Posts tagged with ‘career confidence’

19 mar

Making What You Love Your Job

RobertCordrayMost people go through life and discover they have a passionate interest in something. Maybe you can’t imagine your day without making or listening to music. Perhaps you have an urge to draw and find yourself reaching for that large box of pens to fully express your innermost thoughts. You might find that you love making delicious meals each night for your loving family, creating a fragrant garden each summer or adore the chance to observe wildlife close up and visit zoos around the world.

One of the most important goals in life is finding out what each one of us loves to do. That passion often comes from inside oneself. It is an organic process that begins early in life. Once you realize what it is that truly motivates you—what makes you utterly happy—you realize that you need to figure out how best to turn what you love into a job you can do for the rest of your life.

The best way to do that is to start with an honest self inventory. Think about what you enjoy doing. Think as well about your skill level for that particular action or subject. You may like the sciences very much, but if you find math hard, that may not be a particularly viable career choice for you. You should also think about any hobbies that you have. Perhaps you’ve always been interested in foreign travel or building miniature railroads and showing them off.

You should also evaluate what skills go into each of your passions. For example, if you are deeply interested in animal welfare, think about the kind of qualities and skills that accompany that interest. A person who loves animals may be adept at reading an animal’s emotions. They may also realize they are equally adept at reading the emotions of people. Someone who loves animals may also realize they are deeply interested in issues of ecology and the environment.

If you have multiple interests and passions, take each one into account; they often overlap. If you love gardens, you may also love to paint and draw pictures of your garden. This can easily lead to developing your skills as a landscape designer as well as skills that use your sense of graphic design.

Once you have taken a careful self-assessment, it is time to start thinking about the kinds of jobs that relate to doing the things you love. For example, if you to travel, you may also find it very easy to learn foreign languages fluently and understand all the nuances of foreign cultures. Such knowledge is incredibly useful in the job market. You might consider becoming a translator, a foreign diplomat, a tour guide overseas, a professor of languages or opening up your own travel agency. All of these jobs can be deeply satisfying for someone who loves using their talents and passions to earn a good living.

Often turning your passions into a job requires additional education. You will need certification and a degree if you want to help people by becoming a nurse or a teacher. In that case, consider an internship or other on-the-job training before committing to a career path. You may learn that you like the idea of helping people but you’re not good with the sight of blood and needles.

Another way to make what you love into your job is to contact others who have done so already. Think about your circle of friends and relatives. Consider their career choices. You may already know someone who has your dream job. Contact them directly. Ask if they want to talk to you about their career. People who love what they do often adore sharing their work experiences with people who are thinking of entering their field. Very often they can tell you exactly what is it like to be a vet, a labor lawyer or an architect. If you don’t have a direct contact, checking out a blog that focuses on helping you start a business and find your own success, such as NuSkin’s The Source makes a good option.

The important point is to know yourself. Once you understand who you are, what it is that motivates you and makes you completely happy, you are halfway to job and life happiness. Find out where that path leads and you will be on the road to happiness.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Robert Cordray on March 19th, 2014 in Career | No comments Read related posts in , ,

05 nov

7 Signs You Suffer from Impostor Syndrome

Kerrigan2“You think, ‘Why would anyone want to see me again in a movie?’ And I don’t know how to act anyway, so why am I doing this?” —Meryl Streep

“I have written 11 books, but each time I think, ‘Uh oh, they’re going to find out now. I’ve run a game on everybody, and they’re going to find me out.’” —Maya Angelou

“I still doubt myself every single day. What people believe is my self-confidence is actually my reaction to fear.”—Will Smith

If you’ve ever felt like this, then welcome to the club — the Impostor Syndrome Club. Obviously, you’re in good company.

The impostor syndrome is known to afflict not only the rich and famous but many successful executives as well. Primarily career-based and achievement-driven, it is a phenomenon where people are unable to own their accomplishments or value, despite evidence to the contrary.

The sufferer has a nagging fear of being found out as a fake and a phony, as if they’ve fooled everyone into believing that they are competent. Any and all success feels completely undeserved and dismissed as luck, timing, or something other than talent, intelligence, hard work, and perseverance. Many professionals have a respect that they feel is not earned, and a title that they feel they don’t live up to.

Some experts say it’s cultural; some say it’s psychological. This expert (and sufferer) says, “Who cares?” It’s painful and chronic. It’s the most awful, sinking feeling that is the height — and depth — of insecurity.

Although everyone feels doubt and anxiety at times, this syndrome causes a constant cycle of shame and embarrassment, and manifests in self-defeating thoughts that amount to one thing: “I am not worthy.”

And yes, the biggest deceiver in all of this really is us: Not in how we believe we lie to others, but in how we lie to ourselves. You see, impostors tend to mistake feelings for facts. But, feelings, unlike facts, lie—and they lie often.

Understanding this an important step in letting go. By recognizing the lies we tell ourselves and challenging them, we gain perspective, clarity, and confidence.

So–How do we lie to ourselves?

1. You tend to focus on the one thing that’s wrong rather than what’s right.

When I was hired to lead operations for a technology startup, I was brought onboard for my leadership and operations skills: my ability to structure and unify a team, point them in the right direction, and execute strategy. Yet, my focus was my abysmal lack of technology skill. I was beating myself up constantly over this one point. The fact that I had a long, successful career was lost on me. I was too busy feeling defective.

We are drawn to and focus on the negative instead of the positive. Anxiety and fear just seem to feel more natural to us, and often, become habit. Whatever we focus on only intensifies, so try focusing on the good.

2. You think it’s too easy — that anyone could do it.

I have a friend who is terrific at technology. He can write code, design websites, repair computers, and do a million other techie things. I think he’s amazing. He thinks a monkey could do it. When you know what you’re doing, it seems effortless. And it is — to you. What you may think is nothing is really something to someone else.

We don’t understand that certain things come more naturally for us, and not for others, and so we devalue our gifts. Never assume that your own unique talents are easily duplicated.

3. You think it has to be difficult to be worthwhile.

Some of us are taught this at an early age by struggling for love and attention from one or both of our parents. They withhold love until we prove ourselves worthy. Since their love and approval means everything to us, we think that we have to fight for everything worthwhile in life. In fact, sometimes, we over complicate things just to compensate for anything that should be easy. It’s exhausting, and time to stop.

Forgive your parents. They were doing their best and relying on what they were taught. Because the lies we tell ourselves are often inherited, forgive yourself, too.

4. You believe that what you’re doing is never enough.

In trying to satisfy that inner need for recognition, we set unrealistic expectations. We also compare ourselves to others and think that we have to struggle to measure up. This paradigm means that we can only feel worthy when we are achieving, as that’s what it takes to get positive attention.

In the Harvard Business Review article, “How to Keep A-Players Productive,” Steven Berglas discusses the “extraordinarily punishing superegos” of over achievers such as Winston Churchill, who “voluntarily push themselves to extremes.” Churchill was enormously self-critical, reviewing everything in his head that he failed at, a ritual he learned at a young age from his abusive father.

Often, our self-critical, punishing voice is not our own, but one we’ve heard, loved and trusted more than our own selves.

We forget that no one is all achieving, in all possible ways, all the time.

5. You need the secondary gains, because you get something out of staying this way.

Often, we stay in the impostor state for a reason — even if we’re unaware of it. Sometimes, it pushes us to do our best work. In fact, I would hazard to guess that it’s the motivation that drives Maya Angelou each time she sits down to write a book. We become our own competition, always playing against ourselves.

I tended to prepare myself for failure, so it wouldn’t hurt as much if it actually happened. After the traumatic experience of getting laid off from a job I had and loved for years, I would protect myself with this psychological safety net.

6. You’re not in the moment because you’re too busy feeling and not doing.

When we allow our thoughts to wander, we can often over-think, over-analyze and feel lost. It is then that we see only the emotional and not the practical, and our overly-conscious selves can throw us off — and possibly out — of our game. We’re so focused on the fear that we lose the moment, and that’s where we really need to be.

Sports psychologist Harvey Dorfman helped baseball legends address fear by being and doing more in the present and talking and thinking less about the past or future. His mantra was “see the ball, hit the ball.”

If we allow ourselves to be too self-conscious, we’re too busy feeling instead of doing. We get ahead of ourselves with too much anticipatory anxiety and miss the moment. For impostor syndrome, doing is the best antidote. When we’re in the doing, we have no time to criticize ourselves.

7. You don’t have perspective, and need to take a step back.

Perspective matters. It’s like a Monet painting—up close, it seems like a bunch of wild brush strokes that don’t seem to make sense, but from a distance, their true beauty and value are revealed to us. So it can be with our own lives and careers.

We often de-value the positive impact we have on others. If it was someone else’s life, we could see it objectively. It took me a long time to see the value I brought to many companies and clients. I finally realized that if I saw someone else who had my career, I would think, “Wow, that’s terrific!” And now, I do.

Here’s the thing about impostor syndrome: We have a limited amount of time on this earth, and it’s our choice what we do with it. So, why rob yourself of happiness and fulfillment?

Whatever we focus on the most will intensify, so focus on the good. It’s what we tell ourselves that really matters, so stop lying to yourself. Challenge and change those thoughts, so you can change your life. It is a wonderful life, after all.

Copyright 2013 Michelle Kerrigan

For over three decades, Michelle Kerrigan has been helping businesses and private clients excel in the workplace and grow in the marketplace. She is an expert in developing the practical skills and confidence critical to high performance and productivity. With extensive leadership experience and practical mastery in operational excellence, Michelle is a powerful resource for navigating change, conquering fear and doubt, and solving day-to-day challenges, resulting in more effective leadership and teamwork, higher efficiency and revenue growth. In addition, Michelle writes and speaks about the roles confidence and self esteem play in achieving success, and produces a series for public TV, Workplace Confidence. More at: www.workplaceconfidence.com and www.michellekerriganinc.com

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Michelle Kerrigan on November 5th, 2013 in Career, Global/Social Change, New Directions, Personal Stories | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

01 aug

How to Stop the Self-conscious Strikeout and Hit a Career Home Run

Kerrigan2As many of my readers know, I recently started filming a local TV series called Workplace Confidence.

It’s been quite a learning curve and a test of confidence, with a few self-conscious fast balls thrown in.

First, there’s having to open the show on cue, and trying to sound relaxed. Hearing “30 seconds to go” and then seeing the silent cue “5, 4, 3, 2, 1” and a finger pointing straight at me (with a red light flashing) signaled my first time up at bat. Talk about anticipatory anxiety?! I did OK, but was so scared of forgetting my lines, that it felt forced and uncomfortable.

Strike one.

Then, there’s me, seeing and hearing myself on the playback, and thinking, “God—my nose is huge (and too shiny),” “I sound so nasal and New Yawk-y,” and “Thank heavens this show is only on local public TV.” My fear of my next show was already growing.

Strike two.

Next, there’s the criticism and the comments. My mom: “Gee—you’re dressed in all black. It looks so harsh.” My studio manager: “You have to watch those crutch words, like ‘you know’.” And, my close friend: “Well, you’re better than Honey Boo Boo.”

Strike three! I can’t do this show. I’m out!

It’s at times like these that, if we’re not careful, our overly-conscious selves can throw us off—and possibly out—of our game. It’s good to be aware, but when we overdo it, we’re aiming our bat at our self esteem and not at the ball that’s coming straight at us.

In other words, we’re so focused on the fear that we lose the moment. And, that’s where we really need to be.

I’m reminded of the late, great, sports psychologist, Harvey Dorfman, who helped baseball legends address fear by being and doing more in the present and talking and thinking less about the past or future.

He understood how self consciousness could really screw up performance, and even had to help baseball pros dress in the locker room when they were frozen in anticipatory fear.

Dorfman felt the vast majority of issues players had to face came from getting ahead of themselves in game situations, causing feeling to interfere with function. His mantra was “see the ball, hit the ball.”

He said that the tendency of the eyes to move ahead of objects they are tracking could lead to an over swing by the batter, as he over thinks, gets ahead of himself, and loses focus on where the ball actually is.

This doesn’t just happen to professional baseball players. This happens to all of us as well.

If we allow ourselves to be too self conscious, we’re too busy feeling instead of doing. We get ahead of ourselves with too much anticipatory anxiety and miss the moment.

I remembered this the next time I entered the TV studio, and as I opened the show, I got in the moment. I didn’t get ahead of myself. I focused on what I was doing and nothing else. No comments, no criticism, no fear.

The studio manager told me afterwards that he was shocked at how strong I sounded as I came up to the plate.

I saw the ball and hit the ball. I stopped being too self conscious. And no matter what anyone else thinks—including me—it was a home run.

Copyright 2013 Michelle Kerrigan

Michelle Kerrigan is an expert in workplace success who helps corporate and private clients develop the practical skills and confidence they need to improve their performance and productivity. Based on her 25 years’ leadership experience, Michelle provides an invaluable road map for conquering fear and doubt, navigating change and solving day-to-day challenges. Michelle also writes and speaks on the impact self esteem has on success, and produces a series for public TV, entitled Workplace Confidence. More at www.workplaceconfidence.com and www.michellekerriganinc.com.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Michelle Kerrigan on August 1st, 2013 in Career | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , , , , ,

26 jun

Corporate Dating Rule #1: This Is an Engagement, Not a Marriage

Kerrigan2So, you thought this would be about love in the workplace? Not really, except that the happy-ever-after in your career depends only on one relationship: the one you have with yourself.

I recently spoke with a college graduate who is beginning her job search. She wants to get a job in a prime-time newsroom because she hates change and thinks “newsrooms keep staff for years.”

What surprised me most is that anyone—especially a Gen Y—thinks they can marry a company anymore. Date? Yes. Be engaged for a while? Yes. Marry? No.

Let’s face it—today’s business world is fickle. Just think of your smart phone—the minute you fall in love with it, it’s altered completely or off the market. That’s how fast things change.

And that’s not a bad thing. Dating keeps you sharp and on your toes. There’s no time to get complacent or bored. And, it helps you become more grounded in your own abilities to adapt. And that’s the name of the game.

Make a commitment to yourself first and foremost. Develop your skills, stay current and connected, and bring your best to every company you date. That’s how to be more confident and successful in achieving your career goals.

Copyright 2013 Michelle Kerrigan

Michelle Kerrigan is an expert in workplace success who helps clients develop the practical skills they need to improve their confidence and performance. Michelle also writes and speaks on the impact self esteem has on success, and is currently producing and hosting a series for public TV, called Workplace Confidence. More at www.workplaceconfidence.com and www.michellekerriganinc.com

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Michelle Kerrigan on June 26th, 2013 in Career, New Directions | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , , , ,

04 may

Workplace Confidence: Quick Tips in Career Confidence

Kerrigan2I spoke at SUNY Purchase recently, and it was painfully obvious how much students need help as they get ready to enter the corporate world.

So, here are a few quick tips from that discussion:

—Always reach out and shake hands when you are meeting someone for the first time, and look them in the eye. Eye-to-eye contact establishes trust. And dress appropriately–-meaning business attire. Companies see you as an extension of their brand, so they want someone who will represent them well.

—In today’s business world, most professionals will experience change at alarming rates, and will probably change careers multiple times. So, as you are your own brand (You Inc.), from your very first job to your very last, you want to make a great impression on everyone you work with. I recently ran into a top executive I worked with at Sony who I haven’t seen in years. He didn’t remember my name right away, but he beamed because he remembered how he felt about working with me—terrific! My brand brought back good memories for him, and he immediately asked for my card.

—Never think you’re too good for any job you start in. No matter how menial, you want to do your best and leave a good impression. You never know if you will meet these same people later in your career. Trust me–it happens. So, don’t have an attitude of “I’m too good for this position.” Take it for the experience it is—have more gratitude than attitude.

—There is opportunity everywhere, so be open and receptive! I know of a consultant who was asked to speak at a meeting that he thought inconsequential. However, he decided to do it as a favor. There was a woman in the audience who liked his message and hooked him up with her husband. P.S.: That little speech brought him 400K worth of business.

A lot more came from that talk—look for more tips to come!

And–good luck out there!!!

Copyright 2013 Michelle Kerrigan. All rights reserved.

For over 25 years, Michelle Kerrigan has been helping clients achieve workplace success by developing the practical skills they need to improve their confidence, performance and productivity. Based on her own leadership experiences, Michelle provides an invaluable road map for conquering fear and doubt, navigating change, and solving day-to-day challenges. Michelle also writes and speaks about the impact self esteem has on success, and is currently working on a series for public TV about workplace confidence. More at www.workplaceconfidence.com and www.michellekerriganinc.com.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Michelle Kerrigan on May 4th, 2013 in Career, Global/Social Change | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , , , ,

04 apr

Corporate Breakup Rule #2: Don’t Get Caught Like a Deer in the Headlights

Kerrigan2Life is about change. Corporate life is about more change.

The more grounded you are in your ability to navigate change, the more confident you will be.

So, here’s corporate breakup rule #2: Don’t get caught like a deer in the headlights when change—especially unwanted change, like getting laid off—hits.

Be comfortable with change. Expect it. Prepare for it. Keep your network alive and well.

Most people get complacent once they have a job. They stop networking. They think “Why bother?”

Don’t be one of them. Even if it’s just a quick phone call or cup of coffee, keep those relationship lines open and active at all times.

Remember:

There is no such thing as job security anymore. Change is now rapid and constant.

In this world of change, who doesn’t need more friends for support?

More companies are hiring based on recommendations. (it’s like one big facebook out there!)

Business development is about relationship building–-so start building.

Ask yourself, “If the unexpected happens, do I really want to look like a deer caught in the headlights?”

So—Prepare for change. Stay connected. And be reciprocal. Networking is always a 2-way street.

How do you handle change? How do you stay connected?


Copyright 2013 Michelle Kerrigan. All Rights Reserved.

For over 25 years, Michelle Kerrigan has been helping businesses and private clients achieve workplace success by developing the practical skills they need to improve their confidence. Based on her own leadership experiences, Michelle provides an invaluable road map for conquering fear and doubt, navigating change, and solving day-to-day challenges, resulting in significantly improved performance and productivity. Michelle is also currently working on a series for public TV about workplace confidence. More at www.workplaceconfidence.com and www.michellekerriganinc.com.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Michelle Kerrigan on April 4th, 2013 in Career | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , , , ,