Mary-Ann Owens and Associates

Resilience Blog

Reaching your goals with Grit

For Career Success Ride a Trend

For Career Success Ride a Trend

I remember coaching a geologist client a few years ago. He saw the oil industry suffering from multiple layoffs. He decided to take a risk and took a one-year data science master’s degree. His foresight and risk-taking paid off. He switched fields early in the data science lifecycle, during the introductory time frame. This ensured he was employed quickly after completing this degree.

Many people hang onto their jobs in dying industries and professions. Careers and industries have life cycles, just like products/businesses do. If an industry is in the decline phase of its life cycle, there will continue to be declining employment levels. In Alberta, for instance, oil and beef are declining industries. Sustainable energy and plant-based foods are growing/trending industries.

I understand why people hang on. They may have invested a lot of money, time and themselves in a certain industry. They may not want to give all that up. They may feel they don’t have the capacity or energy to invest into a new field.

Luckily, everyone is proficient at skills that can be transferred to other fields. One needs to explore what skillset growing industries require and compare that to their current skills. Let’s go back to the geologist example. Geologists have developed complex analytical skills. Data scientists also require this skill.

A geologist can adapt this skillset analyzing new datasets and utilizing software that the data scientist field requires of them. The learning curve would not be as steep for geologists because of their transferable skill.

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Three courage habits to advance your career

Three courage habits to advance your career

“Courage is the willingness to step into whatever may be arising within yourself and in your world, no matter what it is. It is the intention to go beyond fear, beyond your comfort level, for your own benefit and the benefit of others.” Susan Piver

I really like the definition of courage above. So I dissected the quote and applied it to Career Planning Hope this stimulates some opportunities for growth.

Moving Beyond Your Fear: Many people are afraid of networking because they need to risk themselves with others. Actively doing this does support your career, though. There is a new book out entitled Your Network is Your Net Worth by Porter Gale. The title conveys the importance of networking.

It is worthwhile to dissect your fears. By analyzing your fears you take the charge out of them. By facing your fears, you can then set goals to counter and act on them. For example, if you are afraid of networking confronting your fear could start by setting up a meeting with someone you know and asking them career-related questions. This will give you experience to do even more networking and speak to others you don’t know. If you are afraid of public speaking, take a leap by giving a small talk at your workplace or in front of a community group you belong to. Starting small enables you to exercise your courage muscle enabling you to take more risks gaining more confidence.

Setting Goals that Take You Out of Your Comfort Zone: Any stretch goal would be out of your comfort zone helping you develop expertise as you go. By accomplishing goals you can ingrain what you know, expand on your knowledge, establish your reputation as an expert and increase your professional value. What are some stretch goals you could set for yourself that would challenge and advance your career progress?

Some examples of career stretch goals include;

  • giving a talk at a conference in your field,
  • holding an event pertinent to your field and career,
  • writing an article for LinkedIn or an industry newsletter or delivering a podcast on a trend area in your field,
  • becoming a thought leader in your field by demonstrating and sharing your knowledge,
  • asking leaders about strategic skill development,
  • mentoring or training others,
  • staying up to date on trends in your field,
  • or taking a course or workshop on a developing trend area in your field.

Helping Others can Benefit You: Being generous while networking benefits you. Others will have a good impression, thinking well of you. Some people you are generous with will immediately give back to you. Porter Gail says “Give, give and then get.” Helping others and volunteering can give you experience, confidence, skill development, a larger network, knowledge about yourself, a better resume and even experience in a new industry.

So let these courageous actions of moving beyond your fear, setting goals that take you out of your comfort zone, and helping others motivate you. Your actions and efforts will be rewarded many times over.

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Are you too comfortable in your current situation? Do you need methods to challenge yourself?

Are you too comfortable in your current situation? Do you need methods to challenge yourself?

The 10 points below will help bring you methods to challenge yourself and get out of the status quo.

  1. Identify your personal and professional goals to ensure you keep progressing. Write down your goals and let those close to you know what they are. If you aim high it is best to set big, audacious goals.
  2. Never stop learning. Attend a class in your field every couple of months to keep your finger on trends and keep progressing. This learning will renew your expertise and expand your knowledge in your field.
  3. Identify the learning when you don’t succeed. Then be sure to spend time learning the lesson well.
  4. When you do succeed, identify why this happened and remember to apply this again in a new situation.
  5. Be honest with yourself. Discover what strengths you have and your areas for improvement. Don’t be afraid to discuss the times you applied your strengths with others. This highlights areas that easily motivate you and will round out your understanding of the use of your strengths. Work on your areas for improvement to limit the damage this could cause to your life and career.
  6. Crave feedback and ask for it. You will strengthen your ability to hear constructive feedback and learn ideas that will help you succeed over the long term.
  7. Choose the road not taken. Lose your fear of the unknown and look into pathways that are not where everyone else is going. By doing this you strengthen your ability to do new things.
  8. Be curious and interested in new people, and new ideas. This will keep your mind and your social circle fresh. There is so much going on these days expanding your social circle is good for you as new people will bring forward new topics that you couldn’t know alone.
  9. Narrow your learning and expertise so you can become an expert in a topic. Spending time on topics that motivate you helps you create knowledge and expertise. When you do this you will recognize and realize your power to create.
  10. Determine what you are afraid of and dive into these areas. Looking at your fears directly makes them shrink or go away.

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What This Blog is About

What This Blog is About

Welcome to The Resilience Blog.

The topics in this blog help you be more resilient in your career and as a leader. I write about ways to gain momentum and positively move through blocks that get in the way of your goals. I post articles on the blog about once a week. 

When I did my research study for my Ph.D., I got to conduct interviews with a number of successful and admired leaders. What fascinated me about them was how resilient they were. They had grown into leaders who could make things happen by demonstrating their resilience, confidence, and adaptive behaviours. I will teach you how to use and apply these resilient behaviours in your leadership and career leading to new levels of success. 

I am completing a book on Career Grit, which will include content and themes that will appear in the blog. If you have a story about overcoming challenges and becoming increasingly resilient in the process, I would love hearing about it. 

I am passionate about these career related topics:

  • methods to positively connect with others,
  • ways to lean into feedback,
  • reframing negative experiences,
  • making progress on your goals,
  • methods to enhance your positive impact, and
  • meeting challenges.

In the leadership area I enjoy focusing on: 

  • creating a safe environment, 
  • being more positive in your self-management and with your team,
  • raising your self-awareness,
  • bringing safety along with you wherever you go,
  • being able to have tough conversations when needed,
  • building trust, and 
  • ensuring your team performs. 

I hope you sign up for the blog soon and that you and your team apply these resilient behaviours thereby increasing your success.

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How to Advance Your Career Even If You Don't Have a Job

How to Advance Your Career Even If You Don't Have a Job

Many people think they need a job to make progress in their career. You don't need a job to make progress. Over time doing things that create forward momentum may create the work you need. So don't wait to start doing these career advancing moves. 

  1. Promote your progress. Let those with the authority to spend money and make decisions know the advances you are making in your learning, networks, and knowledge of their industry.
  2. Do your homework. Research the leading organizations and individuals in your field. Learn what they are doing to stay ahead.
  3. Have your finger on the pulse. Know what the emerging issues and trends are within your industry.
  4. Put your hand up. Volunteer within your industry association or on the board of an organization with a cause you are passionate about. Volunteering is a way you can expand your network and build your skills.
  5. Broaden your network in your field. You can attend industry events with a goal of meeting 3 new people at each event. You can let your current network know that you want to expand your network. Ask yourself are there people you should get in front of? 
  6. Find a mentor (or two). Spend time with people in your field who are further along the career path or considered experts in your industry.
  7. Polish your online profiles. Keep the information current on these public profiles, so that your contacts can be up to date on your progress.
  8. Push your passion forward. Advance your knowledge and abilities in areas of your career where you are truly motivated. This will be fun and rewarding as the learning and knowledge add to your skill sets.
  9. Take a risk. Put more skin in the game by putting yourself out more. You could organize an event, write an article, or offer to do a talk. Your efforts and learning can open doors, allowing you to meet new people, develop new opportunities, and give you new information and energy.
  10. Chart a career path for your career progress. What skills do you need as you round out your experience and move forward on your career path?

You can learn the skills you will require through;

  • taking a course,
  • researching and learning on your own,
  • writing an article and posting it,
  • volunteering, or
  • finding an expert or mentor.

These actions will advance your process, add to your knowledge base and network. Even if you don't have work, setting goals and carrying out some of these actions will move you closer to getting work that you would enjoy and shine at.

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What it Takes to Coach for Pride

What it Takes to Coach for Pride

I saw an article in the Globe and Mail on the weekend that outlined how Bob Johnson, the hockey coach, emphasized pride in his coaching. This is a motivating way to coach people and is also important for leaders in organizations. The article stated that this way of coaching was a switch from the aggressive style of coaching using fear and humiliation with hockey players that was common in the early years of hockey.

I bet you are thinking to yourself that coaching for pride would motivate and engage you a lot better than coaching based on fear and humiliation. This is also what they found with hockey players. 

Why would this method of coaching be discussed in a resilience blog? To make coaching for pride happen, the leader or coach needs to ensure they have a positive relationship with themselves. If the leader cannot see what is right for themselves, they won’t be able to see what is right and what they can be proud of in others.

Be aware, though, that some leaders present themselves in an arrogant way, they seem to act as if they are the only ones who have positive qualities. This is actually an insecure way of leading which is not based on a positive sense of self. These leaders need to get feedback from others to verify what they are truly good at. They also need to confirm with others what their skills are and support themselves in those skills.

To gain skills in this method of coaching you may need to:

  1. Start by asking yourself what you did well today. Notice where you feel good about the things you have accomplished. This can range from simple accomplishments such as writing a great email or having a productive conversation to completing a complex project in an effective way. The important thing to acknowledge is that you contributed and made this result happen.
  2. After a period of time focusing on the first point, start to shift your attention to notice what others are doing well. Notice how your team members contribute weekly and with time and increased awareness, you will want to start to notice others' abilities. 
  3. Changing deep beliefs that keep you stuck and focused on what is going wrong, rather than what is going well may require you spending time meditating or working with a coach.

When you are able to have pride in your own accomplishments, you can encourage others to have pride in theirs. 

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