Thursday, December 26, 2013

A Twist on the New Year's Resolution - Start, Stop, and Keep Doing Exercise

Start Stop Keep Doing Exercise
So it's that time of year again where many of us come up with New Year's Resolutions.  Resolutions, that for many of us, last only a very short time before we fall back into our old routines.  So I have a new twist to add to the typical one-liner goal.  It is an exercise we have employed various times in the workplace that I think is very fitting when I think about the year ahead.  Let us call it the Start, Stop, and Keep Doing Exercise.

I like this approach because it feels more well-rounded in scope to me, and with that, comes a calmer feeling.  Instead of looking at the New Year as a time to tackle some large goal, I feel more like I am appreciating where I came from, gathering lessons learned, and making a reasonable plan for my future.  So, let us just jump into the exercise:

1.  Start - I am going to start being purposeful about getting the important things done in my life.  I think having a baby has really heightened my awareness of time being a finite commodity.  I need to start living in the moment, and if there is some milestone I want to capture or some experience on my bucket list I have yet to check off, then I need to take action and mark my calendar so those things get accomplished.  Otherwise, I end up feeling blindsided by how fast time flies and how much I wish I had gotten done.

2.  Stop - I am also going to stop beating myself up over everything.  Many times, I feel like we are our own worst enemy.  I know when I do not accomplish everything I want to, I can be pretty hard on myself.  Especially with social media, you can get caught up in creating Pinterest worthy or Facebook status worthy moments.  You get caught up in comparing, and it is a slippery slope.  So, I will also stop comparing myself to others and maybe even to myself.  Because, let's face it, sometimes it is just too hard.  As a new mom, I am still trying to adjust and figure life out with a baby.  I am nowhere near as organized or as fit and healthy as I was before I had her.  I need to stop comparing myself to my past self.

3.  Keep - I am going to keep being thankful for my life.  I am super lucky and have so many things to be thankful for.  I am going to keep an attitude of gratefulness for my friends, my family, and my health.  I am going to keep exploring what makes me happy and make sure I am purposeful about fitting those things into my life.

So how about you?  What are you going to Start, Stop, and Keep Doing next year?

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Monday, December 16, 2013

What To Wear To Your Holiday Party - Rent The Runway

Rent a Gown
So, this is not going to be a post about what you should and should not wear to your corporate holiday party.  Instead, this shall serve as inspiration for you to Rent The Runway.  This is not a sponsored post, by the way.  I just LOVE the idea and had a GREAT EXPERIENCE doing it myself this weekend.

I have always dreamed of wearing an Herve Leger gown, but with a retail price tag over $1500, not even eBay was going to make that happen.  Enter Rent The Runway.  I was able to rent this gorgeous red Herve Leger dress for $150.  Plus, I got $25 off because it was my first time renting so it was really only $125.  Worried about whether it is going to fit or not?  Enter their awesome review and gallery section.  Real women have posted pictures of themselves in the dresses.  Included in the descriptions are their height, weight, typical size worn, and comments.  I know it can be scary to post those stats, but in the spirit of giving back, I just went in and shared my own review to help others.  Another nice thing is that they
Holiday Party Dresses
ship you 2 sizes for free.  AND, as a backup fail-safe after that, Rent the Runway will actually overnight you a dress if your order arrives and for some reason, both sizes do not fit.

Overall, I LOVED the whole experience.  It felt like a dream to wear a dress I normally cannot afford.  I even convinced 3 of my coworkers to do it as well.  Everyone looked fantastic.  And it was so simple to return.  They give you a pre-paid envelope, and you just drop it in the mail.  I will definitely do this again.  It makes so much sense because you never wear these dresses more than once or twice anyways, and I spent less than I normally would if I went and purchased a dress.  Of note as well, my rental price was on the high end.  Most of the dresses are only $75.  It is definitely a WIN-WIN, if you ask me.

Here is a picture from our holiday party.  My manager rented her dress as well.  I think it looks fantastic!  So what do you think?  Have you rented a dress before?  Would you in the future?

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Monday, December 9, 2013

How to Apply Myers Briggs at Work or Home

Communication MBTI HR
So maybe you have heard of Myers Briggs or maybe you have not.  Either way, it is basically a tool used to identify your preferences for communication, how you digest information, and how you make decisions.

You could dedicate an entire day or workshop to Myers Briggs, but this is what I think is important.  Figure out first what your type is, then either guess what your coworker or manager's type is, or if they are open to it, have them literally take the assessment.  Click here for a free online one.

Then, use that information to communicate more effectively with others.  For example:

1.  Introvert vs Extrovert (Discard Stereotypes for a second).  Basically, I like to think of this as how you process information.  I personally am an introvert, and like to read up and do my own research before meeting up with others to discuss.  My manager on the other hand is an extrovert.  Extroverts usually like to hash things out verbally first.  It is how they process ideas.  I can email our Chief HR Officer a detailed email with all the information he requested, and he will email me back two words, "Let's discuss."  This used to frustrate me until I realized he could not fully process the information unless it was said out loud.  Now it does not bother me.  I simply walk into his office, and he reads his email while I am in the room.  See how understanding your colleague's type cannot only help you communicate more effectively, but also reduce frustrations around your communication differences.
2.  Sensors vs iNtuitives (Yes I capitalized the N on purpose).  As a sensor or "S" for short, I prefer information in details and facts, and then I will categorize them appropriately.  I also value data and accuracy and can take copious notes.  Ns or iNtuitives perceive the bigger picture and then store facts to use randomly.  Valuing speed, they tend to go with their gut on things.  This is good to know when you are presenting a new idea or any kind of information to someone.  As an S, to get my buy-in, you would want to present all the details and logistics.  However, if you are pitching to an N, you would probably want to focus on the bigger picture and the end game.
3.  Thinkers vs Feelers.  As a thinker, I tend towards analysis first, then apply my personal values, and then go back to rational analysis before reaching a decision.  Feelers will consider their values first, then analysis, then revisit through the lens of their values.  For example, when working on a team project, I would probably start with the objective, cover individual strengths on the team, and then want to discuss responsibilities and deliverables.  A feeler might prefer to start with an ice breaker and getting to know everyone on the team on a personal level first, and then tackle the business objectives.  This is good information to know when you are planning a meeting if you are a project manager or team lead, for example.  Know your audience and tailor the agenda accordingly.
4.  Judgers vs Perceptives.  They always say the Js judge the Ps.  As a J, you could tell me we were going to meet for coffee on November 12th at 10am at the local Starbucks 2 years from now (Yes, 2 years from now.  You did not read that wrong), and chances are, I would be there.  Ask a J at 11am if they want to go to lunch at noon, and they might ask you to check back at noon when you are leaving.  Js prefer to plan milestones to make their deadlines, whereas Ps can enjoy the roller coaster it sometimes takes to come through at the very end.  Neither is right or wrong, it just happens that most work environments prefer the J style.  Be aware though of your colleague's type.  As you can see in the picture above, we have our Myers Briggs types posted outside our work space.  This provides us a common language to use when communicating.

Sometimes, we will tease a P if he or she is approaching a deadline.  It feels less threatening in this context, then if we did not have Myers Briggs as a language tool, and it was perceived as simple nagging.  Your type is in no way to be used as an excuse, but it can provide a great foundation for further understanding.

It can also be used at home with your significant other or your family.  For instance, if you think your mom might be a feeler, you might want to frame your message around how the situation might affect your values and morals.  Or if your father-in-law might be an N, then you might want to try talking about your plans from a big picture view and about the end result of establishing a family tradition and legacy.  Get the picture?

Now, these again are only preferences.  It does not mean that you cannot be extroverted if you are an introvert.  It is only what you prefer to do if given the choice.  Many of us have already adapted or trained ourselves how to do both depending on the situation, but it is good to be aware of your default or go-to tendency.  If you take the Myers Briggs through a certified facilitator, your results might actually have scores attached to them.  Each letter can be felt on a scale of 1-30.  My scores are all less than 8, but I work with quite a few 30 Es.  The bigger the number, the more prominent that behavior shows up and is felt.  Of course, the opposite is true as well.  The smaller the number, the less likely you are going to feel that this is relevant at all, but that is because you do not have a strong preference either way.  I had one coworker who completely thought Myers Briggs was bogus, but he had also scored 1s and 2s in all 4 letters, which to me, just validated the test.

What is your type?  Do you know?  I would love to hear what your thoughts are on this.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Why You Need an Profile

About.Me Social Media Page
I know what you are thinking.  Why do I need an profile?  And exactly what is an profile?  And no it should not be confused with the "About Me" section on your blog or social media profile.

So let's start with what is.  My own profile is pictured to the left.  Basically, it is a free website that lets you create your own single web page.

So why would I need another social media page?  

Well, here are 3 reasons to consider:

1.  The simple answer is this is your online business card.  And the neat thing, the crucial thing that makes this invaluable for me, is that I can link up all my other social media profiles and accounts, such as Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Blogger, Instagram, my company's blog, my company's Facebook, and my Pinterest page.

Moo Business Cards
2.  You can order free business cards on the website that will have a QR code that links to your page.  These are perfect for bringing to networking events.  For me, I might speak on a panel or go to a professional networking event, and I love to pass these out.  These cards stand out from the crowd and make an impression.  In that respect, I feel like they are more powerful than your regular corporate card.  With a corporate card, if you ever leave the company, then the contact info is moot.  However, with an card, they can download it to their phone and always be able to contact you because it has your personal contact info.  I could also make a separate business card for my blog, but I like the versatility of an business card.  It gives you a more well-rounded view of my background, and in a way, it lets me control my personal brand.  I get to present myself in a way that is purposeful and thought out, rather than allowing them to stumble upon my different social media profiles through a Google search.  The business card is versatile and allows me the ease of just carrying one business card.

3.  An profile can build your credibility.  I actually include a link to my profile in my email signature at work.  As a recruiter, it is wonderful because candidates can check out my profile before their interview, and it makes them feel like they know me.  It puts a face to the name and makes me more approachable.  It has also helped me get a seat at the table.  Executives have commented on my profile as well.  I think it starts with simple curiosity when they click on the link, but the end result gets me more visibility.  It allows me to showcase all my professional achievements that they might not otherwise know about, and thus it builds my credibility with them.  Especially if you came to the company with lots of other rich experience, it is sometimes nice to remind others of that great background.  These are also great for students.  I have seen some wonderful profiles created by new graduates.  They allow you to showcase your creativity while still being professional.  Do not be afraid to provide links to these in your cover letters or resumes to help you stand out from other applicants.  Just be sure you are looking at it through the lens of representing your personal brand.  Be purposeful and strategic in what you write and the picture you choose.

So what do you think?  Do you have an profile already?
Or if you create one after reading this post, share it below.  I would love to see it.

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