Get Your Goals On

You know I had to write about it … your life goals! We all have goals in life. Some goals are easily attainable, and others will take a ton of time, effort, and focus. The significant part about having goals is you can adjust your goals based on your needs. Your hierarchy of needs will change as you grow. Maslow (1943, 1954) stated that people are motivated to achieve particular needs and that some needs take precedence over others. Maslow’s theory works like this:

• If you have food – hunger need is satisfied
• If you have a viable home – shelter need is satisfied
• If you have friends/family to support – relationship/social need is satisfied
• If you have money to support yourself – financial need is satisfied

How do you know completing your smart goals is satisfying your hierarch of professional needs? You can start by asking yourself a few questions and gauging your happiness based on your truthful answers. When we decide to accomplish a goal, a series of things must happen to make completing the goal a reality.

• Get clarity of the goal – Write it down
• Make a list of steps to accomplish the goal – Write it down
• Inform a trusted friend/family member of your goal – Talk about it
• Make the steps toward the goal a daily reminder – Think about it
• Put the steps into action and find resources for achieving your goal – Act on it

It is that simple. Say it, believe it, and achieve it. I have included some resources to better prepare to for success toward creating and achieving your goals. Remember, allow yourself to let your goals change as you grow. Change is good and constant.

Happy goal achieving,
Jenice

Resources

OfficeArrow.com. (2008). Smart Goals Worksheet. Retrieved from https://www.mcckc.edu/counseling/goal-setting/docs/SMARTGoalWorksheet.pdf

Simply Psychology. (n.d.). Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Retrieved 2021, from https://canadacollege.edu/dreamers/docs/Maslows-Hierarchy-of-Needs.pdf

SMART Goals. (n.d.). Retrieved 2021, from https://www.baylor.edu/hr/doc.php/308719.pdf

S.M.A.R.T. Goals Worksheet. (n.d.). Retrieved 2021, from https://www.smartsheet.com/sites/default/files/IC-SMART-Goals-Worksheet-9237-PDF.pdf

Active Listening Skills

Communication is essential in any relationship. In a professional association, active communication is even more critical. Active communication is the effective way to communicate during a conversation where you improve lines of communication with others while also being aware of your communication barriers. Active communication entails understanding what the person is saying, reserving opinions, and articulating an understanding of the conversation. A practical ability to summarize the conversation implies the overall knowledge of what was heard.

When you are active listening, it’s essential to listen with purpose. Ask yourself, “what is being said?”  Judgment of the content being discussed should be reserved until the completion of the conversation; it’s important to remember that as humans, we naturally jump to conclusions.  Conclusion speculation is our ability to problem-solve and provide an answer as an immediate solution. Make sure to listen for the main ideas or key points of the message. Is there a theme with the main characters? Where is the setting? Is there a question being asked? It’s important to remain flexible during active listening within the conversation.

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

Active listening encourages open-door conversation. During a conversation, find ways to engage in the conversation.  Does the speaker use phrases, acronyms, paraphrasing, or other communication jargon?  It’s important not to be thrown off course by words that may affect your emotions during a conversation. Continuing to listen without the urge to debate encourages active listening.  Remember, many people communicate to impress, not to express; in other words, make sure that in the communication, if there is a misunderstanding about a word, phrase, or jargon, ask the speaker to clarify.  These all show practical ways of active listening in a conversation.

Overall, remember active listening includes paying attention, showing that you’re listening, providing feedback, deferring your judgment, and responding appropriately in the conversation. And be sure to pay close attention to the speaker, whether in a group or on one-on-one.   Put aside distracting thoughts that may deter you from listening closely. Make sure to nod to engage the speaker and show your listening occasionally. Encourage questions by providing follow-up questions or feedback. Your role as a listener is to understand what is being said, not to come to premature conclusions.  Ensure to respond appropriately with your active listening abilities. Make sure to be candid, open, and honest with your responses. And make sure you treat the speaker in a way that brings respect to them and yourself.

Happy listening,

Jenice

Resources

Keys To Effective Communication. (n.d.). Retrieved 2021, from https://gacc.nifc.gov/eacc/logistics/crews/documents/keys_to_effective_communication.pdf

Mendoza, L. (n.d.). Developing Effective Communication. Retrieved 2021, from http://kortschakcenter.usc.edu/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Workshop-Presentation-condensed.pdf

Tutorials Point – Effective Communication. (2016). Retrieved from https://www.tutorialspoint.com/effective_communication/effective_communication_tutorial.pdf

Focus on Your Strengths

As great as we think we are, we all have professional flaws.  I will admit I heavily depend on auto spell check and have struggled with attention to detail since I am a “Big Picture” worker.  I have been made aware of these professional flaws my entire career.  It seems that the more I try to improve my professional flaws, the further I get from focusing on what I am good at.  We cannot change intrinsic parts of our personality.  Some attributes will always be a part of us.  But there are practical ways of improving our humanistic professional aptitude.  

Throughout my career, I have taken dozens of personality tests.  The first time I took a personality test was during a job interview for a private culinary school.  The job I was interviewing for was Academic Advisor, and the pay wasn’t great.  The interview process was grueling and took almost 10 hours to complete.  It consisted of group projects, one-on-one panels, and finally, a personality test.  It was my first time taking a personality test, and it seems a bit mentally intrusive.  

Photo by August de Richelieu from Pexels

“The goal of this exam is to choose the first answer that that resonates with you.”  The announcer stated, slightly smiling at all of us candidates.  As I read quickly through the short instructions, I realized that there were only two potential answers to choose from.  “Oh, this is going to be a breeze!” I muttered to myself.  As I began to read the questions, I noticed that most of the questions/answers were simply reformatted over and over again.  I zoomed through the questions and finished the exam in 20 minutes.

Feeling pretty great about the potential job offer, I sat down for my final interview with the hiring manager.  “Thank you for coming in and spending the day with us; we appreciate your time and efforts to stay for the duration of this interview day, Jenice.”  He said with extreme direct eye contact.  “Thank you, I appreciate it,” I responded.  “What was your favorite part of the interview day?” He asked.  “Honestly, the personality exam … it was my first time taking one,”  I responded with a smile in return.  “Really?  The personality exam was your favorite part?” He asked.  “For sure, it was fun.  I am excited about learning more about my results.”

I concluded with insistence.  “Well, before we do that … I want to tell you a little bit more about the position you interviewed for.  It requires some personality skills that are embedded in who we are as individuals, not things we can necessarily change about ourselves.  And unfortunately, you don’t have those personality traits.”  He finalized. 

My mouth dropped to the floor.  “Oh, what does that mean exactly?”  I asked with great hesitation.  “To be honest, you are an ESTJ which means, for the most part, you are a natural leader and lack empathy.”  He said, thumbing through my results. “But, that means that you now need to focus on your strongest traits and find the position/career that is right for you.”  He smiled.  “Okay … so I didn’t get the job?” I asked.  “No, we would be doing you a great injustice to put a personality such as yours in this position.  If we have any leadership positions open, you should apply to those positions.  Again, thank you for your time.”  He said as he handed me a copy of my personality results. 

What did you get from my experience?  I know I received one of the best pieces of professional advice I could have asked for.  I wanted to learn more about my strong suit and what an ESTJ was, so I researched my personality.  I have done several personality exams since that interview and guess what?  I am still a strong ESTJ personality type.  There are significant parts about this personality type and all personality types.  The point is, that the hiring manager did me a professional favor.  I was able to truly focus on what I was good at and not try to change parts of myself that are what make me … me.  To this day, I tell that story to those who have hard times finding their professional purpose to give them an understanding – you are great the way you are.  But do you know who you are?  Sometimes, your purpose is to focus on what you are good at and let everything else work out on its own.

Focus on learning and growing every day,

Jenice

Resources

Friedman. (n.d.). MBTI Personality Test. Retrieved 2021, from http://www.lrjj.cn/encrm1.0/public/upload/MBTI-personality-test.pdf

Myers-Briggs Test Excel Version. (n.d.). Retrieved 2021, from https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=sites&srcid=b2Nkc2IuY2F8bWxsZS1jYXJyaWVyZXxneDozYzI1MmFlYzY3Y2QzODRh

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (Short Version). (n.d.). Retrieved 2021, from http://apps.nacada.ksu.edu/conferences/ProposalsPHP/uploads/handouts/2013/C079-H04.pdf

Weighing the Pros and Cons

How many times have you gone into a situation with the mentality, “if it works it works, if it doesn’t, it doesn’t?”  I can tell you from experience if you have that mentality before you have fully committed to the “process,” you have already given up on the whole situation.  “What do you mean, Dr. Jaye?” you may be asking.  If you have started a new position, you are initially excited about, and you have been working hard to obtain … then something happens you don’t like.  For example, there is a conflict of interest between you and another co-worker.  Nothing illegal, simply a personality conflict.  Then, you start to think about all the negative things that could go wrong.

As humans, our brains tend to create hypothetical fictitious situations that may or may not occur to validate our negative feelings about isolated events.  But, if you take a moment to breathe and remember the hard work and positive events/people that allowed you to achieve your goals, you can control your thoughts.  To make any sound and clear decision about anything, you have to think about the pros and the cons.  You should be honest with yourself about the entire situation.  What do you like?  What can you not accept?  How are you treated?  How do you treat others?  What makes you happy?  What can be improved upon?  Have you given the situation, career, relationship, a real shot, or opportunity for you to be successful?

One of the best ways to do honest reflection and decision-making is to write out a pros and cons list.  Creating an pros and cons list can provide insight and additional details for your decision-making process.  Pros and cons list may improve your understanding of the situation and help you avoid decision-making paralysis.   Not making a decision is just as detrimental as making a bad decision.  Using a simple pros and cons list encourages you to approach your decision objectively without letting your feelings impact your life choices.  

Happy decision making,

Jenice

Resources:

Quantitative Pros and Cons: Weigh up Decisions With a Simple Approach. (n.d.). Retrieved 2021, from https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newTED_05.htm

Weighed Pros and Cons Worksheet. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.decisionskills.com/uploads/5/1/6/0/5160560/worksheet_-_weighted_pros_and_cons.pdf

Weighing the Pros and Cons Worksheet 2. (n.d.). Retrieved 2021, from https://counselinglibrary.org/images/PDF_Documents/CBT_Handouts/Weighing_the_Pros_and_Cons.pdf

Your Job of Choice

We are living in interesting times.  The COVID-19 virus has brought about several changes to our everyday lives.  For the vaccinated, it means remaining diligent about potentially not spreading the virus to the unvaccinated.  For the unvaccinated, it means ensuring to wear a mask and take the precautions needed to stay healthy and safe.  Overall, this whole “thing” is not entirely over.  Teleworking has become a common term used during interviews.  Organizations realize the old hiring processes require an overdue refresh based on new candidate requirements. 

The wild part about this time in our history, you have your choice of job options.  “Really!?” you ask.  With which I would confidently reply, “YESSSSS!”  Most candidates have their choice of job options.  If you have been trying to get into teaching, you can research adjunct positions.  If you want to try your skills at being a realtor, go for it since the housing market is hot.  If you have a business idea, you can start a small business.  The best part is that this is the first time in history where every job modality is open and available to apply.  You want to telework; you got it!  You want a compressed schedule, okay!  You want to work remotely while the regional office is in another state, it is possible!  

cheerful black man having video call and waving hand
Photo by Monstera on Pexels.com

The key to choosing the best job option for you is to think hard about what your actual needs and wants are from your new job option.  Are you a new mom?  Are you a new graduate?  Do you have student debt?  Do you have accessibility requirements?  Are you a disabled veteran?  Can you only work during the day/night?  Are you not available on the weekends?  Are you flexible?  No matter what your needs or wants are, there is a job option in the market for you.  Now, it is merely a matter of taking the time to create or update your cover letter and CV/resume.  The choice is up to you, now is as good a time to look and seek out employment opportunities as there has ever been before.  

Happy job option seeking,

Jenice

Resources

Jobs in Higher Education. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.higheredjobs.com/

Robert Half. (2021, July 07). 25 Best Job Search Websites in 2021. Retrieved from https://www.roberthalf.com/blog/job-market/10-best-job-search-websites

USA JOBS Shape America’s Future. (n.d.). Retrieved 2021, from https://www.usajobs.gov/

The Burnout Battle

It looks like telework is here to stay, folks. Now it’s time to combat that daily burnout battle that haunts teleworkers on a daily basis. We are all familiar with the shuffle from the bedroom hallway in pajama pants to the office space where you rush to find a collared shirt for the unforeseen, unsolicited, and unplanned video conference meeting. We all can get burnt out in various ways, including working in absolute convenience from home. Those of us who can work from home need to understand teleworking is a luxury.

The telework option has become popular based on organizations cutting overtures that seem to be the root cause of spreading infection – at this current time. But the one thing that has not been addressed is how teleworkers are supposed to bounce back from the burnout battle of no separation from home and work. You may have a designated office or closet to “close off” your workspace for those who are lucky. At the same time, others may have to use a combination of a kitchen and/or living room as a workspace. Either way, it may be hard to separate home from work.

While dealing with the burnout battle several times during the last year and a half, I thought I would provide some helpful burnout bounce back techniques that may assist with this continued teleworking aspect we may be dealing with for a bit longer. To start off, a body in motion is a happy body. Exercising has always been one of my favorite ways to shake off burnout. Getting your body moving can increase endorphins in your body that could help you to feel better. It may be cliché, but it is true. Get outside, get moving, get happy.

Have a chat with a friend or group of friends. Communication is another huge burnout bounce-back technique that has been proven to help affiliate good feelings with connecting with people. Whether it is a short chat (socially distanced) or a long facetime call, a chat and a laugh with friends is always a good time.

Breathing long and deep. Slow breathing may assist in improving moods and express feelings that allow connections with others. We all have some of the same feelings associated with a lack of connection and breathing deeply provides for a connection on an emotional level with yourself. This small, yet powerful action can assist with combating feelings of burnout.

Shut it off. Turning off electronic devices is a simple yet helpful tool that can assist with combating burnout. During these telework days, millions of people are staring into the laptop abyss and engaging in video/audio communication daily. Your eyes and brain need a break. The laptop camera is not a real person, and our social circle is larger than the “talking heads” of profile pictures you see every day. Powering down electronic devices several hours before bed can help to assist with declining the feelings of burnout and physical fatigue.

Rediscover yourself. When was the last time you engaged with past hobbies? Too often, the older we get, the less time we have for engaging in hobbies that made us extremely happy when we were younger. Now with working from home and no end in sight with telework options, it’s important to reengage in hobbies that were once out of reach because of a lack of time. One of the great aspects of teleworking is immediate access to your time based on not commuting. If you use to paint, pick up some paints and brushes. If you loved to read, go by your local library and pick up some books or order some books. Either way, find what makes you happy and reconnect with it. Trying some of these burnout battle bounce-back ideas may be a sure way to help combat you combat the battle of burnout.

Jenice

Resources:

Strangis, A. (n.d.). Bouncing Back from Burnout: Tools for Restoring Balance and Regaining Enthusiasm. Retrieved 2021, from http://www.nnoha.org/nnoha-content/uploads/2015/12/Bouncing-Back-from-Burnout.pdf

10 Tips for Coping with Burnout. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://allonehealth.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/Handout-Coping-With-Burnout.pdf

Simple Success Steps

We all have several ideas and aspirations for our future.  Sometimes our dreams come from thoughts, ideas, or experiences that we may have gone through.  We may have had several different types of careers and jobs that never aligned with who we thought we were to be. That is one of the main reasons why it’s important to remain practical, positive, and purposeful in your success journey.

There were a few common aspects that all successful people have. First, successful people don’t wallow in their failures. They use their failures as a tool for their next success. Second, successful people do not blame others for their inability to be successful. We all understand that there are things beyond our reach when it comes to being successful in certain professional arenas, but the good thing is we all still have a choice to choose what arena we want to play the game in. Finally, third; successful people get up each day physically or emotionally from whatever failure they’ve had and realize the blessing of the failure in disguise.

Success is more than just the ability to get what you want when you want it. Success has a lot to do with self-control and being able to understand the difference between what you want right now and what you need to do to get what you want later.

I wish all the success in the world for you and I,

Dr. Jaye

Resources:

Canfield, J. (2005). The Success Principles. Retrieved from https://www.jackcanfield.com/images/stories/the-success-principles-2-chapters.pdf

Edwards, V. (n.d.). Life Design Workbook. Retrieved 2021, from https://www.scienceofpeople.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Life-Design-Workbook-.pdf

Seligman. (2015). Workbook for Goal Setting. Retrieved from https://wholebeinginstitute.com/wp-content/uploads/MC-Goal-setting-Workbook-Complete.pdf

Effective Collaboration

“I would like you to all effectively collaborate on this project.” Said anyone in a leadership position. What they don’t tell you is how to collaborate. Collaboration takes professional finesse to meet common organizational goals, the team goals, and the individuals goals. I have to admit, collaboration can be complex, and during this time of 100% telework for most of the workforce, collaboration can offer its challenges with actually completing a task. It can be difficult and one of the most rewarding aspects of a career.

There are some Important attributes of collaboration—the first being communication. Good communication will take you far in your professional career as long as you can effectively present yourself professionally. There are two significant forms of communication that most people are not aware of, there is communication itself, and then there is active communication. Just like listening, there is listening per se, and then there is active listening. The difference is establishing enough self-control in any situation to hear or present clearly, efficiently, and effectively. In collaborative workgroups, communication is vital.

One of the essential second attributes of collaboration is the common goal. Effectively present a common goal to better prepare your workgroup for the task at hand. Transparency is a part of sharing the common goal for your workgroup to understand why they are doing what they are doing. Keeping in mind some workgroup members may require additional details, whereas other workgroup members may not. Either way, it’s essential to share the goal overall to ensure all workgroup members feel their contributions are applicable.

And the third most crucial attribute of collaboration is establishing roles within the workgroup. Workgroup members must understand the roles they play to bring the appropriate talents, knowledge, and skills to the final collaborative project. Roles also provide clarification for a professional road map towards the end goal. Often the workgroup member assigning the roles usually is the leader, but that is not always the case. The critical aspect of role establishing within a workgroup, ensure the role fits the workgroup member.

Collaboration does not have to be complicated, nor does it have to be arduous. With the tools and technology that we have at our finger tips, it should be more accessible than ever to collaborate in an online setting than it was to do so in a physical environment. The important Takeaways in creating collaborative groups, keep your communication positive, practical, and purposeful. Be sure to establish a common goal for the workgroup to move towards and establish appropriate roles within the workgroup.

Happy collaborations,
Jenice

Resources
Callahan, Schenk and White (n.d.) Building a Collaborative Workplace. Full Circle Associates. https://www.anecdote.com/pdfs/papers/AnecdoteCollaborativeWorkplace_v1s.pdf

Stress Management Tools

Asking for help takes guts. In this day and age, it hasn’t always been popular to take a “Mental Health” day or call a time-out to gather your composure. The time has come for people of all walks of life, professional careers, and backgrounds to realize the importance of mental health management. Several of us struggle with different levels of mental health management. Those struggles can range from requiring additional medications (if needed) to learn how to cope with a barking dog. Mental health management is nothing to make light of; it is a serious topic that has become a more common conversation in recent days.

Usually, when you decide to help somebody else, you also wind up helping yourself. Recently, I started researching stress management and mental health theories to help me understand how to manage my stress levels. You’ll be surprised what you find when you use keywords such as stress management, mental health, understanding how to cope with stress, and the like. Upon my research, I found a term of stress management research that I’ve never heard/seen before. Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy or CBT. I was surprised to learn that CBT has been around for years. I found some valuable tools that I thought would help me gauge my stress, anxiety, worry, and other lower moods. Not only has it helped, but I worked. I am truly overjoyed to have found these tools and share them with anyone interested in better stress management tools.

I do not claim to be nor am I a mental health management therapist; my specialty is business management. The tools provided are ones that I have found helpful for better understanding how to manage my stress levels. Transparency is vital in my writings to ensure that all readers understand that the resources provided may enhance the stress management techniques you choose for your life. From my understanding, CBT allows individuals to understand, manage, and practice stress management tools that work best for their stress management. I have found that CBT has increased my understanding and positive outlook on life as a whole. I hope you find the topics interesting and valuable. We all could use a reset now and then.

Be well,

Jenice

References

Gregory. (n.d.). CBT Skills Workbook: Practical Exercises and Worksheets to Promote Change. Retrieved 2021, from https://www.readpbn.com/pdf/Cognitive-Behavioral-Therapy-Skills-Workbook-Sample-Pages.pdf

Hendricks, Cohen, Mannarino, & Deblinger. (n.d.). YOUR VERY OWN TF-CBT WORKBOOK. Retrieved 2021, from https://tfcbt.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Your-Very-Own-TF-CBT-Workbook-Final.pdf

Hofmann. (2020). The Anxiety Skills Workbook. Retrieved from https://mshoop.org/wp-lib/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/The-Anxiety-Skills-Workbook.pdf

University NHS Foundation Trust. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) Skills Workbook. (2016, March). Retrieved from https://www.hpft.nhs.uk/media/1655/wellbeing-team-cbt-workshop-booklet-2016.pdf 

Getting Down to the Budget


There is no doubt about it; 2020 and halfway into 2021 have been rough on all of us. We are all still grappling with the aftereffects of 2020 and the Corona Virus. It has been a tumultuous time for everyone. We need to focus here seriously; we need to realize that creating a budget is more critical than ever. Inflation is insane, grocery prices are outrageous, gas is triple the cost it was a year ago, and kids are getting ready to go back to school. Everyone is stretching their dollars to the limit.

Let’s do it … it’s budget time. I know budgets are intimidating. If you are like me, I always felt like having a budget was like being on timeout with everything fun I wanted to do. But that is the exact opposite. A budget can provide you more freedom, joy, and transparency than you have ever felt before. A budget can strengthen your relationships and give you a sense of clarity about where & what your money is doing. “I need to know what my money is doing?” YES! You deserve and should demand to know what your money is doing at all times. I have found that when I know what my money is doing, I can eat better, sleep better, and be better. It is that serious; money has been said to be one of the main causations of divorce. According to Ramsey (2018), “The number one issue couples fight about is also a topic many couples avoid discussing — money.” The question is, why would married couples allow money to be the cause of their ultimate marital demise? Simple, people want to buy what they want, and when they can’t, they have a full-on adult temper tantrum.

We are better than this; we can master the management of our money. If you can do that, you can master anything. How do you start to create a budget? Simple, you need to know where your money is going and how much you have to spend. Once you gather this information, create a short and long-term financial goal plan. How do you plan on paying off your debt? How do you plan on making a savings plan? Or an emergency plan? Get specific. Once you have all this down on paper, have a conversation with your spouse or family/friends. You may ruffle a few feathers; people don’t like talking about finances. I don’t know why? Everyone has them … get a financial plan and make sure to discuss your financial plan with those you love and live with. I have included some tools for your financial success.

Happy budgeting,
Jenice

Reference:

Federal Trade Commission. (n.d.). Make a Budget Worksheet. Retrieved from https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/pdf-1020-make-budget-worksheet.pdf

Financial Wellness Program. (n.d.). Five Steps to Creating a Budget. Retrieved from https://www.umcu.org/umcu/media/Documents/FiveStepstoCreatingaBudget_January2019.pdf

Ramsey, D. (n.d.). Ramsey Budget Useful Forms. Retrieved from https://www.ramseysolutions.com/budgeting/useful-forms

Ramsey, D. (n.d.). Money Ruining Marriages in America: A Ramsey Solutions study. Retrieved from https://www.ramseysolutions.com/company/newsroom/releases/money-ruining-marriages-in-america