May 04

SATISFY YOUR SPIRIT WHILE FINDING CAREER PASSION

Spirit ImageHow often have you heard that defining your career is an inside job?   If so, or even if you have not, ask yourself these questions:

  • Are you now looking for work out of desperation?
  • Are you more concerned about getting the job just because you have the skills or because the job appeals to you?
  • Are you applying for everything and anything you can put your hands on that you think you may qualify for out of “guilt.”?
  • Are you doing everything that the career gurus say to do (at least the ones you find for free on the internet) to find a job, but feel deep inside that there is something still missing?
  • Did you take their advice, get the job, and once you got there ended up wanting to leave after the first week, month … you get the picture.

If you are buying into the song and dance that “the economy” has something to do with why you may still find pieces missing in the work you are doing, no worries,  you are not reading this by mistake.

This is not an article about how to find your spiritual path.  However, this is an article that will not sugar coat the fact that finding your true career direction – the one that represents who you are as a person, requires going inside for the answers first.  By that I mean allowing yourself to dream the big dream and connect with the part of you that wants to have it all…and defines precisely what that is. 

So you may ask yourself (or me), “yes, but what does this have to do with reality.”  My answer?  Everything.  Here’s why:  If we are perpetually using the “economy” or some other reason why we are not finding career passion or finding a job at all and blaming others – our boss, our co-workers, our spouses, significant others, etc., guess what happens?  Correct – we go back to square one.  By defining our dream work from an inner perspective, we are literally creating enormous possibilities that would never have materialized had we not. 

Make that shift to knowing our career passions with no doubts and doors begin to open and opportunities abound. 

However, I must confess that not everyone is ready in his or her life cycle to make this shift.  It can bring up a host of feelings such as regret, guilt, resistance and even anger at even having to look within for the answers.  Some even give up and go back to the same old same old.  My question to you is, are you ready?

My friend, Michael, is a great example.  I love him dearly.  Yet, he is struggling with returning to a job in the career he is “comfortable” with and, leaving the exact job that has created more grief and disharmony than anyone should have to deal with in a lifetime.  If he returns to this career, he can be assured of experiencing the same challenges and perhaps reaching a breaking point that could have physical repercussions.  We are now working together on a way for him to take the time to do the inner work that will allow joy to come back into his life by creating opportunities for him to do what he is truly meant to do.  It is not surprising that he has Career ADD.  How much he is willing to accept, let go and redefine is up to him.

Here are a few examples of steps you can take to get the inner ball rolling:

  • Relax and decide that you are going to take the time to discover now what you have spent perhaps a lifetime eluding – Career Happiness.
  • Make a list of EVERYTHING in your past jobs that you did not like or that you were resistant to. 
  • Include in this list every task, skill, type of people or specific people and why you think you did not resonate with them, working environment (down to the type of chair you sat in), product you were selling or involved with through your work, industry you were in, etc. that made you feel bad.
  • Now take that list and decide what the opposite of each item is for you – in other words what is your PREFERENCE to what you have listed (not necessarily the literal opposite.)  You must be completely honest or this will not work.

Congratulations!  You have begun your inner journey to career happiness.  This will be vital information to use in developing a career direction.  For more on this go to www.passiontocareer.com and explore blog posts.

Want to explore more?  Schedule your complimentary Career Strategy session – learn what is holding you back and one strategy to get you there. Relax, there is no pressure to “buy” anything.

Apr 30

ADD Symptoms at Work? 5 Tips to Transform an Unhappy Environment

Work Environment Image

  • Are you in a job or career where you find that others are easily annoyed around you?
  • Are you noticing your ADD symptoms at work worsening?
  •  Are your relationships at work suffering?
  • Are you getting called on the carpet in your job by your supervisor/manager or co-workers and can’t figure out why?
  • Do you keep making little and big mistakes over and over again and you can’t figure out why?
  •  Do you feel overwhelmed and increasingly unhappy, even distraught at work?

If this scenario describes your situation, relationships at work are likely being impacted.  This can cause anxiety which can result in getting fired, downsized, job hopping and depleted self-confidence. 

My own experience of how ADD can impact relationships on the job came to a screaming crescendo as the CEO of the company I founded, KidzArt.  I started receiving phone call “interventions” from my business partners who explained to me that my style of dealing with co-workers, and at times, vendors, presented problems that, at the time, I was unaware. Yikes!  

Perhaps on some level I knew there were “issues”, but overall I thought I was doing a great job of managing everything.  My own form of delirium. As a big picture thinker, I tended to see the vision of what needed to get done and gave little thought to how the picture would be created, and how that might impact others, often expecting tasks to “magically” get done and not prioritizing them.

A good example was my relationship (or lack of) with our administrative assistant.  She was responsible for all the details, provided customer service to our franchisees, and organized our trainings and materials, to name only a few of her job duties.  She was organized to a fault – in other words, the opposite of me.

Whenever I would request her to do something, she assumed I wanted it done ASAP, no matter what other tasks she had to complete that day.   My personal goal was to get the task off my desk.  I have never been one to provide extensive instructions, but most certainly have learned my lesson since.  I guess I expected her to read my mind.  This understandably drove her bonkers.  She complained to my partners.  Our relationship was strained from that point onward, but she had become somewhat indispensable to my business partners and the franchisees.  This situation was stressful for everyone.

Looking back, the primary reason for this incredibly challenging – no difficult situation was in part due to Career ADD!  Plus, I was no longer happy at my now corporate job.  In fact, I never saw myself even being in a corporate environment in the first place.  Yet, not only was I in one, I had actually created it!  I no longer enjoyed more than 80% of what I did during the work day, which seemed to be endless piles of administrative tasks using zero percent of my creative skills.  My relationships suffered dramatically because I felt trapped and unhappy.  My communications suffered.  This also can be a lesson to those of you entrepreneurs without an exit strategy. Does this sound familiar?

If you indeed are aware of how ADD/ADHD impacts your communications and relationships with others, there are 5 tips I want to offer:

  1. Think before you speak.  Put yourself in your co-worker, business partner or support staff’s shoes. This might seem obvious, but for those of us with the affliction, it might not seem so at first glance. 
  2. Find a career direction that is fun and rewarding.  Your communications will likely be positive and supportive.  We have to take control of our environment to some extent to do our best work. 
  3. Know that you CAN compete in the REAL world when you love what you do.  Everyone in your presence wins. 
  4. If you take a job that requires you to work closely with others as a team, as a support person, or in a management position, take a class or get some help on how to effectively communicate no matter what your position.  Don’t rely on your “gut” to always get the job done or expect others to read your mind.  Notice how others respond if you cut them off, get distracted when you should be focusing on them or the project, etc.  Now take a breath and refocus your energy on others and the task.
  5. If you are still unhappy and feel trapped, plan an exit by getting Career ADD Counseling to help you create a career direction that meets your mental, physical and emotional need to find enjoyment in how you spend 40 plus hours per week of your life.

Apr 22

How My ADD Symptoms Helped My Career Decision

ADHD Block Letter Image hspace=The following account is of a writer with ADD who successfully and consciously made the decision to honor his career dreams.  Along his path he continues to use his ADD symptoms as a form of management and inspiration.   He was able to develop a host of excellent strategies for ADHD in his work environment as well.

“When I was diagnosed with ADD, things became a lot clearer to me. I then realized why I act the way I do and am very grateful that I learned of it. After all, I firmly believe that knowing and accepting that I had this “uniqueness” is my first step to moving forward.

The truth is, although I was expecting my ADD to be a hindrance to my having a career, things turned out quite differently for me. Instead of causing confusion and frustration, my ADD symptoms helped me in my career decision instead.

Now that I realized the kind of “uniqueness” that I possess and its nature, I was able to quickly rule out the jobs that I thought of as boring, routine,  and “non-active”. It occurred to me that if I had this kind of “uniqueness”, I should tailor fit the kind of job that I’ll be choosing to it so I can capitalize  on what I have. This in itself helped me rule out 75% of my so called job options.

My ADD symptoms helped me in other ways as well…

  • It helped me in organizing

It may sound weird but it really did!

Knowing that I had ADD, I quickly realized that if I am to accomplish anything, I should organize and write down my plans on a piece of paper and stick it on my desk. That way, even if I get distracted, I’ll be able to get back to what I was doing ultimately keeping things organized and well planned.

When organizing, I suggest that you put down the time, task, deadline, and the number of minutes you should spend for the task (do not exceed 50 minutes per task).

  • It helped me accomplish more and meet deadlines

I’ve heard a lot of people say that this is also a common struggle that people with ADD have. Not for me!

Since I have ADD, I made it a point to use timers to make sure that I was able to stick with what I’m doing on a given amount of time.

Not only was I able to avoid procrastination, I ended-up giving the task at hand 100% of my efficiency therefore avoiding unnecessary mistakes. I only set the timer at 50 minutes tops. Normally, people with ADD can focus on a single subject for just about 50 minutes. If you work within that time window, then your performance is at its best. That said, don’t even set your timer to 55 minutes or even an hour, you’ll be less efficient and you’ll make tons of mistakes if you do.

My ADD symptoms have been a blessing to me and my career decision. In the end, it all comes down to you and what you decide your life to be. Think about it… A lot of people with ADD are still successful but there are also those that allowed themselves to be broken by it. Which do you want to be?

Know that instead of looking at ADD as a handicap, you can harness it to be a powerful tool in becoming successful in your chosen career giving you a better and a more fulfilling life.”

 

 

 

Mar 14

Richard Branson and Career ADD

Richard Branson

Richard Branson

As a former Founder and CEO of an international children’s art franchise, KidzArt, and someone who was undiagnosed with ADD until 2008, I now understand how important it is to acknowledge my limitations and celebrate my gifts.  I knew I was different and challenged in some very specific areas, but did not have a clue about how to manage them at the time.

Lately, I have been following the life of Richard Branson, who is probably the poster child (man) for Career ADD/ADHD.  He is charming, financially successful beyond comprehension, and considered beloved by his many admirers and followers.  There is a quiet humility and charm in his conversations, and above all, a need to educate and give back to the world, therefore leading a purposeful and purpose-filled life.  Richard grew up with ADD/ADHD as a child as well as Dyslexia – which seem to go hand in hand.  It is not an understatement to say that his amazing business success came about because of his acknowledged ADD.

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Mar 14

Your Ideal Career, Distractions and Career ADD

Is It Me or My Job That’s Making Me Crazy?

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Photo by  Benjamin Earwicker

Photo by Benjamin Earwicker

Distractions of any kind can derail us…right?

Couple those distractions Career ADD or living a Career ADD Lifestyle and it’s easy to see why you might be meandering down the wrong path.

How many of us are switching activities multiple times throughout the day, and at the end of the day very little is truly accomplished?

Now imagine how those same distractors are impacting your work every day. Making a career choice leading to career happiness becomes even more daunting.

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Mar 14

EIGHT THINGS YOU MUST DO WHEN YOU HAVE CAREER ADD

Those of us with Career ADD have special challenges that are necessary to address if we are to live well and find Career Happiness.  I consider these things “must dos.”  I have heard many folks talk about these things in career counseling and I want to summarize what I’ve found to be true over the past 22 years of working in the field, and now particularly with those who are challenged with ADD/ADHD or who have an ADD lifestyle.  The following are a few rule-of-thumb guidelines to make changes in the coming year.

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Mar 14

CONSISTENCY AND CAREER HAPPINESS: The Cost of a Lapse

bullseye, career consistency

Photo by Chris de Kok

As I sit here today, I realize that I have not written a blog post or article for several weeks.  Although this may seem insignificant to many of you who are reading career-related articles daily, I have personally paid a price.  Being human, I understand that uncommon results come from doing the common thing over and over consistently.  I have been remiss.

So rather than dwell on my lapse, I’d like to get right back up and talk about the price we pay in doing so. 

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Mar 14

DO CAREER ASSESSMENTS LEAD TO CAREER HAPPINESS?

Evaluation Image, Career Assessments

Photo by: Geralt

When I first began my career as a Career Counselor, I remember attending a conference for our profession held in Sacramento close to 20 years ago.  One of the workshops was a debate on both sides of the effectiveness of career assessments v. self-assessment and introspection.

While I have taken and given many assessments, I have never felt the warm fuzzies when using them in any capacity, with the exception of the Self-Directed Search by John Holland, which I use in a very limited capacity, and in combination with one on one or small group counseling.  Utilizing assessments without interaction with a professional or as a small piece of the equation for identifying one’s ideal career direction, in my opinion, can cause even more confusion.  My concern is with the large career-oriented companies that tend to over use these tools.  Assessments should be just that – a tool.

Although I realize I may be offending career professionals who use assessments almost exclusively, my feelings backed by experienced in the field have never changed.  We must be encouraged to ask and answer questions in an environment of complete openness and willingness to explore anything and everything that our minds can conjure.  We must also be allowed to explore the feelings we have while exploring many possibilities– good and bad.  Our feelings are ALWAYS the key indicator of our best choice for long term career happiness.

If we feel anxious, impatient, frustrated, bored or even sick to our stomach when we read a job description, this is a huge indicator that we should not apply for the position.  On the other hand, if we feel excitement, enthusiasm and even exhilaration about a career opportunity – this is also a sign. If I’m looking at a job description that includes an inordinate amount of record-keeping, I realize this is probably not going to be a good fit, even though I am perfectly capable of doing the work.  On the other hand, if I feel exhilarated and excited about using a skill or doing a task, this is a huge clue that we need to look a lot closer.  Assessments can provide us with good information, but not from a place of true introspection.  Have you ever gotten the results of an assessment that seemed to be very much on target?  Yet, when you asked yourself, what did I do with that information, it is more likely that you did little or nothing.   Many people do not follow up with the written recommendations even though they may spend thousands of dollars on taking these types of assessments.  Why?  Because there is, often, very little personal involvement in the process or coaching to move you through the challenges and many ways that we can sabotage ourselves before we get to the place of understanding what will truly bring us career happiness without the outside influences.  What the assessments don’t take into consideration is the fine tuning involved where you get to feel or experience the parts of the job or career that truly resonate with who you are.

I always have and always will advocate for a personal process that is structured enough to allow the individual to come to his/her own conclusions.  All it takes is one assessment that provides inconsistent job or career goals and we can shut down to other career opportunities or possibilities that will fit like a glove.

Please freely leave comments if you have taken assessments and may have been turned off to the idea of exploring career opportunities that have the potential to create career happiness.

Mar 14

CAREER ASSESSMENTS AND CAREER HAPPINESS II: Connecting the Dots

Career HappinessI recently wrote on Career Assessments and Career Happiness.  In it I explained that the trouble with many of these assessments are that there is no personal involvement or inner process that involve an individual seeking guidance in the results other than checking yes or no to a question – or another limited response.

I recently had an “aha” moment with a client who was in the process of identifying  the top skills she feels compelled to use in her ideal career. The first skill she identified as being the most important in the work she is “using creativity.”

During this conversation, she mentioned that she had taken a number of assessments that all came up with careers like military, police officer, government worker, etc.  She quickly dismissed this information, and was offered no guidance or exploration whatsoever as to why these areas kept coming up for her. She could not feel the connection between her own desires for a job she loved and these types of careers.  I decided to explore this a bit with her.  Why indeed did these careers keep coming up?

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Mar 14

CAREER ADD AFFLICTION NO. ONE

overwhelmed image, career ADHDOn my website at www.passiontocareer.com I used to list Eleven Afflictions of Career ADD. 

Truth be told, told there are several more.  However, these are the afflictions that quite naturally came up for me as I pondered my own ADD issues related to my career life.

In my next few blog posts, I hope to describe in more detail how each one of these afflictions has impacted me and others I’ve worked with.  In turn, you may relate to how each one has impacted you, more or less, and learn ways to decrease or manage them while moving closer to career happiness.

The No. One Affliction listed is when

We are overwhelmed with the tasks in your job that you simply despise

So what does it look like and when do tasks become overwhelming for those of us with Career ADD? 

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