Business, Career, Coding, Confidence, Education, Entrepreneurship, Goals, Money, Skills, Travel, Voice, Writing

If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you!

When was the last time you attempted something that hurled you from your comfort zone? How about something that shoved you out of your safe and comfortable bubble? Or maybe something that gave you a slight nudge out of your big-fish-small-pond reality?

If it took you longer to answer these questions than it does for Kanye to have a meltdown, it’s probably time for a new challenge.

Here are 3 Growth-Encouraging Challenges for your consideration.

1. Learn a new skill. I kicked off 2015 and continued into 2016 not with a resolution, but with the goal of undertaking a project that would squeeze every last drop of brain power not sucked dry by the education system. Learning to code is most certainly living up to this goal. HTML, CSS, JavaScript, JQuery. I’m just getting started, but it already feels like I’ve gone a couple of rounds with a Lifetime TV Child Genius.

Maybe your challenge is not a new programming language. Maybe it’s a traditional language. Bonjour! Buenos dias! Guten Tag! Perhaps it’s learning to cook. Mayhap it’s learning to budget. Or maybe to knit. Or to become a more powerful public speaker. Whatever the skill, find something that you’re not traditionally “good at” and learn it. Because time is a precious resource and we can’t always afford to learn for the sake of learning, invest the effort, time, and possibly money in a skill that aligns with one or more of your long-term goals.

mmderosier edit this code

2. Take a trip. In 2011 a group of friends and I went on a whirlwind five-city tour that culminated in Cairo, Egypt. To refresh your memory, 2011 in Egypt was a year of civil unrest that toppled the 30-year reign of President Mubarak. I can’t say it was the most stress-free time to visit the country. We went through a metal detector before we could enter our hotel. When I jokingly asked what it was we were being screened for, the officer succinctly answered, “bombs”. Insert big, fearful eyes.

I’m not suggesting that you pack up and head to the nearest country facing political instability, but just go beyond Montreal or Cancun. Not that there’s anything wrong with either place. What I’m saying instead is to find your Egypt – someplace that readjusts your world view and leaves you with a new understanding of the things you take for granted. If Montreal is your Egypt, great, go! But if Montreal is your “they know me and I know them” default location, throw a dart on a map and land somewhere else.

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3. Share yourself with others. When I clicked submit and officially entered the 2013 So You Think You Can Write Harlequin contest, my heart dropped to my stomach. I had yanked the door wide open for others to see my heart. To criticize. To judge. I took my writing – something that’s always been very personal to me and closely guarded – and shared it with an audience. But I needed that experience to give me the courage to work towards becoming a published author. Something that hasn’t happened yet, but now there’s no turning back from.

What are you fearful of sharing? Are you the soul-touching singer refusing to share your voice with an audience? Or the brilliant painter passing on the opportunity to display his work? Whatever the reason for your hesitation, why not make today the day to overcome it?

mmderosier reader feedback

mmderosier Reina and Eli

Remember that if doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you.

So, what challenge will change you this year? What challenges have changed you in the past? How can you apply lessons from the past to grow this year?

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The Randy Jackson Syndrome: 3 Tips to Determine If It’s Time for a Career Change

The fifteenth and final season of American Idol drawing to a close this year reminded me of an important career lesson that came with the departure of one of its original judges. With the announcement that he was leaving American Idol after 13 seasons, last November marked the realization of my unspoken fear: That Randy Jackson would be brave enough to make a career change before I did.

After almost a decade with my current organization, I began to see myself through the same lens of pity I viewed Randy. Randy, who was part of the original regime that included Paula Abdul, Simon Cowell, and Ryan Seacrest, saw Simon and Paula leave to pursue bigger and better dreams. While those pursuits failed to meet expectations, at least they tried. Randy, on the other hand, remained the loyal “dawg” and became less relevant with each new better-paid and better-celebrated judge wooed to the table. He became the lonely grandfather relegated to a nursing home – full of wisdom but without an audience interested in listening.

Like him, I had watched several colleagues bravely set off to chase their dreams. Start a consulting firm in Liberia? Check. Return to school to pursue an art degree? Why not! Become a guidance counselor at a boarding school in Rwanda? Indeed. Where they boldly took a leap of faith to grow their careers, I stayed cocooned in what was comfortable. Out of fear? I thought so at first. Whether of failure or of success, I wasn’t sure.

But fear didn’t paint the whole picture or tell the complete story. I discovered three other reasons that turned out to be surprisingly positive. Factors I would encourage you to consider as you decide if or when to make a career change.

1. Are you actually ready to go? Because I had spent far too much time reading expert advice and listening to well-meaning friends, I almost missed out on that truth. When I would ask myself if I should leave, my voice was rarely the loudest to answer. Everything and everyone kept telling me that I should go, but when I listened intently to my own voice I heard myself say not yet. And comfort and fear had nothing to do with my reasons. Here’s an exercise that can prove useful for you. Ask yourself: Should I leave? Assuming you answer yes, spend time writing out the whys and then close your eyes and speak those reasons out loud one by one. For example, I should leave because the work is no longer fulfilling. I should leave because I no longer bring value to my team. I should leave because there are no challenges for growth. You get the point. After speaking each reason, stop and quietly recall whose voice you heard. If yours was not the first and/or the loudest, it’s doubtful that you’re truly ready to go.

2. How much more do you have left to contribute? During my last performance review I questioned my Executive Director about what value she sees that I can still bring to the organization. A question I’d been pondering but one that couldn’t be answered in a vacuum. I was mainly concerned that what I had left to contribute might not be what the company needed. That conversation helped me to realize I was on the right track. That the legacy I wanted to leave would be instrumental in the growth and sustainability of the company. I’m blessed to have a boss who is approachable with a wide-open-door policy. If your boss’ door is padlocked shut, don’t fret; there’s still hope. Find a trusted co-worker who can provide objective feedback on your work, the goals you are seeking to achieve, and how they align with the company’s overall mission. You can also find your company’s strategic plan or annual report and pore over the material with special attention to how your role helps or hinders its goals. For example, if the majority of your work is focused on increasing your company’s presence in an international market yet its strategic goal for the next 3-5 years is the domestic market; there is a misalignment. However, if the work that you’re doing now, or more importantly, the work that you wish to do in the future, is in sync with your company’s vision, there’s reason to stay. You can still make a significant impact.

3. How much more do you have left to learn? I started with my organization in an entry-level position at age 24 and progressed to my current title after several promotions. Five years into this position I made it a point to regularly check in with myself about what I was learning and how I was growing. Because of the size of my organization I knew there wouldn’t be room for another promotion, but there was opportunity to gain transferable skills beyond my title. When considering whether to make a move, look past the limitations of your current position. Are there projects within the organization that are outside the traditional scope of your job title that you can spearhead? What skills do you bring to the table to lead said project and what skills will you gain from it? Consider what that can look like, draft a brief proposal, and reach out to your boss for an honest discussion. Bolted door or not, eventually you have to learn to knock – and keep knocking until it’s opened.

I admit to having panicked momentarily when I learned about Randy. But after calming down and taking these steps, I eventually decided that the best decision for me was to remain 2-3 more years to accomplish some very strategic organizational and personal career goals.

The takeaway here is not that you should stay or you should go. The takeaway is to listen to advice from trusted sources and then take time to quiet the voices that aren’t yours. Once you’ve done that, measure the advice against what your voice is saying is best.

Maybe Randy followed these same steps. And where his led him to leave, mine led me to stay. Either way, we each had to make the decision that was best for our specific situation. And so do you.



randy-jackson-american-idol-syndrome

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Business, Career, Confidence, Counseling, Gender, Levo League, Mentoring, Skills, Voice, Women Empowerment

After College Office Hours

In my first post I referenced Levo League. For those who don’t know, Levo League is a helpful community with “tools to develop your talent, build connections with peers, mentors, and jobs, and stay inspired day in and day out as you grow and develop.” For me, the gem of Levo is Office Hours. These are live half-hour video chats with professionals representing a wide spectrum of careers. The videos are then archived for continued access.

I spent part of today’s lunch hour with Edith Cooper, EVP and Global Head of Human Capital Management at Goldman Sachs. The interview was full of helpful takeaways, but one thought in particular most resonated with me. (12:50 into the video) Someone asked her where she sees young women struggling the most when it comes to climbing the corporate ladder. Her response was not surprising, but sad. She talked about encountering young women at GS with resumes so impressive that she was in awe. These were very capable and intelligent young women hired for their their ability to be leaders in their fields, yet when she observed those same women in work situations where their leadership should have been evident, they appeared to lack confidence.

As someone who has spent years struggling with owning the power of her voice, I know exactly what she means.

Click Levo Office Hours with Edith Cooper to listen and then come back and discuss.

 



office hours with Edith Cooper

 

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#DoGoodDoWell, #DoWellDoGood, Business, Career, Counseling, Crisis Counseling, Crisis Intervention, Economic Equality, Economic Inequality, Education, Entrepreneurship, Equal Pay, Gender, Gender Equality, Gender Inequality, Money, Skills, Women Empowerment

Happy International Women’s Day

#HappyInternationalWomensDay

Although not planned, how fitting that I should launch my blog on #IWD2015. According to Women’s Day, IWD is an important day to celebrate women’s social, economic & political achievements while calling for greater equality.

This year’s #MakeItHappen theme is surprisingly timely and appropriate as I celebrate the decision to finally make happen my idea to become a consultant. With over 10 years experience engaging communities to empower and provide opportunities for at-risk students and adults in crisis, I am well positioned to help organizations create and/or formalize their process for employees to do good while doing well. #DoGoodDoWell #DoWellDoGood

Thanks in part to the encouragement from perfect strangers at the Levo League (NYC) #GetBigThingsDone event last month, I was able to publicly declare my goal to get this big thing done this year.

The leaders of the #GetBigThingsDone movement espouse the concept of Connectional Intelligence. As they describe it, Connectional Intelligence is the ability to combine knowledge, ambition and human capital, forging connections on a global scale that create unprecedented value and meaning.

As I embark on this journey to get this big goal done, I hope to forge connections with readers like you who are also working to achieve a professional or personal goal this year. As well as strengthen the connections with my existing support system of incredible women and men.

What “It” do you intend to make happen this year? What “BIG THING” do you intend to get done? How can I or someone else help?

 

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