When your career is in the dumps, the typical advice is, “Don’t worry and stay positive.”
While this idea looks nice on paper it’s not going to do much when you have bills to pay, mouths to feed and your life’s purpose seems partly lost.
There are common traps that people in this situation fall into. They are:
– Depending on someone else to find them their next career
– Thinking they can just work through it
– Pretending everything is okay when it’s not
Hitting a major career crisis is messed up. Standing still and hoping that everything will be okay will get you nowhere. You’re in control and you’re going to need all the energy you have to get through it.
Right now, my career is down the drain. Everything I have worked for has begun imploding through a series of unrelated events such as restructures, people moving on, lack of understanding, shifts in the market and a change in focus.
These are the 15 things I’ve learned to do in a career crisis:
1. Quit pointing the finger.
Blaming the company, senior leaders, the strategy or any other lame excuse won’t achieve anything. You’re in this career crisis mostly because of your own actions. In my case, I stayed in my current career too long because I was having fun and loved the people I was working with.
I knew it was time to move on six months ago and I ignored the warning signs – that’s a failure on my part right there. I had two choices: blame the company or pull my socks up and move on. I chose the latter. The blame game gets you nowhere. If you hate your current career, then leave.
It’s very tempting to blame the company and point the finger at people you work with who have failed you (in your eyes). The fantasy seems good but the reality is BS.
“Quit pointing the finger and accept what’s happening is your fault. Only you can change your career situation”
2. Get off the Titanic.
“Rose, we have to leave the ship or we will die in the freezing cold water!”
A career crisis that you know is forcing you to move on must be thought about like the Titanic. If your perception of reality is that the ship is sinking and there are leaky holes everywhere, then waiting around is going to force your ass into the freezing cold water.
Changing career takes a long time from the moment you make the decision – which is often delayed because of procrastination. If you know the ship is sinking – like I currently do – then get out of there faster than Jumping Jack Flash.
Grab your torch, grab your belonging’s, kiss your colleagues on the cheek and then run as fast as you can. Hanging around while the ship is sinking will only make your career crisis worse.
While I tell you this phenomenal advice, I didn’t follow it. Thank god I survived the shipwreck and can deliver this advice to you.
3. No one is going to save you – save yourself.
I somehow thought that a magic fairy was going to swoop in and save my ass because you know, I’m Tim Denning after all.
This was wishful thinking that screwed me even more.
No one is saving your ass. That career you’ve worked hard for may be in ruins and only you can fix it. In my situation, I found 90% of those around me only wanted to save themselves. No point dwelling on this fact it’s just the reality of these career situations.
Again, we can be bitter and pissed off or accept that it’s in our human nature to save ourselves first. Waiting around and hoping for a lifeline will push you further into despair.
“The moment you realize that you are responsible for everything that happens in your career is the moment everything changes”
4. The 10% that do want to help.
The good news: there will always be 10% of those around you who do want to help. You must do the following:
– Worship these kind people
– Show your gratitude every time (I literally do it in every email and phone call)
– Follow up with them
– Let them know you will be there for them when they need the same help
I’ve had some ripper colleagues bend over backwards to help me during this difficult time. I even had several customers, partners, accountants, friends and competitors (go figure!) chip in.
It’s this network of people that you should focus on. Every conversation I’ve had and every favor that’s been done has been met with a promise of returning the lifeline that has been given. I’ve told them my gratitude over and over, so they understand how important its been.
I’ve written customized emails and text messages to express my gratitude. NEVER TAKE THE 10% THAT WANT TO HELP YOU FOR GRANTED! These kind people owe you nothing. Remember that.
5. There’s always a turning point.
I experienced this back in 2011 when I left a company I started with my brother. It was a horrible time and I thought that because of all the success I’d had, I was entitled to assistance. I waited around hoping for someone to give me some magic career opportunity.
The phone never rang. I became more and more negative which pushed people further away. Thanks to a Tony Robbins audiotape, late one night I got up off my butt and went for a walk with this new audiotape playing on my 2009 iPod.
That night, I walked around my entire suburb for hours listening to Tony Robbins. I did every exercise he said including the deep breathing and shouting out loud. People in the streets thought I was off my head on drugs.
This one turning point changed everything. I decided that for the next few years I would eat dirt. I’d relearn the skill of sales; I’d become positive again; I’d embrace personal development and I’d change my diet to create energy.
I was so broke at the time that it took me two more years before I could save up enough money to attend a Tony Robbins event which helped me even more.
This career crisis became the foundation of all the success that followed.
6. Back to old success habits.
There were habits that made you successful before that you’ve stopped doing. What were they?
When my recent career crisis hit me like a brick in the face, I went back to my 2011 survival mode – only this time I was prepared.
“People saw me at work with my 2009 iPod which now looks like a relic out of Indiana Jones”
I’ve put the Tony Robbins tapes back in repeat mode. The tapes helped me before and they can help again. The same is true for you. You’ve had success habits before that have got you out of a rough patch. In times of crisis, using them again can be very helpful.
7. In a crisis, there is opportunity.
A career crisis can often be a brilliant opportunity in disguise. We get stuck with our habits and being comfortable. Having to deal with a career crisis can force you to take action and execute.
For example, I wrote down what I wanted going forward. That exercise caused an epiphany: I only want to work four days a week from now on. I decided I’m happy to sacrifice money for time so I can do what I love (writing these words for you).
Changes in company structures and people within a business may force you into a career crisis but it can also be filled with luscious blue sky. People moving around means that you could move up or even to an opportunity that is more aligned with your passion.
Don’t see a crisis as a bad thing; use it to propel your career forward.
This shift in thinking alone can change your work life entirely.
8. A career crisis could make all of your colleague’s negative.
This happened to me. There were lunchtime whinging sessions, random phone calls, emails – you name it. In one of the calls with my colleagues, things turned sour. I immediately hung up from the call. I then got SMS’s saying “Did you drop off the phone?”
My answer was “Yes and I will not be re-joining.” Their response was “We understand.”
I’m not putting up with any excess negativity. The burden of a career crisis is enough to deal with and stacking more negativity will weigh you down. The default human response is negativity so when a career crisis happens (especially one that affects your colleagues), you have to get disciplined.
Set some boundaries and avoid the negativity as much as humanly possible. You’ll piss people off (like I did) but it’s worth every bit of disgust your colleagues may have with you.
9. Options are like a cat with 9 lives.
In a career crisis, the best thing you can have is options. The moment my own career went into meltdown I rang every recruiter I knew. I pre-warned them months in advance. When my fate was set in stone, I sent them my resume and told them I was available.
I also asked them how I could assist them in return and offered my knowledge of social media as a bargaining chip. These recruiters give you options so that when you are faced with difficult decisions, you don’t have to accept a career opportunity that you don’t 100% want.
Having no options will force you to choose the easy way out which will leave you even more frustrated in the long run. A career crisis is a chance to do something new and the more prospects you have, the better it feels to assess each one.
10. Dust off your address book.
Metaphorically of course because none of us carry around little books with names and phone numbers anymore. Start ringing everyone you know and telling them that you are open to new career opportunities. Keep the tone positive and avoid talking down your current company.
Reconnect with literally anyone you know. The next opportunity could come from the strangest of places. One of the career prospects I’m assessing right now that is at the top of my list was referred to me by someone I met once who sent me a text, and who I can’t even remember meeting.
I’m not sure how they got my number or even knew I was looking. Frankly, I don’t even care. Your network can help during these moments of disaster but you have to put in the work and call people. Again, sitting around feeling sorry for yourself will get you nowhere.
11. Avoid coups.
They never work out well. Enough said.
12. Never expect immediate results.
From the moment you decide to change up your career, it’s probably going to take 3-6 months minimum. Patience is key. Nothing in your career that’s worth it will happen overnight.
I know I’m telling you to suck eggs but it’s advice you must hear. I’m sucking eggs right now as I give you the advice haha.
13. Focus on your health.
I spent $2000 on medical stuff last week. People think I’m nuts but during a career crisis, your energy is everything. To be able to put up with so much negativity, you’re going to require excess energy.
Right now, I’m eating all raw foods, skipping fancy dinners that could encourage me to lose track of my diet, and supplementing like my 104-year-old grandma used to.
“Energy during a career crisis is everything”
14. Maintain positive habits or begin them.
– Quit TV as it won’t help you
– Visit an Onsen or have a massage
– Exercise three times a week
– Drink plenty of water
– Sleep a minimum of 8 hours
– Listen to positive podcasts such (Tim Ferriss and Tony Robbins are good)
Your habits during a career crisis will help guide you back to the top again. This list above is what I’m focusing on every day currently and it helps a lot.
15. Don’t give up.
This whole career crisis is going to be filled with failure, rejection and a ton of negativity. Don’t let all this negative energy make you give up.
Your ultimate success in your career will come from this less than ideal situation later on. One day you’ll look back on this career crisis as a blessing in disguise. This crisis will set you on the right path and help you to re-evaluate everything.
Back your own boldness and put your fist in the air.
Charge through the almighty darkness with a smile.
Never. Ever. Give. Up.
If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on timdenning.net
Why You Should Prefer Emails to Phone Calls if You Want to Be More Productive
“Email” and “productivity” rarely go together in a sentence. Emails have been declared as one of our largest time wasters. A McKinsey report stated that people spend around 2.6 hours each day responding to emails. That’s 13 hours a week, 52 hours a month and over 60 days a year! Imagine what you could’ve achieved in 60 days!
Emails also negatively affect our cognitive resources. When we think of responding to them while doing other important tasks, it takes up to 23 minutes and 15 seconds after being disrupted to return to full attention to a current task. Imagine how much our cognition and productivity gets fractured when we get distracted over and over again.
Constant emailing also drains us mentally. And at the end of a day, we realize that we’ve achieved nothing worth mentioning. With a phone call, you can sort issues and solve problems quickly, right? In theory, you’re right. But we live in a practical world where many variables come into play.
Below are three variables that make phone calls adversely affect our productivity, and why emails are a better alternative:
1. Wasting Time
Most “five-minute conversations” can quickly turn into 35-minute calls because people ramble about irrelevant aspects. This derailment, several times a day, severely limits the limited time and energy you have for important tasks.
Emails, on the other hand, force writers to streamline their thoughts and stick to the point. Emails can save you plenty of time and energy because you avoid lengthy phone calls. The constant strife to keep your own emails short and crisp also makes you a clearer thinker, which rewards you in other aspects of your life.
“It’s better to waste money, than it is to waste time. You can always get more money.” – Hal Sparks
2. Inaccurate Responses
An unexpected phone call can catch me caught off guard on a topic. I might respond emotionally or give an answer that doesn’t do justice to what I want to share. In a world dominated by panic buttons and fire-fighting, these don’t just stress me out but the caller as well.
Emails give me flexibility to prepare a coherent response and share it when I’m satisfied. If I feel a surge of emotion, I can sleep over the thought and share a better (more rational) response the next day. Many page-long email responses to emails that upset me have turned into a simple “thank you for your email” the next day.
3. Constant Back-and-Forth
Phone calls often are ineffective to solve business problems. Accounting for multiple people, their views, their timelines… One phone call can quickly turn into three.
Emails are quicker and more effective than even conference calls. They let you communicate with multiple people at the same time. You can share information, assign tasks and give status updates while being as specific as possible.
You must be wondering, “What about back-and-forth emails then? Why do we waste precious time on them?” Yes, email has earned a bad rap. But it’s not because of the medium; it’s because we handle it ineffectively.
A Better Approach to Emailing
For most people, constantly refreshing the inbox is part of the daily to-do list. It keeps them busy and gives them a kick of dopamine – the feel-good chemical.
Ironically, this quest to remain busy makes people compromise on taking action that can move them forward. Using emails prudently, rewards you with plenty of energy and mind space to focus on tasks that truly matter.
Here are three steps that benefited me without succumbing to the side effects of email:
1. Checking Them Less
I check emails just 3 times a day – at 9:30 AM, 12:00 PM, and 4:30 PM. If you don’t have the luxury to do the same, you can start by checking your emails for ten minutes at the end of each hour. Most senders expect a response in a little over an hour. So they won’t mind a slightly delayed response. This gives you 45 undisturbed minutes each hour to work on your core tasks.
2. Responding Quickly
People delay responding to emails at least 37% of the time, which turns finding emails and responding to them into additional tasks that cost time and lead to attention residue. Most emails take under two minutes to respond. When you can respond to an email, do so instead of putting it off. This won’t just put your mind at peace, it’ll also reduce the number of “did-you-see-this” follow-up emails in your inbox.
“I do love email. Wherever possible I try to communicate asynchronously. I’m really good at email.” – Elon Musk
3. The If-Then Technique
The If-Then technique helps you address multiple scenarios at once. For instance, an email that says, “Can we meet at 3:00 PM?” becomes, “Can we meet at 3:00 PM? If not, please advise three other times that work for you.”
This technique is also effective when you want to suggest ideas or provide instructions on alternative steps. For example, “Here’s Plan A. If it doesn’t work, connect with [name] and ask for [specific information]. If you don’t get what you need, inform me.”
I’ll admit. This sounds like more work in the current moment, but it drastically cuts down the number of trail mails, confused correspondences, and fire-fighting instances that occur due to miscommunication.
The If-Then formula is the single most effective technique I’ve learned from The 4-Hour Workweek. All of this doesn’t mean that you abandon phone calls, In fact, it’s better to use the phone for sensitive topics or if an email conversation gets dragged. But remain mindful to not let phone calls waste your time.
If you want to pursue a meaningful life, place a premium on your time. Do things that create time for you to pursue meaningful actions and avoid doing what pulls you away from them. In the knowledge economy, this is the key to success.
Do you prefer email or talking on the phone? Share your thoughts below!
4 Questions You Need to Answer Before You Reach the Level of Success You So Desperately Crave
It’s normal that every person in the world wants to reach success and happiness. Yet, everyone defines both of these things differently. For some, success is making a whole bunch of money while for others this can be to become a good parent. Happiness is defined differently as well. Some people need to own a jet, boat and 3 cars to be truly happy, while others are happy just to be able to wake up in the morning.
It doesn’t matter how you define success and happiness, the truth is, you want to achieve them both. But, to be able to reach success and happiness, you need to answer 4 questions for yourself.
Here are the 4 questions you need to answer before you can achieve success and happiness:
1. Where Are You?
No, not geographically. It doesn’t matter where you live. What matters is where are you in life. Where are you in your way to success and happiness. Let’s say you are lost in the woods. You know exactly where you want to go, but you don’t know where you are. Even a map doesn’t help you with that.
The same is true in life. You may have a goal, but until you truly define where you are in the moment, you can’t move toward this goal. So, step 1 on your way to success and happiness is to define where you are right now.
“Successful people do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do. Don’t wish it were easier; wish you were better.” – Jim Rohn
2. Where Do You Want to Go?
When you define where you are in life, then you can think of where you want to be.
There’s this saying: When you don´t know your final destination, you´ll end up somewhere you didn’t want to be. Until you don’t know clearly where you want to be in life and who you want to become, your life doesn’t have a true purpose.
Without purpose, there´s no motivation. Without motivation, there´s no energy. And without energy, you´re not living, you´re just existing. I am sure you know someone who looks like a walking corpse everytime you see them. Do you think this person lives a successful and happy life? Most likely not.
So, step 2 on your way to success and happiness is to clearly define your goal. What do you want to accomplish and who do you want to become?
3. Why Do You Want It?
Okay, you know the basics. You know where you are and where you want to be. But, as Rocky Balboa said, “The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows.” And as you already know, life usually doesn’t go according to your plan. There will be hard times and to overcome those and not give up, you need to know WHY you do what you do.
You need to know WHY you want to accomplish your goals. When you answer this for yourself, you don’t struggle so much to motivate yourself. You will be motivated every minute of every day.
So, as a step 3, sit down and think of WHY you want to accomplish your goals. What’s the big purpose?
“We can change our lives. We can do, have, and be exactly what we wish.” – Tony Robbins
4. How Are You Going to Get There?
And finally, how are you going to get there? What’s your plan? You may know where you are, where you want to be and why you want to do it, but until you truly understand how you are going to get there, there won’t be much success and happiness in your life.
For example, you want to become a bodybuilder. You want to do it because you want to have big muscles and you want to look fit. But, you have no idea how to work out, how to build muscle and how to lose fat. Do you think, you´re going to be happy? No. As Tony Robbins says, “true happiness comes from progress.”
To make progress, you need to have a specific plan; how to get from point A (where you are) to point B (where you want to be). So, as a step 4, sit down and make a specific plan for how you’re going to get what you want in life.
In order to reach success and happiness, there are 4 questions you need to answer for yourself. Without answering them, you´re not going to get ahead in life, you´re just bouncing around. Success and happiness never come from just bouncing around in life.
Good news is, that these questions are really simple. It won’t take much time to answer them. Just be aware of where you are and where you want to be. Don´t forget to understand why you are pursuing your dream and finally, how are you going to get what you want.
Answer these 4 simple questions today and you won’t struggle with finding success and happiness in life anymore.
Which one of the above 4 questions resonated most with you and why? Share your thoughts and ideas below!
The Empathetic Heart: How The CHO of VaynerMedia Is Changing The Way We Work
A month after I had joined LinkedIn back in July of 2018, I sent Claude Silver a connection request and began following her content. One day she made a post saying “Ask and you shall receive, what can I do to help you today?”. I commented on that post asking for a 5 minute interview and to my surprise she agreed by asking me to send her a message (I was given a full hour). This was the first example of pure kindness I witnessed from Claude.
The first message you see on Claude’s website is: People need people. People need people that listen and then do something. That message spoke to me on an emotional level, and I believe it will speak to you too. I wanted to know how she created such an amazing culture, what being a “culture carrier” meant, and how the employees at VaynerMedia have been changed by her work there.
A culture carrier in Claude’s own words is “someone who is aligned with our values, I can’t teach someone to be kind they have to already be kind. The process of developing a culture carrier takes about 6 months. It’s about bringing people together and having strong core values of kindness and empathy.”
Gary Vaynerchuk, co-founder of VaynerMedia, is often referred to as a combination of hustle and heart. With the hiring of Claude and the work she has accomplished within the company, it speaks to the level of empathy that can be felt throughout the entire operation.
Although business can be a challenging, tough, and often cut-throat terrain, by putting employees first and providing honest feedback the company has grown to include offices in New York, Chattanooga, Los Angeles and London, and continues to dominate the market.
Below we’ll see 3 different ways the CHO of VaynerMedia is changing the way people work:
1. By being unafraid to share her own story
Claude has been an influential part of breaking the stigma surrounding vulnerability in the business arena. Not only does she openly share her own story, but she sits down with employees to better understand their vulnerabilities and how to use characteristics that previously would have been considered weaknesses as strengths.
When asked what her biggest adventure to date was she replied “Having Shalom (her daughter). I have had an amazing life, I moved, worked hard, landed an amazing job and fell in love but it didn’t come without its challenges.”
Claude is openly gay and is living proof your sexual orientation doesn’t matter. Nothing matters but your character, your track record, and if you leave people a little better off than before you met them. From Claude, business leaders, employees and entrepreneurs can learn to be more open both on social media and in person, allowing them to build more meaningful relationships and connect on a deeper level. A deeper connection can mean more leverage but it also means a more lasting impact on the world.
“Everyone has something they can share. I’m not famous. I don’t have anything that would be newsworthy, but I have stories.” – Tafta Johnson Watson
2. Committing to a strong value system
VaynerMedia has some serious values for such a large company and those values are expected to be upheld by every employee and visitor. Values like kindness, empathy, honesty, hustle and the art of not complaining.
With Claude holding the title of Chief Heart Officer, she is the guiding light for others. When recruiting, she says she “takes the time to evaluate an individual’s talents but most importantly their own heart”.
Gary Vaynerchuk is quoted as saying:”To me, there’s no debate that kindness is a strength. And it breaks my heart to know that so many people believe it’s a weakness. So many people are afraid that other people will take advantage of their kindness or make them feel “used.” But the truth is, those who take advantage of your kindness are weak on the inside. Feel bad for them, don’t let them make you feel bad about yourself“.
Both Claude and Gary teach aspiring entrepreneurs that it is okay to live with an open heart and that having the strength to commit to and live with a strong value system, will be a powerful tool during the hustle journey. It also allows you to go to bed at night actually liking the person that you are, nothing will kill a business faster than going to bed at night and hating yourself.
3. Listening with action
As mentioned above Claude’s slogan is: People need people. People need people that listen and then do something. As a woman who wears many hats, she is also an Outward Bound Instructor, taking individuals on amazing adventures in the outdoors.
Taking action on any given day can mean a number of different things but it speaks to her own character and driving force that she is able to not only guide people through the world of office politics but also through the serene and sometimes challenging wilderness.
Claude cultivates an environment of trust by first offering individuals her own trust. It is a huge and vulnerable action that leads to a relationship of love – heart – and productivity. Listening as an action is something that has the power to change an entire organization from an unproductive, toxic environment to one that promotes creativity, passion, inclusion and positivity.
“Relationships are leverage. If you give value to someone else first, you have leverage.” – Gary Vaynerchuk
To get the truest sense of how Claude was changing the way people work, I asked her co-workers to tell me what working alongside Claude has done for them. Here is one of the answers I received:
“During my time working alongside Claude, I’ve really come to appreciate her example of being a good listener. As a society, we tend to praise the power of speaking. But Claude demonstrates on a daily basis that the most important thing everybody wants is to be heard.” – Steve Babcock, Chief Creative Officer VaynerMedia.
I tried looking for images of Claude on her website and I think it speaks to how focused she is on holding space for others, because I couldn’t find a single full sized image of her to use. I googled. Writing this piece has opened me up to evaluate my own values and the way I connect with people in my daily life.
From this article, it is my own hope that entrepreneurs come to the understanding that although tenacity and true grit are really important, the whole of what Claude represents is something to strive towards. The “soft” skills you develop are humongous strengths and to truly impact an entire organization.
What’s the last random act of kindness you did for someone? Share with us below!
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