Words, Ideas, Stuff
Some ideas and thoughts, captured with the view to help you.
I was recently listening to an audio book by millenial Ayurvedic writer Sahara Rose, called “Discover Your Dharma”. She’s a super clever lady with a lot of weight in her book around how you can find your purpose and a cool story about she crossed paths with her inspiration, Deepak Chopra, and there he is on her site with an endorsement, stating she’s:
“A leading voice in the millennial generation into the new paradigm shift.” - Deepak Chopra
I was walking in the Port Hills early one sunny Sunday morning (walking, more like trudging up hill struggling for breath on one of those super hot 28 degree nor’west days) with her in my ears and had to stop, gratefully stopped, to note down a few gems that she said. They were sayings that provided food for thought, prompted deeper consideration or a curiosity.
One of which was that “the interested are the most interesting”.
I’ve taken this in the context of a reminder that we all can sharpen up our soft skills, deepen connections, be a better friend/colleague/partner/daughter/sister/gym buddy and the way to do that is to be interested. Focus less on being interesting, on being the one with the yarns, the facts, the laugh-generating tales, and more on being the one with a sense of curiosity and a willingness to be present and really listen.
What’s also a little surprising is what comes up if you Google this topic generally. It’s all about how to show someone you’re romantically interested in that you’re interested in them. Interesting right? Intentional overuse of the word interesting here as it’s not interesting – that’s just shallow and a little manipulative. It’s never a bad idea to be straight up and let someone know where you’re at and what you’re looking for, and how you feel, rocket science? Nah. Easy to do? Also nah.
The key point here though is it’s not about only showing interest in those you’ve a romantic agenda with, it’s about being present, attentive and a general good bugger, and showing an interest with everyone you connect with. The time investment will change, as will the breadth and depth of conversation, depending on the context.
Ultimately though the approach is the same. Be genuinely interested in what the other person has to say. Whether that’s a simple transactional chat with the barista over your necessary morning caffeine fix, or with Julie who you’re sat next to at friend’s birthday lunch and who happens to be a PhD Robotics Engineer, or your meditation class instructor as you chat at the end of class – regardless of the context, you can be interested.
So how do you be interested?
It seems obvious but those visual clues are the biggest giveaways – body language and eye contact. Be present. Phone down, focused on listening and understanding what the other person is saying.
Then, against the advice of the few articles I did find on non-romance related interest, be genuine. If you’re not interested in the topic, do be polite and try and engage in the parts of what they’re saying that do connect with you, or let your area of expertise come through too and ask great questions. Ask broader, bigger ones if the topic isn’t one you’re into.
An example of this is if someone is talking animatedly about their love of food and you’re just not a foodie, but realise that getting your five plus a day is hard as you’re training, studying and working two jobs, ask them questions and engage their help on that. Share a little about you and ask their insight on how to solve a challenge that’s connected.
If you’ve exhausted your level of genuine interest it might be time to steer it away from that to something you may both connect on so don’t be afraid to thank them for their insights and ask their views on topic x or y. Asking great questions with a view to genuinely understanding someone else world view is super engaging and an amazing way to learn and grow, especially if their view or experiences are different from yours.
Before jumping in with a counter or additive view, do take the time to reflect back what they’ve said. That does two things – cements what they’ve said in your mind, and hearing back what they’ve articulated makes them feel heard. If it floats your boat, go deeper! Ask why they think that, how they came to think that, what counter views they struggle with etc – those open questions of who, what, when, how, why can unleash some powerful ideas!
Think of a situation when you’re chatting away and it seems really obvious that the person you’re talking with isn’t engaged at all, they’re just not interested. It’s like a big billboard screaming “I don’t care”. They may have many a reason for checking-out but the point is, when someone’s not interested, we can tell, we can sense it, we can usually see it. It leaves us feeling pretty small, so let’s be the ones that show up and be present for each other.
Taking in perspective from someone else can open our minds, hearts, and change our world views. Being interested in someone is such a gift! In a busy, wired, ‘on’ world, we really notice when we’re listened to and more so when we’re understood. Let’s strive to spread this kind of attention wherever we go.
Maintaining presence and focus, engaging body language, asking great questions, reflecting back and sharing your own ideas is the way to show you’re interested. It’s a great skill set to practise, one that we all benefit from working on and refining, especially as how we engage and how we work changes in 2021. Who knows what the next chapter of this crazy ol’ decade will bring, but the only thing we can be certain about is that we’ll need each other to survive it!
Not entirely sure this post title is grammatically correct, or makes sense, but we’re running with it. The intent is to have a quick squiz in the rear vision mirror to extract a couple of things that help shape 2021 to be smarter, better, faster, sexier, funner (also not a word!), and a step up on 2020. Surely that’s not hard to do though right? But let’s step across into this New Year and make it intentional.
A discipline I’ve loved and get a lot of benefit from using when I finish any kind of project is a Post Implementation Review. There are so many ways to do that, but the one I prefer is quick and easy, and helps you know what to change, leave behind, bank as a lesson, or what you’d do differently with the benefit of hindsight.
So here it is – use it to review 2020, a big personal project you’ve completed, a work focus area you're now completing, a creative pursuit or fitness challenge you've done, hell, even use it to review and improve on the last guy you dated (for some of us, this is the easy part to upgrade!). Whatever the area, if there's a line in the sand and you're moving forward, this tool and discipline is a good way to capture some gems while things are still fresh in your mind. So let's do it for 2020!
Post Implementation Review Quadrant
Grab a piece of paper (or create a doc), and draw a 2 x 2 grid (or four squares), label them one by one as follows …. KEEP, CHUCK, CHANGE, ADD.
Then add in the deets:
Keep – what are the elements that were valuable, that on reflection you would absolutely do again as they enhanced the project or added value?
Chuck – the list of things that didn’t work, took valuable time or energy and didn’t ‘make the boat go faster’? The time-wasting parts, the energy-suckers, all the parts that were ‘nice to have’ but weren’t materially impactful.
Change - fine tuning. What was ‘almost’ a good part, or made a little contribution that with some adjusting could have been done better?
Add – what was missing? How could you have added in some things, people or processes that might have made things work out even better or would be good to have in the mix for next time?
There you go, done!
It’s a great way to take forward the good bits, grab some lessons learned, and close out and leave behind what doesn’t work for you. Now onwards with the day dreaming, goal setting and laughter, all ready for a stellar year in 2021.
If you’re in the market for a new job, a new offer to wave in front of the boss’ nose, or genuinely wanting to test the waters – it’s worth knowing a few things about the job market, and what you can do to get noticed by the right people.
Firstly, about 80% of available jobs are never advertised – most roles are filled from referrals, recruiter database scans, and digital talent hunts using Linkedin. US stats show that around 93% of companies use LinkedIn for recruiting
Someone at the Auckland based company Consult Recruitment did their Masters thesis on LinkedIn’s role in recruitment and selection procedures (it says ‘default admin’ but I’m sure it’s a real person). They found that in New Zealand, around 70% of recruiters and hiring managers use LinkedIn to source top talent. For many, it’s their first (and increasingly only) port of call, after their own database.
They also point out that this is 70% of hiring managers and recruiters across ALL sectors - from unskilled labour right through to executive level.
They also drive home a very good point … if recruiters can’t find you, then you have just missed out on a new opportunity.
“IF YOU’RE NOT ON LINKEDIN, YOU’RE SIMPLY NOT IN THE RUNNING FOR MANY OF THE BEST OPPORTUNITIES”
Yes, being on LinkedIn is one thing. A very important thing. Being on there with a strong profile that reflects the role you’re looking to get, is just as important!
Here’s the detailed overview from LinkedIn on how to do it.
But it’s way nicer to watch the vid from Millenial LinkedIn expert Michaela Alexis:
Your turn, switch the 'knowing' into 'doing' ...
A good friend of mine who also happens to be a creative and respected marketer Mark Godenho posted on LinkedIn recently - a link to this HBR article The Art of Blooming Late, along with the words “it's been an interesting journey for me ... what's your journey been like?” and his career pathway.
I replied (to help his LinkedIn algorithm and just to see what mine looked like). It’s a little unpredictable! But as the late and great Steve Jobs said:
“You can't connect the dots looking forward;
Mine goes a little something like this …
Nanny - trade based Mechanical Engineer – Account Manager - Product Manager - Project Manager - Strategic Sales – Area Retail Manager - Head of Marketing – Tech Business Manager – Head of Strategy and Marketing – (mid life crisis phase: Volunteer – Traveller – Founder) back into it - GM Attraction Economic Development - COO Tech Startup - Founder x 2 - Strategy and Marketing Consultant - Governance/Independent Director - and now a Founder again and aiming for published Author.
It’s been an unpredictable, winding and super interesting road for a farm girl from Southbridge, who got suspended from Boarding School I tell ya! There’s no way I could have ever even dreamed of some of the responsibilities I’ve had, the travel and places I’ve been and the incredible people I’ve met.
If I had to unpick it, there was a theme of having a ‘north star’, some far off goal of how I wanted to work and what impact I wanted to have, and a promise to myself to say ‘yes’ to cool shxt that came my way that in some way might align with that north star.
A few of those yeses, with hindsight, should have been a no, but I don’t really believe in regret as each one either …
Sounds magnanimous now, but I assure you, the three roles I’m thinking of, as I was living them there was a lot of stress and swearing! Time and perspective do wonders. If anything though the thing I would have done sooner was leave as soon as I realised I was really off track.
“If you’re not working toward reaching your unique potential—as Mozart did—it’s normal to feel dissatisfied”
Reading that HBR article this part also stood out “The philosopher John Kaag, author of Hiking with Nietzsche, agrees. “The self does not lie passively in wait for us to discover it,” he writes. “Selfhood is made in the active, ongoing process, in the German verb werden, ‘to become.’” So taking those chances, saying yes, being bold and spending a little time outside the comfort zone is important.
Many of you reading this might be starting out on your path or figure out where the hell the path even is, and that’s a great place to be while reading this as hopefully your expectations will be shaped now that it’s rare to ‘know’ with certainty what your calling exactly is and how to achieve it. For many of us, it’s about trial and error, learning about and trusting ourselves and being brave. This article and the story of Joanne at the end sum up perfectly why this book and community called Careering. We often have this idea that a career path, or the path to finding meaningful ‘work’ is like walking along the footpath – clearly marked, enter however you like, stay on it till you get where you want to go. Reality is much more like a snow covered mountain track, slippery, on an angle, some sun blindness and in many places, absolutely no control over what happens next!
There’s no easy way to know what’s right, all you can do is know yourself, trust in your ‘north star’ or try things until you find that, and back yourself. Life is for living, be intentional with how you spend your time and energy ... most importantly, enjoy yourself!
This little question popped up on the Twitter feed this weekend …
And got the cogs turning. There were the usual responses in the feed about hugging loved ones, writing stuff down, flossing, smiling, sending good vibes to others etc (how many of these are real and how any are ‘aspirational’ and people want to be seen that one? Ah, that’s a whole ‘nother post there!).
Here’s the one I came up with. One little gem that I think was taught in a sales course about 20 years ago and what a difference it’s made.
“Ask to clarify what they mean by 'urgent' (and that's whoever 'they' are and whatever the context is). It's almost never the same as what you’re expecting, and almost never 'this instant'.”
Getting clear on everyone’s expectations also helps with that whole ‘under promise, over deliver’ mission, in a way that doesn’t create undue stress for you too. By getting clear on what someone’s expectations are instead of assuming, you have the freedom to share your reality too and agree on the timing, so both parties are happy. Then it’s over to you to meet that timeline, or beat it. Always easier to do with a week of space to get it done rather than the next five minutes.
Of course some tasks will need to be done ‘now, now*’, but many don’t and by doing them straight away we’re deciding whatever that is, is more urgent and more important than other things we’re doing. Which isn’t always the case and when it is, let’s consciously choose that.
I can clearly recall a time when I was managing one of the company’s top 100 client and they called, with an urgent request. They’re important, they say its urgent, and as the Head of Procurement outlined what they needed, I was trying to listen but really, I was calculating how to make it happen by 5 pm that same day.
Drop everything, cancel meetings, focus only on this, deliver everything they’ve asked etc etc. I’d mapped that plan, noted down their needs, read back to him to clarify it. Then … I asked the question “So we’re on the same page, when you say ‘urgent’ what do you mean by this time wise?”.
His response “Within the next two weeks”. Wow. We really were on two different pages about what urgent meant in this context. It would have been foolish of me to switch to thinking urgent always means ‘in the next two weeks’ as every context is different, where as the real takeout here is to check. Just ask the question. We love a happy ending and you can probably guess that in this situation, I was able to complete the actions, double check and give really accurate insight, add some extra value and deliver what they needed about three days ahead of their expected timeline, all while managing to do all the other important things on that week.
It’s not something I’ve always remembered to do but it’s one that I try to and really encourage you all to give it a go, see if it helps create or protect some space in your days too.
The numbers speak for themselves –“Every night in this country, over 167 women and children are too afraid to stay at home because of family violence.” Right now, these numbers are getting worse. More people are feeling unsafe at home than ever.
Headlines like these are real, and confronting:
“Covid 19 coronavirus: Domestic violence is the second, silent epidemic amid lockdown”
And we can’t hide or close our eyes because these stories are hard to read or hear. We have a serious issue here in NZ, New Zealand has the highest rates of family violence in the developed world. This is personal, and it’s one that really matters to us here at Careering.
All women, all people, deserve to feel safe.
We passionately advocate for this.
Now, we’re supporting Women’s Refuge and gifting a Safe Night too.
The premise of “Safe Night” is that now New Zealanders are able to book an escape for those who can’t book one for themselves, for someone who really needs it. They’ll get a safe, clean bed, 24 hour security, hot meals, childcare, helpful advice and care from supportive people. Priceless really. And for $20, you can gift one too. Please do.
Please visit https://womensrefuge.org.nz/get-help/ or call their Crisisline: 0800 REFUGE or 0800 733 843
Phone them toll free from anywhere in New Zealand for information, advice and support about domestic violence as well as help in a crisis.
They’re there to help you on this phone number 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
You will be automatically redirected to a female advocate in your region.