When I left my fantastic job at the University of Utah to be with my family in MA, I trusted a job will miraculously open up for me and it didn’t. After acknowledging my disappointment and seeing through my own limiting beliefs that were responsible for my actions (which is the topic of another posting), I got down to recreating my career. This post speaks to three factors that impact the outcomes in our lives – the environment, our efforts, and our inner beliefs. If you are unemployed or face the threat of being unemployed, I encourage you to think about these three factors and how they are impacting the outcomes in your life.
The Changing Environment
Change is the only constant. Yet, we ignore changes in our environment until they hit us. Admittedly we do not have much influence over changes in our environment – social, political, economic, and technological, amongst others. But here are some suggestions for what we can do with respect to changing environment:
Anticipate: Stay aware of the changes taking place in your environment. Personally, I am not a big newspaper reader because most of the papers report depressing events that have already taken place. Instead I use google alerts, Twitter, and Blogs to stay informed. I do subscribe to the local newspaper to support them and stay tuned with local affairs.
There are other organizations providing trends that I wrote about in my article on environmental scan.
How do you stay informed?
Learn: I have learned so much post PhD. If I stayed attached to my accolades as a PhD I would not be able to succeed in my new business as a consultant. No doubt my research abilities and marketing knowledge are helpful, but I had to learn the new social media tools that are only beginning to be discussed in academia. We cannot bask in our past glory and need to continuously update our skills.
What are the changes in technology, your industry, your consumers, your competition, and in the economy that may require you to learn new skills? What do you do to update your skills?
Innovate: Related to the idea of updating our skills is the need to change our mindset and business paradigm. We may have done our work in a particular way, but the new environment may not support old working habits. We cannot continue to thrive as an employee or business if we are stuck to old thinking patters. Some suggestions to promote creativity:
1) Meditate – to break away from the mind oscillating between past and future to be more present and open to new opportunities. Watch Dr. Phillipe Goldin’s talk at Google on the effects of meditation on the brain leading to lower stress and higher creativity.
2) Try new activities – Research has shown that being exposed to new perspectives and disorienting experiences can push creativity. Try a new activity, or visit a new place, or event.
3) Observe yourself – When exposed to new ideas, do you automatically arrive at a conclusion or do you actually Listen. If you jump to conclusions, it probably means that you are acting based on past thinking patterns. At times like this breathe, and watch your thoughts. Allow new thoughts to emerge. Innovation is a way of being – if you are open to different perspectives, may not agree, but open to processing different points of view, you are likely to come up with novel ideas.
Are you innovative?
In addition to having skills, efforts need to be driven by purpose, intensity, and hard work. If any one of the ingredients is missing you may not get the results you are looking for. There is nothing we cannot achieve if it skill is backed by purpose and accompanied by intensity and hard work. It is not going to be easy perhaps, and desired outcomes may not happen immediately, but you will start to feel right about it immediately – you will know.
Are you working with purpose, intensity, and giving it your 100%?
If you are doing all of the above and more but still not finding results, then you need to reflect on your inner beliefs or hidden fears that may be limiting you from achieving the desired outcomes. Beliefs impact the life we create. This is not some wishy-washy fact but being supported by scientists, like Bruce Lipton, a cellular biologist. By changing beliefs I don’t mean just positive thinking – ‘oh its going to be a great day,’ but every cell of your body is screaming ‘its terrible, life sucks, I am doomed.’ Beliefs affect outcomes in many ways:
1) Impact our behavior – 90% of our communication is non verbal (Zaltman, a Harvard scholar). When you go for an interview and you say you can deliver the job or as a sales person you say this is the best product but inside you feel otherwise the other person knows
2) Not present to current opportunities - When we are caught up in our internal dramas from the past we are not present to the opportunities available to us. We speak about some people just being so lucky – how they were at the right place at the right time and got that job or made that sale. I believe we all are given similar opportunities the difference between the lucky and unlucky is that the lucky noticed the opportunities and went ahead while others did not even notice them because they were stuck in the past