How You Can Make the Most of a Bad Economy

What can young college grads do when four years of college and a degree draw next to nothing during a recession? A recent New York Times Fashion and Style article seeks answers. How will this new generation of college graduates make the most of their lives and careers, despite a recession and widespread unemployment?

Unfortunately, the economic recession has limited the career opportunities for many young and talented people. But many of those interviewed haven’t given up on living a fulfilled life. Despite a lack of work, they adapt and make use of their skills as best they can.

As many continue to search the job boards, there are some executive coaching tips which can help.

  • Find meaning in whatever you do. One interviewee graduated college with scant job prospects. While she made the best of a low-end job, she also did volunteer work after hours.
  • Make the most of what you’ve learned. What’s hard about unemployment is the feeling that your talents are being squandered. Many of those interviewed utilize their life skills by joining bands, blogging, and getting involved with their communities. It may take hard work, but finding that balance in your life is always worth it.
  • Talk to a career coach. A coach can help you make sense out of how you will design your next-phase career. They do more then offer you advice, they’ll be involved with helping your look at every option and making the best decision possible for your future.

The worst that can happen to many in this situation is stagnation. Those interviewed may not have the careers they sought in college, but they still continue to do things that matter. Being fulfilled is vital, almost as important as being employed.

 

JS


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The Future of Monogamy

With the dust settling over the infidelity of Anthony Weiner and Arnold Schwarzenegger, famed relationship columnist Dan Savage asks if we should prize honesty over monogamy. In a New York Times interview, Savage calls typical modern idea of monogamous relationships skewed and unfair. According to him, honesty and openness should be prized above all, even if we admit to our partners everything from flirting with others to infidelity.

The love sphere is inseparable from the rest of our lives, and it often becomes a focus in coaching. This can lead to a renewed investment in monogamy, an alternative vision of the relationship, or, if it’s best, a break-up.

Where there are problems relationships, I have some some executive coaching advice to keep in mind.

  • Talk to a relationship coach. It takes both partners in a couple to make any meaningful decision. A coach can work with them and help decide what is the best direction for both.
  • Ask yourself and your partner what you both want out of the relationship. Are you looking for something serious and long-term? Are you just looking for fun and like to flirt with others? Does you partner know what you want? Be clear with your partner your intentions in the relationship.
  • Open discussion of issues is the first step. Keeping destructive secrets from loved ones only exacerbates the problem and is a symptom of spinning out of control. Infidelity is damaging enough to the relationship, but denial can make it even worse. Admission allows both parties to move on and attempt to salvage the relationship.

According to Savage, most couples can live happily in monogamously. He asks that couples try to be open, honest and flexible with one another. Executive coaching values the feelings of both members of a couple, and works to make sure any solution to a problem is mutual.

 

JS

 


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The Pitfalls of Starting Your Own Business

In the recent New York Times article “Maybe It’s Time for Plan C,” lawyers, stock-brokers and IT professionals lose or quit their high-profile jobs and pursue their passions to become entrepreneurs. But they soon find that the “dream job” of owning a business includes a lot of pitfalls.

Owning your own business, according to the article, involves long hours and the added stress of being the driving force behind nearly every aspect of your self-fashioned career. According to the article, the majority of new business fail due to a lack of preparation and experience. While many of the subjects enjoy their new lines of work, the article asks readers to think long and hard before they try being their own bosses.

Starting your own business talks up a tremendous amount of time and effort. If you’re considering self-employment, here are some important executive coaching tips according to what I see as effective:

  • Identify your reasons for starting a business. There are major risks with going into business. Questioning your motives is an important executive coaching tool to help focus on what you really want. What’s important? Family? Job security? Personal freedom? How would starting your own business help you get what you really want out of life?
  • Keep your new business in balance with the rest of your life. Being your own boss may make you feel fulfilled in one area, but it can also throw off aspects in your family, spirituality and community spheres. A sudden change in your career means you’ll have devote time and effort to balancing out the rest of your life.
  • Determine your strengths and weaknesses. If businesses fail due to a lack of preparation, a good coaching technique is to list your best and worst traits and skills.
  • Talk to an entrepreneurial coach. The right executive coach can help you if you want to start your own business. They can help in a variety of areas such as how you’ll prepare and implement your ideas and plan for future growth.

Starting a business is a huge risk. As you think about what sort of business you’d launch, consider your motivations, and make sure you’re using all the resources at your disposal when you take the entrepreneurial plunge.

Have you considered self-employment? What is your experience?

JS

 


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How to Beat Net Fatigue

Twitter, Facebook and the new Google+ help us plan our social lives and can bolster our careers. But being a social-media butterfly can be a job in of itself. “Digitally Fatigued,” an article in The New York Times, profiles several avid “net-workers” on how they improve their lives through social networking without burning out on posts and Tweets.

Using Full Life Coaching concepts, online social networks can touch on work, family, friends and community spheres. But for all of their useful aspects, if we come to overrely on online networking, we risk being behind our computers and missing out on actual life. Those interviewed in the article encountered this dilemma, but through creative thinking, they retained the advantages of social networking.

When it comes to fighting tech fatigue, there are some executive coaching techniques more powerful than just trimming your friend lists:

  • Keep a schedule and utilize applications to manage your productivity and avoid burnout. Overload happens when social networking becomes a habit instead of a tool. Business writer Josh Kaufman set a schedule of 30 minutes a day to catch up on his posts. He uses applications like Freedom, which temporarily blocks his Internet access when he needed to work without distraction.
  • Ask yourself if joining a new network will be worth the investment. Social networks appear and vanish with increasing frequency. Google+ appears powerful and enticing, but it’s too soon to know for sure. Jessica Lawrence asked herself what she could get out of Google+ that she couldn’t from Twitter. Cutting down on network clutter can prevent you from spreading yourself too thin.
  • Use applications that allow you to post on different networks simultaneously. Daily social networking can become a grind for those who make it part of their jobs. Applications like Ping.fm automatically syndicate posts to multiple networks. Buffer and SocialOomph work according to an automatic schedule from a bank of posts made in advance.

As our lives are becoming more integrated with social media, the importance of balancing our online and off-line time becomes more apparent. But with the right mindset in place, you can maintain an online presence without sacrificing time from your life.

 


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Seeing Eye To Eye

On July 25, an editorial in The New York Times lambasted the Republican Party for walking out on President Obama’s meeting concerning the nation’s financial future. Politics aside, the piece pointed out something interesting: a lack of compromise. According to the article, the walkout stemmed from an unwillingness by both parties to reach an consensus.

On August 2, a bill to raise the nation’s debt ceiling was finally signed into a law. CNN spoke with Fareed Zakaria of Time Magazine on about how the lack of compromise from Tea Party hardliners nearly held the country hostage.

Compromise is a fact of life. As children, we were taught to share. We cannot always have our way, but we can reach an agreement by which we and another party can both be relatively satisfied. Many of us learned compromise by simply sharing our toys and reaping the rewards of community. The same lessons apply when we broker business deals or negotiate decisions with friends and loved ones.

We all have to protect our own interests, and sometimes it’s difficult to find the middle ground. Here are some executive coaching tips for learning how to compromise effectively.

  • Know what the other party wants. Likewise, decide what exactly you want out of an agreement. By knowing exactly what all parties want out of a deal, it will make negotiation smoother.
  • Know when to make concessions. Along with knowing what you want, know what you can let go. It can help if you’re willing to give the other party something they want for something you want.
  • Refrain from a stubborn “my way or the highway” attitude. Listen to others who weigh in on the matter. Ignoring or cutting them off is a sign of disrespect and can put everyone on the defensive.
  • Conversely, don’t tolerate disrespectful behavior from others. Let them know that, if they’re not willing to at least listen to you, you’re not willing to talk.
  • Focus on the situation and resist the urge to judge the people involved. Nothing breaks down communication as badly as throwing around accusations that someone else is being “difficult” or “stubborn” if things aren’t going your way.

If employed from a position of strength and awareness, compromise will prove a much more powerful tool than stubbornness.

JS

 


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How to Beat Burnout

No matter what field you are in or whether your business has managed to stay prosperous despite the economic recession, your team members may experience fatigue and burnout. If your business has fallen on tough times and has faced downsizing, burnout will most likely surface in some form.

The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) studied how fatigue currently plagues the American workforce: the prevalence of fatigue in the US is as high as 37.9%, with 65.7% of these fatigued workers reporting their productivity was severely hindered. This loss of productivity and weak performance is said to cost employers $136.4 billion annually. As the economic climate remains on edge, organizational leaders must do something to curb fatigue or risk dealing with its much more severe and costly counterpart, burnout.

Organizations must make preventing burnout and fatigue a priority. While fatigue may surface as exhaustion or a “funk” caused by stress, burnout is a syndrome with more troubling symptoms. These include:

  • Insomnia
  • Loss of interest in work and hobbies
  • Absenteeism and low performance
  • Low or levels of confidence, energy and concentration
  • Feelings of hopelessness

Fatigue left unchecked can kindle into burnout – it must be caught and corrected as early as possible. If you see symptoms of burnout in yourself or your coworkers, be sure to consider the following in order to address the situation:

  • Offer encouragement and ask how you can be of assistance.
  • Identify and empathize with their distress. Do not pass judgment.
  • Mention existing employee assistance programs and other referral options, such as executive coaching.

Learning to prevent burnout in your team or organization is paramount to your continued success. If you notice potential problems in your team members, don’t be afraid to suggest the following steps to avoid burnout or fatigue.

  • Identify and eliminate sources of significant stress.
  • Pay special attention to your physical well being.
  • Be vigilant of all your various responsibilities in life, not just work-related duties.
  • Recall what makes you passionate about your work and why it matters.

Executive coaching can help you assess your priorities and keep burnout at bay. To learn more, get in touch today.

JS
 


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Physicians Must Have People Skills

You won’t find a real life doctor with zero people skills, like TV’s “House,” around the clinic these days. Future physicians are learning new techniques for achieving people skills and teamwork, according to a recent article in the New York Times. New thinking about medical outcomes emphasizes that doctors need clear lines of communication between the medical team, nursing staff and especially patients. Beyond medicine, executive coaching stresses first-rate people skills as an important factor in team and business-management.

What do I mean by “people skills?” For starters:

  • Talking without interrupting
  • Listening with empathy
  • Calmly and diplomatically handling disagreements

The social lessons being taught to doctors can easily be applied to executive coaching.

Here are a few tips on people skills and proper teamwork:

  • Dominating a brainstorming session or meeting hurts everyone when you don’t let others add to the conversation. Be thoughtful of your team and if you’re leading, make sure everyone has a fair say.
  • Make clarity a priority. Nothing ruins a project like a failure to communicate. Open dialogue will help keep focus and prevent confusion.
  • If there’s a problem with someone on your team, don’t single them out in from of everyone. Take them aside and quietly let them know what’s wrong. For all you know, they might not even be aware of the issue. Also, try to let them know what they’re doing right.

People skills don’t demand that we all become social butterflies. They ask us to be patient and understand those around us. Keep these concepts in mind, and you can be a better people person.

What people skills are the most important to you?

JS

 


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Wellness, Executive Coaching and the Spheres of Life

There is no shortage of dietary challenges we face day in and day out. Most Americans simply eat too much, lead inactive lifestyles and uphold unrealistic images of bodily perfection which are celebrated by the mass media. No matter what challenges you face, the right diet with the right exercise regimen can do wonders for your spirit, your mind and, of course, your body; an enhanced focus on your body sphere can improve your personal and professional life.

The SpheresTM approach to executive coaching touches upon improved diet and fitness, but these alone do not cover the body sphere. Instead, the focus is overall wellness, including an enhanced body image and ensuring your health is a primary concern. In fact, the body sphere can act as a foundation for improved longevity and can help you achieve high-energy performance.

Here are a few ideas to remember when trying to focus more on improving your body sphere:

  • Portion control is paramount. Rather than eating two or three larger meals in a day, try eating four-to-six small meals each day.
  • Breakfast should be your biggest meal of the day. Eating larger portions later in the day can negatively impact the body.
  • Eat healthy protein like chicken or grass-fed beef or legumes.
  • Avoid cheese, pasta, and white bread as much as possible.
  • Drink a glass of water several times a day.
  • Sleep 7-8 hours each night. Only a few people can thrive on less.
  • Exercise and leave yourself ample recovery time. Use weights, do cardio or any physical activity you enjoy.
  •  Yoga is often an excellent pursuit for balance, meditation, and flexibility.  Many athletes find it is synergistic with other sports.
  • Live without judgment of yourself and others.
  • See yourself in reality so that you may better focus on what areas of your life you’d like to improve.

What else would you add to your wellness plan? Leave your comments below!

JS

 


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Introversion as an Asset

Are you usually quiet in social situations? Would you rather enjoy a good book than hit a loud nightclub? In executive coaching, you’d be defined as an introvert: typically shy, low key and more inwardly thoughtful than outwardly expressive. According to an opinion piece in the New York Times, shyness and introversion might be considered not as symptoms of mental illness, but as healthy personality traits.

The article demonstrates that introversion can work well for a person. Executive coaches find a person’s strengths, and many individual strengths are in line with introversion.

A few takeaway insights from the perspective of an executive coach:

  • There are quite a few famous and successful introverts – Among them are Charles Darwin, Albert Einstein and Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling. Even President Barack Obama displays certain traits of an introvert.
  • Introverts can have an advantage when it comes to leadership and managing a team. According to the article, they’re more likely to listen to others and implement their advice. They also have more humility then extroverts. Executive coaching encourages openness to feedback.
  • A thoughtful introvert can put the brakes on a bad business deal. The article explains that introverts are less impulsive then their extroverted counterparts. A cautious nature can stop a sudden major business decision from turning into a disaster.
  • Introverts often have no problem working alone. One famous lone worker is Steve Wozniak, the co-founder of Apple computers. According to him, most inventors, engineers and artists prefer to “live inside their own head.”

Being shy doesn’t make you sick. In executive coaching, it’s part of who you are. If you’re not a social butterfly or public speaker, then perhaps you’re a better thinker, planner or leader. It is always healthier to play to your own strengths, rather than yearn to be different.

 


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Stronger Than You Think

 

Intelligence, awareness and individualism are all excellent qualities to develop in executive coaching. Interestingly, these “differientators” may have caused problems during the high school years. A New York Times review of “The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth,” a provocative new book by Alexandra Robbins, shows us that nerds often have successful adult lives.

Embracing who you are as an individual and making full use of your most positive, unique traits is what executive coaching is all about. Traits that arise in adolescence become integral to our character well beyond high school. The nerds in science, computers and theater might not have been star athletes or prom queens. But they have taken us to the moon, invented the iPod and written our favorite movies, books and plays.

Here are some survival tips from high school that remain relevant in our executive coaching work today:

  • Don’t be afraid of being original. Going against the grain is the first step to discovery and innovation. Look at Bill Gates who bucked the trend of complicated computers, created a user-friendly interface, and made a fortune.
  • Never be ashamed of doing what you love. Concentrating on your own happiness and fulfillment (as opposed to what you think others expect from you) will play an important role in everything from your job to your relationships.
  • Your uniqueness can be your strongest quality. Bullies and those privy to the whims of the group are often doomed to “peak” in high school. In adulthood, “yes-men” and “office sheep” won’t get much farther in life.
  • Embracing your personal AND unique qualities makes you stand out and commands the respect of your peers.

How does this apply to you? Leave questions and comments below.

 


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