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  1. Keeping motivated when you are a Leader

    May 19, 2015 by Jenna

    Leadership takes on many responsibilities; it can be very busy and even tiring at times and therefore motivation levels can fluctuate. However, in this role you need to be able to keep yourself motivated because in turn it keeps the rest of your team motivated and thriving in the business.

    It starts with keeping in check your own personal motivation – your passions, continuing to challenge yourself with various projects and remembering why you committed to these goals in the first place. What you are trying to achieve?

    Sometimes the quickest way to lose motivation or even exhaust your level of motivation is to spend all of your time and energy trying to motivate and please the needs of your team. The truth is motivation is personal and you cannot force it upon others. Instead, leading by example through your own motivations, you can inspire others to motivate themselves and drive them to perform better. It’s showing the way towards success.

    Methods for self-motivation can include:

    • Learning new skills – What is needed for your current role? Where can you obtain these skills? Is there anyone who you can consult with for direction or advice?

    • Taking appropriate leave breaks to relax & rejuvenate – Clearing your mind of distractions (and resting), taking the time to find out more about yourself or pursuing a personal goal or hobby.

    • Spending time developing a self-improvement plan and setting goals – Where do you see your role developing in line with your business goals? Where do you see your team going and what do you need to do to help guide them there?

    • Investing in courses and training that can lead to growth and development – Are there any conferences within your local area that are providing information on areas of development? Have you looked into local educational institutions and what courses they provide? Are there any online resources that you could review outside of business hours?

    Building your own motivation by developing our skills and abilities also provides the knowledge and insight to pass on to others. If others within your team are seeking your advice or direction, you can provide recommendations and information on what you have looked into previously, helping direct others toward their future success.

    Make sure to also keep following up on your personal progress and what motivates you, whether it is every month or six months. That way you can help keep your motivation levels consistent and on track.

    If you are currently in a leadership role, what motivates you? More importantly, in what ways do you keep your drive and motivation consistent?


  2. Changes to increase happiness at work

    January 16, 2015 by Jenna

    We’re now settling back into our work routines for the New Year and as 2015 is a time to set out new goals and resolutions, why not aim to make changes that benefit your happiness and well-being at work?

    There are some simple steps that you can apply regardless of your role or background, and an article by Catherine Conlan will be my inspiration for this week’s blog. Here are six steps that you can apply below:

    Develop a Structured Routine

    Setting a structured routine gives a better indication of what to expect from your day and prepares you for what lies ahead. Sometimes this will require you to plan the night before, compile a list of priorities etc.

    Setting up a list of tasks and duties for the day can also save on procrastination as you have made yourself aware of what important deadlines need to be achieved. Be specific with what details you set out in your routine and what you want to achieve so that you can maintain it for a long term basis.

    Other routines may also include healthy eating plans and exercise routines which in turn can help improve daily performance.

    Become a Mentor

    If you have experience in your field and are looking for opportunities to share your knowledge and direction with other junior employees or candidates, there is a lot of fulfillment in helping others. You are not only leading someone in the direction of their future career, but you will be challenged by them to provide insight, reflect on what you have learned so far and review your career development up until this point. This can be a rewarding experience.

    Change Your Mindset

    Approaching your job as a daily investment towards your personal development will motivate you to pursue further responsibilities within the role and seek training and development in your career.

    If your daily mindset is going to work because you have to or because of financial gain, you may be limiting your motivation level and ability to perform at your best.

    Seek Out Opportunities To Give Back

    If your employer has a community service program that you can get involved in, why not take the opportunity to do something good for someone else and get away from your workplace for a few hours a week.

    Volunteering your time can allow you to develop different skill sets, and may inspire you to take on different volunteering opportunities in the future.

    Switch Things Up

    As your goals and targets will change throughout the year, make sure in turn that you are creating and adapting your routine to suit these goals. If the routine is not working to meet your personal development goals, you need to take measures to assess what isn’t working and make changes sooner rather than later.

    We also as individuals need to change processes regularly to keep us engaged and motivated, otherwise the routines can become stagnant. It is important to keep reviewing your routine over time and managing it accordingly.

    Keep Learning 

    If management would like to you take a course to further develop a particular skill or to be trained on new database/software, it is important to take up the opportunity.

    If you also feel that taking on some new training will benefit the organisations’ success, present it to the manager and don’t feel that you need to wait for training to be offered to you first. Pitch why you think the training would be beneficial and review with management to see if now is the right time to pursue it, or if there is an opportunity to pursue options in the future.

    What are some of your New Year’s resolutions? What measures will you take to develop your career and reach daily satisfaction?


  3. Writing a self-evaluation: Are you promoting yourself in the best light?

    November 25, 2014 by Jenna

    Self-evaluations are often used as part of a review process, either at the end of the probation period or as part of a performance review. They include providing a personal review of your workplace experiences and accomplishments to date. Many people find this process nerve racking. However, if you take the time to plan your evaluation properly it can be an enlightening and valuable experience for both you and your boss.

    Why do we write self-evaluations?

    Staff are asked to write self-evaluations for two main reasons; Firstly so that managers can get a staff members of perspective about working in the company or team; Secondly it gives you the opportunity to reflect on your experience in the role, your accomplishments and as well as areas for improvement.

    Where we fall short and how it should be viewed

    Errors can occur when individuals assume they need to answer the questions in the way they think their managers would like to see their review. They may also fail to ask for clarification on a question or subject or fail to elaborate when there is the opportunity.

    Sometimes the thought process of writing the review is a scarier process than actually writing it yourself and we can often put it off until the last minute.

    Self-evaluations should be a great opportunity to showcase your skills and display your best qualities as an employee.

    Take out some time in your busy schedule to block out distractions and take down points on what you have accomplished over this time period, you may surprise yourself!

    Benefits of writing a self-evaluation

    • Having your own voice: This is your opportunity to give an honest reflection of the work you have done for the company so far and outline how well you have accomplished your objectives.
    • Creating awareness: While management may provide you with assignments and tasks, they may not be fully aware of what other projects and tasks you complete regularly and what you are contributing to the company. It also increases your own awareness of what you are capable of and can build self-confidence.
    • Promoting your key skill sets: This is an opportunity to provide examples of when you had to use those skills to achieve outcomes. Perhaps even provide a list with dates to present with the document.
    • An chance to ask questions and seek feedback: Some potential questions you could ask might be: 1) Where do you see my role progressing? 2) Is there an opportunity for further training or mentoring in a particular field? 3) Are there any future goals or targets that I need to be aware of? 4) Do you see me taking on further responsibilities within my role?

     You also have to opportunity to provide feedback on your current working environment (what works and what doesn’t work). Perhaps you can even provide suggestions based on improvements within your work environment, show initiative.

    • Reflect on your personal development needs: While this can seem scary at first, establishing weaknesses can also open up the opportunity to discuss how management can best assist you to work on areas of improvement and how to further develop in that area you may be struggling in.
    • Building a closer bond between you and your manager/supervisor: By writing a self-evaluation, you can open up barriers and allow communication to flow more freely. Working collaboratively to achieve future goals and outcomes together as a team.

    Writing your self-evaluation

    Take the written evaluation seriously and consider the following:

    • Presentation – Check your spelling and grammar (as well as formatting – make sure the information flows well). If it appears like the work has been added in haste or looks rough around the edges, management may think you don’t take this process seriously.
    • Be specific when you can – include dates, examples, who you reported to (for validation) etc.
    • If there were problems or difficult situations, discuss the issue and provide feedback on possible solutions so that mistakes do not repeat themselves. Take responsibility and show your genuine interest in self improvement.
    • Re-establish your understanding of the role and how it ties to the goals and vision of your company/team
    • Highlight achievements, but make them relevant and try not to come across as arrogant or boastful.

    What feedback have you received before regarding the self-evaluation? What have you learned from writing your own evaluations?


  4. Steps to develop self-confidence when you are a new employee

    November 3, 2014 by Jenna

    When it comes to being new at any role, you can feel apprehensive and even a little bit overwhelmed with what you need to take in during the early days of training and development. You are also in a new environment with colleagues and associates to impress and that will naturally make you nervous. However, this isn’t an ongoing feeling and there are ways you can start building your self-confidence so that you can let yourself shine in the workplace.

    Jacqueline Smith from Forbes outlined ways to be more confident at work and I have chosen to outline nine key steps from this article below:

    Stay focused on you. “Whenever you want to achieve something, keep your eyes open, concentrate and make sure you know exactly what it is you want. No one can hit their target with their eyes closed.” – Paul Coelho. Remember why you are here and what it is you want to achieve and don’t let distractions get in the way of pursuing your goals.

    Identify your strengths and capitalise on them. Be aware of what your strengths are and try and utilise them in your role as much as you can. By driving your best qualities, you can feel a greater sense of accomplishment and it helps you maintain engagement and stay energised. Don’t be afraid to outline these strengths with your manager. That way they can extend opportunities that will be beneficial to those skill sets when they arise.

    Identify weaknesses, and work on them. With your strengths there are also weaknesses and it is important to be aware of what they are. At the same time, judging yourself harshly or wallowing in self-pity over mistakes will not help you overcome them. The purpose of identifying weaknesses is to discover ways to improve on issues for the future or avoid repeating bad habits and mistakes.

    Believe in yourself. How will others start believing in you and what you are capable of if you don’t believe in yourself? While this may sound like common sense, doubt will hold you back from taking risks and pursuing opportunities. Set yourself achievable targets, mentally motivate yourself to keep moving forward and don’t be afraid to sell your personal brand to those around you in the right light.

    Closely monitor your successes. Keep track of your daily accomplishments from a to-do list or in writing. It helps you keep track of what you are achieving on a daily basis and as you progress whether you feel you would like to take on more responsibilities. This is also advantageous when reviews take place by management or even once the probationary period is reached to present your written accomplishments.

    Seek encouragement from others. This doesn’t mean that you are trying to seek constant praise. Ask people you trust or management to evaluate you on what your strengths and weaknesses are. You can also ask for feedback and direction on projects to see if you are meeting or exceeding expectations.

    Challenge yourself. As a new employee you will not need to rush this process as you can attempt this over time with baby steps. Accomplishing new challenges can be a great way to boost your confidence. Find projects and assignments that give you an opportunity to use your strengths and projects that stretch you once you feel further established in the role. Don’t be afraid to also raise your hand if colleagues or management need assistance on tasks as it shows initiative.

    Be a role model of positive attitude. By showing a positive attitude you will see how positivity will spread within your working environment. This doesn’t mean you always need to be smiling and acting cheerful. It can also be your attitude when you approach a challenging task and showing resilience at times of change. You need to be wary of how you react to situations as it can affect the outcome of assignments and relationships with colleagues or management.

    Don’t let failure or setbacks take away your self-confidence. Great successors didn’t get to where they are today without failing their first attempts and sometimes second or third attempts. It can bruise our confidence a little bit when things don’t go according to plan. However, the worst thing to do about it is to shrink away, hoping it all blows over and say to yourself, ‘Well I’m never doing that again!’ Admit that you have failed at the time, assess the situation and brainstorm areas for improvement. Taking a step back to review things is sometimes the best way you can move forward.

    How do you set yourself up in a new role? What are some of the struggles that you had to face and how did you overcome them?


  5. Personal Development – The Importance Of Keeping Up To Date

    June 17, 2014 by Jenna

    While looking after the promotion and social media side of the business, I am constantly online reading. I am reading up on social trends, latest apps, industry related articles, you name it. The more technology is advancing, the quicker information can be available and more I need to be on the ball with what is going on so that I can market our business the right way.

    At the same time, I still need to maintain my duties in administration with telephone enquiries, skills testing enquiries, event organising and printing/filing/data entry tasks. I am very privileged to have a varied role because there is always something to do, and most of the time tasks need to be done within a short time frame.

    How do I keep up to date with what is required within my role? Without overloading myself I look at different mediums:

    Following companies online that share industry news – This allows me to receive industry updates as well as invitations to events.

    • Sharing information through LinkedIn groups – Again this involves following online networks that appeal to your role or industry. You can direct questions to the group and share information or blogs from your website.

    Networking Events – Meet like-minded individuals on a more relaxed, social scale. Find out about latest trends, software applications, what duties are required of individuals etc. Not to mention finding out contacts that can provide further training and development through word of mouth.

    Attend training workshops – This helps me keep up to date with my skill sets and also find out about latest tips and tactics on how to market to my industry.

    • Setting personal goals for progression – what do I want to learn over the upcoming weeks, months or year? Am I keeping myself accountable and keeping an up to date checklist?

    I meet with a mentor every few months – Someone who is in a more senior and experienced position who can guide me with expert advice, but still allows me the authority to make my own choices and go in the direction I feel is best.

    So what are the advantages of keeping up to date in your industry of work? While researching the topic I found the following three benefits outlined by MindTools.com:

    First, you’ll make better decisions, and you’ll spot threats and opportunities early on, which can give you a competitive edge. This is especially important if you contribute to shaping your organization’s strategy. It’s also important if you’re involved in sales and marketing, where it helps you identify and take advantage of the sales opportunities that come your way.

    Secondly, keeping up-to-date with your industry is key for building expert power. By developing expertise in your job and your industry, you’ll earn the trust and respect of the people around you. From a leadership perspective, this is invaluable!

    Finally, it will alert you to changes that you need to think about.

    As change is a common theme in business, it is important that you keep yourself up-to-date so that you are prepared to take the next steps in your career and assess any unexpected situations that may arise. It is important that we continue to drive ourselves to be our best and continue to prove ourselves as valuable assets within our organisations and further drive the business and ourselves towards success.


  6. Why Being a Team Player is Valuable for Workplace Performance

    April 29, 2014 by Jenna

    Each of us invests in our own personal development and strives to perform on an individual level. However, we tend to work in a team environment. Do we invest in our development as an effective team leader? And are you a team player at work?

    As an only child I love setting personal goals and challenges for myself. I like to believe that I am an independent thinker and I don’t mind working on individual tasks on my own. However, I also know that I have a reliable team to which I can approach for assistance, advice and even delegate to if I am overloaded with tasks.

    In my personal life I have had to manage and lead teams in events and trips which involved a lot of organisation. It taught me a lot about myself – my traits, strengths, weaknesses and what I was capable of when I pushed myself to the limits.

    While we are all trying to strive to be a top individual performer, I think it is important that we don’t forget the value of team performance when it comes to reaching successful outcomes at work. A man named Bob Kelly from Demand Media wrote an interesting article on this topic. He covered why teams are important and therefore why it is important that we are all effective team members within the workplace. Here are his reasons:

    Work Efficiency

    Teamwork enables you to accomplish tasks faster and more efficiently than tackling projects individually. Cooperating together on various tasks reduces workloads for all employees by enabling them to share responsibilities or ideas.

    Allow each individual to have a role that suits their specialisation or strength. And also avoid exclusion; try to give everyone an equal amount of responsibility and working together you can collectively encourage one another to get the task done.

    Improved Employee Relations

    What better way to get to know your fellow colleagues and what they are capable of than working on a project together? Building relationships and a positive workplace culture is vital within any organisation and it builds a sense of trust.

    By working together you can share success stories by brainstorming ideas and working together to achieve targets, and if the outcome is not what you expected you can assess areas for improvement in the future.

    Increased Accountability

    Accountability will increase when you know that not only one person relies on you to get the job done, but the whole team! It drives you and encourages you to put in 100% as it will contribute to the overall success of the group. It will also show your reliability and efficiency if team members need your help on future tasks.

    Learning Opportunities

    As a new employee, you can gain knowledge, new ideas and opportunities by working with more experienced employees. It also allows you to become more flexible and adaptable to different situations as you are working with others who may think and work in different ways to you. It opens your mind and your perspective rather than working alone and following the same routine. It is important to face challenges and compromise if need be to reach a successful outcome as a team.

    My final point is that in a team environment, it will make the process run smoothly if you approach a group task with a positive attitude. It can be difficult for some people who are used to working on their own or may be more of an introvert. Having a positive attitude allows you to be more open to opinions and allows you to make a good impression to your team. Be encouraging and supportive in the best way that you can.

    Have you relied on teamwork in the past to help you achieve results? What was the outcome? What did you learn from the experience?


  7. The pursuit of happiness at work

    February 4, 2014 by Jenna

    “We often miss opportunity because it’s dressed in overalls and looks like work” ― Thomas A. Edison

    Almost every job you will ever come across throughout your life, you will experience challenges or stressful situations. No job is perfect. But sometimes we let that stress or fear of the unknown prevent us from enjoying our current role or taking the leap into a new job opportunity. Of course, if you want to change careers or take a step up, you will often need to make personal sacrifices. But this fear shouldn’t drive your behaviour. Instead we need to consider, regardless of stage we are at in our career, how can we be happiest at work?

    Susan M. Heathfield listed Top 10 Ways To Be Happy At Work, and the key points for me were these 5 areas to take control of work and to make the most out of your day to day routine:

    1. Choose to be happy at work

    Happiness is a state of mind. Your job may not be perfect, it may not have turned out the way you had imagined it to when you went down this path, but there will always be aspects of your job that you don’t enjoy. But if you only focus on what you don’t enjoy, it is highly likely you are not giving yourself the chance to be happiest at work. When you are only focusing on the negative – it is likely to affect your performance too. You start avoiding tasks, you sleep in, run late, and overall you’re not committing 100%. The consequences of that could hurt the future of your career. It is your choice to be happy or unhappy at work. What would you rather be?

    2. Do Something You Love

    Take a look at yourself, your skills and interests, and find something that you can enjoy. There must be something in your role that you enjoy, otherwise what are you doing there? Assess your current situation and if you find that you are truly unhappy, then a career change or searching for a new job may be in order. You could even seek a Career Guidance Program or seek advice from a mentor.

    3. Take Charge of Your Own Professional Development

    I think a lot of the time we get confused and think that someone else is in charge of managing our professional development so we wait to be advised as opposed to taking action. We can of course seek guidance, direction and support from managers and mentors, but we need to be the one that is directing. So if you are not happy with the way you are developing professionally, do something about it. Have you approached your manager to discuss this? Have you voiced your concerns or helped find a solution? Have you worked out what steps need to be taken to lead to progression?

    4. Ask for Feedback

    If you feel like you are in a situation where you have not received feedback in a while regarding how you are progressing in your role and on tasks, then approach your manager. Set regular monthly follow up meetings if need be, but also keep in mind that feedback may also involve constructive feedback on areas of improvement. Feedback is required to help us grow, not to seek praise, so be prepared to accept what is provided and assess steps to improve certain behaviours to create better outcomes.

    5. Avoid Negativity

    ‘Surround yourself with only people who are going to lift you higher.’– Oprah Winfrey

    It’s often true, if you surround yourself with people who are always down and disappointed in life, eventually your mindset will swing that way. Negativity is contagious and it often only takes one person to start the trend.

    I always found that I would perform at my absolute best when I had other people around me that shared similar passions and pushed themselves for results. Because that too would push me to be better and perform better. People that could provide me with honest advice out of compassion and not jealousy or bitterness.

    Each of us has responsibility for our happiness at work. If something is not working, then change it. If it is out of your control, perhaps it is time to consider a new job, company or career. But if it is in your control, and you can improve it, why not give it a try – how do you increase your happiness at work?


  8. Career Development – What next? In your career

    July 9, 2013 by Jenna

    When we achieve that career goal or successfully make a career change, we can start to feel that we have reached our peak, but it is not too long before you start to realise that was not the end, but rather another new beginning. We are constantly seeking news things, constantly in demand, constantly changing.

    So what do you say to someone when asked, ‘What next?’ when it comes to your career?

    I was stumped by this question recently in a discussion with my mentor Anthony Duckworth from PwC. I had successfully changed career areas just over 12 months ago. I am still learning, still growing, and still developing new skills in this new career area. But it had been more than a year ago since I achieved my career change goal, so what next?

    I understand that I am not alone with this uncertainty.

    Being put on the spot, forced me to reflect on what I am enjoying most. ‘Well… I enjoy writing and sharing my experiences with people. I hope that as I progress in my career, I can pass on more of my experience with others and motivate them the way a mentor does. I enjoy working with people, and that’s why I enjoy working in a Recruitment Consultancy. There could be opportunities to further develop my career in marketing or gaining more HR experience working as a Consultant; those could be two great avenues I could venture towards.’

    Now that these new ideas were starting to evolve, what should I do about it? What are the next steps to take?

    Careerealism covered a good article on creating your professional development plan. They established three surprising truths:

    1. It is up to YOU – Your professional development is not the responsibility of anyone but you. You can be influenced or inspired in your current workplace, by your manager or your mentor, but ultimately you cannot rely on them to make the decisions for you. And making those difficult decisions ourselves is often how we grow. Use the opportunities you can to gain skills within an organisation and work with great like-minded professionals, but it is also important to gain that confidence to have your own voice and direction in terms of where you want to go.

    2. It’s Never ‘Final’ – A professional development plan is not written in stone. It can and it should be revised on a regular basis. We need to be adaptable with our plans in the event that changes may occur, after all, we can set direction but we never truly know what the future holds. Starting the plan is your key to overall success because plans can be revised as you go along, whereas starting from scratch every time can be a long and draining process.

    3. It’s Never Done – If you want to continue moving forward in your career, you must continue growing your skills. Learning is a lifelong process and your professional development plan is your career-long tool. As long as you continue to be a professional, your development plan will be a big component of your Career Success Toolkit.

    So where am I going to take my career?

    Most importantly, I am going to continue to search out opportunities to develop my skills. Over the weekend I attended a business seminar called ‘Become a Key Person of Influence’ held at NIDA (National Institute of Dramatic Arts). This seminar popped up shortly after I met with my mentor and what appealed to me about this course was that it ran through a five-step process on how to become more highly valued and recognised within my industry. A key part of the presentation involved building credibility through writing and publishing. So it felt like it really spoke to me as an individual. If I had not taken the step to attend, I could have missed out on a chance to learn from great entrepreneurs.

    Listening and meeting with other individuals in the same situation really brought a sense of relief! We all have ideas, we all have a story and regardless of what our backgrounds are we are capable of achieving measurable goals once we start planning out the process.

    I find that I learn most about myself when I take on new opportunities. So keep your eyes and ears open to what is going on around you, and pounce at the opportunities to further develop your skills. It is amazing what learning opportunities so many of us have access to. Whether that is enlisting support of a formal Career Development program and meet with someone to discuss your goals, or attend external business courses, or sign-up for in-house training, or networking to help connect you with others – take the opportunity to develop new skills and learn what you love most.

    And if you are like me and have ‘overlooked’ your career development or have become comfortable in your routine, take some time to review your career goals. You never know what doors could open up by redefining where you want to go.

    As for me, I am excited to newly approach my goals, find out how to further develop my own personal brand and what I can bring in terms of new ideas and development for my organisation.

    Where has your career development taken you so far?

     

     

     


  9. Why it’s great to be a mentor

    July 1, 2013 by Jenna

    Have you been a mentor to others?

    Is it something that you have ever considered trying before?

    Last week I looked at the benefits of mentoring from the mentee’s perspective, this week we are reaching out to those that are more established in their careers to explore the benefits of being a mentor.

    To find out more about being a mentor and the value of providing mentorship I went straight to my mentor, Anthony Duckworth, an Events Team Leader at PwC who I attended the MEA Mentoring Program with a few years ago.I could tell Anthony enjoyed being a mentor because the moment I outlined that I was in a fairly new role in a new industry; he couldn’t help but ask me, ‘What next?

    I began the conversation by asking him why he initially volunteered his time to be a mentor. At the time of signing up to be a mentor Anthony was already working in a role that had a heavy emphasis on coaching others, but he had a real passion for helping individuals on a broader scale, rather than just individual assistance for their daily tasks.

    ‘Being a mentor for me is about passing it on – about reaching a point in my career (& life) and being able to turn my hindsight into someone else’s insight. Being a mentor is a privilege and is the most rewarding role I could be asked to play. Its a connection driven by a motivated mentee where no task based answers are sought – its more a relationship built on different perspectives, experiences and open dialogue.’

    For those of you who thought that a coach and a mentor were the same thing, I have listed similarities and differences below:

    Coaching

    • Task focus (current and future)
    • Skills and performance Focus
    • Empowerment and accountability for results is shared
    • Usually a line manager role
    • Agenda set with coach
    • Focus on short term (6-12 months)
    • Initiated by line manager
    • Coach provides solutions
    • Feedback to participant
    • Fosters co-dependence leading to independence
    • Deals with factual information
    • Promotes Self Esteem

    Mentoring

    • Discovery and development of capability and potential (future)
    • Empowerment of participants to develop their own abilities
    • Can be a non line manager role
    • Agenda set by participant
    • Focus on long term (1 year plus)
    • Initiated by participant
    • Solutions are set together
    • Feedback by participant
    • Fosters independence
    • Deals with feelings and factual information
    • Promotes Self Esteem

    While a coach is valuable for resolving on the spot issues and directing your current position and tasks, the mentor will be valuable in helping you decipher the ‘what if’ scenarios of your future and how you can turn those dreams into a reality.

    Can anyone be mentor? Of course!

    Anthony told me about his first mentor. Very early in his career, Anthony was attending a conference where one of the guest speakers really inspired him. He wrote a hand-written note in an attempt to make a connection with the individual. He had no idea whether he would get a response or not, but he used his initiative. The mentor was so touched by the hand written note that he shared this note with his family and he was very moved by Anthony’s personal touch. And would you believe it, Anthony still meets with this mentor to this day – many years later!

    So what is the value in becoming a mentor?

    For Anthony, the greatest reward is being energised by being with an individual who is eager to learn, motivated, enthusiastic and follows up.  Someone who can communicate, challenge you as a mentor through open questions and is genuinely seeking the mentor’s guidance. He feels that he is really able to help, but at the same learn so much himself through the process.

    This of course is all subject to the relationship that you build with a mentee, and as a mentor you must be as open and willing to build a relationship with your mentee as much as they are willing to seek you out for your support and guidance.

    And I can comfortably say that there are a lot of mentees out there, whether they are new to an industry or a recent graduate, and they may not even be seeking someone in the same industry, just someone who can provide them with a fresh, creative and wise approach to their future.

    I haven’t had a chance to be a mentor to others, but I can say that if I had the opportunity I would certainly take it.

    Do you have any stories about the benefits of mentoring or what you have learned from your mentor?


  10. When was the last time you did a ‘spring clean’ of your career?

    June 4, 2013 by Jenna

    Whether you are happy in your current role or currently looking for something new, it is always important to keep your job search and career development skills up-to-date.

    Not only that but cleaning out some of the distractions and bad habits that may be weighing you down instead of helping you move forward can only be a good thing, right?

    Refresh

    Have you reviewed your resume lately?

    We tend to only look at our resume when we need to look for work. But whether you are looking for work or not, your resume is your most important personal brand document. And we all know how time consuming writing a resume from scratch is.

    So pull out your resume for a spring clean:

    Update Information – Are your most recent achievements added? Is your employment history up-to-date? Have you identified who you references will be?
    Formatting – Is your resume easy to read? Is it set out in a way where the employer or recruiter can identify your key skills without having to do an investigative search? Does it look clean and neat? Is the language formal and professional? Would it grab your attention if you were an employer?

    Another thing to keep in mind, in the age of technology – is your online presence. What does Google say about you? What does your LinkedIn profile say about you? Is it time for an update to list your most recent skills and experience? What other social media sites do you currently have a presence – do they represent the image you would like to portray?

    Update

    Do you know what level of skills you have? Do you know what skills you need to take the next step in your career?

    If you are not sure what level your computer skills are at, there are plenty of opportunities to assess your skills through online skills testing. For jobseekers you can keep a copy of the results to share with future employers.

    There is no time like the present to invest or consider additional training to update your skills. Perhaps your current employer offers training programs that you can sign-up for? If not, consider what training you need and ask at your next performance discussion with your manager.

    Set Goals

    What are your personal goals? Do they tie in with your career goals? What matters most for you?

    I’m most successful when I have a healthy body and mind. But I tend to find that my body and mind are more often in conflict rather than cooperating together!

    To get myself back on track, I set physical goals to reach the state of health and fitness I want. For me, being more active allows me to be more positive in my approach to life. Not to mention, knowing that I’m capable of achieving these physical goals helps build my confidence to push myself forward to achieve my career goals as well.

    Now I’m not saying go out and spend a lot of money to join a gym, sometimes simple things like going for a daily walk, having a yoga stretch in a park or going to a class with a friend, can really boost your overall well-being. And let’s be honest, when you are not healthy you tend to feel sluggish and demotivated. I know how difficult it is when I get caught in this rut, but once I push myself outside of my comfort zone, I definitely feel more motivated to achieve even more.

    Remove Obstacles

    Are there factors in your life that are making you stressed or holding you back from making the best decisions regarding your career?

    Too often we get busy just being busy. But are there tasks that are taking too much time that are stopping you from investing in what is important? Are there things that you could delegate, share or remove entirely to allow you the time you need to invest in what you really want to achieve?  The body cannot function without the mind, and if you are losing too much sleep because you have too much on your mind or have too many commitments on your plate this will not benefit you in the long run. In fact, if you are tired and unfocused it could potentially harm your decisions. So get rid of those negative factors that are holding you back, and if you can’t get rid of some factors try and find a way to find balance. Most likely you will know someone who has been in a similar situation and their advice could really help guide you.

    It can also be very easy to be comfortable in your current routine ‘bubble’. But every now and then we need to challenge ourselves outside of that bubble to examine if what we are currently doing is the best for us and our future career. What do you need to spring clean in your career?




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