I’ll admit it, I talk too much but I’ve had to learn how to rein it in big time at work. I work in an environment where brevity is considered a core competency and arguably a prerequisite for advancement. Why? Because in our time crunched, distraction filled environment, concise communication is king. I’ve learned over the years that most don’t value the backstory. Yes/no, go/no go, black/white is what helps people make decisions, overdosing on details doesn’t. Continue reading
Three. Day. Weekend. Three of my favorite words personally. Professionally, not so much. Not because I don’t like being off work, it’s because I dread the return. Undoubtedly, Tuesday will be rough. Several people in my office are doubling down and taking a few vacation days before and after the Labor Day holiday. They will surely be punished, or at least feel like they are.
Here are three tips to help you avoid post vacation/holiday stress so you can actually rest and enjoy your time off.
1. Make a list. I’ve learned that sometimes the to-do list in my head seems to be much longer than the one on paper. Write down every single thing you have to get done. Doing so will also help you avoid that “I feel like I forgot something” feeling. Now prioritize your list by pre-holiday, post-holiday, and delegate.
2. Grind + Delegate. Make it your business to get through that pre-holiday list so that may mean working through lunch, working late, whatever it takes to get it done. You will be exhausted and so ready for your time off but you will be able to relax knowing you’ve left nothing undone at work. Communicate the tasks on the delegate list, ensuring your team has a clear understanding of what needs to be done and when.
3. Conquer the Email Monster. The absolute worst part of being out of the office is coming back to email hell. Of course we can’t control how many emails we receive, but we can control how we receive them. Try setting up folders and forwarding rules for specific people and keywords so you can easily identify the most important emails to tackle when you return and ignore the ‘reply all’ emails about what time everyone is going to lunch.
“I got the job!” my ecstatic client screamed into the phone last week. I screamed in excitement while hitting the running man (that’s how I roll). I ask for all of the details: official title, start date, and the salary.
I stopped my running man and immediately thought, “You get in life what you have the courage to ask for,” wise words from Oprah. Luckily my client received her offer via voicemail so she hadn’t had the opportunity to discuss salary yet, but her silence told me she wasn’t looking forward to it.
“You get in life what you have the courage to ask for.”
I hear Oprah again.
The celebration of a well-deserved job offer was being tainted by fear. Fear of asking for what she deserved, fear of starting off on the wrong foot, fear of seeming ungrateful.
Another quote came to mind, this time from Joe Biden, “That’s malarkey!” Then Oprah’s voice echoed:
“You get in life what you have the courage to ask for.”
- Know you’re their “why”. The obvious advice is to be prepared to back your argument with metrics, market research, whatever you need to make your case (why keeping score at work matters). The less obvious advice is to carefully think through the triggers of the person you’re speaking with. Build your case around their “why”, not yours.
- Understand what the other person is saying; further your understanding by asking for details and specifics. Doing so will help you get to the heart of the objection which is often deeper than the words that are being spoken.
- Have a point of no return; be willing to walk away. Know what you’re willing to bend on and what you’re not. Don’t be so stuck on ‘winning’ that you overpay in time, money, self-respect, or a combination of the three.
Still nervous? Pretend that you’re asking for someone you care about, someone that really deserves it. That person just so happens to be you. Remember, you’re not on sale or for sale, don’t let anyone tell you any differently.
So I have a client, super professional guy, with lots of experience and even some awards in his industry. He calls me up and says he needs a new resume because he’s tired of making chump change (his words) and ready to take his talents to South Beach (also his words). I’m pumped to get started, thinking his resume will be a breeze because he’s so experienced and accomplished. We sit down for his resume and professional branding session and I ask him to walk me through his professional highlights first, then the details later. You won’t believe what he told me.
I’m always talking about, practically begging people to let me help them take control over their lives and finally love what they do. You can’t do it alone, I advise. That’s sound advice except this weekend I found myself just as stuck as some of my clients. Continue reading
I start all of my coaching sessions with a prayer and an affirmation or verse of my clients choosing. One particular client chose an affirmation that spoke to the right opportunities “chasing you down.” And the job she eventually accepted chased her down; she received the same offer 3 times with the terms and salary she asked for.
An old friend reached out letting me know she’d thought of me when she read of Pat Summitt’s passing. Why? Not because I am a huge Tennessee fan (I am), but because of a quote that used to be on my email signature:
“YOU WIN AT LIFE WITH PEOPLE”
I mentioned a few months ago here, that the hubby and I were buying a new house (yay). What I didn’t mention is, we’re in an apartment for a few months (sarcastic yay). Apartment living is fine except for one small problem. One steamy, stinky, smelly, sometimes big problem-I have to pick up my dogs poop. I am on morning duty, so imagine me in full make up, heels, and a dress bending, scooping, and trying not to gag all in the name of being a responsible pet owner. My day starts of crappy, literally and figuratively these days.
I can’t stay down for long so I sought the lesson for your career or heck, life in this. Continue reading
I went to my first ever Casino party this weekend. Every attendee was given $1,000 in fake money and a challenge to win as much money as possible because there would be a prize for the big winner. Challenge accepted! A funny thing happened as I sat down for my first few hands of blackjack. I bet the table minimum; so when I lost, I only lost a little, but that also meant even when I won, it wasn’t very much. That prize seemed to be already out of reach.
Then it hit me, if I was going to have a shot at being the night’s big winner I was going to have to bet big. I couldn’t focus on losing, because that wasn’t my goal. So I got gutsy, I bet some big hands, winning most of them and losing a few until I became unphased by the losses because I was ready for the next opportunity to win again. And then I had an interesting thought…what would happen if I took that same approach to my career? How could I be that courageous? Continue reading
I hugged two people in my office in the span of one day. And no, HR was not called. Hugging and work are not words that I usually put together for obvious legal reasons but also because we normally don’t view our co-workers as “regular” people. Kind of like as a kid when you saw your teachers outside of school; it just didn’t seem right. Somehow the stars aligned just right and I ran into one lady who was crying and had coffee with another person about some personal issues. I didn’t pry, didn’t judge, I just listened like a friend would then gave a quick squeeze to let them know that I care and they aren’t out here alone.
Here’s today’s lesson kids: Our co-workers are kind of like in-laws, family we didn’t choose but are forced to be around anyway. Sometimes lines get crossed, personalities don’t mesh and the next thing you know, you can’t stand “so and so”. Then old “so and so” becomes another bullet on your list of reasons why your job sucks. Co-workers, bosses, the guy who never makes a new pot of coffee are people with issues and struggles just like you. And guess what, you’re probably on their list of reasons why their job sucks. The stress and politics of the office can often reduce them to obstacles and emotions, but remember, they are deserving of compassion and grace just like you are. Let’s all choose to have a little bit more compassion at work. God knows we can all use it.
I asked if I could give those two hugs out first. I am not the office creeper.