5 #Reasons Every #Newbie #Freelancer #Needs A #Mentor

When you work as an employee, you often have mentors. This is true, even if there is no formal mentorship program in place. You can nearly always count on your boss or even a more seasoned coworker for guidance and feedback. You may even find someone to help keep you sorted when it comes to your future goals. For freelancers, this doesn’t happen automatically.

This is a shame because freelancers, especially new ones, need mentors just as much as anyone else. Here are five reasons why as well as tips on how you can find potential mentors and build relationships with them.

1. Mentors can provide industry-specific insights

If you can find a mentor who is experienced in your field, they can provide you with insights that you may not get anywhere else. Think of them as kind of being a walking, talking, unofficial guidebook. They know the unspoken truths.

They can, for example, let you know which ‘influencers’ are actually considered to be quite disreputable. A valuable mentor will be able to tell you which tools and training are valued by others, and which are a waste of time.

2. A mentor can offer an honest perspective

One challenge freelancers have is setting goals for business and personal growth. Without someone to provide an objective, outside in perspective, all you have is your own wishes and opinions on your abilities to go on. Sadly, those aren’t always objective or accurate. This is why it’s so important to connect with a mentor who is willing to be truly honest with you.

For example, let’s say you work in web development. At this point, you largely work as a coder, but you want to get more into the design side of things. Without a mentor, you might simply dive right in and start marketing yourself in web design. Maybe you even pick up a few graphic design tools and learn those as well. After all, why not help people design logos along the way.

The only problem is that you don’t have an artistic eye whatsoever. Your designs are off-putting. You pick colors and fonts that simply don’t work. You don’t ‘get’ how visuals and branding go hand in hand.

If you have a mentor who truly cares about your growth and success, they’re going to be willing to have that tough conversation with you about your skills and give you a reality check.

3. Having a mentor creates accountability

“I’m going to take three classes next semester.”

“I’m going to revamp my website.”

“I won’t end a week without having made 10 cold calls to potential clients.”

As a freelancer, you  undoubtedly make promises to yourself that you will do things to grow your business and improve your skill set. The problem is that nothing happens if you only have yourself to answer to.

With a mentor, you have accountability. There’s someone that you have to report back to. It’s illuminating how flimsy the excuses you use become when you  direct them at someone else. This provides additional motivation for you to stay on top of things, and accomplish the things you need to in order to advance your career.

4. Your mentor can be a career sherpa

Speaking of career advancement, mentors are amazing career sherpas. If they believe you have potential, and that you will make the best of your efforts, many are happy to give you a hand up. This could mean introducing you to industry insiders or recommending you to potential clients. A mentor may even allow you to partner with them on some of their projects.

Another area where they can provide guidance is dealing with difficult clients. For example, they may be able to provide advice on negotiating the terms of contracts. They may even tell you potential clients that you should simply steer clear of.

5. You can bounce ideas and frustrations out of your mentor

Freelancing is difficult work. You have stressors that you must deal with that simply aren’t present in other types of work. Not only are you your own boss, you wear many other hats as well. You are your marketing team, salesforce, technical support, and likely financials person. There’s no buffer between yourself and people who may be rude, clueless, or incompetent. In the fact of all of these things, you  must remain polite, professional, and accommodating.

A good mentor gets this. They understand your frustrations. Even better, their experience allows them to provide advice and perspectives that can help you to deal with these things successfully. Not only that, when you have new ideas, they are your perfect first audience. They’re there to be supportive of your goals, but also honest enough to give you valid input.

If you are new to freelancing, you should consider connecting with a mentor. There are so many career and personal benefits to doing so. Reach out to someone who is more experienced in your field, and you might be surprised at how much you can learn from them.

How To Take #Charge Of Your #Career #Path At Your Current #Employer

Just a generation ago, working for the same employer for decades made sense. The timeline went something like this: Employer hired employee, employee got raises, employee maybe got promoted a time or two, employee enjoyed stability.

These days, work life has a different rhythm.

Not only are businesses dealing with unforeseen disruptions, but traditional corporate ladders have disintegrated. Consequently, workers often find themselves without a clear way to rise through the ranks because the ranks aren’t well-defined or aren’t inherently part of the culture. Is it any wonder, then, that half of employees feel like they can’t advance within their current companies?

Of course, many analysts suggest advancement does not rest solely in the hands of the employer. Today, workers have a responsibility to take charge of their career route by being proactive, smart, and creative.

Installing The Rungs Of Your Career Ladder

Although many organisational leaders have a plan for role succession, many of them never share that plan with their team members. At the same time, employees don’t always tell their managers what they want in terms of advancement. Imagine how much better it would be if both parties — the employer and the worker — made their wishes known. Two-way communication would create clearer routes to new positions.

That’s why the onus is on you, as an employee, to get the ball rolling. At the end of the day, employers will focus on business objectives and filling seats. While that could get you the raise you desire, you may end up filling a position that is completely misaligned with your career goals and interests.

“Bottom-up career pathing, on the other hand, places a greater emphasis on the employees’ career goals,” says Linda Ginac, CEO of TalentGuard, a talent management software-as-a-service provider. “Paired with succession planning, this method lets managers and HR professionals tailor their employees’ objectives to those of the company, not the other way around.” This approach works because it gives everyone a holistic view of how to retain good workers while meeting corporate objectives.

Career pathing, in which employees chart out possible vertical and lateral moves at their company, allows individuals to take charge and construct their own ladders rather than waiting for an employer to notice their desires to achieve more. Getting started is fairly straightforward, as long as you’re willing to take some calculated leaps of faith.

1. Adopt a “possibility” mindset.

The employment landscape is rapidly changing, thanks to everything from outsourcing to emerging technologies like artificial intelligence and chatbots. Find out all you can about your industry and investigate departments in your company that are new to you — maybe operations, IT, marketing, sales, or customer service. Then, project a few steps ahead: How can you be an asset to the business? What are the possibilities for you based on gaps you see?

Take time to think about your findings. Hash out some ideas with friendly contacts in your network. When you’re ready, you can bring them to your supervisor or HR manager to discuss your future. The meeting shouldn’t be about a hostile “This is what I need or I’m leaving” ultimatum. Instead, you should aim for a conversation about opportunities that would let you stay with an employer you like.

2. Target your bliss.

What do you absolutely love about your job? Write down all the tasks you perform that keep you motivated, even when you have to work overtime or you’re having a rocky day. Use this document as a springboard to consider what else you would like to do to turn your position into a true dream job.

You might discover that you can’t fully explore some of your wish list skills — like leading a team, creating killer content, or analyzing legacy data to jumpstart sales revenue — in your current position. Take these thoughts to your boss to figure out how you might try on some new skates. Consider accepting additional projects related to your ideal role. At the same time, be sure to pay attention to your regular responsibilities; your work ethic shouldn’t lapse for a moment.

3. Define the relationship.

You may remember when you and your significant other had the “Where is this relationship going?” talk. You might need to have the same kind of serious discussion with your supervisor. Explain where you see yourself in a year, two years, five years. Talk about your desires to move ahead in your career path, and be forthright about any concerns you have regarding whether your employer offers upward mobility.

Of course, your mindset shouldn’t be “My way or the highway.” Start the conversation with a matter-of-fact description of your expectations. You’re doing your boss a favor by being honest, because he or she now knows that you’d like to stay, but you need some give-and-take.

4. Seek out a career advocate.

We can all use someone in our corner, and that’s where a career advocate comes into play. Career advocates are folks in your business who push for you to advance, even if you aren’t technically ready for a job opening or don’t have all the prerequisites.

Obviously, the more influential your career advocate, the better. Still, don’t overlook same-level colleagues in other departments who have your back. Not only can they put in a solid word for you, but they can tell you when openings are about to happen so you can prepare ahead of time. And if you do end up moving to another company? You can be allies for each other. Your ally might even end up joining you at your new employer.

If you love your organization but aren’t getting raises, more responsibility, or greater influence, you don’t necessarily have to leave the company. Explore your home-base options first. You may have far more choices than you thought.

What #men need to know about #dressing for #job #interviews

Attention men: do you know the modern rules to dress for success? Times have changed, and with them the guidelines for dressing for job interviews have too. And in today’s volatile, talent-rich job market where one wrong move can send you to the bottom of the applicant pool, the stakes for making an impeccable impression on job interviews are higher than ever before.

Along with your cover letter and resume, how you handle yourself on a first interview—which includes how you dress—is a critical component of your initial impression on potential employers and hiring managers, and we all know how powerful and lasting first impressions can be.

So keep reading, get ready—and go shopping if necessary—to make sure you’re absolutely ready when you’re on your next job hunt.

Dress for the environment

An important (yet often ignored) maxim when dressing for job interviews is dressing appropriately for the environment. What does this mean? Simply put, a three-piece suit may not be the best choice for every situation. An interview at a prestigious law firm and an art gallery are different animals that likely require different wardrobes. There are times when a conservative outfit is practically a requirement, and times when a little creative flair will be appreciated and well received. When you’re on an interview, potential employers will not only be looking to see that your outfit is polished and professional, they’ll also be checking to make sure it’s appropriate for the setting and reflects good judgment.

Bottom line—whether in a board room, theater, campground, classroom, or somewhere in-between, part of your prep for every interview is to research your target environment and audience and to pick out an outfit that appropriately fits the situation.

Fit matters

In times past, men had plenty of leeway when it came to clothing fit and many chose to opt for loose comfort. Today, a more tailored fit is in style, so much so that in some places you’ll look positively behind the times if your outfit is too baggy or loose-fitting. A well-tailored outfit radiates positive, professional poise whereas a baggy, ill-fitting one may send a subconscious message that you’re unprepared, disorganized, or careless (regardless of whether or not it’s true).

Your best bet is to make sure your clothes reflect a neatly tailored fit—this doesn’t mean you have to buy a whole new wardrobe, but it may necessitate a trip to the tailor if you find yourself drowning inside of your current outfits.

Don’t be a peacock

Sure, you want to stand out from the applicant pool when you’re on an interview, but do it with your amazing abilities and experience—not with an overly flashy outfit. Resist the urge to peacock your way through your interviews and save the loudly colored suits and shirts and wildly creative ties for your next party or social gathering (unless you’re absolutely certain it’s the right environment for it). Instead, opt for more subtle color palettes and fits. Trust us on this one—you may stand out with a wild outfit, but likely not in the way you want to.

Comfort is key

Just as important as a carefully considered and appropriate outfit is reflecting the aura that you’re confident—which means feeling comfortable in your clothes. Make sure you’ve tried on your outfit in advance of the interview day, and make sure your choice of outfit makes you feel good about how you look and your chances of landing the job. Nothing wrecks a first interview quite like a complete lack of confidence and comfort, so be prepared and consider yourself forewarned.

Use these tips to plan out your outfit so that when interview day comes, you’re ready to go. Looking great leads to feeling great, which then leads to putting your best foot forward—so you’ll already have a leg up on the competition. Good luck!

7 things #successful #people do #over the #weekend

Perhaps you picture financially successful people jetting off to Ibiza for the weekend. Or maybe the truly accomplished spend their free time writing novels over Sunday brunch? Whatever your vision of success, the time the weekend offers is valuable to everyone—and some of us are definitely squandering it. Let’s explore a few simple ways you can spend the weekend time to become the best version of yourself.


Successful people finish their tasks, then leave work behind. Stress from work can eat into your weekend if you let it, rendering the time useless. There’s nothing worse than an unfinished task gnawing at you or work emails reminding you what you need to do once Monday rolls around. If you set clear work-life boundaries, especially with your tasks and tech, it will result in fewer nuisances over the weekend and a better focus during actual work hours. Really, ask yourself—can’t this email wait until Monday?


Believe it or not, successful people do have downtime. No one can run with all cylinders firing all the time; if you tried, you would burn out quickly. Successful people are good at scheduling themselves during the work day, which includes scheduling break time. Maximizing a successful weekend means taking that time to recover from the work week. Whether it’s in the form of meditation exercises, getting lost in a good book, or simply getting a couple good nights of sleep, prioritizing rest helps you recharge for the week to come.

Challenge yourself

Why not run the extra mile? Exercise is just as important for the mind as it is for the body. As with rest, you maximize your potential when your body and brain get a boost from physical fitness. But a successful person might take it up a notch beyond the stationary bike at the gym. They challenge themselves to go further: hike a mountain, train for a triathlon, take up kickboxing, or simply try something new they’ve never done before. When exercise is about striving towards a goal or making new discoveries, it fosters the kind of dynamism that make successful people excel.

Develop other talents

Successful people can possess a laser-like focus on their goals, but highly successful people don’t just excel in their field; they likely have talents in other areas. Diversifying is not just for the financial portfolio. Art, music, or learning a foreign language helps you to challenge yourself mentally and to develop a healthier, balanced brain. The drive that helps you succeed can be used to help you find fulfillment and harness talent in other aspects of life.


On the weekend, successful people make the most of their time—not by filling every second with action, but by enjoying what you can while you can. It’s the difference between savoring the flavor of coffee vs. guzzling it down like diesel fuel. Making the most of the seasons, getting outdoors, and enjoying family time are important ways to recharge over the weekend.

Let the back burner work

Sometimes your best ideas come to you when you’re not actively working. Innovation can be brewing in the back of your mind while you’re busy cultivating a life outside of work. Successful people are on the lookout for those ideas, ready to capture them—which means taking time away from the grind.

Plan out the weekend

So how do you rest, challenge yourself, develop a new talent, unplug, and spend family time all in one weekend? It’s no secret that successful people plan out the hours of their work day to meet goals efficiently. Why wouldn’t they plan the weekend too? If you’re torn between weekend goals, planning recreational activities ahead of time helps you get the most out of the day. Just remember: the planning shouldn’t be stressful. The most successful weekend is the one you enjoy.

Your #Stealthy #Guide to #Stalking a #Company and #Figuring Out if You’ll Be a #Fit

Let’s do a quick test: In the past week, have you browsed a friend’s Instagram way past a respectable post date? Have you clicked so far into the depths of a website you’re reading that you don’t even know how you found the article you’re on? Do you sometimes look up from Facebook and not know how you got to the photo you’re looking at?

Thought so.

Don’t worry, these skills can actually come in handy in your professional life. (So, pat yourself on the back you professional development all-star!) Knowing how to accurately research a company can mean the difference between finding an organization that’s perfect for you and falling into one that’s completely wrong. And that means the difference between liking your new role and having to restart the whole job search process in six months.

But before you can begin stalking, you need to put your own thoughts in order. And to help you do that, we’ve created this free worksheet to organize your thoughts and the steps you should take:

– Open it up. (See, this will be easy!)

– Put the following words in order of importance to you and feel free to add (or remove) anything that’s missing: Transparency, competition, fairness, data-based, work-life balance, flexible hours, maternity leave, understanding for working parents, hard-working, inclusivity, diversity, self-improvement, self-starter, hard-working, innovative, first to market, access to leadership, integrity, discipline, fun, respect, collaboration, team player, accountability, stable, change, competitive salary, autonomy.

– Pop your top five to 10 into the grid and keep it handy as you follow the next steps for each company you’re considering.

OK, onto the stalking!

So, how does one do it effectively (and not creepily)? Here’s your ultimate guide to getting the inside scoop on a company before you make a mistake:

1. Check Their Career Page to Learn About Their Mission

A company’s website is probably the best place to get all the details that really matter (with a more-buttoned-up spin, of course). The best page to check out is the one that outlines their mission. While this might be a little buzzword-y, it will give you an idea of what they believe in and how they communicate that to the outside world.

If they’re a smaller company, they might also have a team page where you can “meet” all the employees (at a bigger company, you’re better off searching for your teammates on LinkedIn).

From here, you can ask yourself: Is there diversity? Do they seem fun? Silly? (I know, it’s just a photo, but sometimes a smile or goofy pose—or lack thereof—is worth a thousand words.) Do they have standard titles or more creative ones? While you don’t want to read too much into anything you see on these more polished pages, you should keep an eye out for trends that you’ve spotted during your other research.

2. Check Out Their Other Profiles Around the Internet to See if It’s Consistent

There are places like The MuseFairygodboss, or Jopwell that feature interviews, videos, and facts you might not have found on their official sites.

You’ll find things such as what certain employees do in their roles, what it’s like to work in certain departments, what the office (or offices) looks like, and any additional fun facts or bits of information that might tip you toward or away from applying.

3. Check Social Media to Get a Feel for a Company’s Personality

A company isn’t a human. But that doesn’t mean that it’s soul-less (or, I should say, that it should be).

Do a quick search on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn for their company profile. Some even have multiple you can browse—one for customers, one for customer service, one for clients, and one for careers or jobs.

Keep an eye out for the following:

Their Tone

Also known as how they express themselves and talk to or about their customers, clients, or employees

Their Content

What kinds of things do they tend to post? Company events or product launches? Outside work activities? Social initiatives?

Their Activity Level

Finally, how active are they? For example, if a social media marketing agency doesn’t update their Twitter ever, it’s fair to wonder if they stand behind everything they’re saying. Note: It’s OK if the organization doesn’t update! There are lots of companies in that boat who can’t prioritize it. But it’s good to note with the right context.

Check Company Reviews for the Truth

Now that you’ve gotten the PR-friendly, company-approved spin, you want to get a more honest and well-rounded perspective.

Employee reviews (like on Glassdoor or Indeed) are great for getting candid feedback from real employees. They’re also probably one of the few places online that highlight the negatives of the organization or role. Don’t ignore them, but try not to read too much into them.

It’s like any review on a hotel or restaurant. A few people may say the service at one establishment was a little slow, but if all you care about is the food quality that probably won’t stop you from going. Similarly, if a company review says some employees stay late a few times a week, that may not bother you if the work itself seems interesting.

In the end, it’s all about knowing what matters to you.

(And, if you’re worried about the reviews you’re seeing, you can read even more on this topic here.)

Check Out Google for Assorted News

Last but not least, plug the company’s name into Google to find any articles, news stories, or videos about them. This will help you learn their reputation from a less biased perspective. You might discover things that’ll impact your experience there. For example, if they’ve recently raised funding, reorganized teams, or merged with a competitor.

You’ll notice that I didn’t lay out too many red flags here. That’s because stalking a company online has a lot to do with listening to your instincts. If something seems off to you, that’s not something to ignore.

However, it shouldn’t deter you from applying or taking the job—especially because you can (and should) bring culture up in your interview. Your hiring manager may surprise you or reveal something you wouldn’t ever learn from the internet—the beauty of context!—and make you feel more confident about your decision.

Credit: themuse

#Ten #Words #Never, Ever To #Use To #Describe #Yourself

It is tough to describe yourself in words, and that’s why so many people don’t even try.

They brand themselves exactly the same everybody else does: “Results-oriented professional with a bottom-line orientation!” That idiotic descriptor has nothing to do with you.

You are a vibrant, unique person. You are much more than a “result-oriented professional” or a “motivated self-starter!”

Any drone could call themselves a “self-starter.” Why would you want to use done-to-death cliches to describe yourself when the English language is so full of rich, evocative words?

The best way to get across a bit of your heft and personality is to tell your story.  You can do it in the Summary at the top of your resume or in the Summary of your LinkedIn profile, or both — like this:

” I’ve been designing small-business websites for 15 years. These days I specialise in WordPress sites for speakers, authors and other creative types. My goal is to bring your unique voice and message across to everyone who wants to hear it.

Notice that our website designer doesn’t praise him- or herself. What person with normal self-esteem would ever praise themselves?

It doesn’t help you to sing your own praises, even though we’ve heard for years that we have to brag and boast in our branding.

It’s not true!

When you stoop to compliment yourself in your resume or your LinkedIn profile, you convey fear rather than confidence. The more confident you are, the less you need to rely on “praising adjectives” like savvystrategic or ground-breaking in your branding.

Here are ten words never, ever to use when describing yourself:

1. Innovative

2. Disruptive

3. Visionary

4. Senior-level

5. Game-changing

6. Smart

7. Strategic

8. Savvy

9. Talented

10. Well-rounded

What do these ten “praising adjectives” have in common? They are all descriptors that are not yours to use — not when describing yourself, anyway! They are all things that we get to say about other people, but not about ourselves.

Innovation, intelligence and the other qualities we’ve been taught to brag about are all in the eye of the beholder.

The minute you say in your LinkedIn profile “I am smart” the rest of the world collectively says “I doubt it” because the smarter you are, the less you need to talk about it.

Your accomplishments speak for themselves!

Use your LinkedIn profile and your resume to tell your story —simply, humbly and in your own words. The smarter, savvier and more strategic your reader is, the more easily they will spot your brilliance and all your other amazing qualities.

If they can’t see your talents on their own, there is no way for you to help them — no matter how many “praising adjectives” you heap on the pile!

Take a stab at re-writing your LinkedIn profile and/or your resume, replacing jargon-y phrases (like “Skilled at leading cross-functional teams”) with human speech. Get rid of any “praising adjectives” currently stealing power from your profile.

You’ll feel lighter and stronger when you do!

How #Smart #People Handle #Difficult People

Some are blissfully unaware of the negative impact that they have on those around them, and others seem to derive satisfaction from creating chaos and pushing other people’s buttons. Either way, they create unnecessary complexity, strife, and worst of all stress.

Studies have long shown that stress can have a lasting, negative impact on the brain. Exposure to even a few days of stress compromises the effectiveness of neurons in the hippocampus—an important brain area responsible for reasoning and memory. Weeks of stress cause reversible damage to neuronal dendrites (the small “arms” that brain cells use to communicate with each other), and months of stress can permanently destroy neurons. Stress is a formidable threat to your success—when stress gets out of control, your brain and your performance suffer.

Most sources of stress at work are easy to identify. If your non-profit is working to land a grant that your organisation needs to function, you’re bound to feel stress and likely know how to manage it. It’s the unexpected sources of stress that take you by surprise and harm you the most.

Recent research from the Department of Biological and Clinical Psychology at Friedrich Schiller University in Germany found that exposure to stimuli that cause strong negative emotions—the same kind of exposure you get when dealing with difficult people—caused subjects’ brains to have a massive stress response. Whether it’s negativity, cruelty, the victim syndrome, or just plain craziness, difficult people drive your brain into a stressed-out state that should be avoided at all costs.

The ability to manage your emotions and remain calm under pressure has a direct link to your performance. TalentSmart has conducted research with more than a million people, and we’ve found that 90% of top performers are skilled at managing their emotions in times of stress in order to remain calm and in control. One of their greatest gifts is the ability to neutralise difficult people. Top performers have well-honed coping strategies that they employ to keep difficult people at bay.

While I’ve run across numerous effective strategies that smart people employ when dealing with difficult people, what follows are some of the best.

To deal with difficult people effectively, you need an approach that enables you, across the board, to control what you can and eliminate what you can’t.

‘The important thing to remember is that you are in control of far more than you realise.’

They Set Limits

Complainers and negative people are bad news because they wallow in their problems and fail to focus on solutions. They want people to join their pity party so that they can feel better about themselves. People often feel pressure to listen to complainers because they don’t want to be seen as callous or rude, but there’s a fine line between lending a sympathetic ear and getting sucked into their negative emotional spiral.

You can avoid this only by setting limits and distancing yourself when necessary. Think of it this way: if the complainer were smoking, would you sit there all afternoon inhaling the second-hand smoke? You’d distance yourself, and you should do the same with complainers.

‘A great way to set limits is to ask complainers how they intend to fix the problem. They will either quiet down or redirect the conversation in a productive direction.’

They Rise Above

Difficult people drive you crazy because their behavior is so irrational. Make no mistake about it; their behavior truly goes against reason. So why do you allow yourself to respond to them emotionally and get sucked into the mix? The more irrational and off-base someone is, the easier it should be for you to remove yourself from their traps.

‘Quit trying to beat them at their own game. Distance yourself from them emotionally and approach your interactions like they’re a science project (or you’re their shrink, if you prefer the analogy). You don’t need to respond to the emotional chaos—only the facts.’

They Stay Aware Of Their Emotions

Maintaining an emotional distance requires awareness. You can’t stop someone from pushing your buttons if you don’t recognise when it’s happening. Sometimes you’ll find yourself in situations where you’ll need to regroup and choose the best way forward. This is fine and you shouldn’t be afraid to buy yourself some time to do so.

‘Think of it this way—if a mentally unstable person approaches you on the street and tells you he’s John F. Kennedy, you’re unlikely to set him straight. When you find yourself with a coworker who is engaged in similarly derailed thinking, sometimes it’s best to just smile and nod.’

If you’re going to have to straighten them out, it’s better to give yourself some time to plan the best way to go about it.

They Establish Boundaries

This is the area where most people tend to sell themselves short. They feel like because they work or live with someone, they have no way to control the chaos. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Once you’ve found your way to rise above a person, you’ll begin to find their behavior more predictable and easier to understand. This will equip you to think rationally about when and where you have to put up with them and when you don’t. For example, even if you work with someone closely on a project team, that doesn’t mean that you need to have the same level of one-on-one interaction with them that you have with other team members.

You can establish a boundary, but you’ll have to do so consciously and proactively. If you let things happen naturally, you are bound to find yourself constantly embroiled in difficult conversations. If you set boundaries and decide when and where you’ll engage a difficult person, you can control much of the chaos. The only trick is to stick to your guns and keep boundaries in place when the person tries to encroach upon them, which they will.

They Don’t Die In The Fight

Smart people know how important it is to live to fight another day, especially when your foe is a toxic individual. In conflict, unchecked emotion makes you dig your heels in and fight the kind of battle that can leave you severely damaged. When you read and respond to your emotions, you’re able to choose your battles wisely and only stand your ground when the time is right.

They Don’t Focus On Problems—Only Solutions

Where you focus your attention determines your emotional state. When you fixate on the problems you’re facing, you create and prolong negative emotions and stress. When you focus on actions to better yourself and your circumstances, you create a sense of personal efficacy that produces positive emotions and reduces stress.

When it comes to toxic people, fixating on how crazy and difficult they are gives them power over you. Quit thinking about how troubling your difficult person is, and focus instead on how you’re going to go about handling them. This makes you more effective by putting you in control, and it will reduce the amount of stress you experience when interacting with them.

They Don’t Forget

Emotionally intelligent people are quick to forgive, but that doesn’t mean that they forget. Forgiveness requires letting go of what’s happened so that you can move on. It doesn’t mean you’ll give a wrongdoer another chance. Smart people are unwilling to be bogged down unnecessarily by others’ mistakes, so they let them go quickly and are assertive in protecting themselves from future harm.

They Squash Negative Self-talk

Sometimes you absorb the negativity of other people. There’s nothing wrong with feeling bad about how someone is treating you, but your self-talk (the thoughts you have about your feelings) can either intensify the negativity or help you move past it. Negative self-talk is unrealistic, unnecessary, and self-defeating. It sends you into a downward emotional spiral that is difficult to pull out of.

‘You should avoid negative self-talk at all costs.’

They Get Some Sleep

I’ve beaten this one to death over the years and can’t say enough about the importance of sleep to increasing your emotional intelligence and managing your stress levels. When you sleep, your brain literally recharges, so that you wake up alert and clear-headed. Your self-control, attention, and memory are all reduced when you don’t get enough—or the right kind—of sleep. Sleep deprivation raises stress hormone levels on its own, even without a stressor present. A good night’s sleep makes you more positive, creative, and proactive in your approach to toxic people, giving you the perspective you need to deal effectively with them.

They Use Their Support System

‘It’s tempting, yet entirely ineffective, to attempt tackling everything by yourself.’

To deal with toxic people, you need to recognise the weaknesses in your approach to them. This means tapping into your support system to gain perspective on a challenging person. Everyone has someone at work and/or outside work who is on their team, rooting for them, and ready to help them get the best from a difficult situation. Identify these individuals in your life and make an effort to seek their insight and assistance when you need it. Something as simple as explaining the situation can lead to a new perspective. Most of the time, other people can see a solution that you can’t because they are not as emotionally invested in the situation.

Bringing It All Together

Before you get this system to work brilliantly, you’re going to have to pass some tests. Most of the time, you will find yourself tested by touchy interactions with problem people. Thankfully, the plasticity of the brain allows it to mold and change as you practice new behaviors, even when you fail. Implementing these healthy, stress-relieving techniques for dealing with difficult people will train your brain to handle stress more effectively and decrease the likelihood of ill effects.

I Don’t Like My Job. Does Quitting Mean I’m Not Mentally Strong Enough to Hack It?

Staying in a toxic environment won’t automatically make you strong.

Every week, at least one person asks me what quitting their job says about their mental strength. Many people worry that quitting a job they don’t like serves as tangible evidence they lack mental muscle.

While one person will say, “I feel like I should be mentally strong enough to deal with my job instead of quitting,” others insist, “I just don’t have the mental strength to last another day.”

But every once in a while, I hear from someone who perceives quitting as a sign of strength.

Just the other day, I received an email that read, “I finally found the mental strength to quit my job. I’d been miserable for years but I didn’t have the courage to leave.”

So which is it? Does quitting a job you don’t like mean you’re mentally strong? Or, is real strength found in the ability to thrive in a tough work environment? Well, it depends on your attitude.

The Environment Plays a Role in Your Mental Strength

If you wanted to be physically strong, working in a gym would likely inspire you to build muscle. Being surrounded by people lifting weights all day, may motivate you to get fitter. And if the gym offered access to personal trainers and opportunities to use the equipment whenever you wanted, you’d probably find it easy to build muscle.

If, however, you worked 14 hour days in an office setting, it would be tougher to get buff. It’d be especially tough if the workplace cafeteria only served junk food and the boss expected you to do hours of work from home each night. The workaholic mentality would lead to fewer opportunities to lift weights and you’d probably find it much harder to get physically strong in that environment, compared to a job working in a gym.

Well, mental strength is much like physical strength. The environment plays a huge role in your ability to build mental muscle.

Working in an unhealthy environment will drain your mental strength. Studies show working for a toxic boss increases the likelihood that you’ll grow clinically depressed. And if you’re surrounded by rude co-workers, research shows their behavior will wreak havoc on your productivity.

So it’s important to consider, does the job you have now support your efforts to build mental strength? Or, does the workplace–and the people in it–make it much more difficult to be your best?

Remind Yourself Quitting Is a Choice

If you quit your job with the mentality that you couldn’t hack it, you’ll struggle to reach your greatest potential. You might take a new job that’s beneath your skills either because you think it’s all you deserve or because you hope to find some success to boost your confidence.

If you really feel you can’t stand your job, prove to yourself that you could stand if you wanted to. Work one day longer than you think can, and you’ll see that you’re able to tolerate feeling uncomfortable more than you give yourself credit for.

Just make sure you aren’t working to prove something to someone else. Thinking, “I’ll show my boss I was cut out for this,” is about acting tough, not being strong. When you walk away knowing, “I could do hack this job if I wanted, but I don’t want to,” you’ll reassure yourself you’re still strong.

There’s a lot of power in saying, “I’m quitting my job because it doesn’t suit my needs,” as opposed to thinking, “I can’t stand to be here for one more second.” Acknowledge your choices and step away in a manner that will empower you to become better.

Quit to Better Your Life

If you are committed to building the best life you can, quitting may open the door to a better opportunity. Whether you seek more flexibility in your schedule or you want a more positive work environment, stepping into a healthier situation could promote your growth.

A new position may also be more in line with your values. A job that pays less money but allows for more time with your family, for example, may give you a better sense of meaning and purpose. And a sense of purpose is key to being mentally strong.

Turn Quitting Into an Opportunity to Build Mental Strength

Staying in a job you hate may say more about your mental strength than quitting does. Is your self-worth dependent on how much money you make? Are you afraid of change? Have you convinced yourself you can’t possibly be successful doing something else?

Of course, some people have practical reasons for sticking it out. Feeding a family or paying off a huge burden of debt may be the payoff. And sometimes, working a job you don’t like for a short duration makes sense.

Quitting every job because you think the grass is greener on the other side also won’t make you mentally strong. There’s no such thing as a perfect job and working hard to overcome workplace challenges could help you build muscle.

But, don’t be fool yourself into thinking that quitting a job you hate means you’re weak. Although many internet memes will tell you that you should never quit, mentally strong people know when to walk away. They recognize when a situation isn’t productive and they’re willing to move on.

10 #golden #rules to #follow for #success in your #career

There are hundreds of skills available and many alternate paths to success depending on the career you choose and the approach that works best for you. However, there is a common trait that defines successful professionals. Irrespective of backgrounds, domains or circumstances they cultivated a few good habits that they followed daily. This defined their personality and created their success. Simple routines repeated daily have a compounding effect over time and get you results you desire.

Limited willpower

You do not have infinite will power or unlimited mental energy. Too many decisions in a short time can reduce your decision-making ability. Consider Steve Jobs who would wear a black turtleneck and blue jeans daily, thus freeing up cognitive energy for important stuff. Make small positive choices and continue for a month to have them show up in your behaviour and become habits. Multiple successful habits contribute more to success than accomplishing any single big task.

Be coachable

Knowledge and skills are tools that earn you an income and help you achieve career goals. Hence make it a priority to constantly expand your knowledge. To do so, first become coachable. Train yourself to not react in the face of criticism and to learn from every person you meet. Develop the habit of daily reading. Get yourself a mentor. Seize every opportunity to train on new skills. Benchmark every day against your previous self and aim to be slightly better each time.

Increase your energy

Any student of physics will tell you that energy gets work done. Hence the more energy you have, the more you get done. Increase energy levels by eating right and exercising regularly. Maximise your emotional energy by investing in family, friends and a hobby or two. Meanwhile your coachability takes care of learning and mental energy levels.

Acquire this insurance policy

Attitude is the insurance policy that gets you promoted and retained. Know that if you are a star sales person you can afford to throw a few tantrums, treat others poorly and get away with it for some time till the company has a critical need for you. You will be cast aside when the tide turns and someone else with a fantastic attitude will continue to rise.

Find purpose in a marshmallow

Seeking happiness or joy is overrated. The Stanford Marshmallow experiment proved that people who delay gratification—let go of an immediate joy or small rewards in favour of a larger reward in the future—achieve better life outcomes. It is possible to choose delayed gratification without much effort only when you have a larger purpose or meaning in your career. Create a purpose bigger than your income and it will give you the sense of urgency to progress faster.


Work on your communication with others. It doesn’t matter if you are an introvert or an extrovert. Ask questions when you do not understand something. Thank your manager for his guidance. Sell your output and yourself to your employer. Listen without judgment when someone is trying to communicate. Stay silent when you need to absorb.

Keep your buckets separate

Your life is multi-dimensional but to succeed you need to live in the moment. Keep family and work buckets separate. Don’t carry your frustrations from one to another. Similarly, distinguish between friends and colleagues and treat them differently. Do not do personal work during office time. Take ownership of your role without confusing it with individual tasks. Buckets that leak into each other lead to poor choices and outcomes.

Work right

So you have decided to work hard. Have you thought about when and where you will work hard? Look for the right openings for constant learning and growth and put your efforts to work in the right place and time when the opportunity arises.

Reach 15 min early

Practice reaching work or a meeting 15 minutes early. Not only does the extra time come handy in contingencies but also the magical 15 minutes before a commitment gets you in the right frame of mind, conveys a fabulous impression and multiplies the possibilities of chance encounters and openings that are not available to others.

Fulfil your first responsibility

You are your first responsibility. Hence prioritise your needs of visualising your future, choosing values and principles that align to that future and figuring out who you need to be to get there. Now define the actions you are going to take and convert them into habits. Once you take responsibility for helping yourself first, you are available for your own success and for others.

5 Things to #Keep in #Mind When #Working on Your #LinkedIn #Profile

Many professionals view LinkedIn as the best way to meet other professionals and an important part of any job search. Given that networking is so critical to professional success, it’s vital you ensure your LinkedIn presence is accurate and engaging.

However, when I review my clients’ profiles, I am often surprised by what I find.

Here are five things to keep in mind the next time you’re tweaking your LinkedIn profile:

1. LinkedIn Is Not Like Other Social Media Platforms

You need to distinguish LinkedIn from Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms. LinkedIn is a professional networking site, whereas most other platforms are more recreational. Treat LinkedIn as a way to enhance your career, rather than a way to enhance your social encounters with friends. Keep it professional. This isn’t a place to put pictures of your kids or family.

2. Your Profile Picture Should Not Be Your Most Recent Selfie

Did you know LinkedIn profiles with photos get 21 times more profile views and 36 times more messages than those without?

Choose your photo wisely. An unprofessional photo can damage your credibility. Again, keep photos your family (no matter how cute!) on Facebook. Use a professional headshot, if available. At the very least, find the most professional-looking photo of yourself that you have. Have a friend take a picture of you, if need be. Make sure it’s from the shoulders up so the viewer has a clear view of your face. No panoramic pics, please!

3. Don’t Leave Your Profile Unfinished

If it’s important enough to use LinkedIn, it’s important enough to do it right. You don’t want to give people the impression that you don’t finish what you start. Nothing tells a person you’re not totally committed like having an incomplete LinkedIn profile.

If someone sees your profile is incomplete, they will be hesitant to reach out to you. They’ll wonder if you’re even active on the platform! Make sure ever section is filled in. Is your headline complete? Do you have a strong career summary at the top? Do you have more than just your employers’ names and job titles in the experience section?

Talk about your accomplishments. Add numbers where possible. Sprinkle keywords throughout your profile. Fill out the accomplishments section. Add your organizations and certifications. Attach presentations, publications, webinars, videos, or anything else you’re proud of. There is so much you can do with your profile. Use it!

4. Don’t Exaggerate or Oversell Yourself

It is never a good idea to exaggerate your skills or expertise — or worse yet, lie about your experience. You will be found out eventually, and it will tarnish your reputation heavily. Always be honest. It will benefit you in the long term.

5. Be a Well-Rounded Person on Paper

Hiring managers can learn a lot about someone by looking at their outside interests and activities. So, be sure to include in your profile some information about your hobbies and passions.

LinkedIn is a professional social networking site, but no one is a professional every minute of every day. Include information about your volunteer projects, what you do for fun, and anything else you deem appropriate. Demonstrating you have a life outside of work is just as important as demonstrating your professional expertise.

Erin Kennedy, MCD, CMRW, CPRW, CERW, CEMC, is a certified professional resume writer, career consultant, and the president of Professional Resume Services.

CREDIT: recruiter