Tag Archives: goals

Lose Your Job Without Losing Yourself

I went through an experience quite a few years ago where I lost my job due to downsizing and budget reconstruction. My position was eliminated, and it took me a long time to find another job that fit my experience and qualifications. I felt rejected, frustrated and somewhat alone during the process.

I recently talked with a couple of people who shared a similar experience, and this got me wondering how many others out there have been ousted from a position because of no fault of their own and felt like they had lost their value. I want to share some examples of the emotions that go along with a job loss as well as to encourage those who are going through this process, or may go through this process in the future.

Susan had been working for a company for 20 years when she was asked to leave. The CEO retired and the new CEO wanted to build her own team. After losing her job, Susan didn’t sleep well and found herself mourning the loss of her job. Her confidence was shaken and it took about 6-8 months before she found work that really interested her. She reached out to friends, volunteered with a non-profit, and worked on some part-time contracts. One of the contracts turned out to be her new full-time gig and several others became her side gig.

Chris worked for 30 years at a company and had worked his way up to a senior leadership position.  When he was let go, he was devastated for months and not able to think through what he needed to do. His job was his identity; he was emotionally paralyzed. The loss of his job struck him to his core and he couldn’t function without the help of friends. He also began volunteering and taking on short-term contracts before he found his next position.

One of the things we all had in common was that we had money set aside for emergencies and thankfully the urgency to bring home a paycheck was not a factor. The rule of thumb to have 3-6 months of savings set aside for emergencies – such as job loss – may not be enough if you have only one source of income. It may take longer than you think to find something that fits your experience and qualifications, so be prepared financially to manage emergencies in your life.

The other thing we all felt was the grief of loss. The grief associated with job loss is real and can affect your physical and emotional health, your relationships, and your sense of purpose. Grief is not something most people talk about, so it is important to acknowledge what you are feeling and give yourself time and space to process. If you don’t have close family or friends who you can confide in, you may need to speak to a counselor or therapist to help you refocus and set new goals.  

Be confident in your skill set. Take the time to learn new skills and be willing to be stretched. If you have transferable skills and valuable experience you will either find a place to work, or you may decide to become an entrepreneur and start your own business. Know what your strengths are and what you can do, and don’t forget to tap into your network.

Remember your job is not who you are as a person, and it does not define your value. If you find yourself out of work, remember to take time to grieve, lean on friends and family for support, engage with your network to let them know you are looking for work, and do things you enjoy. If you are going through a job loss situation and need to bounce ideas off someone or need help getting grounded let me know.

Work/Life Balance

I am drawn to inspiring motivational sayings and quotes, and I read one other day that made me stop and think about work/life balance.

On the wall in front of me was a plaque that read, “Passion, Purpose & Play.” I am an organized person that loves to schedule and plan, and often work on several projects in parallel – so I feel like I have passion and purpose down pretty well. However, I have found that when I don’t take time to play my passion and purpose lose their shine.

Passion is about our emotions and what lights us up, what gets us excited or motivated about doing things. Purpose is about why we do what we do; some people are driven by a aligning with a higher power while others focus on goals and targets. We can be passionate about our purpose and play, but when the passion for purpose and play gets mislaid or misplaced the dominate feeling can become boredom and monotony.

We are all wired differently, so what excites one person won’t necessarily excite everyone – and this is a good thing. Have you stopped recently and reflected on where you are and where you want to go? Are you still on Plan A or have you moved to another version because things changed? Plan A is always my starting point, but it doesn’t take long for something to change and B has to be implemented.

Which brings me to play and how important it is to schedule play, fun or just down time like you would any other important event or activity. Whether you are taking time to play sports, going out with friends, or taking your dog for a walk, find something that you enjoy that puts energy back into your system rather than consuming it.

The last few years have been especially challenging for many people. Some have been asked to work from home when their preferred workspace is at work. Others have been quarantined because of personal or family illness and feel disconnected from the normal routine. I have found that whenever life is disrupted I need more time to recharge than usual. So, be gentle with your self where you are, and check in to see if you need more play to boost your passion and purpose.

I encourage you to evaluate your passion, purpose and play to see if you need to make adjustments to get where you want to go! Let me know if I can help you with your work/life balance.

Continuous Improvement

The past few years have proven challenging for many small business owners as they adjusted, pivoted, modified and realigned to meet the changes they faced.

Some businesses were not prepared for what 2020/2021 brought and sadly closed their doors. However, others positioned themselves to take advantage of the opportunity to rethink and reimagine their business to meet the needs of their customers.

While it may take facing a disaster for some business owners to examine and explore opportunities to improve their business, continuous improvement is a critical component to success in any business – regardless of size or sector.

Continuous improvement is an ongoing process that focuses on:

  • Identifying opportunity for improvement and planning for change.
  • Implementing small-scale change and analyze the results.
  • Applying the successful change on a wider scale.
  • Assessing continuously and beginning the cycle over.

I have seen several business owners work on continuous improvement even while going through challenging times. One woman closed her business in one location and found an opportunity to reopen successfully in another location by collaborating with an existing business owner. Another family business had just launched as the pandemic began spreading and they worked creatively for almost eighteen months to stay in business before they could safely open to the public.

These examples of determination and resolve to succeed were accomplished by people working together to achieve a goal. To some degree we could say that they were reacting to changes brought about by a disaster rather than by creating an action plan for change, but they made it work. All businesses could benefit by continually looking for opportunities to improve and analyzing the data to make sure changes bring about results regardless of what is happening in the world.

Businesses that have continuous improvement as part of their strategic plan are better positioned to withstand natural disasters, limited resources, or whatever comes their way. Even solopreneurs can work together with support teams – virtual or otherwise – to creatively look for ways to stay ahead of the business curve. Just think how much better businesses that already have teams in place are positioned to use their collective expertise to keep the business primed for success.

Does your business have a continuous improvement plan? This could be another tool to add to your toolbox. Let me know if you need support in putting together your continuous improvement plan.

Motivation and Leadership

What would you like to accomplish in 2022? What goals have you set so far? What motivation do you have in place to support your steps towards reaching your goals?

Are you motivated by rewards or restrictions (the old carrot or stick principle) or are you driven by passion, mission, and vocation? There is no right or wrong answer; the key is to understand what inspires you to reach your goals. Once you know what motivates you as a leader, the next step is to understand what motivates your team members as individuals – and collectively as a team. 

Motivation can be external or internal. Often we can be motivated by both external and internal factors and the important thing is that you understand your motivators and incorporate them to reach your goals. External motivation comes from rewards like honor, reputation, and wealth. Internal motivation is about what makes you feel fulfilled mentally, emotionally, and physically.

As a leader, it is important to understand and adapt to what motivates your team – as individuals and as a team. For example, say you offer financial incentives as an external motivator to reach a department or organizational goal but you find that none of your team members are motivated by external factors. The chances of reaching organizational goals are slim.  Things would have probably turned out differently if you had checked in with your team and found out what motivates them.

It is interesting to note that in“The Great Resignation” movement of today is more about internal motivation rather than external motivation. For the vast majority of people, it is not about pay or about status, but it is about enjoying the work, finding a work/life balance, and having personal happiness.  There will always be a need for compensation for work, but as a leader being able to motivate your team to tap into their intrinsic motivation is priceless.

As a leader, some of the ways you can cultivate motivation include:

  • Value and highlight the strengths and capabilities of your team members.
  • Create small steps towards a goal and celebrate the successes along the way.
  • Provide regular feedback on how progress towards the goal is going.
  • Use positive interactions instead of negative communication.

Combining internal and external motivators supports a productive work environment. And motivation is a key component towards reaching not only your own personal and professional goals, but those of your team.  

Contact me and let’s talk about how we can put the right motivators in place to help you reach your goals in 2022.

Data-Drive Decisions

If you think about it, we use data every day to make decisions. I look at my fuel gauge in my vehicle to decide how soon I need to add fuel to the tank, and I check my oil usage to know when I need to change oil (which needs to be done next week!)

I check my fitness tracker to see how close I am towards reaching my daily step or sleep goal. One of my fitness goals is to keep my daily steps between 8,000 and 10,000. Some days I do better than others, but on average I am able to stay on track because I check the data.

I can check my spreadsheet to see how much revenue I have been able to generate in order to meet my business goal. I have a goal to bring in a specific amount of revenue by the end of the year, so I break it down each month to make sure I am on track to reaching my goal.

Before you can collect information about how your business is doing, you need to know what you should be tracking and why. For example, if you want to focus on improving sales, then daily, weekly and monthly sales would be important data to track. However, if you have seen an increase in customer complaints then tracking customer satisfaction data would be important. Having three to five metrics that you are following will help you stay on top of key performance indicators for your organization.  

Once you have decided on what needs to be measured or tracked, then you need to create goals around the data. Using the S.M.A.R.T. goal approach will help you to create specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound goals. Clearly describing what you want to achieve, what will be measured and why, with a well-defined timeline will help you reach your goal.

The next step is to create a scorecard that identifies what information needs to be measured or collected, by who, and what the target goal is for each month will bring together the data for easy access. A spreadsheet is a good tool to use for developing your scorecard, and make it shareable so that those responsible for tracking data for a particular measurable can input data as needed.

I use spreadsheets to track my data because it is easy to use and it gives me a quick snapshot of where I am so I know what I still need to accomplish. Much like health data such as heart rate, blood pressure, and temperature tell us how well our body is performing, scorecard data is a snapshot of how well your business is performing.

Think about what data you track, and let me know if you need help in setting goals or creating a scorecard to make your data-driven decisions.

Setting Goals

Dream Big – Set Goal – Take Action text with many light bulbs

This month I shared some tips about setting goals in the newsletter, and thought I would continue this topic here in the blog. Some people are really good a setting both long and short-term goals, while others struggle to set weekly and monthly goals. There are three main pieces to goal setting:

Know where you are now – take inventory of your personal and professional life and make a note of what you like and what you would like to change.

Think about where you want to be – this could be 6 months from now, 1 year, or 10 years. The key is to be clear in your mind what that future looks like.

Create a plan to get from where you are to where you want to be – this may sound simple, but you will find that you will need to make changes and adjustments along the way because life will throw you challenges.

Another important factor is to have that future goal – or where you want to be – as clear as possible. Creating clear, actionable goals is accomplished by making them:

  • Specific and easy to understand. Be as specific as you can try to include your senses in your description of what you want to accomplish
  • Measurable so you know how far you have gone to reaching your goal. A large or long-term goal can be broken down into small action steps that you can celebrate completing.
  • Achievable based on the resources you have at your disposal. You may find that you will need to acquire of build the resources you need to complete the goal, and this should also be part of the consideration before you undertake the task.
  • Relevant to you and your lifestyle. If a goal doesn’t resonate with you an all levels then you are less likely to reach the goal. It may be the right goal but the wrong timing!
  • Time-bound so that there is an end date to the process. As you create your goal and the subsequent action steps towards the goal, assign due dates and check off and celebrate when you reach each step.

I hope this helps you if you are setting goals or making adjustments to goals you already have in place. If you have any questions or would like help setting goals please let me know mailto:jillian@wisewomenleadership.com