Sprinting to the Starting Line

Finish-Start-RoadCelebrating 2015 and preparing for 2016.

As we approach the 2015 FINISH line, we run straight into the START line for 2016. There should be a break between finishing this year’s holiday dash to New Years Eve before the pistol fires signifying the start of the New Year, but alas, this year’s FINISH line and next year’s START line are one and the same on life’s racetrack.

As we look back on 2015, we also look optimistically forward to what 2016 holds for us, but too often with a fragile determination. It’s difficult to keep our resolve throughout the year – keeping up a frantic pace through the whole race. One of the problems is that we tend to sprint right out of the starting blocks – a pace that is not sustainable for the entire 365-day dash. We become disheartened when we start to lose our breath, and after a few unexpected obstacles re-route the course that we had rehearsed in our minds, it’s too easy to throw in the towel.

Runners have a race strategy. They pace themselves and are prepared to adjust their game-plan as needed. Here are some strategies for running your race – whether it be personal, professional, or a combination of both:

  1. Celebrate what you’ve already achieved. Take time to reflect on your successes over the past year. Reflect and acknowledge what has gone well. Start the habit of a positive outlook – viewing successes and victories. Look through your calendar and list the highlights. If you have had performance reviews from your workplace, look through them and take note of your progress, your accomplishments and achievements. For those of you who tend to focus on the negative, suppress that tendency…for at least a moment – celebrate what went right! Enjoy the progress that you’ve made.
  2.  Visualize your finish. Have you ever watched athletes visualizing at the top of a ski run or the beginning of a gymnastics routine? They pre-rehearse in their minds every step of their performance. They are visualizing success, not what could go wrong. Many will also visualize themselves on the podium, seeing themselves as the victor. What does your victory podium look like? Where do you want to be 1 year from now – next New Years Eve? What specifically would you like to have achieved? What does it look like, sound like, feel like? Don’t worry – your visualization isn’t cast in stone, but it does serve as a motivation for striving forward. As Steven Covey exhorts in his book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, “Start with the end in mind”.  Know where you want to go, then you’ll have a better chance of actually getting there. For you, it could be mastering a new skill or area of knowledge. It could be obtaining certification or earning a promotion.  MAKE SURE YOUR END-GOAL IS MEASURABLE! It isn’t very effective to set vague goals like, “I want to exercise more”, or “I want to keep my desk tidier”, or “I want to be more generous”. Instead, make your goals measurable:  ”I want to be able to do 100 push-ups, 200 squats, 300 crunches and 5-minute planks in one workout, and run 25 kms per week”; or “I want to keep my desk tidy for 90-days straight”; or “I want to have donated $3000 to various charities by the end of the year”. Those are concrete and measurable. With concrete goals you can track your progress and easily determine when you have succeeded.
  3. Break your end-goal into smaller goals. Standing 365 days away from your end-goal can feel overwhelming, especially if it is an ambitious goal. It’s hard to see your progress and stay motivated when when you are only focused on a distant ambition. If you want to improve your sales numbers by 100%, merely measuring yourself against that end-goal will most likely make you feel frustrated if you only achieved 9% during the first month – “only 91% to go…arghh!” But if you break your goal into smaller chunks, in this example months, you would realize that 9% is well on the way to SURPASSING your end-goal, which would only require 8.4% per month to be reached. Take whatever your year-end goal is and determine what sub-goals would be required to achieve the end-goal? What would you need to achieve in the first month? Second month? If you stumble and miss a milestone, you can make it up by the next milestone. Don’t let yourself be syched out by the how far away the end-goal is – focus on the next interim goal!
  4. Have an accountability partner. It’s easier to maintain momentum when someone is either working with you or is helping to stay accountable and on the desired path. My wife and I exercised for a year-and-a-half together. When one didn’t feel like getting up early to start our routine, the other would push (or pull) the other out of bed. Just hearing my wife get up and start to get ready had a magical pull on me to get up and get ready even though I didn’t feel like it. You might notice that I am speaking in past tense! When our schedules changed and we started working out individually, it didn’t take long until neither of us were working out. (I can assure you that getting back into shape is on my list of goals for 2016!)  Your accountability partner isn’t necessarily someone who will roll you out of bed in the morning, but rather someone who you can meet with on a regular basis and report your progress. You want them to be encouraging, understanding, helpful and a cheerleader. When you miss an interim goal, they can help you refocus. When you make an interim goal, they celebrate with you. This could be anyone: a spouse, a friend – especially if they have similar goals, a boss, a colleague,…or a perhaps a career/leadership coach (a shameless plug).
  5. Re-evaluate at each milestone. At each milestone briefly ask yourself, “do I need to adjust my end-goal?”; “Do I need to adjust my interim goals?”  Perhaps you need to INCREASE your end-goal objective? Or maybe it’s more realistic to lower the expectations if you’ve missed a number of interim goals in a row. Each milestone is a natural place to adjust and re-focus if need be.
  6. Celebrate along the way. Don’t wait until you’ve reached the end-goal to reward yourself. As you meet your interim goals, ensure that you celebrate your successes. It will help propel you through the next interim goal. Enjoy the journey!

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Kevin SchaferKevin Schafer is a Career & Leadership Coach, Principle at Cardinal Career Management Services, and an Ambassador with Career Professionals of Canada. He has 16 years experience in High Tech and 10 years experience in the Career Development field. Kevin has worked with over 500 clients and facilitates workshops for various job search topics.

 

 

 

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WORKSHOP: NETWORKING STRATEGIES FOR JOB SEARCH – Sept 17, 2014 in Ottawa, ON

NetworkingWayne Pagani (W.P. Consulting & Associates) and Kevin Schafer (Cardinal Career Management Services) are partnering to facilitate a Networking Strategies Workshop for Job Search, September 17, 2014 at 6:00pm, downtown Ottawa.

This is one of a series of workshops designed to equip people for career transition in the Canadian Labour Market.

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Wednesday September 17th, 2014 at 6:00 – 8:00 pm
Location:  
Burnside Building, 151 Slater Street, Suite 500, Ottawa, ON
Investment:   $25.00
Registration:  Contact Wayne Pagani or Kevin Schafer at 613.299.1833 or by email at wpca.ccs@gmail.com

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Connecting with the decision makers in one’s field of interest is far more effective than sitting at home applying to job boards. Career professionals have noticed, and widely agree, that the vast majority of current job opportunities are found in the “hidden job market”. Most people do NOT find their jobs through postings but rather through their personal and professional networks. Furthermore, thanks to the internet and job boards, the jobs that are posted are often bombarded with applications, making it increasingly difficult for your application to be recognized amongst hundreds, if not thousands of others. We will show you how to create an effective networking strategy.

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Workshop Contents

This 2-hour workshop presents advanced concepts to help the participant gain a practical understanding of networking as a job search strategy and connect with decision makers in the hiring process.

Topics include:

  • Advanced Networking Techniques
  • How to use Value Proposition Theory
  • Personal Branding
  • Social Media for Networking

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Workshop Facilitators

WaynePaganiWayne Pagani is a talented certified career strategist with over 18 years of service delivery in the career development field, complimented by sound experience in the corporate world.

Wayne helps increase marketability for a broad range of clientele through W.P. Consulting & Associates. He is the recipient of multiple Awards of Excellence from Career Professionals of Canada (CPC) and other prestigious associations for contributions in career development. This includes the 2011 Career Management Alliance Mentor Award recognizing individuals who guide others in tradecraft, entrepreneurship, and community building.

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Kevin SchaferKevin Schafer is a Career & Leadership Coach with over 15 years’ experience in high tech and 10 years in the career services industry. Known as a coach who listens and responds to people’s needs, he has enjoyed helping over 500 clients find momentum in pursuing their career aspirations – from executives to students, across all sectors of business.

Kevin is the Founder at Cardinal Career Management Services and a Co-Ambassador for Career Professionals of Canada (CPC). He is an engaging speaker and workshop facilitator, enjoying opportunities to connect with people from all walks-of-life. As a Leadership Coach, Kevin is passionate about helping leaders become better leaders and managers deal with challenging issues in the workplace.

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WORKSHOP: Networking Strategy for Job Seekers – August 20, 2014 – Ottawa, ON

NetworkingWayne Pagani (W.P. Consulting & Associates) and Kevin Schafer (Cardinal Career Management Services) are teaming up to facilitate a Networking Strategy Workshop for Job Seekers, August 20, 2014 at 6:00pm, downtown Ottawa. (PDF flyer)

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Career professionals have noticed, and widely agree, that the vast majority of current job opportunities are found in the “hidden job market”. Most people do NOT find their jobs through postings but rather through their personal and professional networks. Furthermore, thanks to the internet and job boards, the jobs that are posted are often bombarded with applications, making it increasingly difficult for your application to be recognized amongst hundreds, if not thousands of others. Connecting with the decision makers in one’s field of interest is far more effective than sitting at home applying to job boards. We will show you how to create an effective networking strategy.

This is the first in a series of workshops designed to equip people for career transition in the Canadian Labour Market.

_______________

Wednesday August 20th, 2014 at 6:00 pm

Location:   Burnside Building, 151 Slater Street, Suite 500, Ottawa, ON

Investment:   $25.00 before August 5th, 2014 / $30.00 after August 5th, 2014

Registration:  Contact Wayne Pagani or Kevin Schafer at 613.299.1833 or by email at wpca.ccs@gmail.com

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Workshop Outline

This 2-hour workshop presents advanced concepts to help the participant gain a practical understanding of networking as a job search strategy and connect with decision makers in the hiring process.

Topics include:

  • Advanced Networking Techniques
  • How to use Value Proposition Theory
  • Personal Branding
  • Social Media for Networking

Workshop Facilitators

WaynePaganiWayne Pagani is a talented certified career strategist with over 18 years of service delivery in the career development field, complimented by sound experience in the corporate world.

Wayne helps increase marketability for a broad range of clientele through W.P. Consulting & Associates. He is the recipient of multiple Awards of Excellence from Career Professionals of Canada (CPC) and other prestigious associations for contributions in career development. This includes the 2011 Career Management Alliance Mentor Award recognizing individuals who guide others in tradecraft, entrepreneurship, and community building.

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Kevin SchaferKevin Schafer is a Career & Leadership Coach with over 15 years’ experience in high tech and 10 years in the career services industry. Known as a coach who listens and responds to people’s needs, he has enjoyed helping over 500 clients find momentum in pursuing their career aspirations – from executives to students, across all sectors of business.

Kevin is the Founder at Cardinal Career Management Services and a Co-Ambassador for Career Professionals of Canada (CPC). He is an engaging speaker and workshop facilitator, enjoying opportunities to connect with people from all walks-of-life. As a Leadership Coach, Kevin is passionate about helping leaders become better leaders and managers deal with challenging issues in the workplace.

 

 Facebook: Networking Strategies for Job Seekers Workshop - Aug 20, 2014 See this event on Facebook.

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Job Search During the Summer?

Man with umbrella on beachIn the months leading up to summer vacation time, I hear many of my clients say, “I think that I’ll take it easy on the job search during the summer. People are on vacation, it’s harder to reach employers, etc….”. I would like to argue that while the hiring process can take longer in the summertime, summer is an opportune time to kick your job search strategy into gear! For a few reasons:

1) Companies DO hire during the summer! I don’t think that it’s a coincidence that in the past week I’ve talked to two different individuals who have both found significant jobs during the summertime – and not summer jobs. Many organizations are “tooling up” during the summer so that they can hit the floor in full force during September after vacation time is over. This means that if these organizations need to hire, they would be hiring… during the summer! Hmmmmm!

2) There are fewer job seekers during the summer. Over the years I have encountered enough job seekers who have wanted to stop or ramp down their job search during the summertime that I believe I have an ample sample size for this conclusion: there are fewer job seekers out there who are actively searching during the summer. What this means to the avid job seeker is that there is less competition!

3) Networking is ideal during the summer. One mantra of most every career professional is, “Networking is the best way to find a job”. What a better time to network than over a Venti Skinny Iced Caramel Macchiato? (Baristas out there, did I get that order right?)  When I say the word “networking”, the vast majority of my clients succumb to an expression of fear and intimidation. While many fear the idea of networking, networking is NOT the same as “smoozing”. The idea of smoozing causes ME to succumb to an expression of fear and intimidation! I teach my clients how two break networking down into simple, easy steps. A simplified version of my steps: 1) Identify your specific need or questions; 2) Make a list of your friends, family and colleagues who can potentially help you or introduce you to those who can help you; 3) Call in order of “safest” (those closest to you) to the least safest (those you don’t know as well). By ordering your calls this way, you will gain confidence and momentum as you work through your list. If you need some inspiration, I’d recommend reading “Never Eat Alone” by Keith Ferrazzi. And while you’re at it, treat your friend to a Caramel Ribbon Crunch Frappuccino and see if that doesn’t get you somewhere.

It is natural and important to take some time to enjoy the summertime, but PLEASE don’t stop your job search. The summer represents a time to look for opportunities when the picking is ripe, there is less competition and the networking can be more relaxed and enjoyable.

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Kevin SchaferKevin Schafer is a Career & Leadership Coach, Principle at Cardinal Career Management Services, and an Ambassador with Career Professionals of Canada. He has 16 years experience in High Tech and 10 years experience in the Career Development field. Kevin has worked with over 500 clients and facilitates workshops for various job search topics.

 

 

 

 

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…3…2…1…Launching Your Dreams

Rocket Launch

I’m pleased to officially launch Cardinal Career Management Services! So the journey begins!…

Every great company, every great product, every great conquest starts with an idea. Before the first steps are taken, the concept is born. The idea then takes shape, is analyzed, is reshaped, analyzed again and eventually a plan is formed.

Many of us have great ideas, thoughts and dreams floating around in our heads, but when they are stalled in the ideas stage or the planning stage, we don’t even get off the launch pad. It is only when we EXECUTE the plan that our dreams take flight.

What stalls our ideas and dreams? Why do we tend to think and plan and dream, and then stop short of pursuing what we want? My wife has put a saying on the side of our pantry: “DOUBT kills more dreams than failure ever will”. Many of my clients have had great ideas, but also have had a difficult time getting past the doubt to pursue their dreams. I have stood in those shoes myself many times, so I understand the crippling power of doubt and fear.

Cardinal Career Management Services started with ideas…and doubts…and fears. What has helped me through the doubt and fear has been the support and encouragement of those who aren’t as affected by my fear as I am – objective, third-party, knowledgable individuals who I know have my best interests in mind. My wife, foremost, has been an incredible support through all my scary decisions. I’ve had a great professional support group through Career Professionals of Canada, which has provided seasoned, sound advice that I know I can trust. Without their support and encouragement, I know that I would still be sitting on the launching pad…if I would have even got that far.

1. What are your dreams and ideas for moving forward with your career? What ideas are floating around in your head? They may be good ideas or maybe not-so-good ideas, but what are they? Get them down on paper or record them somewhere.

2. Who is your support network? Your support network can provide some good objective perspective regarding the feasibility of your ideas. They likely can help come up with additional ideas as well!

3. What is the plan? If your idea survives your support group, then what? You don’t have to chart out the whole course, but at least know what the next steps are.

4. What are you going to DO about it? A theme that you will see throughout my blogs, my website and my coaching practice is, “From ideas to action”. That’s the scary part – taking the risk to hit the launch button – but it’s also the exhilerating part too. By stepping out with proper planning, due diligence and support, you will discover that you are capable of much more than you feared! You will grow both personally and professionally!

So I encourage you to think about your ideas and dreams, seek support, create a plan…and ACT!

If you need help implementing your career plans or executing a job search, give me a call. I can give you a quick assessment of how I can help. I’d be happy to be part of your support system!

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I will be frequently sharing articles, insights and motivational blogs relating to careers and leadership through the Cardinal website, social media and a periodic newsletter. I invite you to connect with me using the social media “Follow” and/or “Share” buttons at the bottom of each page and sign up for my newsletter using the widget on the left side of each web page.

If you know of anyone who is going through a challenging time in their career, please consider letting them know about Cardinal. I would be pleased to help!

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As a launch special, receive two extra bonus sessions when you sign up during the months of September and October. If you’ve been thinking about engaging a Career Coach, this would be a great time to reach out and inquire how I might be able to help you in your career journey.

 For a free, no-pressure assessment, give me a call:

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Navigating the Winds of Career Change

SailingThis summer while on the water, I was struck with how managing our career path requires us to be aware of the conditions around us and be ready to quickly adjust when our environment changes – much like sailing.

During the summer I enjoy recreational sailing at our family cottage in the beautiful Muskokas, but navigating our cottage’s lake can be tricky as the winds are very gusty and unpredictable. There are times that the wind shifts so suddenly that it sends me scrambling to adjust the sail and shift my weight so that I don’t capsize. At other times I can be going full speed ahead and within seconds I am becalmed (stalled with no wind). The very nature of sailing involves making many small adjustments and sometimes some large adjustments. But that’s all part of the fun and the challenge of sailing.

“The only thing that is constant is change” Heraclitus, Greek Philosopher

In this day and age, the winds of career change are more unpredictable and gustier than ever. If we try staying on the career path that we charted at the beginning of our career, or we get caught daydreaming while at the helm, we can easily find ourselves off-course or dead-in-the-water – like the time that I grounded my friend’s yacht because I was watching the scenery instead of keeping my eye on the depth finder. Layoffs and rapid technological changes require us to be alert and responsive or be left behind. It’s a human tendency to wait until we HAVE to act – usually making it more difficult to recover than if we had acted proactively.

“If you want something new, you have to stop doing something old” Peter F. Drucker, Business Management Expert  

Throughout our career journeys, we often need to make small adjustments along the way – attaining certifications, obtaining training, taking on new responsibilities or adapting to new methodologies. Sometimes larger interim career changes are needed to get us to the desired end-destination (tacking in sailing terms) – like additional education or a job change. And other times the end-destination itself needs to be completely reassessed. There isn’t an auto-pilot for managing our careers – we need to take the helm ourselves!

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As you chart your career course and set sail, here are some steps to consider:

  1. SearchingIdentify your destination. What are your aspirations? What are your career goals? You might have a 5-year goal or a 10-year goal. If you have a career goal that matches your strengths, passions and work style, then you are more likely to enjoy the voyage…and enjoy the destination when you arrive.
  2. If it’s a challenge for you to identify a long-term career goal, I encourage you to look for help from someone who can help you explore your long-range goals…for example a Career Coach or a mentor.
  3. If identifying a long-term career goal is still a struggle for you, try to identify a shorter-term goal – your NEXT waypoint in the journey. Sometimes we only have enough light to illuminate our next step. Given your CURRENT skill set and experience level, what is one short-term action that will likely open the most doors for you? When you arrive at your interim waypoint, you will likely have a different perspective and vantage point in which to make the next decision.
  4. Chart your course. Determine what path lies between your current position and your end destination. Navigating - MapThere might be a couple of hops necessary to get you to your desired career! You don’t necessarily need to get there in one leap. It might require some courses, another degree or some additional job experience. What is YOUR next step?
  5. Don’t let obstacles deter you from setting a worthwhile goal. When charting your course, there will very likely be some obstacles in the way of your dreams. Worthwhile change usually comes with challenges, but many times obstacles that may seem like mountains are merely speed bumps when we examine them as part of the bigger picture. When you see obstacles that are in the way, instead of throwing the dream away, ask yourself, “What would it take to get around this obstacle?”
  6. Watch and be prepared to make adjustments along the way. Conditions are certain to change along your career journey. You have a choice to be proactive or reactive. Not choosing, by default, is actually choosing to be reactive. Block off time in your schedule to read career-related materials, attend seminars, network, listen to podcasts, and watch related videos. By watching the conditions around you, you are more likely to notice when you will need to make adjustments!
  7. Get on board! You can have your end-destination planned and your course charted, but unless you get in the boat and start to set sail, it does you no good at all! Once you embark and cast off, the journey will most certainly be more exhilarating than standing on the dock.
  8. And don’t forget to enjoy the ride along the way!

 

FROM IDEAS TO ACTION:
What simple change can you make now to help you move one step closer closer to your career destination?

Who can keep you accountable for that next step?

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Kevin Schafer is the founder of Cardinal Career Management Services,
focusing on Career Improvement, Leadership Development, Retirement Planning & Job Search coaching for clients across Canada and world-wide. (www.cardinalcareer.com)

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If you need help in establishing your long-term career goals, in determining some intermediate waypoints, in adjusting to the environmental factors around you, or in just getting off the pier, I would be happy to assist you.

Call for a FREE, 15-minute, no-pressure assessment:
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