Category: Career Development
Liz Ryan, a former Fortune 500 HR SVP, replied. She said he was robbing himself of opportunities by staying in his current position. I was nodding my head in agreement as I read through her answer, until my eyes hit the words, “Forty-five is an age at which many or most working people begin to calcify.”
“Many or most working people” is a pretty strong claim. I’m 53 so I had to do a quick self-assessment. Then I reminded myself that since I turned 50, I have completed training to become a certified yoga instructor and a certified professional coach. Then I wrote a book and a course; and I am currently finishing my Bachelor’s degree.
It’s not because I have great strength or brilliance either. I couldn’t touch my toes when I started yoga teacher training but I could when I finished. I hadn’t taken a college course since 1994 when I applied for my degree program but I’m consistently on the Dean’s list because I work hard at it.
I breathed a sigh of relief that I am not turning to stone. Whew!
She also said something in her answer that resonated with me, “How much longer will you keep working? If the answer is ‘Twenty-five years until I’m 70′ then the question becomes ‘what do I want to do in those twenty-five years?'”
She’s on to something there!
I’ll someday be 55, 60, 65, 70 whether I pursue new paths or not … so why not? I may write another book based on what I’m learning in my psychology program before I’m 55. I may lead a senior yoga class at age 70. My biggest concern is that I will run out of time before I run out of things I want to do.
Fifty is when it starts getting good. Life no longer revolves around shuttling kids around. I get to buy the car I want, and next weekend I’m going to a Steely Dan concert. I’m adept at using a smartphone and social media … not hard to learn. What’s not to like about being 50?
So, is age just a number?
Research like “The Characteristics Approach to the Measurement of Population Aging” points to the fact that aging is more than just a number, it’s multidimensional. One person who is 75 chronologically doesn’t necessarily act the same age as another 75-year-old. Health and cognitive function contribute so much to the ability to live fully and with purpose throughout this one wild and amazing life.
Here are the top four things we can do to avoid being calcified at age 45 and beyond:
1. Schedule an annual exam. Proactive, preventive care matters more than ever at this stage of the game. I found out I had cancer not once, but twice, through annual well-visit exams. I am an otherwise healthy person … I seldom catch a simple cold virus!
2. Eat better quality food. Eat foods that make your body feel good and you won’t get cravings or feel hungry soon after a meal. You only get one body — feed it nourishing foods. Read a “A Quick & Simple Guide to a Longer Life.”
3. Live an active lifestyle. Walk more, go bowling, play hoops with the kids/grandkids, swim … do this at least three times a week. Put yourself and your physical/mental/emotional health first. It’s not selfish … your family, your employer and everybody around you will benefit.
4. Use your brain. Read, take a class at the community college, try out for a play (all ages of characters are needed), learn a language, travel someplace new for the day, visit the local art gallery or museum … possibilities are truly endless when we step out the door.
Notice I didn’t say “leave that boring job and pursue your passion” because we’re old enough to know it’s not that easy to walk away. However, when we are proactive about wellness, live an active lifestyle and continue to learn new things, we may just stumble upon a great new career without looking for one.
Or you may bring something new and exciting to your present job because you feel better. Sometimes the job is stale because we are stale.
Are you over 45? What do you do to keep from turning to stone? Share your ideas.
Yep, oil prices are still down. With oil below $50/barrel, revenues in the oil exploration business side are nowhere near what they were when oil was at $100/barrel. Many are struggling to stay afloat.
So what do you do?
One of our clients had a great thought. He said, “Don’t waste a good crisis.” What he meant was, while revenues are down, you may find yourself cutting back on your core business. For the exploration guys, this might mean less drilling. Fewer rigs probably means less opportunity to cause incidents associated with drilling. Therefore, your investigation teams are NOT performing as many root cause analyses, and therefore, proficiency drops. Your options are:
1) Stop performing root cause analyses
2) Exercise your investigation teams on other items.
He had mentioned that this is a prime time to do things that you may not have had time to do before. For example, his company is going back to review old incident reports. They’re doing a deep analysis, looking for commonalities and repeat issues. In other words, they are taking this time to improve their processes. When business picks back up, they want to be in even better shape than they were before. They want to be leaner, make fewer mistakes, waste less time, keep their people and the environment safer, and save money.
How many times have you seen companies stumble when they ramp back up? They are less proficient, they’ve let their equipment languish, they’ve let their skills degrade. Suddenly, business picks up. They go through a period of rapid hires, bringing on new people that may or may not still be proficient at their jobs. The investigations teams suddenly find themselves busy, but they, too, have lost their proficiency. Investigations take longer, and they’re not as in-depth. Lots of wasted time, money, reputation, and (worst case) lives.
All of this can be avoided by taking advantage of the down-time. Use your skilled workers to their fullest. I know those engineering teams have sharpened their pencils, looking for better, safer, and cheaper ways of extracting oil. Your investigation teams should be doing exactly the same thing. They should be looking at your processes, finding the repeat failures and incidents, and putting more robust corrective actions in place right now.
Where are the inefficiencies in your processes? What repeat mistakes have your people made in the past, and how can we prevent them from happening again tomorrow, when business is again booming?
I thought that was a great attitude. Don’t waste this great opportunity. Don’t waste a good crisis.
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I’ve been writing for publication for 15 years, and active on social media since its inception. I learned very quickly not rely on criticism to determine the value of my work.
I do take feedback into consideration, evaluating what’s “wrong” with the criticism, and what may be “right.” But over time, I’ve established my own personal core values, and these values are what guide my daily decisions.
I’m not claiming that positive feedback doesn’t make me smile, or that harsh feedback never makes me wince. However, when I catch myself getting too involved in feedback, I remind myself of these 10 things:
- Everyone has an opinion and everyone has the right to one.
- Feedback pushes me into a brainstorming, problem-solving frame of mind when I’m being lazy.
- Some people have more experience than I have.
- I have an opportunity to learn something.
- Constructive criticism can save me from a bad decision when I am open to it.
- If I am not receiving criticism, I must not be doing anything significant.
- Criticism is not always information meant to improve me, it is sometimes information I need to learn about the person who is delivering it.
- Resilience is a major key to success. Criticism offers a good exercise in how resilient I can be.
- The path to anything great is full of bumps. If I choose to trip and fall and lie there over someone’s critical feedback, it’s not that person’s fault, it’s mine.
- I am the author of my life story. I will not put the pen in someone else’s hand.
What do you think about critical feedback? How do you handle it?
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First, a definition of Joy: “emotion of great pleasure or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying; elation. Delight. Exhilaration. Rapture.”
“Gurgle like a Meadow Lark.” W. P. Kinsella
All of those definitions and more are wonderful things. To have them you must first make them happen. It’s up to you (and me) to create our joy, delight and exhilaration. No material thing or person can make you joyous and truly happy. Lately, it seems that far too many people expect others to fill their hearts and minds with joy. They want their life and their work to be fun yet they do little to make them fun. They want (expect?) their our boss to acknowledge and recognize them because it makes them feel good about themselves, yet do little to recognize their boss or others.
Our universe, regardless of its size and scope is clear: what we put into our universe is what we get out of it. Happiness and joy in; happiness and joy out. When we are negative, act and talk like a victim and think we’re owed because of some perceived injustice, we get those and more out. To say it another way, GIGO: garbage in—garbage out.
Life requires, even demands, that we create our own joy, happiness, delight and exhilaration. A few suggestions (many I’ve learned on my journey) on how you can find more joy, happiness, delight and WOW in your life:
Make it a habit to spend at least five minutes each morning, before you go to sleep at night or both and think about who, what and why you feel grateful and Blessed. Gratitude and Blessings brings joy, delight and exhilaration. Count your Blessings instead of sheep. Remember those who’ve helped you on that day and in your life. Make a list. I do and what a list!! I start with God, The Trinity and work down from there It gives me a sense of peace, contentment, meaning and purpose. Before I fall asleep, I often recite, “The Lord is my Shepherd…”
“At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame from within us.” ~ Albert Schweitzer
Acknowledge at least one person each week and thank them for their friendship, kindness, generosity, support and love. Be specific what you share with them. Is it awkward to say “Thank you” in person? Write a note and mail it to them or call them. It wasn’t awkward for them to show their generosity, kindness, support and love to you in person. It shouldn’t be awkward for you to respond in kind. One act of kindness deserves an equal response of thanks and respect. Skip the email—too impersonal. When we share a sliver of our joy with someone else that they can feel and touch, it gives us some more joy, too. For me, there’s far more than one person to thank. To know that brings me much joy!
“Kindness is the language the blind can see and the deaf can hear.” ~ Mark Twain
Make a list of the things in your life that you love. What are they? How actively do you pursue them? On a scale of 1-10 or A-F, rate each effort. Be honest with yourself. We receive joy, excitement, exhilaration, and delight as we march towards our goals, no matter how large the BHAGs, “Big, Hairy Audacious Goals” or how small. The key: keep headed forward.
“When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps.” ~ Confucius
Take a long, hard look at your career and work. Does it feel like work and is it fun and do you truly love what you do? Or when you look at yourself in the mirror in the morning, do you hear that little voice in your head that wishes you didn’t have to go to work at that place today? Liar, liar pants on fire.
“The brain is a wonderful organ; it starts working the moment you get up in the morning and doesn’t stop until you get into the office.” ~ Robert Frost
The people with who you associate are who you are and who you become. As shared with me in 1961 by Mr. Orville Merillat, founder of Merillat Woodworking in Adrian, Michigan, “A man is known by the words he uses and the company he keeps. Choose them both wisely.” His support and friendship and that of his wife Ruth were a constant source of inspiration and Blessing to me. How many people in your life truly support you? A friend in need is a friend indeed. If this suggestion creates some doubt in your mind or makes you uncomfortable, perhaps it’s time you take a good look around you. Reach out! Say thanks.
“Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light.” ~ Helen Keller
Remember, the friends we select and those who select us are the family we both choose. The old adage that you sure as **** can’t choose your family but we sure can choose your friends is as tried and true today as ever. The people in your life…do they support you or tell you what they think you want to hear? There are times in life, because of location, circumstances or a friendships lack of validity, when you have to create new friendships. The more true friends you have, the more unbiased support and love you receive. Make periodic deposits into your friendship bank account and watch the ‘interest’ and ‘dividends’ grow and compound. To know you have that much support and so many friendships, gives you more joy, delight, exhilaration and Blessings.
Do you associate with people who are committed and enrolled to your development? There’s a special delight to know that those in your universal sphere see your potential and value you to give of their time, talents, efforts and resources. Those friends and mentors shouldn’t, and most often can’t, give you the answer or fix the problem for you. See enabled. You created the problem. Only you can fix it. Own it! What your friends and mentors can do is offer you suggestions via Socratic Coaching; they answer a question with a question. “A pedagogical teaching in which the teacher does not give information directly but instead asks a series of questions with the result that the student comes to the desired knowledge by answering the questions or to a deeper awareness of the limits of knowledge.”
“When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” ~ Buddha
Play it forward. Give. “Pass the salt and make a difference in a person, place or thing.” Leave them, it or both a little better for your having been there. Share you ‘energy.’ Find that something that stokes your passion(s) and give of your time and talents. For me, it’s the opportunities I’ve been given to share my story of survival and to write. When I receive a hand-written note or email from someone who was the audience when I spoke or who read my book(s), my brain smiles and brings me joy. Their notes help me reflect of the many whose personal competence courage, compassion (love) and perseverance saved my life. It includes the many over the past 35 plus years who invited me to speak which helped me to continue to heal emotionally and spiritually. When we play it forward and give of our time, talents and resources, it gives our life more meaning and purpose. Give more, take less.
“The spirit in which a thing is given determines that in which the debt is acknowledged; it’s the intention not the face-value of the gift, that’s weighed.” ~ Seneca in Letters to Lucilius
Live your life with Character. Don’t be a Character. It’s the right and ethical thing to do. When we focus more on what is right with us, our relationships and our work, we feel better about ourselves. We’re more exhilarated and joyous and that drives us to build even more momentum…to do more right and ethical things. Our Character is our umbrella for life.
“Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.” ~ Abraham Lincoln
Either you live your life with Character and use it automatically and instinctively, or you don’t. It must be weaved into your deepest psyche. Character, ethical thinking and decision making shouldn’t be conveniently espoused to garner support and/or make a political point. There’s far too much of that today in our ‘leaders,’ politicians and society.
Don’t be fearful. Fear, like other issues in life, is a choice. We create it most when there’s no real reason. It becomes another self-fulfilling prophecy and gives us permission to make excuses. Excuses become our reality. Fear limits us physically and emotionally. It sucks the life out of us like a dry sponge does to water. Fear’s a drain on our joy, excitement and exhilaration. Identify that which makes you fearful and then choose to develop a strategy to get rid of it, one choice at a time and one fear at a time. Go spread some joy…that’s joyous.
“We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy in life is when men are afraid of the light.” ~ Plato
Each day, create a goal to think about and acknowledge those people and things that delight you and bring you joy, exhilaration and happiness. It’s all around. Sunrise. Sunset. Air after a rain. Flowers in bloom. Hugs. Dry heat. J You have to want to see it. Good luck. God Bless.
“May the God of hope fill you all with joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:18
This article was reprinted with permission from the author, Captain George Burk, USAF (Ret), Plane crash, burn survivor, motivational speaker, author, writer. Visit his website at www.georgeburk.com or contact Captain Burk at email@example.com.
Have you learned to use the TapRooT® System to find and fix the root causes of problems? If so, here are some employers interested in your skills:
A manager and a leader have two very different yet critical roles for the success of every business. It is extremely rare to find an individual who can serve both roles.
It may seem intuitive to know which role you’re in, but sometimes a manager will find himself miserable in a position because he is a leader, and a leader doing a manager’s job is like trying to fit a round peg into a square hole.
Knowing whether you are a leader or a manager helps you fit into the organizational structure of your company, and benefits both you and the company.
Here are three primary differences between and manager and a leader:
Manager: You’ve been told you’re the “brains of the business.”
Leader: You’ve been told you “inspire action” with your ideas.
Manager: You set exciting goals, i.e., how many green widgets will be produced and sold this week.
Leader: You respectfully question exciting goals, i.e., is the sale of green widgets in line with our company’s core values?
Manager: You major in the “how” and “when,” establishing systems, operating procedures and incentive programs.
Leader: You major in the “what” and “why,” establishing the mission statement, long-term vision, and the direction of the company.
People ask the difference between a leader and a boss. The leader leads and the boss drives. ~ Theodore Roosevelt
While it’s true that some managers inspire and some leaders can create great systems, these are not their primary strengths.
Have you ever left a position because you were managing instead of leading, or vice versa?
Do you consider yourself an investigative team leader? We’d love to see you in our 5-Day TapRooT® Advanced Root Cause Analysis Team Leader Training! Check out our Global Schedule for a course near you!
Are you completely involved with the work you are doing in your career?
Do you feel a great inner clarity knowing what needs to be done?
Do you feel your skills are adequate for your tasks?
Do you frequently feel a sense of ecstasy in what you are doing or a sense of serenity?
Do hours fly by in minutes?
Do you feel part of something larger?
If you answer yes to the above, you have achieved an optimal state of “flow” at work.
Perhaps you work at a company that provides that type of environment. Did you know that the first “Purposes of Incorporation” of Sony when they didn’t have a dime was:
To establish a place of work where engineers can feel the joy of technological innovation, be aware of their mission to society, and work to their heart’s content.
Not quite there? Stay with this 19 minute video until the last few minutes and find out what is blocking you from being in the flow at work. Find out which state you are in and what you can do to break out of it and into flow.
Continuing education is one way to get back into the flow of your career.
Contact Barb at firstname.lastname@example.org and find a course that will open options in your career development!
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