What is your motivation?

Whether you have read about Why Not Wednesday and the other goal-setting days of the week or aren’t sure what I’m talking about I encourage you to celebrate your accomplishments this weekend. Even if your accomplishments were focused on determining what goal or positive routine you want to start and you haven’t taken any steps yet. Acknowledging a goal or new habit is a huge accomplishment!

This weekend (or during a free moment next week) focus on the one thing you want to accomplish right now or new habit you want to incorporate and fill in the blanks:

  • My motivation is (fill in this blank) – so I can (fill in this blank)

Examples:

  • My motivation is better health so I can be more active with my friends and family.
  • My motivation is to write daily so I can publish my novel finally.
  • My motivation is to be a certified nutritionist so I can work for myself and share my passion for health with others.
  • My motivation is to save more money each month so I can travel to a national park next year.

When you change the word ‘goal’ to motivation it helps you see it more clearly and by answering ‘so I can…’ it forces you to focus on your ‘why’ and outcome. For me personally, motivation gets me more excited and determined than the word ‘goal’.

Once you have your goal/motivation set and focus on your why you can develop your action plan (to do list) easier.

Using the last example above you could start your action plan with:

  • Research transportation methods and costs to the state you want to visit
  • Tally up all costs related to trip then figure out how much you need to save each week.
  • Start putting together trip agenda
  • Discover the best time of year to travel there
  • Open up a new savings account to better track savings.

What is your current motivation?

 

martin-shreder-349256-unsplash

Photo by Martin Shreder via Unsplash.com

 

Advertisements

Why Not Wednesday

If you are not sure what a “Why Not Wednesday” means, you can read about it and the rest of the week here. It’s an exciting opportunity to start working toward a goal you want to accomplish!

After several conversations with friends and colleagues, one main topic is a desire for a better morning routine. So let’s focus on some details.

Why Not Wednesday is a perfect day to define what a perfect morning routine would look like. It might look something like one of these:

  • I want to read 10 pages of a book each morning and meditate for 15 minutes without interruption. Why – Because I have a long book list and have not been able to find time to finish a book in a long time and it brings me joy. Meditation will help me decrease my stress. Once my stress is less I can focus on more goals!
  • I want to meditate and do yoga before work each morning. Why? I feel stiff and tired most days. I think meditation will help clear my mind and yoga will help me relax and stretch my muscles.
  • I want to wake up in time to make a healthy breakfast before I leave for work. Why? I don’t eat as healthy as I’d like once I leave my home. Eating at home will be healthier, cheaper and provide a creative outlet since I love to cook!
  • I want to start walking in the mornings with my spouse. Why? We have talked about it for a long time, but never committed to actually doing it. I know we will enjoy the quiet time together and once we feel healthier we can focus on other exercise goals and maybe even train for our first marathon together!
  • I want to write 10 pages of the novel that I have put off for way too long. Why? It’s quiet in the morning and I could easily get up 30 minutes earlier and only write, no edits, just write every day. Once I finish my draft, I can edit and submit it to an agent!
  • I want to paint the sunrises in the mornings. Why? Painting has always relaxed me and mornings are quiet and offer nature in a beautiful light. Once I have a few finished I might try to sell them at a local craft show!

See how each “I want” is followed up with a why? And how some of those lead to other goals. That is how it should be…one goal should inspire others!

Why Not is the first step (it’s that simple!). You don’t have to figure it all at once. Have you defined a goal today? Congratulations! Share it below! I encourage you to start tossing around ideas for Tackle it & Transform Thursday.  

 

anete-lusina-382332-unsplash

 

Questions to ask the interviewer

One of the most important interviewing tips has to be examples of questions to ask the interviewer. Typically, at the end of an interview you are asked, “do you have any questions for me/us?” And this seems to stump a lot of people, it has me in the past.

I always suggest researching the company you are interviewing with, this will help you come up with questions to ask. Read over the mission statement and discover as much as you can about the company. When researching find answers to the following:

  • Are they opening a new division or beginning a new project?
  • Have they been highlighted in a recent article or received an award?
  • Did they recently celebrate a milestone such as so many years in business, etc.?
  • Is there a board, committee, executive team, etc. if so familiarize yourself with the names.
  • Do employees participate in a volunteer day or does the company support a local non-profit?
  • Is there an accomplishment or focus that the company has that you connect with or feel passionate about?

Once you answer the questions above or similar ones you are prepared to ask a variety of questions to the interviewer(s). Example questions to ask the interviewer include:

  • I recently read that the company expanded out of state, can you tell me more about that expansion?
  • I read in a recent article that the company was awarded the best place to work recognition, can you tell me more about that process?
  • I know two of the main responsibilities of this position are to coordinate travel and set up quarterly board meetings. Can you explain a bit more about who requires travel, is it every member of the board, etc.? And please describe a typical agenda for the meetings. 
  • Please provide a brief summary of a typical day in that position.
  • What professional development opportunities are offered?
  • What is your (or each committee member’s) favorite app or program that is used most often?

What questions have you asked during an interview?

Have any interviewing or career or writing questions? Contact me below or at successencourager@gmail.com

Thanks for reading! For additional information check out my ‘about me‘ page!

alejandro-escamilla-2-unsplash interview.jpg

 

Professional Development Value

Professional development is key to not only successfully performing your career choice but also for enjoying the position! Continuing to learn new skills and enhance the ones you have helps you be more productive but it also brings about a sense of pride and creativity. There are several professional development opportunities available through articles, books, webinars, online courses, conferences and peer to peer communication and sharing resources.

Some resources are free or very low costs while conferences or online training can seem costly and require justification. When talking with other assistants, from a variety of industries, the cost is always a concern.

A simple justification is that the best way to find relevant resources is by attending a conference. Last year, when I attend the Accelerated Assistant conference by Office Dynamics I learned so many great tips over those four short days from the professional speakers and during the team activities. Joan Burge shared her experience and resources with the group daily. The learning did not stop there though! After returning to work, I followed up with subscribing to a few of the newsletters from the speakers and read their blog posts, which offered time-saving and organizational tips and highlighted apps and programs. I shared those sites and posts with my coworkers which offered several additional communication and learning opportunities.

So, how do you justify travel and conference fees? I did a lot of research before attending the conference including costs, speaker topics, and experience, balanced with team and networking opportunities and chose the best conference for my needs and learning expectations. I typed up a justification form to present to my manager. I highlighted several topics of interests and the speaker’s credentials and experience, relating the topics to several of my yearly performance goals.

I also detailed the costs; hotel, registration, and flight. Breaking down the total cost of an average conference which is about $2600.

  • $217 a month
  • $50 a week
  • $7.12 a day

That is a bargain for continued education that would provide resources for me to be even more productive!

Luckily, I have a professional and respected working relationship with my manager. When we met and went over the document and talked more about the conference and what was offered his only additional request was that I present my experience with coworkers after I returned. About two months after the conference I completed a presentation to about 20 of my coworkers. I shared my experience, discussed the temporary support team I had worked with daily at table 28, shared websites of the speakers, newsletter links, and books that were suggested.

Most conferences detail the agenda and speaker information while providing justification letter templates or suggested content for meeting with managers to help you through the process. Office Dynamics offers this information as well. I highly recommend attending a conference to open resource doors, to continue your education about your industry and position and to learn time-saving tips that will benefit you long after you return to work!

Almost six months after attending the conference I still utilize resources and relationships I formed during that training. I continue to share tips with my team that I receive via weekly newsletter subscriptions, blog post readings, etc. I’m also looking forward to attending this year’s conference – The Stellar Assistant. With all new speakers, additional content, learning labs and unlimited online access to the videos, participant guide, and bonus materials. I’m anxious to share even more reading suggestions, tips and speaker websites with my team!

What are some of your favorite professional development resources? What books do you suggest?

A few of my favorite reads are; Tribes by Seth Godin, just about anything from Wallace Wattles, Permission to live the Big Life by Joan Burge, As a Man Thinketh by James Allen, A Beautiful Questions by Frank Wilczek, Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, there are too many to name!

Thank you for reading and if you have any questions about a sample justification letter or how to talk with your manager about professional development opportunities please contact me and I’d be happy to share more of my experience!

 

Read more about me and the professional services I offer on the ABOUT ME Page.

Shine during your next interview!

You have the skills, the professional and personal experience and the passion needed to apply for the position. You’ve submitted the application, resume, references, and other documents required. You get the invitation to interview. Your palms sweat and you automatically get nervous. How can you convey that you are exactly the candidate they need to hire?

Be prepared! Simple right? Well, it can be, yes. Alleviate interview stress by being prepared and confident to answer any question the interviewee or committee may ask you!

One of the easiest ways to prepare for an interview is to study your resume. Yes, duh, you know exactly what is on your resume, most likely you created it, but it’s not just about your past positions or experiences. Study your resume along with the current job description you want to apply for by breaking down the list of responsibilities and turning them into questions (and answer those questions!).

For example

  • Position requirement – Applicant must have ability to flourish in a fast-paced environment while adapting to change as needed. Question – This statement would become the following – How have I flourished in a fast-paced environment while adapting to change?
  • Answer – Discover your answer by using the facts on your resume or the application you filled out. If you had a position as an assistant in a busy marketing department maybe you were constantly juggling tight deadlines on a daily basis with numerous projects going at one time. Define how you organized those projects and tracked deadlines, keeping your manager or team informed of progress, updates and milestone timelines as they passed. Include a particular project that changed course or the deadline was moved up due to client’s request and again state your role and how it worked out despite the challenges.

Once you turn each position requirement into a question and prepare an answer you will exude confidence and be reminded of all the hard work you have put into your professional development and why you truly are the perfect candidate!

Two more basic tips that can help you prepare for the interview:

  • Study the company. Typically, companies have informative web sites, most have mission statements, progress reports, etc. Learn about the company and talk about key points you relate to with the hiring manager or committee. Did they recently incorporate a new product or program you have experience with? Does their mission statement echo your own passion or interest?
  • Don’t forget to ask the hiring manager or committee questions. Questions such as ‘What are the top three main responsibilities or goals of the employee in this position?’, ‘What is one common company goal and what resources do employees have to help accomplish this?’, ‘What is one common personality and/or one common skill shared by past employees that held this position?’ or ‘Please briefly describe one of the team’s current projects and what role this position will play’.

Of course there are numerous articles with tips and resources about a variety of career interviews. I’m just sharing a few of the most popular that I have personally used or shared with others when editing or creating their resumes. I hope you found them beneficial!

I’d love to hear your favorite interview tip. Let me know if you have any questions about the interview process.

Thank you so much for reading!

Enthusiasm at work. Why?

What’s the point? I’ve heard this question in small groups and at a recent conference I attended. Let me boldly tell you the short answer to this – YOU, you are the point.

Of course, an employer benefits from your professionalism, enthusiasm and productivity, but your own well-being benefits much more. In a fast paced deadline driven world it’s time to view a job well done as a benefit to one’s self. Your performance is an opportunity for you to express yourself while sharing your original skills that got you the job in the first place. Be enthusiastic not just about the duties you perform, but about your own performance and amazing offerings! Once this is realized and accepted your entire work environment will change and your well-being will improve!

How so? There have been numerous studies relating mental and physical illnesses to stress. Taking care of yourself is no longer a luxury or an option, it’s a requirement. And one very important way of doing that is self-care and decreasing stress. Options include meditation and exercise, but there are also many other ways to reduce stress including positive attitude and affirmations. Bringing that positivity to your job empowers your entire being. Go ahead let your inner brightness shine blindingly. Be awesome, it benefits you no matter where you choose to shine (current position, promotion, at home, new position, volunteering, or while meeting with your trivia buddies).

Think of the last time you were stressed at work. Was it a stressful, day, week…full month? Next, break it down. Was it stressful because of another person’s view of the situation, was it work overload, maybe major changes occurring? Or possibly being too focused on the negative aspect of ‘what’s the point‘? Ask yourself how could the situation have been different if you had focused on personal care & reflection with a more positive outlook?

Aligning your goals both personally and professionally encourages you to be more confident at work, acknowledge the skills you possess and were hired to share while keeping a positive attitude that flows through your work hours and at home. I know my day flows much better when I start my mornings with meditation, self-reflection and visualization. When a stressful situation occurs at work I can focus on the actions needed to fix it while staying positive.

With a self-care routine you can…

  • Let go of the negative thoughts that creep in during a stressful day
  • Reconnect with your inner awesomeness; your personality shines through even if your position or company changes
  • Not dwell on being a good employee, but instead concentrate on bringing your unique skills to a job that craves your originality – achievement will undoubtedly come

You are not just an employee; you’re an entire being that spends a certain amount of hours providing your experiences to a work team. No matter what your title is, you contribute to a team by being yourself, sharing your skills and recognizing your offerings.

Your offerings consist of several attributes…

  • Personality
  • Experience
  • Training and/or education (institutionally or self-paced)
  • Demeanor
  • Professionalism and so on – share and embrace each one!

By carrying your offerings into your work environment you become more connected with yourself and deal with change in a more positive way by not letting it change the core of who you are. This allows you to confidently share ideas, maintain a positive reaction to negative situations and view your position as one with many opportunities that you can control, create and accept.

What offerings do you share with your team that brings joy to you professionally and personally? Do you have a morning routine that makes your day less stressful?

Thank you so much for reading. You’re awesome.

Check out more about me & the professional services I offer on my ABOUT ME page!

Self-defining

There are those days or events in life that define you. Some of those events or days are accomplishments such as graduating, getting married, accepting an important invitation, changing jobs/careers, etc. while others are negative unexpected events or bad news. A few events are self-realization moments that could normally be considered average days. Each of us have our own moments and react to them differently so they uniquely define us when we acknowledge and embrace them.

I’d like to share one of the unexpected moments & my first experience with self-realization and definition. My high school had a ski team, even though we lived outside of Kansas City. I took an ‘elective’ class called Mixed Chorus. It was simply a choice on a piece of paper that worked with the time frame I needed, I had no idea that choice would be the first that led to such a defining life moment.

The mixed chorus teacher was the leader of the ski team club. One day during class he mentioned there were still openings for the trip to Keystone, Colorado that the ski team was taking in a couple of months. As a born day dreamer I blocked out everything else that he said after that. I visualized myself there (without realizing at the age of 15 what visualization was). I saw the mountains and snowfall in my mind. But when I came back to reality I knew my parents would not have the money. My mother was a stay at home mom most of the time and my father made enough to pay the bills, most months…with some help from family now and then. And I had just been given the gift of a baby sister a few months before the trip announcement.

Despite the possibility of me going seeming impossible, I talked about the trip to my friends for a couple weeks in between classes. My excitement grew. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I finally got up the nerve to mention it to my mom while I was helping with dinner one night. I did not expect her response. She looked at me and said “let’s see what we can do.”

I was shocked that it was now even a discussion topic, but after thinking back, I’m not shocked that my mom saw how excited I was about the mere thought of the opportunity and how much it meant to me. So with a mother’s love she talked to my dad and mentioned a temporary part time job she could work at night to help make this happen. Also, since I was not going to ski, it would be cheaper for me than the other students. The teacher/ski team leader assigned me as the point person for each team member to check in with at the lodge at designated times so I wouldn’t feel like a complete outcast!

Within the next couple of weeks we had paid the deposit for the transpiration and hotel, with a balance due the week of the trip. As my mom dropped me off at the school to climb aboard the charter bus, she gave me a tight hug and said ‘enjoy yourself’. I knew this was not only a financially difficult time, but also hard for her to let me go that far from home for the first time with ‘strangers’. I climbed on the bus and had one friend to sit with, the others were older and students I barely knew with a few parents as chaperones.

The bus had three, yes three, flats on the way out. We were way behind schedule. When we finally arrived at the hotel in Keystone, we were all so exhausted! We only had a few hours before we had to be up and meet the shuttle to the lodge/slopes. I had three roommates and we all just dropped our bags and quickly fell asleep. The early morning wake up call got us all out of bed with excitement about the day! One of my roommates threw open the curtains and the four of us stood in silence for several minutes at the view of snow covered mountains.

Once at the lodge, everyone was given instructions about checking in with me, I had my little notebook and was ready to just enjoy the views! I used some of my very limited meal money to buy a cup of hot chocolate and claim a comfy chair right in front of the large windows toward the slopes. I used my little film camera to take a few photos and read the book I had brought. This was me…It was the first time in my life I was ‘on my own’, I felt so grown up, so independent, I was enjoying some me time and I loved it!

That night we went as a group to a small shopping village that had an ice rink in the middle of the various shops. I browsed a bit in one of the souvenir shops and I purchased a geode key chain, that I still have on my keys to this day. My friend was still browsing so I walked outside. There were some tables around the outside of the ice rink and a hot dog vendor nearby. I got my hot dog and chips and sat at a small table near the end of the rink. I finished my meal and simply enjoyed the setting, taking it all in, reflecting on my life, my future…everything. It was a very surreal moment for me.

My quiet reflection time was interrupted by someone asking if they could sit with me. I looked up, and saw it was a male classmate that I had only spoken to a few times in my school life. He sat down and we made small talk about the ice rink, the lodge and the mountains. It all felt like a dream. We laughed and talked like we had known each other much better than we actually did. As we finished up one topic and looked out over the rink, it began to snow. The snow made the moment feel like a fairy tale. We sat awhile longer in silence. It’s one of those moments that I think back to as a ‘happy place’. We didn’t talk much after that, but sharing that moment confirmed it not just a dream.

The next three days and nights were spent similar to day one; views from the lodge, gatherings each night, and self-reflection. I learned a lot about myself in those quiet alone time moments. When I got back home I was different, maybe it wasn’t visible to others, but I was more me than I had ever been. I knew that personal reflection time was something I wanted to keep in my life even if I didn’t have a perfect mountain view or sit in the snow with a boy near an ice rink.

That trip allowed me to realize a few things about myself, that there was more to the world than a small country town and it helped define who I am today. I can’t imagine how differently my life would have been if I had chosen another elective or never had the nerve to talk to my mom about the trip. I would have missed out on a life defining moment just by making a couple of different choices or keeping my excitement to myself.

Life leads us where we need to be professionally and personally. Faith and hope allow us to embrace life’s crossroads and provides us with the tools and resources we need to make the decisions that define our future. We have to trust ourselves and take action toward our goals. If I want something or find myself daydreaming I think back to the courage my 15 year old self had and the obstacles that were overcome because I spoke up and had an amazing circle of support.

What moments have helped define you, your path, your career, your outlook?

Thank you for reading and allowing me share.