Personal/ Professional Development Writings/Blog
2/2/13 Quik note In response to “How Do You Motivate Employees? Ask Them. (blog.tembosocial.com) Google has once again landed in the number one spot on Fortune’s Best Places to Work list. What is their secret? ” ~~Good article, even better idea. Of course engagement matters…Listening to your human capital is the START to revamping your organization, and getting on track to hire great people who want to make a difference.
1/8/13– New Year, Required Transitions
My two-year intensive Personal/ Professional Development contract with the Future Link program jointly sponsored by CWA and Verizon, under a Talent Curve Solutions contract, came to an abrupt end at top of year. It is a required personal and professional transition for myself, I can only assume. A time to reevaluate the adjunct work that I do to help make a living– so that I can continue to pursue my creative work (writing and music), as well as harmonize all that I do with this passion for helping others find sense of self. Scared and stunned immediately (as the news also came on the heels of a major car repair at the year’s beginning), the realization has given way to a loosening, a feeling of opportunity that I never before had as I tried to juggle the presentation of my unique professional experiences. Even with hardship, one has to believe that it is possible to go after the best possible parameters to capture a life of fulfillment. You have to look at your assets, believe in them, and go after what most speaks to you in this life. Shooting high, admirable achievement is still palpable when you land mid-range to an ideal. My ideal is to find even better satisfaction in self-employment. To be not dissuaded by setbacks in employment or sheer lunacy of the art establishment in helping artists (which I will get back to writing about once “professionally stabilized”), but to strive to find personal meaning and practical work, combined– Part-time Personal/ Professional Development Consulting either here in Pittsburgh or Virtually nationwide. Utilizing my credentials and talents, it is the sort of thing one must never lose faith in, or risk despair and irrelevance.
10/16/2012– Self Development As Balm Take the toughest challenges you have to tackle at work…or after work. Bosses who seem clueless to what your job requires… colleagues who can’t relate to you, or you they… family members who throw plans into disarray or disregard you. How do you cope? Laugh it off? Not a bad plan. Acceptance, compromise, courage when really required…. But the balm that beats all is self development. Nothing sends challenges packing quicker than a little introspection. No, they don’t vanish and no, we’re not talking deep inner work– unless you’re there. Just simply finding oneself behind the mess that is oft the outer world– our office space, our family room, our political arenas. What calms you? Woodworking, walks in the woods, gardening, hanging with your dog or cat, playing music, painting, delving into family history, learning another language, exploring new sites? What makes you tick is what takes you away from troubles. Go toward it. Figure out what is your balm. You may already know but apply it too infrequently. Surprise may come– pain alleviated in the moment, stings of recourse at work or indecision on home matters lessened, the itch quieted of desiring something more but not knowing what– you just may find solutions to the larger matters at hand by your self.
10/2/12– Risk, Humility and More…
Check out the latest bestseller on the NY Times list and recent articles in national magazines and journals and you will see the new hot topic—albeit a great one—is taking risk to achieve the happiness you crave and deserve in life and work. Suggestions abound about the necessity, not mere option, of striving involved in reaching certain pinnacles. Mere work and dedication are not enough, but real “audacity” paired with a balancing measure of “humility”– as suggests the NY Times recent Career column editorial (9/30/12). Here we are not necessarily talking about individual career or life goals, but attainments that in fact often change the playing field for many… in the right direction. What might seem unreachable or attainable to a society of people or a group in any given time, can be accomplished with the grit of unusual dedication to topics normally-resisted. This is where change comes from—beginning with daring to utter the normally not-spoken. Pursuing what needs to be addressed that everyone hides their head in the sand about… or that most people never even realized is a hidden problem. Going after the big players who do naught but ill in their work and life… and exposing and celebrating the good to capitalize and mobilize on success that is prevalent. Things that require over-the-top courage are the very things that will liberate and invigorate an individual as much as the larger whole. Think, in your life, where such bold steps paid off. Then think some more on future risk and reward, and link your next steps–experiential learning, professional advancement and most of all, personal satisfaction, accordingly.
4/30/12– Unspoken Bargains
Did you ever find yourself questioning an arrangement between yourself and another person? Not an arrangement that was mutually agreed upon or even spoken about–but a habit, or series of habits that detrimentally effect you, essentially, yet you keep doing?! It could be between yourself and a partner, a parent, or a co-worker. Likely, it is doing something to temporarily boost the other person in the mix, or even yourself… but ultimately not to anyone’s benefit. Unspoken bargains are those things that rear their heads in times of challenge, chaos, crisis. They appear out of nowhere, thankfully, to the person becoming enlightened, albeit slowly as is the case with human beings. They tug at us, to examine the “contracts” we have with others for convenience and to lessen pain. But they are not self-serving or mutually good– just co-dependent traps we put into place to attempt to protect ourselves from doing the right thing. A worker who realizes she has allowed her colleague to pull less of the load in order to maintain loyalty to and friendship with a person everyone in the office likes. A spouse letting his wife get her way because he is afraid of upsetting her and bringing out her depression. Even ironically a parent looking the other way while a child falls into trouble with drugs or crime, just so that that parent can pursue selfish interests uninterrupted. There is nothing pretty about unspoken bargains. Some are certainly more benign, others profoundly disturbing. All demand our attention– to see who we are, what we present to others, and how we cope in the world. Next time you find yourself squinting at the apparition of some strange contract appearing between yourself and another, don’t look away– stare at the unspoken bargain that is presenting itself. And DO proactively look for where they may be hiding in your life– always asking yourself what you are doing in the dance between another person, another entity. If it is forthright, it will not sacrifice yourself or the other person.
As psychologist and other Harriet Goldhor Lerner writes in The Dance of Anger, and The Dance of Intimacy, you must garner courage to change any detrimental “dance” with another person. Look out for counter-moves first! Habits and unspoken bargains and false contracts are challenging to break. But the steps, the new moves you make for yourself will be ultimately rewarding.
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…from “How To Be A Better Test-Taker,” (NY Times Education Life, 4/15/12): “Many capable, hard-working students perform poorly on exams because they’ve overtaxed their ‘working memory’– the mental scratchpad on which we combine information from our long-term memory with the specifics of the problem in front of us….” Dr. Sian Beilock, author of Choke: What the Secrets of the Brain Reveal About Getting it Right When You Have To, suggests two approaches to the anxiety that robs the working memory. First is to rewrite the adrenaline script– your body is going to be excited, no doubt. But instead of saying to yourself you are are going to screw up– get psyched up, repeating to yourself that you are “ready to go.” Secondly, there are ways to make working memory more efficient– linking multiple pieces of information into a few meaningful groups, “packing more information” into ‘slots’ by “chunking” relevant related ideas. Weekends this Spring, relax in your backyard with some good-read Best Sellers: Let It Go by T.D. Jakes, exploring forgiveness for the wrongdoers and the wronged ; Reverse Innovation by Govindarajan and Trimble–how to make unexpected innovation happen in business; The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg; and Imagine by Jonah Leher, on the science of creativity.
1/3/2012 Creative Entrepreneurship
What does it take to succeed in self-employment?
This essay is entitled Creative Entrepreneurship not because it is about how to run a successful business in the creative arts, but because I believe creativity is something little understood in our society– that, in fact, we all possess the ability to think and act creatively in our lives. Certainly, that applies to running one’s own business, should that be what you decide to do for yourself. Being creative, among many other things, is being able to imagine possibilities and go with the flow of events in one’e life. This writer believes that all children possess extreme amounts of creativity, but come puberty– most disavow that aspect of themself, trying instead to conform to mainstream conceptions of what constitutes a person or a vocation, for example. But all is not completely lost and can be conjured up by anyone seeking to reinvent their life with more meaning. If you think you have a particular talent or interest that you might do something with–whether it be part-time, during “retirement,” or full-blown– then explore… imagine the various possibilities to put that into place (whether it be with ebay or other online business, buying a storefront property or simply consulting from a home office). Consider fully all the potential projects out there that might be calling you. Dive into research about any and all aspects of the content matter behind your interest, and if you embark on self-employment, be OPEN to the changes and fluctuations within yourself and the business and try to read the messages being presented you. Could you be successful at this? Are you enjoying yourself? Do you feel that you need more education? Or are you surprising yourself how much you already know and can present to the world in this arena? Enjoy and take in all the reflections– good and bad. Stay with it if you feel good and successful. Don’t be afraid to fail, but know when you and you talents are worthy, and should be cultivated and marketed to the world. Embark….
Fall 2011– The Self-Designed Life I’m committed to the concept of the “self-designed life”–that we should always search for who we are truly, stripping away the acquired masks that keep us from our potential, and going after a life incorporating what most speaks to us in this world. For me, creative and counseling work has urged on that transformation, contemplation of the self and of community, and how I can do the most good. I try to urge each of my Associates to find their character assets, explore how they can cultivate them, and utilize them in their work and life. As well, we each have to look long and hard at our deficits, where we are weaker and have room for growth. Perhaps the harder task is to attempt to recalibrate that which we cling to but serves no good purpose. I see the self as multi-faceted, very intricate–with only the woven integration of the various parts being the essence of a whole being. If we can searchingly take inventory of the layers, the components that make up our varied personalities and present the best ones to the world (just by going after what we love), and “take on” the challenging ones, we will be on a better track to self-designing our life, and in the process, being better able to deal with difficult people and situations.
Summer 2011–FIOS Training in Pgh Whew, I just came off a week of an intense series of workshops (before the 4th of July) in Pgh– “Learn What a Verizon Job Brief Can Do For Your Career”– specifically, for the Fiber Customer Support Analyst position. Many, many Associates got the opportunity to see firsthand how the Future Link program can help in the transition from one Verizon job title to another. Preparation for some tests in the forms of study guides and course training spotlighting was done, as well as just helping Associates see past the threshold of dealing with change and choice. Well, they weren’t the only ones to gain confidence! As an Advisor since Dec., I must say this workshop has been a tricky one to navigate. But after 13 or so back-to-back workshops in two days, I feel I can handle anything! (That is, at least dealing with questions about the above position, the Fiber Network tech position, RAMP, new Study Guide material and apropo coursework for ANY job brief!) I feel a renewed committment to being able to present how helpful Future Link can be to Associates feeling trepidation about career transition. Should you like me to hold this workshop (on any Job Brief or in fact some of the Fiber possibilities at your site in western PA)– let me know. And have confidence that you can figure those briefs out and transition smoothly! –Lisa Miles, Future Link advisor, Pgh & Southwestern PA
Shorter Blogs, Throughout 2011– –Believe it or not, Spring is just around the bend. Begin to think on some new channels of growth for yourself as a new season approaches. What are you going to do for yourself in the upcoming season? Take advantage of your CWA bargained-for benefits with all that FutureLink has to offer. Many of you have recently been signed up to the website. Explore… and talk to your Advisors about how they can guide you….
–More from the book,The New Retirement, by Richard P. Johnson–”Depression is the number one emotional malady that attacks retirees. When retirement is not valued as an arena for advancing personal growth, and is viewed only as a rest area, we find ourselves separating from our very selves as we separate from our careers.When this happens we risk falling prey to a restlessness within us that leaves us frustrated and barren.” DON’T “give in to depression.
–from The New York Times Knowledge Network, Winter/ Spring: “Exploring the Teenage Brain,” Writing for Everyone,” How to Start a Blog,” “Inside the College Admissions Process,” a self-paced course. see www.NYTimes.com/Knowledge.com e up your vitality” when you give up your career! Contact your FutureLink Advisor for some great retirement workshops….
–As promised, more from “The New Retirement” by Richard Johnson: “Reframe yourself” as you think about other work. This includes “reorienting” your definition of your self– your assets. “Arm yourself” with as much info. as you can about who you are… (here is where FL assessments are excellent!) Also–start thinking about your attitudes on retirement, what you think it wil be like when you transition at that point in your life. Write down your reflections. More on this soon….
–Happy New Year to All! Some questions to reflect on as we enter 2012: What are you experiencing that is keeping you from peace and wholeness? How have past problems been a force for change in your life? What insight did you gain? Did you move beyond any previous limitations? How has your life experience
–”In order to achieve a successful transition from work to a ‘new retirement’ lifestyle, we must shift our view of ourselves,” says Richard P. Johnson in “The New Retirement: Discovering Your Dream” (author’s copyright, 2001). I would argue the willingness to make such a shift is critical for all of us at many phases of our lives. Listening to the radio on the way home a couple hours ago, I heard (flipping thru the channels and catching an NPR interview with someone exiting) that indeed it is that ability to challenge our own long-held perceptions once in a while that… [I’ll fill in the blank and say “keeps us not only self-evolving but staying true to a slightly-but necessary shifting core deep within us.” More from Johnson’s book in the months ahead in 2012….
–More helpful practices and great year-end reflection from “Creating a Life You Love” by Deborah Barr, Whole Health Resources in Pgh–”Do not feel badly when you experience a negative emotion. Pay attention to it. Make friends with all your emotions. Learn to listen and follow your intuition, instincts and hunches. Do things daily that cause you to feel lighthearted. Be bold and take risks. And, note/record your successes!
-As the end of the year approaches–thinking on fearful emotions, and how to turn those around–ask yourself: do you perhaps fear accomplishing what you most want? do you fear you are not worthy? do you fear rejection or success, or both? Be honest about your dominant fearful emotions and think creatively about how you might transform those in the new year.
–”Distracted? It’s Time To Hit the Reset Button”–JOBS, NY Times 11/20/11– Good advice that goes hand-in-hand w/our latest workshop on “Getting Unstuck!”– “NOTICE when you’ve lost focus in order to do something about it.” I.e. each time you stop to check email, internet news, etc. make a little alarm go off in your head as the behavior that needs to be changed. “Create awareness…Plan other self-management activities such as when to eat, go to the gym or take a walk.” You’re more apt to be distracted when you feel those momentary uncomfortable feelings (but of course they can be little distractions in themselves). Distractions occur when we are either bored or have too intense work in front of us, the article posits– that is, the distraction, then, is either that you just can’t get into your work, or you are stalling to dive into something significant. We all know those feelings! Here’s my take, as a professional development advisor: Try pressing the reset button mentally when you are AWARE of your impulse to do trivial i-net or email check– take a deep breath instead, turn your head and look out window, smile and realize why you are distracted and re-direct that impulse to making your next work step somehow meaningfully significant for YOU. (Apply your best self in your work.) Lastly, setting task lists are important, it is suggested in the article, but also problematic are “overly ambitious” To-Do Lists, as they can put you in a state of “anticipatory anxiety.” Good Luck!! Happy Thanksgiving and remember to talk to your Advisor about the UNSTUCK workshop!!
–from “Creating a Life You Love” by Deborah Barr, Whole Health Resources in Pgh–”Creating new beliefs while deliberately thinking thoughts that are empowering will lead you to events, circumstances, people and other resources that will continually build a ‘life you love.’ This is very similar to the ideas discussed in Future Link’s newest workshop CREATING PERSONAL CHANGE: GETTING UNSTUCK! Consider taking this enlightening workshop with your Advisor– perfect for the end of year, or beginning 2012!
–Good read: “Thinking, Fast & Slow” by Daniel Kahneman. A Noble Laureate discusses how we make choices in business and in our personal lives, and when we can and can’t trust our intuitions.