career values

The Power of Networks: Starla Hart on The Open Door Interview

Do you have a full-circle career moment?

Starla Hart, Director of Community Initiatives at 16 Tech Community Corporation, does! She assumed the role of her undergraduate mentor that led her to the work she is doing today!

In this month's Open Door Interview, she shares how the strength of her network helped her overcome obstacles both personally and professionally and how taking a big risk has opened doors that changed everything for her.

🎧 Listen here.

One Simple Answer to Cure Networking Fatigue

As a jobseeker, networking is the number one way to land a job and for those who are gainfully employed, it is a great way to cultivate your network. How do you do it without burning out?

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The answer?

BOUNDARIES

Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. James Townsend describe boundaries like property lines. Know where your backyard begins and ends. You are in control of what and who you let in your fenced backyard.

So when it comes to networking share your time and talent generously, but:

Know your limits. Whether we like it or not, we are finite beings with a finite amount of time each day. Know the limits of your calendar and energy.

Know your capacity. Everyone has a different capacity. Whether it is related to introversion or extraversion, your season of life or stress, know what lights you up and what drains you.

Know your priorities. Your schedule may allow a phone call or coffee date but ensure it matches up with your current personal and professional priorities. Just because your calendar allows doesn't mean a yes is necessary. If you can't touch-base or share insights over coffee, be clear in your no. If possible, refer the requestor to others who may be helpful or beneficial resources.

How do boundaries play a role in your networking?

Dress Like A Boss: One Simple Promotion Strategy

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Are your closet conundrums affecting your climb on the corporate ladder?

A recent Robert Half study reveals that 80% of managers feel clothing choice affects a person's chance of being promoted.

With office dress codes ranging from leggings to suit jackets, the question remains: WHAT TO WEAR?

But let's be honest, your clothes aren't the real issue here. It's the thing behind the thing. Your choice of wear is the visual representation of your credibility, trustworthiness and confidence.

If you feel like you are in the 'worst dressed' category at work, try:

✔︎ A fashion service: Check out Stitch Fix (an online personal styling service) or Armoire (a clothing rental service) to try new styles.

✔︎ A coach: If you are local to Indianapolis, connect with Nicole Blair Wear, a personal brand and stylist expert.

How do you see this play out in your professional world? What resources do you recommend?

Curiosity Opening Doors: Libby Baney on The Open Door Interview

Who was your childhood career hero/heroine?

My friend and recent Open Door Interview guest, Libby Baney admired and wanted to be THE Barbara Walters as a kid. So much so she contemplated dressing up as her for Halloween.

While far fetched at the time, Libby's dream of being like Barbara Walters really did come true! As a dynamic public policy advocate, strategist and facilitator, Libby makes a global impact on policies and issues confronting health stakeholders, particularly digital health (basically where the internet, technology and health meet).

Join our conversation to hear how Libby attributes her career success to staying curious and her willingness to grow even when she wasn't "ready."

Coherence over Balance: Work + Life

Do your career and life have coherence? Let's drop work/life balance from our vocabulary.

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co・her・ence [noun]: the quality of forming a unified whole.

According to the Barna Group, 50% of women are somewhat satisfied with their lives with 59% of all women (62% of moms) are dissatisfied with work/life balance. Women's priorities in the study didn't match their time commitments on their calendars. While some of this can't change, we can view our lives as a whole rather than segments to keep in balance.

Projects and tasks change in different sectors of our lives, but let's not lose the unifying threads that make you, YOU: friendship, hobbies, family, faith, etc. Instead of getting bogged down by logistics and perfection of balance, let's authentically show up without guilt or shame.

How does this play out practically?

✔︎ Use vacation time to do something you love.

✔︎ Share a meal with your neighbors. Pizza on the front lawn or backyard is easy!

✔︎ Take on the project that lights your heart on fire!

✔︎ Try something new at work or personally!

✔︎ Take your kids to soccer practice guilt-free (even if you have to leave work early!)

Show up only as you can! A unified, whole person. Coherence over a balancing act.

The Match of Self-Talk: How Inner Dialogue Matters for Endurance

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Self-talk is a thing. For better or worse. Your inner dialogue matters.

I was reminded of this when I was on the tennis court for the first time after 13+ year hiatus of match play. Prior to this break, tennis WAS LIFE. In the past on the court, I beat myself up with words when I missed a point or was down.

Coming back last week, I was determined not to fall into those negative mental traps, but just like years before, with the swing of my racquet, I was bullied by my thoughts. I was both physically and mentally out of shape!

But something happened. I needed the focus to move forward. Out of breath and tired, I had to reframe my self-talk for SURVIVAL - I had to talk myself into playing the very next point!

Job seeker, where do you need to talk yourself into taking the next step? Language matters so much that researchers in a 2014 study found talking to yourself in third-person is more effective than referring to yourself as 'me' or "I".

When you need endurance, train yourself with positive thoughts.

Instead of: I can't do this another day.

Say: You can take the very next step, Meg. One foot in front of the other.

Just a Monday morning PSA: Be kind to yourself.

Are you aware of how you talk to yourself? How has it helped or hurt you in your career success?

My Career Journey: Ready Pause Go Podcast

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I'm having a bit of a vulnerability hangover 😂 BUT today, I fulfill a bucket list item, by being a podcast guest. Check out episode 24 on the Ready Pause Go Podcast.

I spill all about my career journey and motherhood, in addition, to resume and LinkedIn tips if you are blowing the digital dust off your resume during your career pause.

Are You Facing Obstacles? Return to Work with Confidence!

Flexjobs surveyed over 900 Stay at Home (SAH) parents about their decision to return to work. 58% of SAH parents surveyed took more time away from work than they expected. What obstacles did they face to return?

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The study found their barriers were:

Don’t want or can’t be in an office full-time: 59%

Don’t know how to find a job that fits my life: 54%

Don’t know what I want to do for work: 36%

Don’t know where to begin: 34%

Don’t have networking contacts/stayed in contact with them: 33%

Not sure how to balance career and family: 31%

Need an updated or new resume: 30%

Don’t want to go back to the same career: 27%

Lack of confidence: 25%

The local job market isn’t great: 22%

Haven’t kept up my skills: 23%

Need guidance or coaching: 19%

Commuting to work is prohibitive: 17%

Are you stuck in your return to work strategy? Start by unlocking your career focus! Download our free DIY tip sheet to get started and gain confidence!

Does Your Career Still Fit?

I've been buying cheap sandals my whole life- flat, floppy and flimsy, trendy-in-the-moment sort of sandals. And you know what? My feet hurt. Are you feeling the same in your career? What once worked for you no longer does?

This season, I took the time to research and investigate. I went to a store (gasp!) and tried on several brands. I found a pair that fit, where my feet feel supported (I didn't know that was a thing!) and I can walk longer than a block before my feet hurt. Now, I probably wouldn't have worn this pair of sandals years ago - but they are the best fit now.

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Are you in a career that once fit and no longer does? Do you feel the pinches of your ill-fitting role? Worn-out? It's time to do an analysis of YOU!

Take a minute to evaluate your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT).

Strengths + Weaknesses: Look inward and identify your unique value proposition.

Questions to ask:

- What do I do well?

- What can I improve?

- How do I compare to my peers?

-What comes naturally to me that seems to be like work for others?

Opportunities + Threats: Look outward at your current organization and/or where you want to go ( a career pivot to a new industry, another company, new role, etc.)

Questions to ask:

- What positive opportunities face me in my current (or different) organization?

- What obstacles do I face?

- Are the specifications for my job changing? Does it still suit me well?

The more you know, the more well-suited career decisions you'll make. Walk confidently toward a career that fits you now.

Need help unlocking a new job target? We can help with six free, DIY tips. Get them here.

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?