May 7, 2018

No Excuses

Posted in Emotional Maturity, Personal Image tagged , , , , , at 1:35 am by Yvonne LaRose

A new day is dawning. Time for a new start.

A new day is dawning. Time for a new start.


There comes a time when, after enduring abuse for too long into the times when the support system has disappeared and you’re left with your raw and shredded self esteem. You don’t want to venture into harm’s way again. That means compounding the isolation is avoidance and more living in solitary.

You no longer have self identity. The criticisms, the fault finding, the demeaning language, being told how useless and incompetent your are have taken their toll. You started believing the words and evaluations. In order to no longer be bad at what used to be one of your skills (or a desired goal), you simply don’t do those things anymore.

Now that you’ve broken free of that toxic situation, it’s time to start doing all the right things to regrow and rise to new heights.

First step: Put yourself in the company of positive people. Two or three is a good number to begin with. Make your involvement with them occasional but regular. Being in positive company becomes infectious – the good kind of infection. Become an adventurer. Join a club that’s involved in doing something that’s important to you.

Second step: Dare to do what you’ve been told was not adequate. It doesn’t have to be making the next Venus de Milo. It can be something as simple as working a jigsaw puzzle with a child or writing out the notes from a lecture for a person who couldn’t be present. Without your notes, they will have no idea what happened. Your notes that convey what you heard will be helpful.

Third step: Focus on the activity. Seeing the activity through to completion is the goal. Focus on the finish line. Don’t allow any distractions. Self doubt is a distraction. Fear of failure is a distraction. Fear of embarrassment and ridicule is a distraction. Focus on what needs to be done. Give it your best. Tune in to making certain you’ve done the best you know how to do, mindful of the small details that actually need attention. Your involvement is needed. No excuses for backing out. Focus on what needs to be done.

Next: Make sure you know what’s supposed to be done. First time? Get some exposure to what’s supposed to be done. Practice. Learn what the elements, the parts, of the activity are. Learn to recognize the pieces, the steps, and the order that should be followed to accomplish it. Practice. Become more efficient, more accurate, faster. That can only be done by rehearsing through practice.

No more excuses. The ugliness of the past is just that. Learn from that. Eliminate the opportunities to be vulnerable in the wrong company about the wrong things. You survived. There’s a reason for that. You have more to do and it’s needed. This is your Springtime, the time to start regrowing you. It’s time to find what was good and attractive in the past and redevelop it for the new day, a better day.

No more excuses. Just do what needs to be done. Focus on becoming a positive, healthy person who is needed for all the right reasons. Just do it.

Resources:

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April 28, 2018

A Watched Pot and Multi-tasking

Posted in Emotional Maturity, Personal Image tagged , , , , at 11:08 am by Yvonne LaRose

Too much going on

Too much going on

Ever heard the old adage, “A watched pot never boils.” It seems to be true. You sit and wait for an interminable amount of time and that blessed event of having the water finally come to a boil seems to take forever – if ever.

One of the reasons for the enormous wait time is a bit like waiting for Christmas when you’re a small child. There’s nothing else that’s meaningful that needs to be done in order to fill in the time except grow, learn, play, be respectful, and all the rest of that stuff. Twelve months was a huge amount of time and very little of the space was actually devoted to building toward the next milestone. There were small episodes of multi-tasking to prepare for the next visit from Santa but (like that watched pot) we didn’t notice that we were adding to the holiday stockpile. We were simply passing time.

But we really were multi-tasking during those other 11 months. Which brings me to my point. Multi-tasking is not doing several things simultaneous while telling ourselves we are brilliant because of how many things are being done. Remember the carnival act where the performer gets five, six, even ten plates to spin on sticks without having any of them fall and break? That’s an extreme example of multi-tasking but that isn’t what it is.

The performer was multi-tasking by virtue of the fact that they pulled out a plate and a stick. Spinning the plate began and then that stick was place on a platform. The next stick-plate combo was then started, and then the next, and the next, and the next. There were periodic checks on the initial plates to make certain they were still spinning or re-enforce their motion while even the next plate-stick combination was prepared and started.

Real Life

It’s a bit unreasonable to go around spinning plates on sticks and then saying we’re able to multi-task. However, think about your daily routines and what you do in order to economize on time and effort to accomplish a particular goal. Let’s use getting ready for work as an example.

The first thing that happened was awaking for the day. You rose out of bed. Before leaving the bedside, you straightened the covers (made the bed) so that duty no longer needed attention. You could move on to other tasks.

Perhaps the coffee maker was prepared the night before. All that was necessary to start the fresh pot of coffee was to turn it on as you made your way to the bathroom to brush your teeth and the other routine hygiene practices of the day. By the time you returned to the kitchen, the coffee was ready.

However, the preparation of breakfast could also be done in stages. If it was making a cooked item, the example of multi-tasking was complete in just that single responsibility. There was choosing the correct cooking utensils for the food to be prepared, starting the heat and getting the right temperature to cook – not burn – the meal. While starting one ingredient, the other items were being chopped or measured and added to the vessel. (Some stirring may be involved to avoid burn and to mix whatever should become a blended concoction.)

Ultimately

Multi-tasking is actually all about organization, systematic prioritization, and focus. There are some things that are so basic, so fundamental, that little attention to detail is required. They can be accomplished while other (sometimes related) things are being developed. Flaws in those processes are inconsequential, thus, other things can be done at the same time – while things are cooking.

There are other things that require a lot of precision and exactness. At those times, it is wise to devote full attention to the details. Distractions should be avoided. In other words, exactness and precision are not the times when attention should (or can) be divided in order to have quality outcome. Precision and exactness do not pair well with multi-tasking – unless, of course, it is part of a distinct stage of the development.

Examples? We’ve Got ‘Em

So you’re building a rocket. The parts can be ordered while the platform is being prepared. Putting the parts into an area where they can be stored and accessed when needed can be done before the order is delivered. Putting the parts together to make a functioning rocket requires full attention to getting the right pieces into the right places and properly affixed before jettisoning the instrument.

Writing your resume requires attention to details and organization as well. A Post-It Note construction thrown together and then tossed at an online job board proclaiming it was done while doing five other things is not going to make a huge positive impression on the desired employer. But then, how much research went into making the application to the right job or employer?

Multi-tasking is about doing things in organized stages. Some short-term things can be done while building toward the long-range final product.

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April 11, 2018

Behind the Scenes

Posted in Emotional Maturity, Personal Image tagged , , , , , at 2:14 pm by Yvonne LaRose

A Churning Ocean at Sunset or a Beacon?

A Churning Ocean at Sunset or a Beacon?


Well, it seems this is a little tardy for what it was intended to do back on March 21. But the message still applies and was underscored in regard to its importance. The message was all set to be published except for a couple of minor, fine tuning details. Somehow a “bug” affected my browser and it crashed, taking the entire blog post with it while not preserving any of the auto-saved content. This happened five more times.

Did I learn my lesson after the first crash, or the second? Nope. I continued to strive to share the content. In the process, I became increasingly discouraged. About two weeks later (a new anti-virus software, and a support ticket opened for the browser), it finally dawned on me to save often and save in an alternate space as well.

That’s part of the message from last month. Although we want to put forth the perfect image to the world, there are things that happen that either prevent that from happening or cause delays in the manifestation. It’s the behind the scenes stuff that we just don’t talk about. It’s a bit embarrassing to have the world know about our “failures.”

They’re not failures. They’re learning opportunities. They’re called gaining experience. It’s the stuff of shaping how much determination we have for our goals. And the stuff that happens that impacts immediate compared with delayed is called Life. Life happens.

Life stories is what I wanted to share with you via a guest podcast from Mark Minard. He graciously consented to allow use of his Facebook Live episode to share some significant stories about the stuff we don’t see that went into creating that perfect image.

Without further ado, please go over to the “Entrances: Refueling” channel to hear Mark’s message and grow from it. Be inspired by it. You’ll find it at “The Back Story” on YouTube.

Well, actually, you could also subscribe to the channel so you’ll know about other additions and guest appearances. And you could leave a comment or strike up a conversation about what you heard. I’m certain Mark would love to have you visit his site to hear more of his inspiring messages.

Just realize that just because there are setbacks is not a reason to give up. Simply take a break to consider what happened. Then re-strategize and continue on your journey to being the best you know you can be. Let that part of you show. When it comes to the interview question about how you feel about your disappointments, share one item and take responsibility for what happened while also talking about the intensified growth that came out of that experience as well as how that knowledge can be used to the potential employer’s benefit for helping to make their business more successful.

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February 17, 2018

Betrayal

Posted in Emotional Maturity, ethics tagged , , , at 2:16 pm by Yvonne LaRose

What's behind the mask

What’s behind the mask

The project has had issues since the third day after your approval to work on it. Delays become not a few hours but days approaching a full week. Deadlines and milestones are turning into crisis events. Your colleagues are deferring to either your boss or one of your associates for instruction, guidance, and information. You’re left standing useless and impotent except for striving to make the project a success and your team / department shine.

Are you listening to the chatter that’s going on around you? Someone said, in reference to the announcement about the project, that it’s so nice that your associate is running a part of the project. In fact, they received an email from your associate asking for input. There is an assumption that you report to your associate instead of the other way around.

The project is progressing but those faithful support people are becoming difficult to work with. They have objections to producing content. You didn’t submit it the right way. You need to resubmit using a format that you’ve never used before (which takes research and learning a new technique). You didn’t submit the work in a proper format. You need to return to the original and check its attributes. By the time the double checking is completed, the support person’s quitting time has arrived and they won’t be back for three days. Someone else must do the production. You’re starting to notice a pattern. This support person seems to have an issue with doing production each time it’s requested. They keep passing the buck to one of their team mates.

And then you discover that one of the reasons why people believe your associate is in charge of the project that you got approval to do is because your boss changed the assignment but never bothered to tell you about it nor explain why there was a decision to make the change. So you have a conversation (once you’ve cooled off). The boss just likes your associate a lot. Associate has nice ideas. They’ve done other projects over the years that seem to have a lot of popularity. (Your approach is new, different, and vital and aims to get more involvement that the passive productions Associate does. Same approach with a different theme. People politely look at the production, make nice sounds about it, then leave, never giving the project nor the desired goals another thought.)

This pattern of behavior is chronic. It appears the boss has instructed people to not do work for you; in some way politely refuse to do it while telling you that there were flaws in your instructions, the request was too great, their schedule doesn’t permit more, and so on. But essentially, the boss told them not to work on your project(s).

In the alternative, it isn’t your boss who’s the burr in the project. Actually, Associate has taken your concept and repackaged it (while you were developing it). They’re presented their repackaged version to the boss and gotten approval to do it. Associate presents it at the department meeting as their own and without any reference to the “borrowing” that happened. The team applauds and prepares to work on Associate’s project.

Is this the work culture you expected when you accepted the job? One way to survive in a new environment is to adapt by using some (or all) of the current practices. Given the scenarios above, it can create a very interesting lifestyle to live and work in a paranoid or a cutthroat state. It’s far better to document everything you do so that you have an accurate track record and portfolio to display to potential employers or clients along with a good patter relating to how much your work saved the company, the number of new clients who were attracted, and so on. Give credit to those who were reliable in spite of the confusion. (Good for interview conversations; avoids the blaming mode.)

  • Find a healthier place to be.
  • Become much more savvy about what you say and where you share information. This is a game of Texas Hold ’em.
  • Before you leave the room, be absolutely clear about what your role is on a project and who your reports will be.
  • Be certain you and your boss (colleague) understand that the piracy will no longer be tolerated. You expect good, clear communication.
  • Find a healthier place to be.

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January 16, 2018

Who Said This Was Going to Be Easy?

Posted in Emotional Maturity, Job Search, Personal Image tagged , , , , , , , , at 4:04 pm by Yvonne LaRose

Some cracks in the wall need to be filled

Some cracks in the wall need to be filled


There are times when it seems we’re challenged to even exist. The tide of events seem to be building into a tidal wave that will crush us. No matter what strategy is used to overcome the obstacles, be it interview for a job, having the proper qualifications, submitting a resume and cover letter, getting a raise or a promotion, being recognized for some effort that will actually prove beneficial for the entire department, nothing works out and the whole effort falls apart. During those times, it seems as though the ones who would have you fail are delighting in your struggles. And sometimes it seems as though they may even be adding a little kindling of their own for the sake of the entertainment – watching you fail.

I don’t know about you, but I sometimes talk to God about those times of futility. The types of conversations that go something like, “God, this is so hard,” or “God, why doesn’t anything work out,” or “God, why can’t this be easier?” He doesn’t actually answer but the thoughts that come in response to those mental conversations are pretty on point.

“Who said this was supposed to be easy?”
“If it were easy, there’d be no victory. It would be the same as going through the motions.”

And other, similar responses. And then the appreciation of the situation begins to come into focus. “Nothing I do seems to work out,” ruefully thought while the desire to crawl back into bed and pull the covers over your head start to sound like a good idea. “All that work and nothing to show for it except nothing – failure, no results. Defeat.”

Ah, then the hearkening epiphany as you think, “But how can I accomplish anything more if I’m sitting on my butt playing Solitaire?” Indeed. How can anything be accomplished if you have the covers over your head and are striving to put yourself into a coma, become PVS (persistent vegetative state)? Who wants to hire a vegetable for some type of position where the company is supposed to be earning money and creating customer satisfaction from their products and services? None that I know of.

The old adage is very true, the Lord helps those who help themselves. So you need to continue to put forth the effort to overcome these obstacles. Apparently, you haven’t done everything because your results are still in the negative. There’s something that’s missing from your strategy. It’s time to examine it to find the missing piece. It’s time to get some input, maybe even some alternatives and fresh ideas. But you can’t get those things if you’re asleep. It takes being actively engaged in fine tuning the efforts in order to reach the goal.

All those things that didn’t prove fruitful actually were useful. They were practice runs. There is now an awareness of what doesn’t work. There’s also an awareness of what doesn’t work in certain places. You’ve gained some knowledge of the places you’ve visited and the people who are there; it’s more than just a name on a website or brochure. There’s appreciation of what the culture is and whether there’s a good match. (HINT: You were supposed to be sizing up that information.)

There are things that should be part of one’s daily routine that are above the mere basics. Reading and exercise are two of them. Conversation and socialization are two more (and not sitting around grousing with your buddies on the corner). There needs to be time spent learning more about some subject and fine tuning one’s expertise in that area. It takes being motivated. It’s important to stick with a regular schedule as though you’re still working and are still required to be at your work station on time and ready to start (or resume) the project. Those all lead to being mentally alert and able to do what’s necessary.

Yes, it’s been hard. It’s taken a lot of work and you still don’t have anything (that you recognize) to show for the effort. Okay, make that efforts. Who said this was going to be easy? Where’s the victory in easy?

Resources:

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February 25, 2017

Humility

Posted in Emotional Maturity, Personal Image tagged , , , at 11:12 am by Yvonne LaRose

One of the most important things in Life is to make certain you do not take yourself so seriously that you forget to see the human side of you. It’s important to know how to laugh. Yes, even being able to appropriately know how and when to admit that you made a mistake is okay – as long as it isn’t a chronic condition. Being able to say you don’t know but will find out is acceptable.

When your nose goes into the air so high that people can see your nose hairs (and whatever other precious items they hold), you’re taking things too far and being pompous. Maybe you really are the resident expert about knowing or doing something.

Balanced and solid as a rock

Balanced and solid as a rock

If you’ve proven your worth by demonstrating that skill quietly and when it’s needed, people will notice. When they can’t get it done properly and have made the attempt to do so repeatedly, your ability will be recalled; your ability will be requested. What should you do then? Quietly move into the position of taking care of the matter. Explain to the previous one what steps you took to accomplish the task and why you did it that way. Once matters are resolved, just go back to what you were doing. No need for closing comments; no need for calling attention to the fact that you were the one who was able to do it. There’s no need for that. Besides, you’ve now done a bit of training so that your attention can be more focused on getting to the next milestone.

Everyone will feel much more comfortable with your being human while sidestepping the allure to appear better than everyone else. Do you want to be included in things? Would you like to be invited to the festivities? Conduct yourself with dignity but also realize you’re just like everyone else. But also know that you have some special skills that are in demand. You’re good at what you do and everyone else knows it. They don’t need constant reminders; nor should you.

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October 10, 2016

Following the Standard

Posted in Emotional Maturity, Personal Image tagged , , , , , , , , at 5:58 pm by Yvonne LaRose

Today I’ll start with a question.

Who in your industry is the leading figure in your area of specialty or your target career area?

Looking at the top

Looking at the top

Now that you have two or three names in mind, I want to ask you another question. Why are they considered a leader? What is it about them that makes them stand out from all others? Maybe it’s because some survey was conducted by an organization and they were the top vote getter. Maybe they have a good publicity agent who is able to keep them in the public eye for their accomplishments in whatever manner.

Just because they’re a noted leader in the industry doesn’t necessarily mean they are the best model. Sometimes it only means they have the most notoriety, know how to get invited to speak at plum industry conferences, is blustery enough to intimidate others so they won’t have the audacity to openly question their theories.

The next thing I want you to think about is the vintage of the list you just created. Are those the names of leaders from 15 or even 20 years ago? Maybe they aren’t really today’s leaders and you haven’t been keeping up with the current movers, shakers, and thought leaders in your industry. Which names are coming up a lot today? What is it they’re doing that’s creating such a stir? Search engine optimization isn’t that astounding. There’s something more to it.

Dissect your role models. Learn more about the what of who they are. Investigate the how of what they do and where they do it. Look at who they know and where they go to be around (also known as “network“, see #8) those people. It isn’t necessary to start emulating their habits and putting yourself into bankruptcy. There are starting points that can help you leverage your abilities, knowledge, and career vitality. Sometimes those starting points are in fraternal organizations that cater to your avocations (causes, hobbies, interests). Their existence is gratifying because they provide reason and purposefulness. The things you volunteer to do have meaning in some way – even if it’s merely staying fit or well read.

So, who are the leaders in your industry? Are they your role models? If so, it’s time to do a personal study of their habits and then adapt those habits to suit you and your purposes. And then carve your path to your destination.

Incidentally, it’s entirely possible that you may change your mind about your destination. That’s okay. But you have some points of light to help you understand whether you want to stand out from the crowd and how to do it. Just make certain you do it in the right way and have the best role models to guide you.

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September 28, 2016

Take Responsibility

Posted in Emotional Maturity, Personal Image tagged , , , , at 10:13 pm by Yvonne LaRose

This season’s election campaigns are creating fertile ground for coaching career candidates and job seekers. Perhaps that’s because the candidates for office are actually using the political process to get a job in public service. Defining “public service” is a topic that can be considered another day. Today it’s important to take stock of a dynamic that keeps happening for some of those trying to get elected or hired, no matter whether in politics or in the typical workplace. The dynamic is the propensity to blame other people and other things for failure to perform as expected for one to be hired.

Reliability

Reliability Definition Magnifier Shows Trust Quality And Dependability

You Failed and You Know It

One of the things that happens when we fail to meet the mark is that there is a feeling of letdown. The encounter may have started with lots of enthusiasm and confidence. But there was one stumble after another. If this were a gymnastics event, the judges would be taking off points for each stumble. If this were the track field, the stumbles would impede what should have been reached. The time to complete was too great, the completion inadequate; the rest of the field came in ahead of the other. It’s obvious to everyone, including the competitor.

Excuses

Some will acknowledge that their preparation wasn’t good enough. There wasn’t enough practice. There were too many things taken for granted that should have been checked and reinforced. They own up to the lack and know where the responsibility lies.

Others with less character become argumentative. They yell and shout and blame something or someone for impairing a better performance. Are we really about being a constant victim? Is anything and everything the fault of a malfunction or bias on the part of someone who doesn’t want to offer equal opportunity?

What Really Happened – Better Preparation

There are some ways to deal with restraint. One is to be diligent about researching where you’re going so that you have some familiarity with who your audience is and what they do. Once that part of the research is completed, it’s important to evaluate the findings with a clear mind and decide if that’s a place that will actually provide what you want for your career and your life. If not, move on; if it does, be diligent about speaking up and doing reasonable follow-up. Determine whether the atmosphere and the culture is a good fit for your temperament. Decide whether the product or service something in which you are thoroughly invested. Decide what you want from this situation. Maybe it’s just a paycheck so that your bills can be paid while you take care of the things that prepare you for your real goal. Keep in mind that this is a good admission (for yourself) because during your tenure, you’re learning and enhancing your skills; you’re becoming better and more marketable.

What Contributed to the Problem

The fact is, the performance wasn’t good. In fact, it was marginal at best. No, you shouldn’t have stayed in bed instead. It’s good you got out and tested yourself and exercised your abilities. You have a better idea of what to expect of these types of situations in the future. Adjustments can be made for getting better based on what you’ve already learned. But what contributed to the failure? No, making excuses and blaming others is not the answer to what went wrong.

Blame It on the Equipment

The equipment that was issued didn’t operate properly. To an outsider, the message is, “I didn’t do well. I’m going to make an excuse (used as a noun) for my poor performance based on the fact that the equipment wasn’t in top condition.” According to Dictionary.com, an excuse is a pretext or subterfuge used to avoid responsibility.

But You Could Have Done Something About That

So the equipment didn’t work or didn’t work properly. There were options. No familiarity with that particular item? If it’s a new item and never used before, take time to practice using it. Get the feel for it. In the alternative, a replacement could have been requested. Otherwise if it was malfunctioning, the equipment could have been repaired. It should have been tested before it was put into use to assure that no issues with it would arise when the time came to actually use it. The end user should have spoken up before the actual performance was to start. Or if the flaw was noticed during performance, it should have been pointed out and a replacement requested.

The candidate needs to take charge of the situation. They are the one who will determine their success. The candidate needs to take charge of and accept responsibility for assuring that the best performance possible will be delivered. If nothing is done when the problem is exposed, then there are two failures – the equipment and the candidate for not doing something about it, along with the flawed performance. The bottom line is you need to speak up when you realize there’s a correction or adjustment that needs to be made.

On the other hand, this may be part of the interview scenario. The potential employer wants to see how well you do in spontaneous circumstances. They want to see your creativity in action and how resourceful you are without making a scene. Realize that your performance during the interview predicts how you will handle yourself with clients and customers. You will help the employer attract new business while also generating repeat, long-term business.

Be an Adult – Take Responsibility

Whether it’s your own performance in a situation or whether your performance is dependent on a piece of equipment to aid in delivery, it is you who is responsible for whether or not you are prepared and capable of doing what needs to be done. Consider the choices available to you and choose the best option given the circumstances. Sometimes that will mean asking for a rescheduled meeting when whatever distraction is resolved. Sometimes it means admit to yourself that there was a lot more preparation that was needed before this meeting. No matter what the outcome, the situation to a great extent was in your control. You just needed to speak up in an appropriate manner. And ultimately, you need to take complete responsibility and acknowledge that you just weren’t ready.

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