Category Archives: Career Advice

Keep on Keepin On

Over the past six weeks, life has changed immensely. From having a baby three months early to navigating the waters of my ever ebbing and flowing career. One thing I have been clear on since leaving my full-time job back in 2015 is that I never want to work a 9 to 5 again. Now, that I have had a baby this is ever more important as I never want to sacrifice my time with her for money. I never want to miss an important event. I never want to sacrifice travel and opportunity due to the parameters inherent with a corporate career. All this to say, I’m proud that I have been able to create a lifestyle business by working with and for like-minded individuals.

The biggest challenge has been time management. When given the opportunity to create your own hours, work on your own terms, autonomy is your worst and best friend. All that to say, I have learned (am still learning) a few things to keep the balance while getting the job done.

  1. Keep yourself accountable. Regardless of whether your ‘boss’ requires you to track your tasks and time spent, do it anyway. It is useful for you to know how you are spending your time. It also allows you to track the results of your efforts in relation to the task required. I have used several programs in the past most recently TeamWorks, Trello, and Myhours. They are simple to use and allow for you to collaborate with your colleagues remotely.  I also use Slack to keep communication channels open without having to use email or texting.
  2. Keep a calendar. I use Google Calendar to keep all my personal and professional commitments. I even use it to schedule my gym time, my ‘home’ time as well as study time. I try to follow it carefully while allowing me the flexibility I crave. In doing so, I set commitments each day for the things that I need to accomplish.
  3. Keep a commitment to your health. As noted above, I put in my calendar time for the gym and home. This way I have pre-scheduled the time needed to take care of my health and hearth. I have also recently joined a group that my sister runs that fosters a community of people striving to stay fit and eat healthy. This creates another layer of accountability beyond the intrinsic drive. (if interested in that, you can email her by clicking here)
  4. Keep learning. Never stop reading, listening to podcasts, meeting new people and engaging with those that think differently than you. I have recently started diving more into podcasts. There is so much free information out there from experts in every industry. A few of my new finds are Side Hustle Nation, Tropical MBA, EOFire, & Growth Hack Your LIfe. If you can’t tell already, they are focused on the digital nomad or entrepreneur, which are obviously in line to the career and life I’m creating. I encourage you to read at least one book a month, subscribe to one podcast, meet with a new person or old contact every 6 weeks and spark new conversations. It sounds like work, but in reality, it will keep you focused and ahead of the curve.
  5. Keep your priorities in check. Constantly re-evaluate your priorities. By looking at your calendar and your activity you can start to see a pattern of how you are spending your time. If you start to see a shift towards one thing or another be sure to make sure that shift is in the direction of your goals. If not, make a shift back. Your priorities should align to your purpose. Make sure you are vigilant in keeping these at the top of your mind.

Any tricks or tips you care to share?

xoxo,

Blonde Chick

Saying Sorry

I ended a career with a company due to many personal reasons. In the ending months of that business relationship, there were several frustrating things that happened. Unfortunately, I handled the situation emotionally and did not respond in the best way. Instead, I let my frustration control my actions. Lately, it had been weighing on my mind.  I decided to apologize for my behavior. I  wasn’t sure what I expected to happen. Actually, I contemplated blocking the response from my email so that I wouldn’t have to deal with the potential negative reaction.

I don’t like conflict, I hate drama, and I don’t like the idea of leaving a negative impression in someone’s mind. I decided to apologize for my behavior. I  wasn’t sure what I expected to happen. Actually, I contemplated blocking the response from my email so that I wouldn’t have to deal with the potential negative reaction.

I received a very gracious response.  A huge weight lifted off my shoulders. A weight I didn’t realize I had been carrying with me all these months. Saying sorry is powerful regardless of who is right and who is wrong. There’s freedom when you forgive yourself and those who may have harmed you. A freedom I didn’t realize I had kept locked away.

This was a powerful lesson for me. I was so concerned with my feelings and my pride. Instead of focusing on reacting the right way, I let my pride lead. Learning to say sorry is the right way to live. Period.

xoxo,

Blonde Chick

Nothing is Missing

Last Friday I received one of my weekly TUT messages, read below:

Know what’s missing from most people’s live? The realization that nothing is missing from their lives. You already have whatever you may be looking for.

I read this about a dozen times. I agree with the message completely. Yet, something didn’t quite sit right. For me, success and fulfillment are only achieved if I’m progressing forward. While I think this message is an important reminder to be grateful. It also puts things into perspective when thinking about all the ‘wants’ vs. needs in life. (If you’re reading this then you already have a better quality of life than most in the world.) 

So my big takeaway – being grateful doesn’t require you to lower your standards. It’s similar to the methodology of SCRUM, in that you check-in on your progress to ensure you’re still headed in the right direction.

Keep moving forward, be grateful for where you are and what you have. Although nothing essential may be missing it is however, essential to keep moving forward in pursuing your goals. Realizing that you have it great now is part of having a grateful heart and attitude at all times.

xoxo,

Blonde Chick

 

Are you a Challenger?

As a young professional, the one thing you should always be pursuing is knowledge. At this stage in the game you’re not very experienced so the one thing you can do to is gain experience by reading. Yes, reading. People don’t want to hire ‘know it alls’ or people who only know what they already know. You have to be an expert by challenging the way people think or rather exposing them to new ways of thinking. In a true partnership, it’s a game of give and take while always giving something of value.

So, at this stage in your career  – how do you position yourself an expert? One way is to  read books on the topic of interest, whether personal/professional development, industry specific or even best business practices. The goal is to expedite your growth through the lenses and pages of those who have already chartered the journey you’re on. How you do something has become way more important than what you have and what you know. If you can learn to become a challenger, you are can master the ‘how you do something.’ The book ‘The Challenger Sale’ teaches you exactly how to do just that.

Although, the book ‘The Challenger Sale‘ offers great insight if going into the world of sales. It also provides greater insights as to how you can be a Challenger in any profession, and how by taking this approach you can dramatically increase the impact you can make on your career.

  • A Challenger has a deep understanding of the business their customers, or hiring managers are in and use that understanding to push thinking and teach something new. The best employees win not by “discovering” what people already know they need, but by teaching a new way of thinking altogether. It’s better to have thoughtful reflection than excited agreement. 
  • A Challenger is really defined by the ability to do three things: teach, tailor, and take control. If you can do these three things well you can truly create the career you want.
  • The Challenger is focused on challenging their target outside of their comfort zone whereas others are simply focused on being accepted. In summary,  you have to be willing to live outside your comfort zone while challenging others to do the same.
  • The Challenger is focused on providing great insight and value. You have to be willing to be disruptive. Be memorable, not agreeable.
  • You must become the ‘insight generation machine’ that without you they are left in the dark.

Become a Challenger today and start creating impact. How will you start teaching, tailoring and taking control?

xoxo

Blonde Chick

How to eat an elephant

Ever sit down, think through all your goals, your to-do’s and your want to-do’s with a sudden overwhelmed feeling? I think it’s safe to say that all ambitious people feel this way at times. So, how do you get through this paralyzing feeling and take action? Not to oversimplify, but the simple answer is to just start.

Start by making a list of your big goals then a list of all the steps and benchmarks each big goal requires. As you start to see how the little steps make up the bigger picture, the path begins get clear. If you have big goals, which I know you do, then breaking them down into little steps is a must. Although ambitious you simply can’t tackle everything at once. Sure, you can try, but more than likely you will fall short of your goal and/or not quite handle in the way it deserves. So here’s a quick 1,2,3  list of what to do:

  1. Pick one big goal to tackle first.
  2. List out all the steps required to accomplish the big goal.
  3. Keep track of all the steps you’re taking, and after 90-days review what you’ve accomplished. You’ll be surprised at how much you will have done at the end of 3 months.

People often get stuck on the big goals causing them to feel discouraged or get burnt out when they don’t achieve exactly what they’ve set out to do. A series of small accomplishments or milestones will keep you on track. Be sure to celebrate the little victories along the way!

So how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Make a list and start checking it off. While you’re at it, be sure to enjoy the bites along the way.

xoxo

Blonde Chick

 

Fail Fast. Recover Quickly.

No one likes to fail as a matter of fact, most of us avoid it all costs. As a young professional or aspiring entrepreneur you’re going to have to get comfortable with failure. Don’t treat it as a dirty word, instead embrace it. Seth Godin writes in the Big Moo to Stop trying to be Perfect and Start Being Remarkable. Sounds like good advice, but how do you embrace failure, stop trying to be perfect and start being remarkable? Here’s 3 tips you can implement today so you can become the failure you’re meant to be. 🙂

1. Dissect Your Failure. By focusing on triumphs and ignoring failures, we can’t clearly identify which techniques are incidental to success and which ones are crucial, according to Stanford business professor Jerker Denrell. People often don’t advertise their failures let alone revisit them. But doing so can give you the insights you need to truly become remarkable. In every failure, there’s a lesson to learn so make sure to take the time to review your triumphs as well as your disappointments. 

2. Have a system not a goal. When it comes to dieting the most successful transformations come with a lifestyle change not a crash diet. Take this advice from Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert,  “A system provides a method and requires activity on a regular basis. That’s how successful people operate.” A goal is a something you can check off your list, but a system sets you up to be successful long term. Create a method or process for your goals. While you’re on your way working towards your big goals, you can be tweaking the process learning from mistakes all while sticking to your system. For example, if the goal is to run a marathon create a system to stick to such as, running 5x a week for x amount of time.  Like this? Read this: How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big. 

3. Change your attitude about failing.
One of the best things you can do is fail. Failing means learning. When you fail, you are able to pivot and focus on what’s next. Failing means trying. It means working towards a conclusion. Stop thinking about failing as a negative as if you aren’t good enough. People who do great things are able to do so because they have failed. They have made mistakes, learned from them and kept marching forward. Do you think Steve Jobs got it right the first time? Do you think Thomas Edison created the light bulb without any mistakes? No way. Don’t look at failure as an obsolete or as a reflection of who you are. You aren’t going to win every time.

Embrace the process, love the failure and keep progressing forward. True failure is giving up.

xoxo

Blonde Chick

What to do when you don’t know what to do

Choosing a career is hard….especially when we feel the need to know exactly what it is we want to do the moment we get out of college or the minute we decide we need a career change.  Something I’ve learned recently is that not everyone knows what they want to do “when they grow up” even if they’re grown—and that’s okay!  This was a major relief for me as it can be easy to look around and think that everyone but you knows what they’re doing and where they’re going.   It’s okay to be unsure; however that’s not an excuse for stagnation and procrastination.  You aren’t going to learn what you want to do by doing nothing. So here are 5 things you can do to help you figure out what you do want to do.

  1. Say yes.    Say yes to new opportunities, to new projects, to new clients.  Not sure if you like something….try it! The fastest way to learn is by doing, you can read all day about different paths you can take, but unless you get off your butt and try something you will never know if it’s something you will enjoy.
  2. Cultivate and incorporate your passions.  Are you working in a job that doesn’t fulfill your need for creativity? See how you can work what you love into what you’re already doing.  Ask for more responsibilities at your job, take on new projects, even if it doesn’t end up being something you love, you will acquire new skills that you can take on with you for the future.
  3. Get out there! So much of our life outside of work is lived completely through screens.  Staring into the screen of your phone, tablet, or television won’t take you anywhere.  Pinterest may be an easy way to kill a couple hours—and find some fabulous recipes you will never make—but  it won’t help you advance your career.  Spend your free time doing what you love, who knows when a hobby might have the opportunity to turn into more.
  4. Ask! Don’t be afraid to ask people who have careers you admire questions.  Ask them out to coffee and pick their brains on how they got to where they are now.  They’ll most likely be flattered, and it’s always a good networking tool to learn about people who are in industries that you’re interested in.
  5. Don’t be afraid to fail.  In order to get a feel for what you like and what you don’t, you have to try things.  Just because something doesn’t work out like you planned doesn’t mean your life is over.  Learn from your mistakes and move on confidently knowing you now know more about yourself and what not to do! To read more on failing, check out this post from Blonde Chick, Fail Fast. Recover Quickly.

xoxo,

Brunette Babe

Me first.

There are so many times in my young life where I’ve sought for clarity and wisdom. Looking for a way to make tough decisions and feel confident in the choices I’ve made. While I do seek council, weigh the options and meet with new people as ways to gain more insight, I still find myself apologizing for the choices I make. Why??

I think we, women especially, are subconsciously trained to be apologetic if/when they put themselves first.  Yet, I know as a woman, when I think of myself first then I know I can be my best for others. Think of traveling. When you are on a plane who do they instruct that you secure oxygen for first? Yourself before anyone else. So in our life as ‘selfish’ as it sounds you have to secure yourself first.