Where Are You in the Career and Life Cycles?

Do you feel restless? Are you wondering what to do with your life?

My research on occupational change, described in Questers Dare to Change Your Job and Life, suggests growing adults experience cycles of discontent every five to ten years with the average cycle occurring every 7.5 years. https://www.amazon.com/Questers-Dare-Change-Your-Life/dp/1508408963

Although we all have our own rhythms of change, we generally proceed through alternating developmental and transition periods. Transitions are times we question who we are and where we want to go. During developmental periods we make commitments to and work toward desired goals.

Simultaneously, we experience the career cycle of entry, mastery, and disengagement. During entry, we enthusiastically learn new tasks. In mastery, we’re confident and productive. If our work is no longer challenging, we lose enthusiasm, productivity, and confidence. This disengagement stage of the occupational cycle tends to parallel life cycle transitions.

Individuals, who feel they’re no longer deriving desired rewards, may change jobs or pursue other options. Al, 40, was bored with his systems analyst job. Few job perks, parenthood, and the death of his mother, precipitated reevaluation of goals. Al decided to pursue his passion, farming.

Some adults stay with the same job, but create new challenges. Eva, a retail manager, always finds new ways of improving productivity.

Traumatic experiences such as illness tend to precipitate reevaluation. When Mark, a fast track executive, was 30, a series of jolts including political hassles and serious illness forced him to reassess goals. He decided to establish his retail business.

With an average life expectancy of 85 and growing, it’s possible to change positions or create new challenges at 40, 70, or older, and still have years of happiness. Recently widowed, Beatrice created her bookkeeping business at 89.

Are you experiencing a transition?
Answer yes or no: 1) don’t have a sense of purpose; 2) I’m often bored; 3) I’m not productive; 4) I often think of quitting my job; 5) I have few growth opportunities at work; 6) I can’t attain desired goals with current employer; 7) I’m not in good physical shape; 8) I don’t have a healthy lifestyle; 9) I have a birthday within two or three years of 0.

Six or more yes responses suggest you may in a disengagement stage of your career cycle. You may also be experiencing a life cycle transition.

Take charge
Take advantage of growth opportunities your transition provides. Reassess goals and make needed modifications.

Career and Life Stages
The Beginning Career
Late adolescence, ages 18 to 24 or older, is a critical period. Adolescents try on different roles to assess appropriate fits. Decisions they make about career and life goals affects their life careers.

During the Age-20 Developmental Period, a person’s first full-time job is undertaken. Needs for expansion, career mastery and self-motivation prevail. Little self-evaluation occurs. Lifelong patterns may be established.

The Developing Career
The Age-30 Transition, approximately ages 28–33, marks the beginning of the developing career. Values, priorities, and goals shift; a more balanced life is valued. Short- and long-range goals are pursued. Productivity, fulfillment, excitement and creativity are enjoyed. Job and other life changes may occur.

The Maturing Career
Age-40 Transition, ages 37–45, marks the beginning of the Age-40 Developmental Period. Need for job satisfaction heightens. Creative leadership peaks, and interest in guiding the young blossoms.

The Strengthening Career     
The Age-50 Transition, ages 48–53, marks the beginning of Strengthening Career. During the Age–50 Developmental Period needs for job satisfaction and a balanced life deepen. Innovative leadership and mentoring activities continue.

The Continuing Career
The Age-60 Transition, ages 58-63, leads to the Continuing Career. Many Questers in this stage tend to flourish. Many individuals explore and evaluate varied career options, including retirement and travel.

The Flourishing Career
Age-70 Transition, ages 68–73, marks the beginning of the Age-70 Developmental Period. Decisions to continue paid employment, volunteer, or pursue education or a more leisurely lifestyle, are contemplated and made.

The Enriching Career
Age-80 Transition precedes the Age-80 Developmental Period. Inspiring stories of Questers show how they continue to grow. Career advancement includes making varied contributions to humankind including social service and educational activities.

The Enduring Career
Many outstanding people did not reach their prime until 90. Dr. Helen Flanders Dunbar, psychoanalyst, and pioneer in psychosomatic medicine at Columbia University, called people in their 90’s “nimble nonagenarians.” Questers in their 90s are adaptive, authentic, and whole. Their wealth of experience, knowledge and practical skills can teach younger generations a great deal about life if they take the time to watch, listen, ask, and respect.”

The Actualizing Career
During The Age-100 Transition and the Age-100 Developmental Period, Quester Centenarians continue to be in control of their life careers. They’re involved, productive, creative, authentic, healthy and wise. Dr. Euphgraim P. Engleman, University of California San Francisco’s longest tenured professor, was going strong at 103.

As more adults live beyond 110, new attitudes toward continuing career growth and retirement are developing.

Would you like to make any changes in your attitudes and lifestyle to increase the chances you will live a long, healthy, productive life? Is there something you have always felt drawn to but have not yet pursued? Remember, contemporary career development is a continuing quest to improve the fit between your evolving personality and developing career. Only you can establish your own rhythm of change. It is never too late!

Questers Dare to Change Your Job and Life provides information and guidelines that show how to realize your desired life career: https://www.amazon.com/Questers-Dare-Change-Your-Life/dp/1508408963; www.questersdaretochange.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Thinking Outside the Box

February 23, 2019

Take time off for fun. Here are some amusing, entertaining ways of responding to silly questions.

Q1..In which battle did Napoleon die?
His last battle.
Q2.. Where was the Declaration of Independence signed?
At the bottom of the page.
Q3.. River Ravi flows in which state?
Liquid .
Q4.. What is the main reason for divorce?
Marriage.
Q5..What is the main reason for failure?
Exams.
Q6.. What can you never eat for breakfast?
Lunch & dinner.
Q7..What looks like half an apple?
The other half.
Q8.. If you throw a red stone into the blue sea, what will it become?
Wet.
Q9.. How can a man go eight days without sleeping?
No problem, he sleeps at night.
Q10. How can you lift an elephant with one hand?
You will never find an elephant that has one hand.
Q11. If you had three apples and four oranges in one hand and
four apples and three oranges in other hand, what would you have?
Very large hands.
Q12. If it took eight men ten hours to build a wall, how long
would it take four men to build it?
No time at all, the wall is already built.
Q13. How can you drop a raw egg onto a concrete floor without cracking it?
Any way you want, concrete floors are very hard to crack.

Spread some laughter, share the cheer. Enjoy the last week of Februar,2019.

Let’s be happy, while we’re here!

Blessings,
Carole Kanchier, PhD

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Be a Quester: Develop a Visionary Mindset

We live in a world that is changing faster than we as humans can currently internalize. We’re on the cusp of an exponential growth curve leading to a future that we may not even recognize. To succeed, we must develop visionary mindsets.

A visionary is someone who thinks about the future or advancements in creative and imaginative ways. Visionaries have strong, original ideas about how things might be different in the future, especially about how things might be improved. They often fight conventional wisdom because they see the world ahead in terms of what it can be.  They have been called change makers, innovators, thought leaders, and Questers.

Visionaries are the people who invented broadcast television and wireless Internet, who launched astronauts safely into the frigid vacuum of space, and who dreamed up the combustion engine. They’re the people who bridge the gap between the present and the possible.

Throughout humankind’s history, visionaries helped propel society forward. Galileo Galilei, Thomas Edison, Howard Hughes, Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos (of Amazon), and Elon Musk (of Space X and Tesla Mot’ors) envision(ed) “the next big thing.”

Quite often, these innovators finish one groundbreaking project and move on to another. They work diligently to complete projects, and are not afraid to fail.

Sir Richard Branson started his first business as a teen, and soon made a fortune by starting a mail-order record business that evolved into the Virgin Records label. He also launched Virgin Atlantic Airways, and then Virgin Mobile. Branson’s newest venture, Virgin Galactic, is a private commercial spaceflight project that hopes to offer flights to space tourists aboard SpaceShip Two.

Visionaries articulate coherent ideas because their dreams express their core values. According to psychologist, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, visionaries usually first embark on a self-discovery journey to create a vision with an “authentic soul.”

Quester visionaries share the important attributes of courage, daring, confidence and a stubborn devotion to an idea. They fight, disrupt, risk, push boundaries to change the way we experience the world. They are comfortable operating at the edge of chaos and ambiguity. They ask questions, think in nonlinear ways, and have social obligation, a sense of purpose, built around “doing well by doing good.”

Questers, representing varied disciplines, must also be tough enough to bear up under intense public scrutiny, and continuously learn, grow, and contribute to humankind.

Elon Musk demonstrated tremendous courage and conviction when he invested nearly everything he had in SpaceX and Tesla.” Mr. Musk directs the development and manufacturing of advanced rockets and spacecraft with the aim of creating a self-sustaining city on Mars, among other things.

Antoni Ribas, a respected medical visionary and Director of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy and professor at University of California-Los Angeles, is renowned for his pioneering research into immunotherapy and empathetic bedside manner.

Today’s visionaries don’t rest on their laurels, and are not dragged down by failures. They learn from experiences and continue to move forward. They’re confident, take risks, and assert themselves.

Tips for developing a visionary mindset

Strengthen Quester skills. Questers, growth-oriented individuals with a sense or purpose, confidence, resilience, perseverance, and will to risk, are redefining how we look at careers and work. Questers are described in award winning Questers Dare to Change Your Job and Life:https://www.amazon.com/Questers-Dare-Change-Your-Life/dp/1508408963. Take the quester quiz: http://www.questersdaretochange.com/services-2/quester-quiz/

Adopt the perspective of an outsider. Develop new ways of thinking about your organization.  Connect disparate ideas. Reapply an existing technology into a completely new context. Connect different concepts, thoughts and theories to produce ground-breaking solutions.

Cultivate meaningful relationships. Believe in yourself; others will be willing to believe in your vision as well. Good relationships emerge from trust which is strengthened by personal example. Visionaries are genuine, approachable, open to suggestions, and trust and value others’ opinions. They demonstrate teamwork, honor commitments, and hold themselves accountable. They often resolve problems collaboratively, working together face-to-face or in online workspaces with a focus on attaining desired outcomes.

Challenge yourself. ’Consider varied ways to resolve problems. Ask, “why not?” to develop “out of the box” solutions for problem resolution.

– Think synergistically. Synergistic thinking is a four-factor approach to learning/remembering. It strengthens learning by incorporating powerfully visual, emotional, and physical accelerators grounded in the power of analogy and association. This enables us to dig into new ideas and develop new solutions to old problems.

Develop critical thinking skills. Obtain needed background and supportive information. Ask questions, identify problems and solutions. Interpret according to a framework relating theory to practice. Support a claim using evidence, linking ideas, comparing and contrasting.

Develop technical skills. These practical skills often relate to mechanical, information technology, mathematical, or scientific tasks. Examples include knowledge of programming languages, mechanical equipment, or tools. Although technology can do a lot of things, it still can’t think 100 percent like a human being.

Trust and value intuition. Intend to develop it. Set aside time for quiet contemplation daily. Relax and calm the mind through such techniques as meditation. Attend to both internal and environmental cues. Release negative thoughts and feelings. Practice intuitive problem solving skills such as asking dreams for guidance, doodling, and journaling.

Enhance problem-solving skills. Define the problem and get all the needed information. Using both intellect and intuition, describe the problem in terms of what, where, when, how, with whom, and why. Brainstorm alternative solutions without restrictions or judgment. Surround yourself with diverse stimuli. Engage all senses. For example, talk, sing, listen, and encourage ideas to flow.

Strengthen creativity. Approach the problem from a different vantage point. Listen, without judgment, to others’ ideas or suggestions. Ask for feedback from people with different backgrounds. Avoid negativity. View your work from different perspectives. What would happen if you shrink, enlarge, or change its shape?

Acquire knowledge and strategies from varied disciplines. As future cultures and economies become further intertwined, it’s important to integrate information and strategies from diverse sources.

Award winning, Questers Dare to Change Your Job and Life, by Dr. Carole Kanchier, offers additional tips to develop a visionary mindset and other winning Quester traits: https://www.amazon.com/Questers-Dare-Change-Your-Life/dp/1508408963; www.questersdaretochange.com

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– Know self and job target.

– Prepare elevator speech.

– Build online professional profile; network at business and social events.

Award-winning, Questers Dare to Change Your Job and Life, provides more tips for advancing life career: https://www.amazon.com/Questers-Dare-Change-Your-Life/dp/1508408963

 

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How to Decide Which Company is Right for You
An important, but often overlooked factor in career decision making, is clarifying the kind of company and industry you would like to work for.

Brad has just been offered two great jobs in the financial industry, but doesn’t know which one to select. In particular, he does not know what organization would best fit his needs, values, and goals.

To research companies, use the internet, library, professional and trade groups as well as your networks. Useful government directories include the Occupational Outlook Handbook and The Dictionary of Occupational Titles.

Talk to professionals in the organizations you are considering to obtain an insider’s perspective, and get information from industry professionals.

Ask questions during job interviews. Appropriate questions will enable you to get information to evaluate the job and company. Good questions can also strengthen your position as a knowledgeable employee and demonstrate contributions you can make.

Inquire how the position had been performed previously, and what happened to the last person in the job. Know what’s expected of you, the first issues that need attention, and how quickly you’ll be expected to work up to speed. Be positive, direct, sensitive, and alert to the feelings and reactions of the interviewees. Evasive, hostile, or defensive responses may signal a problem.

Request meetings with prospective co-workers and superiors. Ask them about their job descriptions, and advantages and disadvantages of working with the organization. Try to determine the pecking order and potential challenges you may have when working with certain superiors or subordinates.

After you’ve gathered information about several companies, evaluate each from 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest, on each of the following criteria.

Evaluating company-worker fit

Organization mission and values. Note the organization’s mission statement, ethics, values and culture. Observe whether the organization is committed to it’s mission and values. Identify the management philosophy and style, and whether it uses formal or informal lines of authority. Recognize the organization’s communication network and whether it supports creativity and intelligent risk-taking. Determine whether it’s concerned about employee safety and well-being. Note whether the company promotes from within, and is committed to diversity.

Organization performance. Pay attention to the organization’s financial and market strength. Note the company’s standing in the field or industry, its growth prospects, challenges faced by the organization and impending changes

Nature of work. Understand the value of your job to the company. Clarify your responsibilities, level of accountability and scope of authority. Know whether the company will adapt duties to maximize your strengths, preferences and goals. Determine whether the job fits your interests, skills and needs such as challenge, variety, growth, and achievement.

Work environment. Note the company’s physical setting, overall appearance. Recognize the political environment, staff morale, types of employees and those who get ahead. Find out about potential conflicting agendas, who could support you and who could feel threatened. Determine your comfort level with such things as the organization’s size and dress code. Notice your gut reaction to the people and environment.

Professional development. Identify professional development resources. Note in-house and external training, reimbursement for off-site training, coaching and networking, advancement opportunities and potential career paths. Determine by whom and on what terms your performance will be evaluated. Assess your compatibility with your prospective boss, and identify potential projects which could benefit from your strengths.

Salary. Know the degree to which your potential income is consistent with the marketplace and organizational responsibilities. Clarify your starting salary, frequency of salary reviews, potential income in five years, and opportunities to attain raises for superior performance. Also consider variable pay, additional cash compensation for contributing to the organizations; performance. This includes bonuses, sales commissions, profit sharing and stock options.

Benefits. Know potential vacation time, sick days and retirement plan. Understand the kinds of protection you’d receive for time off due to illness or family problems. Note when the coverage would begin, how much you’ll receive, and for how long.

Work-life balance. Identify the degree to which the organization’s values, programs, and practices match your needs, values and goals. Note expectations regarding night or weekend work, travel required, commute time, technical and clerical assistance, travel and entertainment expenses, flexible work schedules, telecommuting options, and child cares assistance.

Which company that you applied the above criteria to, attained the most points? What is your intuition telling you?

Don’t take a job you won’t enjoy for security, work for someone you don’t respect, produce or sell goods or services you don’t like, or take a job that has poor people chemistry.

Questers Dare to Change Your Job and Life, by Carole Kanchier, describes additional factors to consider when evaluating worker-company fit. https://www.amazon.com/Questers-Dare-Change-Your-Life/dp/1508408963

Contact: Carole@questersdaretochange.com; www.questersdaretochange.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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How to Decide Which Company is Right for You
Brad has just been offered two great jobs in the financial industry, but doesn’t know which one to select. In particular, he does not know what organization would best fit his needs, values, and goals.

An important, but often overlooked factor in career decision making, is clarifying the kind of company and industry you would like to work for.

To research companies, use the internet, library, professional and trade groups as well as your networks. Useful government directories include the Occupational Outlook Handbook and The Dictionary of Occupational Titles.

Talk to professionals in the organizations you are considering to obtain an insider’s perspective, and get information from industry professionals.

Ask questions during job interviews. Appropriate questions will enable you to get information to evaluate the job and company. Good questions can also strengthen your position as a knowledgeable employee and demonstrate contributions you can make.

Inquire how the position had been performed previously, and what happened to the last person in the job. Know what’s expected of you, the first issues that need attention, and how quickly you’ll be expected to work up to speed. Be positive, direct, sensitive, and alert to the feelings and reactions of the interviewees. Evasive, hostile, or defensive responses may signal a problem.

Request meetings with prospective co-workers and superiors. Ask them about their job descriptions, and advantages and disadvantages of working with the organization. Try to determine the pecking order and potential challenges you may have when working with certain superiors or subordinates.

After you’ve gathered information about several companies, evaluate each from 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest, on each of the following criteria.

Evaluating company-worker fit

  1. Organization mission and values. Note the organization’s mission statement, ethics, values and culture. Observe whether the organization is committed to it’s mission and values. Identify the management philosophy and style, and whether it uses formal or informal lines of authority. Recognize the organization’s communication network and whether it supports creativity and intelligent risk-taking. Determine whether it’s concerned about employee safety and well-being. Note whether the company promotes from within, and is committed to diversity
  2. Organization performance. Pay attention to the organization’s financial and market strength. Note the company’s standing in the field or industry, its growth prospects, challenges faced by the organization and impending changes.
  3. Nature of work. Understand the value of your job to the company. Clarify your responsibilities, level of accountability and scope of authority. Know whether the company will adapt duties to maximize your strengths, preferences and goals. Determine whether the job fits your interests, skills and needs such as challenge, variety, growth, and achievement.
  4. Work environment. Note the company’s physical setting, overall appearance. Recognize the political environment, staff morale, types of employees and those who get ahead. Find out about potential conflicting agendas, who could support you and who could feel threatened. Determine your comfort level with such things as the organization’s size and dress code. Notice your gut reaction to the people and environment.
  5. Professional development. Identify professional development resources. Note in-house and external training, reimbursement for off-site training, coaching and networking, advancement opportunities and potential career paths. Determine by whom and on what terms your performance will be evaluated. Assess your compatibility with your prospective boss, and identify potential projects which could benefit from your strengths.
  6. Salary. Know the degree to which your potential income is consistent with the marketplace and organizational responsibilities. Clarify your starting salary, frequency of salary reviews, potential income in five years, and opportunities to attain raises for superior performance. Also consider variable pay, additional cash compensation for contributing to the organizations; performance. This includes bonuses, sales commissions, profit sharing and stock options.
  7. Benefits. Know potential vacation time, sick days and retirement plan. Understand the kinds of protection you’d receive for time off due to illness or family problems. Note when the coverage would begin, how much you’ll receive, and for how long.
  8. Work-life balance. Identify the degree to which the organization’s values, programs, and practices match your needs, values and goals. Note expectations regarding night or weekend work, travel required, commute time, technical and clerical assistance, travel and entertainment expenses, flexible work schedules, telecommuting options, and child cares assistance.

Which company that you applied the above criteria to, attained the most points? What is your intuition telling you?

Don’t take a job you won’t enjoy for security, work for someone you don’t respect, produce or sell goods or services you don’t like, or take a job that has poor people chemistry.

Questers Dare to Change Your Job and Life, by Carole Kanchier, describes additional factors to consider when evaluating worker-company fit. https://www.amazon.com/Questers-Dare-Change-Your-Life/dp/1508408963
Contact: Carole@questersdaretochange.com; www.questersdaretochange.com

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Do you take control of your own career?  Or, do you wait for others to make your career decisions?

How Autonomous Are You?
Answer “yes” or “no.”

1. I often do things I don’t want to do at work.
2. I accept responsibility for the work I do.
3. I’m usually self-reliant at work.
4. I perform tasks required in my job description.
5. I have little influence over things that happen to me at work.
6. I can usually plan my work day.
7. I don’t overly concern myself with what co-workers think of me.
8. I don’t always attend out of office social engagements because some co-workers suggest this.
9. I prefer work where I’m not closely supervised.
10. Getting a good job depends on the right breaks.
11. I need freedom to perform job tasks my own way.
12. I don’t like working under strict rules.
13. My beliefs aren’t influenced by others.
14. My successes are the result of hard work, determination and ability.
15. I often worry whether others will approve of my decisions.

Scoring: One point for each “no” to statements 1, 5, 10 and 15; and one for each “yes” to all others.

11 or higher: You are your own person. You believe you’re in charge of your destiny and seldom blame others for bad experiences. You make your own decisions and, if necessary, swim against the tide.

6  to 10: You may be overly concerned with others’ opinions or status. Are these controlling your life? Review your responses and identify at least one change you can make.

5 or lower: You may believe that what happens to you is determined by others, fate or chance. You’re influenced by pressure from others and may lack clear goals. Are you settling for less than you deserve?

Put more faith in your own ability to make good things happen. Try some of the suggestions below.

Enhancing Autonomy

– Know and accept yourself.
Let go of old ideas about who you should be. Own your successes. In a notebook or on the computer, list all your accomplishments in prior jobs, school, community or home endeavors. Recall enjoyable activities. These are the result of your efforts and abilities, not chance.

Recognize you do have options. Testing your options may mean tradeoffs, but usually they’re worth the inconvenience. You can create your desired work and lifestyle. You can get your ideal job, study, travel, establish a business, restructure your current position, or pursue volunteer activities that give you a sense of meaning, purpose, accomplishment and confidence.

– Confront fears. Accept the fact that you’re afraid. Don’t fight it. Identify your fears. What’s stopping you from pursing your desired career goal? Is it fear of failing? not knowing what to expect? inability to afford material comforts? other?

FEAR stands for False Expectations Appear Real. Live in the present. Don’t worry about what might happen. Instead, research your goal, then develop an action plan to minimize setbacks and attain desired goal.

Let go of “attachments.” The more attached you are to something, the greater the fear of losing it. Ask yourself, “What do I need to let go of?” “Why am I afraid?” “What’s the worst thing that can happen if I let go?” “How can I minimize this?”

Challenge irrational beliefs. State negative predictions (“I’ll make a fool of myself if I speak out at staff meetings.”), then devise ways to test them (Say something at the next meeting). Now develop a way to measure the outcome (Notice how people are reacting). Finally, draw a conclusion (“I can speak out, and people are listening to what I say.”) In a notebook, keep a record of irrational thoughts and devise ways to challenge their validity.

Think for yourself.  Don’t echo others’ opinions. Say what you mean and want. Just because others have opinions doesn’t mean yours aren’t valid. Make your own decisions. There are few wrong decisions, just different results.

Becoming more autonomous takes time and practice. But you’ll feel good about yourself. You’ll become more efficient, confident and assertive. You’ll have more choices, more strength, and greater control of your career — and life.

 

Questers, described in Questers Dare to Change Your Job and Life, by Carole Kanchier, gives numerous other tips to enhance autonomy at work: www.amazon.com/Questers-Dare-Change-Your-Life/dp/1508408963

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Boost Brain Power: Enhance Each Side of Your Brain
 Do you have right or left brain thinking abilities? Or do you use both sides equally well? Although we use both hemispheres, scientists suggest we have preferences or strengths for one or the other.

 

To be competitive in today’s job market we must develop both creative and analytical thinking styles.

Analytical and creative problem solving abilities rely on different skill sets. Sometimes the difference is described in terms of left-brain or analytical, and right brain or creative thinking.

Analytical thinking means to examine, or think about, the different parts or details of something in order to understand or explain it better, or to work logically and systematically to resolve an issue. In contrast, creative thinking describes cognitive processes that lead to ideas, solutions, concepts, artistic forms, theories or new products. Below are suggestions for enhancing each side of your brain

Boost creative, right brain thinking abilities

– Choose another angle. Approach the project from a different vantage point. Become more open-minded. Listen, without judgment, to others’ ideas or suggestions.  Ask for feedback from people with different backgrounds.

View your work differently.  What would happen if you shrink, enlarge or change its shape? Add or subtract something? What positive, new perspective can you bring?

– Brainstorm. Work with a team. Without restrictions or judgment, encourage ideas to flow. Use “igniter phrases” such as “That’s great.” Avoid “killer phrases” such as “It won’t work.” Don’t display subtle disapproval such as raised eyebrows. Alternate private and group work. Individual work generates ideas. Groups then select and act on them.

Active wishing, a type of brainstorming, suggests you articulate needs, desires, opinions or feelings about an issue using action-oriented statements. For example, if you want to solve a challenging task or resolve an issue with a boss, express this in your wish list. Then brainstorm ways to resolve the situation by writing ideas.

Attribute listing. Improve or change the parts or characteristics of a given object, or transfer attributes from one object or situation to another. Objects could come from technology, literature or other cultural aspect.  For example, to get new fashion ideas, view a museum display of historic clothing.

Capture ideas. New ideas are fleeting.  Carry a journal, sketch pad or pocket computer to record insights. Identify settings and times when ideas come easily, such as bed, bath, bus, or cabin.

Challenge yourself. Put yourself in difficult situations in which usual reinforcers won’t work. This encourages you to try behaviors that worked previously. Embrace failure. If properly managed, it can spark creativity.

Broaden education and experience. Continue to acquire knowledge and skills in you field, but also expose yourself to information outside your specialty. Take courses. Read. Surround yourself with diverse stimuli.

Draw or “Doodle.”  Write a question that clearly states what you want to know. Underneath it, draw whatever flows though your hands.  Let your mind roam. Don’t evaluate ideas. Then draw lines with different colored pencils to connect the ideas. Use your intuitive skills to interpret the meaning and symbols in the drawing.  Note the sequence of steps and your thoughts and feelings as you study the drawing.

Strengthen analytical, left-brain thinking abilities

– Research. Investigate relevant information. Pay attention to facts and details. Be precise, accurate.  Make notes ahead of time to ensure you’re gathering appropriate information. Ask questions to learn details.

– Manage time. Value efficiency, competency, meeting deadlines. Follow through on commitments. Write goals, time lines, and strategies on a daily organizer.

Make a “to do” list. Write everything you need to do to daily to achieve goals. Prioritize.

Get up an hour earlier each day to think and plan. This quiet hour, period of interrupted concentration will enable you to think and plan projects with set deadlines.

Solicit suggestions from others before beginning projects. Team up with practical colleagues.

– Set and act on goals. Establish priorities. Write down the precise steps you’ll need to take to achieve your goals. List expected completion dates. Reward yourself for meeting deadlines.

Focus. Commit to fewer projects and complete these.  Ensure all daily activities are related to these goals.

– Clarify the problem. List different resolutions, and gather facts, details.  Chart the consequences of each possibility. List steps involved in each approach.

– Stay objective when making decisions. Don’t make decisions too quickly. Develop a reasonable list of options to pursue, and a timetable in which to research them. Hold yourself accountable for meeting an established quota and/or time frame. Consider all data. Critically evaluate projects or ideas. Use objective analyses to observe results of potential actions.

Take time to think things through, but don’t procrastinate.  Seek feedback from a trusted friend or colleague.

– Structure and plan thoughts. For example, when giving a presentation, know the purpose of your talk, main points and their logical sequence. Give examples or anecdotes reinforcing each point. Identify how you can open the presentation to captivate and involve the audience, and where you can inject humor. Know how to summarize for understanding and remembrance, and action you want the audience to take. Evaluate situations before responding. Then act.

– Adhere to outlines and time limits. Begin projects by asking who, what, where, why when and how. This grounds thinking. Make two lists: one of required job tasks; the second of tasks that can wait. Outline plans and time lines on your calendar. Check it daily. Reward yourself for completing required tasks.

Try using some of the forgoing thinking styles when dealing with work, family or other issues. Consider working with a partner or small group to share ideas and give each other feedback.

Questers Dare to Change Your Job and Life, by Carole Kanchier, offers additional tips for strengthening thinking abilities. https://www.amazon.com/Questers-Dare-Change-Your-Life/dp/1508408963

Contact Carole: carole@questersdaretochange.com; www.questersdaretochange.com

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Are You a Perfectionist Who Procrastinates?

 

Are you reluctant to try new things? Make big plans, but don’t follow through? Tend to be critical of self and others? If so, you may be a perfectionist procrastinator.

Perfectionism and procrastination often go hand-in-hand. Certain characteristics drive perfectionists to delay things. What does this quiz say about you?

Are you a perfectionist procrastinator?
Answer “yes” or “no.”

1. I’m reluctant to try new things.
2. I start working immediately, even on unpleasant tasks.
3. I I tend to be critical of self and others.
4. I enjoy the process as well as the outcome.
5. I see mistakes as opportunities for growing and learning.
6. I make big plans but don’t follow through.
7. If I can’t do it right, there’s no point in doing it.
8. I usually follow through on my plans.
9. I often get caught up in details so don’t have time to finish the project.
10. I put things off until the time, mood or conditions are right.
11. I always complete important jobs with time to spare.
12. I must always be on time and do well.
13. I do not need others to like and approve of me.

Scoring: Three points for each “yes” to statements 2, 4,  5, 8, 11, and 13, and one point each “no” to all the other statements. The higher your score, the fewer perfectionist procrastinator habits you tend to have.

Procrastination is often a symptom of perfectionism. Because perfectionists fear being unable to complete a task perfectly, they put it off as long as possible. Perfectionists also fear that failure will invoke criticism or ridicule either from internal voices or external authorities and peers. The higher the fear of failure and ridicule, the more perfectionists tend to procrastinate.

Procrastination may be easy to spot: Are you working on a company or school project that needs to meet the team deadline, or are you surfing the web, reading Facebook posts, filing papers, or grocery shopping? If you answered yes to the latter, you may be procrastinating.

Conquering perfectionist and procrastination habits

Perfectionist procrastinator habits destroy creativity and productivity, and hinder career advancement. Consider minimizing these habits.
Face fears. Identify the fear. A person trying to find a job over an extended time period may fear rejection. Someone may refuse a promotion because he’s afraid to fail.

Don’t fear mistakes.  Ask yourself, “What’s the worst that could happen?”  Note what you can do to minimize this.  Look upon something new as exciting. If you don’t try, how will know if you can succeed?

Set realistic goals and plan.  Have clear goals that reflect your purpose. Your purpose is your compass that keeps you on the right path. Your goals and plans should flow from your purpose, and daily activities should be guided by these.

Research your goal.  Know helpful resources (people, organizations, printed materials). Outline goals, strategies and time-lines on a paper or electronic organizer. Modify goals as circumstances change.

Manage time. Get up an hour earlier each day to think and plan. Periods of uninterrupted concentration tend to enable you to complete projects within set deadlines.

Review daily work activities over several weeks to identify self-defeating habits and patterns. Do you underestimate time needed for tasks? Identify how you can modify your schedule and tasks.

Make a “to-do” list. Write down everything you need to do to achieve daily goals. Prioritize tasks.

Assess what can be accomplished within a given time frame. Don’t do too much at once. Space tasks. Break big jobs down into manageable tasks. Reward yourself for tasks completed. Allow for the unexpected. Balance demanding tasks with more relaxing ones.

Enhance confidence and optimism. Prepare a list of accomplishments and positive personality characteristics. Post this where you can read it daily.

Think and talk about things you want. Associate with people who believe in you.  Review fortunate experiences in a journal. Note the role belief and hard work played in achieving successes, and strategies used to accomplish results.

Don’t compare yourself with others. Judge your accomplishments against realistic personal standards of excellence. Cultivate the attitude of striving for excellence rather than perfection. Know mistakes are part of learning, excelling, growing.

Measure success by internal standards, rather than by status symbols or material wealth. Learn to enjoy the process of learning, achieving, and mastering. Research demonstrates that accomplished individuals, who regularly win awards, are driven by the effort rather than the result. Knowing you can attain a desired goal, enhances feelings of confidence and pride.

We are born with this need to achieve. Babies and toddlers have it. Like toddlers learning to walk, many achievers fail several times. The lessons they learned from their failures subsequently enabled them to succeed.

Michael Jordan, proclaimed by the National Basketball Association (NBA) as the “greatest player of all time,” said: “I have missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions, I have been entrusted to take the game winning shot…and missed. And I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

Questers Dare to Change Your Job and Life, by Carole Kanchier, offers many other tips for minimizing perfectionist procrastinator traits. https://www.amazon.com/Questers-Dare-Change-Your-Life/dp/1508408963

 

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Learning Resilience in a Changing World

How do you react to unexpected challenges?  Do you rebound from major setbacks stronger than before? Or do you play the victim, blame others?

It’s essential to strengthen resilience to adapt and succeed in changing times.

How resilient are you?
Answer “yes” or “no.”
1. I like trying new ways of doing things.
2. I find it challenging to recover emotionally from losses.
3. I adapt quickly to new situations.
4. I can’t tolerate ambiguous situations.
5. I’m persistent when working on challenging projects.
6. I’m a sequential problem solver.
7. I’m comfortable being myself.
8. I’m cautious.
9. I’m usually non-judgmental about people.

Scoring: One point for each yes to odd-numbered statements, and each no to even numbered statements.
Interpretation: 7 or higher, very resilient; 4 to 6, moderately resilient; 3 or lower, consider suggestions below.

Resilient people thrive on challenge and change. Confident, creative, and growth-oriented, they turn setbacks into opportunities. They use both left-brain and right-brain thinking styles, and maintain optimism during tough times.

Developing Resilience

Resilience is learned. Below are tips for strengthening flexibility.

Look upon something different or unknown as an opportunity to challenge yourself. If you don’t try something new, how will you  find out you can do it? Expect things to work out. View mistakes as learning experiences.

Note what you’ve learned from a negative experience. Indicate how it has made you stronger, wiser. Identify early clues you ignored, and what you’ll do differently.

Detect and dispute inaccurate thoughts and causal beliefs. Are you or your circumstances responsible for your beliefs? Are your beliefs based on fact or fallacy? Why or why not?

Approach problems from different perspectives. Ask for feedback from people with diverse backgrounds. Take things out of their ordinary context and create new patterns for them. Notice the number of ways you can use eggs or milk cartons. Develop a playful, childlike curiosity. Ask questions, experiment.

Build self-confidence. Make a list of everything you like about yourself. Include personal traits and accomplishments. Post this where you can see it.  Set your own standard of excellence. Realize that perfection is an unattainable goal. Accept the ideal as a guideline, not to be attained 100 percent. Work toward improving your performance each time.

Be authentic. Your actions should be consistent with your thoughts and feelings. Don’t succumb to peer or family pressures.

Develop meaningful, supportive relationships. Link up with like-minded people with whom you can share feelings and receive positive feedback and assistance.

Continue to learn. Keep updated on local and international news. Build knowledge in your discipline. Develop critical thinking skills. Ask questions. Compare and contrast, link ideas, and evaluate.

Strengthen intuition and creativity. Set aside time for quiet contemplation. Attend to cues your body and mind are giving. Note bodily sensations (headaches), feelings (fear, excitement), and mental thoughts (ideas that pop into your head). Ask questions you want answered before falling asleep.

Learn to risk. Identify three successful risks you’ve taken. What did you do to make each turn out well?
Take small risks daily.  Experiment with a different hairstyle or food. At work, offer new ways of tackling a problem. Reduce risk by developing back-up plans.

What can you do to strengthen resilience today?

Award winning, Questers Dare to Change Your Job and Life, by Carole Kanchier, offers additional tips to strengthen resilience and other winning Quester traits to succeed: https://www.amazon.com/Questers-Dare-Change-Your-Life/dp/1508408963

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