2019 Goal Setting Series: Career.

Man, oh man. Thinking about my career and what’s next has become a hobby obsession of mine. When I think of “work” it’s my 9-5 job, the thing I do that brings in the money so that we can live our lives. I’ve decided I need to redefine what I consider my work.

I am a writer. I am a trainer. I am a manager. I am a strategist. I am a Certified Nonprofit Professional (CNP). I am working towards being Certified Professional in Learning and Performance (CPLP). I am a leader. I am a consultant. I am a creative. I am an event planner. I am a coach. I am an advocate. These are the things that make up my career. Some support me financially, some support me spiritually, and some are just fun.

When I went through my PowerSheets process this year, I, for the first time, spent time focusing on my 9-5. It’s a big part of my life, but as I’ve become anxious to grow I’ve also become find something new. Instead of feeding my anxiety, I’ve decided to embrace the time that I have left in my current role, no matter if that’s two weeks, two months, or two years. I have gifts and I will use them to grow.

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The big picture goal: I will use my gifts to be productive in my work, both in my 9-5 and in my personal career.

This matters, because: Quite frankly, it matters because I am getting paid to work, I must hold up my end of the bargain. It also matters because there is always room to grow and I can’t grow unless I do the work. It’s satisfying to work hard and do well (or learn the lesson).

Some action steps: outlining my CPLP training plan | talk to K about her experience | setting performance metrics for the year | developing my training + consulting page on EJBlog | continue to apply only for jobs that stretch my skills | reformat my resume + linkedin | brainstorm new team management strategies | create a list of motivators for when I’m feeling stagnant | maintain weekly posting goals for EJBlog | Take on new Resume formatting clients | spend 6 hours a week prepping for CPLP exam

Growth is hard, it includes struggles, stretching, and letting go. Growth is also necessary. I have spent the last 18 months feeling like I am a victim of circumstances, and in reality, I have control of how I perceive my circumstances. Would I like to do something new after being in the same role for the last 8 years? Absolutely. Is there still room for me to grow while the Universe figures out what that next role is? Definitely. There is always something to learn, so let’s go learn it!

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10 Tips for First Time Trainers

The talent development industry used to call me an “accidental trainer” – I just happened upon the field on accident. Sometimes, I agree, and other times, I feel as though the universe was just pointing me in the right direction so that I could utilize gifts I didn’t know I had. I love facilitating groups and presenting trainings, but talking in front of groups is the number one fear for people for a reason. It’s not easy. Here are my 10 tips for first time trainers looking to add to their toolbox:

Be Prepared. Designing a training is a whole other blog post, but the morale of the story is to be prepared. Know where you’re going, what your objectives are, and how much time you’ll need to get through your outline. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT read a script. Talk to your participants and feed off of them, but be prepared on how you’re going to accomplish your objectives.

Know Your Room. One of the worst experiences I’ve had as a training participant is when I was at a national conference and the presenter started talking poorly about Detroit, the people there, and made up statistics about education in the area. While, I couldn’t expect her to realize that I was from Detroit, I could expect her to know her room well enough to know that she could be alienating people who are looking to learn from her. Know your room. Know the spectrum of education, experience, and attitudes of those sitting with you. You don’t have to take a survey, but do an icebreaker, ask people to raise their hand, or just be mindful of nonverbal queues.

Talk S L O W L Y. I can guarantee that if you are a relatively new trainer, you’re talking WAY. TOO. FAST. This is one of the hardest skills to develop, because when you’re talking at an appropriate pace as a trainer you feel like a complete idiot. Keep in mind that people have to hear you, comprehend your words, process them, and put them into context – if you’re already two slides down the road you’ve lost them.

Be Confident. Confident, not cocky. It’s important that you balance the line between relatable and confident well as a trainer. People in your room will already be apprehensive about spending time “in training” so part of your role is to bond with them and build trust. Be confident in your skills, your expertise, and the time you’ve spent preparing. You will not know everything, and that’s okay. Be confident enough to say “You know, I’m not sure. What does the rest of the room think?”

Be Flexible. People like to talk. People like to stare off into space while you talk. People like to share their stories that may or may not relate to your content. You have to be flexible in your methods of getting the content to your participants. Know your information well enough that you can prepare for what you will take some additional time to grasp and have some comprehension activities prepared for when you blow through your content in 15 minutes.

Remember, No One Knows but You. You prepared, you have an outline, you know your stuff, but somehow you still managed to skip an entire chunk of content. It’s OKAY, no one knows but you. Circle back around and make sure you cover what is needed. Messed up a word? No one knows (or cares). This goes back to confidence. Be confident in your facilitation skills and willing to laugh at yourself when necessary, because it will be necessary.

Make Content Connections. If you’re lucky, you’ve got 20ish minutes where people are actually listening to you. The key to make connections between your content. We’re talking about X because it relates to Y, which we talked about earlier. X and Y are important because :: insert how the content relates to their real world here ::

Confirm Understanding. Just because you know what you’re talking about doesn’t mean that the people in the room are following you. Check in – ask if what you’re saying makes sense. Ask if they see examples of this in their work, or my favorite when presenting information “why do you think that is?”. It keeps people engaged as you go through information by confirming that we’re all on the same page.

Don’t be Lazy. Ugh. This one is just straight forward. Don’t sit on your ass slumped in a chair the whole time you’re facilitating a training. Get up, move around, use your hands and your arms (not too much), walk around when participants are working in groups. Be a trainer is WORK, DO. YOUR. WORK.

Be Yourself. Last, but certainly not least, be yourself. There’s no fake-it-til-you-make-it mentality. People know when you’re BS’ing them, so don’t. It’s okay to laugh, be quirky, and talk about your experience. You are a human, you will be respected much more when you act like one.

How to Survive the Comparison and Hustle Trap

I’m not sure when it happened, but sometime in the last couple of years there has been an influx of pro-hustle boss babes circulating the internet and social media. These babes are passionate, loud, and charismatic. While that energy can be encouraging, especially when you’re losing motivation for your dreams, it can also be toxic. The idea that, in order to be successful, a 24/7 hustle is required, can be poisonous to your mental health (and your productivity). Guess what, most of us will not be rich and famous for our passion projects. But listen to me now:

THAT DOES NOT MEAN YOU SHOULD STOP DOING WHAT YOU ARE PASSIONATE ABOUT!

The highlight reel that is social media does not provide you with the insight of the struggles of those that have managed in order to turn their passions into a reality. Social media cons you into thinking that everyone has figured it out except for you. Here’s another truth bomb for you, those perfect social media feeds…they are fake. They are made up. The people that are successful are working hard, in their yoga pants, with pimple cream covering up their acne, while the laundry piles up behind them. It’s not pretty, but pretty is what engages people on social media. DO NOT compare yourself to the highlight reel.

You are an independent, strong, gifted, and passionate individual. Honor that by:

Taking a break. As much as I love my Rachel Hollis and Jenna Kutcher, there comes a point where you  just need to stop listening to outside sources. It’s really okay if you don’t wake up at 4AM just so you can be productive in the morning. IT IS OKAY TO SLEEP. As a matter of fact, it’s imperative that you sleep. The beauty of Instagram is that you can “mute” anyone you feel like you need to take a break from. It’s 30 days where you don’t see their posts, just long enough to maybe miss their spunk and energy.

Putting yourself first. It’s okay to have 18 hour work days, shit, sometimes it’s fun to have that much focus on something you love to do, but GIRL, take care of yourself. Eat good foods, sleep when you need sleep, get up and move around, and allow your brain to rest. One of my 2019 goals is to take time to reflect and recharge everyday. No screens allowed. But yoga, meditation, journaling, reading, or pampering are encouraged. Every. Damn. Day.

Be grateful. Start your day with an attitude of gratitude, track the things that you’re grateful for in a place that you can peek at throughout the day. Each month, I use the notes pages of my planner to track 100 things I’m grateful for. Some days I write one thing, and some days I write 30 things. It doesn’t matter what’s going on in life, there is always something to be grateful for. When you need a little mood recharge, take a look at your gratitude list. Soak in the gratitude.

Using your gifts. You are blessed with many gifts, use them. There will always be someone that is better, richer, more famous – that does not impact how blessed you are. Use your skills and passion for your own wellbeing, or share them with others, but don’t, under any circumstances, hide them because someone else out there is also gifted. There’s enough room for both of you.

Encourage Others. Share the reality of your life with others. Instead of contributing to the hustle and comparison trap, help keep others out of it. If you’re struggling, be open about it, celebrate your progress and your challenges. People will be encouraged by your willingness to be transparent. Genuine engagement far exceeds fake social media profiles.

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