RHM015 – Breaking out of a rut

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In this solo episode, we tackle the age-old issue of falling into a rut. Whether at work or in our professional lives, we are bound to encounter ‘valleys’. Today we talk about how to recognize those moments and steps to take to work your way out. Check out the full episode here.

Here are some suggestions for getting back on track when you find yourself in a rut:

  1. Vision mapping – I use vision maps to help me remain focused throughout the year. You can create one by breaking your life into ‘buckets’ – things like career, family, friends, finances, spirituality, health and travel. Then you assign smaller goals in each of those areas. I keep the map in plain sight so I’m constantly reminded of where I would like to be by the end of this year, and I can redirect my energy to getting there. You can be as detailed as you like, the point is to create a visual representation of where you want to be.
  1. Set mini-goals – With any rut, the common feeling is that you aren’t making progress, and when you start to feel that way it can take a lot of energy to get back on track. I believe in setting small goals because it’s more likely that we’ll see results if we have manageable goals to reach.
  1. Shake up your routine – Do something different after work – if you always come home, throw on your comfy clothes and spend several hours watching tv, try going for a walk, or a long drive. A small shift in your day-to-day activities can help you get re-energized.
  1. Get back to what makes you happy – We don’t often hear that we should be completely selfish, but sometimes we need to be.  Look for those activities that bring you joy and energy, because those are the activities that will yank you out of a rut and encourage you to keep going.

My book recommendation for this week’s episode is Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes. Rhimes shares the power of making small decisions to open herself up to the things that caused her fear and how her life changed as a result. It’s a quick read and I definitely encourage you to check it out if you haven’t already! I’d love to know how you break out of ruts, leave your thoughts below!

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RHM014 – Getting in Alignment

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI set three thematic words for 2017, and one of them is authenticity (for more on the other themes, check out Episode 9 – So Long 2016!). This solo episode takes a closer look at how I bring authenticity to my professional life, and offers suggestions on how you can do the same. Download the whole episode by clicking here.

Notes from the episode:

  1. Being authentic means you don’t have to be all things to all people. I learned the hard way that whether you are trying to make sure everyone is happy or picking up the slack for your teammates, refusing to set boundaries at work can leave you totally burned out.
  2.  Calling out micro-aggressions doesn’t make you a bad person. It might seem easier to let someone slide when they offend you, but you shouldn’t feel obligated to allow inappropriate behavior to slide in the hopes of keeping the peace.
  3. If you really don’t agree, you should speak up. If you were hired to join a team, chances are your employer thought you had something of value to add. Giving your opinion can be the difference between a positive and negative work experience, so if you think something needs to be changed, say so.

(Ed. note). Tim Ferriss’ book Tools of the Titans features an interview with entrepreneur, software engineer and venture capitalist Marc Andreesen. Andreesen suggests creating “red teams” at work dedicating to challenging all new ideas – the concept being that ideas making it through the red team process would be battle-tested and more likely to succeed. I think the same concept applies when giving authentic feedback at work. Instead of going along to get along, share your reservations and ideas with the group.

As with any mindset/practice shift,  change won’t happen overnight, but you are likely to feel more confident as time goes on. For more on this topic, check out Episode 11 – Keeping Your Integrity at Work.

 

RHM0013 – Are You Owning Your Role?

bossWhether you stepping into a new position or actively working towards your next promotion, there are some steps you can take to make sure you are fully leaning in to your role. This solo episode is all about taking ownership, and here are some quick notes from the podcast (check out the full audio here!):

  1. Check your mindset. Are you still behaving as if you haven’t been promoted? What kinds of demands are you making in this new position? What types of conversations are you having with your coworkers? If you want respect in your new position, it might be time to elevate the way you look at yourself. (For more on this, check out episode 11 on Integrity at Work!)
  2. Delegate. Delegate. Delegate. One of the quickest ways to stay mired in an old position is to insist on doing the same tasks. If you have been promoted, it’s time to let go. Keep in mind that when you hold on to work that is beneath you, you are also holding up the growth of people on your team who are junior to you.
  3. Where can you stretch? Can you find ways to improve the status quo? Demonstrate your value by becoming the person in your office who can be relied on to take things to the next level.
  4. Ask for what you are worth. As you move into new positions and gain experience, your value to an organization should also shift. Don’t be afraid of making your desires known, whether you are negotiating for a higher salary or more responsibility. You will never receive what you don’t ask for!

Looking for more great content? Check out my blog for more tips, resources, and inspiration for getting empowered at work.

 

RHM012 – How to Give Criticism at Work

rushhourSo you notice there is a problem at work, how do you bring it to your supervisor’s attention without being perceived as complaining? We discuss this question in this week’s solo episode on the Rush Hour Mentor podcast. Grab the episode here: bit.ly/rushhourmentor.

 

 

 

 

A few suggestions for giving criticism at work:

  1. Don’t make it personal. Once you bring personal politics into a work complaint, your conversation will shift to dealing with a person rather than an issue.
  2. Document, document, document! Your argument will be much stronger if you can provide proof. Get things in writing when you can, and keep track of dates and incidents.
  3. Offer solutions. An excellent way to avoid being seen as a complainer is to do the work of coming up with solutions.
  4. Get support. If you aren’t getting traction with your direct supervisor, brainstorm with other trusted colleagues. It’s possible that you aren’t the only one who has noticed an issue and that others are willing to support you in seeking solutions.
  5. Don’t take it personally. At the end of the day, if you’ve done everything listed above and still don’t receive the support you deserve, don’t internalize that feedback. You are responsible for yourself at the end of the day, and if others won’t listen to reason, it is not your fault.

Resource: A book that I recommend for navigating tough discussions is Verbal Judo: The Gentle Art of Persuasion by George Thompson.

Have you given criticism to your supervisors? What worked? What didn’t? Let me know your thoughts!

 

RHM011-Keeping your integrity at work

integrityIn this solo episode, I dive into a listener question about an issue that many of us will encounter at some point: what to do when your integrity is challenged at work? (Check out the episode here) I offer a few suggestions for pushing back when you are asked to go along with something you don’t agree with:

  1. Know your values: You know in your gut when something is off about what you are being asked to do, listen to your intuition and trust that if you are receiving lots of red flags about something, you need to stop and take notice.
  2. Know that you have the right to stay above the fray: You are not responsible for jumping in to office gossip, or perpetuating anything that you disagree with. When your integrity is challenged, it’s important to remember that not going along with it is still a choice.
  3. Know your resources: If you need to escalate a situation, you should be prepared for the outcome, good or bad. If human resources isn’t a viable option for you, you may want to seek legal counsel (check out www.workplacefairness.org). You should also keep your resume updated and your network active, better to be safe than sorry!
  4. Know your worth: Don’t allow fear of losing a role be a motivating factor when it comes to standing up for what you believe is right. Positions come and go, but integrity is hard to replace!

How do you deal with integrity issues at work? Drop me a message below in the comment section!

RHM010- Aisha Moore and Why We All Need Self-care

aishaIt’s the first episode of 2017, and I am sitting down with self-care expert Aisha Moore to talk about the ways stress can manifest, simple solutions for launching a self-care practice and why everyone needs a morning routine! Check out the episode here: bit.ly/rushhourmentor

For the past 15 years Aisha has worked at the federal level and in communities to create a more equitable society. She designs workshops to help public health leaders change their organizations to have a greater impact on the people they serve. Aisha has also spoken at conferences on the topic of public health leadership and community engagement. She is truly passionate about health and helping others.

Aisha shares how she became devoted to self-care after her own experience with burnout on the job. She suggests the following tips to get on track with a self-care routine:

  1. Determine if you have any “personal chaos” – There are lots of little things that can set us back from day-to-day that add up to a lot of stress. Do you find that you lose things frequently or are always late? Getting in control of personal chaos can go a long way to managing your overall stress levels.
  2. Take a media fast – We can cause ourselves real harm by consuming images and content that trigger negative emotions. Social media doesn’t have to be a bad thing, but we need to create healing for ourselves; we can do that by swapping consumption for creation.
  3. Get back to basics – You can only be at your best if your body is operating at its best. Make sure you prioritize the basics of getting enough sleep, drinking lots of water and eating well.
  4. Develop a morning routine – You need a routine to stay in control of your morning, and by extension the rest of your day. Develop your routine by checking in with yourself each morning and determining what you need to be successful. Aisha uses the Daily Word App,  which provides a short affirmation and Bible verse every day. She also employs yoga to deal with anxiety and take stress away. Restorative yoga is wonderful in particular for those who aren’t flexible (check out Yoga with Adriene on YouTube!)

You can find more from Aisha at selfcarebyaisha.com, where you can get a free gift to help you plan your own self-care routine. You can also find her on Facebook and Instagram under the handle: selfcarebyaisha.

RHM009 – So Long 2016….

rushhourThis year has had its ups and downs for sure, but in spite of all of the challenges, it was definitely a transformational year for me. In this solo episode, I take a look back at 2016, and provide some quick tips for goal-setting in 2017.

A few tips on setting goals:

  1. Pull forward goals that appear on your list every year but have yet to happen. List them again, because the goals you list repeatedly are the ones you care most deeply about achieving.
  2. Add a stretch goal or two for 2017. When I have set stretch goals in the past, I have always been surprised how close I came to meeting or exceeding that goal by the end of the year. Tell the universe that you are ready for a challenge, and you’ll be amazed how things begin to shift!
  3. Add smaller goals that you are likely to achieve. Small wins add up and can help you stay motivated throughout the year. Set yourself up for success by including a goal or two that is well within your reach and make it happen.
  4. Create a ‘theme’ for your year. I like to set a three-word theme for each year that will guide my decision-making and motivate me all year long. When you select the words that will guide your year, put them somewhere visible (like on your refrigerator or your desk at work) to be reminded of the intentions you set for the coming year.
  5. Write it all down. Something amazing happens when you take thoughts from abstract to concrete by putting them on paper. It forces you to be accountable, and gives you a record to look back too at the end of the year to track your progress.

Next year can absolutely be your best year, so why not get started now? I’ll be back after the New Year with all new episodes of the Rush Hour Mentor podcast. So until then, Happy Holidays!

RHM008 – Joymarie Parker and Knowing Your Worth at Work

about-me-avatar-2-e1422244894234This week we sit down with Joymarie Parker, Creator and Co-Host of Joblogues, a weekly podcast that highlights candid, career conversations with young professionals around the globe. Joymarie is an experiential marketer for a Fortune 100 firm with a love for mentoring young professionals. Inspired by everyday conversations with friends, family and coworkers, she launched Joblogues as a forum for young professionals to discuss work, life & everything in-between.

In this episode, Joymarie shares the importance of recognizing our value in the workplace, particularly when it comes to compensation. She shares a few pro tips for getting ahead in your career:

  • Develop meaningful relationships that go beyond transactional networking (what someone can do for you), figure out how you can provide value. Learn to give instead of expecting to receive.
  • Respect and make the most of your background. You bring to the table what no one else does, so think of your experience as an asset.
  • Bring your A-game to everything you do. Go above and beyond at work by maximizing your unique skills and abilities.

Quotable advice from Joy:

“Don’t ever let anyone undermine your value”

“Set the bar where you want people to meet you.”

Check out the episode on iTunes: bit.ly/rushhourmentor and Soundcloud: bit.ly/RHMpodcast

You can follow Joblogues on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter by searching for the handle: Joblogues. You can find Joymarie on Instagram @heymissparkerr.

RHM007 – How to Travel Like a Boss

I have been traveling as part of my career for almost 15 years, and in this solo episode I share a few tips about international travel for those of you who are considering it for work or leisure:

dscn0808Do your homework

  1. Take time to figure out the money situation (can you get cash on the ground? How much is a typical meal? That way you can plan how much you need and how long you can stay.
  2. Understand the in-country logistics ( can you take trains and taxis or do you need to go hop on the local bus or pedicabs?) Is car rental difficult or impossible if you aren’t licensed in that country?
  3. What about celebrations and holidays? You probably can’t get anything done in a lot of countries that celebrate major religious holidays – businesses shut down and everyone is with their families so you need to be prepared.

Be prepared for a mindset shift

  1. If you are a person of color, it is likely that you may be the only one you see – for a loooong time! I was the only African American around for the first 9 days of my trip to India until I reached the Taj Mahal. I was a bit of a spectacle because people just don’t encounter you very often, so be prepared to take a lot of pictures holding peoples babies, for staring and a lot of questions. People are genuinely curious and I’ve found that they just want to know more about you and what brought you to their country
  2. There are different rules of engagement. I had to learn very quickly that it is not always acceptable for me to extend my hand for a handshake or even make direct eye contact with men in some places that I have traveled. The best thing to do is to observe before acting. Watch how strangers engage one another and follow suit. You will make mistakes, but that’s ok! One thing I always recommend is to bring a long scarf with you if you are traveling to any country with large Muslim populations. I found this useful in Turkey, Indonesia and even recently in India, particularly if you are visiting mosques and other places where it is appropriate to have your head covered.

Packing smart will save you time and energy

  1. Pack only what you are willing to lose. I carry on when I can, and if I can’t I carry a few outfits in my carry on. If I check a bag, it’s filled with cheap clothes that I don’t care about.
  2. Hair care – If your hair is relaxed, I would suggest getting braids or another protective style for the duration of your travels. If you are going for several months or longer, and you might need to start asking locally for salon recommendations. You can also link up with travel groups like Nomadness which have Americans who have traveled extensively and can give recommendations. If your hair is natural, I would suggest buying and bottling your products in the US.
  3. Food-If you know you are a picky eater, and definitely if you have food allergies, try to pack some of your favorite snacks to get you through the trip. I was sooo happy I had some snacks from home to get me through. It’s definitely worth it!

My best advice is that if you have the opportunity to travel abroad – take it! It will teach you things about yourself that you may not discover otherwise. Check out the full episode here: bit.ly/rushhourmentor. You can also follow my travel adventures on Instagram, where I’ll keep you posted on my upcoming trips.

Let me know your travel questions by posting below!

RHM006 – Nic Cober, the Soul Survivor

nc_profilepic_v1-1Small business consultant Nicole “Nic” Cober, Esq. built her first business, Soul…Day Spa and Salon, to be a community staple in the DC metro area, with a flawless local reputation and national media acclaim.

But, after nearly ten years, her personal and professional lives collided and crumbled. She was forced to close her businesses, file bankruptcy, confronted divorce(s) and eviction notices, all while raising two boys.

In this episode of the Rush Hour Mentor, Nic shares the following advice for women who have tried to get everything right – whether in relationships, financially or professionally – but still feel that something is missing:

  • Develop a reflective practice, such as prayer or meditation, to guide you through difficult moments.
  • Work to gain an understanding of yourself, and seek support through therapy, personal development experts, and books.
  • Nic recommends the book A Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren as a resource for anyone seeking to do internal work.
  • Learn to relax and love yourself more.

Where to find Nic: In her book CEO of My SOUL, Nic shares the perfect blend of valuable business advice woven together with true accounts of relationships struggles, family triumphs, and self-reflection. You can find the book on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

You can also follow Nic on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter: @niccoberesquire

 

RHM005 – Mastering the Job Hunt

rushhourIn this solo episode, Monica shares some of the common pitfalls we make in the job application process and how to avoid them:

Resumes and Cover Letters

  • If you are applying for a role that is outside your area of expertise, you need to make the case for how your skills transfer. Do not assume that the hiring manager can look at your resume and make the leap for you.
  • If your resume is too long, get creative. Instead of listing all of your accomplishments and positions, list the ones that are relevant to the position you are applying for. Some hiring managers stop reading after the first or second page, so make your argument early!
  • If you are asked for a cover letter, provide one. Skipping this step can make you appear lazy or entitled when that isn’t the case. Again, don’t assume that your resume will tell the hiring manager everything they need to know.

Interviewing

  • Interviewers are looking for more than your hard skills, they are interested in your emotional intelligence, ability to think critically, and ‘fit’ in the company culture.
  • Do your homework. Have an understanding of the company you are working for and use resources like Linkedin and Glassdoor to fill in information about potential managers and coworkers and the work environment.
  • Be prepared with 5-6 well thought-out questions (not, ‘How much does it pay?’). Engage in a dialogue with your interviewer about goals for the position and the company to demonstrate your understanding of the mission.
  • Finally, show your gratitude! Take a moment to write an email thanking everyone that you interview with. Even if you don’t get a response, the interviewer will take note and it might set you apart from the competition!

RHM004 – The Power of Positivity

rush2In Episode 4 we sit down with Wilma Jones to talk positivity in the workplace.

Wilma Jones is an author, popular speaker, Huffington Post Contributing Blogger and positivity expert helping people improve their lives personally and professionally. Her second book, Is It Monday Already?! 197 Tools and Tips to Start Living Happier at Work is based on the principles of positive psychology incorporated with best practices in office etiquette. Wilma’s stories awaken self-awareness and motivate people to shift their behavior patterns to increase their happiness and success. Her expertise has been featured in the Washington Post and on dozens of radio shows including on the CBS Radio Network, Clear Channel Radio, Radio One, Sirius XM and WHUR-FM. She lives in Arlington, Virginia.

Wilma shares suggestions for how you can incorporate positive psychology at work regardless of your circumstances:

  • Supercharge your happiness with gratitude.
  • Develop social connections with like-minded individuals at work.
  • Use movement and mindfulness to change your outlook.
  • Start building spontaneity into your work day, your attitude and effectiveness will improve if you start putting yourself first.