Archive for Career Visioning

Freedom

Nelson Mandela's Prison, Robben Island

This is an inspirational piece to remind us that we all have the power to be our best.    Thought management is critical to this process and it will  require ”freeing of the mind.”  Drop me a comment regarding your thoughts on this topic.  I’d especially like to hear what’s shackling you and keeping you from being your best.  This is a great week to get off your “buts”  (as in excuses).

Freedom

Freedom escapes us more times than not

Even without the ties that physically bind.

No chains on our feet. No prison walls.

Yet we are seriously constrained by our mind.

Freedom escapes us

During our strenuous efforts to please.

We seek to gain the satisfaction of others,

And in turn, cause ourselves to bleed.

Freedom escapes us

Too easily in our day to day.

And small decisions made hour by hour.

Choosing the opposite of our truth,

In a effort to suit others,

Results in relinquishing our power.

Freedom Escapes Us.

And what does power have to do with being free?

If we imprison our passions and dreams,

The power of being true to ourselves will slowly deplete.

We then live a story that is a replica.

And our gift to this world is not complete.

Freedom Escapes Us.

Written by Barbara H. McAllister ©

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There is so much to do!

This poem was inspired by our visit to Oriental Weavers in Cairo, Egypt. In this visit, the company shared the manufacturing process of bringing together 14 unique strands of thread in various colors chosen to create the rug master pieces we see in places like the Marriott, Home Depot, Target and other retail locations. I was also inspired this week by our local site host, Nada El Gammal. She has the energy of 20 expressos and the knowledge of ancient historians. Nada, Thank you for the insightful agenda that you put together for our team. You gave so much of yourself this week and we sincerely thank you!!!! We hope you get some much deserved rest post our journey back home. 

At Oriental Weavers standing next to a rug of Cairo's President

At Oriental Weavers standing next to a rug of Cairo's President

There is so much to do!

My heart is saying this out loud
As I pack my bags, ending our Cairo trip
There are children to be educated
And gaining skills that will have them better equipped.

There is world peace on the line.
We don’t have time to sit still.
Let’s share the core of what we experienced here.
No wars or weapons or violence in the streets.
We see beautiful human beings working so their families can eat.

What a great spectrum we’ve seen of the haves and the have nots
It’s now up to us to do our part.
The best of us will be those that give.
Rather than stay silent in our comfortable spots.

Our team is woven like an Oriental Weavers rug
Young Middle East ambassadors of truth, you’d might say.
Each one respresenting their unique strand.
Bringing a different perspective causing you to think a different way.

No need to stand alone.
There is so much to do.
We saw first hand the value of bringing many threads into one.
We have the talent of the million dollar loom.
With a call to action in our hands
Waiting for us to answer in alignment, “yes, we stand.”

We stand for sustained improvement, aligned objectives and results.
We stand to make a difference.
We didn’t travel all this way to take notes and complain.
We stand to collaborate on key issues that will bring about change.
Change that brings us together for the greater good.
Because woven together , we create an unbreakable foundation.
Strands out of alignment result in gaps to our nation.

There is so much to do.
And the doing starts with me and you!

Barbara McAllister
10/16/2009
EOP (end of poem)

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What is your Strategy For Growth?

Do you know where you are growing to?  In a graduation speed written by Dr. Seuss, he wisely states:

“You have brains in your head

You have feet in your shoes.

You can steer yourself

Any direction you choose.”

 You choose.  That is the most powerful part of his statement.  What are you choosing for you?  What actions are you taking every day to aid in your personal growth and development?   What are you choosing by not choosing?  If an answer doesn’t arrive quickly for you, try reflecting on how you spent your time last week.  What percentage of your week did you focus on your personal growth and development strategies?    

The growth you expect will not naturally happen.  You create the growth you need by getting busy and staying actively involved in making this change happen. 

As Dr. Seuss eloquently says and I agree 100%  with him although I paraphrased his words slightly.  Sorry Dr!.  

“You’re on your own.

And you know what you know.

And YOU are the one who’ll decide where you GROW!  

 Have a great week everyone.  Be very deliberate about the growth you want to see.

 Barbara

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5 Must Have Skills to Succeed At Almost Anything

 We are coming off of a pretty tough past couple of weeks with many families losing their loved ones. In my prayers this morning, I asked God for a less intense week on the emotional side so I can focus!  Although, it wasn’t my family, I could relate to the loss.

 Whether you are a Michael Jackson fan, puzzled by the Steve McNair mistress tragedy, touched by the fighting spirit of Farah Fawcett, or reflecting on a loss of your own; death brings about moments of introspection.  

 It is often during these times that we cut to the chase rather quickly on coming to terms with the reality of our own longevity.  It is during these times that we call into question our true meaning and purpose.  Many of us ponder if we are on track to our life goals or not. What are we on this Earth to do?

 All great thoughts to process; It is a great time to ponder and an awesome time to thank those in your life that you value and love.  Bring more focus this week to all of these things and begin to tackle challenges now that will make a huge difference in the quality of your life.

 Here are 5 key skills that you will need to pack along with you to succeed at almost anything including improving your quality of life.  There are many others but this is a solid must have set to get us up and moving towards our goals.

 1) Self Management“This above all, -To thy own self, be true!”   You must have a strong sense of your strengths as well as your weaknesses.  In minutes, you should be able to articulate what works for you and have the ability to quickly discern between what  a great working environment looks like for you vs a poor one.  We cannot run away from our weaknesses. Manage them too. Be honest about them and incorporate a plan around how best to manage them including calling in the experts when needed.   The better you know self, the better you will be able to choose ripe environments for you to excel.  It can be as simple as knowing your prime productive hours or as complicated as knowing the required Myers Briggs leadership style of your manager.   

2) Planning and ExecutionIt is golden to plan and platinum to act on the plan.  Your plan is just a piece of paper until you put some feet on the plan. Get that plan to walking! To be successful, you must have the ability to critically think, take in various pieces of information and translate all of that into an actionable plan both short and long term.  In parallel with planning is the execution.  It is crucial to act.  Actions separate the “wannabees” from the “get er dones!” 

3) Networking – Leaders that are the most influential, get the most done (results) and at the same time maintain high quality trust relationships are those who will have mastered the art of networking.  We were created to be in fellowship with each other.  We will not be productive long term in isolated environments.  A viable and healthy network can put your plans, ideas into action and in places where you personally cannot reach. Let your network help you achieve your dreams. Thank them often and try giving them more than you receive. 

4) An Avid and Active Learner – No one has to tell you how quickly things change in our economy. By the time you starting using your new cell phone, the manufacturer has released an upgrade.  Similarly, you want to be able to be just that flexible and agile as it relates to work.  When one program shuts down, everyone knows you can take on this new challenge because you saw it coming and was already preparing yourself in advance for the change. I know a custom builder that was excelling in the housing market builde craze of two years ago.  When that came to a screeching halt, it didn’t deter him. He took those same skills, transferred them and is now excelling at home renovations and other build projects. We have to stay on top of everything; learning, reading, exposure beyond your comfort zone and never feeling like you know it all will keep you poised well for success.

 5) Relaxing and Self Care – My brother, Marvin, would call this, “knowing when to hold and knowing when to fold.”  We have to prioritize our self care and relaxation as #1.  Stress is bad for you and bluntly, will kill you.  Being able to laugh and finding a way to manage yourself without injury even during your most stressful moments is a key to success.  According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), the U.S. agency responsible for conducting research and making recommendations for the prevention of work-related illness and injury, 40 percent of workers reported their job was very or extremely stressful. This means we need to have readily available a fire proof way to fight stress.  Think of it as a stress extinguisher. Just as you would have one ready for fire, have one handy for stress.  You may need the travel kind that you can also carry on the road (smile!!) 

Here’s to a good week of introspection and planning.  Remember to secure that stress extinguisher if you do not already have one.  Let me know how things are going.  Feel free to share your top 5 or other skills missing from the list above. 

Cheers, Barbara

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It’s Plan Time. Develop A Plan for You!

In the next couple of months, many companies and organizations alike will kick off their 2010 planning and budget process.   Many of us are quite familiar with this process as we have either led these strategic planning processes for our organizations or we’ve provided necessary input many times over.

 While we do this for our companies and our big projects at work, many of us do not prioritize this very important annual exercise for ourselves and neither do we apply the same level of diligence in the planning for our very own personal goals or our longer term vision for ourselves.

What if you were asked about your company’s plan for the next quarter and in the same conversation asked about your own personal goals for the next quarter?  Many of us would be fluent on the company’s goals but would flounder on our personal goals.

Just supposed we took the same care and diligence this year to perform a strategic planning session for 2010 for us, for our personal goals.  What if we stopped to assess our strengths, weaknesses, opportunities or threats in the way of our personal success?  What if we simply stopped ourselves to reawaken the vision within us that we’ve allowed to stay buried underneath layers and layers of fear?  What if we took some positive steps in the direction of  realigning our day to day activities towards those tasks and habits that will move us closer to our longer term personal goals and dreams?

Try the following steps as a part of your upcoming budget and planning process for you!

1)  First, draw up your vision board or key vision themes of what you want success to look like in a finite period of time.  Start with over the next year just to ensure the goals are tangible.  You may want to ask yourself some key questions that will aid you with your vision.  Ex.  What would I be doing if I knew I could not fail?  What am I crazy passionate about?  If I am being successful in 2010, what would that look like?

 2)  What are 3 things I can do in the next quarter that would move me closer towards my success goals? 

 3)   What does my support structure need to look like that will enable a faster speed and steady path toward achieving my goals?  Who or what things do I need to move out of the way that are no longer serving me?  Are there habits that need to be broken or new habits that I need to create to aid me in my journey towards getting closer to my end state goals?

 Once you’ve completed these 3 steps, consider enlisting a coach or a support buddy that will keep you on your toes and inquire frequently about your progress.  You do not want to share your vision with just anyone.  Make sure it’s someone you trust versus a vision buster. 

 This will be a great first start towards you moving closer to your dreams and I wish you well as you start this very important journey. 

 Unless you have a definite, precise, clear set of goals, you are not going to realize the maximum potential that lies within you. -Zig Ziglar

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