I Think I Had an Epiphany Today

I think I had something of an epiphany/breakthrough moment today.

For the first time, I took something off my plate. As opposed to…adding yet another thing to it. And I feel relieved. I’ve always been a ‘I can get everything done’ kind of lady. And I mean everything- not just every last to-do item on my work list, but also sleep, exercise, eat right, meditate, keep up with news and trends in biz, pleasure read, do my hobbies, travel, be there for friends and family and cultivate a loving and lasting relationship with the person I love with all my heart.

(Whoa, I got a little tired writing out that paragraph.)

For as long as I can remember, friends and colleagues have commenting on my ‘efficiency’, ‘can do attitude’ and ‘ability to get it alllll done’. I used to wear it as a badge of honor, and I’d smile when I heard it or saw it on an annual review.

That isn’t working for me anymore, and I feel like this is a breakthrough not just for me, but can also help those of you reading this and my wonderful clients and peeps.

And I think, on this lovely fall Friday, it’s worth taking the time to step back from the go-go-go nature of life (I bet some of you can relate!), and provide the following “permission” for lack of a better word:

It’s OK to take something off your plate.

Phew, I said it. 

Life happens sometimes, and you work through it and with it with as much grace/calm/fortitude as you can cultivate, and you try your best not to view it as an epic uphill battle. (Old Jill= “OMG I’m MELTING! HELLLLLP!”; New Jill= something a little (ok, a lot) calmer and kinder to myself :) )

Starting a business or pulling the plug on a corporate paycheck or changing careers drastically- whatever it is you’re working through- is no easy task, as many people who’ve done it or are doing it know. And like I said, life does continue to happen no matter what kind of change you’re grappling with. So be a little kinder to yourself and a little more understanding and allow something to take a back seat for awhile. Only you know what that thing might be and the way to figure that out is to look at your priorities and why you’re placing priority on them. If it’s for anyone other than you, it’s time to shift focus.

“So, Jill, you said you’re ready to say ‘no’ to something, so what is that exactly? What is taking more of a front seat and what is taking more of a backseat for now?” Well, right now for me, family (blood relation and otherwise) is front and center, followed closely by my 1:1 clients. And certain business expansion initiatives are on hold for the time being as well as most social events.

It’s literally LITERALLY the first time I’ve said no. There will be others I am sure. It was a hard decision to make, because things have been going so well with my business and I’m feeling so fulfilled and happy with it, but now’s not the right time. And “muscling through” to just do it all anyway will un-align me in the long run, so it’s best to shut this ish down NOW. As as I’ve pondered this epiphany last night and this morning, I know it’s this new mindset is what’s going to keep me not only sane, but also will allow me to be the nice, caring individual I think I am when I’m at my best.

PHEW.

With that said, I’m off to go hang out with my sister from another mister and help her with her newborn, take her to lunch and maybe fold some baby clothes. And then I’m gonna go hang with my dad and go to a college football game, because he’s itching to go.

glo jillMe and aforementioned sister from another mister, evading an evil lurker at Storm King Sculpture Center

We can’t be our best career/professional selves without being our best selves first , so now it’s your turn: What will you take off your plate today? What do you want to make more room for? Leave a comment below or email me at jill@jillozovek.com to share (or ask for help prioritizing!). 

 

 

 

Career Change Lessons: My Day With Magic Mike

Yes, career change people, you read that correctly. Yesterday I went to see Magic Mike.

It was 1:20pm on a Monday. It was only me and one other guy in the theatre and it was cool, quiet and magical, no pun intended.

While the movie was perhaps the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever seen, it was the best decision I could have made for myself.

Because career change (and yes, after 2 years in business, I still consider myself as going through a “career change”) is not easy. Some days flow like a calm and nurturing babbling brook and some days ebb, in the ebbiest of ways. Maybe you had a flurry of initial interest over your experience and resume only to be led down the deep spiraling hole of disappointment as responses dry up and are relegated to a relic of the past….or something like that.

Helping women through the ebby days of their career change and job search and celebrating their best days and wins is why I do what I do, and why I love it. And as I sat in the theatre, watching Michael Strahan in a thong (wait, WHAT?!), I thought of a quite a few lessons that carried into my evening of client calls:

1. Be Who You Are Unapologetically. There’s a ridiculous subplot in the movie where Mike (played by Channing Tatum) convinces the gang to let go of their gimmicky costumes that confined and defined them without their permission. One of the guy’s schtick is a fireman on stage, but he has asthma and a debilitating fear of fire. (I told you this was ridiculous.) Anyway, once the guys let go of the ways society, or in this case, their ex-boss defined them, they were able to be truly unique and themselves.

For those of you contemplating or going through a career change, you can apply this lesson to your journey (yes, really). If a job offer or other opportunity doesn’t sound or feel right to you, it probably isn’t. If you have to compromise who you are to a degree that doesn’t work for you, then pause and think about it before diving in. Bear in mind that you have a say in this career switch-a-roo too.

2. Acknowledge Where You’re At: When I first started my mindfulness training, I was told that simply acknowledging where you’re at and being ok with it is all you can do. “Easier said than done!” I scoffed. But as I’ve developed this muscle, and really allowed myself to feel and experience where I am at in this journey, it has taken a lot of the stress and pressure off. (Not all of it, mind you- I’m not trying to say you will be a levitating Buddha if you do this!)  As you come up against wall #37 in your career change journey, try really experiencing this and taking this on board: “I am where I am right now, and I can’t be anywhere else but here.” It goes a long way to calming the mind and decreasing that blasted ‘comparing oneself to others’ thing we tend to do.

3. Give Yourself a Break. Breaks are key, and at first when I was looking up at the marquis and saying, “Am I really going to spend $15.25 on Magic Mike right now?” I almost didn’t do it, thinking I should run home and clack-clack-clack on my keyboard all day. And look what happened! I wrote this hopefully helpful blog post for my peeps and for myself and I learned some valuable lessons and/or perspective. So, if you’re trying to get something off the ground or are faced with another dead end, stop. It sounds counterintuitive, but doing something for you where you’re learning, growing, relaxing or a combo thereof, can cause synapses in your brain to fire in different ways, giving you a different approach or plan of ‘attack’, making you feel renewed and refreshed to start again when you’re ready.

So now I’d love to hear from you. If you’re feeling any of what I wrote above and wanna talk it out, set up some time to chat here.

Feeling Stuck In Your Career? Try This Unconventional Approach

How many times have you talked with someone about the stagnation that is your career and were met with advice like “Well, go on a few informational interviews and see what’s out there,” or “Just start applying to jobs if you’re not happy!” Even articles and people with great advice on how to ‘unstuck yourself’ might not always work, if you’re really stuck.

So what exactly am I suggesting then? Tis the season of summer trips, right? Use a summer trip you’re going on to kickstart your career. While it may seem counterintuitive, (i.e. “Shouldn’t I stay RIGHT HERE where I am now to get unstuck in my job?), go somewhere you’ve never been before and spend part of the time, even if just a few hours, winging it. Yes, I’m also saying don’t plan the whole thing down to the minute.

Wait, so Jill, again- why on earth should I take a VACATION to get unstuck in my CAREER? Shouldn’t I be focusing on my career every waking moment until I figure it out?

The short answer is no. And here’s why:

Open Yourself Up To Your Passions: When we’re on vacation, we can tend to give ourselves permission to engage in those things that make us happy/activities about which we are passionate. How many times have you gone away and gone to a cooking class, dance hall, painting workshop, hike in the forest, etc only to come home and return to your normal life of NOT doing those things? According to several recent studies cited by Will Burns, founder of Ideasicle and Forbes columnist, when we can detach from our immediate reality, we tend to be more creative. So think about tapping into something you’re passionate about, regardless of whether it feels ‘career related’ on your trip or even spend a weekend cultivating that ‘passion muscle’.

Think Outside The Box: I remember when I was taking my time off in 2012 to figure out my next move (I was in South America), I decided partway through it was time to think about what was next when I returned home. And all of the sudden, I was on LinkedIn looking at the same job I had left 10 months earlier. What was I doing?! I didn’t leave my old life to then go back and do the same exact thing! Anyway, after that realization, I tapped into that whole ‘being away from everyone and everything I knew’ thing to really think of other options. I looked on my LinkedIn to see what former colleagues, friends, college classmates and the like were up to. What else was out there? I went to webinars on subjects that interested me. I did a lot of exercises with myself to basically find out what I wanted to do when I had no earthly idea (a program I use with clients to this day).

Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone: Very few things will get you out of your comfort zone than going to a new place you know nothing about, amirite? Getting out there will change your thought process from going through your normal routine, doing your normal day-to-day to a more creative, think-on-your-feet sort of process. This is just the sort of mentality that is beneficial when considering your next move and giving you oomph to do something about your current situation.

And don’t take my word for it. Other career specialists agree. Liz Ryan, CEO and Founder of Human Workplace cites jumping from one job to the next without thought or consideration of options outside the box as one of the deadliest career mistakes in a recent LinkedIn Pulse column.

If you can’t take a trip for whatever reason, that’s fine. I’m not pretending we can all jet off at a moment’s notice. The point is more this: we live in NYC, and what’s more- in the great borough of Queens, so there are endless opportunities to break your routine for a day or a weekend and do something completely off the wall for you. Additionally, you can think of the last time you took a trip and jot notes down for each of the three segments above to understand when you last tapped into your passions, got out of your comfort zone or thought outside the box. How did it feel? What were you able to accomplish?
Whether you took a trip, explored NYC or thought of your last trip to get ideas, if you’re feeling the momentum/mind shift I think you will, ride that wave! While you’re feeling great, do something about it, whether it’s to take a look at your resume or revise it or go to a networking event or set up one informational interview with a company you’ve been admiring. It can literally be anything- just so long as you use the positive momentum to make a single move. As Dante Alighieri wrote in Paradisio, “From a little spark may burst a flame.” That’s exactly what we’re going for here with your career- for it to take off (without the actual fire, of course.)

How to Have the Time of Your Life Job Hunting!

Cue Dirty Dancing Soundtrack, please! How many times have you said to a friend (or vice versa), “I have to go home tonight and look for a job and am dreading it”? Or how about this one: Do you view career development as a ‘have to’ versus something that could be engaging and enjoyable?

If so, I’m a-talkin’ to you. And Jill of Yesteryear. It’s actually a huge reason for why I got into this work as a career coach- because I realized that after many years of doing the same thing and wondering why it didn’t fit, that career development work doesn’t have to be a drag or dreaded or boring. In fact, it can inspire creativity and even beget more opportunities than you ever previously thought possible.

And no, I’m not talking about methods of thinking that say to “envision something and it will happen.” While that mentality has its place, what I’m talking about here is mindset. Setting yourself up fun and enjoyment, creative expression and exploration actually sows the seeds for opportunities to come your way. I’ve read articles about dating in this vein- if you stop focusing on the “toughness” of it all and instead you’re doing what you love and/or open yourself up to creative expression and being yourself, the person of your dreams will eventually show up.

This notion can be applied to career work. Try and stop hyper focusing on the ‘problem’ and instead expand your lens to the possibilities. With some discipline and conscious choosing to think this way, you’ll start to see the bigger picture- instead of blurriness, it will start to come into focus.

But how, Jill?

  • Carve out Time: Preferably not after a 16 hour day at the office. Maybe you commit to leaving on time every Tuesday or Wednesday (because we can’t plan for every fire so let’s include some flexibility here), and using the time at night to think. Or maybe you can go in at 10am- use those morning hours before things get insanely busy at the office.
  • Write: You can free form journal or, there are tons of resources online for exercises you can do to expand your lens and start thinking about other possibilities for you. I use tools I’ve developed with clients to do this very thing.
  • Step out of the box/routine: Maybe there’s a standup comedy class starting or a book club at your library, or something else you’ve never considered before. Take some time to consider other options to expand your lens and pick one.

In a nutshell this is why I do the work I do- changing careers or working to get ahead in your career to reach and exceed your goals isn’t easy work. There are obstacles, and sometimes we don’t know the answer, so doesn’t it make sense that while we’re grappling with those challenges, we infuse a bit of fun into it?

In this vein, I’m offering both a live program and an online program this year where the primary goal, of course, is to make real tangible progress, but the secondary goal is to have some fun, learn something new and feel supported along the way.

If you’re interested in learning more…

The Career Chat N Chew Supper Club is on February 10 in NYC- info and discounts here. We’re going to be digging into our Passion Palate- in other words, using the shared interest in culture and cuisine in a relaxed setting to really figure out what we’re passionate about in a facilitated group discussion and exercises.

The Swift Kick in the Pants 30 Day Online Career Bootcamp begins April 6. This is a great way to have fun getting your career in gear from the comfort of your own home and phone- and includes some sessions with me! How it works and tickets are here.

Image above courtesy of Wikipedia.org.

The Three Big Career Mistakes You’re Making

career mistake

With the work I do as a career coach, I am lucky to be able to talk to people from all walks of life on their career concerns and fears.

And during these conversations, inevitably some version of the following question comes up: “Jill, what would you say are the major career mistakes to avoid?”

Granted, this is one of those ‘ask 10 people and you will get 10 different answers’ sort of questions. But I wanted to really distill what I have seen down into a core three to help you build awareness around whether you are doing any of these things and how to tweak your behavior and mindset so you can work toward obtaining or maintaining a robust career.

Continue reading on Ivy Exec for my definitive list of the big three career mistakes to avoid here.