Category: Career Development Tips

Monday Accident & Lessons Learned: “We are going to find out who is to blame for this …”

May 2nd, 2016 by

“We are going to find out who is to blame because that is the frustrating part about health and safety accidents such as this. When we go back, when we read the report, we find out each and every time that it was preventable. That’s why we need to learn from this,” Kevin Flynn, Ontario’s labour minister, told reporters Tuesday afternoon. 

That’s a quote from CP 24, Toronto’s Breaking News. See the story and watch the video interview about the accident here:

http://www.cp24.com/news/we-need-to-learn-from-this-labour-minister-says-after-building-scaffolding-collapse-1.2864799

Is there a lesson to be learned here?

Interestingly, the “contractor” performing the work in this accident was a branch of the Ontario government.

Monday Motivation: How to get good advice.

May 2nd, 2016 by

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Why are most of us willing to take advice from anyone? Friends, family and neighbors mean well (usually) but would you seek advice from a friend about money who doesn’t have money? Would you seek advice from a neighbor about health who is morbidly obese? Would you seek advice from a family member about a relationship who struggles with relationships?

Motivate yourself to seek out people who will give you the right advice. It takes extra effort because they may not be the people who surround you.  Two rules of thumb:

1. Carefully evaluate advice from someone who doesn’t have to live with the possible consequences.

2. Think seriously about the advice from someone who you wouldn’t trade places with on the matter.

TapRooT®: Committed to your Career Development!

April 27th, 2016 by

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TapRooT® offers so much for your career development!  From training to root cause tips to motivational articles … we are committed to bringing value to your work week.

If you are not already a subscriber, subscribe to our Tuesday eNewsletter and don’t miss a thing!

Contact Barb at editor@taproot.com to subscribe today to get each week’s news delivered in one convenient eNewsletter.

Monday Motivation: Strong to the finish!

April 25th, 2016 by

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Do you have a habit of committing to things, but not finishing them? While getting started is the first step to something great, many of us get stuck on the second step … thinking but not doing. Seldom do we consider the challenges that were not visible when we first started toward a goal.  However, a goal without commitment will never be reached unless you take action to overcome those challenges.

Where have you dropped your commitment?  What one action can you take today to pick it up?

Career Development Tips: When the Interviewer says, “So tell me about yourself!”

April 4th, 2016 by

What do you think when you hear “so tell me about yourself!” in an interview?  Do you start to panic?  Do you wonder how much personal information to give? Do you wonder if the interviewer even took the time to prepare for the interview (after all, you sent him your resume that tells everything about your experience).

When an interviewer asks that question, he is often using it as an ice-breaker to find out if you will fit into the culture and perform well on-the-spot.  Here is how to use this question to your advantage.

  1. Take the opportunity. While you may feel awkward talking about yourself, it’s really a golden opportunity. Think of it as an invitation to tell your potential employer what you want them to know about you and what makes you unique.
  2. Steer toward your personal strengths. Instead of waiting to see what the interviewer will do, you can steer the discussion toward your strengths and concerns. A good opening will prompt the interviewer to ask follow-up questions about areas where you shine.
  3. Determine your fit. Remember that you’re evaluating the company while they’re screening you. Do you sense a connection with the interviewer, especially if they’ll be your supervisor? Are they listening attentively or shuffling papers? Your initial rapport may suggest what your working relationship will be lik
  4. Tell stories. You’re more than a list of keywords. Share interesting anecdotes that will make the interviewer remember you in a positive light.
  5. Create interest. Your self-description is like a movie trailer or the first chapter of a novel. Instead of trying to cram in your whole life story, make the interviewer want to hear more.

Walk into your next job interview ready and eager to talk about yourself and why you’re an outstanding candidate for the position. Focusing on the intersection between your strengths and the interviewer’s needs will help you to find a job you’ll love.

Don’t Let “Jerks” Ruin Your Day

January 19th, 2016 by

Jerks are “de-energizers” at work. What is the best way to keep them from draining your energy? Here are some quick tips from Business Insider!

Career Development: Personal Growth

December 7th, 2015 by

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Personal growth can help you make your life more enjoyable and fulfilling.  However, if your’e broke, overwight, don’t have any friends, and lack goals, where do you begin?  The key to beginning a personal growth journey is setting your priorities.  There’s a lot you can do in five years, but you can’t do a whole lot in five months.

Click here to open “7 Steps to Personal Growth.”

 

 

Career Development: Don’t Be a Quitter!

November 30th, 2015 by

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Being successful means learning how to finish well … no matter what!

Ever notice how the beginning of anything new is full of excitement and enthusiasm, but it’s hard to keep excitement and enthusiasm going? Being successful means learning how to finish well … no matter what! It’s part strategy and part willpower. There are always a few obstacles to endure and overcome. Life can’t be all fun and games.

But don’t be a quitter! Here are 8 steps to being an achiever!

  1. Evaluate times that you quit in the past. When are you most likely to give up? What were your reasons for quitting in the past? Can you think of a strategy for getting through those times? Is there a way to avoid them altogether?
  2. Invest your time wisely. Getting caught up in too many meaningless projects won’t improve your ability to finish things. When possible, limit yourself to those things that really interest you. Life is too short for hobbies that make you want to shrug. If you’re passionate about something, you’re much more likely to get it done.
  3. Chart your progress. When you can visually see how much progress you’ve made, you’ll feel more motivated to continue. Make a chart, graph, or other visual representation of the work you’ve completed.
  4. Visualize the expected result. Constantly remind yourself how great you’ll feel when you’re done. Make note of all the benefits you’re receive.
  5. Be realistic. If you haven’t logged several thousand hours of piano practice before your 30th birthday, it’s unlikely you’ll ever reach the level of a world-class pianist. This is especially true if you’re 58 years old, have a family, and only have 30 minutes a day to practice.  However, you can still play! You can still become a better pianist!
  6. Give yourself a reasonable amount of time. You might be making good progress, but if you believed that you should’ve mastered the Russian language by now, you’ll become discouraged. It’s not easy to estimate the amount of time it will take to complete something. Do you have a history of thinking that things will take less time than they actually do? Build a fudge-factor into your estimates. After you’ve make a little progress, revisit your expectations and adjust them accordingly. If you’re enjoying yourself, who cares how long it takes? Once you’re done, the fun is over!
  7. Get better at the small things first. If you’re washing the dishes, avoid leaving that greasy, disgusting pan until morning. Fold all the clothes rather than leaving some of them for later. Clean the entire room. Pay all of the bills. Run the full 3 miles you planned to run.  Get in the habit of finishing all of the tasks in your life.
  8. Be immune to criticism. One of the reasons we stop before completing a project is to avoid criticism. Once it’s done and available for the world to judge, we can get apprehensive. Then we rationalize reasons not to complete it. The people that matter won’t be unkind. The unkind people don’t matter. There’s no way to stop the criticism, but you don’t have to allow it to bother you.

These small tips can be a great help in finishing future projects. If there’s one trait you’ll find in high-achievers, it’s the ability to get things done. Learn how to finish and change your life!

What is Strategy?

November 18th, 2015 by

Time and resources are limited, and lack of strategy is a good way to run out of both before you reach a goal. In this Slideshare, Mark Sniukas defines strategy and walks us through it.

Make your Body Language Work for You

November 16th, 2015 by

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A simple way to get respect in the workplace is to make your body language work for you.  With just a few adjustments to how you communicate nonverbally, you can change another person’s perception of you in a positive way.

Here are five tips:

  1. Keep your body language open.  Even though crossing your legs or arms does not mean that you are closed, (it could mean you are simply cold or just feel comfortable sitting or standing that way), people may still think you are “protecting” yourself.  Staying open sends a message that you are confident and in charge.
  2. Take up more space. Whether you’re sitting or standing, position your body in such a way to take up a little more space. Spread your arms and legs slightly. Insecure people tend to do the opposite and attempt to appear small.  Be confident enough to claim the space around you without apologizing for it. 
  3. Mirror the other person. Mirroring is tricky, but it works!  This means you copy how the other person is sitting or standing and match that person and his or her mannerisms. Don’t match them exactly or you will seem a little creepy, but, for example, if someone shifts from closed body language to open, subtly shift your body language as well.
  4. Don’t fidget. When you fidget, you give off a message that you are uncomfortable. Shaking your foot, bouncing your leg, and tapping your fingers are distracting. Instead, be conscious about displaying relaxed, infrequent movements.
  5. Keep your head lifted.  Avoid looking at the ground. If you pause to collect your thoughts, look up instead.  Establish good eye contact with others but don’t stare to the point of making them feel awkward.  Try mentally drawing an inverted triangle around a person’s mouth and eyes, slowly scanning the points of the triangle instead of staring directly into the eyes.

If you aren’t practicing these habits they will feel unnatural at first. However, they won’t appear strange at all to others — they will notice a positive change in you but may not be able to put a finger on exactly what the change is.  Try a new technique each week and practice each day. In just a few weeks, you’ll notice that people are treating you differently.

Career Development: When Should You Provide Constructive Criticism at Work?

November 4th, 2015 by

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Constructive criticism can be appreciated and well-received with the right approach.

Constructive criticism is important to performance improvement, and the ability to provide constructive criticism effectively is a true leadership skill. This doesn’t mean we should be evaluating our co-workers all the time so we can give them our opinions on how they can do things better, but there are clues as to when feedback is needed and may be appreciated.

If you’ve always wondered whether the door is open or closed to provide feedback, see if it the situation falls into one of these scenarios:

Someone has asked you for your opinion.

There is an ongoing problem that will not be resolved without helpful feedback.

A co-worker’s error continues to repeat itself.

A co-workers habit is affecting your job performance negatively.

All of the above are signals that the time may be right but don’t approach your co-worker just yet! Here are 5 questions to ask yourself before you provide criticism:  

1. Is my intention to be helpful?  Evaluate why you feel like you want to provide feedback.  If it is intended to improve the performance of one of your employees, proceed to the next question.  If it is intended for a peer, there are many things you want to say that are true, but not helpful.  Unless you feel that your feedback will help them reach a goal more easily, improve the way they perform a task to their benefit, or help them understand how their performance is negatively affecting you, keep it to yourself.  

2. Am I the best person to provide the feedback? Consider your history with the other person. They may be more receptive if someone else told them.  Even so, some people do not like criticism of any kind. Be prepared for a negative response.

3. Can I be specific?  It doesn’t help to say, “Wow, you dropped the ball here.”  Specific feedback is constructive feedback.  Are you prepared to discuss where you feel the performance can be improved, and how they can accomplish that?  Otherwise, it’s just criticism.  For example, telling someone they’re lazy is received as an insult. Telling them they are not getting you the data you need to prepare your reports on time addresses the behavior.

4. Am I being sensitive in my approach?   It’s better to give constructive feedback in private.  Be sensitive to minimizing embarrassment the other person may feel. Focus on describing the behavior instead of judging it as good or bad.  Also know when to stop. Pay attention to their reaction.  You can revisit the issue later if they look uncomfortable.

5. Are my emotions under control? If someone dropped the ball or made a mistake, you might have a good reason to feel upset, but your criticism will have a tone of accusation and that will make the other person defensive. Stay calm and give the feedback in a fair and balanced way. Watch your body language.  Avoid inferences – there is something about the person’s behavior that you saw or heard that bothers you but your interpretation of it may be incorrect.  Give the other person a chance to tell you what his or her behavior means.

If you can answer yes to the questions above then you are ready to approach someone with your constructive criticism.  The best way to approach someone is stating your intent so it’s clear from the start.  Some non-threatening lead-ins are:

I have some ideas about  …

I’m concerned about …

Can I share an observation …

Do you have a minute to talk about …

Constructive feedback can be a gift to someone when delivered properly.  Don’t be reluctant to help someone be the best that they can be.  You may be giving them the advice that changes their lives!

Career Development: 5 Ways to Become Less Critical

October 30th, 2015 by

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It’s arrogant and delusional to believe that your way is the right way for everyone.

Do you accept people who don’t think and act the way you do, or do you simply tolerate them?  Occasionally we all fall trap to expecting others to behave in certain ways … our ways.  Life, however, is a lot more enjoyable when we can accept others as they are.

Here are five ways to become less critical of others.

1. Watch your thoughts. Everything has a beginning and critical judgments begin with critical thoughts. Noticing them is your cue to change your thinking. Remind yourself to be more accepting.

2. Pause and take a breath. Do you ever wish you could take back something you said?  When you pause, you interrupt your thought pattern and give yourself a chance to think before you say something you might regret.

3. Believe that most people do the best they can with what they know. That’s not to say that everyone is living up to his or her potential. Everyone has a unique past, tragedies, upbringing, health issues, and way of viewing the world. Faced with the same experiences, you can’t be certain you would do any better.

4. Respect the freedom of others. No one elected you to decide how others should live their lives. It’s arrogant and delusional to believe that your way is the right way for everyone. You have the option to live your life the way you choose. Provide the same freedom to others.

5. Release expectation. Having expectations is a form of trying to control others. Become more flexible. When you have expectations, they’re sure to be violated. There’s only one way you can feel at that point: upset.  Let go of your expectations and accept the outcome without judgment.

Remember, if you’re hard on others, you’re probably also hard on yourself. Your self-esteem and happiness suffer. This is a great opportunity to be patient and understanding with yourself as well, and become a happier person!

Sign up to receive tips like these in your inbox every Tuesday. Email Barb at editor@taproot.com and ask her to subscribe you to the TapRooT® Friends & Experts eNewsletter – a great resource for refreshing your TapRooT® skills and career development.

 

A Perspective on Failure

October 21st, 2015 by

 

Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

We’ve all been told at one time or another to go after our dreams in life, but what if we give it a shot and fail?  Was it worth it?

Yes it is! It’s absolutely worth it to attempt a goal and fail.  Let’s take a different perspective on failure.

The phoenix must burn to emerge.

- Janet Fitch

It’s important not to give up too quickly but avoid spending too much time on an idea that just isn’t working.  Don’t attach yourself to a sinking anchor. Cut your losses and emerge.

Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts. 

- Winston Churchill

Before you cut your losses and go, be certain the necessary time and resources were utilized. Is there any aspect of the idea or the execution that you can modify and move forward stronger? Always evaluate the reason for the failure before you give up.

The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.

- Henry Ford

Ensure that you don’t put your failures on repeat. You know the definition of insanity — doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.  Failing loses all of its value if you fail to learn from it.

I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work. 

- Thomas A. Edison

When it’s time to accept failure, at least take the most from it.  List your lessons learned – all 10,000 of them if necessary. From these failures, write in your notebook your discoveries and new ideas.  Mine your failures.

What is the point of being alive if you don’t at least try to do something remarkable?

– John Green

Keep a healthy perspective.  A failed attempt does not mean you are a failure as a person.  Failure is an undesired result. That’s it. It’s no indication of your intelligence, worth, or future attempts. It’s simply an idea that didn’t work out. Detach from your results and move onward.

It here is the last piece of advice on failure: Do not give up until you win!  Now take this new perspective and live out your purpose.

 

How to Self-Motivate – 10 Ideas

October 14th, 2015 by

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It’s time to get busy!

I firmly believe that the difference between a successful person and a non-successful person is the successful one did not quit when faced with an obstacle.  Success is available to everyone but getting ahead of obstacles is a practice in self-motivation.

Here are 10 ideas for self-motivation:

  1. Choose the right attitude. It’s much easier to motivate yourself when you have the right attitude. Focus on the good things in your life that fill you with gratitude.
  2. Don’t stop until it’s finished. A trail of unfinished projects can dampen anyone’s enthusiasm to start another. Avoid quitting before a task is 100% completed.
  3. Expect obstacles. The only people that don’t make mistakes are those who never do anything. The more mistakes you make, the more you’ll learn.
  4. Stay in the present moment. If you’re adding unnecessary drama to a situation and worrying about the future (or beating yourself up over the past), it’s challenging to get anything accomplished right now. Focus on your breathing for a few minutes if your mind is running wild.
  5. Focus on the result. You’ll find it difficult to get started if you sit around and think about all the work that needs to be done. Take a tip from Stephen Covey, “Begin with the end in mind.”  Focus on the result and you’ll feel much more motivated.
  6. Beat the clock. Decide how long a task should take and see if you’re right. Set a timer and see if you can beat the clock. Most of the time, it’s just a matter of getting started. You may end up working way past the timer!
  7. Read inspirational quotes. This is one of my favorites because it works for a quick pick-me-up. Reading inspirational quotes by those who have achieved great success can be very motivating.
  8. Consider the cost. What is the price of failing to follow through? Make a list of the negatives. Some of us are more driven by pain then we are by reward.
  9. Get some exercise. If you’re felling stuck, go for a brisk walk or a short run. Taking a short break every 60 minutes is not a waste of time, it has been shown to increase productivity.
  10. Measure your progress. Big goals or projects can takes years to complete. Measuring your progress along the way is a great way to keep your spirits high. What’s your five-year plan? Slow and steady wins the race!

What do you want to do with the rest of your life? It’s time to get busy!

5 Steps to Setting Clear Goals You Can Achieve

September 30th, 2015 by

 

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Don’t wait for “someday” to pursue your goals!

How are those goals coming along that you set in January of this year?

I like goals. Without them, I feel we lack passion, purpose, or drive; however, when goals are too vague, it’s much more difficult than if we’d properly prepared in the first place.

Planning Goals

The planning phase is the most important stage when it comes to achieving your goals. Planning might come easy or hard for you, but one thing’s for sure, without planning you won’t get there.

While it’s important to set up your own system that works for you, there are some simple goal setting strategies you can use to make your planning easier.

Consider the following tips for finding clarity in your goals:

1. Decide what you really want. Seems intuitive but many people skip this step and instead pursue goals that sound good, not goals that line up with what he or she really wants to achieve in life. Whether your goal is lofty or little, decide exactly what it is that you want. If you want money, how much? If you want to lose weight, how many pounds? If you want success, how do you describe your vision of success? Don’t be afraid to take your time to figure out what you want. At some point you’ll need to eventually sift through your thoughts and take action, but make sure you’re acting on what’s most important to you and not someone else.

2. Be specific. Be very detailed as you develop every part of your goal. Instead of a goal like “I want to be promoted to the next level at work,” consider a goal like “I want to perform exceptionally well now so I can be promoted to the next level and I will do this by [add specific action steps here].” Just being “better” at work is too vague. There are too many options and avenues to take that your mind can’t focus on any one route to your goal.

3. Write it down. Write down your ideas and decisions. It doesn’t matter if you use pencil and paper, a computer, or even a cell phone. What’s important is the fact that you can keep track of a large amount of specific information instead of trying to remember everything. After all, goals only seem real when you see them clearly before you.

4. Break down your goal into increments. If you have a lofty goal, it’ll become manageable if you break it down into smaller pieces. Smaller pieces will make your goal seem less complex. Plus, it’ll be easier for you to achieve your goal if everything is set out for you as mini-goals, instead of just one huge feat.

5. Repeat the process. Once you’ve found a good system, it’s time to repeat the process. Clarify your other goals that you’d like to achieve. For example, if you’d like to “spend more time with the family,” which is too vague, make a list of specific family activities you’d like to do together, and then make more lists that detail how you can make those goals a reality.

Don’t Wait For “Someday”

Some of the reasons why people tend to keep their goals vague is that they’re actually afraid of achieving them. It’s true!

After all, it’s a whole lot easier to put off your goals and do nothing, than to take action to achieve it. But what good is a goal that merely resides on paper?

Once you’ve decided on a clear goal, it’s time to take swift action to make it a reality. Don’t wait for someday to achieve your goals. There’s no time like the present… so get moving and end this year on a high note!

Stop Making Excuses: Do More!

September 23rd, 2015 by

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If you’re dragging into work every day, watching the clock, not getting much done and binging on Netflix every weekend — it’s time to seek some motivation!

We all have a limited number of days in our lives and unlimited opportunities.  There are so many more fulfilling things you could be doing: “participate, help, practice, be kind” in the wise words of William Arthur Ward (above).

You may already know that motivation is one of the keys that determine success or failure. However, just knowing doesn’t make it any easier to gain motivation. If you feel that you’re having trouble properly motivating yourself, it’s time for you to act. Not tomorrow … but today.

Finding your motivation is something personal. The best way to find motivation is to explore your options and discover something that works for you.

Consider the following ways to motivate yourself today:

1. Avoid just going through the motions. One reason you may find it difficult to perform everyday tasks is that you get bored. Of course you’re going to try to avoid something that you find tedious! You can combat this mentality by adding some depth to your thinking while you’re engaging in tasks you dislike.

  • Brainstorm ways that you can complete the task in a more efficient manner. Then you can compete with yourself to see how quickly you can complete the task in the future. The quicker you get it done, the sooner you can move on to bigger and better things!

2. Get spiritual. Don’t be afraid to get in touch with your spiritual side. Many people find it highly motivating! When you discover some answers to life’s tough questions, it brings you clarity, and you may be more likely to work harder to achieve your desires.

3. Set a goal. You might lack motivation because you don’t have a goal. If you aren’t even sure what you’re working towards, you’ll have difficulty finding motivation.  But don’t just set a goal write it down.  And don’t just write it down, put it in a place you’ll see it every day!

  • If you have a large goal, break up the goal into a series of small, achievable tasks and set each task as a separate goal. This helps you maintain motivation because you’re constantly achieving your goals. You can see the results of your hard work!

4. Hold yourself accountable. In order to ensure that you don’t stray from your chosen path, evaluate your progress every week or even every day. Determine how you can do better the next week.

  • If you find that it’s difficult to keep yourself accountable, don’t be afraid to ask for help. You may enjoy having others check up on you to make sure you stay on task.

5. Think positive thoughts. Negative thinking and lack of motivation go hand in hand. You can increase your motivation by noticing when you are thinking thoughts that are not productive and releasing them.

  • When you catch yourself feeling down, make an extra effort to write three things that you are grateful for. If you take the time to look hard enough, you’ll find way more than three!

6. Make a change. If you think you’ve tried everything and you still can’t get motivated, perhaps you should consider a life change. Maybe there’s a reason why you’re feeling this way.

  • If you don’t feel motivated to work toward your major life goals, consider some alternatives that may be more in line with your true desires.
  • If you’re having trouble finding motivation for everyday chores, see if you can find a way to hire some help.

Always keep in mind that “the time is now.” Put procrastination into your past and you’ll feel happy and accomplished at the end of the day, instead of stressed out or regretful.

When you’re motivated, life is more fulfilling. Use these strategies to wake up your motivation and enjoy the difference!

_____________________________

Sometimes the answer to lack of motivation is learning something new!  We offer opportunities to increase your job skill toolbox at System Improvements/TapRooT®.  Learn more here.

Live Your Core Values: 3 Steps

September 16th, 2015 by

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Have you ever said:

I don’t have enough time to do all the things I want to do.

I feel uninspired in my career.

I’m not getting what I need from my relationships.

Have you ever wondered why, in spite of good intentions, things just never seem to work out?

I have some good news for you today. It’s not because of bad luck. It’s not because you’re too young or too old or too out of shape or too poor. And stop beating yourself up for lack of motivation.

These problems all relate to one reason: losing focus on your core values.

We don’t have time for all the things we want to do is because we don’t make important things that align with our core values a priority over all of the other things that distract us.

We feel uninspired in our careers because we are not choosing something that makes us feel excited to get up in the morning, and that something always aligns with our core values.

We don’t get what we need from our relationships because we lean too heavily on others who do not support or share our core values.

Core values have a huge impact on lives because they give us purpose and direction. One of the most popular Career Development posts on the Root Cause Analysis Blog is “5 Easy Steps to Determining and Living Your Core Values.” It is a simple exercise that reveals to us that core values are actionable items – that everything we do are either aligned with them or they are not. Determine your core values here:

http://www.taproot.com/archives/33161

“What you seek is seeking you.” ~ Rumi

So after you determine your core values, what do you do with them? How do core values help you live the life you’ve always felt you are meant to live?

Where it typically breaks down is when we don’t make the effort to align these values with our day-to-day lives.

Here are 3 important action items to implement once you decide to build your life on your core values. When you make that intention, getting what you want from life will feel like less of a struggle, “luck” will seem to be in your favor, and motivation will come with ease.

1. Review your core values frequently. Keep them in notes on your iPhone, on a Post-It on your bathroom mirror or any place you look often. It’s important to keep them in front of you daily so you remember what they are. Fully understanding what they are and writing them down is wonderful, but if you do not review them daily, or at least weekly, you will find yourself slowly sailing away from all of the things you hold dear, and it will take a crisis to turn that ship around.

2. Don’t make a major decision without examining them. Buying a house? Changing careers? Going back to school? Getting married? Buying a car? We allow other people and things to influence our decisions all the time when we really should be true to ourselves and align every big decision with our core values. For example, if one of your core values is to “live in freedom,” you will not want to purchase so many items on credit that you are living in bondage to debt.

3. Take inventory of daily small decisions and determine if they fit with your core values. One easy way to stay on track is to mentally review the small decisions you make each day before falling asleep. Keeping a journal is helpful as well. When your decisions don’t line up with your core values, you can get yourself back on track before venturing too far away from yourself. For example, if one of your core values is to “act with mindfulness” you may note that you were served a wonderful meal that day but was so distracted you really didn’t taste the food, or that a friend was sharing a story about her vacation and you were only half listening.
Living our core values is essential to living out our purpose in life and finding true meaning. There is no greater gift we can give to the world or receive for ourselves than to honor our core values, and live the life we are meant to live fully and with passion. Every home, workplace and city is an exciting place to be when it is full of those passionate about life.

We would like to hear about your core values, how they’ve been tested, and how they guide you through challenging times.

How to Be a Great Teammate

September 9th, 2015 by

Former NBA player, Walter Bond inspired us with his ideas at the 2015 Global TapRooT® Summit in Las Vegas. In this video, he teaches us how to change culture by becoming a great teammate.

Career Development Tip: The Practical Alternative to Work!

September 2nd, 2015 by

We thought you might enjoy something lighthearted today.

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Calcified at 45? 4 Tips to Keep from Turning to Stone

August 26th, 2015 by

calcified
I read an interesting Q&A on Forbes.com recently. Someone wrote in to say that he was turning 45 and felt “stale” on his job. He wanted advice about whether or not he should leave his position of nine years and seek a new one.

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.”

Whoa!

“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.

Don’t Waste A Good Crisis

August 19th, 2015 by

pablo(9)

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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Do you like reading quick yet empowering tips like this? Contact Barb at editor@taproot.com and have them delivered to your inbox every Tuesday.  Just type “subscribe” in the subject line.  Our eNewsletter has career development tips, root cause tips, job postings, and even a joke to keep it light.

Get More from TapRooT®: Follow our Pages on LinkedIn

August 13th, 2015 by

Do you like quick, simple tips that add value to the way you work? Do you like articles that increase your happiness?  How about a joke or something to brighten your day? Of course you do! Or you wouldn’t be reading this post.  But the real question is, do you want MORE than all of the useful information we provide on this blog?  That’s okay – we’ll allow you to be greedy!

A lot of people don’t know we have a company page on LinkedIn that also shares all those things and more.  Follow us by clicking the image below that directs to our company page, and then clicking “Follow.”

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We also have a training page where we share tips about career/personal development as well as course photos and information about upcoming courses.  If you are planning to attend a TapRooT® course or want a job for candidates with root cause analysis skills, click the image below that directs to our training page and then click “Follow.”

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Thank you for being part of the global TapRooT® community!

10 Reasons Why I Don’t Take Criticism Personally

August 12th, 2015 by

praise

Ah feedback – how you put the wind in my sails and then abruptly leave me stranded in the middle of the ocean. The ability to sail through both positive and negative comments from others without relying too heavily on either is truly a skill mastered by the most successful people in the world.

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:

  1. Everyone has an opinion and everyone has the right to one.
  2. Feedback pushes me into a brainstorming, problem-solving frame of mind when I’m being lazy.
  3. Some people have more experience than I have.
  4. I have an opportunity to learn something.
  5. Constructive criticism can save me from a bad decision when I am open to it.
  6. If I am not receiving criticism, I must not be doing anything significant.
  7. Criticism is not always information meant to improve me, it is sometimes information I need to learn about the person who is delivering it.
  8. Resilience is a major key to success. Criticism offers a good exercise in how resilient I can be.
  9. 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.
  10. 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?

Career Development: Capture More Joy in Life and Work by George Burk

August 5th, 2015 by

pablo(24)

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 gburk@georgeburk.com.

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