CareerSherpas: Climbing the Mountain

When you’re on the way, it helps to share the load

Archive for the ‘Success’ Category

How To Never Give Up

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

Along with the rest of the denizens of the internet and blogosphere I love a great infographic. Especially when it’s as wonderfully pithy as this one from Funders and Founders.

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Sure it’s geared toward entrepreneurs, but it applies equally to any long-term goal you chase after. So get back up and go to the net again today! And tomorrow. And every day presenting challenges to be faced! I’ll still be cheering for you every step of the way!

Be Aware of Your Choices

Monday, September 10th, 2012

In everything we have a choice. Even not making a choice is a choice.

Think about the last week. In all likelihood through most of it you got up, went to work, performed some duties, came home, spent time in some leisure activity, and slept. Rinse and repeat.

Let’s just take one segment, how about that whole “went to work” piece? How did you get there? Did you drive, walk, bike, or catch a bus? If you drove, did you drive the same way each day? Did you stop for coffee? Did you travel with anyone? Did you listen to the radio, CD or mp3s on the way? Did you move quickly or slowly? Did you feel rushed? Did you smile or wave at anyone on the way? Did you see people you knew that you didn’t connect with? Did you meet someone new and chat?

You answered all of these questions whether you know it or not. Even if you weren’t aware that the question was asked, you answered it.

Every step along the way, your choices shaped what came next. Your opportunities expanded and contracted at each point. You had control at every fork in the road whether you chose to exercise it or not.

Some choices are more difficult or carry more consequences than others. A choice to speed brings the risk that the next person you talk to might be the police officer pulling you over. Not going to work at all might mean you no longer have that job to go to.

Even so, you have a choice, and you made it. Whether you consciously decided or let the default option carry the day, it was your choice.

Take one area of your life that is on auto-pilot and consider carefully what choices you are making. If you need to start small, try looking at your commute or what you eat for lunch. Are you following the same pattern day in and day out? Are you happy with that pattern or is there something that you’d rather change?

Just by being aware of the choices you make, you have changed them. You made a decision not to let those choices be automatic.

When you’re ready for a bigger challenge, take a look at the area of your life where you find the least joy and ask yourself: What decisions am I making here?

(And if you need a little help getting there, try dropping me a note or call.)

Peter Fitzgerald is the founder of CareerSherpas.com and is currently working on his first book, connecting individuals with ideas and opportunities, and attempting to learn the bagpipes.

Considerations for Labor Day

Monday, September 5th, 2011

It’s Labor Day! Wait… if you’re reading this in the USA on Labor Day just stop. Immediately. Go relax!

Labor Day, to quote the US Department of Labor, “is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers.” A fine rationale for a national tribute and a great moment to get perspective on what accomplishments you as an individual have had in the previous year. It also marks the start of the fall hiring season for most industries.

For me, this combination sounds like a great time to figure out how to describe and present your achievements. Whether you’re intending to look for a new job or not, it’s good to regularly take stock of accomplishments. If you’re ready for a new challenge, describing your successes prepare you for writing and speaking about your resume to a new employer or group. If you’re not ready for that change, that same description lets you share the same information with your boss and prepare for reviewing your performance.

So spend some time thinking about your sucesses, your achievements, the benefits you’ve provided to others. Once you start you’ll find things coming to mind you haven’t thought and the growth of your list will surprise you. Don’t limit yourself to professional achievements and let the accomplishments flow.

Also, write them down. I can’t say this enough when it comes to goals and achievements. The simple act of recording your successes reaffirms them in your memory. You can be assured that the more you remember your successes the better you can share them with others and the more others will understand your impact on “the social and economic” success around you.

So on this Labor Day relax and take time to reinforce how successful you really are.

Peter Fitzgerald is the founder of CareerSherpas.com and is currently working on his first book, connecting individuals with ideas and opportunities, and attempting to learn the bagpipes.

Think for Yourself

Monday, August 29th, 2011
Survival in organizations often requires an interesting set of skills, many of which fly in the face of our regular daily lives. Sometimes those survival techniques are actually hurting you and the companies you work for.
One “skill” that I’ve seen at work quite a bit in service organizations is ┬áthe ability to follow patterns of behavior without question. The ability to accept whatever decisions are handed down from on high as correct – even if no rational person would agree!
While I can see where this comes from (sometimes following the company script is important) it doesn’t really hold up to scrutiny for daily work. Processes can, and should, be improved. Solving problems that slow everyone down is worthwhile. Companies are under pressure to move faster and innovate better, but at the crux of the matter if you’re being asked not to think then your company is suffering along with you.
Challenging management who are asking (commanding) that you not share ideas or share information about the realities of your work isn’t always a possibility. So what can you do to prevent yourself becoming a drone?
First, think for yourself. Even if you have to keep it to yourself to start with, take notes of what improvements you see and the things that don’t make sense.
Next, take the time to find an open ear. If it isn’t your manager, it’s time to get creative. Listen to the way co-workers discuss issues. Start to find people in other departments to make friends with who might be able to help or who might have other channels for sharing information.
Finally, ask to be included on improvement projects. Those projects are going on in most organizations and even when they don’t work they’re a great way of getting exposed to people who habitually fix things. Generally, anyone whose job is to help solve problems also talks to the people who decide which problems to fix.
Remember that the most critical successes come from innovations, most of which will be small changes. Make sure you’re looking for opportunities to improve and finding channels to get your insights out.

Peter Fitzgerald is the founder of CareerSherpas.com and is currently working on his first book, connecting individuals with ideas and opportunities, and attempting to learn the bagpipes.

Pick Your Battles

Monday, August 22nd, 2011

Struggles abound, but are the ones you’re facing the important ones right now?

When you’re faced with a problem, what do you do? For myself I’m a “fixer”. The guy who likes nothing better than digging in and solving problems. But what if the number of problems are overwhelming?

At their core problems, or opportunities for those who like the “positive politically correct” translation, are situations where someone can picture a better situation. Often a problem doesn’t exist on its own but is linked to two or three others, which in turn are connected to more. Digging to the bottom of the pile you will come to a point where there is something fundamental that needs to change.

Whether you have the ability to fix or influence someone else to fix an issue will often mean walking into a web of politics and emotional attachments that make a simple fix impossible. When faced with this, there is a choice that isn’t always obvious but that will always be made: Is this something I’m going to fight for?

What kind of mountain are you trying to climb? Is it a mountain where the cliffs are steep, slick and slippery? Do you have the support to face it? Do you get to decide to climb this mountain or does someone else?

All of these questions and more have to be carefully weighed. Sometimes just going around the mountain to have the energy and resources to climb a bigger one beyond is the right thing to do. Sometimes not clearing a roadblock gives you the ability to move beyond it to solve more important concerns.

Have you asked yourself if what you’re fighting with now really helps you? Are you going to improve something by continuing along a path or are you just being stubborn?

Take the time to reassess something you’re stuck on today and see if it really is as important at it looks when you’re in the thick of it.

Peter Fitzgerald is the founder of CareerSherpas.com and is currently working on his first book, connecting individuals with ideas and opportunities, and attempting to learn the bagpipes.