Tag: professional development

Want to become highly resilient and super happy?

It’s summer!

A magical season where us northerners come out of winter hibernation (being indoors) and soak up the sun.  Whether you prefer a trip to the mountains or a trip to the beach, we tend to view the next several months as a time to recharge ourselves.

 

CAUTION:  Summer is temporary.  Being resilient and able to recharge yourself should not be.

 

 

Here is my challenge:  Right now, invest less than 20 minutes, pull up and watch two short videos.  The links are below…

I can guarantee that these will forever change how you recharge for resilience and happiness.

Will you accept this challenge?

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Pay attention to your attention!

Pay attention to your attention! – Really that is not a typo!

To achieve our goals and dreams, the ability to harness our power of attention is critical. This has never been truer than in modern time.  Our ability to focus is constantly impeded by pop-up notifications, alerts, texts, emails, and so on.  Each one threatening to hijack us away from the task at hand and derailing our forward progress to success.

Fortunately, attention is a skill; and like any skill it can be strengthened.  You simply need to pay attention to your attention.  Consciously choose where to direct your efforts and take back control. pay attentionHere are some tactics for winning the war on distraction:

  • Each morning jot down your “focus” list. Set multiple reminders for referencing it.
  • Do less, then obsess.
  • Push back against distractions as they arise.

In any moment, we can choose to be successful by giving our 100% focus to the most essential tasks at hand.  Be mindful, be deliberate, and always be strengthening the power of your attention.  Distractions will begin losing their power and you will be on a straight track towards achieving those goals and dreams.

You got this…take charge of your attention!

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below as I learn just as much from you as you do from me.

Follow this blog by clicking the icon on the upper right side of this page.   

Follow me on Twitter @JimCarchidi

 

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You have options – work hard or work smart?

 “Give me a place to stand and a lever long enough, and I can move anything.”  – Greek mathematician Archimedes

That’s working smarter – that’s quality activity!

smart kidLet’s apply this concept to a modern-day project.  Imagine this scenario, you must move a heavy piece of old furniture out of your garage and to the curb.  You have options – work hard or work smart!

One scenario, working hard, would be to solicit a group of friends/family to tackle this project with you.  This would entail having to select and contact multiple people, coordinate a date and time among their varying schedules, and (if you are a good friend) providing some adult beverages afterward for their effort.  This is a perfectly viable option that will provide the desired result, yet it requires a lot of steps.

Another scenario, working smart, call that one friend or family member who owns a dolly and ask to borrow it.  Then you can do the job yourself and save those coveted adult beverages for the remainder of the weekend.  Another option producing the same result but this one demands far less time, energy, and effort – and keeps the fridge well stocked for the weekend.

Admittedly parts of every job will have tasks we can’t just eliminate.  Still, most jobs do have parts we can combine, delegate, or remove.  Ask yourself, “What existing activities of little value should we eliminate?  What existing activities of high value should we increase? What new activities of high value should we create?” 

Reflect on the questions posed above then take action!

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below as I learn just as much from you as you do from me.

Follow this blog by clicking the icon on the upper right side of this page.   

Follow me on Twitter @JimCarchidi

 

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“Work smarter not harder.” – Duh!

The way we approach annual goals, meaning our specific work practices as opposed to sheer effort, does indeed provide greater results.  Think about those goals you have previously identified for the year.  Are you making forward progress?  Is your pace of progress on track?

Confined only by walls you buildWith the mid-year mark approaching, circle back on those goals and key activities being engaged.  Are you working harder? Smarter?  Neither? Both?

If you find yourself working harder, be aware!  You are spread too thin and falling into the complexity trap.  Thus, working smarter holds great truth.  Confirm that you have clear direction, reclarify your goals, and literally focus on “fewer” activities.

The smart way to work is literally “do less, then obsess.”  By no means does this imply slacking off – quite the contrary.  Author of Great at Work, Moten Hanson, sums it up perfectly – “As few as you can, as many as you must.”  By this he means we should do everything possible to discard non-essential activities.  Take the fewest steps – while retaining everything necessary to do great work.  Rather than “do more, then stress” we should “do less, then obsess.”

Reconfirm those goals.  Recognize the most critical activities needed.  Invest huge efforts into each activity and obsess over them!

What will you obsess about?

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below as I learn just as much from you as you do from me.

Follow this blog by clicking the icon on the upper right side of this page.   

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Behind Goal? Channel your inner-infant self!

Do you ever find yourself struggling to make progress on a goal – what do you do?  Act like an infant! …metaphorically speaking.

infante walkingGoals are meant to be big.  They are meant to take time; yet too often we outpace ourselves early on which can be detrimental to overall success.  Ambition turns into defeatism as we begin telling ourselves the finish line is out of reach.  This is precisely the moment where we must act like an infant, because all infants are successful!

“When you were still a small child, you made your way around the world crawling on your hands and knees. Everyone else was walking, and one day you got into your little head that maybe you could give that a try to. Once that thought appeared, there was suddenly no “maybe” about it: you had to give it a try.  There was no way you were not going to attempt it, fail at it, and then keep attempting it until you mastered it.  Step-by-step, quite literally, we started working to develop the skills needed to walk.” – Jeff Olson, The Slight Edge

Could you imagine if you gave up when you were an infant?  Today you’d be crawling around on your hands and knees as a grown adult.  Of course you didn’t give up then – and you shouldn’t today either!

Embody the relentless determination you had when learning to walk.  Approach your goals moment to moment.  Like learning to walk you should expect to fall.  And just as you did when you were an infant, you get back up and keep working at it.

You first had to learn to crawl before you could walk.  Similarly, you must break down annual goals into smaller (more manageable) milestones.  Begin with a walking pace  towards your goals; and before you know it, you will be running towards the finish line.

This is the power of continuous effort…this is the power of acting like an infant!

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below as I learn just as much from you as you do from me.

Follow this blog by clicking the icon on the upper right side of this page and/or check out my twitter handle @JimCarchidi

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How do you see yourself?

Blog post written by Amber Sutphen, Financial Recruiter, JFC Global

This year, when I was asked to be part of the Professional Development class, I wasn’t sure what to expect.

Prior to this class, professional development was something I was doing without even thinking about it. Now I’ve been given the opportunity to take charge of my professional development and look at it from a much deeper perspective.

“Find out who you are and do it on purpose.” – Dolly Parton

cat_sees_lion_in_mirrorAs a member of this class, we are asked to evaluate ourselves. Using the book “Emotional Intelligence 2.0,” we have been taking time out of each class to delve into different strategies to improve our emotional intelligence (EQ). We have learned that developing our soft-skills and managing how we react to different situations is a huge part of professional development.

One section of the book focuses on Self Awareness which is “having a clear perception of your personality, including strengths, weaknesses, thoughts, beliefs, motivation and emotions.” Before this class, I didn’t spend much time thinking about this topic. Throughout the day I’m being pulled in different directions, handling multiple job orders and going light speed.  I never really took the opportunity to check in with myself.

At the start of this class, I decided I would begin writing in a journal. I try to write in it almost every day and overall it has been a very positive experience. If you are wondering how to go about emotional journal writing, here are some tips:

  • Find a special spot that is neat, clean and comfortable
  • Before writing, allow yourself to relax and to reflect. Ask yourself: What did I do today? How did it make me feel? What lessons did I learn?
  • When ready, start writing. Don’t be too critical. No one is judging.

The process of writing down my feelings and what is going on in my life has given me a clearer picture of my emotions. It has allowed me to become more mindful and more in-tune with myself.

Sure, there are days when I don’t feel like writing, but what I’ve found is that even when I don’t feel like it, I am always glad I did. It is interesting to reflect back on my day and also to look back at entries I made.  I plan to continue with it, and it will be cool when I can look back a year, two years ago, etc.

There are a ton of benefits to emotional journal writing! It can definitely relieve stress. It also serves as a reminder of some mistakes you’ve made, moments you want to remember, and accomplishments you are proud of. It forces you to be aware of your actions and behaviors. It can also turn into your own personal brainstorming session where you come up with new ideas that open up the door to new possibilities.

If you have ever considered starting a journal, my advice is to do it! It will give you the ability to see the big picture. It is a great tool that could help you achieve higher self-awareness and continue to develop in both your professional career and personal life.

Happy writing!

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below as I learn just as much from you as you do from me.

The greatest compliment I can receive is a referral from readers.  Please SHARE my blog with your network.  Thanks for not keeping us a secret!  

 

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Don’t be an elephant!

I recently heard an excellent story told by Dave Ramsey on his podcast, EntreLeadership.  The message sparked a profound awakening in me and my hope is that it does the same for you.  It went something like this…

You know how circuses tame a baby elephant?

They drive a “giant” metal stake deep into the ground with an “enormous” chain from it tied to the elephant’s ankle.  The infant mammal fights with all her might until eventually coming to an understanding that she cannot free herself.  Soon enough a mindset formulates, she accepts the situation, and no longer attempts moving the stake.

You know how they restrain her years later as a full grown, mighty adult?

They drive a “little” steak into the ground with a “tiny” rope from it tied to the elephant’s ankle.  Ironically, she chooses not to move.  Why?  The only thing holding this 10,000-pound mammal back is her belief in the past.

elephant-shackled

The reality is that many of us err on the side of perceived limitations, those that aren’t necessarily real.  Like the elephant in the story, we become immobile by past beliefs or at least they constrain us in some way.  By believing them, of what we can and cannot do, we become blind to future possibilities.  In doing so we impoverish our full potential.

Ask yourself, “What confines am I imposing on myself at work…are they real or just made up?”

Evaluate the story you might be telling yourself about goals.  Then shatter any limited beliefs that are holding you back.  The story of the elephant reminded me, and hopefully you, that we are confined only by the walls we build ourselves.

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below as I learn just as much from you as you do from me.

 

The greatest compliment I can receive is a referral from readers.  Please SHARE my blog with your network.  Thanks for not keeping us a secret!  

Follow me on Twitter @JimCarchidi

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You don’t know what you’re missing!

Written by Cindy M., Recruiter & Assistant Team Manager – JFC Workforce  

Prior to my current work family I spent six years in the insurance industry as a case manager.  In that period of time I learned many things but was never ‘formally’ introduced to the concept of professional development.  After my time in the insurance industry I was hired by JFC Workforce.  It was a foreign world and industry to me however I was excited to embark on a different path.  That was three years ago and “wow” was I in for an awakening.

It was at JFC where I was propelled into being a student of deliberate learning; not just about the industry but also about myself.  It was a pivotal moment where professional development was infused into my mindset.

From the very first day, heck the very first hour, it was apparent that my employer genuinely cared about my personal and professional growth. Several of the VP’s spent one on one time with me and welcomed me to the team.  The CEO even spent time to learn about me and explain the vision and culture.  It was quite surreal.  It was also during those first few encounters that it sunk in…”I had gained a second family, my JFC family.”

I was dedicated to their philosophy of pursuing my better self and it was noticed.  Most recently I was selected for JFC’s Professional Development program – when each year a select few team members are entrenched in executive mentoring, consultation, coaching, as well as lesson study, and of course, team building activities.

So what did I learn?  

I was introduced to the topic of Emotional Intelligence and the “why” behind it.  If you have never heard of this, I urge you to look it up.  Emotional Intelligence, or EQ, is critical to self development.

Here is the essence of EQ:

  • Self-awareness – Your ability to accurately perceive your emotions and stay aware of them as they happen. This includes keeping you on top of how you ten to respond to specific situations and certain people.
  • Self-Management – Your ability to use awareness of your emotions to stay flexible and positively direct your behavior. This means managing your emotional reactions to all situations and people.
  • Social Competence – The combination of  your social awareness and relationship management skills. It’s more about how you are with other people.
  • Social Awareness – Your ability to accurately pick up on emotions in other people and get what is really going on. This often means understanding what other people are thinking and feeling, even if you don’t feel the same way.
  • Relationship Management – Your ability to use aware of your emotions and the emotions of others to manage interactions successfully. Letting emotional awareness guide clear communication and effective handling of conflict.

Now I know what professional development really means…

Throughout my tenure at JFC I have been pushed to grow, to develop myself as a person. Most surprising to me was that learning doesn’t have to feel like work.  When done right, it is very energizing!

It also does not need to be in a formal setting, like a classroom.  Sometimes it is as simple as getting together with a group of colleagues to share experiences and provide support .

I imagine not many employees of other organizations can say the same.  After all, what have you learned this past month, week, day?

 

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“Big Brother” meets “Undercover Boss”

Undercover-bossImagine if a reality TV crew followed us around for an entire work week.  Think “Big Brother” meets “Undercover Boss.”  What would they see?

While many of us think that we are 100% effective at work, the truth is that we allow distractions to creep into our routines.  We create busyness such as checking our handheld devices, checking Facebook, browsing websites for irrelevant articles, and so on.  Busyness is not effectiveness; and it certainly will not bring us closer to achieving our best.

Effectiveness is about managing your priorities, not time, so to work smarter rather than harder.  It is finding methods to be more productive in less time.  It is how much you get out of an hour as opposed to how many hours you spend.  As business guru John C. Maxwell says, “Time is an equal opportunity employer; everybody gets 24 hours a day, no more, no less – but not everybody gets the same return on their 24 hours.”

But what about all the unplanned interruptions?  Admittedly you cannot eliminate interruptions.  On the contrary, you do get a say on how much time you will spend on them.  It is in your power to decide what gets your time and attention and how much of it.

I think it safe to say that all of us could benefit from tweaking at least a few of our daily activities to become more effective.  It’s time to remove any self-sabotage or self-limitation you have around “not having enough time.”  Prioritize and schedule your work week for maximum impact, develop and maintain focus, and motivate yourself to achieve extraordinary things!

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below as I learn just as much from you as you do from me.

The greatest compliment I can receive is a referral from readers.  Please SHARE my blog with your network.  Thanks for not keeping us a secret!  

 

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Separation: It’s good for problem solving

It turns out that the advice Dr. Leo Marvin (Richard Dreyfuss) gave Bob Wiley (Bill Murray) in the 1991 hit movie “What about Bob?” was more than the premise of a funny movie. In the comedy, therapist Dr. Marvin tells patient Bob Wiley to “take a vacation from his problems”.

And sure enough while on vacation Wiley finds the answers to his greatest problems.

What about BobWe have all been stumped by a problem at work that seemingly has no answer to it.  In that moment we conclude that we have approached it from every angle, and yet there is no apparent solution.

During those pressure cooker moments, we find ourselves in the weeds – no longer seeing the forest through the trees.  Our minds become hyper focused on what’s in front of us and begin to shut down.  We tell ourselves, “I will just work longer nights at the office…or…I can cut out my morning walks and come in earlier.”

More often than not, this is the wrong approach.

Our professional lives are routinely interrupted by extraordinary challenges; those by which we no longer see light at the end of the tunnel.  It seems counter-intuitive but this is when you should create space and distance yourself from the problem.  Don’t take it from me, take it from NASA.

In 1993 NASA suffered extra pressure and great stress when the Hubble Space Telescope broke down.  They faced a daunting task of figuring out how to go up in space and fix the distorted mirror inside the telescope.  For months the brightest minds in NASA couldn’t identify a solution.

Then one day NASA engineer, Jim Crocker, was taking a shower in a hotel and noticed how the shower head was mounted on adjustable rods with folding arms.  Eureka!  The answer did not appear while working late hours in the lab.  It occurred when Jim was in the shower on vacation, when he created space (no pun intended) from the perplexity of his problem.

Why does creating space work?

Your brain is like any muscle in your body.  Imagine lifting weights multiple times per week but only on biceps.  Doing so will surely strain and fatigue those muscles.  Thus, when you are consumed by constantly tackling the same challenge at work, you actually lose mental energy needed to identify solutions.  This is when it’s time to create space!

Let me be perfectly clear.  I am not suggesting you kick the can down the road and embrace avoidance. That will simply create additional problems. But like Bob Wiley, or Jim Crocker, you may find answers to your greatest problem when you take a vacation from the problem.

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below as I learn just as much from you as you do from me.

The greatest compliment I can receive is a referral from readers.  Please SHARE my blog with your network.  Thanks for not keeping us a secret!  

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