Sometimes Elvis shows up on your subway train and you just say, “yep, that’s right.” The universe is inviting you into a more creative space…to know that incongruous things will make sense if you just take a courageous step, ease into the void, and trust that what you create will be even better than you can imagine right now.
What if you had the right guide at those moments? Like climbing a peak (or being in a certain phase of career) you work hard, then stop at the base camps to acclimate. When the time is right, your guide gives you the right equipment and insight to help you leverage everything you know and start climbing again.
Right now I am in a wildly creative space and am looking to work with people ready to start a new climb. If you are too, I’d love to talk to you because I’m feeling ambitious:
- First, I’ve extended the Free Agent Solution program to a six-month version. Beyond job search, I want you to develop your autonomy so you never have to job hunt again. Instead, the right opportunities come up because you are poised for them and people know it.
- Next, I am starting my “Clarity Conversations” show. One of the amazing benefits of my work is that I meet people doing incredibly interesting things that intersect with what I do! It’s time to share. The first conversation will be in next week’s newsletter.
- Finally, I’m tired of my own voice! Please let me know what you’d love to hear about, are struggling with or is getting you stuck.
Don’t forget that Monday is the last chance to get a free month of coaching, with my 3-month Free Agent Solution program. To learn more, schedule a free 30-minute Free Agent Solution session.
Let’s make Elvis on the train the new normal. 😉
Want More Autonomy at Work?
The dancing leader video cracks me up every time. Talk about autonomy — do whatever you want and others follow! The real take away is that we each have a purpose. The change agent, the “c’mon guys!” guy, those who create community and those who set norms so the crowd doesn’t trample itself. Those roles are very connected to autonomy. To have more at work:
- Know what comes naturally, do it well and truly embrace the value you bring.
- Understand that autonomy is a two-way street. From your boss’s shoes, ask what behaviors or messages they need to ease their mind.
Friday I attended the annual coaches meeting for the Columbia Business School alumni office. We heard about employment trends and we shared what we are seeing. Here are a few insights:
- People are looking to create a cohesive narrative because they’ve had so many jobs
- Technology like AI, machine learning and social media are now part of most jobs
- Clients realize just finding the next job isn’t enough, and want strategies for their entire career
To me, autonomy was the backdrop of it all. With disruption as the new normal, you need a way to tell your story, stay abreast of emerging skillsets, and take the long view of career. It’s autonomy beyond just having freedom in your job right now; it’s about knowing what’s around the corner because you are proactively getting the next opportunity.
To learn about autonomy in your career, schedule a free 30-minute Free Agent Solution session.
Back to the video. What I love is that the video is its own proof — after all, it wouldn’t be much without the brilliant voiceover that shapes it into a story and provides meaning.
When I was applying to business school, I worked behind the fragrance counter at Barney’s, New York. Barney’s was a special place, and yet it seemed that business schools were looking for Wall Street experience. So I wrote an essay about everything I knew about the stock market, which wasn’t much. A work friend, who I am forever grateful to, read my essay and ripped it up right in front of me. And it was pre-PC, so that copy had taken a long time to type!
My friend said, “Claire, you sell perfume. Why don’t you write about that. Tell them how when you change the display, different things sell. And when you really listen, you can better understand customers’ needs and they come back again and again.” I followed the advice, and still remember the first line of my essay: “In every industry there are movers and shakers. In beauty one of the greatest was Mrs. Estee Lauder,” and from there the essay wrote itself.
Every day I see clients not trust their story and try to tell someone else’s. This is especially true with the highs and lows. We are taught not to be arrogant, so we don’t know how to share our strengths. And when there is a bump in the road to explain, we tell all sorts of tales that only make people feel like we are hiding something — not a great first impression.
For the positive stuff, think about connecting your skill or effort to an impact, “I often hear that my research is thorough and that makes my team feel confident in client meetings. I am really proud of that” or “I am often chosen to be in front of the room. I love to engage the audience.” Notice the soft, “I am proud of” or “I often…” You don’t have to say, “I am great!” to share your areas of strength.
For the bumps, start with the truth and connect it with what you’ve learned: “I guess everyone gets a do-over. I was there a year and a half. I learned a lot on the job. I also learned that next time I will do more due diligence before accepting a role,” or “I stayed home with my kids for XX years and now that they are bigger, I realize I have a ton of energy to get back to the work I love.”
You have worked hard and done great things. Don’t let your technicolor story get washed out.
Do You Own Your Awesome?
Last week my nine-year-old asked for homework help: How many seconds in three hours? I asked him what 60 times 60 would be. He said, “1,200.” I said, “Hmmmm, what about trying again.” To which he said, “Yes, 6 plus 6, then add the two zeros.” And I asked him to try again, again. And then the light went on, “Ohhhhh, 6 times 6. Then it’s 3,600.” Good. And nice job on the two zeros.
My son is nine and his mind is still open. Plus, math is linear. Do you ever wonder if you are getting the success equation wrong? How do you know you’re not working away, only to discover that what you are doing won’t add up to a promotion or a job offer? On the other hand, what if you knew how things work and exactly what to do to get what you want, on your terms. You’d still work hard but you’d have the right roadmap, and confidence all along the way.
Knowing your awesome and its impact is the first step of the Free Agent Solution. Think about just one of your strengths. On a page, draw a circle and put your strength in it. Now make a larger circle and write one or two positive things that strength does for your team. Next circle your department or company, then the bottom line.
When we get them right our strengths have multiplier effects, like the 3,600. When we focus too much on matching the strengths of others or beating ourselves up for our weak spots, it won’t get us to the answer.
A Missed Leadership Opportunity
This past September I watched the heartbreaking US Open women’s award ceremony. As a working mom, of course I would have loved to see Serena Williams win and show how powerful women can be. But my heart went out to Naomi Osaka, who was crying and apologizing for doing exactly what she had set out to do.
What struck me was that the US Open representatives were completely unprepared. They had no plan for the outcome they were faced with, were unable to shift gears and missed a real leadership moment. What if, instead of being flummoxed, they had taken a moment to quiet the crowd and say “What incredible abundance we have today. Serena, congratulations on playing an incredible tournament just one year after having a child. And Naomi, congratulations for carrying on the great tradition of the US Open and of sports, by showing up as a powerful emerging talent.”
Easy for me to play Monday morning quarterback, but it does have me thinking about the lesson here. If you lead a team, do you take a moment to step back and see the bigger picture when you experience disappointment? Do you consider ALL of the members on the team, not just your best performers? Are you aware of the dynamics that can blind you, and them, to what’s really going on? And, do you see the opportunity in an unexpected outcome?
- I know my strengths and their impact on my team and company
- I know my next career move and what I need to get there
- I have a strong network and check in with them regularly
- I can have a successful difficult conversation with my boss, a peer or a direct report
- I know the key players in my organization and how to influence them
- I can take initiative, recover and learn if it fails
Last week a friend posted an article on team collaboration that I loved because it is right on track with what I see in my work. According to author Carlos Valdes-Dapena, formerly of Mars, Inc, “..most of what we — and others — thought about team building was wrong…We learned that quality collaboration does not begin with relationships and trust; it starts with a focus on individual motivation.” Basically, team offsites don’t work because they focus on relationship and trust first. You have to start with the individuals on the team.
It points to what I have observed for some time — that we’ve taken “There’s no I in team!” to its natural limit. In an effort to put team first, we’ve stepped over individuals, and that can leave people feeling disconnected, which can make them disengage.
When I work with teams, we start with the individuals and go outward. It’s what I call “ I to the 4th Power.” :
- Impact: Link your strengths to their impact on colleagues, team, organization and results
- Influence: How do individuals and teams negotiate their environment so that they feel a better sense of control
- Initiative: There is tremendous learning on the other side of action. To get there requires taking some risk and having resilience
- Innovation: Here’s where trust comes in. When team members feel seen and safe, they are more eager to engage and collaborate
To learn about bringing the I to the 4th Power method to your organization, contact us here.
You’ve got the Sunday night blues. You return texts and emails at all hours. You see photos of the Google campus and immediately start checking their job listings. You are impatient and not present with the most important people in your life.
Change is a fantastically positive force. But today’s runaway change can leave you feeling disconnected and out of control. It makes me think of that song, “Is this my beautiful life? How did I get here?”
What if you had a system that allowed you to stay ahead of change, and navigate career so that you are always in a job you love? Amazing. I call mine the Free Agent Solution.
I’ve pivoted in career twice and negotiated multiple promotions. I developed my Free Agent Solution program from what I learned in my own career and in helping thousands of others successfully navigate theirs. The Free Agent Solution begins with seeing the truth about your career: you are in charge. It helps you take ownership of your career through two essential tracks: 1. job search and promotion tactics and 2. leadership development. Because it’s not enough to find and negotiate one new position — you want the confidence to navigate all the twists and turns that lie ahead, on your terms.
Technology has opened new and exciting, but sometimes confusing career paths. It’s also put industries at risk. That means companies need to save resources and need us all to do more with less. Bosses are busy doing their own work and don’t have time to guide and mentor. People change jobs more, so companies may not be investing in developing leaders, plus our networks are not as strong. Without a strategy, success can feel like it’s slipping away.
To power up your career strategy, schedule a complimentary 30-minute Free Agent Solution session. You’ll love what you learn. CLICK HERE
Having control over your destiny. That’s what inspired the Free Agent name. Runaway change shouldn’t rob you of the simple ability to use your talents, be happy at work, and have the energy you want for life.
Learn more about the Free Agent Solution 3-month program CLICK HERE
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When I hear people say, “The only constant today is change,” I feel like they’ve invited the enemy in and are making it dinner. No one seems to question the change or more importantly, look for ways to neutralize or get out in front of it. And I think today’s change has made it super difficult to manage career and have the peace of mind we’d like for life outside.
This week I learned about the unique ability of an executive I am working with: She can see where senior leaders’ thinking is going and quickly come up with solutions to their ideas, even as they are being formed. Wow. I hadn’t thought of it quite this way before, but I think it’s how people should approach career today. The way to get ahead of today’s grinding change is to avoid the distraction and look for the answers that come when you really focus and listen. The wisdom to find and sustain a job you love starts with you and goes out from there.
What if instead of accepting all this change and feeling overwhelmed and runaway train-like, you could see where things are going and proactively come up with your next move? You’d be like a career expert who loves your job and still has time for life.
Here’s a question. What outside distractions are affecting your career? Do you accept those as written in stone? What might be possible if they were different? Sometimes just imagining it can help us make shifts we hadn’t thought of.