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Is Your Job a Prison or a Home Base?

I was talking with someone the other night who is considering a career change. It's a job she knows well, has done for awhile and is very talented at doing. This is part of what is making her itch for change--she's ready for new challenges, to take some risks. As we talked, it became clear that she was feeling the weight of her work. It has become something she needs... Read more →

One of the best ways to explore your career vision is by using visual tools. Many of us have tried writing or thinking our way to something new, with limited results. That's because our "verbal" brain is our "logical" brain--the side of us that is both visioning and criticizing that vision at the same time. I wrote last week about compromising your vision. Your left brain excels at compromise. It... Read more →

Are You Your Own Worst Boss?

I have a friend who often talks to me about my "mean boss." She's appalled at how my boss is so demanding, pushing me to perfection, nitpicking and second-guessing me all the time. I make a decision, begin to implement, and my boss is ON me, reminding me constantly of all the little ways that I've screwed up in the past and will most likely fail in the future. As... Read more →

Positive Professional Development Tool: The Question Log

Professional development isn't just about the answers. It's also about questions. You can learn a lot from the questions you ask. They can tell you about patterns in your work and in your thinking about your work. They can point you in new directions or show you where you may be feeling stagnant. Questions are what drive and motivate us. But we have to notice the questions to do anything... Read more →

Learning to Lead: It's About the Questions

Yesterday I had the honor of facilitating the first class in a 6-month Leadership Academy. We had 18 men and women from a variety of backgrounds. Some are in their late 50s, others in their 30s. Some work in not-for-profits, while others work in for-profit companies. Some are small business owners. Most have been in leadership roles for at least a few years. Our goal in this first class was... Read more →

Your Career is in Perpetual Beta

"Beta" is the experimental, developmental stage of a software package. It's the time during which you are experimenting with what does and doesn't work, learning about the capacities of the software, tweaking it, getting input on how to make it better, faster, more effective, more efficient. During the beta phase, you're looking at how the package can bring value to customers, getting feedback on how well it works and how... Read more →

Another Way to Stay Stuck--Compromise Your Vision

Yesterday I talked about how we keep ourselves stuck in a rut by denying reality. Today I want to talk about another way we keep ourselves in the same patterns--compromising our vision of what could be. Robert Fritz, in his excellent book, The Path of Least Resistance, says that the energy for creation comes from the tension between our vision for what we want and the reality of our situation.... Read more →

Want to Stay Stuck? Deny Reality

I've observed that when it comes to change of any kind--personal or professional--the impetus for action only comes when we are finally able to observe and accept the reality of our current situation. In fact, one of the ways we most consistently try to maintain the status quo is by denying reality, saying that things are better than we know they are. I've watched this dynamic at work in many... Read more →

7 Reasons Most Professionals Should Work for Themselves

Lately I've found myself counseling a number of professionals I know to give up the "permanent full-time employment" option (a myth, anyway) in favor of working for themselves. Some of the reasons are pretty obvious, but some are less so. Below are the reasons I've been sharing with people in favor of working for themselves: 1. You Diversify Your Funding Stream. Would you rely on a single company's stock for... Read more →

It's Not You. It's Your Dysfunctional Workplace.

As the child of alcoholics, I grew up intimately acquainted with dysfunctional family dynamics and their impacts on me. I've spent a lifetime trying to overcome these effects, as a matter of fact. The other day, I was talking with a friend about her dysfunctional workplace and for some reason I was reminded of how I felt in my family. It hit me how, even as adults, we can be... Read more →