*Published on December 21, 2020
As it relates to career development, “finding your passion” can be a trigger phrase…even scoffed at. Most of us may not feel lucky enough to have “found our passion.” So before reading on, realize you are not alone.
Many individuals have put in a tremendous amount of time, energy and hard work leading to career accomplishments to be extremely proud of. However, being accomplished in our careers is not an automatic correlation to the level of passion we have in what we do.
What if we were given the opportunity to learn what drives us every day, and then pursue career accomplishments in alignment with that driving force? “Finding your passion” is a common phrase we hear nowadays but not necessarily with a practical application that many of us were taught.
In my grandparent’s generation it was typical of women to stay home and raise a family, while a husband would go to work to support the family financially. Not a whole lot of “finding your passion” talk back then.
As a young man, my grandfather was a World War II Corporal in the United States Army. His travels brought him to Germany where he bravely fought for the freedom of others. When he returned home, he proudly supported his family with a 36-year career at General Electric (GE).
To my mother, uncles, sisters, and myself, he delivered countless lessons in having pride for our country, support of our family, the never-ending need and desire to educate ourselves, and how to be resilient in the unknowing of what your future holds. I now strive to teach my own children these same lessons.
My grandfather passed when I was a freshman in high school. If I were blessed with the opportunity to ask him if he “found his passion” in his career in the Army and GE, I believe his response would be as such:
“…those lessons and opportunities supported a wonderful life for my family and that is the truest sense of ’finding my passion’.”
You see, “finding your passion” does not have to be this overly fancy, head-in-the-clouds concept. Imagine a world where we all were in a career that we truly had a passion for, and derived a sense of meaning from, ultimately serving a purpose that made this world a better place for each generation thereafter.
Jay Shetty, the host of the ‘On Purpose’ podcast, once said:
“Passion is defined in three levels: (1) Our purpose in life, (2) Our desire to build our skills and strengths, and (3) Our compassion for others in that purpose.”
When I think of my grandfather, I want to share three lessons he taught me:
(1) His purpose in life was to serve a country he was grateful for and felt blessed to live in. Enter his career in the Army.
(2) He mastered the skills that aligned with his strengths with a continuous desire to learn. Enter his GE career as a maintenance electrician, making engines for jets.
(3) His compassion prompted him to act on behalf of his family and country. Enter his unwavering support of his family and the love of his country.
As I write this I do not view “finding your passion” as the unattainable in our career reach. Does it take a commitment to learning? Yes. Does it take the support of your community (yourself, family, mentors)? Yes. Does it take acknowledgement of your financial obligations before taking a leap into a new career? Yes.
My take is that we all have a daily driving force that fills us with a sense of meaning. Not only is it an attainable goal in life, but there is also research* to back the health benefits in “living your passion” and having a sense of meaning in what we do daily.
Benefits of “finding (& living) your passion” include*:
Whether you are starting out your college days, or transitioning in your current career, a typical reaction when a sense of career development or change is needed, we as a human race almost naturally look externally.
We look to the outside world to provide us with an answer that is only internally within us.
Let us rewire our brains to look and understand internally before we explore externally. Our awareness and confidence in our sense of meaning will open the door externally and better serve our career purpose.
Initially, how can we “find our passion” with a practical application?
“Finding your passion” starts here.
Self-awareness grows here.
Career exploration and transition are developed here.
In an upcoming article, we will explore how those energy givers will serve to align that passion and develop it with future career learning opportunities transforming into career accomplishments.
Through first-hand experience, I know your passion can drive and develop your career with the ability to support yourself and your family. So why not explore this opportunity?
Let us take the next step in “finding your passion.”
*Published on December 18, 2020
In preparing for a Leadership Development presentation, I took a deeper dive in understanding the biological differences between the male & female brains. I believe this insight can be powerful in leadership styles.
Key research items to note:
So, who cares? What does this mean from a leadership perspective?
Women need twice as much positive reinforcement to increase serotonin levels, in turn increasing dopamine levels.
'Biology' food for thought in determining effective leadership styles on a team’s employee by employee career satisfaction & productivity levels.
*Published on October 1, 2020
I wanted to share a story written by a Mindful Career Path client of the emotional roller coaster kicked off by an unexpected layoff.
“The request for an impromptu meeting with my manager came in the morning. One hour later I was told my role was being eliminated from a division that I helped build.
Just like that. Twenty years with the same company in various roles was coming to an end. I was managing a large, complex project and was given a short timeframe to transition responsibilities and hopefully find a new role.
The conversation was shocking and unexpected. I’m considered a high performer at the company and was consistently receiving feedback that “you are doing great.” So, what changed? Why was my role suddenly being eliminated? A million thoughts ran through my head. I immediately experienced an emotional roller coaster of confusion, anger, embarrassment and anxiety. How could they do this to someone who has poured so much time and energy into the company for 20 years?
Fast forward and I’m in a new position where I have an opportunity to thrive. Great, congratulations! But how did I get here? How did I go from the emotional roller coaster and 100 questions to landing a desirable role? The answer: a career coach, tenacity, and the power of networking.
The emotional roller coaster I mentioned above did last for a week or so. I still have feelings and questions about “why” that happened. However, I knew that I owned my outcome. Sure, other people could help, but they had to be prompted with the right conversation.
Enter my career coach, Alicia. Alicia is a career mindfulness coach (Mindful Career Path) and we connected because I thought it would be useful to talk to a third party about my situation. Alicia empathized with my situation as she told me that she had experienced something similar in the corporate world. Alicia empathized, but she did not pity me.
We discussed my feelings but focused on the future. What is the next step? How do I get to where I want to be? Where do I want to be? Alicia guided me through a process to determine what type of job, and what type of company and leader, I should target. A major part of the process is to focus on the network and start building relationships. We discussed how to craft a personal vision statement and network with a purpose.
I began networking with close relationships. People who I worked closely with in previous roles who either worked in the same company or had moved on to other organizations. I came into every conversation with a positive mindset, a personal “why” statement and an ask. I kept my message clear and concise and allowed the person to talk.
Do you know what we as humans really enjoy? Talking about ourselves! When you leave a conversation in which the other person talked for 20-25 minutes do you feel connected to that person? How about when that person touches on a subject you are really interested in and you divulge information about yourself you did not expect?
I did not focus on getting a job in these conversations. I focused on creating a relationship.
I did not focus on asking for a handout. I focused on asking open-ended questions that would allow the person to speak freely.
Conversations that went well led to conversations with others, many of those influential in the hiring process, who would eventually be the connections that helped me land my current role.
Would they have been willing to go the extra step if I approached the networking conversation differently? What if I did not approach the conversation positively with a clear and concise message about what I want to focus on in my next role? I do not think I would be in the position I am today.
Alicia and I connected on a weekly basis while going through this transition. We reflected on conversations and strategized on upcoming networking opportunities. We targeted opportunities both within my company and externally based on my personal vision that we had previously crafted. Without the up-front conversation with Alicia, my path might have been much different and even unsuccessful.
Go through your emotions. Be angry. Be irrational. Take a day or two off and clear your headspace. You deserve it.
And then, focus. Here’s what I learned:
· Do not panic.
· Set your sights on the next opportunity.
· Enlist help with a career coach like Alicia and Mindful Career Path.
· Be tenacious.
In the end, the only one truly invested in you getting an opportunity is you.”
*Published on August 9, 2020
What is Imposter Syndrome?
“Imposter Syndrome can be defined as a collection of feelings of inadequacy that persist despite evident success. ‘Imposters’ suffer from chronic self-doubt and a sense of intellectual fraudulence that override any feelings of success or external proof of their competence.”
~ Gill Corkindale, ‘Overcoming Imposter Syndrome,’ Harvard Business Review
Where does the Imposter Syndrome experience come from?
Research suggests that early childhood experiences can be the root of Imposter Syndrome. Personal branding efforts are often a focus in career development discussions—funny that the ‘personal brand’ we are tied to as children can unwittingly be carried into our career.
Those that face Imposter Syndrome typically have early childhood experiences that generally fall into one of the two following camps:
1.) You were either known as the kid where things came easily to you with your natural ability, without much effort; or
2.) You were known as the kid that worked extremely hard at what you did, not necessarily with a natural ability.
Undoubtedly, success in your career is a combination of working hard and having a natural ability.
Blended with learned experiences and responses, there is a greater chance of experiencing Imposter Syndrome in a toxic work culture. This combination feeds a sense of personal self-doubt and career insufficiency regardless of a track record of achievements. Even with accolades and credentials, Imposter Syndrome can fragilize your worth.
Here are a few micro-story clips from my time in Corporate America where I chose to unwisely divest energy:
“You don’t have enough technical expertise.”
“How come you don’t know everything? When I graduated college, I knew it all.”
“Alicia, everyone told me you were a superstar, but I just don’t see it.”
“(bleep, bleep) …why won’t you just take responsibility for this mistake…I don’t care if it wasn’t you…”
As a result of Imposter Syndrome, our career can feel at a standstill:
So how do we combat these feelings of inadequacy and move forward in the career fulfillment that deep down inside we know we deserve and are longingly striving to attain?
First, know that your feelings are valid.
Listen to your intuition. The feelings you are experiencing are powerful. Intuition connects your body, mind, and spirit.
Have conversations about these feelings, ideally with someone other than family. Our families are overly invested in our career well-being and may find it difficult to be objective.
Speaking with mentors, prior managers, and colleagues that you had a positive working relationship with can help in identifying gaps between your self-doubt and your true career achievements.
Rework your self-imposed limitations.
Know your self-worth—journal your career achievements. Reread your annual reviews and recommendations received, and highlight quotes bringing added accountability and verification to your career successes.
Strategically turn moments of failure into learning opportunities.
Take a deep dive into a micro-story of failure. (Because in the grand scheme of life, moments of career failures are just that – a micro-story). Ask yourself – What happened? Why am I here? Do I want to be here? What opportunities are available for me to expand my desired area of expertise?
Discover your vision.
How do you want to help the world and our future in the legacy you leave? Keep in mind what you do now, and what aspects of your career you find most fulfilling even if it does not specifically relate to the industry you are currently in.
Unleash your Career ‘Metahuman’
In 2019, Deepak Chopra released his book “Metahuman.” Prior to its release, Deepak Chopra was quoted:
“The true self is something we glimpse during experiences of joy, freedom, love, bliss, and creativity. Metahuman allows you to identify these states and make them continuous. Then you don’t have to listen to the social self, which is the face we show the world, or the unconscious self, which obeys pure impulse.”
Imposter Syndrome can paralyze us into our “unconscious self” with our past career experiences. With a growth mindset, we can learn “freedom” and “creativity” from our experiences and focus our energy on our career vision. When we engage the strategy and stick to the routine tactics, we yield greater results in our career development & fulfillment.
*Published on May 15, 2020
Nervous, anticipation building, excited, worried about making the right impression, putting your best foot forward – all thoughts that create a traffic jam in your head when walking into an interview. You took the steps to prepare for an engaging conversation with the hiring manager. You believe you have what it takes to not only make it to the next round of interviews, but to land the job you are excited to mark on the map in your career journey.
Throughout my 15 years in the corporate world my own career mileage was supported with various trainings including effective management courses, interview training, employment law and many others. The interview training course I participated in was the most memorable and had the greatest impact on my day to day corporate industry and career development roles.
At the beginning of this interview training course the instructor distributed toy cars to each attendee. “Always remember car – C-A-R,” she said. She conveyed to us that she wanted to present in a memorable way so we could easily apply the knowledge we gained in that course to our daily work setting. That toy car remains on my desk as a simple reminder when I am interviewing from a manager seat or from a career coaching seat for a client’s career development.
From a management perspective you can be empathetic to a potential candidate and the nerves baggage they bring with them when traveling into your office for an interview. Nerves can either deter the candidate’s response into a drawn-out response that does not answer the hiring manager’s interview question or condense a response that does not convey your personal brand and ROI.
For the benefit of both the potential candidate and the hiring manager, my role as a career coach is to deliver a road map in interviewing best practices. Part of the delivery is educating my client on the most effective and engaging response formats in an interview setting whether formal or informational. Authenticity throughout your career development is key – being your authentic self is delivered through your personal brand and ROI. Your personal brand and ROI are highlighted in an interview setting through the C-A-R Method.
The C-A-R Method drives home the point of how the potential candidate can make an immediate impact on solving current challenges the company, and specific department, is facing. The company’s open position was created to fill a “pothole” resulting from a gap in resources and knowledge. This method is in a format that highlights a potential candidate’s personal brand and ROI by answering:
(1) What CIRCUMSTANCE you were in
(2) What ACTION you took
(3) What was the RESULT
Using this method, answers are concise and focused. The hiring manager can now start to envision whether this potential candidate will take hold of the “steering wheel” and provide true value to the open role with the past career achievement/experience, and soft and hard skills necessary to do so. This is based on the premise that past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior.
Let us look at two types of answers to this common interview question:
Describe a difficult work situation or project and how you overcame it.
Answer without the C-A-R Method: “When difficult work situations arise, I typically work well with my teammates. We meet to discuss best course of action, and implement each step effectively and successfully, which allows us to meet deadlines timely.”
Answer with the C-A-R Method: “As a product manager I was recently responsible for rolling out a product two weeks ahead of schedule. My challenge was to manage the team effectively, so they were able to meet the accelerated target date. I introduced multiple initiatives with the team including (1) setting specific and measurable action steps for each team member, (2) setting up weekly meetings to hold our group accountable for our action steps, and (3) adding multiple resources through the use of the college interns work day deliverables. These initiatives allowed our team to roll out the new product two weeks ahead of schedule with a 95% customer satisfaction rate.”
See the difference? The second answer highlights your authentic self and past career achievements. Using the C-A-R Method allows the hiring manager to appreciate your personal brand and ROI.
The C-A-R Method drives home your personal branding and allows for a greater professional connection between the hiring manager and the potential candidate. Using these career success stories can drive you up to your next career mile.
You won’t always get the job when you do prepare for an interview, but you’re unlikely to get the job when you don’t prepare.
*Published on April 8, 2020
It happened. Many hours of updating your career story in your job-specific resumes. Networking in conversation, at local events, and over the phone any chance you had. Patience never seemed so challenging. The day…the moment…finally arrived.
You receive the call from the company recruiter expressing their interest in bringing you and your talent in for an interview. You can write the next chapter in your career story. Your emotions are running high and you feel you have already won. However, now’s the point to keep pushing forward and preparing the communication of your career story.
A client of mine recently lived this experience. He overcame adversity and at times self-doubt. He received the opportunity he had been preparing and working incredibly hard towards. The call came in…the one he was waiting for. His emotions were running high.
It had been many years since the last time he had applied and interviewed for a position. This practice felt like a brand-new experience – especially in this new day of social proofing your online presence. With his emotional celebration, we regrouped and refocused on interview preparation to highlight and continue to create his career story.
He took the time to research the target employer and interviewers, know his personal brand and practice communicating it in front of his mirror, his family, and me as his career coach. He made sure his online presence reflected his personal brand and presented his attributes that deemed him as the ideal fit for his target industry and employer.
Each day leading up to the interview he practiced answering the inevitable “Tell me about yourself” question, in addition to several other potential interview questions. He dedicated his time to sincerely seeing the alignment of his values with the company values. He outlined C-A-R statements for his past career achievements that told his career story of how he can make an immediate impact in solving the challenges faced in the company/department (C-A-R – What was the Circumstance? What Action did you take? What was the Result?).
Researching and recognizing the company’s mission and vision, and having the insight into essential ways to make a great impression during the interview, were vital in my client’s preparation. He confidently began to visualize his career story and his chance to verbalize it in person with his target employer.
Let us fast forward to the day of the interview. I must admit as his career coach I had butterflies in my stomach for him. He had been working diligently to get to that next level in his career in a targeted role. When his name popped up on my cell phone after his interview, I anxiously fumbled my phone because I couldn’t pick it up fast enough. The tone in his voice said it all – he was optimistically excited with his chance for a second-round interview. He just knew in that moment all his dedication in preparing was certain to pay off. He knew this was the turning point in his career story.
Guess what? He was right. One day later he received “THE” call – on the other end was the company recruiter – “We would like you to come back in for a second interview with the head of the group.” And the rest is history…
My client put his professional energy into highlighting his career story through his words, career documentation and online presence. He was able to sit back and reflect on the preparation strategies he used in creating an impactful conversation through the interviewing process.
By working on that first rough draft and refining it, he was able to present his prospective employer with his polished and practiced career story.
You can’t go from ‘career lust’ to ‘career love’ without ‘career learning’.
*Published on March 20, 2020
When you first start dating someone, lust can feel a lot like love. However, until you learn more about that person, you don’t know if it is truly love. This same concept resonates in the career development world, whether you are just starting out or transitioning to a new career.
Recently I collaborated with local high students while engaging at their school’s “Wellness Day”. The experience was inspirational. The workshops I created blended career interests and mindfulness. My favorite part in connecting with students is their youthful enthusiasm and knowledge that they can be anyone and anything.
My objective for these workshops was for each student to appreciate the importance of “career learning” in between “career lust” and “career love”. In our discussions, a handful of students had a specific career interest in mind – a beautiful sight to see. At the same time, much like myself in high school, most students were undecided in a career choice – which was also a beautiful thing. For those who had a specific interest in mind, they did not have the opportunity to experience job shadowing and volunteering in the career fields of their choice.
In our workshops we talked about what they would do on a “free Saturday” if they could not go on social media or drive aimlessly around with their friends. We worked through interest assessments to gain a basic understanding of where each student’s interest lies at this point in their life.
Interests can change throughout our lifetime. As we age you see and experience more, and our perception of the world changes. These life experiences can change our priorities and/or open doors to new opportunities. In this way, interests are similar to lust—initially strong, but can change and fade over time.
Bearing this in mind, we considered the value in completing interest assessments frequently throughout your high school years and into your career. Each student had an opportunity to complete an interest assessment during the workshop and were able to tie back the results to our initial “free Saturday” interests’ question.
Unlike our interests, which can and do change, aptitudes are our natural abilities and inherent talents, based more on our heredity. They are intrinsic to who we are as individuals. As deeply ingrained as aptitudes are, they evoke the endurance of love. Therefore, when it comes to a person’s career, those who ignore their aptitudes are more inclined to experience dissatisfaction in their profession.
We talked about the value in the offered aptitude assessments. To illustrate, I walked through my results in the YouScience.com aptitude assessment. There is a benefit to using an aptitude assessment in conjunction with interest assessments.
The students began to develop what may be their ideal future career story. I stressed the importance of having conversations with people in their future career target industry. The students and I collaborated on topics to discuss and questions to ask.
This naturally flowed into a “next steps” dialogue on what to do if they like what they hear through their networking. We agreed that the best way to learn is by doing. This led the students to brainstorm on the “how-to’s” of target industry engagement. We spoke of the significance and advantages of volunteering and job shadowing in the rapidly approaching summer months.
It was remarkable to see the level of engagement in a career development conversation at such a young age. The students took away the difference between “career lust at first sight” vs “career love.” They learned the importance and process of learning about various career options before the “true career love” moment – that moment when you can say, “I love you back” to your career choice.
*February 10, 2020
Parent-stress. House-stress. Work-stress. Put it all in a blender and what do you get? A typical day in the life of a working parent. Some days are overwhelming. Some days it’s hard to focus and complete the never-ending list of tasks and goals. Fortunately, there are ways to manage stress before it takes over your personal life.
Three years ago, I was on the soccer field with friends, enjoying some “me time” and playing a sport I loved so much; but I wasn’t feeling that same child-like happiness I typically experienced. I didn’t understand. Was I with friends? Check. Was I playing soccer? Check. Was I taking a short break from being a parent, wife and co-worker? Check. So why was I feeling anxious? I couldn’t shut my brain off. Career stress had infringed upon my personal life. I thought to myself; I don’t have time for stress. My life consisted of endless moving parts: work, family, housework, and keeping up with whatever social life I had left.
In retrospect, I was no longer taking the time to draw a dividing line between work and my personal life. I was not taking the time to be aware of the present. It was scary. Here I was on the soccer field, a place that was once my refuge, and my mind was flooded with stress. I had experienced work stress in the past, but I had been fortunate enough to redirect my energy into an experience I found positive and fulfilling.
A friend recommended I read Strength in Stillness by Bob Roth. Bob Roth is one of the most experienced and coveted meditation teachers in the world. For over 45 years Bob Roth has taught thousands of people Transcendental Meditation. Transcendental Meditation is an easy technique where you practice meditation for 20 minutes, twice a day sitting comfortably in a chair with your eyes closed. Although the method requires 40 minutes a day, the rewards that you reap are honest rest, relaxation, and your brain functioning with increased coherence. The physiological and psychological benefits of Transcendental Meditation can be powerful and wide-ranging. This method can be utilized to promote emotional health, stress management, and boost your psychological well-being.
Three years into my own Transcendental Meditation practice, I can confidently speak first-hand to the overall relaxation of my mind and the increase in my body’s positive energy. In just 40 minutes a day, this method has provided insight into different aspects of my personality. I initially took the approach that if nothing else at least I can have 40 minutes of quiet time. However, incorporating Transcendental Meditation into my everyday life has been the inspiration and motivation I needed to fuel my professional passion and energy into my career goals and internal locus of control.
I call this stage of my life “Understanding the Importance of 40 before 40”. Prior to reaching the age of 40, I have incorporated setting aside 40 minutes a day to have a positive impact on the day’s remaining 1,400 minutes. Implementing “40 before 40” in my daily routine has brought a greater fulfillment in my career and personal life. Why? It’s simple; this is my life, and I plan to enjoy it.
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We offer workshops & individual mentors to exchange ideas & have vulnerable career progression conversations in feedback-oriented meetings.
✵ Improve communication & focus
✵ Enhance creativity & resilience
✵ Reduce stress
✵ Empower your employees
✭Mindful Career Path is excited to offer a Corporate Mindfulness program. ✭
Interested? Click below or email firstname.lastname@example.org