Creating A Success Toolkit For The New Year

From my latest article at PsychologyToday.com

After my high school graduation I attended a couple semesters at a culinary arts school. It was a strange little satellite campus of a larger university, and it ultimately wasn’t a good fit. However, it planted the seed of an idea that I've now revisited over 15 years later. During orientation at culinary school each student was given a rigid blue plastic box—about the size of a 3-ring binder—filled with blank pages like a scrapbook. It was designed to be a professional development portfolio where we could store our resume, certificates of achievement, and anything else that would highlight our career accomplishments. In theory, it was a great concept to encourage us to develop a career mindset. But ultimately its high dork factor—the expectation that we would carry the blue box into job interviews—relegated mine to the thrift store donation bin.

Now that I’m in the position of helping people navigate their career exploration, I’ve tweaked the concept of the blue box into a comprehensive career journal. Valuable at every stage in one’s career, it’s a personalized notebook or binder where we store and explore all things career and personal-professional development. In this article I've included all of the general framework components of the career journal. While one might add folders for resumes and certificates of achievement, the primary goal is to conduct an in-depth exploration and inventory of a comprehensive range of career topics. Click here to read the career toolkit creation tips on my blog at Psychology Today.

Success Secrets: How to Get Your Toughest Questions Answered

 via Pixabay

via Pixabay

An important part of our professional growth is taking stock of barriers or excuses that are holding us back. It can feel daunting when we determine that we're not moving forward in our career or launching our business idea because we can't find answers to our tough questions.

For example, what if you want to start a daycare business in your home but you don't know how much money you'll need to set things up? Or, let's say a recruiter contacts you on LinkedIn to hire you at a competitor of your current company—how do you know if it's a legit offer or a good company to work for? Perhaps you're already a pro in your field but you don't know how to market yourself on social media or create a YouTube video.

You talk to your family, friends, and coworkers, yet none of them have the answers. You're paralyzed to make a decision because you simply don't have enough information. So, what next? 

A few intriguiging new companies have stepped in to solve your problems and you can access them right now.

The links below are online question & answer sites for professionals and entrepreneurs. Meaning, you suddenly have access to thousands of experts who've been in your shoes and can provide just the tidbit of advice you're looking for in a matter of days or even minutes. Sign up, pay for the service, and connect one-on-one with experts who can answer your specific questions- some on live video.*

The icing on the cake—if you like how these sites work, you can even apply to become a paid expert yourself.

24 Sessions (Get business advice via live video)

Clarity (Get advice from entrepreneurs)

Live Ninja (Teach and learn live online)

Huddlewoo (Another teach and learn video platform)

Quora (Community sourced Q&As)

*The author has no affiliation with these companies and receives no compensation of any kind for mentioning them.

For more career success resources, check out my article, 3 Excellent Career Advice Resources for Job Seekers

[This article was originally published by Brad Waters on Psychology Today at April 1, 2015.]

May Is The Perfect Time For A "New Year's" Resolution

 Photo via Textbooks.com

Photo via Textbooks.com

This year for New Year's I collaborated with Textbooks.com to write the article A Life Coach’s Roadmap for Your New Year’s Resolutions. It's a “best-of-the-best” advice tip sheet that draws from my coaching techniques plus research-backed suggestions from some of today’s most respected psychologists (see reading list below). And the consensus is... it's not too late to start or restart your resolution(s)! The tips in the article can significantly boost your chances of succeeding with your goals by being prepared and being strategic.

Additional reading:

Changeology: 5 Steps to Realizing Your Goals and Resolutions by John Norcross

Willpower, Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength by Roy Baumeister

Changing for Good: A Revolutionary Six-Stage Program for Overcoming Bad Habits and Moving Your Life Positively Forward by Prochaska et. al.

 Succeed: How We Can Reach Our Goals by Heidi Grant Halvorson

 Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard by Chip and Dan Heath

The Paradox of Change

The Paradox of Change was first published on Brad's Design Your Path blog at Psychology Today.

 Photo by Brad Waters

Photo by Brad Waters

I hear you say things aren’t quite right these days, that you’re eager for change. And underneath that eagerness lies some fear. And underneath that fear, something deeply unknown.

I recognize the courage it has taken you to tell me. Remember that courage when parts of you resist the changes you seek. Change is full of paradox like that.

I hear you say you’re ready to take that risk. You’ll be challenged around every turn. But accepting that challenge is some of the most meaningful work you will ever do. And it is work. There are no shortcuts. Seven days a week. 365 days a year.

Because the real work isn’t a place you go each day or a series of motions you’ve been tasked with completing. The real work follows you everywhere you go and fills each of your motions with an intention. The work is always about intention.

Get ready for changes to happen quickly, and for parts of you to slow it all down. And just when you think things are running smoothly again, you will encounter setback. That is when you do the work.

You will love doing the work. And hate it with every cell of your being. You will feel rested doing the work. After you feel exhausted. You’ll have glorious warm days of inspiration and accomplishment. And it won’t feel like work at all.

Please remember to celebrate your small changes, and have faith that they will grow into your biggest intentions. Please remember to be forgiving with your setbacks and mistakes, for they too will grow into your intentions.

Always be kind to yourself. And be tough. They both take work. And remember to take breaks. To rest your soul and soften the hard edges. Then, keep working.