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Take the Reins of Your Own Career

If you currently feel boxed in, what steps will you take to make a difference?

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Pandemics aside, many people feel stuck in their current position and along their current career path. They might have a boss who is not encouraging, or be in a company that is not supportive.

Yet, no matter where you happen to be, you can take the reins of your own career to ensure that you are constantly adding to your store house of experiences, skills,  knowledge, and insights.

Consider the case of Randy. When Randy was in his first few months working for a consulting firm, he recognized that attending local industry trade shows, expositions, and career conferences would both help to propel his career and make him a more valuable resource for his firm’s clients.

Repaid or Not

Sometimes Randy would ask his bosses for reimbursement to attend selected events. On occasion, they’d say, “Yes, go ahead. Spend the three days at the conference, we’ll foot the bill.” Often, they did not capitulate. They would not foot the bill. In such instances, Randy elected to pay his own way to attend selected conferences.

Although he was paying several hundred dollars and cumulatively, several thousand, Randy knew it was vital to stay current and aware…

He knew as well that it paid to establish key industry contacts, to determine what information people were gathering or seeking, and to gain new ideas and insights to share with his firm as well as his clients. In some cases, the conferences proved to be even more vital than Randy had originally presumed.

Asking Critical Questions

Employable talent, like Randy, devotes the time and maintains the discipline to periodically update their knowledge, skills, and information in critical areas. They ask key questions of themselves:

* Am I worth it?
* Will what I am doing make a difference?
* Will what I am learning keep me in the groove?
* Will what I seek to attend potentially add value?

Invariably, people like Randy end up attending conferences as opposed to staying away, taking the extra course, reading the authoritative book in the field, and so on. In other words, they are proactive. They don’t wait around for someone to give an offer to boost their career, they give themselves their own boosts.

Webs of Wonder

The corollary to Randy’s strategy today can be formulated partially on the Internet via webinars, specialized videos, self-study, and other learning tools. Opportunities for continual learning abound. Some resources are free, some are for a fee.

To be sure, the web lures many people in many different ways. Untold numbers of individuals are lured by news and sensationalism, social networking without specific career objectives, and other endeavors.

Forward-thinking individuals, who intend to rise in their career, approach the web in a totally different way. They seek key Youtube discussions and instructions that will add to their perspectives and storehouse of knowledge. They will sign up for online courses.

These individuals will read the long and involved articles written by the luminaries in their respective industries. In short, they are predisposed to use the web as the career enhancing tool that it certainly can be.

And You?

How about you? Are you among them? What different sites will you visit this week, that have the potential to enhance your career prospects? What will you read? For what would you sign up? What steps will you take to make a difference.

The onus is on you. No one is coming to guide you, but thankfully, you can craft an effective path for yourself. You’ll be just fine.

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Jeff Davidson is the world's only holder of the title "The Work-Life Balance Expert®" as awarded by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. He is the premier thought leader on work-life balance, integration, and harmony. Jeff speaks to organizations that seek to enhance their overall productivity by improving the effectiveness of their people. He is the author of Breathing Space, Simpler Living, Dial it Down, and Everyday Project Management. Visit www.BreathingSpace.com for more information on Jeff's keynote speeches and seminars, including: Managing the Pace with Grace® * Achieving Work-Life Balance™ * Managing Information and Communication Overload®



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Business

Running up Huge Deficits: Bad for Nations and for Individuals

Deficits are risky, whether global, national, regional, state, local, or personal

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Joe Biden seeks to spend $6 trillion annually, for now. It could be higher thereafter, as our national debt climbs to staggering sums: $28.5 trillion, and $153.5 in unfunded liabilities. Has any nation in history that accumulated large deficits over a prolonged period of time and, lacking a concerted effort towards reducing them, sustained economic prosperity for its people?

Personal Deficits

Deficits are risky, whether global, national, regional, state, local, or personal. What are the deficits in your own life? For example, based on how many calories you’re consuming daily, are you running a deficit in the number of calories you need to burn to maintain a proper weight level? If so, you know that you face many health risks.

Do you have a financial deficit? For decades, tens of millions of Americans have accumulated personal debt via credit cards. Sustained deficit spending erodes one’s ability to prepare for the future and, worse, exploit current opportunities.

Is there a deficit in the time that you spend with relatives and loved ones? What about hobbies? Friends? Worthy causes?

Answers Appear

When you’re honest with yourself about your deficits, the answers to reducing them naturally appear:

* To reduce a weight deficit, plot your weight each morning for six months. Once you become vividly aware of the relationship between calories burned and weight reduction, watching your weight drop will further reinforce your ability to maintain balance in your caloric intake.

* To reduce a personal financial deficit, place a moratorium on spending – regardless of what items entice you – until all your credit cards have zero balances.

* If you have a deficit in the time spent with friends, on hobbies, or on worthy causes, devote one evening per week to such endeavors. Give up addictive news and information via web and TV that, in retrospect, might add little to your life while creating other time-related deficits. To spend more time with your children, involve them in activities you have traditionally done without them.

Here are two resources:

Debtors Anonymous: www.debtorsanonymous.org
Obsessive-Compulsive Anonymous: www.obsessivecompulsiveanonymous.org

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Business

Your To-Do List: Unforeseen Events Will Arise

No matter how well we organize our lists and how productive we are in handling tasks, unexpected obligations and interruptions arise that could throw us off our plan.

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Each day you compose your to-do list and begin proceeding merrily down it, do you take into account what is likely to occur in the course of a day? No matter how well we organize our lists and how productive we are in handling the tasks, invariably, unexpected obligations, interruptions, and other developments arise that are going to throw us off our plan.

How do you react when you are humming along and, suddenly, you get an assignment from out of left field? Perhaps your boss has asked you to jump on something immediately. Maybe a client calls. Maybe something gets returned to you that you felt was complete.

If you are like most professionals, you immediately will become flustered. The intrusion on your time and your progress means that you are not going to accomplish all that you set out to before the end of the day. Is there a way to proceed and still feel good about all that you accomplish?

A Supplemental To-do List

I believe there is, and it involves making a miniature, supplemental to-do list that accurately and completely encapsulates the new task you now need to handle.

Why create this supplemental to-do list? It gives you focus and direction, reduces anxiety, and increases the probability that you will remain buoyant at the time of its completion and be able to turn back to what you were doing before the task was assigned.

If you don’t compose such a list, and simply plow headlong into the unexpected challenge that has come your way, you might not proceed effectively, and you might never get back to the to-do list on which you were working.

Unforeseen tasks that arise represent more than intrusions on our time; they represent intrusions on our mental and emotional state of being. Some people are naturally good at handling unexpected situations and often work as public servants, such as police officers and firefighters, or in health care, as nurses and orderlies.

Most of us, however, are not wired like this. Interruptions and intrusions take us off the path that we wanted to follow, and tend to be at least momentarily upsetting. Hereafter, when executing the items on your to-do list, proceed with the mindset that there will be an interruption of some sort. You don’t know when it is coming or how large it will be, but it will pull you off course.

Equanimity Reigns

The key question for you is: Can you develop the capacity to maintain balance and equanimity in the face of such disruptions? The good news is that you can, and it all starts with acknowledging that the situation is likely to happen, devising a supplemental checklist to handle the new task, and as deftly as possible, returning to what you were doing.

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