5 Questions to Assess Your Fear of Failure

Can questions to yourself help you overcome your fears of failure? YES…

..and the reason why is that asking your self the right questions can lead to a healthier and more productive way of thinking. A common theme you will find in people managing their careers, is that they manage the downside versus the upside of their decisions which we will discuss more fully on my next blog post.  Terri Cole – CEO, Live Fearless and Free; transformation coach and licensed therapist, shared an interesting write upon the topic of  Reframing Your Fear of Failure.

She raised a very powerful revelation:  Fear of failure has one thing in common with all of our other fears.  It is a feeling and not a fact.  Isn’t this empowering? It is saying that our biggest fears comes from what we feel will possibly happen to us in the future. We don’t fear what we experience today, because we are experiencing it. Reality always takes over from fear. Because we are there and dealing with it.

We find problems we fear are always less than what we actually experience should that fear materialize.

Terri raised 5 questions to help us better rationalize our fears, modify our thinking about a problem and actually deal with a more realistic assessment of risks.

1.  How is your fear of failure holding you back?
2. What would life be like if you did not have this fear?
3. Who are you afraid of disappointing if you fail?
4. How strong is your desire to release this fear?
5. If there were one step you could take to overcome this fear, what would it be?

Action of the Day
Go through these 5 questions. Be really honest with yourself.  Your ability to pursue your ultimate career objectives are most likely dependent on your ability to address any fears of failure you have.  I found these questions exhilarating and reinforcing my desire to manage the upside of opportunities versus the downside of risk taking.

Quote of the Day
” You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”      Eleanor Roosevelt….famous first lady to President Franklin D. Roosevelt

It would be great if you could share your thoughts:  What ways to deal with fear has worked for you? 

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Managing Creativity with Harriet Tubman

I just read the most cool article in Mental_Floss magazine.  Check out the magazine sometime…interesting facts that are stimulating and out of the ordinary. The article was about Harriet Tubman, the famous lady who led slaves to freedom on the Underground Railroad during the US Civil War.  She redefined leveraging creativity to achieve her goals.  It is fascinating and written by Erik Sass.


There was a bounty on Harriet for the equivalent of $1 million as she led 19 journeys freeing more than 300 slaves. This wasn’t easy as you can imagine.  The obstacles to achieve our goals for the most part pale in comparison.  She followed several approaches that are reflective of successful people today.

*  Know your terrain and where you are heading
Slave owners often kept their slaves close so they wouldn’t know their surroundings and wouldn’t know how to escape. Tubman would manage the navigation and at times on the fly leveraging dense forests, and swamps. Sometimes she would need to split the group up and provide to the group simple easy to follow advise for a meeting point.

* Know your clients and manage them effectively
The slaves were often brought to freedom as a family unit. Kids could give away their presence by crying so to address this, she always carried paragoric, an opium varient.

* Make sure everyone knew who’s in charge
Runaway slaves faced draconian punishments if they were caught so sometimes, they would change their minds and wish to return to servitude. But going back would have exposed her Underground Railroad network. So she gave them a choice facing the barrel of a gun. Die a slave or be free!!!

* Work the News Cycle, control your messaging.
Slave owners would alert bounty hunters with substantial rewards to capture runaway slaves. So Harriet would initiate her rescues on a Saturday giving her a 48 hour head start before the ads circulate in the Monday paper.

Since Harriet was engaged in activities with life/death implications, clearly some of her actions would be viewed as over the top in what most of us face in our day to day lives. But, she addressed problems through solution approaches you can use.

Action of the Day
Imagine you were rescuing your career and running yourself through the Underground Railroad. How would you prepare for this herculean task?  Pretend Harriet is right beside you ready to coach you. What would she tell you?  Are you ready to take the lead?

Quote of the Day
“Everything depends upon execution; having just a vision is no solution.”  Stephen Sondheim:  Award-winning American composer & lyricist

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How to Enjoy Life : Take on a Hobby

This blog is a bit on the lighter side.  We stress the need to educate ourselves in a skill that is of value in the marketplace.  We balance family and work responsibilities which often leads no time for ourselves or fun. Life is too short. I remember going to high school and college and spent way too much time studying, working. Very little playtime.   Here are a list of hobbies I enjoyed but sacrificed time in not doing:

* Magic
* Performing comedy on stage
* Writing stories
* Dating (did I really admit that?)

Are you going through stressful times or investing a disproportionate amount of your time on running a business, finding a job or moving up the corporate ladder?  If the answer is yes, the time for a change has come.

Here is a whimsical video of people who have invested in hobbies that they enjoy. Most of these “feats” are not linked towards upgrading their career, earning more money or puts them in line for being famous. But, they represent a category of activities you should never let go of. Doing things you enjoy just because they are fun or makes your life that much more interesting. If you do this, you will find people will find you more interesting.  Wouldn’t you ultimately want to build friendships and maintain relationships with people with a variety of interests?

Action of the Day
List three things you really enjoy doing and practicing that you just don’t make time for. In the next 24 hours, find 15 minutes and do it. If it requires time, like hiking in the mountains, schedule it now in the calendar and complete in the next 7 days. Make a commitment to yourself to schedule personal time each day or several days to do something you enjoy but will not contribute to your financial wellbeing.

Quote of the Day
“When you’re curious, you find lots of interesting things to do” ….Walt Disney

Video Credit : You Tube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p7V-8v8tOJQ&feature=related

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Top Ways to Create Your Own Luck

I wrote earlier about viewing life as an opportunity to create your own luck.   But what approaches should you take?  I’ll let you in on a secret…It starts with the right mindset…it starts with Believing.


Nicole Carter of Inc.com wrote a terrific article on the 6 Steps for making your own luck. She listed out 6 Steps I wanted to share:

Be humble 
You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.

Roll up your Sleeves
A strong work ethic is the biggest contributor to being lucky.

Be Generous
A pay it forward attitude pays off in spades. And it feels good.

Be Ready

Per Jim Collins, author of  Good to Great, “Thousands of people could have done the same thing that Mr. Gates did,  at the same time. But they didn’t…”    Bill Gates was ready to take action. Are you?

Go with your Gut
Per Steve Jobs at his famous Stanford Graduating Class speech : “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you  can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.   You have to trust in something.”

Simply believe you are Lucky
According to psychologist and University of Hertfordshire Professor Richard Wiseman, “Simply believing you are lucky can create positive outcomes… Lucky people are more relaxed and open, and therefore see what is there,  rather than just what they are looking for.”

While very unfortunate things could happen to us or our loved ones in life, sometimes painful experiences, we can still create our own luck and have some wonderful experiences and accomplishments in our life.

Action of the Day
For the rest of today and tomorrow, start a new belief system. You are indeed a very lucky person. If the luck hasn’t materialized yet, know that every challenge or setback is simply putting you one step closer to your ultimate goal.  Visualize yourself ready for the opportunity. You will be amazed at how many times situations arise to move forward on your goals when you are least expecting it. They will almost fall into your lap. Trust your gut. I am an “analyzer”. Sometimes, I need to take that hat off and just embrace what is coming my way and go with my gut feelings without analysis.  I then welcome the new opportunity, roll up my sleeves and give it my all. Luck is sure to follow.

Quote of the Day
“I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed.”       Michael Jordan (world famous professional basketball player

Picture : Credit

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People Networking – How to Get Started

At all times of your career, your most valued assets will be your Network.   Networking is a commonly referenced to mean developing and maintaining contacts and personal connections with a variety of people who might be helpful to you and your career. This topic will be an exciting venture of focus.

We will be focusing on this very important career skill and I will share some valuable fundamentals and helpful tools to take you to the next level from where you are. According to a very good blog posted by blog.Jobfully.com on “How to Create a Network”, there is one place to turn to for fundamentally creating your network.

Start Close to Home
You do not need to initiate your efforts by cold calling people who don’t know you or start raking through LinkedIn to find new people to link up with to get to know…That can be both time consuming, inefficient and to say the least, downright intimidating.

I remember a time during my 20s when I was sure that I wanted to focus on the “aging industry” aka supporting those 65+.   I wanted to meet people familiar with the topic.   So I picked the name of the best selling author of a book on Aging during the 1980s and wrote him a letter asking for a chance to meet him and discuss the topic.   If you are familiar with the phrase “Six Degrees of Separation”, I was more like trying to go from ten degrees to one in a single dramatic step. And I was not offering to help him, but rather to get his help(I have learned better since).  Don’t get me wrong, I am all for dramatic steps, but there was high probability of failing on my first attempt. And fail i did….I should have started more methodically to build my network on the “aging” topic  and “started close to home”.

A more effective route to pursue is the following order of priority to find people to meet:

*       Family members
*       Friends
*       Co workers
*       Organizations you belong to (Religious, Interest Groups, Political affiliations)
*       LinkedIn and Facebook Connections

Either you know people linked to the topic you wish to learn more about or they know someone. You have so much to offer others that you might be overlooking….A different perspective…a fresh face who wants to learn something new…you are a potential helper/mentor to others on the topics you know well and understand…..Never sell yourself short….You have so much to give…and it is through this giving that you will ultimately develop a very valuable People Network to help you on your life’s journey.

Action of the Day:   If you haven’t already, establish a personal journal to capture your journey of improvement. It is so valuable to track your progress and issues on a daily basis to learn from your experiences.   Write down the top 5 people you consider to be part of your network.   Jot down what is important to them in their lives and career and what you do on a regular basis to help them make progress towards their goals. If you do not know what is important to them, schedule time and find out. Try to figure out how you can help and start taking steps to do so.  Always start from the point of view of giving….you will feel better as a person and find that mysteriously, you will receive  back 10X more than what you give…Networking is not about taking…it is about giving…

Quote of the Day:  “You can get everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.     Zig Ziglar, famous leadership and personal motivation expert.

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5 Ways to Make a Positive Impression

Skills are not always about specific capabilities like putting things together, typing so many words per minute or being able to write software code to solve the most complex Sudoku puzzles.  To succeed in this world(however you define success), you must build relationships through sincere based interactions with people.

Very few people can succeed without collaboration and partnership with others.   Before you can develop these relationships, you need to make a great first impression. This is a soft skill(one we do not take a college course to develop). Soft skills tend to focus on communication and interpersonal skills.

We know they are important. When is the last time you wanted to partner with someone who didn’t leave you with a positive impression. Martin Zwilling, CEO & Founder of Startup Professionals, Inc.; published a list of 7 things to avoid making a Poor Impression.  I summarized to 5.

* Dress appropriately from the perspective of the person you are trying to impress
  (Dress more conservatively than might be expected…if unsure, wear business attire – always)

* Find a common business link or friend to warm up the connection 
(Key — Research who the person/company you will be connecting with.  Leverage Google,
Facebook, LinkedIn 
…you can be sure the same will be done on you…what do you have
in common?)

* Be prepared to concisely state your key objective
(In communication circles, this is known as your elevator pitch…you have 1 minute to
clearly state what you want
and have questions prepared to continue the dialogue as
appropriate)

* Know a lot, but don’t flaunt it
(Remember, you are building a relationship….clearly do your homework and be prepared
to answer any question..
but don’t be arrogant…they need to not only respect you
but like you!!
)

* Be positive, courteous, on time, and attentive
  
(All those years of mother/father teaching you manners will pay off here…be polite, say
Hello
 and respect the other people’s time….Don’t be late for any reason!!)

Action:  Make a lunch, coffee or even a 15 minute catch up appointment with someone you know.  It can be with someone you meet with frequently or someone who you have not invested much time in the past to meet with. Pretend you haven’t met this person before.  Perform a virtual search on this individual and put together a picture of him/her strictly based on the information available online. What do you have in common?  Memorize the information and prepare some questions.  Create an elevator pitch where you have uncovered a common interest and would like to discuss their knowledge on the topic in more details.  Show up for the appointment 5 minutes earlier than the committed time. Work hard to make a great impression.  Take note of the experience. How did it go?  Were you able to further connect with the individual to establish or enhance a bond?

Quote of the Day: “Sometimes one creates a dynamic impression by saying something, and sometimes one creates as significant an impression by remaining silent.”
Dalai Lama

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Make A Dream Come True – No College Degree Required

My first year of blogging will touch on various skills to manage not only your career but your life. The fundamental skill to address first is controlling your thoughts and letting your passion/energy outweight the naysayer inside of you. You need to be your biggest FAN.  If you do, nothing can stop you.

Here is an awesome story of two Canadian teenage boys who made the declaration of putting a man into space…ok..a LEGO man…but they did it…and they didn’t accept perceived limitations…lack of education..lack of money….See the article from the Toronto Star.

What can we learn from this?

* It doesn’t matter where you have been, you can make things happen no matter what people tell you

* Lack of education, lack of connections, lack of money are not show stoppers…you can do it!!

* Believe it or not, there are things you are doing today, that are inspiring others..You just don’t know it.

* Building your own self-confidence comes from taking risks and living your passion..one day at a time

* Let yourself feel inspired by others…if they can do it…you can do it.

Action: Pretend you are a teenager, if you are not so today.  Everything is possible and you ignore people who tell you otherwise. What two things would you do that would be inspiring and lift your spirits? Can you find a way to make it happen? If you can, you will feel higher than the Lego Man in Space!!!

Quote of the Day:   “Dream as if you will live forever, live as if you will die today”….James Dean

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Top 10 Ways How Successful People Think

One of the most critical skills you will ever attain, are the ones that control the way you think.  Is there a correlation to what you think and how you perform?

YES     The mind is so strong that you can take hold of thoughts that can induce signs of illness. 

John Maxwell, a well established leadership expert and author of many books, released a book in 2011 titled “How Successful People Think”.   If you want to become an expert golfer, you need to think like one. If you wish to lose weight, you need to think like someone who weighs much less than you do today. You GET TO think like the person you wish to become.

I selected my Top 10 Ways Successful People think from John Maxwell, and they all have a common theme. It all starts upstairs in the mind.

I have added some quick translations in ().

  •  Get over negative self talk. Winners think in terms of “I will” and “I can”  
     (Negative thoughts = Negative results…”as you think so shall you be”)
  • Thinking is a discipline. If you want to be better at it, you’ve got to work at it.
     (Positive Thinking Practice makes perfect…you mind is like a muscle..keep working it!!!)
  • Figure out where you need to focus your energy, and then use the 80/20 rule
    (Prioritize Your Limited Time….80% of tasks can be ignored with minimal implications)
  • Smart thinkers expose themselves to different ideas and types of people
    (Meet new people and uncover new ideas from  your discussions – it’s amazing what you can learn just listening)
  • It’s one thing to have an idea, another to follow through 
     (An idea is like a seed…following through on it is like watering the seed…action is required)
  •  Smart people collaborate with other smart people  
    (You will never succeed alone. Seek mentors, partners, supporters)
  •  To think differently, do different things
     (To appreciate others’ ideas, you need to value other ideas)
  •  Have an agenda — for the day, and when you meet with people 
    (When you meet people, make it count, you need to collaborate with people to succeed)
  •  Creative people are dedicated to ideas  
    (ideas lead to creating value….we need to create value to be successful)
  •  Naturally optimistic people find it hard to be realistic thinkers         
    (Thinking out of the box still requires doing your homework)

ACTION: Pick one of the 10 recommendations and LIVE IT for the next 24 hours. What changed for you? Start the habits today towards positive thinking. If you found success, pick a 2nd recommendation to follow for the next day…you are on the road to a brand new perspective of yourself and where you take your career and life.

Quote of the Day: “You are the masterpiece of your own life; you are the Michelangelo of your experience. The David that you are sculpting is you. And you do it with your thoughts.”— Dr. Joe Vitale: Motivational author and speaker

Top 3 Reasons You Want to be from a Dysfunctional Family

Did you grow up in an emotionally unstable family situation? Maybe you didn’t even have a family.  You could be that one in five person who seems to attract strange and potentially abusive people into your lives.  For some, going to sleep equates to a temporary escape into a more peaceful world.

I wanted to share a fascinating blog by Steve Blank, titled, “Dysfunctional Family, you would make a great entrepreneur”  The skills you possess from these kind of experiences could give you an upper hand in today’s chaotic economy and even more effectively prepare you for the successful life of an entrepreneur.

Let’s get to the Top 3 Reasons you would want to grow up in a dysfunctional Family

YOU ARE WIRED FOR CHAOS
If that is not a competitive advantage in today’s wild global economy, I don’t know what is. People spend well over $200,000 for their college education and still cannot survive in a chaotic environment.

YOU KNOW HOW TO DEAL WITH DIFFICULT PEOPLE
Lucky you. And you thought you were cursed to need to be around people who seem to have personality disorders. Guess what, those raised in a sheltered life of stable emotionally mature people have some huge surprises in store for them.

YOU DON’T GIVE UP
Has everything you accomplished in your life so far resulted from someone giving it to you on a silver platter?   While there might have been some days you felt like throwing in the towel, you never gave up. You are still standing and ready for the next challenge.

If you took a survey of all those you believe are successful due to their own efforts and creativity, I am confident you will find they all possess the above qualities. I bet many of you have them too and not aware of it.

EMBRACE YOUR DYSFUNCTIONAL PAST….You are more setup for future success than you thought!!!

Action for the Day: Think of a very challenging emotional experience in your past.  No one would naturally choose to have had hard and emotionally difficult life experience. But the reality is that we all have experience something unpleasant because life is unpredictable.  How can you frame that experience in a way that it actually helped you to be a stronger person and deal with life’s uncertainties in a more effective way?

Quote of the Day:   People begin to become successful the minute they decide to be.” — Harvey Mackay: Best-selling business author, columnist & speaker

Did you make a Career Mistake?

      Is your career where you want it to be?  If not, maybe you are reading this while slugging away at a boring 9-5 job or possibly combing over the various position openings de jour on Monster.com or Snagajob.com. The bottom line is that you are feeling dissatisfied. Did you make a career mistake somewhere that resulted in your current circumstance?

In an interesting article by Paul Schoemaker on Inc.com, titled “You Need to Make More Mistakes”, don’t even think twice on a making a regrettable mistake. In fact, you need to make significantly more of them to get to where you want to go. Is this great news?  Most definitely, YES.

 When going for my MBA, I was earning a very good income in the Finance Industry in sunny Los Angeles with good prospects of growth and career advancement. I had the yearning to get my MBA in my late 20s while most of my peers were starting their careers and earning growing incomes. I decided to go heavily into debt for an illusive MBA career; moving my new wife to a new city in Chicago.   My friends were earning income, buying homes, building wealth, while I was going into the hole on a monthly basis on living expenses. While the academic and “life” experience of the MBA degree was everything I could hope for, I started getting a gnawing pang in my gut.

Did I make a Career Mistake? 

NO…I took a risk, gained an incredible experience, and realized that no matter what happened, nobody can repossess the skills I learned. This was MY JOURNEY  to better myself and become more marketable.   It took me much longer than others to gain financial stability, own a house and build my career. However, if I didn’t risk making a “career mistake”,  I wouldn’t have the success and happiness I am enjoying today.

SO GO AHEAD, MAKE A MISTAKE…..

ACTION:

1) What were two of your biggest “Career Mistakes”?  Identify 3 things that ultimately benefitted you from making those mistakes. Every mistake is a stepping stone to learning.

2) What is your biggest career decision ahead of you right now that you are afraid of becoming a mistake? Are you unable to recover from a temporary setback? Is there any way you could move, if required, in a slower way to make it work?

Quote of the Day: “Always desire to learn something useful.” — Sophocles