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Getting the Skills You Need for the Position You Want

3 Things You Must Start Doing When You Become a Team Leader

What’s standing in between you and your dream job? It’s probably less than you think. If you are interested in gaining skills for your career development  - stick around! We've got some unconventional ideas for how you can gain the skills you need for the position you want.

Check out this list of some ways that you can get the experience and skills you’re missing...without having to get another degree.

Volunteering

You can find volunteer opportunities in pretty much any area. There are many sites that help connect you with positions in your area, such as volunteermatch.org and justserve.org.

Benefits of volunteering:

Develop soft skills

Through volunteering, you will develop many soft skills that are transferable to your next job. Some of these skills might include time management, communication, and empathy.

So, while it might be better, for career development purposes, to volunteer in a relevant industry, any volunteer experience you have is going to make you a better candidate for most jobs.

Give back to the community

Volunteering is a great way to get involved in your local community and give back. When you volunteer, you really do make a meaningful difference in the lives of others.

Helping others is a great thing to do, and this will be reflected in your own sense of purpose and happiness. It also shows potential employers that you care about your community and the people in it, which speaks to your character.

Get relevant work experience

Volunteer experience is extremely valuable to hiring managers. In fact, in a survey by Deloitte, 82 percent of hiring managers said they were more likely to choose candidates with relevant volunteer experience.

What’s more, 85 percent said that they would be more willing to overlook other resume flaws if a candidate had volunteer experience.

Volunteering is a very helpful way for you to get experience related to your desired job. It’s also a great way to learn more about the industry you’re interested in going into.

And it helps you stand out on a resume by showing that you are dedicated to your field and helping make your community a better place.

Learn more about yourself

Volunteering is a great way to learn about yourself and your interests. Through volunteering, you might discover types of work that you really like, as well as work that you want to avoid in the future.

Volunteering is a fantastic way to explore some of your interests and test out if they are something you would like to pursue in the future.

Make connections

The people you meet while volunteering are likely to have similar interests and passions as you, and possibly similar career paths. This provides a great opportunity to discuss your goals and ideas, as well as build strong relationships.

Some of the people you meet might even be able to provide you with a great reference or share opportunities with you in the future.

Webinars 

Benefits of attending webinars:

Get up to speed and stay up to date

With our world full of technology, it can be tough to stay updated on the latest in your industry. But going out of your way to do so will be to your benefit. It helps you stay competitive in the job market.

In addition, it will make you a lifelong learner. Being a lifelong learner is not only good for your career development, but also for your brain and for your well-being.

Because webinars are so plentiful, and they often focus on topics that are current and relevant, they are a fantastic tool for staying up to date in your industry.

Flexible and convenient

A big draw of webinars is that they are so convenient. Because they are online, you don’t have to travel to attend one. This alone can save you large amounts of time and money. On top of that, many of them are available for a low cost or for free.

Additionally, the options for webinars are pretty much limitless. You can find an endless selection of live and recorded webinars online.

With so many different ones out there, you are bound to find some that will be useful to you, and that will work with your schedule. There are many websites that put together lists of upcoming webinars, so you can easily find ones that will be relevant to you.

Networking

You’re attending a webinar because you are hoping to stay up to date with current industry news and skills. And because you’re interested in the content. Well, so is everyone else there!

Webinars provide a great opportunity to meet and interact with like-minded people and build new professional connections. Don’t be shy to speak up if you have a question, a thought you want to discuss, or if someone else has a great idea you want to hear more about.

Most open positions aren’t even posted online, they are filled through networking and internal referrals. So, putting yourself out there can lead to opportunities that aren’t even being advertised, increasing the likelihood that you will find the role you’ve been wanting.

Easy access to recordings

Ever attended a seminar or lecture that you thought was interesting, but after a week went by you struggled to recall all the important details? Fortunately, since webinars are often recorded, you likely be able to find a link to them.

This feature of webinars is definitely a part of their appeal. Since they are recorded, you don’t have to worry about taking amazing notes, and can put more energy into actively participating in the dialogue. You can always go back and re-watch points that you missed or need to reinforce your understanding of.

Online Courses

Benefits of taking online courses:

Low-cost 

There are several websites that offer low-cost or free online courses. This makes them a great and accessible alternative to taking in-person classes at your local university.

You can find these on sites such as LinkedIn LearningCoursera, HubSpot, and Google Digital Garage - or simply by searching “free online courses”.

High-quality

Many online courses are offered by highly regarded and prestigious institutions. They are well-designed to help students learn most effectively.

Through these classes, you’ll have access to instructors who are experts in the field and can gain critical knowledge from them.

You stand out

Taking online courses in your own time demonstrates that you are motivated to learn and improve your skills. It shows that you are willing to take the initiative and go that extra mile to achieve your goals.

It also communicates that you have a genuine interest in the subject matter. These are qualities that are highly desirable to employers and will make you stand out as a great candidate.

Gain experiences you can highlight on your resume

Often in online courses, they will ask you to put together a project or presentation to demonstrate what you’ve learned in the course. When completing these assignments, it is important that you don't phone them in.

They may seem low-stakes and irrelevant to your career, but the more effort you put into them, the greater the benefit will be to you later.

These kinds of projects are great talking points in an application or interview. By including details about your experience with the course, you can prove that it was worthwhile and that you went above and beyond. This can bolster your application.

Courses can be as specific as you need

At a college or university program, your options for courses might be limited. You might need to complete certain courses that are graduation requirements, even if they are not necessarily relevant to your future career.

But with online courses, you can pretty much find any course you need. Everything on the web is available to you. Courses can be as general as an introduction to finance, or as specific as an in-depth guide to Microsoft Excel.

Gain credentials

Upon completion of the webinar or online course, they often give you a certificate. This is great because it is something specific to put on a resume that shows you have been working on your skills.

This can help to make up for where you are lacking in work experience or other credentials.

Convenient 

In addition, if you’re looking for a particular course, you might be out of luck due to scheduling conflicts or availability issues.

However, with online courses, there are so many options. In addition, they are often self-paced, so you can make them work for your schedule.

Mentorship

Mentorship is a long-term professional relationship that can benefit both people involved.

To choose a mentor, think about someone who you admire and whose career you take inspiration from. They can be a mutual friend, a family member, a past manager, or anyone else in your circle.

When you’ve found someone who you think would make a suitable mentor, schedule a meeting with them to explain the guidance you’re seeking and why you’d like them to be your mentor.

Understand that not everyone will be able to take on the time commitment that comes with being a mentor, but you are likely to find someone who has both the availability and the enthusiasm to assume this role.

Benefits of mentorships:

What a mentor can help you with:

Help you set and achieve your goals

You might not know how to turn your aspirations into reality, but a mentor can give you insights and ideas that may not have crossed your mind. They have a different perspective and can see things from a different vantage point.

A mentor can help you set goals, offering guidance and advice for your career growth. They have helpful knowledge about what it will take to get to where you are going from where you are.

They can also hold you accountable, and make sure that you are making progress toward your goals.  A mentor will also support you, providing encouragement along the way. One big benefit of having a mentor is that you don’t have to work toward your goals alone.

Help you connect to the right people or opportunities

Your mentor is a powerful connection to have. They probably know many people who would be great for you to work with. Your mentor will get to know you, and your goals, interests, and experience. Thus, they will be in a great position to connect you with just the opportunities you need to take the next step in your career.

Provides constructive feedback

Because mentorship is a professional relationship, mentors will be in a better place to provide you with constructive feedback than your close friends or family may be. Constructive feedback is important because it allows you to learn things about yourself that might not otherwise learn - the good and the less good.

Accolades are always easy to receive, but sometimes it's hard to hear improvements are needed. Both of these sets of feedback are important and necessary for your professional growth.

There is value in all of the feedback you receive. It's good to get an outside perspective, and within the mentorship, it should always be kind and helpful.

What you can help a mentor with:

Allows them to strengthen their knowledge

You might think that your lack of experience means that you have nothing to teach your mentor, but this is not true. As someone with an interest in their field and with a drive to learn more about it, you are a great person for them to exchange ideas and insights.

You also come from a different background from them, which means that you offer a unique perspective. In addition, teaching others is a great way for them to solidify and strengthen their knowledge.

Enhances their leadership skills

Being a mentor is a leadership role. They serve as a guide to help you achieve your goals. In doing this, they learn more about how to be a successful leader. If they are able to be a mentor, they show that they are effective in managing and helping others.

Leadership skills are extremely valuable in pretty much any career. The mentor can use these skills that they’ve acquired with you to further their career.

Helps establish them as experts in their industry

A mentorship shows that they have valuable knowledge to share, and also that they are willing to help others grow their knowledge and succeed in the industry.

This demonstrates that they are experts in their field and that others have a lot to learn from them. Being a mentor will add to their qualifications, and help them stand out in an application, or when looking for a promotion.

What you can help each other with:

Exchange ideas

Ideally, you and your mentor will share common interests. This means they will be a great person to talk to and bounce ideas off. Exchanging ideas with another motivated professional is a great way to stimulate creativity. In addition, it will help keep your interest and desire to succeed in the field alive.

The takeaway

The main lesson that we hope you take away from this is that whatever is holding you back from your goals, there’s a workaround. You have options.

With a little determination, resourcefulness, and support from others along the way, you can close the gap between your current qualifications and those needed to secure your dream job.

 

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Not Sure What You Want to Do? Let’s Figure It Out!

3 Things You Must Start Doing When You Become a Team Leader

There’s a good chance at some point, you’ve been asked the following - “what do you want to be when you grow up?” This question may have been fun to think about as a child, but now that you’re an adult and the pressure is on, it can be stressful and confusing.

Whether you’re just entering (or re-entering) the workforce or you have been employed but are looking to take your career in a different direction, the first step to securing a job that you can thrive in is to determine your goals.

Even if you’re only planning for a minor career shift, or simply want to work at a different company, reevaluating your priorities and motivations can help you to go into your next job search with some clarity.

If defining your career goals seems intimidating, you are not alone. The stakes seem so incredibly high. How can you possibly take your interests, experiences, and dreams, and decide on one thing you are meant to do?

We’re here to help get you started on that reflection and make it a bit less intimidating. Keep reading for some very simple and fun exercises to help you realize your career goals.

Don’t worry about the “perfect fit”

The idea that your perfect career awaits you and you just need to find it, has been fed to many of us.  The pressure to find the ”perfect fit” can lead to having expectations that are unhealthy and unrealistic.

Take some of the pressure off. Don’t worry about finding the perfect fit, and just focus on coming up with some options that are a good fit.

Also, remember that choosing what you want to do does not mean that you’ll be locked into that career path forever. It’s actually quite common for people to make career shifts. In fact, a recent poll found that over half of middle-income workers are considering changing jobs right now.

Drop the “shoulds” from your life

In life, there are so many things that you are told you should do, in order to live your best life. Some of these are well-supported by evidence, like getting enough sleep most nights. But others, like the idea that you must receive a certain level of education to have a fulfilling career or that your path will be clear and straightforward, are not true.

All of these “shoulds” can cloud your judgment, and make it hard to get in touch with your true values and goals.

Before you go through the following self-reflection exercise, take all of your “shoulds” out of the equation. This might be tricky at first because so many of these thoughts are automatic but stick to it. The “shoulds” are probably not serving you as well as you think they may be.

Career assessments and personality tests

While career assessments and personality tests are not the end-all-be-all for defining your career goals, they are a helpful starting point. Many personality and career tests are not based on scientific method and haven’t performed well on tests of reliability and validity. But this does not mean that they can’t still be useful tools for you to use.

They can help you learn about yourself, your interests, your strengths, and your weaknesses.

Regardless of how accurate you find your results, taking the tests and interpreting them will encourage further introspection. If you find some careers that look promising, it might be a good idea to research those positions. For example, results may reveal strengths that really resonate with you. It might then be helpful to investigate careers that will require you to harness and apply those skills.

Here we’ve listed just a few free and popular career and personality tests (but there are many more available online) :

Career Assessments

•             The MAPP Career Test

The MAPP career test is comprised of about 70 questions in which you are asked to sort your likes and dislikes. It’s supposed to take about 22 minutes. It aims to help you discover careers that would suit your interests and fit with your motivations.

The MAPP test has held up to reliability and validity studies and has been used by many institutions and career counselors.

•             The Work Importance Profiler

The Work Importance Profiler is aimed to assess what’s important to you, and then show you careers that are compatible with your values.

Personality tests

•             The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is one of the most widely used personality tests available. It takes about 20 minutes, and then upon completion, you are given a personality profile.

There are 16 possible personality types, that are presented in the format of four letters. The personality types are determined by whether you’re:

  1. Introverted or Extroverted (I vs E)
  2. Intuitive or Sensory (N vs S)
  3. Thinking or Feeling (T vs F)
  4.  Judging or Perceiving (J vs P).

The test will give you a brief description of your personality type, along with a list of strengths and weaknesses. It will also provide you with careers that others of your suggested type are excelling at.

•             The Big-5

The Big Five personality test will give you a score on five personality traits: openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism.

This test should help you understand some of your tendencies and skills. Providing you with important factors to keep in mind whilst in your career search.

Questions to ask yourself

These questions are all aimed to help you learn more about your specific skills and interests, and how you can match those with careers.

The more detailed and true you are with your answers, the more helpful these tools will be.

What criteria do you have for your life?

To define your career goals, a good place to start is to consider what criteria you have for your life, both in and outside of work. This can include positive and negative criteria: positive things that you would like more of in life, and negative things that you would prefer to avoid.

For example, a positive criterion could be that you want to work in an industry that allows for promotions and career advancement. Or maybe you want a lifestyle where you can spend frequent time with family.

Whilst, a negative criterion could be you don’t want to work in a highly stressful environment, or that you don’t want a role that requires you to work during your personal time.

What are your interests?

This seems like an easy question, one you’ve likely answered many times but this time you will need to dig deep. When you were younger, what did you enjoy learning about?  What do you go out of your way to learn more about now? It’s helpful to understand what your interests are to gain insights into what you’d like to have in your life.

What are you passionate about?

The best and most fulfilling work often comes when you follow your passions. What is truly important to you? What are your values? Is there a topic that you could talk about for ages, or listen to others talk about without becoming bored?

What do you excel at?

Everyone has certain skills that just seem to come more naturally to them. This could be a specific technical skill such as coding, or it could be a soft skill, like empathy.

If you’re struggling to come up with answers to this one at first, it can be helpful to reach out to a close friend or someone who knows you well for insight. Taking the career and personality assessments will also give you a solid foundation to answer this question.

Who do you admire?

This question can really get you thinking about the qualities you value and can help you to direct your aspirations. You may think of people you admire for their job-related accomplishments, or simply for who they are as people.

Once you’ve determined the qualities you admire in others, you can begin to institute them in your own life.

How much additional effort are you able to put in to achieve your career goals?

There might be a certain job that you’re interested in, but it requires another degree or certificate. And maybe going back to school is just not practical for you at this point in your life. That’s perfectly understandable; going back to school is a huge commitment of time and money. It just means that you may need to get creative.

Depending on what it is you’d like to do, you may be able to find free courses that you can fit into your spare time. Self-directed learning has become more available and accepted.

Look for entry-level positions for the job you’d like. You may qualify for the position with the skills you have and then are able to gain skills and knowledge on the job.

There are many ways to get to where you’d like to be, they don’t all have to be conventional.

Find people on social media who are in your dream position and follow them. You will learn a ton about the industry, what it takes to make it, as well as potentially make valuable connections that can help you to achieve your goal.

If none of these are available to you, begin to pay attention to the aspects of your current position that you really enjoy. Focus on those. Does your current company have a position like the one you want? Seek cross-training opportunities to learn more and gain skills. After some time you will be able to apply those to the position that you are really interested in.

Conclusion

Ultimately, if you are not currently where you’d like to be, there are many roads you can take to get there. It’s most important that you just take the first step – regardless of how small that step may feel.

You are a wonderful collection of unique skills, experiences, and perceptions. And you are at your best when you are interested and invested in what you are doing. If you have it, take the time to truly get to know yourself. It will be the best thing you ever do. Future you will thank you!

 

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Authenticity – Bring Your “Self” to Work

3 Things You Must Start Doing When You Become a Team Leader

“Just be yourself” - you’ve probably heard this throughout your life.  Although cliché, it is great advice. Being yourself helps you to avoid burnout, form meaningful relationships, and even perform better. But being your true self is easier said than done in some situations. One area where you may struggle with authenticity is at work.

It can be particularly difficult for individuals with marginalized identities because they too often face consequences for being themselves. Historically, there have been strict written and unwritten rules for how to conduct one's self professionally, with those rules not always being fair to everyone. But it seems that many of those rules are now being questioned, as the majority of us have been working from home for the last couple of years.

In her Ted talk entitled “The Myth of Bringing Your Full, Authentic Self to Work,” Jodi-Ann Burey uncovers some of the challenges she has faced as a Black woman in the professional world. A quote that stands out from her talk is, “Without accountability to examine the systems of bias and power, the call for authenticity fails.”

Nobody, no matter their race, sexuality, gender, age, or any other part of their identity, should ever be made to feel like they must hide who they are in order to succeed in the workplace. We will discuss some ways that leaders and employees can make space for authenticity for all workers later.

But first, let’s get familiar with what it means to be authentic and why it is so beneficial.

What is Authenticity?

What does “just be yourself” mean at work? It doesn’t mean that you must act exactly the same way throughout all of your interactions, as that is unrealistic. Nor does it mean that you need to share every detail of your personal life. At times it may be necessary to protect your boundaries and keep aspects of yourself separate from certain settings or people. And that’s perfectly okay.

Authenticity is simply when our internal selves (our values, motivations, and interests) align with our behavior. This can look very different depending on your preferences and work style. Cultivating authenticity is a lifelong practice of learning about yourself, and it requires experimentation.  You might try something and then realize that it didn’t feel right. When this happens, you learn something new about yourself and might be more comfortable being a bit more open in the future.

Benefits of Authenticity

Avoid Burnout

Hiding your authentic self in the workplace is likely contributing to burnout more than you may realize. The effort you expend trying to control your work image is costly — performing all day at work is exhausting. Once that pressure comes off, you free up so much energy to put into your work. You will also probably notice that you have more energy to spend on developing other aspects of your life, like your relationships. This brings us to the next benefit...

Form Meaningful Relationships

You might think it’s easier to put up a barrier while you’re at work and separate your social life from your work life. But you most likely spend a good portion of your days at work, so being able to have those strong connections at work will be extremely beneficial. The importance of having meaningful relationships cannot be stressed enough. Studies have found having strong connections to be related to better job performance, and even to increased longevity.

 Perform Better

When you constantly put on a mask at work and feel like you have to stay silent on topics that are important to you, you will likely feel stressed and disconnected from your work. However, once that mask comes off, you’ll be better motivated to engage with and commit to your work and you can watch your performance soar. In an interview about authenticity at work, Human Resources and Recruitment Practitioner Madison Butler explains “When you empower people to be exactly who they’re intending to be in the world, you get people who are more focused on what they’re doing every day. If I’m not focused on the sound of my voice, I can really focus on what I’m saying.”

In Google’s research on what makes a successful team, they found psychological safety to be the most important factor. Psychological safety means that people are given the space to communicate openly, and they know that they can make mistakes without facing harsh consequences. Psychological safety is directly related to authenticity. When people know that they won’t be punished for being themselves, they are much more likely to act authentically.

How to Practice Authenticity at Work (and Make Space for Others to Do the Same)

Now that we’ve established what authenticity is and why it’s important, you might be thinking “okay that’s great, but how do I actually do it?” Whether you are in a position of leadership at your organization or not, we’ll go over some strategies to help you encourage authenticity in yourself and others.

As discussed earlier, some work settings might not be particularly conducive to authenticity, especially for those with marginalized identities. That needs to change. Both the companies and the employees will see the benefits of more open and inclusive workspaces. When authenticity is encouraged, it has been shown to lead to better employee motivation, innovation, and productivity, as well as much higher retention rates.

Make Inclusion a Priority

The first step in enabling authenticity for all employees is to make workplaces more inclusive. This starts with strong leaders who encourage empathy and a sense of belonging. Strong leaders also take steps to ensure diversity, equity, and inclusion throughout the recruiting process.

If you are not in a position of leadership, you can still play a major role in contributing to a more inclusive work environment. Some actions you can take to achieve this are to speak up if you see fellow coworkers being treated unfairly and to normalize authenticity by doing so as much as you can (without facing consequences).

Practice Mindfulness

Practicing mindfulness is a great way to increase your capacity for authenticity. Through mindfulness exercises, people can become more aware of their own values, feelings, and motivations. The more self-aware you are, the easier it will be to act authentically. Many also report that through mindfulness practice, they have learned to live more intentionally and remain more present in their day-to-day lives.

As the great philosopher, Ferris Bueller, once said “Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it. It’s easy to get swept up by your daily routine and miss out on quality experiences. Mindfulness helps you avoid this.

Practicing mindfulness can look really different depending on your preferences. It could be daily meditations, mindful walking, taking breaks to check in throughout the day, or anything else you like. There really are no rules to it; just make it work for you!

Push Yourself to Be Vulnerable

Being yourself can be scary, but once you step out of your comfort zone and open up just a little bit, it will start to be much less intimidating. You can start small, maybe by talking about some of the ways that you’ve had to adjust to the pandemic with your coworkers.

Be a Good Listener

Authenticity is very much connected to your relationships. This means that being authentic isn’t only about being yourself, but also about allowing others the space to do the same. Being a good listener pushes you to be more present in the moment, and in doing so you learn more about yourself and others. This is one of the ways that authenticity helps build meaningful relationships.

Having someone give you their full attention, and really listen to what you have to say is a beautiful thing. When you are a good listener, others feel seen and heard, helping to give them the confidence to be themselves.

Conclusion

The very truth of the matter is that you are a complicated combination of your DNA and your experiences. You have a perspective that only you can have. Bringing your full self to everything you do will only further strengthen the confidence you have in yourself. What you may be dismissing is that your unique perspective is so very important to the rest of us. You will think of things that we would not consider – and we can do the same for you. True collaboration is the only way we can solve some of the really challenging problems we encounter – and we all need to bring our full selves for that to be possible.

 

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The Dark Side of Perfectionism

3 Things You Must Start Doing When You Become a Team Leader

The Dark Side of Perfectionism

Perfectionism

Do you often find it tough to relax and unwind?  You work hard, but feel like your best isn’t good enough? Worry that people will look down on you if you aren’t performing flawlessly? All of these are sneaky signs that you might be suffering from a case of perfectionism. Suffering from perfectionism? You heard that right.

As a culture, we uphold perfectionism as a positive quality that we should be proud of. So, it’s no surprise that perfectionism is on the rise. But it is not something we should glorify. In fact, perfectionism can be detrimental to your mental health.

What is Perfectionism?

At this point, you may be confused. How can doing a great job and striving to do your best be a bad thing? Well, let’s back up. Perfectionism goes beyond doing your best. When you suffer from perfectionism, excellence is merely okay, and your best never feels good enough. It proves harmful to your mental health, your wellbeing, and even your relationships.

In a study on perfectionism, two prominent experts identified three main variations which are characterized by the following:

  • Self-oriented perfectionism - individuals impose unrealistically high standards on themselves
  • Socially prescribed perfectionism - people feel that others expect them to be perfect
  • Other-oriented perfectionism - individuals have unreasonably high expectations of others

Why is Perfectionism Harmful?

It is not uncommon to struggle with some combination of the three, all of which are problematic for different reasons. Additionally, just because someone is a perfectionist in one area of life does not necessarily mean that they will be in all. Someone may be a perfectionist at work but very forgiving of mistakes at home, or vice versa. But even struggling with perfectionism in one area can have negative consequences.

Self-Oriented Perfectionism

Holding yourself to unachievable standards is harmful because it can not only prevent you from doing work you’re proud of, but it can also seriously hurt your wellbeing. The fear of not being perfect on the first try has the potential to cause you to procrastinate, which can result in undue stress and anxiety.

Procrastination in and of itself is not necessarily a bad thing, and may even fuel creativity, but in order for it to be beneficial, the procrastinator must not be afraid to fail.

But if the procrastination is due to perfectionism, it prevents experimentation and squashes creativity, and leads to you running up against time constraints. This ultimately causes stress and can compound your feelings of inadequacy, a truly vicious cycle. Living with a harsh inner critic also has severe consequences for your health. Researchers have found perfectionism to be associated with conditions such as high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease.

Socially Prescribed Perfectionism

Socially prescribed perfectionism is especially detrimental to your mental health. This variation of perfectionism has been linked to anxiety, depression, and unfortunately, suicidal ideation for some.

You are human and as such, a social creature. It is naturally inherent to want to be viewed positively by those you care about. But if you take that to the extreme of believing you need to be perfect to be worthy of respect, the effects can prove crippling mentally and emotionally.

Socially prescribed perfectionism has the potential to harm not only you but your relationships, by causing you to become closed off because of the pressure you feel to maintain unrealistic expectations. An even worse result is that you may struggle to ask for help, fearing it would be viewed as a sign of ineptitude.

Other-Oriented Perfectionism

Other-oriented perfectionism harms relationships in a different way. Working closely with someone who has this type of perfectionism can be exhausting and demoralizing. Other-oriented perfectionists often lack the soft skills that are crucial in a workplace, such as empathy, communication, and adaptability.

Those working with this type of perfectionist deal with a lack of understanding and forgiveness, rather than healthy constructive criticism, when mistakes are made. Mistakes are not seen as opportunities to learn and grow but instead are used to shame and demoralize.

This will cause people to be afraid to communicate openly because they are worried about disappointing the other. All of these factors lead to a toxic and strained relationship that is damaging to both partners, as well as their performance.

How to Improve Perfectionist Tendencies

Recognize when you’re being a perfectionist

The first step in addressing any perfectionist tendencies is to recognize them. You’re off to a great start by reading this article. You can also check out this site for a more comprehensive list of indicators of perfectionism.

Ultimately cultivating more self-awareness and mindfulness will help bring your perfectionism and other harmful tendencies to your attention. Many people improve these skills through habitual practices such as mindful walking, yoga, or journaling.

Prioritize getting things done over getting things perfect

Earlier we mentioned the vicious cycle of procrastination. The only way to break this cycle is just to get in there and start working. Know that your work is probably not going to meet your standards right away, and that’s perfectly okay. First drafts are meant to be rough. The purpose is to get your ideas down on paper, however messy they may look. Iterations are where you can build upon those ideas and perfect them.

Accepting What You Can Control and What You Can’t

Learning to let go of what you can’t control will help address all three variations of perfectionism. Starting with self-oriented perfectionism, when you become more aware that there are factors out of your control, such as resource or time limitations, it helps you to be more forgiving of yourself.

The next step is to learn to base your self-esteem more on the factors that are completely in your control. For example, rather than beating yourself up over your performance, you can celebrate how hard you’ve worked. Instead of being hard on yourself for struggling in your personal relationships, you can be proud of how much effort you put into being a kind person.

In terms of socially prescribed perfectionism, understanding that you have no control over how others see you is crucial. This may sound scary, but it can be quite freeing. You are in control of your actions and your choices, and nothing else. Put in your best effort, and do what you love, and you will be proud of the person you are. If someone views you negatively, that is not a reflection of you. And keep in mind that most people are not judging you as harshly as you may think, so working unnecessarily hard to please them doesn’t benefit anyone.

Additionally, letting go is especially relevant to other-oriented perfectionism. It’s important to give others space to make mistakes, learn, and grow. This doesn’t mean that you can’t offer input and support to help move their process along. But ultimately their work is their own, and there is no need to add to your plate by worrying about things that aren’t your responsibility.

Appreciate Difficulties

A huge cause of perfectionism is failing to appreciate the amount of effort it takes to achieve greatness. You can’t expect yourself to be an amazing athlete never having trained before, or to have Nobel-prize-worthy ideas at the drop of a hat. Great results take time and effort and usually come from iterations of the original idea. Expecting perfection on a first try sets you up for failure and disappointment. Everything is a process, and trusting your process will allow you to be more creative and gain confidence in your abilities. Practice makes perfect, so just keep practicing – and you will reach perfection, instead of chasing perfectionism.

Imperfection is what makes us human, it’s a beautiful thing, and it allows you to discover things that you never would have imagined.

 

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Managing Your Personal Brand

3 Things You Must Start Doing When You Become a Team Leader

You have a personal brand regardless of whether you have dedicated time crafting it or not. Your personal brand is the summation of what can be found about you online. If a stranger were to come across your social media, how might they interpret that information to determine who you are. Is it an accurate portrayal of who you are and how you’d like to be represented? If not, then you may want to consider a personal rebranding.

Think of a leader who you admire. What qualities come to mind when you think of them? Chances are these qualities came to mind very quickly. This is because they have been effective at managing their personal brand. Managing your own brand is crucial because it allows you to be more in control of your career, and act in accordance with your capabilities and values. This will ultimately enable you to have a more intentional and fulfilling career.

Figure out what you’re all about

The first step in managing your own brand is to take the time to self-reflect and determine what it is you want to be known for. Remember to be genuine and stay true to yourself. Your personal brand will be strongest if it is authentic and original to you. You should not base your brand on what you think others expect or want. Staying true to yourself will allow you to discover and highlight your superpowers so that you can find your own path. Your potential employer will appreciate and respect you more for it.

You can get started by looking at your history. Both your professional and personal experiences have helped to shape you into the person you are today. Think about which of your experiences have been the most meaningful and influential to you.  Your brand should demonstrate your unique history and personality while speaking to your interests, skills, and strengths. You should also consider what overarching message or theme you want to communicate with your personal brand.

Practice what you preach

Your personal brand doesn’t begin and end with your online presence; it fully encompasses all your interactions – online and in real life. Your personal brand should reflect what you are passionate about, your values, and your experience; and you should reflect your brand. Do your best to act in accordance with your goals, values, and strengths all the time.

Also make sure to always be on the lookout for opportunities and experiences that align with your personal brand. Being open to these will help you cultivate your brand, solidify your reputation, and build your community. This could mean that you need to create your own opportunities, but that’ll be a piece of cake for you since you are the expert on yourself.

Craft your online presence accordingly

You may want to perform an audit of your social media platforms. Review your posts, shares, and likes from the point of view of a stranger and determine if they are still appropriate for the “you” you are crafting. You may consider removing posts or updating bios and descriptions for anything that no longer aligns with the personal brand you are currently crafting. We all grow, and change; removing posts that no longer speak to who you are is perfectly acceptable. You can also control your online persona and personal brand on social media by updating your privacy settings.

Have fun playing with different ways to control your message and get your personal brand out there. Creating your own website can be a creative and effective way to do this. When it comes to managing your personal brand, the details are important. Be intentional about the words and photographs you use to make sure that you are coming across as you intend. Even smaller details, such as fonts and colors, can impact how you are perceived, so think carefully about those as well. Making sure these aspects accurately portray the brand you are crafting can be challenging, but certainly worth the effort.

Update your résumé

While it’s absolutely essential to tailor your résumé to fit every specific job description, it’s also crucial that your résumé always reflects your personal brand. You can communicate your personal brand through your word choice, the experiences you highlight, and many other components of your résumé. The important part to keep in mind is that no matter what job you are applying for, make sure that your unique perspectives and goals shine through.

Continue to make revisions

Your personal brand is not set in stone. It should remain fluid and frequently be updated to match your current experience, goals, interests, and progress. Taking the time to reflect on where you are currently and how this fits in with your personal brand will keep you in tune with your motivations and values. And this will set you up for greater career success and fulfillment. You are constantly changing, evolving, and growing, and your brand should reflect this.

Managing your own brand goes far beyond “looking good on paper.” You can not have an authentic brand if it is based on what you think others want from you. It can only be based on what you want from yourself. Ultimately, you should keep your accomplishments front of mind and keep your focus on your future goals. Both are important for building a fulfilling career path and shaping what you want to be known for. The more aligned this is with who you are and how your specific superpowers can help others, the easier you will find this process and the happier you will be.

 

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