Rest: What It Secretly Says About Your Perspective on Life​

For years, I operated in high gear, busy-mode, proudly wearing my “busy badge.” Like a martyr, I would tell others about my 80-hour workweeks and how much I accomplished from day to day.

Maybe it’s the plethora of articles available these days on the importance of sleep, or maybe it’s that I’m maturing, but I’ve changed my tune on “go-go-go” mode these days. I am now a big proponent of rest!

Rest can take many forms. Beyond getting good sleep, rest can be going on vacation (I’m writing this from the cabin of my cruise ship, headed for Cuba). It can also be taking a nap, or putting your feet up for a few minutes, or stepping away from work for a bit to gain a new perspective.

Physiological Benefits of Rest (Obvious!)

Rest is obviously a biological need. Lots of important things happen in our brains when we rest. This Fast Company article explains it well. In short, our brain has a system that tidies up things during sleep, sorting and filing information, making sense of things, snipping connections not being used, and reinforcing connections that are being used.

Psychological Benefits of Rest (Not So Obvious)

Rest also has an important psychological impact. I have experienced that when I stop to rest, I seem to quietly acknowledge to Life and to myself that I am safe. Think about it—when we rest, we are not wearing our power suits, we are not in any sort of a power posture, and we are not engaging with others to create or problem-solve.

Instead, we are vulnerable when we rest—we are not on high-alert. Our body posture is passive vs assertive/aggressive. And we are not protecting or defending ourselves in any psychological fashion.

In short, we give the stressors of life a time-out. In fact, you could use REST as an acronym:

Really

Experiencing a

Stress

Time-Out

It’s as though Life insists on us resting, just to remind us that, indeed, all is well…all is working out. When we rest, our world view shifts from a problem/scarcity perspective to an abundance/trust perspective. (Plus, we’re a lot more fun to be around.)

How will you REST today?!

 

Image attribution: Copyright: <a href=’https://www.123rf.com/profile_mimagephotography’>mimagephotography / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

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Interview Openings? Or Interview Opportunities?

If you’re working with clients who are in job search mode, they’ll want to be sure to have enough interviews in their pipeline! More interviews mean more options. Too often, people in career transition pin all their hopes on just one interview, thinking their ship has come in, only to see it turn into a sunken dream. If you see clients who are experiencing this scenario, you know it can really take the wind out of their sails. On the other hand, there is nothing more empowering than having options.

To help your clients increase their options, increase their opportunities. Notice the emphasis on opportunities instead of the more common terms, postings or openings. There’s a world of difference between the two. Let’s take a look!

Definition:

Openings: An advertised position soliciting a predefined skill-set to perform specific tasks.

Opportunity: An unadvertised position or situation where a job seeker’s skill-set can contribute to company/shareholder value.

Job Seeker Positioning:

Openings: In openings, the candidate has a tendency to come as a “supplicant” on bended knee, positioned in a role to sell and convince others of his or her worth.

Opportunity: With opportunities, the candidate has the ability to come as a “value proposition,” positioned as a business solution or service.

How Accessed:

Openings: Candidates comb through online postings and print want-ads to apply; human resources then winnows to make the volume of resumes manageable, eventually conducting a formal, structured interrogative interview process.

Opportunity: Candidates target companies, then read, research, and conduct “focused networking” with people who will lead them to conversations with decision makers; needs are uncovered and value-based solutions offered through an informal, fluid inquiry/discovery process.

Materials Needed:

Openings: Traditional resume and cover letter.

Opportunities: Knowledge of company/hiring manager needs and how the candidate’s strengths and brand can deliver a return-on-investment; targeted resume or SOS (solution or service) letter; project proposal.

Quantity:

Openings: Limited and restricted to those companies in hiring mode.

Opportunities: Potentially limitless and unrestricted, as the focus is about building long-term relationships while exploring opportunities and innovations that will benefit the company’s bottom line.

Competition:

Openings: Typically stiff when advertised broadly.

Opportunity: Minimal; the candidate is often competing only with himself/herself.

Who Controls the Process:

Openings: Controlled by human resources; usually a predictable process 2-6 month process.

Opportunity: Controlled by hiring manager and decision makers; less predictable process.

Human Resources:

Openings: Actively soliciting and screening applicants.

Opportunity: The human resources department is often unaware that a “job seeker” is even on the premises.

Connections:

Openings: The candidate is typically anonymous and an unknown commodity.

Opportunities: The candidate builds relationships that lead to being trusted and gaining insider status because of recommendations by colleagues, employees, and/or friends.

What the Employer Looks For:

Openings: Features (an ideal “wish list,” such as number of years of experience, degree, skill set, and so on).

Opportunities: Benefits (solutions or services offered) that will make the company money or save the company money, making the candidate a valuable asset that boosts the bottom line.

Employer’s Preferred Method of Contact:

Openings: Anonymous submission of electronic or paper resume.

Opportunities: Often email or telephone to start, and eventually face-to-face exploration, although it can start with face-to-face in informal business networking or social networking situations.

Understanding and embracing these differences will give your clients an edge in their search! You, as an experienced coach, already know this. The challenge is helping the client be open to this as well.

  • Start with some discussion to increase awareness around the difference between openings and opportunities,
  • Ask how effective the client has been focusing only on openings (probably not very!),
  • Inquire about what an opportunity would look like, and then
  • Explore how they can start looking for opportunities, as well as openings.

Clients will see a major shift in their search when they do!

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Create! No Creativity Required

For years, I struggled with the word “creativity.” I thought it was reserved for artists or actors or interior designers. I also felt “less-than” when it came time to express my vision for the companies I owned or the projects I led. In my mind, I just never seemed to be able to see very far into the future.

As I’ve study neuroscience and brain-friendly approaches to coaching, I’ve come to reframe the concept of creativity. Nowadays, I look at creativity from the viewpoint of simply being intentional about what I want, and exploring what part of that I can control or influence.

And, “what I want” can fall into a couple of simple categories:

  • How I want to BE
  • What I want to DO
  • What I want to HAVE

These Be-Do-Have categories are probably familiar to you if you’re a coach. We can play TinkerToys® with them as we approach any task that’s before us. For example:

When heading into an important meeting:

  • How do I want to BE?
    Perhaps it’s Curious, or Collaborative, or Assured, or Strategic.
  • What do I want to DO?
    Perhaps it’s Ask a strategy question, or Speak up 10% more than I usually do, or Tap into different people’s insights.
  • What do I want to HAVE?
    Perhaps it’s 3 new options for addressing a challenge, or a Clear process for moving forward, or Delegation of tasks with clear deliverables and timelines.

Try it yourself for anything that’s on your mind—whether an upcoming meeting, or a difficult relationship, or a project that is due, or a task you’ve been putting off, or a vacation you are planning.

Create means recognizing we have choice in the midst of EVERY circumstance. Choices about how we want to BE, what we want to DO, and what we want to HAVE.

Enjoy your CREATE-IVE juices!

 

Image attribution: Copyright: <a href=’https://www.123rf.com/profile_alphaspirit’>alphaspirit / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

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Abusing Positivity

Positivity. Perseverance. Gratitude. There is much to be said for these traits. They are proven, brain-friendly strategies that boost perspective, resilience, and success. They can shift me from an attitude of “I have to do this” to “I get to do this.”

But, positivity, perseverance, and gratitude can also have a dark side when they are over-used and abused.

For example:

  • Positivity Over-Used: When I have 18 hours of work to be accomplished in an 8-hour day, I can warp positivity and think, “I can get this done! I’ll just multitask during that boring meeting that’s coming up at 3pm; I’ll do my conference call when I’m in the car; then I’ll just work a few extra hours after the dinner party I have to attend, and I’ll be able to get it all done.” The end result is that I exhaust myself, never stop to question whether there might be some boundary of delegation issues at play, and all the while reinforce in my mind the necessity of 80-hour-work-weeks to survive.
  • Perseverance Abused: When I have a project that is not going smoothly, I might narrow-mindedly continue to apply the same approach and “hammer, hammer, hammer” away at it. In the process, I miss out on the opportunity to collaborate with others on their ideas or try out a new tool.
  • Gratitude Gone South: When I have a difficult person in my life, I might amp up gratitude and think of all the reasons I appreciate and admire the person. All the while, I silence my voice and miss the opportunity to address behaviors that need to be addressed.

Don’t get me wrong. There is a place for positivity, perseverance, and gratitude (and many other useful mindset tools). But when they cause me to…

  • Stop deepening my thought processes
  • Bury my curiosity about different ways to approach challenges, or  
  • Avoid conflict and challenging conversations

… I have abused these beautiful tools. Can you relate?

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