Top 10 Quotes to Get You to the Top

“All great changes are preceded by chaos” – Deepak Chopra

“All great changes are preceded by chaos” – Deepak Chopra

I offer a lot of tips and ideas here that will help you become a better employee or manager and advance in your career. But sometimes we need a little more than just knowing the right or wrong way to do something.

So I’m sharing a collection of quotes that might help you through the day in those moments when hard work and big hopes start to fall flat.

“Every strike brings me closer to the next home run.” – Babe Ruth

Each mistake is an opportunity for growth. Learn from the moments that don’t go as planned and put that experience toward your next approach.

“All great changes are preceded by chaos” – Deepak Chopra

Feeling flustered with your current situation and all it seems you have to do? The dust will settle. But until then, keep the goal in mind.

“If I had six hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend the first four hours sharpening the axe” – Abraham Lincoln

Abe’s tool was his axe. What’s yours? Maybe it’s your work ethic or a particular skill. Take the time to sharpen it properly before you start swinging and not only will you do a better job, you’ll avoid a lot of unnecessary setbacks.

“The harder I work, the luckier I get” – Gary Player

Do you believe in luck? I don’t. But a great work ethic and a positive attitude will have you rolling in the riches of what seems, to the untrained eye, to be luck.

“There are no traffic jams along the extra mile” – Roger Staubach

You might have some competition on the main road to your goals, but the road with the extra time and effort is usually an empty one. Put in that extra work and you’ll arrive at your destination in no time.

“It always seems impossible until it’s done.” – Nelson Mandela

Take a look back at your former achievements. Surely there were a few that seemed unlikely to occur at the moment you began. But now? It’s done. Apply that experience to your next impossibility so you can stand at the end of another accomplishment.

“Success is walking from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” – Winston Churchill

Don’t let a misstep get you down or you really never will reach your goals.

“Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway.” – John Wayne

Fear is a great driving force, however deterring it can be. Own it, embrace it, let it drive you, use it for good.

“Worrying does not empty tomorrow of its troubles, it empties today of its strength.” – Corrie ten Boom

What’s been holding you back from continuing on your career path? If worry or fear top the list, it’s time to push through it.

“The best way to predict the future is to invent it.” – Alan Kay

Concerned about your career future? Identify what job you want and then create it. Don’t wait around for your dream job to come to you.

Feeling pumped now? Go out there and get that dream job. Chances are the only thing holding you back is you.

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Do you want to motivate and lead your staff more effectively? My executive coaching services can help you hone your leadership skills and clearly define your goals and objectives.

Change is Coming: 6 Ways to Manage Your Team Through the Chaos

Start with you

Start with you

Change can ruffle the feathers of any company making it a great time for good managers to shine. An effective leader helps ease team tensions while paving the way for open-minded, forward thinking; providing both a safe space for employees to feel secure and a growing company that nurtures change.

But saving the day is easier said than done so if you’re facing impending change and are uncertain about its possible effects, start with these 6 steps and be on your way to healthy corporate growth.

  1. If you’re reluctant about the change or feeling overwhelmed by its possible impact, your team will feel that. Your worry will be heard in the details you translate, your tone of voice and even your body language. So start by allowing yourself to figure out the details, address your concerns and create a positive approach before transmitting to our team.
  2. Encourage closure
    In order to embrace change, people need to let go of the past. This could mean certain roles will change, partnerships may get mixed up and workplace comfort zones will be jolted. As a people manager, you have to plan to help your team accept change and adapt so let them know it’s okay to say goodbye to the comfort of the past because the future could be even better.
  3. Identify the safe spaces
    Studies have shown that only 15% of a role has to change in order for an employee to feel like they’re working an entirely new job. Working together to help them identify which parts of their job are staying the same can help shift that perspective while giving them something comfortable to get them through the transition.
  4. Be open and honest
    This may seem like a given but you might not always be able to share as much information as you’d like. Work extra hard when you can, though. Offer as many details as possible and keep the lines of communication open. This includes addressing the Whys, Hows and What Ifs to diminish feelings of uncertainty and adverse feelings. When you have nothing new to report, ensure them you will relay any and all information once it comes by you.
  5. Involve yourselves
    Having your team involved in even the smallest aspect of the changes can help ease the feelings of helplessness and improve morale. Participation in any phase of change can also be great for team exposure and spreading a positive adaptation of new things, which can help both your team and the organization in the long run.
  6. Offer individual support
    Everyone reacts to change in their own way, so take the time to meet with each employee and explore their unique perspective of the new environment. Allow each team member to express their own concerns and offer your support where possible.

Change is scary in most cases, but when it comes to someone’s job, it gets even scarier. As a manager, it’s your job to help ease the transition by limiting stress on your employees and cultivating a positive, open environment.

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Do you want to motivate and lead your staff more effectively? My executive coaching services can help you hone your leadership skills and clearly define your goals and objectives.

Top 5 Limiting Beliefs That Will Keep You Out of the Corner Office

I’m underqualified.

I’m underqualified.

Getting ahead in business doesn’t come naturally to everyone. And you might be confused about how to accomplish your career goals quickly and professionally.

Corporate ladder climbing is often competitive and it can be hard to keep the courage to stick with it when the process might start to shine a light on your shortcomings.

The good news is letting career-limiting beliefs stand between you and your dream role is more easily avoidable than you think; but you have to start with identifying them. See if any of these resonate with your inner empowerment struggle and learn how to put your doubts in their rightful place; behind you.

  1. The job market is terrible, I should just be happy where I am.

While there is some validity to this thought process (gratitude can get you far), there’s no reason others can succeed in the same market while you hold on to negative odds. People are still getting jobs, and the market is on the upswing. Plus you never know if your dream position just opened up because the person who held it before moved on at the perfect time.

  1. I’m underqualified.

This is best left for the hiring manager to decide, so throw your hat into the ring regardless of whether or not you think you’re good enough. Our self-esteem can be easily damaged during an intensive job search but it’s important you disconnect that from your professional conquests. What’s the worst that can happen if you apply for a job you’re not qualified for? Then consider what’s the best that could happen.

  1. I’m overqualified.

No one is overqualified. You might not have the proper qualifications for one job or another but blanket statements like will have your job search going from “selective” to “impossible.”

  1. I’m too old.

If you’re fearful that your skills will be out of date, take this opportunity to update your education. If there’s a particular skill required for the job you desire most, take a course or network with the folks who understand it best. Otherwise your age shouldn’t limit you. You’ll always have something to offer that the younger generations can’t; figure out what it is and market it.

  1. I need experience to get the job, but I need to get the job to get experience.

This can be a frustrating predicament to find yourself, especially if you’re new to the job market. But don’t get stuck thinking you need to be on a particular journey in order to get the proper experience. Volunteering and interning, while undesirable, can help solve this problem in just a few short months. If this is the only thing holding you back, think outside the box and get creative.

Whether you’re fresh out of college looking for the perfect entry-level job or a seasoned veteran looking for that corner office, there are confidence pitfalls that make it easy to turn the probable into the impossible. Don’t let these beliefs get the best of you.

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Do you want to motivate and lead your staff more effectively? My executive coaching services can help you hone your leadership skills and clearly define your goals and objectives.

Why Working Around the Clock is Hurting Your Career

Creative Problem-Solving Fuel

Creative Problem-Solving Fuel

All too often, we let stress get the best of us. Suddenly workplace pressure goes beyond the walls of the workplace and impedes on our personal lives, as well. You might feel you need to stay on top of your work even off hours to stay competitive and empowered but there are some essential necessities to unplugging and relaxing a bit.

In general, play isn’t just important for kids to mold their imaginations and keep their energy buzzing; play should be an important part of every adult’s day. Here are some reasons getting in some playtime can actually improve your work performance when you get back there on Monday.

Creative Problem-Solving Fuel

Stepping outside of the ordinary box for recreational time can teach you a lesson or two, whether you know it or not. When there’s no goal to reach by the end of the day, you find yourself immersed in the experience, not the accomplishments. Suddenly you’re armed with a different perspective which can carry over to a more creative approach when facing job-related challenges.

Improvements in Mood and Well-being

This one is obvious but incredibly important. You’re no good to anyone or any job if you’re run down and frustrated. Allow those playtime endorphins to course through your veins whenever you can; it will keep you in a healthier, less stressed mental state when you’re back at your desk.

Enhanced Relationships and Social Empowerment

Meeting new people and sharing a few laughs when the heat is off can help you master it for when the heat is on. Networking is crucial in any career but if you always keep your head down and your mind on work, even on your own time, you’ll forget how to interact with people faster than you might expect. Plus you never know who you might meet at your neighbor’s brother’s friend’s barbeque; it could be someone with a lead on your dream job.

It’s easy to become overwhelmed with your daily responsibilities and the pressures at work to stay competitive and competent but if you don’t allow for some personal time to kick back and get out of your goal-reaching mind, your actions are more counterproductive than good. Seek stress relief whenever possible and always surround yourself with good people and great laughs; it’ll improve your work performance 10-fold.

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Do you want to motivate and lead your staff more effectively? My executive coaching services can help you hone your leadership skills and clearly define your goals and objectives.

Conflict Management at the Executive Level

Conflict-Management

Claim your responsibility

A leader reaches their post in the corporate structure because they’re strong; strong-willed, strong-minded, strong-armed. While those qualities may be a great asset to the job in many circumstances, it may be a detriment when it comes to conflict.

Even the most seasoned leaders can find themselves butting heads with other company decision-makers. With so much at stake and such powerful people at the wheel, any conflict big or small could cause quite the office battle.

But it’s important for leaders to keep their cool and still be able to carry out the tasks and people-managing their job requires. Here are some things to keep in mind if you’re facing an executive conflict of your own.

Acknowledge what this conflict is costing you

Your power of influence could be compromised while in the throes of an executive conflict. Even if you’ve managed to keep your struggle quiet, employees can tell when their leaders are under the wrong kind of pressure. How are your direct reports looking at you? Is your management influence taking a hit?

How is your boss perceiving your behavior? Are you carrying yourself well during this contest? Don’t let the disagreement cost you your job or your respect. Stay connected to your day-to-day priorities which should include your colleagues.

Claim your responsibility

It’s hard to admit fault, especially if you really haven’t committed any powerful wrongdoing. But it’s important to adjust your perspective to include your own shortcomings and how they may have an effect on the conflict. Have you broken any agreements or fell back on accountability? Now’s the time to claim your part in this conflict.  Admitting to wrongdoing and working toward fixing it is always a mutually beneficial thing to do, so be sure you’re in good standing with your colleagues, direct reports and manager.

Have the Talk

It may be time for you and your disagreeing colleague to sit down mano-a-mano and discuss the conflict face-to-face. It should be possible to resolve an executive conflict internally; after all, leading by example is something you’ve mastered by now. If you’re taking a meeting to discuss the challenges at hand, be sure to adhere to a few peace-keeping guidelines:

  • Avoid accusations – there’s nothing productive about egging someone on. You may think you’re right, but that doesn’t make the other party any more wrong.
  • Use “I” statements – you can’t speak for anybody but yourself.
  • Set a goal – consider something you can agree on: a goal to reach a solution. Don’t rehash your disagreeing viewpoints, speak productively with the best interest of the company and employees in mind.

Conflict is always a challenge no matter the time, place or risks involved. It’s especially hard when you’re in a position of authority and all eyes are on you. And when the benefit of the company is at stake because executives can’t find common ground, a lot more than just your pride is on the line. So take it slow and remember you’re all experienced, educated human beings – you’ve got this.

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Do you want to motivate and lead your staff more effectively? My executive coaching services can help you hone your leadership skills and clearly define your goals and objectives.

Are You A Master Problem Solver? 6 Questions to Ask Yourself

No matter your job title or executive level, problem solving comes included. It might be the part of the job that no one ever trained you on and isn’t exactly written in your role description, but you need to be on your game for the sake of the company, the customers and your career.

I’ve compiled a list of six questions to ask yourself as a means to reflect on your past attempts at problem solving and to keep you on track in your future ones.

  1. Have you clearly identified the issue?

A problem can’t be solved if you haven’t been honest about the details, as difficult as it may be. Don’t sidestep the tricky parts; put it all right out there on the table.

  1. Do you consider all parties?

Different people in different roles in different departments have different stakes in the various operations of your company. Before you begin to solve any given problem, ensure you understand the interests of all parties involved.

  1. Have you brainstormed solutions alone or with external input?

Once you have all of your considerations in order, it’s time to start thinking more positively. Forget about the “problem” and start gearing your thinking towards the solution. Think in terms of possibility and include others’ trusted input if you think it might expand the chances of success.

  1. Did you evaluate the solutions?

This is an important step because brainstorming can be chaotic, so evaluation is when you begin narrowing down the most reasonable ideas. Remember your considerations from earlier and factor them in when necessary but this step is your chance to choose the best solution given your options.

  1. Have you taken timely action?

Talking about ideas is great, but next comes taking action. Are you careful about your implementation, watching for effects and consequences? Depending on the type of problem you’re solving, you may need to be sensitive to a few factors. Do so, but don’t let that slow you down or trip you up from successful implementation.

  1. Once you’ve taken action, do you grant yourself a vacation?

If you’ve walked away from your problem solving opportunity like a hero and are now sitting at your desk relaxed and proud, you might want to stiffen up again. It’s great that you’ve taken the proper steps to ensure success but you must follow up on the changes you’ve made, offer assistance where necessary and be ready to problem solve again in the event your solution creates smaller, transitional issues.

Problem solving is a key factor to any job, whether you like it, know it or not. So be on the lookout for these certain things and always remember to ask yourself the six questions when facing any opportunity for solution.

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Do you want to motivate and lead your staff more effectively? My executive coaching services can help you hone your leadership skills and clearly define your goals and objectives.

Dan Marks –  Personal Training and Kettlebell Instruction

Is My Boss Blocking My Career Advancement?

I’ve never been one for conspiracy theories but this one may ring true for some of you. Yes, it is possible your boss is actually the one standing in the way of you getting that promotion you deserve.

There are many reasons a boss might do this. But more importantly, here are a few ways you can fight back.

  1. Stay calm

Acting defensively or accusatory won’t get you very far. If your boss as blocked your promotion without discussing it with you, you have a reason to feel upset. But acting upset will only make the situation worse. Stay professional and try not to jump to conclusions.

  1. Ask questions

Whether you meet with your HR representative or your boss directly, ask all of the questions that you don’t know the answer to. Included in this should be “how can I improve my performance so that I can be considered for the position?” Taking that approach might get your questions answered while you still appear to be curious and determined. This is the best approach for long-term success.

  1. Dig a little deeper

If your questions are being answered vaguely, it’s okay to probe a little more. If you were told you didn’t get the job because someone else had more experience or a stronger skill set, ask for specifics on what kind of skills you’ll need to acquire before the next opportunity.

  1. Take action

If you were given specifics on skill sets and experience that you are, in fact, missing, make an action plan to acquire them. Attend any training sessions that may be available or seek office mentors that you may be able to learn from.

  1. Consider timing

Does a current project depend on you? Perhaps your boss can’t run the risk of losing such an important part of the team at such a volatile time. If you think this may be the case, have a one-on-one with your boss and ask him or her for a time frame that would be more appropriate for your potential promotion.

  1. Stay calm (still)

If you’ve done all you can do and it still seems your boss is blocking your promotion, it may very well be for selfish reasons on their behalf. As always, it’s important you remain calm. This would be a great opportunity to make an appointment with your HR representative and explain everything you’ve done; acquiring new skill sets, attending trainings, even setting up your future replacement for success. If they notice the patterns and realize things don’t add up, this may be when they intervene. If not, it may be time for you to look outside the company.

It can be a frustrating experience to be shut down for a deserved promotion by someone you thought was in your corner. But take the calm and logical steps to getting it sorted out and you may very well find your success.

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Do you need help increasing job visibility or prioritizing your career goals? My executive coaching services can help you hone your communication skills and clearly define your goals and objectives.

How to Beat Office Politics

Know What You Want

Know What You Want

Office politics getting you down? You’re not alone. Getting caught up in workplace drama can be distracting at best. At worst, it can impact the future of your career.

However, it’s important to remember that if you are a top performer, you can (and should) rise above it. Here are some ways to keep out of trouble.

Know What You Want

A common theme in workplace success is knowing what you want. Before you get sucked up into office politics, be sure you’re clear on what it is you’re striving to accomplish. If you get caught in the whirlwind, that clarity will help keep you on course. Keeping your eye on the business objectives will always provide you a chance for victory.

Avoid Taking Sides

It may be hard to stay out of politicking when two power figures are going head to head, but it’s important that you do. Again, focus on the business objectives because ultimately, everyone wants the business to succeed and it’s hard to argue with someone striving for that independently. Ensure all communication with “both sides” is transparent so that you can avoid “he said/she said” games. When all else fails, keep your head down and focus on the tasks at hand.

Don’t Get Personal

You may find yourself getting frustrated by the office politics swirling around you. By nature of the beast, you will take sides, at least internally. You may grow angry with some people and want to defend others. Stay true to your office allies and never speak cruelly to someone you disagree with. Crossing the line of professionalism will brand you difficult to work with and will decrease your chances of recognition, regardless of whether you’re a top performer or not.

No one wants to work in an environment where people are trying to outwit their peers and mow down their perceived competition to make it to the top. But it happens. All you can do is try your best to stay on the outside and be a neutral performer with company success as your ultimate goal.

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Do you need help increasing job visibility or prioritizing your career goals? My executive coaching services can help you hone your communication skills and clearly define your goals and objectives.

Is Your Work Ethic Up to Par?

How high on your personal priority list is this job?

How high on your personal priority list is this job?

So you’re wondering why it seems every time there’s a promotion in your grasp, you’re overlooked and it’s given to someone else. You’ve put in a lot of time with the company and you know you’re ready but you seem to be the only one who thinks so.

In the past I’ve given you some tips on how to put your best foot forward in the office, keeping things positive and making yourself more visible. But those aren’t the only ingredients to continued work success. One of the most basic things you need is a solid day-to-day performance, the willingness to buckle down and get the job done. You need a great work ethic.

You’re probably thinking that’s no problem because you’ve always prided yourself on a great work ethic. But consider that over time, you’ve loosened up. There are several reasons your work ethic could have taken a hit over the years or more recent months, and being overlooked for a promotion could be one of those reasons. Getting too comfortable at work could be another one.

No matter the reason, it’s an easy thing to fix because you’re 100% in control. Find out if you have a great work ethic; next time you’re at your desk in the middle of a work day, ask yourself if you display these characteristics:

Willingness to learn – Sure you may be experienced, but that doesn’t mean you know it all. If you act like you do, this doesn’t bode well for your work ethic. Continue to grow, always learn new things and be open to what others have to share.

Commitment – How high on your personal priority list is this job? If it’s not high, you’re not committed. That may be alright but understand that others do notice. If you’re not willing to stay a little longer to get the job done but someone else is, who do you think is more likely to get the promotion?

Dependability – If you start something, are you there to finish it? If someone needs your help on a project do you show up or make excuses? Do you get to work late? Do you call out often? If you’re not someone people can trust, your bosses may not be eager to give you that promotion.

Honesty – If you have a reputation around the office as being dishonest about anything from small work gossip to important work matters, you might want to address it.

Ownership – So you missed a deadline or made a mistake on a task. Have you owned up to it and worked to fix it? Or have you denied it was your fault? Finding others to blame instead of taking responsibility for your own contributions may be what’s holding you back.

If you’re looking to advance at work or even just make a good impression, your work ethic is a crucial element. Don’t let frustrations at work make you stop working as effectively. If you really feel you deserve to move to the next level, you have to continue to prove it.

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Do you need help increasing job visibility or improving your relationship with your boss? My executive coaching services can help you hone your communication skills and clearly define your goals and objectives.

More Questions To Ask Yourself Before You Quit Your Job

How will I explain this on future interviews?

How will I explain this on future interviews?

There are several reasons you might think about quitting your job. If you’re suffering from career-induced stress, a lack of financial stability or are feeling undervalued, you could be looking eagerly toward the exit.

But there are several things to factor in to such a big decision. In our last batch of quitting question suggestions, we recommended that before you start contemplating your exciting and bold exit strategy, ask yourself these questions:

  • Can I effectively address these issues with my boss first?
  • Can I see myself as the boss?
  • Do I have a financial backup plan?
  • What are my other options?

If you’ve worked through those answers and still aren’t sure, here are some more things to examine.

How will I explain this on future interviews?

Everyone knows that a hot topic on any job interview is why you left your last place of employment. If you feel uncomfortable having this conversation with a potential future employer, it might be because your reasons to leave aren’t quite enough. In addition to your reasons, your interviewer will consider how long you were at this company, and even the one before it. If they notice a tendency of job-hopping, they won’t be impressed. Take a look at your resume and see if you sense a pattern. Notice it before someone else does.

Am I considering all of the benefits?

It’s easier to be disgruntled about work than it is to appreciate it. Not every company offers the same incentives, benefits and even pay as the company you’re with now. This includes amenities, flexible schedules and commute ease and time. You may feel unmotivated but it’s possible once you compare what you have to what else is out there, you may suddenly feel very grateful. If not, once you see where you are compared to where you could be, you can determine how much it’s all worth to you. Do you dislike your job so much you’re willing to give up a shorter commute and steeper benefits?

What are your strengths and weaknesses?

This may seem like a silly question to ask at a time like this, but it can serve you well in two ways; 1. You’re already prepared with an answer for any potential upcoming interviews and 2. Truly understanding these things about yourself will give you the clarity you need to make a choice.  Consider that the reason you’re not getting the most out of your job is because you’re not putting the right kind of focus and effort into it. If that sounds about right, now is the time to try to change that. Express a desire to your boss about different projects that you can work on where your strengths can best benefit the team and company. If that’s not possible, your new-found self awareness will lead you where you want and need to go next.

Quitting a job is complicated yet often necessary. There are many reasons to desire the change, but for every reason, there’s a serious factor that needs to be weighed before making the decision.

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Do you need help assessing your career anxiety or improving your relationship with your boss? My executive coaching services can help you hone your communication skills and clearly define your goals and objectives.