Career Blunders to Avoid

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Career Blunders

Over the course of my professional life, I made good and bad decisions that significantly impacted my career.  Most of my good decisions were the result of what I learned from prior experiences, the influence of good managers, and advice from trusted co-workers & friends.  Most of my bad decisions were the result of a lack of business acumen, naivety to the politics of Corporate America, and failure to receive constructive criticism.  It took several years for me to figure out that my work environment wasn’t going to change to suit my wishes. I needed to change.

Below are just a few of my career blunders.

  • Failure to demonstrate leadership – Leadership is an important attribute that demonstrates the ability to guide and direct a group.  Early on in my career, I failed to take on leadership opportunities or speak up on various topics within project teams.  As a result, I was viewed as a shy employee who lacked the fortitude to lead teams.  I noticed coworkers who had started their careers with me were quickly moving up the corporate ladder as my growth opportunities remained stagnant.  When I compared their skills to mine, our educational qualifications were similar. The difference was that they had clearly demonstrated leadership skills in their daily interactions with management.
  • I soon realized that I needed to make an effort to demonstrate leadership. Consequently, I began assuming leadership roles on various project teams. Although I was somewhat introverted, I intentionally discussed topics in meetings to show my engagement and knowledge.  Lastly, I let my manager know that I was interested in opportunities that strengthened my leadership skills.  Doing these things helped resuscitate my career development and enabled me to transition into leadership roles within the organization.
  • Failure to work as a supportive Team Member – While highlighting individual skills and knowledge are very important, it is equally important to work as a supportive team member. Teamwork encourages cross-functional input that is essential to project success.  One of the mistakes I used to make was failing to assist coworkers on projects when asked.  My excuse? I always had too much work to do. Naturally, this didn’t endear me to my coworkers, and you can take a guess as to whether they reciprocated and helped me when I needed it.  As I look back on those days, I realized that no matter how much work I had to do, I always had an opportunity to assist my team in some manner.  Even small, sincere efforts demonstrate teamwork and support, and actions like these are what people remember when you ask for help with a critical project.
  • Failure to diversify skills and abilities – It’s good to be proficient in a specialized area. However, if you fail to diversify your skill set, you limit opportunities for growth and career advancement.  After graduating from college, I worked as an Industrial Engineer doing tasks such as time and motion studies, production management, and quality assurance.  While these were great skills to have, I knew that I didn’t want to continue doing these tasks long term.  As a result, I sought out training opportunities to diversify my skill-set so that I would be considered for other roles.  I was trained and certified as a Six Sigma Black Belt, which opened up roles for me in Human Resources, Healthcare, Market Research, and Education.
  • Failure to accept constructive criticism – Constructive criticism can be difficult to receive, but it provides useful insight into opportunity areas.  For years, I was never able to receive constructive criticism without becoming defensive.  Before the feedback was given in its entirely, I was already thinking about my rebuttal.  As a result, I missed out on a great opportunity to grow and develop professionally and personally.  Luckily, a manager explained to me that he wasn’t giving feedback to be critical, but to ensure that I was successful in my role.  This feedback was eye-opening for me.  Since that discussion, I resist the urge to be defensive when someone gives me constructive criticism.  I listen to determine how the feedback can be used for growth and development.

I didn’t always make the best decisions in my career. But I was committed to learning from my mistakes and making better decisions to make my career successful.  As a result, I’m now a Corporate Director of Process Excellence, who leads employees through a systematic continuous improvement method, and a Certified Life Purpose Coach® who coaches and mentors individuals to achieve their personal and career goals.

Are you making any of these career blunders?  What can you do differently to ensure career success?

Are you willing to reveal…to let God heal?

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photo borrowed from kahliacathcart.tumblr.com

I recently shared a personal story with close friends and acquaintances.  It was a difficult subject to speak on, but I knew that sharing was an integral part of my healing process.  As I gave my testimony, many began to share the fact that they had gone through similar situations.  Sadly, for some, it was the first time they had ever revealed the impact of the loss or trials.  For months or years, they kept their emotions inside and dealt with the pain.

Many of us have grown up in families that teach us from a very early age to refrain from telling family or personal business.  This practice has kept us in bondage for years.  In addition, the enemy seeks to use painful situations to make us withdraw and isolate ourselves.  The result? We are buried in feelings of worthlessness, we suffer from depression, and we endure a sense of shame.

There are some things that can only be healed through revelation. Revelation takes you through a process of accepting the circumstances and realizing you are not alone.  It then allows you to transition from feeling helpless to being secure in knowing that everything is a part of God’s plan.

Revelation must be balanced with prayer and wisdom to ensure we are sharing only with those who can be trusted or those God has called us to minister to.  The great thing about revelation? Your testimony not only begins your healing process, but it often assists others in their healing process as well.

Don’t be afraid to reveal to allow God to heal.

Do You Trust God’s Plan for Your Life?

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I.Have.A Plan.

You will face many trial and hardships.  It’s just the natural cycle of life.  In those difficult times, you have a choice to put your total trust in God or to continually question his will.  What will you decide?

It was only a few days ago that I carried the joy of the world inside.  In a split second, my joy turned to sadness.  My sadness turned to despair.  My despair turned to hopelessness.  Tears became the hourglass of my day and I found myself asking “God, why?  Why did this happen?”

There was no reasonable explanation.  There was no one to blame.  There was only the still, quiet voice of God whispering, “Will You Trust Me?”  At first, I kept questioning God as to why this happened.  Then a calm came over me.  Though I didn’t understand why such a sorrowful event had taken place, I knew that God was faithful.  I knew that God was loving.  I knew that that even though this event was very painful, it was a part of God’s unique plan for my life.

I trust God’s plan for my life, though I may not always understand.  My trust comes in knowing that God can see my beginning and my end.  My faith stems from God’s unconditional love and constant provision for my life.  My acceptance flows from an intimate relationship with God.

Dedicated to “Jordan Avery Reid”

The Sunday Blues

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Photo borrowed from Kaplan International

Sunday is often viewed as a day of worship, a day to enjoy activities, and a day of rest. However, many people fail to enjoy Sunday because it’s the last weekend day prior to the beginning of a work week.

Sunday nights are often spent dreading the upcoming work day or time spent with difficult co-workers and/or managers. Sunday can also bring on feelings of stress and anxiety associated with doing a job that you hate or have no drive or passion for.  As a result, what should be a peaceful, joyous and restful day turns quickly into an occurrence of “The Sunday Blues”.

If you find yourself experiencing a constant state of The Sunday Blues, then it’s time to make a positive change.

  • Start by praying about your current situation. Ask God to give you wisdom, insight, and guidance on your future career path.
  • Next, identify the cause of your Sunday Blues. This step may require you to take a moment of deep reflection, to consult with a trusted friend or to seek the guidance from a certified Life Purpose Coach.
  • Establish short term and long term goals to transition from your current state. This step can include items such as updating your resume, joining professional organizations to build your network, and identifying training needs to develop and grow your current skill set.
  • Lastly, stretch yourself by moving outside of your comfort zone. If you are passionate about speaking, but have never spoken in front of people, take a Toastmasters class. If you have always wanted to write a book, join a local writing group.

You have the power to turn a case of The Sunday Blues into a day of transformation that propels you into a more passionate and fulfilling life!

A Life without Purpose is…Barren

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God has gifted each of us with unique talents and abilities to meet the needs of the world. However, many of us fail to identify, develop and utilize our gifts in purposeful roles. We become complacent in jobs that we don’t like. We refuse to step outside of our comfort zones. We allow fear to hinder us from growth and development opportunities. The end result is a list of hopes and dreams that fails to come to fruition.

So then the question becomes, when are you willing to take the necessary steps to live a purposeful life? Is it when you reach a certain age? Getting older isn’t promised? Is it when you attain a milestone job? Jobs are being eliminated every day. Is it when your children are grown? Children take at least 18 years or more to mature. Are you willing to wait that long to pursue your passions and ambitions?

Today, I challenge you to take the first step towards living a purposeful life by consulting with a Life Purpose Coach. I’ll walk you through a 4 step process to identify and overcome the barriers that are hindering you from achieving your dreams and passions. Don’t allow another day to go by without passionately seeking to identify and utilize the many talents that God has gifted you with.

A life without purpose is barren. Seek purpose so that you may bear much fruit.