Professional Development

Work is Stressful: Five ways to combat the Daily Grind

No matter your gender, seniority or generation, stress at work leaves no one untouched. According to LinkedIn, the number one stressor is workload (as it relates to work-life balance) followed by future job security and career direction/purpose.

This report found executive Gen-Xer's are the most stressed followed by Baby Boomers and then Millennials.

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How can you combat work stress to ENJOY your life and work?

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✔︎ Learn to say no. Know and understand your own priorities in both your work and personal life. When you say no to something, you are saying yes to something else.

✔︎ Upskill. Own your own professional development as an eager student to add to your skill set.

✔︎ Own your life (and work) as a journey. There is always time to pivot or recalibrate your career trajectory.

✔︎ Laugh! Find humor in small things.

✔︎ Do something you love. Whether during work or personal time, make time to do what you enjoy. Running? Re-decorating? Reading? Just do it!

What are your keys to less stress?

Gameplay + Goal Setting: Create Levels to achieve your Goals

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Declaring a goal is not enough. Multiply your milestones.

In Chip and Dan Heath's book, "The Power of Moments" they describe a next level goal setting technique that ditches the conventional S.M.A.R.T framework. Instead of stating a particular aim, create achievement levels that resemble gameplay to reach your ultimate goal.

For example, in a job search next level goals could be:

↣ Hone a job target and a target company list that spark interest.

↣ Meet twenty-five new people for coffee meetings (who have a job/work for a company of interest).

↣ Create custom career documents and LinkedIn profile that sing your unique value.

↣ Land a meaningful, new job in three months.

When you create levels, you commemorate progress igniting momentum toward your end goal. It's the progress principle!

Researchers Teresa Amabile & Steven Kramer, founders of the progress principle, discovered that when people end the business day making real progress at work, they leave intrinsically motivated and therefore more creative! Employees are ready for vexing problems (with creative solutions) after days of making notable progress.

So, what do you think? Can modeling your goal setting like a game make you more apt to achieve them? Has this worked for you?

Career Passion: Destination or Process?

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“Do what you love.” “Follow your passion.” How many times have you received similar career advice?

I love what Angela Duckworth said in Adam Grant’s WorkLife podcast to “develop your passion" not follow it.

We treat career like a calling – something that needs to be found like uncovering a secret treasure. With this philosophy, there is even a possibility of missing it if we don’t dig around enough.

I love the idea of career passion being developed rather than found. It isn’t a destination; it’s a process. Have you missed opportunities by pursuing a singular focus? How can we encourage others in their career pursuits based on inquiry and learning rather than a linear, planned path?

Develop in a Group to land Higher Roles

Carrot Club. It got my youngest son to eat his vegetables. What partnership might you need for personal and professional growth?

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My three-year-old was not into veggies. My husband started face timing him at lunch to eat together. In an effort to prove carrots are in fact digestible and tasty, my husband would munch on his with great delight. My son totally bought it. Now, each weekday they bond over their carrots and eat lunch together. Hence, the start of carrot club.

Do you need a 'carrot club'? For women, in particular, your inner circle matters. According to a January 2019 research conducted by the University of Notre Dame and Northwestern University, over 75% of women executives had an inner circle of 2-3 women. The research found that women in particular who communicated and relied on a small group of women placed at a higher job level.

So, who are your people? Who can you rely on to get you over the hurdles of personal and professional life?

If you haven't found your tribe - start one! Rally grad school friends or like-minded colleagues. Attend networking events to find your people. If you are local to Indianapolis, try Linking Indy Women

How have you seen the power of community work in your professional life?

Little things matter BIG!

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My library book haul this weekend is all about the little things. Daily decisions, little moments and even small, mundane choices. I'm learning the small stuff matters. They make an impact in life and in resume writing.

Magical little life things:

+ Playing board games with my son on sick days.

+ Exchanging secrets with my daughter at bedtime.

+ A lit candle and music playing during dinner prep.

Small resume touches:

+ Periods at the end of bullet points to tie a bow on a high-impact statement.

+ A clean, custom LinkedIn URL (instead of the gobbly-gook link provided).

+ Bolding a professional accomplishment to make it pop.

+ Sharp, distinct action verbs.

What small things are making a difference in your life or your job search right now?

Fall back in Love with you Career: Three Simple Steps

Have you fallen out of love with your career? Rekindle the flame by seeing your career path anew with these three steps:

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❣️Look in the past. I’ve had jobs that I would never want to re-live again, but I can look back and be grateful for the skills I developed and how the role contributed to my overall professional development. What are you grateful for in your career past?

❣️Look at the present. Perhaps your work environment is a bit volatile or your gig is getting old. See with new eyes today. Look for a few things that you can be thankful for. Maybe it’s just the office (insert name brand) coffee or perhaps you are celebrating big career win - either way, note it.

❣️Look to the future. Recall your career dreams. What do you hope for? What seems too ‘crazy’ to pursue? Move one step forward in pursuing your dreams today. Then do it again tomorrow and then the next day. Success is achieved through small wins. Take a step.

What gets you giddy about your career?

Wanted: Flexible Work Schedules

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Do you want more control over your time at work? You are in the majority.

According to Robert Half, an HR consulting firm, 88% of employees surveyed wanted a flexible work schedule with only 62% of employers offering flexibility. 66% wanted a compressed work week with only 17% of companies offering the option.

While employers are slow to the punch, experts say flexibility is in our future. A tight labor market will catalyze this direction.

So when it comes time to negotiate for your next role or advancement in your annual review - think 'out of the office' and propose flexible solutions that are conducive to both your employer and your personal/work life balance.

Check out the recent CNBC article about the topic here.

Burn Out: Know the Signs

Two-thirds of U.S. employees are feeling burned out at work.

According to the Indianapolis Business Journal, employees attribute their burn out to an unreasonably, heavy workload, among other reasons. In fact, 63% of burned-out employees were more likely to take a sick day. Has it ever occurred to you that your body may be sending you messages of your burn-out before you even recognize it!

If you are getting sick more often, suffer from chronic headaches or developing a pattern of insomnia, according to Monica Torres from the Huffington Post, these all may be red flags alerting you that your job may be toxic to your body.

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Avoid the danger zone of burnout! A few cautionary tips:

- Listen to your body. Notice when symptoms are happening. Are you getting stomachaches on a Sunday evening in anticipation of work the next day? Is your typical tendency to worry crossing an unhealthy threshold? Take note. Get help when you need it. Exercise! Put taking care of yourself as a top priority.

- Take breaks. According to the IBJ, 212 MILLION vacation days were unused in 2017. So plan now for a vacation (or staycation)! If that isn’t feasible, sprinkle in a few mental health days to relax or do activities that bring you joy.

- Reframe your thinking. Take control of what you can. Manage unhealthy rumination through prayer or meditation. Focus on the blessings in your life through journaling.

With all this being said, sometimes the job just isn’t a good fit for your natural giftings and temperament. So, if possible begin a job search. Ensure that you do the work of knowing what settings and positions your skills and abilities may thrive!

Need help finding your direction? Download our free DIY tips to hone your job target for a more effective search and a healthier you!

Better Trumps Perfect: Continue with your Goals

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The tyranny of perfect.
Perfect closes the door. It asserts that we’re done, that this is the best we can do. Worse, perfect forbids us to try. To seek perfection and not reach it is failure.

The possibility of better.
Better opens the door. Better challenges us to see what’s there and begs us to imagine how we could improve...Better invites us in and gives us a chance to seek dramatic improvement.
— Seth Godin

It’s hard for me to be satisfied when anything is less than perfect. In fact, my life feels pretty out of control and in disarray when <fill in the blank> is incomplete or not my best.

It could be my home, a project, my career, you name it. I’m sure you have your own areas you could place in the blank.

No one told me that ‘perfect’ is impossible to attain. I’ve been under the tyranny of perfect in the words of Seth Godin.

This new year I am opening the door to better instead of closing the door in the failure of perfection by:

+ Celebrating small wins amidst setbacks when making progress toward my long term goals.

+ Prioritizing people over projects.

+Giving myself grace in my limitations and failures.

What goals have you set for 2019 that you’ve already missed the mark on? I had a bunch of goals to reach in anticipation of the new year and many of them I didn’t reach. I am choosing to move forward in the “better.”

So don’t worry if you messed up your new work out plan or had a misstep in your job search. Imagine the possibilities when moving forward instead of shutting the door on progress.

I plan on choosing “better” over perfection this year. In what areas of your life will you do the same?

Make a Difference in your Office: One EASY Way!

‘Tis the season to be thankful.

However, one gratitude project shows Americans aren’t grateful for their jobs or those in their workplace.

According to John Templeton Foundation’s Expanding Gratitude Project, 2 out of 5 respondents never expressed gratitude to their boss and 29% never conveyed thanks to their colleagues.

My husband snapped this photo when reading the Indianapolis Business Journal yesterday:

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What’s going on here? Are people miserable at work, despise colleagues or just self-focused?

According to the authors of The Progress Principle: Using Small Wins To Ignite Joy, Engagement and Creativity at Work, an employee’s perception, motivation and emotions of happenings within the work day directly affect work performance and behavior toward coworkers.

Perhaps Americans are lacking meaningful work or being stifled at the office in a myriad of ways. Either way, it seems lonely to be in management and tough to be part of an office team.

Consider being a gratuitous difference maker in your workplace. Try it on for size. Today thank, adore, appreciate and genuinely compliment. Look around and smile. Say I see you and the difference you are making around here.

‘Tis the season to buy a coffee for a colleague or write a quick note. Let’s appreciate each other.