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Rejuvenate Your Career Goals

A well-known study of Harvard students ten years after graduation showed that those who had specific goals made three times the annual salary of average Harvard graduates. However, this number was increased exponentially by those graduates who had taken an extra step. The graduates who had specific written goals made ten times the average amount in annual salary! Although money is definitely not the sole measure of success, this study illustrates the power of planning, focus and direction.

Take a few minutes to consider the following questions.

  • How viable is your position to the success of your organization?
  • Is your industry/field expanding and experiencing increased demand in today’s market?
  • Is your job currently meeting your needs for meaningful and challenging work?
  • Are you given sufficient opportunities for advancement and professional growth?
  • Is your current work allowing enough time for family, relationship and lifestyle needs?
  • Are you receiving compensation and benefits appropriate to your financial goals?
  • Generally, are your relationships with your boss/co-workers/clients/customers positive?

If fewer than 6 of your answers were positive it is time to re-evaluate your career, develop goals, and create specific plans to meet those goals.

Using Google Alerts in Your Job Search
June 22, 2011
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Gathering information/research is a critical component of a successful job search. Yes, it can be time consuming. Setting up Google Alerts can speed up the process. Here are the steps:

First of all, be clear about your career and employer targets: what do you want to do, in what industry, and who are the employers?

Next, research and identify 15-20 employers that match your criteria (size, location, culture, product/service, etc.), along with key decision makers within each one. They are the people you will want to connect with as you implement your search.

Then, set up an account at Google Alerts with Alerts for the following:

  • Your name
  • Your blog and website names, if you have them
  • Names of your target employers and/or those you want to be informed about
  • Names of key decision makers in your target employers
  • Job title(s) you’re seeking, i.e., “CEO, Sales VP, Director of Information Systems, etc.”
  • Keyword phrases relevant to your niche
  • Names of your target employers’ relevant products or services Names of subject matter experts in your niche
  • Names of any people whose radar you want to get on.
After you set up your account, you’ll receive an email with links to the highest-ranked latest news and information published on the Web relevant to your chosen Alerts.

Not all of the Alerts you receive will be helpful. However, some of them will lead you to information and resources you never would have found otherwise. For example, Google Alerts can help you:

  • Track market trends and opportunities.
  • Provide targeted industry and employer research for due diligence and market intelligence that will position you as an informed, engaged candidate in interviews.
  • Learn what your target key decision makers are talking about, what they’re working on and other activities that could be helpful for you to know.
  • Uncover challenges facing your target industries and employers that will help you to communicate your value proposition to help them overcome those issues.

Another important point about Alerts is to use the information for blogging or tweeting (if you do blog or tweet). Act quickly on an Alert for a relevant blog post and try to be the first one who comments on it.

First-responders’ comments stay ahead of the queue, and the link you provide is much more likely to be clicked on, leading people to whatever information you need them to know about you. If it’s a blog with good link weight, your comment will land high in search results when people Google “your name,” positioning yourself as social media-savvy and a subject matter expert (if you’ve written a compelling comment).

Alerts can help you to generate ideas for your own blog posts and tweets. Alerts send you relevant tweets which you can re-tweet and help build your career brand. If you receive an Alert connected to a blog post you’ve written within an hour or two of publishing it, you’ll know Google considers it highly relevant and will be sending other searchers to the post when they Google matching keywords. Alerts can also help you to identify relevant sites where you may be able to publish an article or guest blog, building online brand visibility.

Bottom line is that Google Alerts are an essential resource in your career brand toolkit. They keep you apprised of what people are saying about you online, what others in your organization and industry are up to, and the latest trends within your niche and areas of interest.

I Just Got Fired! Now What?

If you are an employee, one of the things that is most likely going to happen to you at some point in your career is that you will unexpectedly lose your job.  In the fast changing job market, there are mergers, acquisitions, reduction in force programs, and internal politics that often lead to unexpected things happening.  So, what do you do when you are let go from your position unexpectedly? 

Understand Your Benefits Package

Usually when you are let go from your job, your company will provide some type of exit package.  Many times this includes a continuation of salary and benefits for a period of time.  Sometimes outplacement services are provided as well.  Whatever it may be, make sure that you fully understand what you are entitled to.

Make sure that you also understand how to apply for any unemployment benefits that you may be entitled to.

Don’t Panic

Why a sudden job loss can be traumatic, the worst thing to do is panic!  Feeding your fears can cause you to make poor decisions that can affect your career, as well as your future.  Take some time to catch your breath and digest what happened before you make your next move.  Oftentimes, losing a job is the best thing that can happen to you in the long run, as it provides you the opportunity to choose a new path.

Have A Plan

Before taking on a job search, it’s a good idea to put together a plan of attack.  Unless you are certain of what you want to do, you may want to consider working with a professional to assist you with your job search, updating your resume, or exploring what it is that you want to do when you grow up.  Outplacement services can be a good option, as well as a good career coach.  While money is definitely a concern here, this can be the best investment you make!  A good career coach can assist you in understanding your skills and talents, helping you figure out the best career move for yourself, as well as assist you in marketing yourself and your overall job search.  A small investment here can lead to a big return!

Put Yourself First

Any career transition can be stressful.  A forced one can be extremely stressful, so it’s really important that you take care of yourself during this transition.  Eating right, working out, and surrounding yourself with supportive people is a great way to help yourself stay positive during this stressful time.

By following these simple steps, you will start you job search off on the right foot, and be on your way to a successful career transition!

Selling Chocolate Cake

I often tell my prospective clients that trying to sell coaching is like trying to describe what chocolate cake tastes like to someone who has never had a piece. You can go on and on for hours, and you still don’t truly understand until you taste it yourself. This is not only true in the coaching business, but for all service oriented businesses. The fact is if you are in a service business, you can’t sell your service. Your prospects must experience what you do if you ever hope to make them your customer.

Here are a couple of tips to help you attract customers to your service business, instead of trying to sell them:

1. Identify your target customers.

Who are you trying to attract? What market segment has a need for your service? Figure out who your target is so that you can spend your time and energy wisely.

2. Help them uncover their need for your service.

Get to know your prospects by asking them probing questions that will help them uncover a need for your service. For example, if you are a financial planner selling financial services, you might ask a potential prospect what their biggest financial challenge is, or if they are happy with their current financial situation. The key here is not to sell them your service, but let them sell themselves. They should be doing most of the talking.

3. Provide an opportunity for the prospect to experience your service.

Allow your target customers to experience your service in some way. For example, if you are a personal trainer, you could offer a complimentary session. Doing this allows your prospect to experience how your service can benefit them, and reduces their risk in purchasing your service.

4. Have them express their experience in their terms.

Now that they have experienced your service, ask them to quantify the results in their terms. This will allow them to sell themselves in a way that has meaning to them. Once they see value in what you do, you can ask for the sale.

5. Make sure they have a great experience, and ask for referrals.

Once they are your customer, make sure that they have a great experience, and then ask them for referrals. Remember that the easiest way to generate additional customers in a service oriented business is through people that have already experienced what you do.

Keep these 5 tips in mind when “selling” your services. Once you have mastered these tips, you will find that you will attract all the customers you need.

Happy selling!

Successful Goal Setting

As a life and executive coach I do a lot of work with people around their goals. Setting goals puts you in the driver’s seat, giving you the power to transform your life or take a company to another level. Successfully setting and executing goals is not rocket science but there is a tried and true way that works for my clients and me. Sticking to this program guarantees success. It doesn’t matter whether your goals are personal or they are used to direct a large enterprise, the steps and the pitfalls are identical. I’ll take you through a quick tour. If you like, you can identify a goal of yours and do a test run of the system.

The steps to executing goals are simple, unambiguous and easy to follow and should be practiced every day. Skipping one step increases the odds that you won’t realize your goal.

The first step to goal setting is to have absolute belief and faith in the process. If you don’t believe you can absolutely transform your life and get what you want, then you might as well put down your pencil and do something else. If you are in doubt, look around you. Everything you can see began as a thought. If you identify something you really want, you can make it happen if want it badly enough.

Visualize what you want. Think of what you deeply desire in your life or where you want your company to be a year from now. What has to change for that to happen? What transformations need to take place? What do you need to know or learn? What spiritual, emotional, personal, financial, social or physical properties need to be addressed? The clearer you can get with each of these dimensions, brings your vision into sharp focus. The clearer you are about what you want, the easier it will be to focus on making it happen. Write down as many things as you can think about. Not being absolutely clear about your vision will make taking action very difficult.

Get it down! Writing down your goals is key to success. A 1953 Yale study followed 100 students to see how they ended up. Only 3% had written goals. Ten years later, this 3% was happier, more satisfied and had reached the goals they had set out to achieve. More importantly, the net worth of that 3% was greater than the rest of the 97% combined. By writing down your goals, you become a creator. Failure to write down your goals often means you will forget them or won’t focus on them, most likely like that other 97%.

If you have multiple goals, you may need to chunk elements of your vision into individual goals. Having a list of twenty or thirty objectives can be hard to keep track of and even more difficult to focus on. Chunking involves grouping “like” items together. For instance let’s say you have goals around taking your business to the next level. You might chunk your goals into financial, marketing, organizational and so on. It’s easier to focus on a few goals than a list of 20-odd items. Failure to chunk results in failure to focus and loss of direction.

The next step is to identify a purpose for each goal. Knowing why you want to achieve your goals is powerful. Identifying the purpose of your goal will help you instantly recognize why you want that particular goal and whether it’s worth working toward.. Knowing why you want something furnishes motivation to see it through to the finish. After all, if the purpose of earning a million dollars is to put it in the bank to save for a rainy day, you probably won’t be as motivated as if you need it to pay for your child’s cancer treatment. Your purpose says a lot about you as a person and your goals.

The next step of goal setting is to commit to your goals. This might sound obvious to you but it’s a step that has huge consequences when it is taken lightly. Write a few pages about why and how you are committing to each goal; why it’s important to you, what it means to you, why the outcome is necessary and what are you going to do to make it happen. Without strong commitment you aren’t likely to follow through.

Stay focused. By staying focused on your goals, you manifest. You may not know how you’ll reach your goals but when you make a daily practice of focusing on your goals, they become easier to reach. The more you focus, the more people and things will come into your life that help make your goals a reality. Having your goals written down somewhere where you will see them each day is a good idea. Your mind will notice that there is a discrepancy between where you are now and where you want to be which will create pressure. Pressure is motivation to change. If you lose focus you can always bring it back. Without a regular practice of focusing on your goals you will get distracted by something and your goal will disappear.

The next step is to create a plan of action. Being really clear about what you want, knowing your purpose, writing your goals down, committing to them, and staying focused gives you the power of clarity to write down a list of action steps the need to be executed over the year. You may not know all the steps ahead of time but you will know the next steps that take you in that direction. Even if you don’t know how you are going to do something, write it down and when the time comes, you will be surprised at the options that may appear. Having goals without a plan of action is like trying to complete a complex project without a project plan. There is too much going on, it’s too disorganized, you miss deadlines and you don’t have priorities. Eventually you get frustrated and the project/goal fails or collapses under it’s own weight.

To show how committed you are to your goals, think of something you can do right now that will get you moving toward fulfilling your goal. Even if it’s just making a phone call, do it now. You will be surprised how this simple step reinforces all the previous steps and gets you motivated and moving toward what you desire. Why wait? If you are not motivated to so something right now, how are you going to get motivated tomorrow?

To push through when things get tough, you will have to hold yourself accountable unless you bring in outside help like a coach. It makes sense to have someone besides yourself who can provide valuable feedback at critical junctures, like in the visualization stage. Some people tell their friends and family about their goals which gives them the accountability they need to stick to it. Once you start to achieve some success you will find it easier to keep motivated. Consider having a backup plan. What can you do if you get stuck for too long?

Make it part of your day to review your goals and take action. This will keep your goals alive and top of mind. By following these steps and practicing your goals each day, you have all the elements you need to succeed and achieve your goals. It isn’t always easy to push through. Some days will be easier than others but if you keep focused on your goals you will be amazed at the progress you will make. Remember, almost everything begins as a thought. You can be what you imagine if you follow these simple goal-setting rules.

giant steps life coaching goal setting

Top Life Coaching Tips
March 7, 2011
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Book Excerpt from Coach Sheri’s Top Life Coaching Tips: Live Each Day with More Peace, Passion, Energy and Joy eBook. Introduction:

Welcome to my Top Life Coaching Tips, 2nd Edition. I created this eBook for you. I am sharing these tips in random order and I intend for you to choose the ones that resonate with you and then forget the rest. You may want to browse through all of the tips at one sitting- or read one each day…you choose. I want you to be inspired and to live the life of your dreams- the life that you were meant to live. I consider the most essential piece of success is to guard and guide one’s thought life. Many of my tips are directly related to how you think and its impact on your life.

I have created links throughout my eBook for your ease of use in case you would like to visit any of the suggested resources as you read through my tips. I welcome emails and I also would love to connect with you on twitter and Facebook . See the above page for my contact information links.

If you enjoy my Top Life Coaching Tips, you may also enjoy my book, Keys to Living Joyfully .

Love and Blessings,

Coach Sheri

As you read through these tips- you may notice some feelings and fears coming up for you regarding making changes- so I wrote this poem for you:

Daring Something New

by Sheri Kaye Hoff

Committed to being open

Stretching

Growing

My heart trembles

My mind turns

Palms are damp

Fear growls around me

As I try something new- unknown

Part of me wants to give up

Part of me thrills to the challenge

I am on the edge

The verge of choice

Terrified of a mistake

Yet driven to move forward

Slowing down my breathing

Resolve enters my heart

I push on-

daring to dive

into my new adventure

The peace of decision

and rightness enters my heart

I am certain.

(Sheri Kaye Hoff 2010)

Tip 1: What are you thinking?

What are you thinking about? Your thought process may go something like this: I have three deadlines I am trying to meet, children that need to be dropped off/picked up, I missed my exercise today, and I have to balance my checkbook before I spend one more dollar….and so on-then it starts all over again. To pull yourself out of a vicious circle of negative thoughts, you need to make a conscious effort.

Refocus your mind. Think about your big vision and your big goals. Stretch, move around. Distract yourself and then consciously pull in thoughts that uplift you.

Use your affirmations like my favorites: “I am so happy and so grateful now that I have peace, energy, joy, and passion every moment of every day.” I am so happy now that I inspire people daily” and “I am so thankful that I have all of the time I need”. You will find your energy level changing as you purposefully redirect your thoughts.

Tip 2: Giving generously

I could be listening to the news on any given morning and of course, the topic would probably be “the terrible economy”. What happens in your mind when you start thinking about how bad the economic outlook is? Some things that typically pop into people’s minds are spending less, lowering expenses, and, yes, people perhaps think about giving less. It is at precisely this time when giving generously is important. It is a sign of faith and it creates a deeply satisfying feeling of being able to give. I notice that when I give generously, not only do I feel great, but other great things seem to happen around me. Ask yourself today, who needs me? Who needs my help? How can I make a difference?

Tip 3: Time and Passion

When I was at a research conference in Atlanta, I had the opportunity to pop into a time management workshop. I am always eager to get tips and ideas that I can pass on to clients or even learn for myself. One thing that struck me as I was sitting in this presentation is the importance of passion. The speaker mentioned passion and passion is one of the subjects that I frequently write about.

Sometimes, it is easy to forget about passion when individuals have deadlines looming and they are immersed in a list of “have tos” and “shoulds”. When this happens, it is a good idea to take a step back and evaluate the situation. Remember that passion led you to the project. It is probably still there somewhere just waiting to be rediscovered. If it is not there-can you shift the project to someone else? Or is there some way, some new approach that will ignite your passion again?

Think about the projects that you have completed while you felt the heat and drive of passion. Maybe it was a new change initiative that positively affected others in your community? Maybe it was a need that you saw and felt the urge to find a remedy? Perhaps you came up with a brilliant idea for a story, an article, a book and you started writing and never looked up until you accomplished your goal. My suggestion is to find ways to tap this natural passion and natural curiosity that we have as human beings.

Stop making it so hard. It should be easy-when you feel passion…

To get this free ebook: Contact Coach Sheri

Are You Making Progress
February 25, 2011
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Do you have some goals that you have been talking about for 6 to 12 months? Your goal might be starting a business, getting a better job, moving, or maybe something else. I am asking that you take a look at that goal and ask yourself: What have I done to make it happen? What progress have I made over the last six to twelve months?

I don’t mean…beat yourself up…but honestly reflect. Have you done anything? Are your efforts inconsistent, or half hearted? Maybe…you need to change your goal…or maybe you need to step into some action steps. Be honest with yourself. Are you really taking action…or are you just thinking about your goal? I see this often with small biz folks…they think they are always working, when in reality, often they are only thinking about acting.

Exercise: Write down five things you accomplished in the last two weeks that got you closer to your goal, then write down five action steps you commit to this week. Pick one to do today. As you begin acting- keep a notebook handy so you can keep track of questions that come up. Then ask your coach, ask colleagues, ask friends,  search google, search articles,  etc…for the answers.

If you are wondering where to start with your action, pick the action steps that have the most impact.  For small biz- some ideas are list building, product development, sales, communicating with your list, blogging, marketing , social media (careful…this can eat up a lot of time- be strategic). If you are trying to get a job or a better job: Update your resume and actually apply for some jobs (research is implied here- but I know lots of people who comb through internet postings for hours and hours- then never apply for anything), network- in person and online, add to your skill set,  make follow up calls, etc.

Success Tip: Keep your self on track by completing an Accountability Worksheet each and every week. (Keeping track of goals and accomplishments, questions, and actions).

Hint: If you are trying to accomplish a goal: daily, consistent action, gets you there.

Don’t let another six to twelve months go by…heck, don’t let another day go by- work on your goals today.

I would love to know what you are doing to stay on track with your goals?

The Top 2 Challenges That People Face
February 16, 2011
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The Top 2 Challenges that People Face

I have been surveying people for over a year by asking them for their top three challenges. Everyone who signs up for a free strategy session with me- fills out a form where they can list their top three challenges that they face. Consistently- wanting to feel peaceful and relaxed about money and desiring inspiring work have been the top two. ( I do, sometimes, find that during our initial discussion, these top two are really masking something else).

But let’s look at money issues and inspiring work.  

You can feel peaceful and relaxed about money no matter how much money you have or lack of money that you have.   

So, when you feel that bills are looming and overwhelming, how can you feel peaceful about money? Set the intention that your inner-peace is not related to money. Learn to be peaceful and relaxed in the present moment.

What do I mean by this? For example, let’s say you have a bill due on the fifteenth and it’s the fifth. You don’t know how you are going to pay this bill and it’s an important bill. Your past reaction to situations like this has been to fret, worry, and lose sleep. Instead of experiencing all the worry, you can bring yourself fully present through some deep breathes, feeling your feet on the floor, and recalling a moment when you successfully met a financial challenge. Pat yourself on the back for your success. Recognize that you have made it this far in life. As you calm down, your thinking clears and you are more open to intuition. You may get a brainstorm around taking care of that bill. Maybe you think of something you can sell, or another solution pops into your head which is exactly the right solution. Approach every money issue from a place of peace and calm.

What about inspiring work? You may have heard stories about people quitting their jobs and starting companies and eventually becoming millionaires. Yes, this can happen, but I am not here today to tell you to quit your job and start a business. I am here to tell you that no matter what you do, you can find something inspirational about it. If you have ever watched the reality TV show the Under Cover Boss- you have witnessed entry level employees with repetitive tasks and their lights still shine in their work.

I do think that everyone has a purpose – something that ignites passion and fulfillment. While you do inner work and soul searching to uncover this purpose and to determine your path, you can still shine at whatever you do.  You can be inspired and inspire other people. The key is to find something that you love about the job. When I was in high school, I worked at a fast food restaurant and came home each night smelling like a French fry. There was a lot not to love about working in this environment, but I focused on the customers, I loved talking to people and helping them. Guess what I love most about my coaching practice today? Talking to people and helping them. I knew my purpose as a teenager. Yes, I lost my way a few times as an adult, but the essence of what I love about my work has stayed the same.  My work, now, just exists on a higher level.  My challenge to you today- is for you to find something inspiring about your current work. As you learn what inspires you- your path will unfold.

Stop waiting for some day to be peaceful, relaxed and inspired. You can have all of these elements in your life today.

Post your comments here.