28 May 2016

Is shame holding you back?

The vantage point changes with time. I would call 2006 a traumatic year. It was the year I was charged with Intellectual Dishonesty at Law School, the year I lost my voice and couldn't self advocate and it was the year I asked myself the big question "Who am I?"

When I would recall that event over the next few years I would cringe. A mixture of shame and disappointment in the early days were quickly replaced with something of value. The disaster became the springboard for a new direction in life.

Shame was replaced with understanding what came before, the role of various actors and my own inability to process a disability that I had not come to terms with.

We can get stuck in these places. If a past event is nipping you in the rear, here's what worked for me.

1. Share your story with someone who will help you to process. It can be a coach or a counsellor. Believe me, processing helps to put past disappointments into perspective.

2. Surround yourself with imperfect people - they will love you in spite of.

3. Forgive yourself, the others involved. Find a way to make that happen - grudges hold you back.

Live the life you're given without regret.

22 May 2016

When starting over after losing a job, the right mindset and a willingness to try new things will serve you well.

All I knew when I set out to find a job was that I needed to make money to feed the family - after all, I was the only bread winner. A burning desire will take you a long way but you have to be willing to be open to the possibility that the journey may be a little bit of a winding road.  

There wasn't much call for legally blind mechanics who were trained to tie steel but I had a hunger to make a living and I think that is what benefited me most. My goal was not too narrowly defined that it restricted me in any way.

I come from a long line of very hard working people. Truth is we're not much for sitting around being idle. When I started looking for work my resume looked a little skewed. I thought about adding the extra skills that I possessed such as being able to split wood or install vinyl siding but it didn't make much sense. After all, crafting the resume to fit the job description that you're applying for is a good practice. There's also the need to be open minded and to be willing to try new things. Don't limit your search too much. 

It is quite common to try and find work doing what you have always done. But when you take a long hard look at the job market, you may want to branch out a bit. I tried to stay close to my industry in the beginning. After leaving the army, I trained to tie steel for the Hibernia project. But the reality was, my vision didn't make for a safe environment. I wasn't afraid to try new things or consider living in a new location!!

You're never too old to learn. Unless of course you tell yourself that you are. I recently ran into a displaced worker who was 53 years old. He told me "No one will want to hire me." Well you best watch what you say because it might come true. After all what you believe to be true often becomes your reality. 

Contrast that attitude with the 62 year old recently laid off fish plant worker I met at university who was now studying Theology. This was a guy who was open to change and not into limiting his options. The choice is yours. 

We're all shaped by our environments. Let's  not limit ourselves by our environmental conditioning. If you grew up in a home with a piano and I didn't, chances are that you may have some skill and an appreciation for the piano. Doesn't mean that I won't be able to learn to play - I just haven't tried yet. It's the same no matter how old you are. If you're willing to keep an open mind and try new things, you may be pleased with where you end up. Had someone told me ten years ago that I would one day own a training facility and a tax business, I would have told them they were nuts.

That wasn't part of my dream. 

Or was it? I did have was a burning desire to have meaningful work where I could provide for me and the family and feel like I was contributing to the world. Lo and behold, that's just what I ended up with. It just looks a little different than what I thought it would look like in the beginning. 

What's it going to be for you? The possibilities are limitless - dare you dream a bigger dream?

13 May 2016

The Internal Stuff They Don't Tell You: What Entrepreneurs Need to Know if They Want to Succeed

No one tells you that in the early days you feel like an imposter. This is especially true if you have always been an employee. There is a huge difference between the mindset of an employee and the mindset of the business owner. That mind shift must take place in order to be successful and it takes place gradually. When it does, the evidence is apparent immediately.

Why then do so many people who teach business transition programs focus solely on the external attributes. Yes you need a great plan and you need to work that plan. No one appreciates more than a tax specialist how important it is that your financials are in order and marketing - well it is the lifeblood of your business.

But the right mindset is the special sauce that makes it all work. Ask anyone who has made a living in this tough arena - when you make the "big shift" things start to happen.