Your Why: Survey Your World

This week we suggest you play with naming your why. Write it down and live with it a while to see if it helps you make decisions that are more in alignment with what matters to you.

At the end of that post we asked that you consider your why. We received a number of questions about how to figure out your why, so this week and next week we’re sharing some things to consider to help you articulate it.

Many people struggle with articulating their why because they believe it has to be big and grand. Remember, it’s your why—why you do what you do in your life, why you get up in the morning, why you make the choices you do.

We’d like to help you name your why and own it!

This week, we encourage you to explore your why by using a series of questions as you survey your world. We created a PDF for you to easily fill in your answers. Click here to download.

Survey Your World

As you think about your why, start with the following questions. Do a quick survey of your world and what it has to teach you. Ask yourself:

  • When I’m the happiest at work:
    • What have I done?
    • What impact have I had?
    • What does my work contribute to?
    • Then consider, why do I do this work?
  • When I’m most content with my home life:
    • What have I been doing?
    • Who have I been with?
    • What impact have I had on my surroundings and the people in my world?
    • Then consider, why do I feel best under these circumstances?
  • When I am out in the world:
    • When do I feel engaged and involved?
    • Who do I most enjoy being around?
    • What am I doing when I’m most satisfied?
    • Then consider, why do I gravitate to these experiences?

Once you’ve answered questions about work, home, and world, see if you feel more confident in describing your why.

This week we suggest you play with naming your why. Write it down and live with it a while to see if it helps you make decisions that are more in alignment with what matters to you.

If you’d like support in exploring your why,
contact us today about our Executive Coaching.

Why?

Knowing your why will guide your decisions and actions and can help you create the life, the family, the community, and the organizations that truly matter to you.

At a recent presentation entitled, Why Mattering Matters, a woman asked us, “Why are you doing this work—people can be so challenging, don’t you get sick of it?”

After answering her, we realized that it might be helpful to share our answer with you so that you can get to know us a bit better.

Over the past 25 years, we’ve been supporting individuals in growing in their leadership, impact, and influence. We’ve been working with teams and organizations in creating cultures of leadership and engagement, and we’ve developed simple actionable tools and strategies for success.

Most recently, we’ve been helping people understand that mattering matters. And, as importantly, we’ve been sharing our best thinking here in the Monday Morning Business Coach for over 7 years reaching thousands of people around the globe.

So Why?
We want to change the world!

When we say we’re here to change the world, people often laugh at first; then they see that we’re not kidding. We’re committed.

Everything we do is done with the belief that we can change the world by supporting individuals, teams, and organizations in understanding that people matter.

We’ve discovered that mattering lies at the intersection of being cared about as a person and being valued for your unique gifts and talents. And, when you live at that intersection in your work and in your personal life, you’re healthier, happier, and have greater pride in yourself and your contributions.

We hope our WHY inspires you to consider your why.

Knowing your why will guide your decisions and actions and can help you create the life, the family, the community, and the organizations that truly matter to you.

If you’d like support in exploring your why,
contact us today about our Executive Coaching.

Memorial Day

Memorial Day is the one day when we reflect as a nation on the sacrifices of the men and women who died while serving our country.

Today we’d like to share with you a post that we first wrote in 2014. As we were thinking about the meaning of this holiday, we found it helpful to remember its roots.

In the United States, today is Memorial Day. Over the years this has come to mean many different things—the beginning of summer, the running of the Indianapolis 500, and a day of countless sales—everything from makeup to lawn furniture. It can be hard to remember why we have this holiday at all.

Memorial Day is the one day
when we reflect as a nation
on the sacrifices of the men and women
who died while serving our country.

In 1862, it was established as Decoration Day, and was an apolitical event to commemorate the thousands of both Union and Confederate soldiers who died during the Civil War. Following World War II, Decoration Day was expanded to commemorate all of the men and women who died while serving the USA in the military.

In the 1970s it was renamed Memorial Day and moved to the last Monday in May, a decision that probably helped to dilute the meaning of the day by creating the coveted 3-day weekend it has become.

This year we hope you are enjoying the long weekend and we would like to encourage you to take a moment to remember the men and women who have given their lives protecting our country. The families of the fallen service men and women would deeply appreciate a moment of our time to remember their sons, daughters, fathers, mothers, brothers, and sisters.

Whether or not you agree with the policies of the United States military, there is no denying that military individuals and families have given much to our country. For their sacrifice, we say thank you.

Thriving After A Layoff

You lost this job and that sucks. Now you have the opportunity to get more of what you want out of your next job!

We heard from many of you after our Surviving A Layoff post last week. Some of you mentioned that you were feeling stuck and unable to come up with a list of your top skills and strengths because you’re so drained from the experience of the layoff.

We get it. We’ve been there and we know it’s hard to think about the positive stuff when you’re in the midst of questioning whether you ever added value. And forget about possibility thinking, right?

So, we’d like to offer you a couple of small steps you can take this week to help you think about the skills you want to offer and the environment in which you’ll thrive.

We’ve seen that it can be easier to voice what you want by thinking about what you don’t want.

  • First, start with what you didn’t like about your job. Think about things like:
    • Skills used
    • Level of responsibility
    • Level of visibility
    • Level of stress
    • Pace of the work
    • Team dynamics
    • Projects
    • Processes
    • Commute
  • Now, if you’re able, think about what you did  like, using the above list as a prompt.

  • Finally, it can be powerfully helpful to reach out to colleagues, family (even young kids), and friends, and ask them, “What do I do well?”
    • This can feel awkward to do, so blame your coaches here at CSC . . . that can make it easier to ask.
    • You’ll likely start to see themes in the answers that people are giving you.

If you’ve sped through those steps and are wanting more, don’t forget about our recent Dream Job posts where we walk you through some additional ways to get clear about setting yourself up for success.

Remember, it’s important to be gentle with yourself if you’re struggling to move on. If you were talking to a dear friend, you wouldn’t say, “Just get over it!” You’d likely say, “I believe in you.” or “You can do this!”

Perhaps this experience will help to point you in the direction of where you’re supposed to go next. You lost this job and that sucks. Now you have the opportunity to get more of what you want out of your next job.

We believe in you!

Just a few sessions of Career Strategy Coaching
can help you get traction on identifying what’s next
and moving forward to make it happen.
Let us know if we can be helpful.

Surviving A Layoff

Keep moving forward – even if it’s just one small step.

Last week, we spent some time talking about how to prepare if you believe you may be laid off. This week, we want to speak to you about the normal response to a layoff and ways you can take care of yourself or support a friend or loved one who has been laid off.

If you’ve been laid off, you may find yourself wanting the feeling of trauma and disorientation to go away. It’s painful, uncomfortable, and demoralizing. And, it takes time and intentional focus to heal and move on.

After being laid off, you’ll likely experience many of the feelings and thoughts you’d associate with a death: feelings of grief, loss, helplessness, anger, rage, disorientation, depression, and anxiety. While unpleasant, these are all sane emotional responses to a layoff.

Because many of us get a sense of our identify and value from our jobs, we may feel that the world isn’t safe and then our confidence in ourselves becomes diminished.

Research about people who have been laid off show us that the pain in a layoff is also manifested physically. Research shows increased health issues after a layoff, from high blood pressure, insomnia, and cardiovascular problems, to nausea, stomach problems, and headaches.

If you or someone you care about has been laid off, this is the time to focus on self-care – all those things we know we need to do but don’t. Eating healthfully as often as you can, moving regularly, sleeping, and reaching out for support are all good self-care steps.

And, remember, you’re not alone!

We’d encourage you to reach out to some trusted friends and colleagues and talk about your experience. You may be surprised to find that there are people in your world who have also gone through (or are going through) a layoff.

It can help to lean on each other and keep each other motivated as you think about what’s next for you in your career.

If you’ve been laid off, here are some things
that can help you move forward.

  1. PAUSE. Take a moment to breathe and honor that this has been rocking.
  2. Allow yourself to have your emotions AND don’t let them overwhelm you. Consider talking with a trusted friend or family member, clergy member, therapist, or coach as you grieve and find your way to what is next.
  3. Find a person who can be a mirror to you to remind you that you’re a capable and successful person. Understanding your worth through other people’s eyes is truly inspiring.
  4. Keep moving forward – even if it’s just one small step.
  5. Use this time to reconnect with your life priorities and what brings you meaning and purpose.
    • Name the skills you love to offer to the world and the environment in which you thrive.
    • Then tell everyone you know, “I’m looking for an opportunity to bring these skills to an organization.” vs. “I’m looking for this job.”
      • If you name the job, that can stop the conversation with “I don’t know of any openings in that job.”
      • If, instead, you ask for help finding opportunities to bring your gifts and talents to an organization, they’ll often join you in considering who you might talk with about your interests.

You can’t always control what happens to you, but you can work on how you respond.

Treat yourself like you matter… because you do!

Been laid off? If you’d like to work together
on your career strategy, contact us today.
We’re here to support you in finding work you love
in an environment where you’ll thrive.

Preparing for a Layoff

We have incredible respect for people who are dealing with the possibility of a layoff. Facing the loss of a role that provides a great deal of your identity as well as the means for living, can be very challenging.

THERE ARE SEVERAL THINGS YOU CAN DO
IN THE FACE OF A POSSIBLE LAYOFF

Get support for the fear so you can pivot to taking action.

  • It’s important that you’re able to acknowledge how stressful a potential layoff is and how anxious it can make you.
  • Be sure to reach out to people who will honor your feelings while also supporting you in the pivot to action.

Do a quick inventory about what you love about your job and what you would change if you had the opportunity. 

    • Create a resume that represents you well and then tailor it for the specific opportunities you discover.
    • Being clear about what you love and want to continue to do and what you aren’t as satisfied with can help you as you look around for other opportunities within and outside the company.

Within the company:

      • Explore what opportunities are available should you need to look.
      • Sometimes the opportunities aren’t very appealing, but if they let you stay in a company that you want to work for, they can be a stepping stone until you find a better fit.
      • Knowing the skills you love to offer and the environment in which you thrive can help you find a role that’s more in keeping with your current interests and skills and the threat of layoff may be a gift.

Outside the Company: 

    • Generally, it’s still easier to get a job when you have a job, so consider the threat of a layoff as an opportunity to take action before you’re unemployed.
    • In addition to looking at job boards, start to meet with people you know throughout your community and industry.
    • Let them know that you’re considering what’s next and that you’d love their thoughts about who you should talk with.
    • You’ll need to share, in about 3 minutes, what you’ve been doing, the skills you want to offer, the kind of environment that’s great for you, and a few different ideas you have had for ways you could use those skills so that you prime your contact on ways to look on your behalf.

Consider a frank conversation with your boss.

  • You know your organization and whether or not this is ok to do.
  • If you have a good relationship with your boss or with someone in HR, consider having a conversation about your sense that there are layoffs in the works and that you’re starting to look around to protect yourself should that happen.
  • In some cases, you may be able to negotiate a separation package that lets you leave with benefits that you might not have received if you were laid off.
  • In others, the organization may be clear and direct about your value and fight for you to stay.

Reflect on whether there are things you can do on the side that bring in income and could create a bridge if you’re laid off.

  • Anything that gives you confidence that you will be ok supports you having greater confidence through this difficult time.

The threat of being laid off can be extremely challenging and you may find yourself frozen for a bit. But if you can start to take action on your own behalf, you’ll be much more prepared no matter what happens.

Waiting and hoping, while tempting, is not in your best interest!

If you’re fearing a layoff at your company
and would like to work together
on your career strategy, contact us today.

Power and Humility

This year, our focus is to support you in mattering to yourself and in creating environments where people matter. Mattering to yourself is not about becoming narcissistic or thinking you matter above all others. It’s about honoring yourself so you know what matters to you and can then take action on behalf of the people and causes that you care about. So, today, we’re sharing some excerpts from an article about Humility that spoke to us. There’s a link to the full article at the end.

The Paradoxical Power of Humility: Why humility is under-rated and misunderstood Karl Albrecht Ph.D. – BrainSnacks

“Humility is widely under-rated in most Western cultures, it seems to me. It’s also widely misunderstood – maybe that’s why it’s under-rated. 

Our popular-media culture is saturated with themes of conflict, combat, and conquest. Popular films feature cops chasing crooks; the military fighting terrorists; the lone avenger pursuing the evil-doers. We say we love peace makers, but our heroes are warriors. As a society, we like our celebrities to be cheeky, self-important, and even a bit narcissistic. 

Little wonder that humble people seem a bit strange to us, as if they’re following some syncopated life rhythm that few people around them quite “get.” 

Having claimed that humility is misunderstood, I suppose it’s incumbent on me to offer a definition. 

What is humility? It’s a subtle concept, and I find myself having to frame it mostly in terms of what it is not. My conception of humility is what you have when you give up certain self-aggrandizing thought patterns, reflexes, and behaviors. I offer the proposition – and the value judgment – that humility is a kind of liberation, a paradoxical state of freedom from the culturally imposed norms of narcissistic “me-first” thinking. 

Practitioners of many spiritual traditions, such as Buddhism, would say that attaining such a state is a necessary part of the journey toward enlightenment. 

Humility is about emotional neutrality. It involves an experience of growth in which you no longer need to put yourself above others, but you don’t put yourself below them, either. Everyone is your peer – from the most “important” person to the least. You’re just as valuable as every other human being on the planet, no more and no less. It’s about behaving and reacting from purpose, not emotions. You learn to simply disconnect or de-program the competitive reflex in situations where it’s not productive. 

Humility is less a matter of self-restraint and more a matter of self-esteem. The greater your sense of self-worth, the easier it is to appreciate others, to praise them, and to encourage them. 

Does this mean that it’s wrong to try to win at bridge, or improve your tennis game, or compete to get ahead in your work place? Of course not – those are parts of a separate dimension of life. Your talents and abilities will speak for themselves. What we’re dealing with here is a matter of social intelligence, which involves inviting people to move with and toward you, instead of away and against you. 

A well-developed sense of humility shines through in your behavior toward others. They feel affirmed, appreciated, encouraged, validated, and psychically nourished. Most of us are powerfully drawn to people who treat us that way, like bees to flowers.”

This full article, posted in Psychology Today on January 8, can be found here.

In Carpenter Smith Consulting language, the deepest longing of all human beings is to matter.

When we matter to ourselves, and we treat others like they matter, amazing things happen.

If you’d like support in showing your team that they matter, our Executive Coaching could be for you. Contact us today to learn more.

– Heather @ Carpenter Smith Consulting

Your Dream Job

During some personally difficult times, clients and colleagues will often ask, “Why do you do this work?” They are puzzled that we would choose to put ourselves in the middle of the messiness and pain that people experience in their lives and work.

We do this work because we know that when people matter to themselves and believe that others matter, too, success is ensured.

This is true in organizations, on teams, and with individual contributors. Success increases when people matter. Often in life, and especially at work, we can start to believe that things matter; results matter, money matters, but people…they are in the way. 

Yet, the most powerful leaders we know understand that it’s the people that create the success and that when those people are treated with respect for their contributions, with interest in their wisdom and perspective, and honored for the challenges they must deal with every day, everyone thrives. 

A few days ago, we found an article by Peter Wehner in the New York Times called, The Uncommon Power of Grace: A revolutionary idea lies at its core: radical equality. In it, there was a paragraph that described how we treat ourselves and one another when we believe people matter – the author used the term grace. 

When I recently asked . . .  how, as a nonbeliever, he understood grace and why it inspires us when we see it in others, he told me that grace is “some combination of generosity and magnanimity, kindness and forgiveness, and empathy — all above the ordinary call of duty, and bestowed even (or especially?) when not particularly earned.” We see it demonstrated in heroic ways and in small, everyday contexts, he said. “But I guess, regardless of the context, it’s always at least a little unexpected and out of the ordinary.”     

When we matter to ourselves and when we believe others matter, we bring a combination of generositymagnanimity, kindness, forgiveness, and empathy to ourselves and to others in the face of our humanity and the messiness it brings. 

This year, our commitment to you is to support you in mattering to yourself and to creating environments where others matter, because this is the combination that creates unexpected and out of the ordinary success

We’re in this together!

If you’d like support in showing your team that they matter, our Executive Coaching could be for you. Contact us today to learn more.

– Heather @ Carpenter Smith Consulting