How to Manage Your Career Transitions Successfully

It’s time to accept transitions as an inevitable part of your career experience and learn how to manage them effectively

David Cox | August 06, 2019

Career Transitions: Inevitable challenges

Career Transitions can be as simple as progressing from one job to another in the same organization. Unfortunately, they can also involve unemployment, loss of income, relocation, learning new skills, and other significant challenges.

For instance, a transition may involve a layoff and require a lengthy job search. Creating and implementing a strategic plan for securing another position may be necessary. Meanwhile, the loss of income during unemployment can prove problematic for anyone with financial obligations. Those in transition may need to contact creditors about extending payments or refinancing some debts if necessary.

Those transitioning to start a business may encounter resistance on several fronts. For example, it’s not easy to secure funding for a startup. Family and close friends may discourage startup plans out of concern about risks and the potential for financial loss.

Allison Doyle, a job search expert for The Balance Careers recently wrote, “the average person changes jobs an average of 12 times during his or her career.” She goes on to say, “Many workers spend five years or less in every job…” As such, career transitions are not merely a periodic inconvenience. They are inevitable challenges that could derail or boost your career progress. Thus, you need to learn how to manage them effectively.

Don’t overlook the lessons essential to your success

Today, I operate a small business and serve clients as a third-party blogger. My clients are typically busy professionals who don’t have time to write updated posts and other web content. As a result, I get paid to work on projects and assignments I thoroughly enjoy.

However, before launching ThirdPartyBlogger.com, I attempted to start two other businesses – and neither succeeded. Why did it take nearly 18 months and two failed startup attempts for me to figure out my current business practice? Well, I finally realized I had overlooked three lessons. Ultimately, they proved essential in making my career transition successful:

Stop holding on to the past

Surprisingly, I found it difficult to let go of my previous employment following 20 years of service. In retrospect, I missed the company owners I had served and the many capable employees I worked with every day. They were all terrific people. I also grieved the loss of my previous role and the sense of purpose it gave me.

It took a while, but I eventually learned to give thanks for the experience of this job and then let it go. Once I did that, my mind was free to move on to my next challenge.

Lesson #1: The past is gone, and it’s never, ever coming back. Give thanks for it, let it go, and move on.

Create a vision for the future

Once I could give thanks for the past, and let it go, I began to envision my future.

I began to picture myself blogging, writing web content, and copyediting for clients. I also imagined my potential clients as business and organizational leaders who don’t have time to do these tasks themselves. My vision became the foundation for ThirdPartyBlogger.com.

Lesson #2: Stop wasting time trying to recreate a past that is gone. Instead, move on and invest your time in creating a detailed vision of your next career challenge.

Write out a plan and break it up into workable tasks

I began making a list of everything I needed to start the business I envisioned. In fact, I wrote down the specific tasks required to get each of these items done! Then, I scheduled deadlines for each item and began working on my list. I launched the business once I checked off everything on the list.

My wife (also my business partner) deserves credit for her efforts on this project while working a full-time job. I also received sound advice from a highly qualified accountant, an outstanding business consultant, several good friends, a talented group of web designers, and supportive family members.

Lesson #3: Create a detailed list of whatever you must do to make your vision a reality. The details will include who you’ll need to help you. Then, commit yourself to accomplish something on your list every day until you’ve completed it in its entirety.

Career Transitions: Stay on track

What can you do to keep your career transitions on track? I suggest beginning each day of your career transition with the question: “What can I do at this moment to keep moving forward?”

In other words, do something to maintain your career momentum. If you accomplish one thing each day, and it’s a step toward the next phase of your career, you’re making progress. Otherwise, I guarantee that a lack of vision and inaction will fail to produce the results you desire.

Managing Mistakes at Work: An Effective Five-Step Process

Planning how to manage your mistakes proactively is essential to restoring your credibility and demonstrating effective leadership

David Cox | July 23, 2019

Managing mistakes at work: The blame game

Managing mistakes at work is often an identifying mark of successful business and organizational leaders. They objectively accept their fallibility and are prepared to overcome potential problems they may have unintentionally created. Unfortunately, when I hear employees and management acknowledge mistakes in the workplace, too often, their reason for doing so is to blame someone else.

Managing mistakes at work: It’s about demonstrating leadership

When company officials deny responsibility for a mistake, they willingly abdicate their leadership roles. If you’re going to lead an organization, accepting responsibility is inescapable. Furthermore, every employee involved in a mistake is accountable for any aspect that was within his/her span of control. Any employee who denies this responsibility is not ready for advancement to a management/leadership role. Leaders are not immune to making mistakes, but I assure you, everyone is waiting and watching to see how effectively you’ll respond to the situation.

Adopt a plan for managing your mistakes

There is not a standard formula for managing every potential mistake. However, you can learn to respond to your mistakes in a way that will boost your credibility in the organization. I recommend creating a plan that includes the following five steps.

1. Accept responsibility

You’ll save time and earn respect within the organization by accepting responsibility for the role you played in the mistake. Then, you can respond and begin to take the necessary actions to correct it. Don’t ever try to blame or assign responsibility for a mistake you’ve made to someone else. Former UCLA basketball coach John Wooden, one of the winningest college basketball coaches in NCAA history once said, “You can make mistakes, but you aren’t a failure until you start blaming others for those mistakes.”

2. Take initiative

Take an active role in correcting the mistake you’ve made. There’s a chance that other problems may have resulted from this error. If so, these may also require your attention. Nevertheless, you’ll demonstrate leadership and build further credibility if you take the initiative to correct your mistakes rather than waiting for someone else to do it for you.

3. Learn how to avoid making the same mistake again

If there is one positive thing you can say about a mistake, it provides an opportunity for learning. What went wrong? What do we do now? How can we avoid this same mistake in the future? You can use what you’ve learned to make sure this mistake never happens again. Moreover, you’ll be able to take this lesson and share it with everyone involved. Doing so will undoubtedly help restore their confidence in you.

4. Realize that the goal of managing mistakes is to restore the confidence of others in you

I’ve met many employers and employees who feel that once they’ve made a mistake, the solution is to seek the “forgiveness” from those to whom they’re accountable. Typical remarks I’ve heard include:

  1. I’m so sorry
  2. Please, please forgive me
  3. I don’t understand what went wrong
  4. It wasn’t my fault
  5. You can’t blame me for the failure of others

 
The above approach encourages you to apologize, blame, and excuse.

Suppose the objective of managing mistakes is not to avoid responsibility, but instead, to restore confidence. If so, the following response would seem more appropriate: “This mistake was my fault. As such, it’s my responsibility. I’ve corrected the mistake, and am working to resolve some additional problems that occurred as a result. Now that I know what went wrong, I can assure you, and everyone involved, that I will never make this mistake again.”

Using this approach, you correct the mistake and restore the confidence of others in you. Additionally, you gain an opportunity to demonstrate responsibility and leadership. Therefore, rather than asking for forgiveness that you may not receive, you proactively work to restore the confidence of others in you. As a result, you move beyond the mistake and build even greater credibility.

5. Correct mistakes as quickly as possible

There is no value in extending a mistake by defending, excusing it, pretending everything’s okay when the outcomes indicate otherwise. Correcting the mistake ASAP and solving the problems it created will help minimize the cost (time and money) required to fix it. Moreover, the sooner you resolve the issue, the sooner you can return to the routines of daily operations without further damage to your reputation.

Managing mistakes may prove the key to your future success at work

I’ve met a surprising number of business and organizational leaders who attribute their success, in part, to a “mistake” that advanced their careers. Obviously, it wasn’t the mistake that created a more successful career path. It was the decisive actions they took to correct the mistake and continue making progress.

I’m convinced that preparing for the inevitability of mistakes will give you a head start in overcoming them. Undoubtedly, adopting a plan for managing your mistakes at work may help you more effectively respond to similar circumstances in the future.

Earning Respect at Work: 10 Essential Characteristics

If you believe people at work will automatically respect you because of your accomplishments, position, or family relationships – nothing could be further from the truth

David Cox | June 25, 2019

Earning respect: Why is it important?

Earning respect is essential to your job success and career opportunities.

You may be a business owner, working to increase quality and productivity. You may be a middle manager seeking further advancement. Perhaps you started as an entry-level employee a few months ago, and are now under consideration for your first promotion.

In any case, you’ll need the respect of those with whom you work to succeed and continue your advancement.

Best selling author and professional speaker, Dr. Alan Zimmerman, said it this way, “It boils down to a simple formula. REPUTATION + CHARACTER = RESPECT. You earn the RESPECT of others when your public REPUTATION and private CHARACTER are above reproach. And you’ve got to have both.”

In short, if you want the respect of others in your organization, you’re going to have to earn it.

Earning respect: 10 characteristics that will support your efforts

How can you earn the respect you need within your organization? How can you build an outstanding public reputation and demonstrate exceptional personal character? Well, the people you work with are likely to respect someone who models the following characteristics:

  1. Honesty

    You need to be straightforward and truthful about yourself and in your interactions with others. Never misrepresent your skills, abilities, and experiences. These things have helped shape the person you are today. Don’t make promises flippantly. In fact, when you make a promise to someone, treat it as if it’s a binding contract.

  2. Authenticity

    Take pride in who you are and the person you’ve become. Don’t be intimidated by someone else’s opinion or if others disagree with you. Moreover, make sure that you are what you claim to be – nothing more and nothing less.

  3. Integrity

    Working with people reveals your level of integrity. As such, you need to maintain high ethical standards. Likewise, set high standards in your conduct towards others. Honor your organization’s policies and procedures, not because you signed an agreement. Do so because it’s the right thing to do.

  4. Fairness

    Choose to build long-term relationships rather than settling for immediate gains. Strive for win-win outcomes in disputes. If you don’t, and the solution isn’t mutually beneficial, no one wins in that situation. All parties will work to keep a mutually beneficial agreement. Moreover, maintain “The Golden Rule” and treat others the way you would want them to treat you.

  5. Tolerance

    Stay open and receptive to ideas, beliefs, and cultures other than your own. In the process, learn to remain objective. Consistently try to consider all sides of an issue rather than forcing your personal opinion on others.

  6. Humility

    Stay modest about your achievements. Learn to feel comfortable in your skin and quietly proud of your accomplishments. Furthermore, never assume the credit for any success. Instead, be willing to share the credit with everyone involved.

  7. Compassion

    As you progress in your career, strive to treat others with kindness. Always remember your beginnings and give credit to all those who helped you along the way. Thus, be willing to help those in need of some support or a second chance.

  8. Knowledge

    You may be a brilliant individual, but don’t give the impression that you’re a know-it-all. Make sure the managers and employees who work with you know they can count on your job-related knowledge. Furthermore, keep learning and continue to improve your knowledge, skills, and abilities.

  9. Personal responsibility

    Take responsibility for your career rather than feeling your employer owes you something. Choose to be proactive at work. Set your goals high and make the commitment and sacrifice required to succeed.

    What’s more, accept the consequences of your choices. Specifically, if things go south, don’t blame others or make excuses. Instead, make other choices while remaining positive and getting the job done.

  10. Quality associations

    Carefully choose the people and organizations with whom you associate. Do so knowing that you win or lose the respect of others based on the company you keep. Therefore, refuse to compromise on the character of your associations, even for the sake of sales or bottom line profits.

Earning respect: It begins with you!

So, if you want to earn the respect of those with whom you work, it’s essential that your reputation and character remain above reproach. Adopt the characteristics that will help you earn their respect.

Sure, you’ll make some mistakes, and you even may lose some support along the way. However, overcoming your mistakes represents another opportunity to earn the respect of those around you. One thing is sure; you’ll always know that you gave your best effort to build your reputation and character. In the final analysis, that effort deserves respect.

Self-confidence Supports Greater Business Success

Three practices that can boost your self-confidence and help you achieve further business success

By David Cox | May 14, 2019

Self-confidence is an essential factor in business success

There is an inevitable connection between self-confidence and business success. Those who struggle with inadequacies, whether real or imagined, often find it difficult to succeed. In contrast, confident individuals stand tall and proud as they manage stressful situations.

Likewise, when they speak, others listen because a confident person inspires others around them. It should come as no surprise that confident people are often more successful in business than those who are not.

How can you build greater self-confidence?

If you need to develop your self-confidence, here are three practices that could yield significant results.

Set goals for further progress

Setting and achieving goals is an excellent way to build your self-confidence. Set realistic, achievable goals that will further the growth of your business. Your goals should be specific and measurable with a target date for achievement. If not, they’ll be little more than good intentions, which are unlikely to accomplish anything.

It may sound simplistic, but you should strive to frame your goals positively. If you do so, focusing on what you can do rather than on what you can’t, you’ll find your goals more strongly reinforced in your mind.

Keep track of your achievements

Start a notebook and write down each achievement along with the reason you feel it’s significant. You may have closed a massive sale, opened a new account, successfully negotiated a finance agreement, overcome a setback, or resolved a problem with a customer or client. These achievements, along with any words of praise and encouragement you received from your clients or superiors – write them down in your notebook.

On days when you feel down – and those days will come – flip through your notebook and re-read some of your achievements. They will serve as a constant reminder that you are capable and successful. You can learn to accomplish anything. Moreover, you’ve already proven your ability to succeed.

Practice positive self-talk to encourage your progress

If you want to build your self-confidence, you need to start managing the “self-talk” that goes on in your mind. Specifically, you need to eliminate your negative self-talk.

Positive self-talk is practical and constructive. For instance, if you have regrets about your past, consider the following. “My past is my history. Obviously, there’s absolutely nothing I can ever do to change it. Likewise, I can’t do anything about my mistakes or failures of the past. However, my past is not my destiny. I can learn from those mistakes, determine not to repeat them, work to do a better job, and build my credibility.”

You may feel your life, and business experiences didn’t turn out the way you envisioned. Regardless, it’s time to forgive anyone you’ve blamed (including yourself), let go of the past, and move on. If you insist on being stuck in the past, that’s your choice, but you’re only hurting yourself.

Building your self-confidence: An investment in personal and business success

You need self-confidence to face the challenges and uncertainties of a competitive business environment. If you feel you lack confidence, maybe it’s time to act. Set higher goals, track your achievements, and practice positive self-talk for a better and brighter future. As you do, your self-confidence will grow along with your business.

How long does it take to build your self-confidence? Some people need only 2-3 months while others may take six months or more. You’ll notice a difference in yourself within a matter of weeks. I guarantee you’ll be proud of what you achieve in business and the more self-confident person you’ve become.