5 Habits That’ll Ensure You’ll End Every Day Feeling Successful

You know those days when you leave work feeling amazing, pumped that you were highly productive? On the flipside, I’m sure you have days that are just the opposite. Ones that leave you feeling frustrated, wondering whether you got anything done. What if there was a way to end every day knowing that it was successful?

Unfortunately, there’s no bulletproof formula to guarantee this, but there are certain practices you can follow that’ll help.

Here are five habits that, if practiced daily, can boost your success at work:

Click here to view the full article on The Muse.

3 Better Things to Do Instead of Obsessing Over Finding Your Passion

You’ve spent so much energy trying to “find your passion” that you’re exhausted. And while you’ve invested countless hours to discovering your dream career path—doing all the things you’re supposed to do, like setting up informational interviews, and growing your network—you feel like you’ve made little progress.

Is it possible you’re making it more challenging than it needs to be? What if it’s more about looking inward and less about going on one million coffee meetings?

I’ve seen this firsthand in my experience as a career coach. Most people I work with can’t identify their passion, and they stress over it. They devote too much time and energy into the process.

I understand: There are few things as frustrating as not knowing what you’re meant to do want to do or what’ll truly fulfill you. But the answer isn’t going to appear if you overthink it and analyze every little thing that happens in your career. And with that, here’s what I recommend:

Click here to view the full article on The Muse.

Just Lost Your Job? This Day-by-Day Timeline Will Get Help You Land a New One

You just lost your job. You may be crushed. You may be in denial. You may realize your work was toxic and be genuinely happy you never have to go back. Or, you may not fully understand how you’re feeling.

Regardless of your state of mind, it’s hard, and finding a new job can be even harder. Many people simply update their resume and apply for positions that look interesting. That’s one way to handle it, but it’s also likely to be insufficient. Plus, it’s important to give yourself time to process the loss.

I’ve been in the exact spot you’re in now. I was laid off from an investment bank at a time when finance roles were hard to come by. Through personal experience, and through my work as a career coach helping countless people find jobs, I’ve put together a comprehensive timeline of the steps to follow if you’re in this situation.

Day 1

The very first thing you should do after leaving the office…

Click here to view the full article on The Muse.

3 Realistic Things You Can Do When Your Career Isn’t Living Up to Your Expectations

When I started my career, I felt like I could accomplish anything. I hustled to land my dream internship, managed to turn that into a full-time offer, and was pumped to get started making my mark. I was confident that if I just pushed myself and put the time and effort in, everything would work out. I had high expectations for my future and was certain I’d succeed.

Less than a year later, the company I’d joined went bankrupt. My team was absorbed by its competitor, which only served to delay the inevitable: I was laid off a few months later. After a long period of unemployment (that probably felt much longer than it really was), I found another job.

Although it was a decent role at a respectable clothing company, it wasn’t what I really wanted to be doing. No matter how much I told myself I was meant to be in in the retail industry, I always felt out of place. I just wasn’t passionate about it and trying to force it only made me feel more dissatisfied. I felt like my career had derailed.

Getting my it back on track took time, and I learned several critical lessons along the way. If you feel unhappy with the path you’re on, consider the following:

Click here to view the full article on The Muse.

5 Questions That’ll Help You Pinpoint Why You’re Unhappy at Work

We’re all on an endless quest for happiness, aren’t we?

And there are certainly career benefits to pursuing this endeavor. Harvard Business Review reports that happy people are 31% more productive, have 37% higher sales, and are three times more creative than their peers.

There are countless habits and hacks that can help, including exercise, expressing gratitude, or starting a side project, but how do you know what will really make you feel happy in your career?

When I was in college, I stressed a lot about whether the career I chose would be fulfilling. I’d seen plenty of people who were miserable in their jobs, and I wanted none of that. As I sought advice from friends and family, I was frequently told I should “do something I love” or “pursue my passion.” None of that advice resonated though because I didn’t yet know what I loved, and I worried that I’d never figure it out.

My path hasn’t been a straight line, and I’ve had my fair share of setbacks, but I’ve learned a lot along the way.

By asking myself the following five questions throughout my career, I’ve been able to pinpoint causes of my discontent and determine what changes I needed to make to be happy.

Click here to view the full article on The Muse.

How to Bounce Back After You Lose Your Job

The day was January 14, 2009, but it still feels like yesterday.

Sitting at my desk, I felt a tap on my shoulder. When I turned, I was greeted by the head of my group, who asked, “Can you please swing by my office?” I knew it was over. I sheepishly followed him, like a kid being escorted to the principal’s office, my heart pounding uncontrollably.

Our conversation lasted only a minute or two. He thanked me for my work and told me that times were tough. Cuts needed to be made. He handed me the number for our HR rep and wished me the best. Moments later, I was asked to leave the building.

I’d only been an investment banking analyst for six months. Considering that I joined the company in 2008, I knew that the industry was in a weird place. For weeks there had been talks of layoffs, and I had a gut feeling that when they came, I would be included.

I wasn’t wrong.

Click here to view the full article on The Muse.

8 Career-Boosting Books That’ll Get You Ahead This Year

Despite the many benefits of reading actual books, I’ll admit that for a period I read very little, always using lack of time as an excuse. Sound familiar?

But three years ago, I decided to make this a priority, and I’m proud to say that I’ve read at least one book a month since setting that goal. I’ve found it’s not only given me a competitive advantage in my career, but I’m also learning a lot more than ever before.

As I look to the year ahead, here are the eight books I recommend you pick up.

1. Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers by Tim Ferriss

Over the last few years, Tim Ferriss has interviewed over 200 people on his podcast, The Tim Ferriss Show. His goal in each episode is to analyze these world-class performers to extract the tactics and tools each of us can use to improve ourselves and our success quotient.

Ferriss’ latest, Tools of Titans, summarizes the key lessons from each of those interviews. The chapters are concise and each one focuses on the morning routines, exercise habits, favorite books, time-management tricks, and other insights from the podcast guests. Regardless of your exact pursuits, you’ll no doubt find something in here to help you get to the next level.

Click here to view the full article on The Muse.

The 10 Best Books I Read in 2016

We regularly hear about the importance of reading actual books. Despite the many benefits, for years I read very little, always making the excuse that I didn’t have time.

Three years ago, I decided to make reading a priority and I’ve read at least one book a month since. I’ve found reading to be a competitive advantage and I regularly learn new things I wouldn’t be exposed to in any other way.

I read a lot of great books in 2016. Here are my 10 favorites (in no particular order).

1. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini

Originally published in 1984, Cialdini’s classic book is just as relevant today. Whether you’re the CEO of a Fortune 500 company or an analyst fresh out of college, you’re likely trying to become more persuasive. Influence outlines the psychological tactics used by people when influencing us to say yes when we would otherwise say no. These tactics are lumped into six categories which Cialdini refers to as weapons of influence. He shares why TV laugh tracks work, how free samples are effective in increasing sales, and why censorship may actually stimulate demand. In addition to teaching how to gain more influence, this book shares how we can avoid the tricks and tactics used by others to get us to do things we normally wouldn’t.

2. Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike by Phil Knight

The book vividly captures the struggles of an entrepreneur’s life in the trenches. It’s easy to look at a large, wildly successful company like Nike and presume that it was bound for success from the start, but that’s failing to look at the bigger picture. The same can be said of your career. Instead of focusing on the end result of our efforts, consider the importance of strife along the way to achieving a goal. Knight, in fact, faced plenty of obstacles and turbulent times throughout his rise as a leader of the impressive brand. Your missteps are a part of your journey, and this personal account will help you see that.

3. Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport

Do you struggle with distraction? I certainly do. My quest for productivity and efficiency is continually offset by the hundreds of things vying for my attention. Cal Newport argues that the ability to perform deep work is becoming increasingly rare at exactly the same time it is becoming increasingly more valuable in our economy. I recorded an audio clip where I provide a summary of Deep Work, including my favorite passages and how I’ve tried to implement the books principles.

4. Linchpin: Are You Indispensable by Seth Godin

In Linchpin, Godin argues that everyone is an artist now. By his definition, an artist is somebody who does “emotional work.” Work that you put your heart and soul into. Work that matters. Work that you gladly sacrifice all other alternatives for. And in Godin’s words, the only way to get what you’re worth is to stand out, to be seen as indispensable, and to produce interactions that organizations and people care deeply about. My favorite lesson from this book was understanding how you can change your job without actually leaving it.

5. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

When I was at LinkedIn, part of my job was spent facilitating trainings to help people work more cohesively and effectively. At the beginning of each session, I shared Maya Angelou’s quote: “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”

After quoting Maya several times, I decided to read one of her books. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is the first of her five volume autobiography. It starts with her early childhood in rural Arkansas and ends with an unwanted pregnancy that dramatically changed her life. Angelou’s stories are heartbreaking, eye-opening, and inspiring. Her life experiences brought a different perspective and changed how I see others and the world around me. Reading this book helped me to know better. I hope, as she promises, that it will help me to do better.

6. Smarter Faster Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg

previously wrote about why I love this book and books written in a similar fashion, so I’ll skip right to my favorite passages:

  • “Employees work smarter and better when they believe they have more decision making authority and when they believe their colleagues are committed to their success.”
  • “Motivation is more like a skill, akin to reading or writing, that can be learned and honed… People can get better at self-motivation if they practice the right way. The trick, researchers say, is realizing that a prerequisite to motivation is believing we have authority over our actions and surroundings.”
  • “Sometimes the best way to learn is to make information harder to absorb. This is known in psychology as disfluency. The harder we have to work to understand an idea or to process a piece of data, the stickier it becomes in our brain.” (Example: our memory is stronger when we take notes on paper instead of a laptop.)

7. Open: An Autobiography by Andre Agassi

I’ve never been an avid tennis fan, but I absolutely loved this biography. While many celebrity memoirs stay at a surface level or only share the part of their life they want you to see, Agassi’s bio is different. He is brutally honest with himself. He bares his soul. You get to know him at an intimate, personal level. And you find that he, like most of us, is a very complicated person. Agassi’s dad forced him to play tennis at a young age. He required Andre to hit more than 2,500 balls a day and one million balls a year. Agassi grew to despise the sport, yet he still played into his mid-thirties when he no longer needed the money. He hates tennis, as he shares repeatedly in the book, yet his identity is integrally tied to the game. I found Agassi’s vulnerability refreshing and empowering.

8. Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth

As an HR leader, I regularly think about how to recruit top talent. When I watched Angela Duckworth’s TED talk, I was persuaded that grit is the most important trait to hire for. Last year, Duckworth took her research on grit and published a book on the topic. In short, grit is passion and perseverance for very long-term goals. According to Duckworth, grit is a better predictor of success than anything else. Grit wins over IQ, EQ, raw talent, good looks, physical health, and education. Gritty people view unmet goals not as a setback but as an opportunity to learn and grow. Reading this book will teach you how to develop more grit so you can do the things that are most important to you.

9. Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination by Neal Gabler

A fantastic biography about a man who needs no introduction. Walt demonstrated how “one could assert one’s will on the world at the very time when everything seemed to be growing beyond control and beyond comprehension.” My biggest takeaway from this book was the importance of finding people with strengths that complement your own. Walt couldn’t have built what he did without his brother Roy. Walt was the creative visionary, while Roy was the steadying hand who helped finance and operationalize Walt’s vision, a role that was vitally important to the growth of the Disney empire. Of Walt’s many accomplishments, his most impressive might be leaving behind a company that continued to innovate well beyond his passing.

10. Ego is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday

Holiday convincingly argues that ego is the main thing holding us back from reaching our full potential. In our careers, ego can prevent us from developing our talents, and when we taste success, it can blind us to our own faults. Holiday shares anecdotes from the lives of historical figures who reached high levels of power and success by con­quering their own egos, as well as those who let ego conquer them. These stories drive home lessons that we all can apply. My biggest takeaway? Don’t focus on what your neighbors, your co-workers, or your classmates are doing. Focus on what you can control. Keep your own scorecard.

Last year I started publishing a monthly newsletter where I share the top career-related books and articles I’ve read. Click here to check it out.

3 Questions to Ask Yourself if You’re Questioning Your Career Path

You’re not completely sold that you’re on the right career path, but the idea of making a change is daunting. There are so many unknowns, and we all know the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. Plus, if you do decide to change course, you may have to take a step back to develop necessary skills.

The time and energy required to transition into the right career path may be valid concerns, but they shouldn’t stop you from pursuing a path you love. Several years ago, I went from working in finance to being on a human resources team—unconventional to say the least. The decision wasn’t easy. I knew that I would be unsatisfied if I stayed in finance, but I wasn’t 100% sure HR would be the right fit. After hours of conversations with friends, family, and people in my network and months of introspection, I finally worked up enough courage to make the leap. I haven’t looked back.

Before you make a switch of your own, ask yourself the following three questions.

Click here to view the full article on The Muse.

The Stealthy Guide to Getting Your LinkedIn Profile Recruiter-Ready

Did you know that 93% of companies use LinkedIn to recruit new employees? You heard that right. Every day recruiters spend countless hours scouring profiles on the site in search of great candidates to hire.

Needless to say, whether you’re an active candidate (“I can’t stand another minute of my job”) or a passive candidate (“I’d leave, but the role would have to be amazing”), you want a presence on the platform.

But how do you start preparing for your next move without letting your co-workers know? If your boss finds out you’re looking for a new job, you risk damaging your relationship, consequently, missing out on key projects, or worst-case scenario: losing your job. While many companies wouldn’t react so harshly to the information that one of its employees was job searching, you’d be wise to keep your intentions under wraps, if only for the sake of avoiding any awkwardness with your team.

Here are four concrete steps you can take to get your profile recruiter ready without letting anyone at your company know what you’re up to.

Click here to view the full article on The Muse.