Creating a Meaningful Career Map

You wouldn’t head out on a long road trip without first planning your route. So why wouldn’t you apply that same thoughtful approach to charting your professional advancement? Whether you’re just starting out, feel as though your career is beginning to idle or you’re clearly stuck in a rut, creating a career map can be highly beneficial.

What is a career map? It’s a written plan outlining where you are in your career, where you ultimately want to go and the specific steps you could take to reach that objective.

Here are five navigation tips to put you on the path toward meaningful professional progression:

Pinpoint a destination

Many people make the mistake of engaging in career hoping rather than career mapping. But as once noted: “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.”

Identify your primary professional objective and put it on paper. Be introspective and detailed when defining your ambitions. Sure, “I want to advance my career in the accounting industry and earn more money” is technically a goal, but it’s far too vague.

Is your objective to move up into a managerial role with your current employer? Do you want to transition into a more specialized area such as forensic accounting? Maybe you want to put yourself in position to make the jump to a Big Four firm. Regardless of your goal, make it specific and measurable.

Know your starting point

You need to understand exactly where you are before you can decide how you’re going to get where you want to go. Do a candid assessment of both your hard and soft skills. In what areas do you excel? Which aspects of your job excite you the most?

And while it’s certainly a less enjoyable exercise, put your weaknesses under the microscope. Are skills gaps or bad habits hampering your effectiveness? Could the lack of in-demand industry certifications hold you back?

Be honest about your strengths, shortcomings, likes and dislikes. This self-review can help you crystallize your long-term goal and give you insights into the specific steps you’ll need to take to achieve it.

Ask for directions

Make your interests known to your manager and ask for input and assistance. Does your career plan align with where your boss sees you going? Can they point you toward training opportunities or assign higher-profile projects that will prime you for the job you seek? Are there avenues to get there you hadn’t considered?

It’s obviously beneficial to work for an employer who communicates potential career paths and helps you reach that next level, but you’re the one who must take control of the wheel. That’s why you might consider trying to find a mentor. Mentors can provide ongoing support, objective feedback, real-world insights and tips on who to network with. If your company doesn’t have a formal mentoring program or you’re looking for a job outside the company, ask a member of your professional network whose opinions you trust if they would be willing to work with you.

Pay attention to career map mile markers

For some people, a lofty goal can seem overwhelming and unattainable, so break it down into a series of smaller ones. Establish clear-cut objectives and action steps — and set deadlines for accomplishing these interim goals.

For example, if you want to become a departmental supervisor, key steps might include completing a leadership training program or returning to school for an MBA. You also might pursue a leadership role with the local chapter of a professional association.

Whenever you reach a milestone, take time to reflect on and savor the achievement. Acknowledging your successes along the way helps you maintain momentum as you inch closer to your ultimate objective.

Stay driven

Any trip worth taking likely includes some bumps and wrong turns along the way. Don’t allow these inevitable disappointments to diminish your determination. When you run into a roadblock, regroup and move on. Career progress requires not only planning, but also drive and discipline. Focus on the lessons learned from your setback — then put your foot right back on the pedal.

How To Be Emotionally Resilient During Uncertain Times

It’s easy to feel anxious during this pandemic, especially when you’re working at home, juggling family and friends virtually, and trying to maintain your health. A survey conducted in March found that 18% of U.S. adults have experienced nervousness or anxiety five to seven days a week when thinking about the outbreak, while 28% report feeling those reactions three to four days a week. Those who are affected financially report higher levels of emotional distress. 

Collectively, we’ve all been experiencing COVID-19 for about four months. While it’s natural to feel anxious and stressed periodically, it can be debilitating to physically and mentally endure these emotions for long periods, which is why it’s imperative to prioritize our emotional well-being. Resilience is a crucial skill to develop to bounce back from various challenges in and out of the workplace. Demonstrating resilience helps you to rebound productively in challenging situations, and it has a robust protective effect against anxiety, which is helpful in today’s angst-ridden environment. Here are our six ways to ground yourself during an emotionally stressful time.

Start your day intentionally

How you spend your first hour of the day sets the tone for how your day unfolds. Instead of working on a to-do list or thinking about the projects you need to complete, focus your intentions and thoughts inwards. Take 10-15 minutes to sit, reflect and regroup on what you need to do personally, and let go of feelings from yesterday or anything negative that comes to the surface in the morning to set your intentions for the rest of your workday properly. Spend time to clear your mind of clutter and manifest how you would like your day to go.

Stay present during your workday

When experiencing tough emotions or situations, it’s best not to catastrophize in the moment. For self-preservation, it’s critical to not focus on the worst-case scenario in an effort to limit energy worrying about something that might not happen. Take a moment to pause, breathe deeply, and focus on staying present within your workday. Using simple breathing mindfulness techniques or meditation will serve to bring us back to the present, calm the mind, and reduce the high level of stress that we are all feeling now during this pandemic. 

Focus on what you can control

You can only control your actions, work product, and how you contribute to your teams. Unfortunately, you can’t control others and how they navigate the workplace and assignments. While many aspects of the pandemic are currently uncontrollable, it is helpful for us to work to control what we can, including our interpretations of and reactions to it. Helping others to find words to express and describe our experiences and opinions can help foster personal meaning and understanding. Developing and maintaining structure, routines, and consistency, which are antidotes to chaos and confusion, also helps streamline your workday and limit anxiety. Having several daily goals for your workday can help you stay grounded and focused. A project to-do list can create a sense of accomplishment, mastery, belonging, and positive emotions, even tackling seemingly mundane tasks. 

Stay aware of your emotions

Do a self-assessment hourly to gauge your feelings and emotions during your workday. Instead of focusing on negative emotions and letting anxious feelings get in the way, you can take productive steps to be in problem-solving mode rather than worry-and-stress mode. Learning to recognize and identify responses to stress, emotional strain, and exhaustion provides the foundation for resilient self-management. When you feel the anxiety starting to surface, do what you can to stay calm and work to keep your emotions in check. By catching anxious thoughts before they spiral you have the power to reframe them. 

Reframe your thought process to find the meaning of a situation

In any stressful situation, you can often find a deeper meaning if you search for it. Because we can’t overpower this pandemic, we must acknowledge the pain and fear this pandemic uncovers and the assumptions about our life that it challenges. However, COVID-19 can also reshape how we think about our circumstances and inspire us to make changes within ourselves and workplaces. 

Take breaks to move your body

Exercise isn’t just crucial for the body, it helps settle your emotions as well. Set some time aside each day to fit in some exercise. Being active creates endorphins, which act in the brain to relieve stress and promote feelings of well-being. Becoming resilient is not just about bouncing back – it’s about becoming tougher and better equipped for the next challenge. Challenges happen in everyone’s life, but how you view these experiences can make a big difference in how well you feel when you come out on the other side.

Talking About Your Weaknesses in a Job Interview

When it comes to job interview questions, the classic “What are your greatest strengths?” is a softball. It’s an invitation to shine a spotlight on all the skills and experiences that make you a good fit for the job. The curveball comes when you’re asked about weaknesses in a job interview.

“Tell me about your greatest weaknesses,” trips up many job candidates, and it’s no wonder: How do you tell an interviewer about your shortcomings without sounding like you’d be hopeless on the job?

It’s tricky, but it can be done.

How to approach the weakness question

Ultimately, you want to discuss your weaknesses in a job interviewin a way that helps you gain ground rather than lose it. Keep in mind that what hiring managers really want to know is how you handle adversity on the job.

To start, think about the limitations that have challenged you at work. It’s a good exercise to make a list of your known shortcomings, and one way to gather material is from past performance evaluations and notes from supervisors about areas for improvement.

You also want to make sure to research the employer and the open position. Thoroughly review the job posting before the interview so you don’t identify something as a deficiency that’s essential to the job. Reread the job description so you know what attributes and abilities are critical to the performance of the job. Those hard or soft skills shouldn’t be on your weakness list. Everything else is fair game.

Examples of weaknesses on the job

Do any of these weaknesses ring a bell? Note that these aren’t good choices for your answer if the job requires specific skills in these areas.

  • Inexperience with specific software or a non-essential skill
  • Tendency to take on too much responsibility
  • Nervousness about public speaking
  • Hesitancy about delegating tasks
  • Discomfort taking risks
  • Impatience with bureaucracies 

What to avoid in your answer

Your first reaction may be to say, “I have no weaknesses, and nothing will keep me from doing a great job.” But no one’s perfect, and hiring managers know that. If you respond to this question with an enthusiastic denial, the interviewer will probably write you off as someone with a lack of awareness or someone who is overconfident or unable to understand and learn from their mistakes.

Hiring managers are also wise to responses that attempt to frame a positive trait as weaknesses in a job interview. Classic examples include “I’m a perfectionist,” “I’m competitive,” and “I just work too hard.” Interviewers are on to these stock answers, but you can use them by adding details relevant to the job to show you’ve put real thought into it.

For instance, you could say something like, “I hold myself to very high standards and sometimes put too much pressure on myself. I’ve learned to recognize when I’m starting to do this, such as spending a little too much time on bigger projects like quarterly reports, and I’m usually able to keep myself in check.”

Put your weaknesses in a positive light

Once you’ve established your weakness, craft a response to put it in the best positive light. How do you do that? Here are three suggestions:

  • Emphasize the positive, avoiding negative words like failure or inept.
  • Talk about how you’ve transformed your weakness into a strength.
  • Show how you recognize where you need to improve and take steps to better yourself.

What are ways you can improve yourself to address a weakness?

  • Take a class or get training.
  • Discover tools, such as apps, to track your time, schedule breaks or collaborate more smoothly.
  • Work with a mentor.
  • Engage in volunteer work to build a skill.
  • Join professional groups or industry associations.

Sample responses to “What are your weaknesses?”

The question gives you the opportunity to set yourself apart. How so? You can show the hiring manager you recognize the areas where you need to upgrade yourself and how you’re taking steps to address them. Here’s a sample answer that takes this approach:

  • “Although I always met my deadlines, I used to have a problem with procrastination, and I’d end up working really long days as a deadline approached. I decided that I needed to deal with the issue, so I took classes on project management and time management. I learned how to organize my days and attack bigger projects in manageable chunks. Now, I put together a plan as soon as I get a new assignment, and I often beat my deadlines.”

Another example illustrates how to use the requirements of the job to drive your answer. Let’s say you’re not a strong writer, and you’re applying for a job as a graphic designer. The job description emphasizes the need for production design skills and specific software experience but doesn’t mention anything about content creation. So you could answer the question about weaknesses in an interview like this:

  • “I’ve always been on the design side of things and haven’t had much experience with content development, so I’d say that’s a weakness for me. However, I’m a quick learner, and I believe I could improve my writing skills if I ever needed to for my job.”

Alternatively, if you’re applying for a position as a financial analyst and one of the requirements of the job is to give regular reports to upper management, you won’t want to emphasize to the hiring manager that you struggle with communication issues.

How to Take The Leap From Manager to Thought Leader

Ready to take your career to the next level? The leap from manager to thought leader within an organization is a coveted next step and essential to your continued success and career growth. Wherever you are in your career, if you’re ambitious and goal-driven, you may have one question in your mind: will I be a thought leader one day and positively impact my company? Becoming a thought leader often requires a certain amount of being in the right place at the right time, but attaining certain qualities will also spark your growth within the company.  Read our tips below on how to develop into a thought leader from a manager. 

Limit multitasking

Most effective managers are excellent communicators and multitaskers, skillfully owning and juggling multiple projects and handling questions of their direct reports. However, to position yourself as a thought leader, it’s essential to focus on one project to maintain productivity levels and to limit the confusion of task ownership among the team. In your journey to becoming a thought leader, it’s important to let go of complete control. You must do this to focus on making the critical decisions that empower the team to propel the organization forward while letting direct reports focus on what it takes to bring supporting key projects to life.

Build on transparency

Within organizations, senior leaders play a pivotal and vital role in creating, sustaining, and influencing culture. When the team grows, thought leaders should shape the senior leadership team, which then influences their own respective teams. It’s essential to set a healthy foundation for transparent communication, which will help you grow from player to coach. In a survey from Harvard Business School, 70% of employees said they are most engaged when senior leadership communicates openly. Being honest, vulnerable, and having the courage to own up to things is essential. A lack of transparency could also create an environment of distrust that can quickly become toxic and difficult to navigate. Develop a foundation of transparent communication as you foster relationships with the direct reports on your team. This will, in turn, make them more open and communicative about dealing with the responsibilities you allowed them to take on as part of your delegation.

Learn how to delegate and trust your team

Unfortunately, it’s impossible to stay cognitively engaged in all aspects of your job – and that can limit how your team grows, thrives, and builds new skills. To scale your operations more effectively, you must build out and develop a talented team that you trust. Building trust is an essential part of developing effective emotional intelligence, as allowing others to make mistakes is vital for development. Allowing and encouraging your team to take on new tasks will lighten your workload for you to tackle more critical high-level tasks. It will also help foster new opportunities for your direct reports that will bolster their own capabilities down the road. A Gallup study found that companies with more talented individuals who can delegate have more significant growth rates and higher revenue, and they create a more substantial number of jobs. Your team’s potential to push its limits will grow with each member that you encourage to take on new responsibilities.

Get out of your own way

Don’t let imposter syndrome negatively impact your career growth. Don’t drag your feet on your career transition. Focus on thinking through projects, organizational goals, and team structures holistically and strategically. This will allow you to really focus on thinking strategically for your entire team and help your direct reports solve their most pressing problems. You can’t do it all alone. 

Five Strategies to Cope When Quitting Really Isn’t an Option

Those who say “quitters never win” are fooling themselves. If you stick something out just because you’re afraid of giving up—and it’s something that no longer serves you—you’re wasting your time. And ultimately, you lose. Sure, you’re not a quitter. But you sure as hell aren’t winning either.

When it comes to work, quitting is sometimes the best move you can make. Often, it’s a necessary step for forward movement, growth, and pursuing your life’s purpose.

Still, as we all know, quitting sometimes really isn’t an option. Not because it isn’t the right thing to do; sometimes, you just can’t feasibly move on. Maybe you just can’t financially afford to leave your current job. Or maybe the health insurance coverage isn’t something you can give up. Or maybe the stress of leaving right now would be far worse than the stress of simply sticking it out for a while longer. These things happen. This is reality.

You can’t always pick up and move on the second you realize it’s the right thing to do. In fact, it’s rare that a decision to quit can be acted on quickly. It takes time and preparation. So, if you know it’s time to quit but doing so right now simply isn’t possible, try the following:

Emotionally disconnect

Remember: It’s just work, it’s not YOU. Many people—myself included—think of work as an extension of their identity. So, if you’re in a job you hate, you can start to hate yourself. Now is the time to put it in perspective. You are not your job. Your job is simply providing you with something—whatever that thing is that makes quitting impossible. Focus on that and break the emotional connection.

Find a friend

Happiness has a lot to do with relationships. Even if you’re ready to leave your job, you can still enjoy the social side of work. Find a person—just one is all it takes—who gets you. Having a friend at work makes every day easier.

Get out

Don’t just hang around in an environment that feels like it’s slowly draining you. Get out and breathe some fresh air. Take lunch out of the office, go on walks throughout the day, or just take a few minutes to sit outside instead of stewing in the frustration that surrounds you. The more perspective you can get, the more you’ll be able to deal with the current situation.

Take steps

It might not be feasible to quit right now, but circumstances will change. Start saving money, learn new skills, network and make connections. Prepare yourself for a time when you can leave this job and find something more fulfilling…because it will happen sooner or later.

Stress less

I call this “managing the inner game” and truly, this is the most important point here. Believe me, once you know that quitting is what you’d like to do but it’s just not possible at the moment, your stress will skyrocket. This is a natural result of feeling trapped. Every instinct in your body is screaming, “FIGHT OR FLIGHT!” It’s also a result of feeling stagnant. You want to move forward and yet, due to circumstances beyond your control, you’re standing still. Don’t ignore these emotions; manage them. Actively work to get your stress under control so you don’t end up making some irrational, emotional decision you’ll later regret.

How To Improve Your Management Communication Skills

Effective management communication is essential for guiding teams and lifting morale during times of disruption and uncertainty — like right now. But what if communicating with employees has never been one of your top strengths? And what if your staff members are working remotely? For many managers, keeping employees informed and making them feel supported while working at a distance during the COVID-19 pandemic has been challenging.

Trying to muddle through the coming weeks and months without taking action to improve your management communication skills is not an option, however. The ability to deliver clear messaging — including through virtual communication — will be just as critical as your business transitions into the next new normal and uncertainty persists. Maybe your whole team will continue working remotely, or perhaps you’ll need to manage a mix of off-site and on-site employees and contractors. Either way, they’ll need a steady stream of reliable information — and reassurance, too. 

To improve your communication abilities in the near term, and set yourself on the path to mastering management communication over time, consider the following strategies: 

Communicate more frequently

During times of transition, no amount of communication is too much. A good rule of thumb is to communicate two to three times more often with your remote employees as you did in person. 

For example, if your past practice was updating your in-office team once a week on Monday morning, consider changing the frequency to every other day — Monday, Wednesday and Friday. To underscore the importance of these additional check-ins, keep calls on time and limit cancellations. 

Promote virtual communication

Effective virtual communication, particularly video conferencing, is obviously essential if your entire team is working remotely. But it will remain critical as you begin to transition back to working in the office. There’s a good chance many employees will still work remotely at least part of the time in the months ahead. (Research hows 74% of workers would like their company to let them work from home more frequently as a result of COVID-19.)

Even when some of your employees return to the office, you can’t relax your efforts to help everyone stay connected. Continuing to make all key meetings virtual is one option. If a meeting must be held on-site, promptly fill in off-site staff on any decisions made pertaining to their projects. 

You can do a lot to make virtual communication successful now — and as your team members transition back to the office. That includes making sure employee communication isn’t hindered by easy-to-solve tech obstacles. Learn as much as you can about the collaboration and data-sharing apps your company uses. Aim to become a source of support for helping staff members troubleshoot issues when they arise. And by better understanding how these tools work, you’ll feel more comfortable using them when communicating with employees.

Embrace transparency and straight talk

While it can be tempting to sugarcoat difficult news, that approach can easily backfire. Be as transparent as possible when sharing the latest information about the state of the business. Stick to the facts and avoid speculating, even when asked to. 

This does not mean stonewalling, however. You can still keep a positive tone to your responses with something like, “I know everyone has this question, but we just don’t know yet. In the meantime, we’re encouraged at the progress the company is making to stabilize because of your efforts.

Listen actively — and with empathy

The ability to listen actively to employees is the mark of a good manager. If you’re the one who’s doing all the talking, all the time, then you can’t tune in. And it’s more vital than ever that your team members know they are heard and that you take their concerns and questions seriously. 

Don’t assume you know exactly what your workers are feeling. Check in on them individually, asking questions and then listening with an empathetic ear.

What does it mean to listen actively? It means truly focusing on the individual’s words rather than silently formulating a response while they’re speaking to you. During video meetings, take note of nonverbal cues. In short, give the other person your full attention.

Make yourself available

Also let your employees know they can come to you. Institute a virtual open-door policy and make yourself available to hear their concerns and ideas. 

By communicating with your team in a two-way fashion, instead of always delivering messages from the “top down,” you’ll create a sense of trust — and inspire their ongoing support for the company’s efforts to manage change now and moving forward.

Paint the big picture

Another way to boost your communication skills as a manager is to help your staff understand the connection between their duties and the broader strategic goals of the organization, which may be evolving rapidly right now. 

Engagement and productivity rise when people know that their work matters. It’s always important to remind them how much their contributions and commitment are valued and how they contribute to the bottom line. So, be quick to offer appreciation and share any wins the team achieves.

Keep their future in focus

While there’s likely no shortage of pressing projects or concerns for you and your employees to focus on right now, you should also get workers thinking about opportunities that lie ahead for the company as well as for them as individuals.

To rally everyone around the same vision, make it clear how the company’s mission and values continue to guide the organization. Above all else, remind them that you’re all in this together.

Effective management communication is a requirement for business leaders guiding their teams through any major change. It’s also a skill set that many executives need to polish. So, don’t be discouraged if your traditional and virtual communication abilities need some refinement. Now’s an ideal moment to improve how you are communicating with your team. They need to have confidence in your words — and know that you are listening to what they have to say, too.

Things To Consider When Envisioning Your Career In An Uncertain Future

It might be difficult to imagine your future career-wise, post-pandemic, given that we’re still profoundly experiencing COVID-19. Unfortunately, no one knows if the world will return to “normal” and when. However, we can start to reevaluate and re-envision our career trajectories in the meantime.

As resilient, flexible, and adaptable people, we have overcome specific crises before and will continue to do so. While we aren’t able to change our current surroundings, government, or economy at this time, we can always take steps to improve ourselves and reflect on whether we’re truly satisfied with our current careers.  The pandemic has had a widespread impact on all industries since the start of March. As employers continue to adapt, some new roles are being created as a response to the pandemic. These new roles might provide additional opportunities for newly out-of-work job seekers, causing a lot of employees to rethink their professions and pivot. 

After the pandemic, there are several predictions that people will travel less and work from home more. Many companies may even shift to an entirely remote workforce. Those who are unable to continue with their previous jobs right now, because of quarantine restrictions or economic fallout, are being forced to rethink their careers, even though it’s tough to plan for an uncertain future. With all of these factors in mind, we came up with a few questions to help you rethink your career trajectory, including the development of your talent and potential, during these difficult times. 

Should you pivot? 

Regardless of where you are, it makes sense to start by asking yourself how much you may need or want to change. Like most things, change comes in different degrees, and career changes may range from small role changes, such as switching tasks or focus within your current job, to substantial career transitions, like reinventing yourself, pivoting to a new industry, or embarking on a new profession.

Do you know what you need? 

Even before the crisis, people struggled with their own career choices. One of the main problems is that people tend not to have a thorough understanding of their talent and potential, so they end up in careers that are poor fits for their interests, abilities, and skills. The current reset may represent a significant opportunity to address this issue, so long as you can work out what you need and fill in the gaps when it comes to your professional toolkit. 

Are you happy in your current role or career? 

 Take a career assessment. Are you pleased in your career and love the work that you do? If you aren’t, think about how you can best invest in yourself to change your career. Spend all the time you can evaluating your new career alternatives, understanding the skills (both soft and hard) that those careers demand, learning and training, and rebranding yourself as needed. The upside is that we’ve never had more free, online resources to reskill, upskill, and nurture our curiosity than we have right now. 

How will you measure your success? 

In your new career or role, how will you measure success for yourself? An important yet often forgotten aspect of goal setting is to understand very clearly exactly what you want to achieve through those changes so that you can aim for the right goals. Many people are finding themselves with more time to think, reassess their priorities, and reset some of the foundations of their careers right now. The main thing is that you look for improvements to your current situation, and sometimes that’s achieved through minimal tweaks to the status quo.

How To Refresh Your Resume

Whether you are an experienced professional with many years in the workforce or just out of college, a resume is your passport to new and exciting fields of endeavor and should be regarded for the power it possesses.

Here are some Dos and Don’ts to consider.

DO keep your resume updated

Regardless of how much or how little time you may have in your current position, you constantly are gaining new experience. Waiting too long between updates could mean forgetting to add that experience to your next renewal. Also, with the volatility of the job market, you never know when you may need your resume. Rushing around to add new content because you are suddenly out of work typically leads to a less-than-stellar document. By keeping it current, you will be less harried should the unexpected happen or an intriguing opportunity to advance your career presents itself.

DO make sure your resume speaks to the intended audience

 For those who have amassed work experience, it is likely that not all experience will be apropos to positions that interest you. A ‘one size fits all’ approach rarely works well if this describes you. Identifying and targeting best-fit story points that speak to your audience’s needs assures you supply those employers with a focused resume. While some experience will certainly cross over, such as a sales professional looking to move into a consultative role, your ‘great closing percentage’ will be of little consequence to the company needing a new admissions officer.

DO seek professional advice

 This may seem like a no-brainer to some, but believe it or not, there are still those who insist on going it alone when it comes to this vital piece of career strategy. No one knows their own career better than you do. However, putting that information together to create a document that will blow away your competition may require massaging by an expert who knows how to strategically nuanced content based on your professional goals. At the very least, if you are committed to writing your own resume, you may want to research professional resume writing books to guide you in current resume development methods.

DO NOT add on to the bottom of an existing document

 Have you ever seen an old beat-up car with a brand new fender? The new part typically only makes the rest of the car look even worse. The same is true of a resume that simply has new content added on. Take the time to rebuild your resume completely when you feel the need to add in new experience. The new information should be integrated and become a part of the bigger and better picture – not an afterthought.

DO NOT embellish your expertise

 Trying to overcome certain shortcomings in your career by overstating your abilities will only lead to disappointment for all involved. Be honest with yourself and your potential employer. Remember, no matter what they may have advertised as a requirement for the position, these requirements are a wish list in many cases. Your skill level may not line up perfectly, but it may very well be closer than anyone else who has applied. Be brave and take a chance. It is always better to lose honestly than to win dishonestly. It will always come back to haunt you.

DO NOT worry about the length

Too often professionals shortchange themselves by being overly sensitive about the length of their resume. The number of pages has no impact on employers looking to fill a position. The key is in making certain the information is clear, concise, and lines up with the needs of the employer. Think about the last book you read. If the story was interesting from start to finish, did you concern yourself with how many pages it took to tell the story? Of course not. Your resume is no different. No HR professional has ever turned away a job seeker because the resume was too long, especially if it proves them out to be the best-qualified candidate for the job.

While this list is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to your resume, adhering to it will have a lasting and positive effect on what is arguably the most important part of your personal career portfolio.

Habits of Successful People You Need to Adopt

Success is an individual pursuit because everyone defines success in a different way.

But there are a few surefire habits that can help you reach your goals, no matter what they are.

Here are 7 habits of successful people you need to adopt:

Be purpose-oriented

A purpose gives direction to life. Without it, you end up living by somebody else’s standards, or just follow the crowd and never live up to your full potential.

But, hey! You’re an individual.

What’s more, you have powers within you waiting to be unlocked. Any vision you create in your mind’s eye today can be the life you live. To get there, though, you should have a clearly defined purpose — one that you follow day after day.

If you haven’t done this yet, now is the time. In fact, you’ll need to be purpose-oriented in order to be able to develop all the other habits of successful people.

Describe your life purpose, include details about every aspect of your life. Be sure you want these things and aren’t just doing what others expect you to do.

Do what successful people do first thing in the morning

How you begin your day is crucial.

If you fill your morning with successful habits, you’ll see progress every single day.

To begin, wake up a bit earlier than you have to. This can improve your whole day if you also dedicate this extra time to some healthy, productive and positive behaviors.

One of the main habits of successful people is having a powerful morning routine. They plan their mornings the night before, then wake up with determination, ready to kick-start another great day that will get them closer to their goals.

What they do at that time, however, is equally important.

They first make their beds and welcome the day with a few positive affirmations. Some include their daily workout now, as they don’t usually find time for it later on in the day. Plus, they eat a healthy breakfast to keep them energetic until the evening.

It ‘s also important to set some time aside for your spiritual and mental well-being. The health benefits of meditation are tremendous.

Then, perhaps read from an inspirational book to feed your mind with positive thoughts. Make sure you breathe deeply, too— just let go of any tension before you continue with your day.

Embrace failure and try again every time

To change your habits, you’ll need to change your mindset.

Something you’ll need to accept early on (in order to form the habits of successful people), is that failure is not just part of the process, it’s a stepping stone. You need it to form the mental patterns of a winner and continue trying until you finally reach all your goals.

Most people avoid trying new things, as there’s always a chance of failure.

However, that’s exactly why they don’t make any changes and continue living the same life that makes them miserable. Instead— know that failure is powerful and that you can benefit from it.

Learn from it every time you make a mistake. Analyze exactly why that happened. Then, make a plan on what to do next time to perform better.

Create the ideal daily routine

If you start your mornings energetically, great! Keep it energetic until the evening. Don’t worry, you can do so with the right daily schedule.

Your successful habits should be combined in a certain way, and it’s best if you have fixed time slots for everything.

However, don’t be in a hurry to create the ideal day just yet.

Test a few versions first. See when you’re most productive in the day and save your most important work for then.

Take breaks and use them to stretch, take a daily walk, drink water, talk to a loved one, or check your to-do list. That’s the healthy type of multitasking.

Your whole day can be an example of success if you manage to structure it effectively. Plan what time you’ll start your wind-down process in the evening. Use the time before bed to declutter, prepare for tomorrow, let go of the stress that followed you at work, and smile for doing your best.

If that sometimes feels a bit overwhelming, remind yourself that it’s what successful people do.

Take risks

Wanna build successful habits? Well, you’ll need to become a risk-taker.

All high-achievers learned how to take risks, accept uncertainty, embrace change, go out of their comfort zones, and do something (even when the situation looked hopeless).

Often, you might hear from others that your goals are impossible. Remember though, you are your best motivator and shouldn’t let others interfere with your vision.

Impossible is just a limitation you set for yourself— you can easily remove it and be unstoppable.

Change your habits by taking risks often.

Build confidence in your abilities

You won’t make it without confidence.

Confidence is one of the top qualities of winners in any field. The truth is, you need to believe in yourself and your abilities long before you’re successful. That’s why you should let go of the doubts and fears and just keep telling yourself you can do it until you actually start making things happen.

Confidence is not just one of the habits of successful people, it’s an attitude of life that should support everything you do. In fact, it’s proven to be a bigger success trait than talent itself.

Let go of the past

Last but not least, if you want to do what successful people do, you need a clear mind.

A clear mind will help you make good decisions, focus on work, build discipline, and keep your vision in mind. To make that happen, you need to leave the past and anything connected to it behind.


It’s harmful to your mindset and behavior in the present. You can’t build the habits of successful people if you’re constantly comparing your current life to your past, or reminding yourself of painful situations from back when you were less confident and less responsible.

By looking in the past, you’re basically reliving it all over again, and taking a step back in your personal development.

Once you let go, you make room for so much more. You can finally change your habits more easily and let positive transformation into your life. You can breathe freely, enjoy life, take action to reach your goals, and form a better mindset.

Staying Committed & Achieving Results

We all start a new year, a new job, a new relationship with good intentions – but statistically, few of us ever succeed.

Fewer than 40% of people set goals. And out of that small group of goal-setters, fewer than 8% actually achieve progress. 

That means that out of 100 people, only 2-3 will ever do enough of the right things and achieve success.

Quite frankly, staying committed to a goal — despite failure, frustration, and feelings of inadequacy — is a set of skills that few of us ever learn. And the results are crippling. No matter what the goal — personal or professional — the thing that’s really lacking is commitment.

Too often, commitment ends up being a phrase that’s uttered in the heat of passion. “Yes, I promise to do that.” or “I’m definitely making that change today!” or “I’m starting that right now!”

The pattern is unmistakable;

  1. You hear an idea. You see a new “thing” that sounds awesome, and you’re on it. You want to give it a shot.
  2. After doing it for a while, maybe you get bored or you don’t give it a chance to work the way it’s supposed to, and you find yourself quickly moving on to the next thing.

You didn’t commit. And so you repeat a frustrating cycle that robs you of your joy and happiness. So How Can We Break The Cycle?  If you’re ready to beat the “commitment curse”, here are 11 ways to get started:


How often do you take the time to really question yourself and your motives?

Is it just at the end of each year when you are reevaluating your life? Or do you always follow your gut, walk to the beat of your own drum, and walk away when something stops giving you joy?

It’s important to know you are — and if you don’t, it’s important to figure it out. So think about it. What kind of person are you? What kind of person do you want to be? Knowing who you really are can help you follow through with the goals you set for yourself. 


Yes, it is completely possible for your path to change. After all, change is inevitable. But your path, while you are on it, should be your commitment.  Once you pick your path, you should be all in. One hundred percent. And then don’t stop until you get to the end of your goal.

Whether it’s losing 10 lbs or 100 lbs, you’ve got to stick with it until you get there. And if you need to set small goals like 10 lbs, 10 times until you get to the 100, then do that. The key is to stay completely focused on your path.

If you are looking for a bit of help with figuring out who you are and the path you want to follow, check out the completely free and wildly comprehensive Lifebook assessment that gives you an accurate report of your wellbeing in 12 key areas of your life.

The 12 Key Areas of Life


Whether it’s making time for your spouse, your kids, or just taking time to walk your four-legged best friend — committing to your relationships is one of the best ways to develop complete commitment.

It’s easy to get lost in the hustle of business and forget about what truly matters. It’s understandable that everybody gets busy, but make sure you aren’t so busy that you can’t afford to spend even twenty minutes a day letting your loved ones know you appreciate them. 


You’ve made your resolutions. You’ve cut out sugar. You’ve been to the gym at least three times a week. You’ve cut out meat from your diet, or added extra meat to your diet, whatever the case.

But slowly you find that you’re losing momentum. That’s the time to re-commit. Even if you have to commit again every single month this year, just commit — even short term — for just one more month. Completely!

And then next month you can re-commit again. And again each month after. If you can’t go all in, take the baby steps!


Read that book. Take that class. Go meet a friend. Commit to doing the things that make you laugh, make you happy, and simply make your life better.

And if that doesn’t help, don’t feel bad about seeking professional help. Sometimes positive thinking doesn’t always do the trick. Sometimes you need someone who’s professionally qualified to really help you deal with your issues. 

If you aren’t at your best, you can’t give your best to anyone else. So commit to being mentally fit as well as physically.


If your saving habits pale in comparison to your spending habits, it’s time to make a new commitment. Start with a six-month emergency fund. Then work your way up to saving 20% of what you make.

Not sure how to do that? Shop at discount clothing and food surplus stores. Make shopping lists (and stick to them). Save your pennies. Maximize your employer’s retirement (if it’s offered) or build your own retirement plan.

Give yourself a reasonable budget — so you can be generous without going broke. Whew! Finances are tough, but once you commit to getting them on track, you’ll be glad you did.


There is something to be said about the human spirit — and human behavior — when hunger comes into play. Commit to your success the same way you commit to finding food when you are famished.

Question everything. Thirst for more knowledge. You don’t know it all — in your field or in life. So when you can’t figure something out or when you are just plain curious, commit to finding the answer — from an actual human being.

Google is great, but Google won’t introduce you to someone in your field who may be able to teach you something new. Commit to feeding your hunger for knowledge, new skills, and bettering yourself.


Don’t half step. If you’re going to do it, do it the best you can. Set your expectations high enough to reach them but not so high you continuously let yourself down.

Sure it seems easier said than done, but lots of people are pulling it off. Work hard, risk failure, and most importantly, be consistent. If you slip, get back up and keep going. Don’t beat yourself up but do commit to excellence in business and in life in general.


So maybe you don’t have to say “YES” when your crazy brother-in-law asks you to go skydiving (unless that’s on your bucket list), but don’t turn down every invitation to step outside of your comfort zone.

Go paint the picture. Sing the song. Go on the date. Eat the sushi. Try the new business plan.  You don’t have to say yes to everything, but committing to saying ‘yes’ more often than ‘no’ will increase your quality of life tenfold.

By the way, trying something new isn’t easy for most people. If you are feeling nervous about trying something new, here’s a trick by pioneering hypnotherapist Marissa Peer, who teaches a quick trick to make it easier.


It’s OK to make the first move. It’s OK to ask for what you want. It’s OK to do something unpredictable. It’s OK to take risks. It’s OK to commit to boldness.

Say the things that need to be said. Do the things that need to be done, even if those things are looked upon unfavorably. And do them unapologetically.

If you commit to being passive, the world will pass you by. So stand up, be seen, be heard, be bold.


Whether it’s teaching your children to say “Please” and “Thank You” or teaching a room full of people how to do CPR — commit to doing one thing that will help make the world a better place.

Donate your time. Donate your money. Donate your clothing. Pick up someone else’s trash and throw it away. You don’t have to start your own soup kitchen, but you could volunteer weekly or monthly at one and help change a life. It may even be your own that changes.

Here is an empowering truth about commitment. It doesn’t have to be something big or audacious. The dangerous misconception about commitment is that it only involves you making some big, grand gesture.

Follow-through is the key to commitment. So, don’t plan on doing everything on this list. Start small. One at a time. One day at a time. One week at a time. Do one thing that matters. And keep doing it even after you are bored or discouraged.