Marginalize through specialization

Featured

Rocks

It is that time of the year where most people work on their New Year’s resolution.   At the same time, people who work for companies also anticipate their performance review discussion to know how their managers think they do during the year.   This is a perfect time to review your three-year plan and assess how you’ve perform in the prior year.   What three year plan? Most people are so focused on getting their job done that they fail to plan for themselves.   In the absence of a plan, you are working on someone else’s plan.

While some people find their way in their career, at times in a roundabout way, it is best to have a plan. A plan that guides you and states what needs to be accomplished and when it needs to be done, the sequence, and has measurable action items to assess how you’re doing.   As you create your plan, what do you want to be in 5 years? Map out what is it you’re passionate about. What energizes you every day? Create a plan accompanied by a timeline that states when you need to do what.

Once a plan is created, you need to step back for a few days and let it sit for a couple of days. Why? To let yourself reassess whether what you wrote is indeed what you want.   This is important because it allows you to think through your dream and passion and how to best apply it. As you analyze your plan, check if you are focusing too much on a narrow segment of a particular field. Why is this important to assess your focus?   You could very well be moving yourself into a corner. The problem is you might be too specialized, which might pay dividends in the near term, but because it is too specialized, when the market trend changes, you might be left behind.   You can move yourself to the corner of specialization, but make sure you’re facing outside and observing what the next trend that you need to embrace is.

Specialization is a good thing, because companies pay top dollar for specialized skills, but over specialization without a plan can caused you to be out of date in a few years. It is imperative that you maintain your specialization while being on the lookout as to what is upcoming and determine the merit to upgrade your skills. I’ve worked with people who specialized and stayed with the same technology until one day that technology was no longer used, at which point they were not programed to learn and had a tough time learning new things.

If you don’t have a plan, create one today.   If you have a plan, review and update it. Make sure that you’re not over specializing to the point your skill will be obsolete. Remember that if you’re not learning and developing, you’re falling behind.   Unless you’re three to five years from retiring, you really need to brush up your skills.

Let me know what you think of my post. Share with your friends or let me know your thought. I can always learn from you. Have a great day!

 

 

5 Ways to Overcome Common Reinvention Obstacles

Featured

I’m excited to have another guest post on my site. For most folks, we change careers at some point during our journey.   Without someone to guide us, this journey will be filled with trials and errors.   Let me introduce Hollis Thomases. She is founder of ReinventionWorks and creator of Mega Reinvention 2016, the preeminent online confab for career transformation. She’s passionate about helping people find their next future. Connect with her on Twitter @hollisthomases

RW_5 Ways to

 

I view reinvention as intention change; as deliberately pivoting away from something you know towards an unfamiliar path. I’ve reinvented myself professionally at least twice before (three times if you count the almost instantaneous pivot I had to do after my last career reinvention), and I’ve reinvented my life significantly at least once. I’m no stranger to reinvention obstacles, and I don’t shy away from them. It’s not that I love jumping hurdles, but I know well enough by now that if you plan to reinvent, you have to accept upfront that obstacles will be part of your reinvention process.

 

The reinvention journey – the path you will follow in order to transform your future – might be one of the most arduous things you deliberately choose to undertake. You will experience joy, liberation, fear, discomfort, and many, many decision trees. It’s why reinvention stories make for such great stories and movies.

 

The obstacles that will be thrown in your way vary from person to person and situation to situation, and therefore we can’t necessarily predict and prepare for them. There are some things that you can do, however, to help you overcome these obstacles.

 

  1. Get your self-reflection on. The reinvention process will force you into self-reflection, of this I am certain. Many people, however, are uncomfortable being self-reflective. Your mind may be a walled garden you have intentionally ignored for many years to protect yourself from feelings and emotions you’ve been unprepared to handle. I will tell you that now is the time to reckon yourself to this discomfort, to embrace it, and to start early. The sooner you become familiar with your sources of discomfort and the areas in which you feel weak, the better off you’ll be able to also conquer your other reinvention hurdles.

 

  1. Muster your courage. Just as you might need to talk yourself into doing something to confront an everyday fear – from taking a perilous roller coaster ride to boarding a plane to fly – you need to fortify yourself for your reinvention journey. Change is already a scary proposition for most people, but intentionally changing away from the known into the unknown can either be terrifying or exhilarating…or a little bit of both. Why not think of your reinvention journey as one big “excellent adventure,” so you’re thinking of working up your courage for something fun?!

 

  1. Tap into your creativity. Sometimes reinvention feels like one big complicated algebraic word problem (remember those? Ugh!). There’s just one problem to solve after the next after the next. Your reinvention journey will require ingenuity, creativity, and old-fashioned street smarts to get you over, through, or around the next hurdle. To unleash that power, do the kinds of things that let you free your mind and find answers (or at least the path to the answer). That might be taking a walk or taking a nap. It might be reading a good mystery novel or doodling on a pad of paper. It might be cooking a gourmet meal, or it might be lifting weights. Whatever “that” thing is for you, just do it…and do it a lot.

 

  1. Be adaptable. If “the only constant is change,” then, by its sheer nature, the reinvention process invites steadily constant change. Just when you think you may have figured something out, you’ll realize you have it wrong. There’s generally a lesson in what you got wrong, so use that lesson and adjust course. A sailor at sea cannot control the wind, so when the wind changes direction, she must adjust her sails. And when the wind dies altogether, there are motors, oars, and currents to take advantage of. Doing nothing for very long, however, isn’t a viable option.

 

  1. Seek support. No one reinvents alone. Time and again, Reinventionists talk about the support they received that allowed them to see themselves through to the end of their journey. That support comes from different places: spouses, family, friends, community groups, resource centers – even perfect strangers. When you’re reinventing, you cannot be bashful. You’ve got to get out there, let people help you, and better still, ask for help.

 

If you’re in need of help, I encourage you to check out Mega Reinvention 2016, the 100% online video conference coming this January. Its curriculum of 25+ sessions, spread out throughout the month (1/2 – 1/31/16), was designed to touch on all of these obstacles of career reinvention, particularly for people in the middle of their careers.

 

Will 2016 finally be the year of your reinvention??

Closing the Year

Featured

The end of the year means different things to many people. For a company, it means focusing on wrapping up the books and making sure they achieve the sales target for the year. For individuals, it could mean assessing the current year and planning for the next year.   It could also mean making another New Year’s resolution, which will be tackled with much enthusiasm in January through March then dropped thereafter.

To me, the year end is a time to take stock on how I did this year.   Here is what I look for:

  • What are my greatest learnings? Focus on lessons learned and avoid the same mistakes.
  • What did I do wrong that caused the most grief or trouble? Ouch! How can I prevent it?
  • What did I do well? I need to continue that next year.
  • What relationships did I establish? How can I continue to make them better?
  • How did I add value to my mentees and the people I coach?
  • What is the most important lesson that I learned this year?
  • Which member of my inner circle added value to the team?
  • Which member of my inner circle needs to be pruned? Because they no longer add value and share the same vision.

Closing the year is a time to sit down and compare things. How did the Will of 2014 stack up against the Will of 2015?   Did I grow spiritually? Did I learn and apply my knowledge? What other areas can I improve on?   My biggest win this year is learning from the people I coach and mentor.   Their different perspectives and viewpoints helped me expand my understanding.

In closing, how was your year? What made you smile? What made you cry? I hope you’re pleased with your progress.   It is time to review and plan what you want to achieve next year. Check your multi-year plan and adjust accordingly. May 2016 bring you good health and success.

Developing Confidence

Featured

I’ll begin with this quote from Eleanor Roosevelt: “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”

It is a great quote which reminds us that without our acknowledgement no one can put us down. However, it is easier said than done.

Confidence, although it sounds simple, is not simple at all. It is complex and it is not biased. Many people from all walks of life suffer from lack of it. Some find their way while others continue this lonely journey until the end.

Many folks go through life failing to realize their potential because they lack confidence. These people are not dumb or inept; they are bright and have achieved great marks in their academic pursuit. However, confidence is still lacking. Why?

Confidence is something that is shaped by your environment. The people you’re around and those who influence you. It is also attributed to life events and things that occurred in your life.

Growing up, I had my fair share of suffering lack of self-confidence. In my situation, it was the people close to me who affected me the most. I was not the brightest or the smartest amongst the children of my parents. The strong emphasis on academic achievement was the key measure used by my parents.

I was told repeatedly that I wasn’t smart like my siblings, that I would not be able to accomplish things in life and that my future would be bleak. People around us, including teachers, often made comparisons that I wasn’t as good as my siblings. It did not help at all. People’s perception becomes your reality when things seem to be falling into place which further reaffirm everyone’s perception. It took me many years to snap out of it.

How Do You Develop Confidence?

    • Loving Yourself – Acknowledging that you have a unique talent and abilities, that you exist in this world for a specific reason. Seek to find that meaning and be at peace with it. It is a journey and the more you do the more you get to know yourself. It is like peeling an onion; each layer enables you to know more about yourself.
    • Believing In Yourself – We are all born with unique gifts and talents. No one knows you better than yourself. Remember when you say you can’t, you’re really not able to do it. It is worth noting that world records are not created because people who said I can’t.
    • Take Stock, Start Small, Go One By One – Take Stock of things you cannot do. Then start small and tackle one of them. According to William Jennings Bryan, “The way to develop self-confidence is to do the thing you fear and get a record of successful experiences behind you.” This is exactly what I did. Now, instead of thinking “I cannot do it,” I go ahead and do it and challenge myself. If I used to study three hours, I add one more hour and examine the outcome. If I can’t learn it one way, I ask someone for help and offer to help them too. Little by little you start to develop the competency and strength to improve your self-confidence.
    • Don’t Wait – Do It Now – Don’t wait until everything is just right to start. It will never be perfect and the more you wait the more you’ll fall deeper in the hole of lack of confidence. Remember, building something requires you to start somewhere. Do it now even though you’re afraid. Remember that for each positive outcome, you’ll develop confidence. No matter what happens, life always has challenges and obstacles.
    • List Your Strengths & Weaknesses – Continue to showcase your strengths and create an action plan on how you will address each of your weaknesses. By turning weaknesses around, you’ll begin to feel better about yourself. Remember that preparation is your friend. Waiting and doing nothing is your enemy.
    • Stop Feeling Sorry For Yourself – There is clearly nothing accomplished by feeling sorry for yourself. You start feeling sorry for yourself, hours and even days elapse; nothing changes and you’re still in the same situation. Therefore, what is the benefit of spending your precious energy in an unproductive exercise? Pick yourself up and dust things off and get back on the saddle. You can do it only if you do something about it.
    • Ask For Help – We are not alone in this world, although we might feel that way sometimes. Ask for help, seek guidance and don’t do it alone.
    • Celebrate Each Small Win – Learn to recognize that a big accomplishment consists of daily habit and practice. Therefore learn to enjoy your accomplishments and uplift your spirit.

I’ll close with this:

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Be yourself and overcome the fear of what people will say about you, because chances are they are not paying attention to you. Do not cloud your mind with worry when you can spend the same amount of energy making yourself better and achieving things you otherwise thought you could not accomplish.

In the end, when we conquer our fears, we will come out of our cocoon ready to tackle the world. Writing is a labor of love, share this to your friends who you think need a pick me up and a catalyst to jumpstart themselves.

Do Not Do List – What is holding you back?

Featured

Last week, I was teaching part three of the 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth to our constituents at our company.   As I was presenting, one topic, what came to mind is the “Do Not Do List.”   Like anyone, I often struggle as I work at overcoming some of my weaknesses in life.   This is a daily challenge and I persevere to keep at it.   So I thought it would be appropriate for me to write my blog on this topic.

What is a do not do list? It is a list of things that are holding you back.   It could be habits, practice or behaviors that prevent you from making progress.   On my list procrastinating is number one. I have the tendency to put things off because I think that I can get it done tomorrow.   This habit has caused me a lot of trouble because I failed to accomplish the things that I need to do, therefore I cannot move to the next step.

Here is how you create your list

  • On a piece of paper, fold it in the middle.   Write weaknesses on the top left section and action item on the right side
  • List your weaknesses – these are habits, behaviors and practices that are holding you back
  • For each weakness – write it on the left side of the paper and on the right side list action items that you need to do to improve or eliminate your weakness.  More importantly, state when you will work on it.
  • List the impact of each item to your life – how much impact does it have in your life? Does it hold you back?   Mark it as High—very impactful, Mid— impactful, Minor—little impact, that holds you back
  • Prioritize – do this by marking the most impactful first. High impact to minor impact.
  • Start now – don’t wait another day. Start now and make it happen.
  • Persevere and be persistent – do not stop and be persistent.   Consistency is the key to your success.

Once you have the list, you need to change your habit and the things that you do in your life. In order to make progress, we must change our habits.     There will be days we don’t feel like working on our weaknesses, but a day wasted means we are day away from achieving our goal.   I advise that you keep at it and be persistent.

Writing is a labor of love, share this to people you now will benefit from reading it. Let me know if it works for you by commenting on my post.

 

The BEST

Featured

I’ll start my post with John Maxwell’s quote, “The best you can hope to do in life is to make the most out of whatever you’ve been given.”     This is part of the law of intentionality.   It means that in order for you to make progress, you must be able to work with what you’re provided.

Over the past seven years, as I embarked on the journey on my passion for talent and leadership development, I started to blog, share my inspirational quotes through various social media channels like Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin. My aim was to inspire others to believe in themselves and bet on themselves to succeed.   And at the same time to stop listening to those who tell them it cannot be done.   When we don’t value ourselves, no one will.   No one will raise value unless we do it ourselves.

As I touch on the topic of chasing your dream, it is worth nothing that your dream must be realistic.   I excchanged messages with someone I respect on this topic that we cannot just tell everyone to chase your dream.  That if someone worked hard and never gave up, they would achieve their dream.   What if your dream is not realistic? What if the person doesn’t have skills and experience to ever achieve it? That would mean we are giving false hope.

Here are some of the points I want to highlight:

  1. To dream is great because it inspires you to pursue something, but make sure it is realistic. That it is attainable.
  2. Create a plan – create a plan on how you will achieve your goal. Make sure to track your progress throughout the year and continue to adjust your plan.
  3. Create a training plan – a training plan is needed to move you from point A to B. You need to gain new knowledge and skills to get to the next level.
  4. Bet on yourself – if you don’t believe in yourself, no one will.   Be confident of your talent and capabilities
  5. Seek a mentor – if you’re trying to learn something or the ropes on how things are done, seek a mentor.
  6. Seek a coach – if you’re experienced and seek to move up to the next level, seek a coach.
  7. Be positive – be realistic but be positive and focus on the lesson learned from mistakes and move forward. Avoid people who aim to bring you down.

In closing, I want to encourage everyone to aspire and dream. Bet on yourselves and keep at it.   As long as you’re making progress, you need to continue your journey.   I will urge everyone not to give up at the first sign of defeat and to keep at it until they get the job done.

Being Positive

Featured

Each morning when I would kiss my two daughters good bye, at the same time I would say be positive, do your best and I love you.   On numerous occasions, they would come downstairs arguing about something. I would take those opportunities to explain to them that it is important to start your day right by being positive. There is no point in arguing, thereby ruining your day.

Why do I encourage them to be positive?   I do so because I believe that if you have a positive frame of mind, you can think through a situation and come up with better solutions.   In addition, your interaction with other people will be pleasant and rewarding in terms of knowledge exchange.   Here are some of the reasons why it is important to be positive:

  • Being positive helps you make good and informative decisions because your brain is not clouded with negative thoughts and emotions.
  • Avoid situations in which you have to apologize for something you say while you were upset.   Remember that when you say hurtful things to others, it is like driving a nail through the wood, you can always pull out the nail by saying I’m sorry, but the scar will stay forever.
  • If you’re having a bad day, people who come your way do not deserve to be mistreated.
  • By focusing on the positive side of the equation, you can keep things in perspective.
  • By being positive, you can attract people who want to interact and work with you.   It can also improve your overall performance over time because people want to be around you.
  • When things go wrong, applying negative thought will not really improve your situation. Assess your situation and step back and figure out your way forward.
  • Opportunities can only be seen by those who are ready for them. If you’re upset, you’ll never see good in others, thereby missing the opportunity to connect with others.

While I’m saying positivity is important, I know that I’m human, that I will have good and bad days.   But my point is I try my best to take control of my emotion and actions to the best of my abilities.  I’m a realist, but I learn a lot through my mistakes. I also learned that I can only make matters worse by acting inappropriately. Therefore it is important for me to make the right decision amid challenges unfolding in front of me.

Writing is a labor of love, if you like my post share it with your friends. If you don’t agree, let me know your thoughts. I always look forward to learn new things or gain new knowledge.   Thank you for your time.