How did I get here?

I was thinking today about how quickly life slips through our fingers. One moment we’re in school then suddenly we’re out in the world, studying, getting our first job and doing all the ‘adult things’ we were longing for.

But, often there comes a moment when we realise the adult life we were told to work for, isn’t quite what we want. And that throws everything up in the air because we don’t know what to do next.

There is a great line in the song, Once in a Lifetime by Talking Heads, where the singer asks “How did I get here?” The song tells of looking at your life and knowing it looks great on the surface but it has no meaning.

Without meaning in our life, why live it?

For me, meaning comes from doing what I know I’m here to do. Part of that involves constantly unthreading the blocks and beliefs that hold me back so I can step more fully into my purpose.

Even if you don’t know what your purpose is yet, look for the things that feel meaningful for you, then do more of that. It doesn’t have to look sexy to someone else. It doesn’t need to make world headlines or meet the approval of a single other person. It only needs to have meaning for you.

If you’re doubting your direction, go back and pick up those things that have meaning for you. In doing so, you will reconnect to what your Soul is longing for. And that is far more valuable than any prescribed ‘adult’ path.

What’s behind the door in front of you?

What’s behind the door in front of you?

Friends have been reaching out for guidance over the last couple of days as they face challenges with their business. The Universe is making it increasingly difficult for them to do things the way they have in the past. 

They are being asked to open a new door and walk through it. But their minds do not want to go! As a result, they are experiencing a lot of stress, anxiety, anger and confusion. This is a very normal response.

I often think that human beings are genetically geared to learn our lessons the hard way. Certainly, the biggest lessons I’ve learned haven’t arrived with ease and grace – they have arrived with disruption and discomfort.

We are still in the midst of the ‘letting go’ of 2020. Covid-19 is challenging us to sit still more, question more and want more for ourselves.

Collectively, there is an energy encouraging us to reach for what we want rather than what we think we can get. But in order to grab hold of those new things, we must let go of much of the old.

And if you want some help to see the way forward, please reach out. A Channelled Directions Sessions will help you cut through the confusion and see the opportunities you are too close to see. I would be honoured to help shine a light on the road ahead so you can move forward with more ease and joy.

Are you picking up everyone else’s stress at work?

Are you picking up everyone else’s stress at work?

I’ve worked in a few high-pressure projects over the years where it was imperative that you do your job well and you put in all the hours you need to get it done. I can’t say they were always enjoyable roles but I certainly learned a lot about myself and other people in the process. And for that I am profoundly grateful because I have grown exponentially as a result.

In those kinds of environments, people who are energetically sensitive and empathic (yes, you can definitely count me in this group) but unaware of how they respond to energy can often experience ill effects but be unaware of the true cause. This can lead to even more heightened stress, emotional responses, tears, anger and dysfunctional teams in already challenging workplaces.

Energetically sensitive people frequently feel the emotions of others keenly and when they couple that with the challenge of managing their own stress levels (and sometimes, perfectionist people-pleasing tendencies), it can become very messy indeed. After all, if you know the people around you are in pain and you’re in pain too, how can you find a way through?

It is important to understand how to manage your sensitivity in these environments so you can buffer out the energetic turbulence of others and keep yourself in balance. If you are consumed by their stuff you won’t be able to deal with your own or, in the end, provide any useful assistance. I understand this is often easier said than done and I am not suggesting you need to become some cold-hearted robot. But if you’re going to do more than just survive in these environments and you want to be there because you feel it is part of your calling, then you will need to do things differently.

So, where do you start?

Begin to notice how you respond to the energy of the people around you. Does being around someone make you feel less or more stressed. Can you somehow know when they are upset or anxious or happy? Notice how that feels in your body and in your emotional state.

As you do this, you will be raising your awareness and becoming more conscious of how energy works for you. Keep in mind, that other people aren’t responsible for your response to their energy, you are simply picking it up because that is one of your gifts.

When you are sensitive in this way, other people’s energy can wreak havoc on your internal state of being. So how can you manage that?

One of the most useful and simple techniques I have learned (and now teach to my clients) is as follows. If you find yourself feeling overcome by emotions that don’t feel quite right, ask yourself, “Is this mine or someone else’s?” Trust the answer that comes up for you intuitively. Don’t question it, just accept it. And if the answer is, “It’s someone else’s” then simply acknowledge that and say to yourself, “Okay, I’m letting that go and releasing it”. You don’t need to know who it belongs to or why it exists. Just let it go.

This simple practice will help you begin to understand and manage your own energy more effectively and in healthier ways for you.

Of course, there is much more complexity to this topic. Energetic sensitivity is a multi-layered gift that shows up in a multitude of ways. But this practice is a great first step towards helping you to harness your gift so you can live the fullest expression of you and not become a burned out mess in tough work environments.

Top five tips for LinkedIn

Top five tips for LinkedIn

Many people seem to get a bit lost with LinkedIn because they’re not sure how or why they should use it. Sometimes people will only create a partial profile then leave it for months or years on end.

LinkedIn is becoming an increasingly powerful network-building tool because it’s your professional profile online. Think about it for a second. Would you want a dodgy dating profile if you were trying to attract the next love of your life? Of course not.

Your profile will allow employers who’ve never met you to gain a feel for your experience and expertise. I’ve had numerous friends and clients tell me they’ve been head-hunted by someone who saw their LinkedIn profile.

So you can see it’s important.

Here are my top five tips for LinkedIn.

  • A strong summary. A strong summary of your skills and expertise is vital for your LinkedIn profile. This is the section where you can really grab someone’s attention so make sure you include details about what you’re passionate about. For example, if you’re committed to creating a world where environmentally sustainable practices are implemented across the XXXX industry, then make sure you include that information. These types of details will help employers see that your personal passions are aligned with those of the company.
  • Brief but powerful role descriptions. Make sure you include the position name, organisation and dates for each place of employment. Also provide two-three sentences (maximum) that summarise your responsibilities in each role. Remember, do not simply copy and paste the contents of your position description here. You need to provide a more personal perspective about what you contributed.
  • Highlight a few key achievements for each role. Include your key achievements for each role and ensure these highlight your specific contributions rather than those of your team. It’s helpful to focus on key actions and outcomes in this section. Three-five points are adequate.
  • Connect, connect, connect. Make it a habit to connect with the people you talk to meetings and other professional situations. This will expand your network and enable your new connections to learn more about you and your skill-set (they will invariably peruse your profile).
  • Comment. LinkedIn is a place to get to know the employers and people you’d like to work with in the future. It’s also the place to let people know what you’re interested in. So log on once a week (at least!) and comment, like or share the posts about the issues you’re interested in. This activity will raise your profile and help you keep up-to-date with trending issues, new research and emerging practices.

If you found this information helpful, don’t forget to check out this week’s post by Bec Smith, Personal Stylist on creating the perfectly styled photograph for your LinkedIn profile. It’s part of our weekly Monday series called Revamp your Career.

If you need help with your resume or styling for the workplace, Bec and I are offering 10% off Resume Revamp and Styling Packages until 30 September 2016. We’d love to hear from you.

How to get your first job after university

How to get your first job after university

Looking for your first job after university can be a nerve-wracking experience. There’s hundreds of other students just like you, possibly looking at the same jobs, at the same time. You’ll probably ask yourself, ‘How can I stand out from the crowd?’

After four years teaching at university and working alongside students going through this transition, I’ve learned that many just don’t play to their strengths when applying for that all-important first job. So here are my top five tips to help you get your foot in the door.

  1. Internships and unpaid work experience

If your industry or profession provides opportunities for internships or unpaid work experience while you’re studying then make sure you take advantage of those opportunities. It might be difficult to juggle this with your paid work, studies and the rest of your life but I promise you it will be worth it. In today’s competitive market, employers are looking for graduates who can hit the ground running with practical skills. Internships and work experience in the ‘real world’ will give you an edge.

I’d also recommend that you complete this work for a diverse range of organisations. This will increase your flexibility, skill set and provide you with a broader perspective on the opportunities available in your industry. This is a time to keep your mind open and not restrict yourself.

Once you get an internship or an unpaid position, give it everything you can. Go the extra mile. Show up early, work your backside off and be a sponge – i.e. listen, listen, listen. Then ask questions. If you impress your employer then they’re more likely to consider you for a paid position or recommend you to others.

  1. Talk to people

A lot of people like to throw the word ‘networking’ around. But to me that seems like such a shallow term and very inauthentic. Instead, I recommend that you talk to people. If your industry runs social events, attend them. If there’s a professional association you can join, then join up and attend the events. Talk to your lectures and tutors about their experiences.

I’d also recommend that you’re always, always yourself. Be your fabulous and genuine self whenever you talk to people. Get to know them and share a little bit about yourself, where you want to go and what you want to contribute. Pretending to be someone you’re not because you want to impress is just not sustainable. Be you.

By talking to people you will learn more about your profession and the people who work in it. And they will learn about you. It’s a win-win situation that will help you to build connections and learn about unadvertised opportunities.

  1. Develop an awesome resume

Make sure your resume looks professional and don’t lie about what you can do because you will be found out eventually. I’d also recommend including all your relevant volunteer, internship or work experience.

I often see students place little or no value on their part-time jobs when they write their resume. But this is a mistake. I promise there will be elements in your part-time work that are relevant to your first professional job. For example, if you work in a call centre doing customer service then you are using systems, managing confidential information, negotiating and trouble-shooting with customers, and demonstrating your capacity to work flexible hours. It’s all about breaking down the actual tasks in your part-time role and understanding how these can be used in your next role.

Your resume should briefly summarise each of your previous roles and highlight your achievements.

  1. Make your cover letter count

When you see a job you want, read the key points carefully and make sure you address all of them in your cover letter/application. You will need to include examples of when you have demonstrated the skills they’ve highlighted. Be specific and succinct. A good cover letter is tailored to meet the specified requirements of the role. Try to use the key terms they’ve used in the advertisement in your letter/application as this will signpost relevant information for the employer.

  1. Apply for jobs you actually want

It can be easy to get a little panicky and simply apply for any job you see, even the ones you’re not really interested in and not really qualified for. This approach is not helpful and will simply mean you waste a lot of energy focusing on the wrong things.

Instead, consider and research the organisations you’d like to work for and the types of roles you’re interested in. Then realistically assess your current skills and experience and apply for the jobs you actually want. Don’t be afraid to start at the bottom (that’s where you’ll learn the most). I’d also recommend calling the organisations you’re interested in even if they don’t currently have positions advertised. This will enable you to make personal contact with potential employers, demonstrate your interest and help you to gain information about their recruitment processes and expectations.

If you found this information helpful, don’t forget to check out this week’s post by Bec Smith, Personal Stylist on getting through your first work week in style. It’s part of our weekly Monday series called Revamp your Career.

If you need help with your resume or styling for the workplace, Bec and I are offering 10% off Resume Revamp and Styling Packages until 30 September 2016. We’d love to hear from you.

Top Five Interview Tips

Top Five Interview Tips

You’ve applied for that dream job and your moment to shine is in two days…the interview. Now it’s time to prepare. Here are my top five tips for making the best first impression.

  1. Learn everything you can about the organisation, its key staff and clients (i.e. make Google your friend). This information will enable you to provide insightful answers and help you to ask well-informed questions during the interview.
  2. Brainstorm the top 10 questions you might be asked, then practise your responses. Also make sure you are prepared to succinctly and eloquently discuss and present (when necessary) relevant work examples from your previous roles. Your responses should outline your particular skills and achievements (i.e. you may have worked in a team but you need to highlight what you specifically contributed).
  3. Prepare two or three questions in advance that will demonstrate your understanding of the role and the organisation (see tip 1). This is where you can also learn more about particular aspects of the business you are interested in.
  4. Arrive 15 minutes early and be dress appropriately (see today’s post by Bec Smith, The Personal Stylist’s on dressing to impress). Running late will make you look unprofessional and will stress you out. Make sure you check public transport and/or parking details, arrange your outfit and collate any relevant paperwork or electronic files the day before your interview. Also ensure your phone is turned off before you enter the building.
  5. Make a good first impression. Greet each panel member by name, shake his/her hand firmly and maintain good eye contact. Remember, this is your chance to shine so be confident, friendly and relaxed. Also ensure that everyone you meet (from the receptionist to the panel members) can tell you have a positive attitude and are excited about the opportunity work for the organisation.

Don’t forget to check out today’s post by Bec Smith, The Personal Stylist on What to Wear to Your Next Job Interview (part of our collaborative weekly Revamp Your Career series). #10%offResumeRevamp&StylingPackagesuntil30Sept2016

Next week’s Revamp Your Career post will focus on getting that important first job when you graduate from university.