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Entries for the 'Uncertainty & Stress' Category

Listen In -> Uncertainty & Stress #5: Stay Connected to Your Relational Network

Wednesday, August 27th, 2008

If you were to lose your job, how surprised would your network of acquaintances be to hear from you?

What if you were already in conversation with a wide circle of people on an on-going basis?

In our series on Uncertainty and Stress, Claudia and I conclude with a look at the value of maintaining casual relationships.

No special skills are necessary. No massive investment of time is required. Just you at your most natural, authentic and comfortable self, taking an occasional initiative to check in with those in your circles.

Talk about something you can do to reduce your own stress levels!

Listen in.

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Catch up on the entire series on Uncertainty and Stress.

Surviving Uncertainty and Stress

Monday, August 25th, 2008

Uncertainty and Stress

What’s the most stressful part of hearing rumors of lay-offs? Possibly losing one’s job? Possibly losing a valuable team member? No. Neither actually. It’s the uncertainty.

Think about it. Uncertainty.

How will the weak economy affect you? Uncertainty. What will happen at your performance review? Uncertainty. The person who hired you is fired. Uncertainty. An unexpected opportunity presents itself. Uncertainty.

Give me a defined problem any day. I can face a disaster. I can get help with a problem. I can develop a new skill. I can confront a bully. But please don’t leave me hanging.

The key to surviving uncertainty is not to beg, bargain or complain, manipulate or manufacture certainty. Certainty is elusive at best and not possible in many instances.

The key to surviving uncertainty is to identify which choices are in your control and which choices are not. By letting go of the things outside of your control (e.g. the economy, a supervisor’s idiosyncracies, the weaknesses over in the sales department, etc.), you can focus on the things you can control.

Where do you have control? Ask yourself, “Where can my choices make a difference?”

You can find new ways to add value and engage more fully with your current position. You can nurture your network of relationships, near and far, so that you have positive connections in a variety of contexts. You can find opportunities to learn new skills and expand current ones, especially skills that are transferable across a variety of fields.

The negative stress associated with uncertainty will be replaced with a sense of purposefulness and personal power. Though those with more power in the organization may make decisions that complicate your life, you will know that you are doing all you can to be a value-adding team member, a well-connected community member, and an irrepressible transferable skill developer.

Instead of worrying, you will be ready to make your next decision. Now, that feels good!

On your side,

– Karl Edwards

Problem-Solving… The Transferable Skill to Beat All Others

Saturday, August 23rd, 2008

If you want a transferable skill to acquire, expand or hone, problem-solving is your baby.

What job doesn’t include problems?

Problems are part and parcel of working life. And the capacity to welcome, confront and work through problems is a core competency you can and should brag about.

  • Welcome problems. Work is comprised of some tough realities. Being able to recognize and embrace these difficulties is part of what gives us energy and satisfaction. We’d be bored without them.
  • Confront problems. We don’t hide from, blame others, or wish away the troubles that arise around us. We go into solution mode. We initiate difficult conversations, go back to the drawing board, and make new choices.
  • Work through problems. We are not content with resolving superficial symptoms. We search for underlying causes, recurring patterns, and structural deficiencies. We are looking for changes that will last.

An attitude of welcome, an approach of confrontation, and a commitment to see through lasting change.

Problem-solving. A skill that will serve you well in any position, in any firm, in any field.

What is your attitude toward, approach to and commitment regarding the problems you face at work?

Listen In -> Uncertainty & Stress #4: Build Your Transferable Skills

Monday, August 18th, 2008

In uncertain economic times, it can seem like we are at the mercy of the decisions of others. Supervisors making staffing cuts, politicians making tax, spending and policy changes, economic trends beyond our influence.

Over the past several weeks, Claudia and I have been discussing where we do have choices. Listen in as we talk about the power of expanding and honing our transferable skills.

When we can view ourselves in terms of the transferable skills we possess instead of in terms of our current job description and its responsibilities, we open up a world of professional opportunities to which we were previously blind.

Listen in.

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Catch up on the entire series on Uncertainty & Stress.

Listen In -> Uncertainty & Stress #3: Knowing Where Your Money is Going

Friday, August 1st, 2008

Keeping our focus on the things that we can control, our attention shifts this week to our personal finances.

Many people feel they have no choices when it comes to money. It’s all gone before the next pay check even arrives. The bills pile up, and the thought of losing your job keeps you up at night.

Do we really have no choices? Or could it be that there are some choices available that we do not see?

In this week’s podcast conversation, we suggest taking a look at where you spend your money. Try breaking down your expenses into three categories: fixed commitments, flexible values, and discretionary extras.

You’ll be surprised at what you find. Just knowing where you have choices will take an enormous weight off your shoulders.

Listen in.

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Adding Value Idea: Be a Team Player

Thursday, July 24th, 2008

One area of work that is always in your own control is whether or not you choose to be a team player.

One thing you can do to shape how others perceive your contribution to the organization is find ways to make the entire team more successful.

This could be as simple as helping an overwhelmed co-worker finish a task. You could compliment someone in front of their supervisor, making them look good. You could add a level of extra coordination to your efforts, so that more of the people affected know what’s going on.

What you’re looking for are opportunities to take the initiative and engage beyond the strict limits of your job description with an emphasis on making the entire team function better.

In light of our podcast conversation topic this week, when uncertainty inserts its unwelcome head, you will already be perceived as a team player… key, if not indispensable, to the organization. One more thing in your own control. One less thing to stress about!

Where have you found opportunities to engage as a team player?

Listen In -> Uncertainty & Stress #2: Add Value to Your Current Job

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2008

Always in our own control is how we choose to show up at work.

Fully engaged? Detached? Withholding? Resistant?

In this week’s podcast conversation, Claudia and I look at the practice of adding value to whatever you do at work. Not only is full engagement a more rewarding personal experience, in times of uncertainty such consistent contributions can make the difference between being perceived as an indispensable asset or not.

Listen in.

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Listen In -> Uncertainty & Stress #1: Taking the Stress Out of Uncertainty

Tuesday, July 8th, 2008

We are surrounded by uncertainty. Economists can’t agree whether or not we’re in a recession. Large corporations in the news are cutting back on staff and closing factories and storefronts. The government is mailing out stimulus checks to spark some spending.

This week we begin a new podcast series entitled Taking the Stress Out of Uncertainty.

Instead of losing sleep over the things we cannot control, listen in over the next five weeks as Claudia and I discuss what is in our control.

  • Week #1: Taking the Stress Out of Uncertainty
  • Week #2: Add Value to Your Current Job
  • Week #3: Know Where Your Money is Going
  • Week #4: Build Your Transferable Skills
  • Week #5: Stay Connected to Your Relationship Network

Listen in.

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