Keys to Navigating the Existential Career Crisis

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“An existential career crisis is accompanied by a desire to find more meaning in your work life. It’s waking up in the morning and longing to do something completely different, while struggling to balance the reality that you pretty much need to work.This can be an immensely confusing time, as it’s not always clear where or how to start. Let’s take a look at how to commence the journey of discovering a career direction that energizes you and creates a sense of meaning.” Read the Full Article. 

Too many career interests and ideas? Don’t freak out. You CAN integrate them all. Here’s how.

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Can’t decide on which career interest to pursue? Choose the best path and combine all of your interests to design a lifestyle that works for you.

Many people come to me with this challenge. They have so many interests and it is important to them to have a career that is more than just a job, but work that keeps them engaged, motivated and passionate. Life is precious. Too precious to spend our days in jobs that suck the life force out of us and do not light us up. But sometimes that very common diversity of interests plagues many with paralysis and confusion about which direction to go, which career interests to pursue and how to pursue so many interests.

Maybe you may daydream about a job that allows you to travel the world and get paid. Unfortunately, this leads you down a path of unrealistic career daydreams, which can be fun, but futile. Don’t fret, there is good news. You can have it all. Figure out how to weave your interests into a pragmatic and practical career path. You may ask, “Well, which career path do I choose? How do I choose the best career path for me?” Focus on the one that makes the most sense in matters of both- practical and interests. Then research and brainstorm the ways that you can weave in your other interests.

Let’s say your career interest assessment suggests that you are best suited for careers that are social, artistic and enterprising. Now, you’re torn between pursuing a career in healthcare, writing, and neuropsychology. The best place to start is to research the career trajectories of these three options. What are the future trends for these careers? Do they pay well? Will there be plenty of job opportunities? How competitive is the industry? Will I need to specialize to be more valuable and more employable? What is a realistic work day like?

Perhaps, your other interests are writing, research, psychology, kiteboarding, and travel. All great interests to have, but some of them will be quite challenging to pursue as careers. You can still weave these interests into your life. These are your lifestyle needs. I worked with a professor who identified that it was critically important to have a lot of flexibility and freedom in his career and life so that he could travel and pursue his other interests. He decided that staying in his job as a university professor would allow him to have the summers off so that he would be free to travel and engage in his other interests. It also allowed him the freedom to have other freelance jobs that were interesting to him. This is how he navigated the career existentialism that was initially overwhelming for him and now he finds peace and contentment as he has found a way to weave in many of his interests into his life.

It is not uncommon to have many interests. Many people are quite diverse in their skills and it is quite possible to blend many of your interests to create a lifestyle and career that you love.

Kristen A Tolbert is the Founder of Career CoLabs, Author of Careers Reinvented, and Facilitator of Neuro at Work – Leadership and Workplace Satisfaction Programs. Kristen’s programs serve a global clientele via live seminars and in online classrooms. Learn more about her programs at careercolabs.com.

Learn To Tackle Your Long-Term Goals Today

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There are lots of reasons why people struggle with achieving their career goals. Often it is due to a lack of clarity, direction, and focus. When we look at the big picture of what needs to be done to get from point A (where you are now) to point Z (the end result), we can become overwhelmed and paralyzed about where to begin. Good goal setting clearly defines the beginning, middle and end with clear actions; by breaking goals down into smaller achievable actions, we can see what needs to be done. The difficult question, of course, what is your long-term goal?

Once you have identified your long-term goal, you must then look at tackling your short-term goals. This will bring greater clarity, direction, and focus that will drive you to succeed. By breaking up your long-term goal into active steps that can be completed, you help yourself progress without feeling overwhelmed. Want to learn a language? Instead of focusing on the steep learning curve and the years of practice that it requires, focus on practicing five new phrases each day for at least thirty minutes. Then with each consecutive day, these minutes will add to hours, which will add to days and then to months. Everything becomes clearer as a result and your focus is strengthened as you start to identify the actions that you need to support you along the way.

My clients create a yearly plan, quarterly plans, monthly plans and weekly plans that strategize their goals. The yearly plan identifies long-term goals. The quarterly plan breaks these long-term goals into shorter 3-month periods. The monthly and weekly plans break these goals down further into hyper-concise actionable steps.

For example, many students who attend law school have no idea what type of law they want to pursue after graduation. Often, they understand that law school is a financially stable career path, but they do not have specific passions for a specific law sector. Your first goal then becomes to identify the types of law that interest you. Your first set of actions needs to be around research and exploration around law career interests. You can start by researching types of law careers online. Next, you can take the Strong Interest Inventory. The Strong Interest Inventory is a career interest inventory used in career counseling to help people gain insight and clarity around career interests.

Here’s a brief example plan:

Long Term Goals:

  1. Establish a career in law

Quarterly Goals:

  1. Career Exploration
  2. Job Search
  3. Resume
  4. Experience

Monthly Actions:

  • Research and explore types of law careers online.
  • Take the Strong Interest Inventory to identify career interests.
  • Identify and create a list of firms or organizations that employ lawyers specializing in your area of interest.
  • Network. Don’t limit yourself to only lawyers. Talk to people about your interests and pursuits who may also have connections or information about jobs that you may be a good fit.
  • Clean up your resume to reflect your experience, skills, and pursuits of interest. Hire a resume writer.
  • Create a list of hiring decision makers in organizations from the list. Apply to organizations identified in the list.
  • Work on gaining experience through internships or other activities related to your field of interest.

Now that you have created a strategic plan around your goals, your questions will start to be answered as you begin to view your future through a new perspective with greater clarity. Without a doubt, goals seem less overwhelming when they are broken down into clear, visible steps. So take those first baby steps. Don’t fret about the long journey ahead. As the old adage goes, you’ve got to learn to walk before you run.

Kristen A Tolbert is the Founder of Career CoLabs, Author of Careers Reinvented, and Co-Founder and Facilitator of Neuro at Work – Leadership and Workplace Intelligence Programs. Kristen’s programs serve a global clientele via live seminars and in online classrooms. Learn more about her programs at careercolabs.com.

Dealing with Holiday Stress

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Tips for Dealing with Holiday Stress 

Stress during the holidays is not much different from regular everyday stress, but the holidays can intensify stress as there is an intensified focus on family, relationships and finances. Stress shows up in our health, jobs and relationships and can be exacerbated by additional stressors and conflicts, so it is really important to manage stress well, especially during the holidays.

Holiday Stress Triggers
Grief and sadness related to the loss of loved ones or relationships
Money/Career Stress
Family and Relationship Stress
Feeling overwhelmed, pressured, burdened with extra demands

Tips for Managing Stress
1. Remove the stressors
2. Change the way we react to stressors.

We can use very simple and practical cognitive and behavioral strategies for dealing with stress.

Eliminate Unnecessary Stressors

  • Set and manage good boundaries.
  • Limit exposure to negative, toxic thinking, situations, people and environments.
  • If dealing with depression and/or grief, avoid alcohol and drugs. Alcohol is a depressant and may offer very temporary relief, but the rebound causes a horrible crash intensifying depression and anxiety. It also exacerbates mental health issues.
  • Avoid wallowing in negative thinking and emotions, powerlessness and victim thinking.
  • Let go of the things that do not serve you well.

Change Your Reactions to Stress

  • Reframe stressful situations.
  • Tap into your wisdom, intuition and wiser emotional self.
  • Don’t resist negative thoughts and feelings, but honor them and send them on their way as they likely do not serve you well. Then focus and celebrate the positive and what you are grateful for. Remember what we resist persists, so it does you no good and it has been shown to be bad for your health to try to ignore, avoid or pretend to not have negative thoughts and feelings. Honor them and move on to better things.
  • If you are feeling lonely, spend time with supportive friends and loved ones. Host a dinner, party or event. Get out and meet new people.
  • Practice good, loving self care. Be very kind to yourself and be kind to others. Practice self soothing techniques and rituals–meditation, great music, candles, relaxing bath, exercise. Exercise increases happy, feel good chemicals. Natural supplements such as 5HTP to help with depression and L-Theanine can be helpful for anxiety. Get good sleep. My favorite sleep supplements are Melatonin and a product called “SLEEP” by Jarrow.
  • Don’t suffer in silence. If you are struggling more than usual or it feels like more than you can handle, reach out to your supports. Recruit support from friends and family, your church, spiritual center, advisers, mentors or a therapist to help you talk through and sort through stressors.
  • Create a Holiday Planner. Organize and delegate tasks. Manage your time and priorities effectively. Get all of the buzzing ideas, stuff and stressors out of your head and on paper. You will likely find that it is much clearer and easier to deal with and it relieves the monster in your head.
  • Enjoy the simple things and don’t get caught up in the grind, the unrealistic expectations that surround the holidays. It is perfectly okay to set your own boundaries and celebrate in whatever way pleases you and to create your own peaceful way of celebrating that is unique to you. Forget about the “shoulds” and do it your way!

Happy Holidays to you and your families. Wishes for a peaceful, joyful holiday season and life! Much love and blessings to you,
Kristen.

Settling vs Stretching: Connecting with Your Higher Self

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Consider the impact that our environments have on us. The people, places, and things that surround us and make up our environment. When we settle into an environment that is stagnant, complacent, has ceased to evolve, and no longer serves us well we become stuck too.

We have to allow ourselves to move out of the complacency and into places that will stretch us and allow us forward movement and growth. This means changing our environment to one that supports our evolution, our growth, and the vision that we have for our future. Now I am not talking about snobbery, pretentiousness, or blind eye and lack of empathy and love for the old, but I am talking about up-leveling people, places, and things to create an environment that serves us and our growth well.

Change can be scary, but NO CHANGE is much scarier and painful. In what ways can you up-level your environment to support the future life that you desire? Think about your vision for success and your vision for the future. Does your current environment support this?  What can you do right now– today or tomorrow to support your evolution to your higher self?

Kristen A Tolbert is the Founder of Career CoLabs, Author of Careers Reinvented, and Co-Founder and Facilitator of Neuro at Work – Leadership and Workplace Intelligence Programs. Kristen’s programs serve a global clientele via live seminars and in online classrooms. Learn more about her programs at careercolabs.com.

Creating a Personal High Value Community

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Seek and you shall find. Open yourself up to finding people, environments, and things that align with your values. Think holistically. Physical, Emotional, Mental and Spiritual needs and values. Rather than focusing on the limits in finding and experiencing these things it is crucial to open yourself up to the possibilities that exist and recruit them into your life. Money and goals, relationships and love, health and wellness, and spiritual and consciousness values and needs. Success comes from creating your own personal high-value community of people, places, and things that are meaningful to you. Where will you find these people, places, and things that you value? How will you recruit them into your life? Make an inventory of the things that are serving you well and nurture them. Explore the things that are not serving you well and release them. Seek to recruit these things that will serve you well now and in the future and take notice of the growth that follows.

Kristen A Tolbert is the Founder of Career CoLabs, Author of Careers Reinvented, and Co-Founder and Facilitator of Neuro at Work – Leadership and Workplace Intelligence Programs. Kristen’s programs serve a global clientele via live seminars and in online classrooms. Learn more about her programs at careercolabs.com.

Golf Lessons

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I took golf lessons for about three years. My golf coach was consistently working with me on two things: my death grip and my rapid power swing. The problem with my grip was that I was holding the club so tightly that I was creating resistance and not letting the club do the work. The rapid swing problem resulted in lots of missed contacts with the ball and not getting distance. My coach insisted that I loosen my death grip and really slow down my swing to improve my game. I had to really slowwwwwww down my swing. Initially, it seemed contradictory to the results that I wanted to achieve because it just made sense that if I wanted the ball to go far I had to put a lot of power behind it. Well, I was wrong. Once I started practicing these two things, my game improved dramatically. My coach was even surprised at my ‘out driving’ the rest of the team. Same applies to the stuff in life. Holding on to things too tightly and rapid firing all over the place inadvertently creates resistance and blocks that hold us back. Sometimes we have to let go and really slow it down to get further ahead.

Are there any signs or clues showing up in your life suggesting that you should loosen up, let go, or slow down? 

Kristen A Tolbert is the Founder of Career CoLabs, Author of Careers Reinvented, and Co-Founder and Facilitator of Neuro at Work – Leadership and Workplace Intelligence Programs. Kristen’s programs serve a global clientele via live seminars and in online classrooms. Learn more about her programs at careercolabs.com.

Making Decisions From the Future

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Make Decisions From Your Future

Where does your future self spend free time?
Who does your future self spend time with?
What does your future self do for pleasure?
Where does your future self do for work?
Who is in your future self’s circle of influence?
How does your future self make decisions?

Go there now.

Make decisions from this place

Learning How to Juggle Three Little Bean Bags

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When I was an undergraduate student, I took a neuro-psychology course that required I learn how to juggle. Seriously, and I was graded on it! I was a little worried. I tried to throw all those bags up in circles and catch them and things just weren’t working out. They dropped to the floor, went over my head, fell on friends’ laps, and knocked over lamps.  Then someone who had the patience to read the instructions intervened. He figured it out and explained it to me and taught me how to juggle.

You see, the trick is to start with only one bag at a time. You toss it up in the air until it gets comfortable and almost becomes second nature. Then you add in another and do the same until it gets comfortable and you can pretty much do it without even thinking about it. Then you add in the third and voila, you’re a juggler! Quite an amazing process it was when broken down. It didn’t go down at all the way I thought it would.

A lot of things in life are like learning to juggle. At times it seems incredibly overwhelming and perhaps impossible, but you just start with one task at a time and then add another, one by one. Eventually, you’ll be juggling almost effortlessly. Patience and gentle reminders to take it slowly are key. Delegation and help from others is a good idea too.

By the way, I passed the class with an A and I now know why I needed to learn to juggle. I’d like to give special thanks to my patient and clever friend, Tim, for his help.

Kristen A Tolbert is the Founder of Career CoLabs, Author of Careers Reinvented, and Co-Founder and Facilitator of Neuro at Work – Leadership and Workplace Intelligence Programs. Kristen specializes in Workplace Wellness and Satisfaction programs in her private practice. She utilizes Brain-Based science and strategies to assist organizations in becoming both high performing and healthy workplaces. Kristen’s programs serve a global clientele via live seminars and in collaborative online classrooms. Learn more about her programs at careercolabs.com.