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Career Coaching-If I Had It To Do Over Again on the Entrepreneurial Journey

I love milestones. It’s cause to look back and take pleasure in the progress, learn from the mis-steps, and plan for the future. Although I’ve been an entrepreneur for a couple of decades in total (wow, that makes me feel old!), this year marked the 10th year that our company has focused on training coaches … coaches who would be the catalysts to change the world, one life at a time, whether in people’s career management or job search endeavors, their social media savvy, their growth as a leader or executive, their depth as a human being, their contributions to their employers, communities, world . . . and more. I love our mission!

As I thought about the past, Lyndsey asked me if I could find some old pictures of me. I realize I haven’t been great about organizing my pictures, but I did come up with a few, the earliest from my high school graduation (thanks, Mom, for digging that one up), and a few circa the late 80’s and mid 90’s, to present day. (Ha! I noticed that all these pictures managed to get me at my lower weights … I guess I avoided the camera when the scale was not in my favor! Anybody relate?)

 

 

 

My reminiscence led me to thinking what I would do differently if I had it to do all over again. Do you ever wonder the same? Imagine we’re at the end of our lives, sitting down over coffee or tea, and looking back with 20-20 vision. I came up with my list, and will share just two  ideas here.

1. Get … ummm, make that … Ask for Help Sooner

The curse of the introvert (especially the feeling-typed introvert), in my humble opinion, is that we get lost in our thoughts and tripped up by our aversion to imposing on others. In my head, these tapes play: “I’m sure I’ll be able to figure this out on my own … I don’t want to bother him … If I ask for help, they’ll lose their confidence in me … ” and so on.

As I’ve mellowed over the years, I’ve learned that two (or more) heads are better than one. This truth was acutely driven home when I coauthored, with Chandlee Bryan and Deb Dib, The Twitter Job Search Guide. Not only were there three heads working on that project, there were some 100 total who helped crowd-source the book, from featured chapter contributors to tweet-tip contributors. What a joy that was, and what a success as it was nominated for awards and won CDI’s Career Innovator award.

Collaborating with others doesn’t need to be reserved for big projects, like writing a book. There are days when I pick up the phone and call Lyndsey Lehman, The Academies VP of Operations, just to talk through a small project. In the discussion, new ideas come up, or Lyndsey shares a great idea, or I come up with another idea.

If I had it to do over again, I’d reach out sooner and to more people. The sparks that come from coming together are irreplaceable. I’ll be so bold as to say that you CANNOT ever do as well on your own as you could with a passel of passionate and talented people by your side.

(I’d be quite remiss at this point if I didn’t give a shout-out to team members beyond Lyndsey—Katy Kotman in Student Services, and Marcy Pusey in Web/Social Media, as well as the thought leaders who are currently associated with The Academies in curriculum design, instruction, and advisory roles: Beverly Harvey, Kim Avery, Deb Dib, Chandlee Bryan, Jason Alba, Barbara Safani, Pat Schuler, Elisabeth Sanders-Park, Bryan Lubic, Kit Prendergast.)

Next on the list . . .

2. Ease Up on Your Timelines.

Have you ever imposed a deadline on yourself for getting something done? For example, “I’ll have my Facebook Fan Page done by Friday, the 18th” or “I’ll get that ebook written by the end of the month.” And when I don’t make the deadline, the monkey-in-my-mind has a field day criticizing me and making me feel guilty.

Don’t get me wrong. I am all for goals and getting things done. But, often those goals aren’t realistic for the time it really takes to get stuff done. Allow yourself time to deal with unexpecteds: a friend drops by to chat, an elderly family member who needs care/attention, dinner that takes longer than normal to cook, a child who needs help with homework, the bump on your leg that’s gotten infected and requires yet another doctor’s visit, the dog that poops inside the house and there’s a mess to clean up … you get the picture. (Hey, that’s my list from just the past week!)

What can happen when we get into a habit of setting deadlines and missing them? Our brain creates a ‘map’ that says ‘you don’t make your deadlines.’ And that becomes the norm. We teach ourselves to miss deadlines.

If I had it to do over again, I’d give myself estimates and ranges of time, instead of hard-n-fast deadlines. Think of all the time and grief you’ll save yourself when you don’t have to beat yourself up for missing the deadline! Allow yourself “unexpecteds” time, as I mentioned above. And allow yourself “gel” time—time to let things percolate in your subconscious, especially for writing projects or big decisions. Allow yourself time to not yet know the answer, tho’ trust that the answer will come.

That’s just two of more than a dozen on my list. I’m starting to feel a book coming on, or at least a series of posts on this topic. Keep a watch out for them. =)

In the meantime, what would YOU do differently in your business if you had it to do all over again?!

Now, the challenge is to DO.IT.TODAY!

Enjoying the journey with you,

Susan

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3 Responses to “Career Coaching-If I Had It To Do Over Again on the Entrepreneurial Journey”

  1. Wow. Susan, you have no idea how timely this is for me! I was just discussing these two issues with someone today. Talk about solidifying the higher-level learning! I think if I could do it over again, I’d try not to bite off more than I could chew. I tend to expect myself to know EVERYTHING, when we all know that’s not possible. I wish I would have gone at things more slowly and cut myself some slack!

  2. I agree. At the beginning, I gave myself anxiety attacks trying to meet deadlines. I scheduled much too tightly. I was determined to meet my own and everyone else’s expectations no matter what. A regular slave-driver!

    Since I’ve eased up a bit, I’m having way more fun, appreciating my own time and my clients, and looking forward to every project and every day.

  3. Susan Whitcomb says:

    Kirstin & Jeri-Apologies for approving your posts so slowly. They slipped by :/ In meantime, Kristin, how’s it going with that? Finding ways to not expect yourself to know EVERYTHING? 😉 Jeri, applause, applause. What was the turning point to let go of everyone else’s expectations?

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