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Category: Career Advice

5 Keys to Rising Strong in a New Job

new job

For a moment, I’d like you to paint a vivid picture in your mind’s eye. Imagine that you’ve just survived a grueling interview process for a fantastic job. Everyone loved you. You get the offer and accept!

After joining the new team, you take your time to ramp up and learn. Slowly but surely, the days tick by as you struggle to learn the ropes and pick your big project to focus on.

Fast forward a year into the future, and you feel like you are stuck. Your last project was completed, but your boss didn’t seem pleased with the outcome. You are working hard but having a tough time getting things done. You don’t have the allies you need to push decisions up and across various chains of command. You don’t feel like you are on the same page as your management team.

Fast forward two years, and you know the jig is up. This role hasn’t worked out. While you aren’t being told to leave, you can see the writing on the wall. Before the hammer can drop, you decide to resign to seek a new challenge. It’s a bitter ending to what seems like a sweet once-in-a-lifetime job opportunity.

This story, as sad as it may be to travel through in your mind’s eye, is all too real for many highly qualified and determined professionals.

This blog post is designed to help you be among those who succeed and not the many who fail.

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12 Things I Wish I Knew When I First Started Working

80,000 hours. That is how long you can expect work over the course of your lifetime. I’m well on my way, approaching the 35,000-hour mark by now.

I’ve done my fair share of work. First in the accounting department of an airline (not awesome). Then at an investment bank (surprisingly boring). Finally, I spent about 14 years at Microsoft Corporation (great place to work). Now I’m an entrepreneur (ahhh…finally!).

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about how work can impact life and vice versa. I’ve seen what helps me get ahead and what holds me back.

I’ve learned what to do. I’ve learned what not to do!

If I could turn back time, there are plenty of things I would have done differently. Here are 12 things I wish I knew when I first started working:

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7 Ways to Know It’s Time For A New Job

time for new job

Gut-wrenching.

That is the best way to describe a voluntary decision to leave a perfectly good job to pursue something new. I’ve had to go through the painful process of changing jobs many times. It’s not easy, but getting to the point of conviction that it is the right thing to do isn’t impossible either. It helps to know the telltale signs showing you that it’s time to move on to new horizons.

In this post, I’ll share 7 of the ways to know it’s time for a new job. You might face just one of these, or perhaps all 7. Either way, if you are nodding your head in agreement as you read this article, you know the jig is up, and it’s time to plan your exit.

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How to Get a Job You Aren’t Qualified For

get a job you aren't qualified for

Barack Obama. Elon Musk. Bill Gates.

None of them were qualified to do their jobs.

Barack was a young and so-called inexperienced politician when he became the President. Elon is toppling three established and heavy-duty industries after cutting his teeth as a software entrepreneur building…of all things….payment systems. Bill Gates started Microsoft as a college-dropout creating an operating system for the far more experienced and “qualified" executives at IBM.

Me? Well…I’ll share a few stories about my own background to make it clear that I’ve never been overly qualified for the jobs I’ve done.

In fact, the notion that anyone is qualified for the job they do is laughable. By definition, anyone starting out in a career is unqualified. Also, those further along in a career who are continuing to progress and see promotions, are continually feeling challenged.

I vividly recall Mike, one of the Executives I used to work for, giving me a golden piece of advice shortly after my promotion to being a manager (I was in my mid–20’s). When I asked him for advice about leading a new team and feeling out of my league, Mike said, “Ravi, no-one really knows what they are doing! Don’t let them fool you!”

I’ll never forget that advice.

I believe that not only is it POSSIBLE to get a job you aren’t qualified for, I think those are exactly the type of jobs you SHOULD go for. These are the jobs that will stretch you and challenge you. If you are a shoe-in candidate for a job, unless the job responsibilities can grow over time, you will quickly be bored.

This is a counter-intuitive, but comforting notion for those struggling to break into a new field, come back to the workforce after a break or otherwise “punch above their weight” when it comes to getting offers for jobs that are exciting but seem out of their league.

It’s my goal to inspire you in this blog post to aim high when looking for your next job. Not only that, I want to give you practical tips and will help you make it happen.

But first, a personal story…

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How To Get The Most Out Of A Mentor

mentor

Do you have a mentor?

For most of my corporate career, I had at least one, and up to three mentors, at a time.

When I think to the successes I’ve had on the job, I can trace much of it back to the conversations I had with those individuals. I still keep in touch with several of them today, though less frequently, now that I’ve left the corporate workplace for entrepreneurship. That doesn’t mean mentors aren’t needed as an entrepreneur, it just means that I haven’t found them yet!

Finding a good mentor might take some time. It was a few years before I met people who I had strong enough rapport with to make the mentoring relationship last for the long-term.

This post is not about how to find a mentor. Instead, I want to discuss an equally important topic of what to do once you have the mentor relationship started. Too many times I’ve heard from coaching clients (or former co-workers) who either say they have given up on finding a mentor or are stuck in a mentor relationship that isn’t working out.

It’s not enough to find someone to learn from. As the mentee, the onus is on you to drive the relationship, and when it has run its useful course for both parties, end it.

Below I’ll share a few strategies to help your mentorship get off on the right foot, and perhaps even help you get back on track if your mentor meetings aren’t working out.

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Essential Career Advice from Tony Robbins

tony robbins career advice

I’m a big fan of Tony Robbins.

I first remember watching his infomercial when I was a little kid, sneaking downstairs to turn on the TV. We only had 4 channels at the time, and he was always on one of them in the middle of the night!

I went through his Personal Power II audio program (on cassette) in my late teens, and attended my first in-person seminar with him in 2003. I’ve since attended much more, and even founded and organized the Tony Robbins-inspired Seattle PowerGroup for years, a local meet-up group of people committed to personal development. When I stopped organizing that group we had over 200 members!

It seems like every time I’m exposed to and immersed in a Tony Robbins program, I get unstuck and find a way to either make a breakthrough or pivot point in my career. I can’t pin down the specific methods he uses to do so. There are so many strategies he teaches!

If you have a chance to attend one of his programs, notably Date With Destiny, I highly recommend it read my review here. At a minimum, grab one of his books or other products. Apply everything you learn for 30 days. You are guaranteed to see results.

I was inspired to write this blog on the topic of Tony Robbins career advice. I wondered what Tony would say if someone asked him for career guidance?

With a few hours or searching and reading, I found the answer! In this blog post, I’ll highlight Tony’s best career advice as featured in several recent interviews he has conducted on the topic.

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Connecting to People for Career Success

career success

Recently I was in Seattle to visit clients and friends. Over the course of a few days, I made it to nine different spots throughout the city. I rented a car but found Uber and walking to be a far more efficient way to get around.

What I enjoy about cities is the fact that people are everywhere and if you’re open and curious enough you can end up meeting folks who are not only interesting but also people who might lead to business or career opportunities down the road.

I’ll share three examples to demonstrate this from my trip, all of which were serendipitous.

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Eric Schmidt Says: Everybody Needs A Coach

Eric Schmidt recounts the resistance he put up the first time someone recommended he work with a coach. After all, why would a chief executive officer of a world-class company need a coach?:

When I started at Google in late 2001, John Doerr, one of our early investors, called me to say, “Bill works with our companies. He’s good at being a coach and mentor.”

I remember saying, “I don’t really need a coach. I’ve been an experienced CEO for many years. I’m not a kid.” John pushed for it: “Tennis players have coaches, and maybe you need a coach, too.” Bill came over to talk to me, Larry Page and Sergey Brin. Once you met Bill, you knew you wanted him to help.

The Bill he is referring to is Bill Campbell, former Apple director, and Intuit CEO. He was often referred to as “coach,” in part due to his background as Columbia University’s football coach and also as his role as confidant, mentor and coach to the Silicon Valley tech elite. Coach Campbell passed away in April 2016.

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3 Keys To Choosing The Best Career For You

Stuck choosing the best career for yourself?

Here is one thing I'm certain of, following your passion is terrible advice.

Do you have a good friend that left a great job to become an artist, life coach or perhaps, teach yoga in a quest to follow their passion? I know several. Sadly, many of them returned to their old careers after struggling to not only get their new career off the ground but discovering the thing they were passionate about wasn’t what they were good at or passionate about after making it their full-time job!

Then there is this whole issue of needing to actually earn a paycheck….

Not only is “follow you passion” bad advice, so are the well-trodden paths of following the money trail (pick the most in demand high paying jobs) or sticking to what you are good at (often reinforced since childhood).

The best way to find a job that doesn’t just become a mediocre career is to find a line of work that fulfills all these three dimensions appropriately well: Passion, Skill, Need.

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Multitasking is Destroying Your Career

multitasking

There is no doubt in my mind that multitasking, that seemingly harmless ability to juggle multiple distractions and projects at once, is secretly waging war against your career and holds the potential to ruin your life as a result.

In a world that increasingly values depth and expertise, multitasking is keeping too many people from building up the levels of focus and concentration needed to make the breakthroughs that society and their careers require.

It’s not just that multitasking is a significant drag on productivity (up to a 40% productivity hit for someone juggling multiple complex problems). It’s that the world, and many of the products and services we love, are being designed to keep us from turning our attention to the things that matter.

This post is intended to lay out what’s at stake when it comes to multitasking, why you should care, and what to do about it.

But first, let’s look at an outlier.

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