To Advance in Your Career – Show the Dynamics of Change in Your Resume

Dog writing resume

Recently I lost one of my best buddies.

Luke on guard
Luke, my personal protector

Luke became a part of my family almost a decade ago and was my constant companion and the court jester of the office.  He was also my personal guard dog. Any time someone came into our home or approached me outside of its confines, he would stand in front of me blocking potential danger and letting the world know, he was my protector.

Our little family of furries is adjusting.  My remaining male dog, Bandit, has now taken on a new role – my personal bodyguard. Anywhere I go, he goes.  On walks he now does not venture more than 10 feet from me. In the evening he watches the boyfriend and inserts himself on occasion just to let him know in that dog way, “I’m watching you buddy, I’m her protector now and I got this.”

Bandit has also changed in that he responds quicker, is more attentive and puffs up in a grandiose style when walking with his mom.  He has assumed Luke’s job as my primary protector.

How does this relate to a resume? It is all about writing forward.

You want to write your resume to where you are going, not where you have been. If that next desired position is the next wrung up on the ladder, write toward that.

What if you do not have direct experience with those required tasks, you ask? Take those tasks and break them down to the skill set necessary to complete the task. What is needed in order to do the job that you want?  List those skills, for example, communication, problem solving, certain applications, presenting, leadership etc.

Now use those skills as the framework when writing where you have been – i.e. you current and past positions.

Bandit has assumed the role of my primary protector, but he is not the alpha in the pack. That place is still held by our 11 year old Great Pyrenees / Yellow Lab mix.  But if he were applying for the alpha position, he would take the qualities it takes and demonstrate how he has performed them in the past. He would use the change in his environment to demonstrate those skills.

When there is a change in your work environment, take a moment to reflect how this has impacted you. Have you been asked to step up and do more, take on additional assignments, lead certain components of projects?

If your boss asks you to take on additional responsibility, you can easily transition that into your resume by stating that you were depended upon or requested by executive leadership to assume those duties which align with parts of the next step position.

It is more than okay to give the parameters of what is going on relative to the changes in what you do. In other words, tell the story. It is important to paint the picture of having to take on more stuff, in addition to your own, to demonstrate your flexibility, dependability, adaptation and work ethic. It shows you are ready for more.

happy office puppy
Bandit assuming his new status as bodyguard

Bandit might write, “after departure of primary protector, immediately assumed all duties and responsibilities for continual safety and security without downtime.”  He could say “maintained 100% customer satisfaction in vermin extraction while assuming the duties of full protection detail eliminating the need for a new full time bodyguard.” (You could say until a full time bodyguard replacement could be found, but no way will that happen in our house.)

Change is not always easy or fun, yet it can provide key experiences that will help you advance to where you want to go next – as long as you show the dynamics of the change and how it prepared you to take that position now.

 

 

✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰

A little about me: I do what I love: help leaders break out of a suffocating corporate existence and into a position and place that renews their brilliance.

As the Founder and Principle of Career Polish, Inc., a national career personal branding firm, I am an Executive Brand Strategist, Resume Writer and Career Coach. I work with individual clients, companies, leadership and teams to identify, strengthen and effectively communicate their brand, engagement, commitment and most importantly – their value – by learning and leveraging personal branding as applied to LinkedIn, resumes, networking, communication, relationship management, presence and influence.

Click here – CareerPolish.com – to find out more about how we can help you.

To get all my latest articles, click the “Yes Please!” button on the right

Careful What You Wish For…

I saw a quote the other day that I absolutely loved, “Never stop learning because life never stops teaching.”

 

I find that there are lessons every day, if we are paying attention.  Sometimes it is our job to learn, sometimes to teach.  My boys are rarely thrilled when they are the recipients of the lesson and I am the teacher.  The dogs, on the other hand, seem perfectly fine with it.

 

As I was fixing a morning snack of crunchy peanut butter on toast, I had three sets of eyes glued on me.  Three cold little noses trying to sneak a sniff of the peanut butter as it was melting on the toast.  They really wanted that peanut butter.  I do not particularly care for noses near my food.

 

So I took out a piece of bread and spread the peanut butter on it and tore it into three pieces.  You would think I was rewarding their behavior, but hang in there with me.  As I gave each one their piece, at the last second I popped the peanut butter side to the roof of their mouth.

 

They got the peanut butter they wanted along with a lot of head tilting, tongue lashing and confused looks. 

 

And yes, I said it out loud, “Careful what you wish for.”

 

My puppies are adorable, sweet and a fountain of unending unconditional love; they also aren’t thinkers. 

 

They want something, they go after it, consequences be damned.  They do not have the same thought processes we do, or they have really bad memories.  I can attempt to explain consequences or ask them if they have thought this through; but they rarely answer.

 

As a Career Coach, I hear people frustrated with where they are often stating they want something completely different.  I’m good with that and fully encouraging of doing what you love to do.  I think it is great.  I just find myself in the role of devil’s advocate.

 

Have you thought this through?

 

Changing careers can seem like an easy fix or the one thing that will solve all your problems; but are you sure?  What will it take to get into the new career?  What skills are necessary?  What is going to be expected of you?  What is the negative side of where you want to go?  How long is it going to take you to achieve the level of success you desire?

 

That whole grass looks greener on the other side thing.

 

Before you start getting jealous of your neighbor’s yard, take a step back and see what it takes to get there.  Seeding, fertilizing, watering, cutting, mulching, trimming – it takes a lot of work to get it to look that nice.  You may just be seeing the end result of a LOT of work, time and money.  Once you get it to that stage, yes, it looks easy.

 

If you are not willing to commit to taking care of the grass, don’t wish for the perfect lawn. 

 

I am normally a stanch advocate for looking for the positive; however in this case, I am advocating for looking at the negative.  This will help you be fully prepared for what you want.  You will have a better understanding of the sacrifices that are required to get to that utopia.

 

What you might just find out is that your lawn looks pretty darn good.  Redirect your energy just a bit and it can become the lawn you wish for without having to start all over again.

 

 

Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW

Brand Strategist & Career Coach

Certified Professional Resume Writer

www.CareerPolish.com

 

Adaptation – It Ain’t Easy

 Image

December 6, 2013 I lost one of my fur-babies; my oldest pup, Micki.  She bound into my life as an eight week old ball of fur and was a constant companion over the next 13 and a half years.  She was with me through some major battles in my life always at my side, always expressing her own personality and quite frankly, opinions on the status of the world.

 

She was an only dog for a long time then became the pack leader to two different packs.  She was a force of nature.  Although small in stature she kept a Great Pyrenees and Husky/German Sheppard in tow, and in her later years she was the matriarch for a Lab and Pit – both much younger, boys full of testosterone and energy.  But she was always the leader.  No question about it.

 

She was such a factor in my life that it has taken me this long to write about her.  I still look for her throughout the day, still talk to her expecting to look over and see her facial expressions, listen to her sigh or talk in her own way.

 

I wasn’t the only one affected.  My three remaining pups have had to adjust, too.  Over the following month or two there was discord in my pack.  The three year old Lab and four year old Pit were vying for pack leader position.  The problem was, they didn’t know how to do it.  They weren’t leaders, that was her job.  My job was to help them through this transition without killing each other.  Literally  There were battles.  Even the Puggle attempted to be pack leader, but once she saw the job, she decided she didn’t want the headache.

 

I did not realize how much I depended on her to keep the peace and help the structure of the day  Without her the boys tried to realign things.  It didn’t work.  I don’t think it was a power play, just their anxiety about not having their animal leader there.  She always set the tone – now what?

 

I see a similarity with some of my clients.  They are now searching for something better or in the position of having to search for a job for the first time in a long time.  The scenery has changed, it isn’t what it used to be.

 

When I was transitioning the pack I found the most important thing I could do was recognize and acknowledge each individual pup.  They needed to know that everything was ok.  You need to recognize and acknowledge your own fear, anger or trepidation about the unknown.  It is natural and expected – let yourself feel it without regret or chastising yourself.

 

But do not linger.  You must move forward.  A blow has been dealt, but not a fatal blow.  Once you let yourself get through the “this isn’t fair”, “this is unfamiliar” or the downright “this suck” then buck up.  I had to set expectations and accountability on the remaining pack. 

 

They were expected to continue with the appropriate behavior.  Marking became an issue.  I had to deal with it immediately with consequences.  In chaos the opportunity for bad behavior to become a norm is ever present.  You can get in a bad mood and stay there.  You can feel angry and stay there.  You can fight against the event that already happened and not allow yourself to move on.  Stop peeing on the carpet!

 

Set goals, expectations and down time.  Give yourself a chance to adjust but do not allow yourself to stop.  Take a break and celebrate your success –  no matter how small.  Today’s success might be that you sent out a LinkedIn invitation to someone.  Whatever it takes to keep moving forward.  Next week the success might be that you went to a networking event and met five people.  The following week it could be that you sent out a resume.  Create your own schedule and goals and keep reminding yourself that you are moving forward.

 

We got over the marking stage.  We kept the order in which we received treats to reaffirm consistency that they were comfortable with.  We nipped bad behaviors in the bud and rewarded positive behaviors.

 

Two months later and the pack has settled in to their new place.  There are still moments of vying for top spot, but that when I have to step in and remind them that even though their puppy pack leader is gone the truth remains – I am the pack leader.  Always have been, always will be.

 

You are the master of your destiny – you are the pack leader.  The last job may have ended abruptly or in bad fashion, but the truth is, you are still you.  You still have value to offer.  There is another day to get on to.  Regain control and move forward.

 

Lisa K McDonald, CPRW

Certified Professional Resume Writer

Brand Strategist & Career Coach

www.CareerPolish.com

 

If You Are Apologizing For the Why Then It’s the Wrong Why or the Wrong Audience

why - black and white

One of the first questions I ask prospects interested in working together for either career advancement, business building or job searching is “What is going on?”

 

For me to get an accurate understanding of where they have been and where they want to go I need to understand where they are now – and the reasons they want to change.

 

Some of the responses I have heard are:

 

I hate my boss.

I want more money.

I want to move.

I want more challenges.

I want benefits.

I want stability.

I want to be happy.

I am tired of the life being sucked out of me there.

I want to be appreciated.

I want to figure out what I want to do when I grow up.

I want to help more people.

I want to build my client list.

I want to expand into a new market.

I want to be able to take more time for myself.”

 

No right answers, no wrong answers and no judgments about one reason being more worthy or noble than any other.

 

Your reason for wanting a change is like your opinion: it is yours and therefore cannot be wrong to you.  My job is to help you get there, not to judge you on why you want to go.

 

So if you are in line with your why then who has the right to judge you?  I heard Bob Proctor say once that it was none of his business what other people thought about him.  It took me awhile to get that, but once it sunk in, I truly enveloped it.

 

But here is the thing – if you feel you owe me an apology or explanation as to why you want to leave then maybe it truly isn’t your why.

 

I have certain goals.  They may seem selfish or selfless to others, but that is not my concern.  They are well thought out, personally driven aspirations to which I have committed.  I know I am committed to one when I can tell my best friend point blank what it is without adding the noise.

 

The noise is the “I want this because…” statements.  I don’t have to justify to her or explain, she accepts my goal for what it is – something I want, not an idea that she needs to approve or modify.

 

If you find yourself having to explain your why then you need to re-evaluate one of two things:  the why itself to see if it truly rings true to you or the people that you are sharing it with.  If the people are asking you for justification then realize that is their problem – not yours.  Perhaps they cannot admit to themselves that they, too, want more money.

 

We are told wanting more money or responsibilities could be seen as selfish.

 

It isn’t.  With more responsibility you can give greater value to your team and your company.  With more money you can provide more to your family, self, friends and community.

 

The more you have the more you can give.  That seems pretty selfless to me.

 

Yes, you benefit, but so does everyone around you.

 

Stop beating yourself up for the why and accept it, embrace it, commit to it and then take action toward it.

 

Once you do these four things you can accomplish it!

 

 

Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW

www.CareerPolish.com

 

What is Your Motivation?

whySomething is always motivating us.  If we are taking action toward a goal or being stagnate either way we are being motivated to do so.

 

I have clients that are motivated by various reasons: some simply want more money no matter the duties and others want to a new position where they feel they can contribute no matter if it comes at a salary cut.

 

There is no right answer in figuring out what your motivation is: it is a personal thing so therefore there cannot be a “wrong”.

 

Do what works for you and don’t apologize for it.

 

Sometimes my clients feel embarrassed to tell me their motivations.  They hem and haw and work around it afraid to say it out loud.  I’m good enough that I can normally figure it out pretty quickly and then bring it out in the open.

 

That’s when I coach on not apologizing for what you want and why you want it.

 

When someone makes you feel like you should apologize for your motivations that is on them – not you.  You want more money – ok then.  If someone tries to make you feel bad for that perhaps they are secretly upset because they do not have the opportunity or gumption to go make more money themselves.

 

That’s their problem – not yours.

 

Ladies I am going to talk to you directly for just a moment – because we are the worst.  Why feel bad if you want more money, more prestige, a bigger office, a better title – whatever it is go for it!  Don’t let someone make you feel less for wanting more.  That’s like dating the guy who “isn’t ready for a relationship so can’t we just keep it this way” and when you say no, you want more he tries to make you feel bad about it.  What are you going to do – stay in a relationship where you are not valued or respected just so he can go play around or not have to man up?  Just because we are the caretakers of the tiny humans and the world does not mean we do not deserve exactly what we want!  Dump the fool.  He’s not smart enough to realize the jewel standing in front of him – clear him out and go get that bigger office!

 

Ok gents – we are out of girl-world now.

 

Sometimes our motivations keep us from going after what we want.  Fear.  It’s a biggie.  It can be afraid of failure, afraid of rejection, afraid this job will end up stinking like the last one – whatever the case it prevents us from moving forward.

 

A little fear is not a bad thing, it helps us keep things in check.  But if the fear has gotten to the point that you either do not move forward or you start sabotaging yourself.  You start slacking at work, take unnecessary risks or just plain behave badly.  These acts are normally motivated by fear.

 

Still no need to apologize; but don’t let it control you.  Fear is an emotion, a feeling, a thought – and you can control your thoughts and emotions.  You replace them with positive action and that builds confidence.

 

It is imperative to identify your motivation.  Once you figure that out then you can begin taking concrete actions to either move beyond the fear or continue to make progress on your goals.  Motivation is the key that can unlock any door or keep you locked inside – what you do with that key is up to you.

 

 

Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW

Career Coach-Strategist

Certified Professional Resume Writer

Career Polish, Inc.

www.CareerPolish.com

 

Perspective – Pointing out What We Don’t Want To See

boys in chairWe really never see our own behaviors until we see them in someone else.

 

I was out one night with a friend and a very petite (code word: short) woman walked in and I said something to my friend about how tiny she was.  My friend laughed at me and said, “She’s your size!”

 

I never see myself as that small, so of course I had to engineer it where I would be passing by this other woman for my friend to take an inconspicuous picture in order that she could prove it to me.  She was right.

 

I brought Brutus home today after being gone for about a week.  For the first hour he was running around the house, bumping into the two other big dogs whining and yipping because he was trying to get them to play with him.

 

Luke came up to me and put his head in my lap as if to say, “make it go away” and I told him (because yes, I talk to my dogs and yes, they completely understand) “see how annoying it is when you act like that?”  Luke is a very excitable 2 year old Lab who always wants to play.

 

Now that he sees how annoying it is he is currently laying quietly chewing on a toy all by himself.

 

Jake’s dad and I were very consistent in our expectations of his behavior when he was little when we were out in public.  It was called etiquette and we meant business.  There is a proper way to behave in public, in private as well for that matter.  I know he thought we were the meanest parents ever but then again – that was our job.

 

I remember going to the store with my son when he was about 15 and there was a very obnoxious tiny human there yelling at his mom and creating quite the scene.  Jake looked at me after the kid told his mom to shut up and said, “someone needs to shut that kid up and straighten him out for talking to his mom like that.”

 

My son never told me to shut up.  Ever.  Period.  He is that kid, however, that if I ever yelled out “sonofabitch” he would quickly responds with “you called?”  Cute – wonder where he got that sarcasm…

 

Anyway, I asked him if he understood why his dad and I were so strict on our expectations.  He said yes and he was glad we were.  I think I wrote that down on a calendar somewhere.

 

I have a friend who likes a girl but doesn’t want to admit it to her so he is “playing it cool” and going out with other girls just to hang out, but making sure to give the appearance that he isn’t going to be “tied” down.  This to me is ridiculous, and I told him this several times.  No wonder girls are all messed up – boys (and yes, I do realize I said boys; not guys, not men) act ridiculous.

 

Last week he called me up all ticked off – seriously ticked off.  While he has been busy puffing up and “being cool” she has been going out with her friends and generally living her life.  Yay girl.  But when he found out one of her friends was a guy the testosterone kicked in.

 

I let him rant and rage about how she’s going out with other guys blah, blah, blah and then I simply said, “pot kettle black”.  This did not help the situation; however I explained that she was just doing what he was so why is he mad?

 

Surprise to no one he had no real answer to this.  I told him that he couldn’t get all bent out of shape just because he didn’t know if he wanted her but didn’t want anyone else to have her.  Wake up stupid, she is a good girl, someone will snatch her up.

 

When I was a manager I used to have “counseling” sessions with some of the people that I supervised.  What it boiled down to was a bitch session about how they didn’t like the behavior of one of their co-workers.  What it normally turned out to be was the behavior they were detesting was the exact behavior they were demonstrating.

 

More often than not what I find is that when we are upset at someone’s behavior it is because it is a trait we are demonstrating that we don’t like in ourselves.  What behaviors in others seem to be getting under your skin?  Could it possibly be telling you something?  What is the old saying – when you point a finger at someone you have three more pointing right back at you?

 

 

Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW

Career Coach-Strategist

Certified Professional Resume Writer

Career Polish, Inc.

www.CareerPolish.com

 

You Know Me So Well….

Someone told me the other day that no one really knows us; it is only what we want them to see.

 

I would have to disagree with that premise.  First of all it implies that we are all acting all day long and I don’t know about anyone else, but I just can’t keep up that kind of effort all day every day.

 

Secondly I think it is more accurate to say people know us by what they want to see based on our actions no matter what we present, what we try to hide or if we are even aware of our behavior.

 

It reminds me of a conversation I had some time ago with an old friend.  After a long day we were relaxing by watching mind-numbing tv and out of nowhere he said, “I love that noise.”

 

Since my friend was a guy I was almost afraid to ask what noise, but I took the chance since I was at the point of becoming one with the couch and pretty much brain dead.

 

He told me that when I’m happy and relaxed I make a little noise when I sigh.

 

I had no idea I made random noises, but I am much more cognizant of it now!  But the people who are around you the most do know you.  They form their opinions based on your actions.

 

It is great to have a network that knows you well; this network can be friends, business associates, your boss and co-workers.  It brings comfort and security.  They know your strengths and challenges, what you can do well and how they can depend on you.

 

They know you by what you demonstrate every day.  They also make assumptions and boundaries based on what they know and this can be supportive.

 

Or it can be restrictive, especially when you want to make a change.

 

This change could be something personal like eating more healthy or professional like wanting to expand your skill set or business ventures.

 

I am not saying they will not support you, actually they will be your biggest supporters but you have to tell them first, and show them you mean business.

 

Simply stating you want to make a change without proving it will allow your network to fend off the conflict you have created in their head by saying things like, “But that isn’t like you.”

 

When you first bring up the change you may meet resistance but do not take this as a negative or unsupportive.  It is a natural reaction because they do know you so well.  They may not understand what it is you want to do or why.

 

We are all in a process of continual growth it is just when big leaps are in order it takes consistency and patience.  You must be patient with your network to help them understand in order that they can fully support you.

 

It is not enough to say things like: I want to learn to do this, or take this new direction with my career, or settle down, or not going to continue with a failed project or go hike the Himalayans.  You will probably have to explain why so they can grasp this new concept.

 

Once you have explained it you have to be consistent in your messaging to them.  Prove it, in other words.  Keep taking actions to reach the goals that you want, keep reminding them at the right opportunities of the ways in which they can help you.

 

For example if you want to take on more leadership at work you first have to tell your boss.  They are not mind readers.  Then you have to explain why so they will know you are serious about it.  Next you need to make sure when you see an opportunity that you can dip your toe in the leadership water that you bring it up to your boss.

 

If you see a new project come across if your boss doesn’t feel you are ready to take the lead or even be an active participant then ask if you can sit in on the meetings to learn the process to be a student.  Prove you are willing to take the small steps to learn to take the larger ones.

 

The more consistent you can be in your messaging and actions the more successful you will be in achieving your goals and the more support you will gain along the way.

 

 

Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW

Career Coach-Strategist

Certified Professional Resume Writer

Career Polish, Inc.

www.CareerPolish.com

 

Who Taught You To Look At The World?

I was talking to my best friend last night and she was a little weepy about the ending of the football season for her high school son.  She was talking about what a great group of kids they have and an inspirational coach.

 

One thing that is unique about their school district is it has kids from well over 30 countries – a phenomenal combination of children from all religions, races, backgrounds and beliefs.

 

When the coach gives his inspirational speech he tells the boys to thank whatever God or deity that they believe in for giving them the opportunity to be a part of that team.  He is very team oriented and backs his words by benching a kid, not matter who, if he feels that player has put himself above the team.

 

She said the most amazing thing to her is that her boys don’t say, “Oh, that’s Raj, he is Indian and doesn’t eat meat” they say, “Don’t forget to bring something Raj can eat to the team meal.”

 

This coach is teaching these boys to look at each other as equals and teammates, not as individuals who have differences.  They are all responsible for themselves and their team, to their family and to the opportunities they have outside of football.

 

He is helping them view the world in a much larger scale.

 

We are all not as fortunate as she to have a coach like this in our lives or our children’s lives.  Pity.  But as you take a look at where you are now, take a moment to think about how you view your world; and why you view it the way you do.

 

Your parents could have told you that you have to work really hard to make any money and it will never be enough.  Or they could have taught you that you can accomplish anything in life you want if you put your mind to it.

 

Mostly we are taught, and teach our children, based on what we know.  But what if what we know is too limited?  Our upbringing is just a guideline, as is our experiences with our first job, our first home and our first love.  They are all experiences with some truths and some limitations; but they are never the be all end all of the world view.

 

How would your life be different if you just adopted a different view point?  What if you took a different route to work or school today?  Would you notice something different?  Would it awaken just a little something in you?

 

Oftentimes I work with individuals who desperately want a change and they think to have change means doing something radical.  That is not always necessary.  Sometimes it is the smallest of changes that make the biggest differences.

 

Think about driving from Maine to California in a car that was set for a straight line so you did not have to navigate at all.  What would happen if you changed the line one degree north?  Where might you end up with just that tiny change?

 

Change is scary and often we make it so hard on ourselves.  So today I want people to think about making one little change, just one.  Perhaps on your afternoon coffee break you buy the coffee for the person behind you – just because.  Or you bring one back for someone in your office who has had a rough day.

 

Or you compliment the person next to you in line.  Nothing major or extravagant, just something little and honest.  Try letting someone go in front of you at the grocery store.  Send a former colleague a note telling them that you have not spoken to them for some time and you hope all is going well.  Write a thank you note to someone for even the smallest gesture.

 

The theme on all of these is giving a small change to someone else, which makes the biggest impact on you personally.  When you can see how you can make a positive impact on someone else’s world you begin to see yours in a different light.

 

 

Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW

Career Coach-Strategist

Certified Professional Resume Writer

Career Polish, Inc.

www.CareerPolish.com

 

 

Making a Switch In Your Head

During the course of our life we have certain jobs that either teach us or present us with the opportunity to develop certain skills.  At that time those skills serve us very well, they make us very successful in those positions.

 

But then life happens.  The job changes, new management comes in, we lose the job or decide to move on to something else.  We end a relationship and start a new one.  All very grown up of us and very progressive, how very proud we are of ourselves.

 

We learn to adapt and move forward.  But what happens if in moving forward you are actually being held back, you are seen as a weak link or out of touch?  What happened to utilizing those fabulous skills that made us a rock star?

 

They turned into baggage.

 

Well, that’s just not fair!  Who changed the rules?? Your grown up self is asking.  No one changed the rules – you just failed to read the fine print in accepting the newly acquired skills so long ago; which was:

 

these will serve you well in a certain environment, in a certain situation but they are by no means the end all be all of skills that you will ever need to learn and quite possibly will become outdated as soon as you feel confident and all grown up.

 

Well crap!  Now what?

 

First acknowledge that you no longer a rock star and second: learn to retrain your brain.

 

Ugh!  That sounds like a lot of work!  I don’t wanna!  Tough – suck it up cupcake.  If you want a successful relationship you have to have some skin in the game.

 

Retraining your brain is not easy.  We have become comfortable with our way of doing things.  They worked before we want them to continue to work now.  I understand, but life doesn’t work that way.

 

First recognize the habits, skills or attributes that you need to change.  For me it was the process of analyzing; actually over-analyzing.  I’m an analyzer.  I want to know the how, whys and possible outcomes.  As a former Compliance Officer this served me well.

 

After I moved on from this position that attribute did not serve me as well as a primary means of operation.  It was still a good quality, just not one that I needed to use all the time.  I had to retrain my brain to take it down a notch.

 

This was a hard process for me; mainly because I over-analyzed the process of retraining to death: the pros, the cons, the ease, the challenges, blah, blah, blah.

 

In retraining it is important to recognize when the old skills start to kick in.  When I would start to analyze something unnecessarily I would literally stop what I was doing and take a breath.  Making a conscious decision to stop and recognize was a major factor in being able to retrain my brain.

 

With some clients I give them a rubber band to wear around their wrists.  When they find themselves starting to employ a past behavior they are to give themselves a flick.

 

Once I recognized it and stopped admonishing myself for analyzing I could then talk myself through employing the type of behavior I wanted rather than the over-analyzing.

 

It is also important to recognize what you can and cannot control.  My actions, reactions and behaviors are all on me.  These are the things I own, these are the things I have control over.  I cannot control other people’s behavior, wants, needs or actions.

 

I had to learn to let go of ownership for other people’s crap.

 

When a situation would come up that triggered a negative response or overanalyzing then I had to, again, stop myself and literally say to myself:

 

Self, as much as it should – the world does not revolve around you nor do you rule the world.  What can you control in this situation, what is your contribution? 

 

I would then answer myself honestly, to which myself would then say:

 

Than that is the only thing that you are to focus on and take ownership of – period.

 

The last key to retraining was remaining positive.  I knew I could modify this behavior – after all I mastered it before so I can master the art of modifying and adopting new behavior.  I gave myself permission to be positive and stopped beating myself up when I slipped.

 

I still slip now and then.  My wonderful friends will tell me when I am overanalyzing in their kind and gentle way; but when I do I do not berate myself or feel as though I am loosing ground.

 

What is the old saying: it only takes a moment to learn a bad habit but a lifetime to break?  Being able to change habits becomes much easier when you take ownership of only what you actually control, remain positive and continue to employ the new behavior.

 

“All growth depends upon activity. There is no development physically or intellectually without effort, and effort means work.” – Calvin Coolidge

 

 

Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW

Career Coach-Strategist

Certified Professional Resume Writer

Career Polish, Inc.

http://www.CareerPolish.com

Let The Tornado Thin Out The Herd

I had an amazing conversation yesterday with a woman who, after years distinguishing herself in a certain field, is taking the plunge and starting her own business; one led by her heart not by income.

 

It was great to hear her excitement and passion, which completely encompassed her venture – except for when it came to certain friends.  They did not accept this new phase because it did not fit in with how they saw her.

 

I have another friend who is just beginning the divorce process.  She is already finding out some people seem to disappear or morph into things you don’t recognize once the process begins.  They do not accept her as an individual any longer.

 

Having been through both situations my initial reaction is something that I don’t think I can write here – a little too graphic.  We will just leave it at that.

 

It is easy to sit back and say, “Screw them!” but when you are in the midst of the tornado that is your life during a major change it isn’t that easy to let go of anything.  Because your world is upside-down you want to cling to anything that seems stable, even if it isn’t healthy.

 

So when people criticize or question you about your new path it is natural for you to begin to question yourself.  Maybe they are right, maybe you are being crazy, maybe you are just too close to the situation you can’t see it clearly.

 

That is not the case.  As much as we crave stability sometimes we have to just let go and fall to see that we actually are cat-like and land on our feet.  I don’t have cats so I cannot testify to if this is an accurate statement – that cats always land on their feet.  I have dogs – they don’t.  This I know.  Especially when they are sleeping on the couch, rollover and fall off.

 

Change is a scary thing – not just for you but for those around you.  What you don’t see or hear is their fear and jealousy.

 

Oftentimes those that are discouraging us the most are the ones who want so badly to make changes in their own life but are too afraid to do so.  When they see someone else doing it there is some weird negative reaction that they have to try to dissuade you from succeeding just so they can justify their own unwillingness to change.

 

Don’t let them.

 

I almost let a naysayer stop me from pursuing my dream.  Almost.  When I first had the idea to start my business I went to a woman who I respected a great deal and was in a similar field.  I wanted her opinion because I was still very unsure of just what direction I wanted to go and I thought I could trust her for guidance, support and an honest evaluation.

 

When I explained my business model she didn’t even hesitate and told me that it would never work.  What I wanted to do was unnecessary and I should just let it go, walk away, never look down that path again.

 

At first I was floored and hurt.  My dream crushed and I felt like an idiot.  How stupid was I to even be considering something that was so destined for failure.

 

But then it hit me – she was threatened.  It was a good idea, it would work and I was just the person to make it work on my terms to create what I wanted.  She was dissuading me because it could potentially threaten her business.  I looked at it as a potential referral opportunity back and forth but she saw it as a threat.

 

I was on to something.

 

Three years later here I am, she had since sold her business and retired.  So much for her sage advice.

 

When it is time for a change, no matter how scary, no matter how crazy it may seem – go for it.  Those that doubt your or try to deter you – just smile politely and keep repeating in your head, “Oh, you poor thing, you don’t have as much courage as I do.”

 

Life is too short to look back in a few years and think, “wonder what would have happened if I had gone for it.”  It is much better to be able to look back and see accomplishments and be proud.

 

It is even okay to say, “Wow, that was a tremendous disaster – but I gave it my all and I learned a lot.  Now it is time for the next adventure”

 

When the tornado passes through it may leave much fewer around you but those are the ones that truly support you and have your highest good in mind.  Those are the ones that can stand next to you through any storm.   Those are the keepers.

 

 

Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW

Career Coach-Strategist

Certified Professional Resume Writer

Career Polish, Inc.

http://www.CareerPolish.com