be yourself oscar wilde

I sometimes get the question: “Margaret, what is the most important attribute of a good leader?”

This question is a tough one. There are a lot of factors that make up an excellent leader: trust, self-confidence, good communication skills. In fact, I talk about my top ten attributes in my book, the Ten Minute Leadership Challenge. But the one thing at the heart of it all is AUTHENTICITY.

You have to be an authentic leader before anything else. You need to know yourself, your values, how you work, and who you are before you can even consider leading others. Authenticity means having a deep understanding of your inner self and not compromising your deeply held values. Sure, you can adapt to different situations and show different sides of yourself at different times (i.e. a more casual side at home, a more professional side at work), but your core should remain the same.

superheroHow would anyone trust you if you act like one person sometimes and a completely different person at other times? What would people think if you always agreed with whomever you were speaking, even if their assertions were way off base from what you believe?

Being authentic should be part of your personal brand. Show up, be yourself, and take a genuine interest in those around you.

I’ve been evaluating and interviewing Millennials lately for my forthcoming book, and I’ve found that authenticity is just as important as ever in the workplace. Millennials look for candid, authentic leadership that they can trust.

Furthermore, with the popularity of social media, your comments and photos are everywhere. Yes, you should be your authentic self on the web, but you should be your BEST authentic self. Let your funny or intellectual or caring side shine!

You’ll find that being your best authentic self is a heck of a lot easier than significantly modifying your behavior and beliefs whenever you’re with a different group of people. When people say, “your reputation proceeds you,” you should know that is a good thing.

Tune in next week for the UXL Authentic Leader Model.

MARGARET SMITH IS A CAREER COACH, LICENSED INSIGHTS DISCOVERY PRACTITIONER, FOUNDER OF UXL, AND CO-FOUNDER OF THE TAG TEAM. YOU CAN VISIT HER WEBSITE AT WWW.YOUEXCELNOW.COM

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Ask for and get a raise

You don’t get what you don’t ask for. Photo Credit: BlueWolf.com

Do you feel like you’re worth more than you’re being paid? Are fellow employees getting paid more than you? Are other people in your field getting better pay at different companies?

These are all reasons to ask for a raise.

If you feel like you’ve earned it, you probably have. So, why not ask for it? According to Ramit Sethi, author and founder of I Will Teach You To Be Rich.com, “Just one $5,000 raise, properly invested, can be worth $1 million over your career.”

Sounds great, right? But you can’t just waltz into your boss’ office and demand an extra $5K a year. You have to develop a thoughtful, thorough plan. Here’s how:

  1. Ask when the time is right. Ideally, you’ll want to ask for a raise after you’ve done something outstanding (like earning a top sales spot, finding a new client, or successfully leading a team project). Don’t expect to get a raise for just showing up and doing the minimum-required work. Additionally, when you’re considering timing, don’t ask for a raise around the holidays, when bonuses are being doled out. And don’t ask for a raise in the middle of budget or staff cuts. Know the rhythm of your company and ask for a raise when things seem stable or exceptionally good. It’s helpful to make a specific plan such as: “Within the next three months, I will ask for a raise.” Or, “After I complete XYZ Project, I will ask for a raise.” That way, you’ll have a general time frame mapped out.
  2. Put together a compelling list of reasons why you deserve a raise. Take the time to evaluate the work you’ve done over the last year or two. What projects stand out? What are some specific instances where you’ve truly shined? When have you added to the profitability of your organization? Collect as many specific facts as you can (Of course, it helps if your boss already knows about your accomplishments, but that’s a subject for a different blog post). Practice talking about your accomplishments in the mirror or with a close friend or spouse. Why? You want to sound as natural as possible when you have this conversation and not like you’re rattling off a list.
  3. Arm Yourself with Confidence. Don’t be shy about asking for a raise. Believe that you’ve earned it and demonstrate, with confidence, the reasons why you should get it. On the flip side, don’t act cocky and expect everything to go your way. Just be authentic, sincere, and assertive in your request.
  4. Have a specific dollar amount in mind. Do your research. Know what other people in the company are making and know what other people in your industry are making. Don’t be outlandish in your request, but don’t sell yourself short either.
  5. Talk about the future. It’s a good idea to demonstrate that you are ready to continue to do great work for the company. As Carolyn O’Hara writes in an article for the Harvard Business Review, “Lay out your contributions, then quickly pivot to what you hope to tackle next. Assure your boss that you understand his or her pressures and goals, and pitch your raise as a way to help achieve those goals.”

And if your boss turns you down? That’s a possible outcome and you have to be prepared to accept it. But don’t get discouraged. The fact that you asked for a raise shows initiative, career-mindedness, and tenacity. It also demonstrates to your boss that you know what you’re worth and he or she will have to give you a raise at some point down the road or risk losing you. So, be fearless! You don’t get what you don’t ask for.

MARGARET SMITH IS A CAREER COACH, LICENSED INSIGHTS DISCOVERY PRACTITIONER, FOUNDER OF UXL, AND CO-FOUNDER OF THE TAG TEAM. YOU CAN VISIT HER WEBSITE AT WWW.YOUEXCELNOW.COM

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Team is too similar

When your team is TOO similar. Photo Credit: SoulAction.org

In a recent newsletter, I discussed the steps to take when your team is clashing. This week I’ll address a different problem: What do you do when your team is too similar?

On the surface, this doesn’t seem like much of a problem. You all get along, the work feels easy and natural, etc. But too-similar teams can be just as ineffective as clashing teams. Why?

  • You might lack inspiration
  • Your team might get distracted with friendly chatting or gossip
  • You miss out on a variety of perspectives
  • The end product might be geared toward only one specific type of person

But how do you add a little spice to your team? This may be more complicated than fixing a team that is clashing. The first step to diversify and brighten-up your team is to bring the problem to the forefront. If people aren’t aware there’s an issue (or they know something isn’t working, but can’t figure out why), then they can’t work to solve it.

Secondly, ask for diversity. Reach out to others who you think have a different perspective than your current team’s perspective. Go beyond gender and ethnicity. If your group is quiet and reserved, consider a more outgoing, energetic type. If your group is great at generating ideas, but lacks practical application skills, recruit someone you know who is analytic and process-oriented.

Third, gain inspiration! If adding new and different people to your team isn’t an option, there are a few ways your team can gain inspiration:

  • Create a mind map (If you don’t know the basics, here’s a blog post explaining how mind-mapping works)
  • Conduct surveys and market research (gather outside opinions to bring in new perspectives)
  • Research similar projects and find out how those teams came up with a solution
  • Turn to social media (Post about what your team is working on and ask for feedback)

Fourth: If your team is just a little too friendly, impose restrictions. You might decide to split up the group and work in pairs for a while. Or you might set aside chat time at the beginning of the day (say, half an hour to catch up with everyone), then buckle down and get to work. Sometimes it helps to have a supervisor check on your team from time-to-time in order to motivate everyone to make progress.

If you’re still struggling with how to make your too-similar team click, feel free to contact me for more ideas. Best of luck!

MARGARET SMITH IS A CAREER COACH, LICENSED INSIGHTS DISCOVERY PRACTITIONER, FOUNDER OF UXL, AND CO-FOUNDER OF THE TAG TEAM. YOU CAN VISIT HER WEBSITE AT WWW.YOUEXCELNOW.COM

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