Category Archives: Personal Development

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

It’s All in the Details

My hubz and I really enjoy watching travel shows especially the Anthony Bourdain series. There was one episode we watched recently about Tokyo and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it! Traditionally, the Japanese are known for paying attention to detail to an extreme — just look at bonsai or exquisitely crafted sushi! This same obsession to detail can apply to several scenarios in our life. For me, I kept coming back to focusing on the details that shape goals. Culturally, the Japanese focus on one thing or one pursuit in order to reach as close to perfection as possible, beginning with the tiniest of details.

In our overworked, overloaded and distracted society just thinking about being able to focus on one thing seems impossible. Yet, but what would it mean for your life if you could? If you could focus on just one thing at a time? I’m the worst at doing this. My mind rushes from one thing to the another, from one idea to the next always seeking the latest best thing. Lately, however, my mind keeps going back to the same handful of ideas. So I’m challenging myself to focus on the one thing to in order to see what will develop. Instead of flip-flopping through my plethora of ideas – I need to focus on the details that will enable me to create my bigger picture goals.

I challenge you to also identify what one thing in your personal or professional life for you to focus on. Make it a goal to intentionally spend time focusing your energy and mind towards accomplishing that one thing. Even if it’s 20 minutes a day, start by identifying the details that form your goals. Then as you master each detail of one component you can add on from there. Slowly but surely, you will create what you set out to accomplish by focusing your efforts on the details that make up the bigger picture.

Anything Can Happen…and It Usually Will

As I laid around this past Sunday after celebrating the Mothers in my life, I thought just how lucky I was. Not in the usual way of feeling lucky or blessed, but in a new way. How lucky am I to know that anything can happen and actually believe that it will. The world is cruel, harsh and cold. Even in the business world it’s cruel, harsh and cold. People are (no matter what your mission statement says) in it for themselves or their families.

Living in a society that is less human and more social media can cause you to lose hope or sight of your why.  So how do I keep my thinking elevated? How do I sit back, smile and sigh knowing that while now is good the best is yet to come? My perspective is how. I can control how I choose to see things. Pain is inevitable if only temporary so why let one little burden bury me? I won’t. I refuse. I keep progressing forward. Check out my 3 quick tips on how stay positive knowing that anything will happen.

My perspective is how. I can control how I choose to see things. Pain is inevitable if only temporary so why let one little burden bury me? I won’t. I refuse. I keep progressing forward.

Check out my 3 quick tips on how I stay positive with that ‘knowing anything will happen’ attitude:

1. My sister (Amber) is an amazing woman with four adorable little kids. She not only writes, runs and manages her home, but she makes time for me, pretty much every day! This time together, although brief, helps me to redirect my thoughts and keep my goals on track. She recently wrote a blog, Co-Creation, that illustrates the importance of working together versus taking on the mountains in our life alone. By having someone to continually co-create with and to offer fresh perspective keeps me outward looking rather than festering inwardly. She should win ‘saint of the year’ for all the venting rants she hears from me on a weekly, if not daily basis! Moral of the story – find your Amber, someone to help challenge your perspective while offering a place of accountability and trust as it relates to your goals.

2. Just show up. This can be the hardest advice to take especially after a hard day, night, week, year etc… Yet, just showing up keeps you moving even if the direction will ultimately change. I can’t tell you how many times this has proven the difference between my success and my failure. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not the most talented, the most disciplined, the smartest, but I always show up when it comes to going after my goals. Your character is often defined by doing what you have to even (especially) when you don’t want to. So get out of bed, put that smile on and show up! Any day is a new day to allow anything to happen. Don’t miss it by missing out.

3. Change your perspective. You are in control of your thoughts, your actions, and your mouth, which in turn is your happiness. It can be cliche to talk about happiness in this ethereal way. However, your happiness can’t be measured in material items, it can’t be measured in Instagram hearts, it can’t be quantified. As life gets rough, as it always will, change the way you look at the situation. In the book, Before Happiness, it describes what a positive genius is and how to be one. If you can learn to see the world through a positive lens, not rose-colored, only then can you summon all your motivation, emotion, and intelligence to achieve your personal and professional goals. Next time you’re faced with an obstacle flip it upside down and look at the possible positive outcomes. Flip it and reverse it (your perspective that is).

 

FOG

One of my mentors (and current boss) talked to us recently about living in the ‘FOG’. The FOG – standing for Feeling of Growth. When we are living in the FOG we are more engaged, happier and focused. I know for me this couldn’t be truer. Yet, when you feel as if you aren’t in the FOG, how do you get back to this feeling without having to start over?

Here are my three tips to getting in the FOG.

1. Reassess Goals: Are you headed in the right direction with where you’re currently at? Are you making strides to accomplish your goals? If not, identify what new benchmarks you can set for yourself and realign there. You also need to be okay with change! Be ready to pivot if you’re not in the right place whether mentally or physically.

2. Look Back: Take a step back to see where you’ve been to where you are now. If you’re not progressing forward comparatively then you need to identify why. You may also find that by looking back you can cut yourself a break! We often forget how far we’ve come. So do a 3-month review and if you’re moving the needle forward then keep focused on that. If you’re not, then go back to step to reassess goals.

3. Growth Hacks: Find one new way to improve your life a week. In doing so, you’ll be able continually, feel growth even in small increments.

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.

 

 

 

Double-Double Motivation

I was at a In-N-Out in Northern California enjoying a juicy, double-double while, of course, people watching. If you’ve ever been to an In-N-Out then you know they are always busy. Doesn’t matter what time of day it is, it always seems to be moving at a high pace with a long line of hungry people. As I’m sitting there internally lamenting as to why they don’t have these in the Midwest, I noticed one of the employees. He was outstanding. He was rushing around with an intentional kind word to all, picking up empty ketchup containers, offering refills and more napkins.

I don’t eat fast food much. Yet, I’ve never experienced service like this! Even at a nice restaurant, you don’t always get treated in this way. He was constantly on the move. I couldn’t help to think of Seth Godin’s, Linchpin when watching him work. Now, I’m not here to pass judgement, but I could guess that this man’s ambition was to not work at In-N-Out the rest of his life. Yet, while he was there he was giving his employer his best work and it was obvious. He was inspiring.

In the book, Godin describes what makes someone a Linchpin. Essentially, these people are intrinsically motivated, they don’t have to be given a rule book in order to figure out what to do.  They delight and challenge their customers and peers. They become vital to the organizations where they work. They don’t hold back and they give their best no matter what the task.

Now you may be looking at your current job as the stop before your career, you know the placeholder job. You may have the attitude that once you land your dream job you’ll work really hard, you’ll become indispensable etc. Can you imagine what your current job or place in life could be if you just shifted your attitude to align to that of a Linchpins? If you started to think and act like the guy at In-N-Out your future is limitless. Who knows, maybe one day he’ll own his own franchise?

The people you work with today are impacted by you, the company you spend time with today is impacted. Don’t you want them to be impacted positively? Taking on the attitude of a Linchpin will make you happier and more fulfilled, which in turn, will make the world a better place. I know that is a bit cliche – but one man really did change the world. Every day is a gift, and every opportunity to give your best shouldn’t be wasted waiting for the perceived ‘better thing.’