One Small Change For One Big Improvement

inspirational quotesChange just one thing about the way you think and every area of your life will get better, especially in the area of business and career.

In business we care way too much about what others think of us.

When making really critical career decisions we often look to others for career advice. Others can’t really give you the best advice. They always see things from their own perspective and through the filters of their own fears.

You’d be far better off to quit worrying about others and begin following inspirational career quotes like these.

Instead of worrying about what people say of you, why not spend time trying to accomplish something they will admire. ~ Dale Carnegie

Excuse me Mr. Carnegie but how about one step better than that? Why not accomplish something big instead of simply trying to?

Why should my happiness depend on the thoughts going on in someone else’s head? ~ Emerson

The right answer is – it shouldn’t. What someone else thinks, says or does, really has no bearing on your happiness unless you accept it as your truth.

You are the best the very best judge of what makes you happy.

You are the very best source of wisdom for your own career and life.

You, your thoughts, your choices and your actions determine your results.

There is a special livelihood calling you that you can turn into a business and make it successful because of your unique core makeup and life experience.

Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind. ~ Dr. Seuss

The opinion of others only counts if you decide to make it part of your identity.

Claim your freedom from the tyranny of outside opinion. Declare your freedom today.

Listening To Your Life

I was born in 1950 and country grown, outside of Pittsburgh, where I naturally went deep. The space program was a big deal when I was 12 years old but I can clearly remember it not holding a lick of interest for me.

I was into digging and dirt. I built dams in farmer’s streams. My buddies and I built earthen forts and tried tunneling. One of the best stand-by-me adventures was following a gas line excavation for miles, all day long.

At 12, I took my first job on a farm and my love for gardening grew from there. I worked on the farm for 5 years and loved every bit of it but I especially loved digging up spuds and stacking the wooden crates high in cool, dimly lit storage rooms.

When I was 17, I took a job going deeper into the earth and worked with a backhoe operator installing sewer pipes. I loved carrying those 80 lb. terra cotta sections and jumping in and out of ditches. Can you see the developing theme? Can you see what my life was trying to tell me, even then?

At 19, on summer break from college, I worked as a United Mine Worker in a deep shaft coal mine.

I wasn’t looking for any of these opportunities. They appeared one after the other, as guidance, to write my future life script.

Fast-forward 40 years. Eleven years ago, I was thinking about a name for my new coaching business. I called it Coresight, soon after changed to CoreU. I named it so because I loved getting to the root of deep, messy, emotional issues with my clients and I still do.

Business start up success is always more predicated on an inner game than on the influence of any outside conditions. That’s one reason why every entrepreneur must be able to read his or her own inner landscape.

When I was naming my career coaching company, I hadn’t yet made the connection to those earlier life experiences where I dug going deep so much. It became relevant, years later, when I first read Parker Palmer’s book, Let Your Life Speak.

He proved to me that my soul, my inner wisdom, guidance from the highest and best part of my being has always been trying to nudge me in the direction of my true calling.

But these calling nudges, (like they often are), were not meant to be taken literally but as a metaphor for my life’s work.

Guess what my friend? Your life has been speaking to you as well. Are you listening?

Clients often ask, “Where will the confidence come from for me to make my best career change? Confidence comes from being able to read the signs and follow your life message. You don’t need a past life psychic to guide you. Your life has been giving you real time hints all along.

But you do need to sort out the authentic nudges from all of the “outside-in” messages and I have a way for you to do that. You could write your autobiography using appreciative inquiry.

You can reclaim the wisdom in your life hints by recalling what has worked well for you over the years. If you want a free guide write me and tell me why you think this approach will work for you.

If enough readers are interested, I’ll facilitate a free class on how to interpret your autobiography to see the most telling themes. This approach is one of dozens I use to guide clients to the powerful position of self-understanding and now you can have it for the asking.

It’s all there waiting to guide you and it always has been. Isn’t it time you listened to your own life?

Top Ten Tips For A Confident Career Change

confident career decisionConfidently making a career change comes first from you knowing and believing in yourself. Assured action then kicks in to confirm the  right move for you.  Use these ten tips to move from confused, doubtful and uncertain to enthusiastic confidence.

One framing, bonus tip before we begin.  Career wisdom most often comes in the form of active verbs rather than final professions. Fulfilling work is more about what you’d be doing rather than what you’re called while doing it.

Too many career seekers try too hard to see the end game.  They first try to identify the profession and that’s wrong.  Trying to imagine whether you’d like to be a butcher, baker or candlestick maker is putting the cart before the horse.

I’ve been career coaching for 12 years and here’s a question I ask every potential client.  “If the best career change for you, happens to be creating your own business, are you willing to seize the freedom of self-employment?

Any response less than a strong yes, generally means that a client is either unaware of or doesn’t agree with, one of the following career change truths.   If you’re hesitating with a career change decision, carefully look them over.  You’re solution is to understand and embrace the truth(s) you find yourself resisting the most.

1. The absence of risk often indicates that you’re playing too small. There is no such thing as authentically playing it safe.  You can’t compromise yourself into a fulfilling and successful career change.  Getting real has nothing to do with being realistic and everything to do with self-honor.

2. You can’t see around the bend without getting off your ass.
No matter how good a career decision looks on paper you really won’t know until you step into it.  You can’t see what doors may open until you walk down the hall.  Knowing that truth will allow you to keep your cool, stay present and observe.  Adjusting actions and seizing opportunities as they arise, can make a once shaky decision a brilliant one.

3. Ease into change or make the big leap but don’t straddle. Straddling the fence is painful because it hurts no matter which way you fall.  Change doesn’t have to be a big leap off the cliff.  You don’t have to immediately quit your job and leap.

Entrepreneurship isn’t right for everyone.   You could even begin taking control of your career and advance your professional goals by earning one of these online degrees MBA.  Some of us love the leap and don’t sweat burning bridges.  Others have more of a toe-in-the–water style.  Be who you are.  If you’re naturally an ease in to it person, be that in your change.  You can start small in scope but remain large in authenticity. One way of starting small authentically is to create an authentically inspired product.

4. You really won’t care as much about the money following. Money doesn’t always follow doing what you love.  However, do what you love and fulfillment does follow.  Once you taste fulfilling work you just won’t care about the money as much.  Then a funny thing happens.  Once you’re not so afraid about making money you become more confident. And money does follow confidence.

5. As long as you choose you can’t really lose.
The only way you can make a big mistake is to ignore the longings of your heart and stand pat.  Settling sucks, for a day or a decade.  Don’t waste another day in soulless work. The instant you know in your heart, that you’re unfulfilled, decide to choose another path.

6. Desire = Proof of Capacity.
If you didn’t have what it takes to turn your idea into a business or a fulfilling position – that idea would not have come to you. You are enough.  You have what it takes.  You are more than enough to live the purpose you came here to complete.

7. Quit worrying about looking like you know what you’re doing.

Fear of looking like a fool will keep you from getting what you want.  Egbert Sukop.

Few of us ever do actually know what we’re doing.  But we are remarkable beings in our ability to land on our feet.  Every thought you have about what someone else might think of you is pure bull.  They just don’t care that much.  Start being your own authority this minute. What you think about you is the only thought that counts.

8. Find and follow your enthusiasm. Journal. Observe. Take notes of every appealing idea.  If a certain business or career change appeals to you, dig deeper and identify exactly what you find appealing about it.  Look for and record all themes of enthusiasm; they are valuable signposts.  Your life has been nudging you in the right direction.  Open your eyes and notice the nudges.

9. Be sure to imagine the upside.
So much of change seems to over-emphasize the downside of what might go wrong.  Remember; the reason you’re seeking a career change is to be fulfilled and happy in your work.  Imagine how gloriously delightful it will soon be to bounce out of bed each morning eager to face the day.

10. It’s all about fit, first and foremost. If you are miscast in your work you are out of place.  Out of place means out of authentic alignment with who you are.  Out of alignment means out of luck and good fortune.  Be authentic and make your own luck by understanding your authentic career change elements.

Which tip do you need to embrace the most right now?

Want to discover your right work once and for all?  Contact Tom for an exploratory coaching session to find your career clarity. 

How To Extract Your Best Business Idea

You have powerful points of wisdom within that when expressed could be your authentic edge in the marketplace.  That wisdom represents better business ideas than anything your conscious mind realizes.

We talk a lot about authentic expression in terms of standing up for what’s important and in terms of life purpose but I don’t think we talk enough about our inner wisdom and how to extract it.

When you decide to express your well-earned inner wisdom you set yourself apart in remarkable ways.  It’s your wisdom and no one else can express and exploit it like you can.

Your best idea is waiting just below the surface, buried under your lack of willingness to dig and your fears.

How about instead of waiting for true calling epiphanies you take a look at how to dig deep and extract your own inner wisdom?

 

 

Major Wisdom Extraction Realizations

1). Forced Urgency is like a shortcut because it goes directly to the engagement of wisdom extraction.
2). With Increased Decisiveness you can discover, decide on and develop wisdom much more quickly than imaginable.

Forced Urgency

One of the most practical therapists I’ve ever read is Nathaniel Branden. He’s written classics such as The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem and Taking Responsibility.  One technique that Branden uses to extract wisdom is the technique of Sentence Stem Completion.

When we intensify awareness, we tend to generate a need for action that expresses our changed psychological state.  Nathaniel Branden

By swiftly answering strategically chosen sentence stems, six days in a row, with at least six complete sentence endings, we access resources that normally remain hidden from our consciousness.

Without the exercise this wisdom does not normally show up in our behavior. This powerful technique doesn’t give enough time for self-doubt and questioning so resistance doesn’t rear its ugly head.

If you’d like me to email you complete instructions on this technique ask for them here.

Increased Decisiveness

Resistance adores delay. It will seize any excuse to delay you just long enough so that your original inspiration fades.  Resistance knows that when left to discipline alone you are more likely to give up.

Self-control is exhaustible.  Chip & Dan Heath from their book, Switch: How To Change When Change Is Hard

So if self control (willpower, discipline) is an exhaustible resource, it’s only a matter of time when burning adrenaline alone, you run out of fuel.

What’s the answer?  Increase your speed to action by making decisions much quicker and engaging them much sooner.  In a word, decisiveness.

Surprisingly speed inspires sounder decision-making than careful analysis. When you’re quick about it, the best ideas surface and it’s easier to pick out the viable ideas from among the junk.

We have assumed that taking longer and being more thorough is good for us.  But getting lost in the delay of over-analysis is always more costly than acting decisively and making lots of mistakes.

What’s your experience using forced urgency and greater decisiveness?

Free Business Confidence Podcast

I think it has a lot to do with these three factors.
1). They didn’t go deep and extract their waiting wisdom so the idea was not authentically aligned.
2). They never followed a firm, creation/completion process with supportive structure and environment.
3). They were not able to use discipline and willpower to follow-through.

 

How To Get the Best Career Advice

There’s a source of the best career advice available to you but you don’t trust it.  You don’t trust this outstanding career advice because it doesn’t seem like a valuable, little know secret.  Will you trust a career coach, with 10 years of career coaching experience, if I tell you the secret?  istock_000007706240xsmall

You are the source of your own best career advice.

If you’re confused and troubled about what to do, then you just haven’t asked your higher self or you haven’t believed what you’ve heard.

What if you had a loving, wise Uncle or Aunt whose only agenda was your success and fulfillment?  Would you trust him or her?  Well you have such a loving mentor and he or she is your higher self.

Career success requires bold decisiveness and your higher self can inspire you to action.  But you’ve got to be open to communicating with your all-knowing, higher guidance system within.

It’s all good.

You can’t choose the wrong advice, if you’ve gone to your own well.

It’s all good, means that whatever we choose, the movement gives us fresh perspective, to either progress or adjust.  It’s all good when we choose and act.  It’s seldom good when we hesitate to act.

You are your own best authority.

There are many ways to tell if you’re really getting good career advice by tapping your true source of wisdom.  Consider these symptoms and indicators.

Lower Self Symptoms

1). You wait, hesitate to act and over-think critical decisions.

2). You justify, explain and excuse your lack luster performance.

3). You seldom give it your all.

4). You often focus on past mistakes and future fearful what ifs.

5). You compromise and settle for smaller dreams, often suggested by others.

Higher Self Indicators

1). You more often act and create.

2). You tell more truth than excuses.

3). You bring your “A” game.

4). You are fully aware of the power of now.

5). You are working on a first place dream that brings you alive.

Isn’t it time that you quit playing small?  The world needs your magnificence.

Each day, you have this choice.  You can take your career advice by listening to your higher self and boldly act.  Or you can cringe and hide while listening to your little self or the lower fearful opinions of others.

If we are going to insist on identifying with just the little self in here, then others are going to bruise it, insult it, injure it. The ego, then, is kept in existence by a collection of emotional insults; it carries its personal bruises as the fabric of its very existence. It actively collects, hurts and insults, even while resenting them, because without it’s bruises it would be literally nothing. Ken Wilber

If you want more than you have, you’ve been giving less than you can.

We give less than we could be giving, when we fail to act on higher advice.

Our Higher Self cannot take action.  It cannot make choices.  It can nudge us and guide us and hand us painful lessons, but it cannot “make us” do anything.  Andrea Hess

It takes balls to follow bold career advice.  Often by taking action to build a small business or create unique value, we put ourselves at risk.  So what.

The absence of risk often indicates that we are playing too small.

Quit listening to your fearful, lower, little self.   Playing small serves no one.   Compromises may seem prudent but they’re just fearful hopes lacking passion.

You can find your own best path.   A confident  career coach can hold the light steady and challenge you to play a bigger game.  But you are the source of your own best wisdom.

Do the thing that only you can do.  Go big!

Be who you are.  Who you are is your higher self.  You’re lower self is simply a watered down fearful version conditioned by the collective fears of other small selves.

The opposite of courage in our society is not cowardice, it is conformity.  Rollo May

When times are dark and you pray for help, it’s always good to remember this.  Upon creation you were already given all that you need.  You arrived here equipped for magnificence.  You don’t have to ask for deliverance. You’ve already been delivered.

You’ve simply forgotten how magnificent you really are.  Go within, ask, you’re higher self will show you the way.

 

Clarity Empowers Progress

When we are crystal clear about where we are and where we want to be, we create less stress and more often hit targeted objectives. It’s darn hard to find our true calling when we aren’t willing to be clear and specific about how we want our life’s work to be.

Enhanced efficiency and effectiveness in the quest for authentic work is more prevalent when we are confidently clear about what we want. And I don’t mean being clear about being a butcher, a baker or a candlestick maker. Selecting an already existing profession can be the deadest of ends. I do mean being clear about how we want to feel in the enjoyment of our ideal work.

Don’t Tell Me What You Don’t Want

Most folks when asked what they want, will clearly answer with what they don’t want. They can tell you how unfair their boss is and how uninspiring the work is.

Or they’ll tell you a story about how hard it is to decide on what they really want. Or they’ll try to convince you that the time is not right to dedicate working on what they want. Some will even present a compelling case explaining why it’s not possible for them to get what they want.

Have you ever wondered why so many are so good at explaining all about what they don’t want?

Why do you think so many suck at just saying what it is that they want?
They already hate their job, how much worse could it possibly get?

You Can’t Get There From Here

The clarity of exactness and preciseness increases the probability of intentional manifestation. Maybe that’s what keeps many from choosing. A couple of participants on a recent group coaching call, supporting our community leveraging experiment, admitted as much.

When we definitely state what we want, in stark specificity, we have chosen, haven’t we? Perhaps that’s why folks choose to remain confused and general because you can’t really commit to a generality, can you?

Try dedicating yourself to excellence in vagueness. Yes you can develop the inspired confidence to move mountains but you’ve got to identify the damn mountains! If you don’t commit then you can’t fail but you can’t succeed either. Without clarity and inspired commitment your only choice is to remain safely frozen in whatever waiting hell you’ve created.

You Can Only Get There From Here

The clarity of exactness and preciseness increases the probability of intentional manifestation by creating a living laboratory for evolutionary learning. In succeeding or in failing we see greater openings for opportunity.

Safety is a myth. Certainly more of us are realizing that the only true economic and emotional security is found within self-created opportunities of self-employment. Calling your own shots includes controlling your own firing squad. It’s not pretty when someone else lines you up from dismissal.

What You Can Do Now

You can embrace this lesson and insert greater clarity, decisiveness and specificity into every aspect of your life. Practice being bold and confident; never again ask, “What are you having?” Order what you want in every aspect of life and you will have increased your probability of getting it.

Yes, clarity and specificity forces commitment and that’s a very good thing.

Now I’m going to tell you a little known secret to discovering the work or business of your dreams.

A wild ass guess from the depths of your own gut and heart is far better than any copycat plan designed by another. Career Coach Tom Volkar

How about you? Could you more exactly state what you want?

Career Wisdom for New College Graduates

This is the commencement address you probably won’t hear.

It’s my life’s work to help others find their work life freedom. I believe that work life happiness and work life freedom go hand in hand. In terms of the work choices available to new graduates and their willingness to seize their work life freedom, not a lot has changed in the 35 years since I’ve graduated college.

New graduates with technical skills can generally find higher-paying entry-level employment. But this message is for well-rounded, right–brained, Bachelor of Arts grads – the modern day generalists and renaissance men and women. You are dubiously blessed with many interests and the ability to do a lot of things well. Who you are, what you can do, and the options available to you are what seem to make your employment prospects gloomier.

In 1973, I was you. Much like today, it was a tight job market for new graduates. I had just graduated with a degree in Political Science that I suspected I’d never apply to my actual career. Social unrest and the Vietnam War had soured me on ever working in politics.

I began to look for work. After a few months, my options were between two lousy choices. I could enter the management-training program of a national steakhouse chain, or I could take a self-employed position selling life insurance on straight commission. I often wonder what turns my life may have taken if I had chosen differently? I was young and ignorant, yet I accepted the insurance opportunity simply because of the work life freedom it offered. As long as I sold enough, no one told me what to do or where to go – and I found that deeply appealing. I made an important decision based on what I valued, even if I wasn’t even aware of the concept of values until much later in life.

That’s my point. Even though you may be unaware of it – your life is speaking to you right now. Are you listening? To do so, you’ll need to tune out all the chatter of well-meaning folks who want you to conform and take the best job you can get. But is a job really right for you? At what price will you compromise your freedom and your happiness?

If you are one of those uncertain renaissance folks, I want you to know that you are truly more fortunate because you don’t exactly fit any existing employment positions. I know this can be a very scary time for you. Many of you feel that getting a job means growing up and surrendering your freedom. Well, you’re right about that. I can understand your hesitation; who in their right mind voluntarily surrenders their freedom?

I also understand that a lot of fear around the lack of money comes into play in all of your decisions. You may need to temporarily put your dreams on the side burner while you create a small financial reserve. But even if you go for a job for only financial reasons, allow your heart and soul to have some say in the decision. Every choice you make has consequences. Even some for-the-money-only jobs are better for you than others.

I’ve seen a lot after 10 years of work life happiness coaching. I’d like you to consider this. What if you didn’t have to give up your freedom? What if you could be paid well just for being yourself? Would that be appealing? What would you do if you knew, beyond any doubt, that the following three statements were true and would turn out to be true for you?

1. Even now your life is trying to speak to you through your available options. It may be hard to get your attention, but somewhere among your options is a choice that will ultimately serve you well because it will put you on the path that is a better fit for who you are. It’s your duty to choose the option that will make you feel most alive.

2. It’s more likely that you’ll find your work life happiness and freedom in a self-employed opportunity of your own creation than in the higher paying, but much more restricted, life of an employee. Your parents and most everyone else will want you to be cautious and go for the steady, more stable financial situation. This will calm their fears, but they aren’t the ones who could end up slaving away in uninspired work for the next 35-40 years. You are. It’s your life and your choice.

3. You may not think that you have what it takes to be your own boss own right now, but your suitability to life and work will increase sooner by boldly claiming your freedom now. The longer you wait to be the person you really are, the more difficult it will be to choose what makes you happy. Even if you miss badly, the experience of going for it will ultimately pay off for you.

Life is challenging. However, by being genuine and by making authentic choices, we get more competent at living. Meeting challenges, and not just going through the motions, is the only kind of life worth living.

“Self-esteem fully realized is the experience that we are appropriate to life and to the requirements of life. To trust one’s mind and know that one is worthy of happiness is the essence of self-esteem.” Nathaniel Branden

You are worthy. You are capable. Who you are is enough to create a life of freedom and happiness. Get started today. You can be true to yourself now or you can believe in the “make money first” myth and hire a career coach like me after two decades of uninspired living. The choice is yours. It’s your life. Be happy now.

10 Raw Truths about Finding Your True Calling

  1. Some are born with such a compelling drive that their true calling surfaces early and they pursue it their entire lives. For others, it may take decades of active pursuit.

  2. We complicate the process way too much because of our fears. It can be far easier than we make it.
  3. No one will have all the answers for you. But I do have many of the questions, as well as methods that work for some people.
  4. Ultimately you’ll have to trust and follow your own gut.
  5. Fear of making mistakes will keep you from exploring and experimenting. Without experimentation and exploration, you may never stumble upon your own gold.
  6. We care way too much about what others think. The joke is they don’t really think about us – they are too concerned caring about what others think of them.
  7. We worry about security yet the only real security comes from following one’s own true path.
  8. Any movement works. Movement changes our perspective. And when we change our perspective, we can see possibilities that we were once blind to.
  9. It’s up to you my friend. No one cares about you as much as you do. It’s your responsibility and your reward. How sweet it is.
  10. There’s no “right time” to begin. And waiting is never the right time.

Stumble It! Stumble It!