Networking

Brain Coach: Does Optimism Mean You Have to Be Happy All the Time?

By Susan Whitcomb | No Comments »

Does optimism mean you have to be happy all the time? As humans we experience a wide range of emotions. On the negative (“minus”) end of the spectrum, those emotions can include worry, fear, anxiety, hate, worry, frustration, bitterness, jealousy. On the positive (“plus”) end of the spectrum, we have love, joy, peace, gratitude, hope, and happiness.

For simplicity’s sake, let’s say that Optimism is the umbrella for emotions that put us into the “plus” category. Can we be in the “plus” category all of the time?

I had a conversation with a fellow coach the other day, and we talked about what it feels like to have that “mountaintop” experience—the feeling you get when you’ve been at, say, a retreat or an amazing conference where you’ve connected with like-minded people who have inspired you. You come away believing that things are possible. That you can do it. That there is hope.

Then I posed the question:

How much of the time do you think we can live in that “mountaintop” space?

What is your answer to that question? 10%? 20%? 30%? 40%? 50%? 60%? 70%? 80%? 90%? 100%?

Our brains look for evidence of our beliefs. If we think the answer is 10%, we will prove ourselves right. If we think the answer is 90%, we again will prove ourselves right.

So back to the question of the day—does optimism mean you have to be happy all the time? What if we can train ourselves to live in the 90th percentile! I am heading there, and live is wonderful from this perspective!

And yes, we will have moments when unwelcome circumstances happen—goals don’t get achieved on schedule, sickness comes, people we love die. (Grief should never be ignored, but it can be wrapped in gratitude and peace.)

Or, on a smaller scale—an email comes that contains words that hurt your feelings, a jealous feeling flashes for a moment when you see someone experiencing the success that you want for yourself, a loved one says something unkind to you.

These circumstances can be wonderful and welcome reminders of where you want your focus to be. When you put your hand atop a hot stove burner, you don’t leave it there. You remove it immediately. Likewise, when you experience the flash of frustration/fear/worry, notice that the “stove is hot” and pull yourself away from it.

Click HERE to access Brain-Based Coaching Tips on Mountain-Top Optimism.

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Brain-Based Techniques for Success: Which paradigm is your client operating from?

By Susan Whitcomb | No Comments »

November has been a very exciting time here at The Academies with our 5th Annual Virtual Bootcamp! In case you missed it, here’s a sample of the buzz from social media:

  • Michelle Carroll shared this quote of John Assaraf’s: “You have all the intelligence you need to be successful.
  • Stacy Harshman chimed in with this quote from Tali Sharot: “Our brains aren’t quite the final authority on what is around us, or indeed, within us…
  • Tolu Adeleye picked up this nugget: “Helping clients in transition—remember, what has worked for them in the past is a key part of our work as coaches.”

You can see these and other takeaways by searching for #theacademies on Twitter. On Facebook, visit with us in the group Susan Whitcomb & The Academies (https://www.facebook.com/groups/theacademies/) to glean takeaways and pertinent information you can use with your clients today!

As you know, using brain-based techniques in career coaching is a passion of mine. I’ve heard from many people in our community who report an increase in confidence, competence, and compensation when using the brain-based techniques.

Paradigm Chart

One of my favorites is discovering which paradigm your client is operating from. We discussed this at length in session #1 of the Virtual Bootcamp:

 

 

Also, did you know that you actually have 3 “brains”? Many Virtual Bootcamp attendees were surprised by this new information. The neural networks in our head, heart, and gut are worth paying attention to. Head, Heart GutEach of these neural networks plays a key role in decisions made during the job search, interview process, and landing the job.

 

To learn more visit: http://www.theacademies.com/the-academies-5th-annual-virtual-bootcamp/

If you have any question, please reach out to our Program Advisor, Shelly Cantrell (Shelly@TheAcademies.com or 877-659-3769 ext. 1). Through November 26th , you can use the following coupon code to save $50 off the archives and handouts (Plus bonus handouts not shared live!): VIPSAVE50

 

 

 

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The Myth of One-and-Done

By Susan Whitcomb | No Comments »

“I tried networking once. It didn’t work.” These are the words of a job seeker who was convinced that all the hype about networking was underrated. He tried it. Once. And it didn’t work. And so he was right. Right?

Wrong! The truth is, there’s not much in this world that is a “one-and-done.” Here’s why: we rarely learn a new behavior or habit in one try.

o   Kids don’t get on a bicycle and nail it on the first try.
o   Students don’t learn a new language in one sitting.
o   Even the most gifted artist can’t master a new technique in one attempt.

Likewise …

o   A job seeker cannot master networking in one try…
o   A coach doesn’t perfect the art of powerful questions in one session…
o   An entrepreneur won’t get the many nuances of closing a sale in one attempt.

 

Why not? In a word: WIRING.  Neural wiring, that is. Our brains need repetition to get it right.

brain wiring 2When my daughter was young and taking roller-skating lessons (the kind where she learned to do fancy jumps and flips like the ice-skaters do), her coach would make her do certain moves over and over and over again. He would drive her crazy with his line, “Just one more time.” As soon as she did it, he’d give her feedback, and then repeat his request, “Just one more time.”

Of course, no kid wants to know ahead of time that she’s going to have to do 27 toe loops or Salchows in one lesson, so perhaps his “just-one-more-time” mantra was wise. Regardless, this coach knew that it would take repetition to get the “muscle memory”—the wiring—needed to master those jumps.

 

Your New Thing

next best thingWhat’s the new thing you are learning, or the not-so-new thing you want to take to the next level of mastery? If you’re coaching others, what’s the new thing they are learning, or that they want to take to the next level?

Write it down. Maybe it’s getting in shape, maybe it’s learning a new specialty area, maybe it’s acting more confident. Whatever it is, write it down using a pen or pencil. Find a Google image that represents the new thing. Express it with your body. All of these things add to the neural wiring.

Now, here’s an idea for strengthening neural wiring, a la the acronym “W.I.R.I.N.G.” which stands for:

Want It, Repeat It, and eNjoy the Gains

Here’s how it works:

  • Want It: We must want/desire the behavior or the outcome of the behavior in order to stretch ourselves to do something new, different, or better. There must be meaning behind it. If not, the brain won’t make sense of things, and our brains are loathe to do things that don’t make sense.So name your “want it”—why will this be meaningful to you?
  • Repeat It: Repetition is king in creating new wiring. Giving focused attention to the behavior, over a period of time, with intention and repetition is critical. Dr. Jeffrey Schwartz, a psychiatrist, researcher in neuroplasticity, and internationally recognized expert in obsessive-compulsive disorder notes that “focused attention wires the brain, for good or for bad.”List your “repeat it”—how will you start small? How will you practice? How will you repeat it? How will you sustain it? Who will help you be accountable? (Social activity adds to the neural wiring.)
  • eNjoy the Gains: Rewards help rewiring. Give yourself positive feedback to encourage your brain to keep with it. The reward might be a treat you give yourself, or a compliment that someone else gives you, or a sense of accomplishment from having done what’s meaningful.How will you reward yourself? Is it tangible? Intangible? How will you celebrate?

Warning: when you get in the rhythm of “wanting it” and “repeating it,” you’ll begin to feel and think differently on the inside, even if your new behavior isn’t fully observable on the outside. Don’t succumb to the temptation of thinking, ‘this isn’t really working.’ It is! The fact that you feel different inside is evidence of that new wiring starting to form.

Join me in dispelling the myth of one-and-done. The reality of often-and-accomplished is more accurate, and brings lasting gain!

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Networking Even Works for 17-Year-Olds

By Emmeline Whitcomb | 1 Comment »

Guest blogger Emmeline Whitcomb

Emmeline_Whitcomb_Photograph

Emmeline Whitcomb

Growing up as Susan’s daughter, I’ve heard her ‘preach’ networking over and over again. At 17, I tried some of these techniques for myself and, no surprise, found them to be successful. Here’s the story of how I landed my first job as a Marketing Intern. There are lots of details here, which shows that networking to land a job isn’t a straight, simple line. And if you just want to jump to the end to hear what I learned about networking, feel free!

The process started 6 months ago. Back in March of this year, I was on the Southern Methodist University (SMU) campus interviewing for a prestigious scholarship. During the two-day interview event, there were multiple panels featuring different types of programs and activities on campus. One panel in particular included the Career Center, represented by the director and one of his employees. After the panel and open-floor questions, Susan pushed me to meet with the director immediately after the session. I asked if it would be all right to come in the next day and meet with him to ask a few questions. But my main goal in setting up the meeting was simply to make a connection with people at one of the most important places on campus.

shutterstock_99172223The next day Susan and I met with him. It was a little uncomfortable for me due to the fact that I was still a senior in high school and not very far along on my career path. Still, I was glad to be able to ask him questions about what employers wanted from college students. At the end, I gave the director a signed copy of my book, Wisdom Without the Wrinkles, full of inspiring bits of insights and wisdom designed for tweens and teens. A few days later, I sent him an e-mail thanking him for his time and connected with him via LinkedIn with a personal message, rather than the LinkedIn default message. Nothing happened immediately, but it was a connection I was extremely grateful to have later on.

Fast-forward three months to June at the 2013 MBA Career Services Council Conference in Washington D.C. During my time attending as an intern (and daughter) with Susan and The Academies, I was able to connect with multiple people in the career and recruiting world. While sitting down with two recruiters from national companies during dinner the first night, I asked if they had any advice on how to be exceptionally successful during my first year of college. One recruiter mentioned that it would be good to look into a work-study job at the Career Center because, in addition to the experience, I might also be able to get a first look at new jobs and meet recruiters.

Later during the conference, I was able to meet several people working at SMU in their MBA program, including the Career Center Director for SMU’s Cox School of Business. Now, it might have been normal for me to think, “She’s so high up on the academic ladder. How could she possibly be interested in talking to me?” But, I didn’t let that scare me into not talking with her. I told her I was planning on majoring in Marketing, which is in the SMU Cox School of Business.

She was gracious enough to offer to connect me with the Associate Director in the Cox Business School who specializes in coaching marketing students. At the end of that same day, I sent the MBA Career Director and other helpful people I had connected with a follow-up e-mail thanking them for their advice.

Jaymin_Patel_Emmeline_Whitcomb (By the way, I followed the tips in Jaymin Patel’s book, The MBA Guide to Networking Like a Rockstar. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it—and it’s not just for MBAs!)  Here I am on the right with Jaymin Patel.

 

I made sure to ask the MBA Career Director about connecting me with the Associate Director. About a week later, I received an e-mail from the Associate Director saying that the MBA Career Director had told her about me. I replied professionally and promptly to set up a time to meet with her in-person when I was going to be on campus for Orientation at the end of July.

During my Orientation, I made sure to go back to the undergraduate Career Center to ask about job opportunities, as suggested by the recruiter I met over the summer. I walked in and stood in line for only 30 seconds before I noticed the Career Center Director, whom I met with back in March, casually walking down the hallway. After we exchanged “hellos” I told him I was exploring internship opportunities at the undergraduate Career Center. He quickly responded with a friendly “Well, sit down!” for an impromptu meeting, where he told me about all the positions available for students. He mentioned a Marketing position (my intended major!) and said I could come in the next day to talk about the job with him and some of his colleagues.

That next day, I first had a meeting with the Associate Director for the business school (the marketing expert), whom I had been emailing with over the summer. Before I said anything, she showered me with praise over my e-mail skills. (Mostly because I had made sure to be prompt and professional—again, thanks, Jaymin!)

shutterstock_110884730When we met, I made sure I had a few on-point questions prepared—asking for her advice on the things she specialized in. Other than that, I allowed the time to be a period that I could simply make a connection and get to know her. At the end of our meeting, I told her that I had previously looked her up on LinkedIn and found that she had worked at the undergraduate Career Center where I was headed next for my informal interview. Once I mentioned that I was about to go meet with the Director and a few of his teammates, she immediately became excited for me and said that she would send them a short recommendation via e-mail as soon as we were done talking.

I then went straight from the Associate Director’s office to the undergraduate Career Center for my informal interview. Before I could even sit down, they mentioned that the Associate Director had just contacted them with a positive reference of me! When the three interviewers at the Career Center asked me if I had any questions, I made sure to ask some! I stayed engaged and inquisitive during the entire conversation.

shutterstock_116237026Three days later, the formal listing and written application for the job would be available. By the fourth day, I got an e-mail from the Career Center asking me if I would like the student marketing position. My obvious answer: YES!

To me, the amazing part of this story is that it happened because I forced myself to be courageous and talk to successful people who I thought were “too high” for me. But, that’s exactly what got me the job: a trickle down of references.

So here’s a recap of what I learned about networking:

  • Take initiative and look for opportunities.
  • Don’t be afraid to talk to people, even if they are far above you in rank or position.
  • Ask people for their advice—be willing to admit that you don’t know everything.
  • Keep up with people over time. It takes more than one email to build trust.

I hope my networking success story will encourage the job seekers you work with!

—————

Emmeline Whitcomb is currently a freshman attending Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, pursuing a Marketing degree as a Hilltop Leadership Scholar, a Hunt Leadership Scholarship Finalist, a Career Development Ambassador, and for personal enjoyment, a member of SMU’s well known a capella group! At 16, Emmeline wrote a leadership book designed for teens called Wisdom Without the Wrinkles: A Teen’s Insights on How To Be a Successful Leader, Earn Respect, and Create an Amazing Life. Emmeline highly values joy and accomplishment in life and has dedicated much of her time to mentoring others. Her message that perspective changes everything has inspired teens to find confidence and success despite life’s challenges. She is also a co-author of Girls Lead, written by Julie Marie Carrier and the BeYOUtiful Club and will continue to write and speak at events to be able to share inspiring and positive messages to young teens around the country.

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What Goes on in a First-Rate Mastermind Meeting? Six Takeaways & Insights

By Susan Whitcomb | 1 Comment »

mastermind-brainLast week, Lyndsey and I spent two days in a Mastermind group that met in Los Angeles. Was it easy to carve out the time to get there? Was it easy to give up two precious days that could have been spent doing “billable” work . . . two valuable days that could have had me home with my family . . . two days that would have been more contentedly spent in the comfort of my home office? No, no, and no!

But, was it worth every ounce of the time, treasure, and mental tenacity it took to be there? YES!

Here’s the setting for the Mastermind: picture a room of approximately 60 people, entrepreneurs from a wide range of industries, from as far away as the U.K. Most of us have built mid- to high six-figure businesses, with several in the room managing seven- and eight-figure businesses. Regardless of gross or net income, we are all there for one reason: we know the value of setting aside time to stretch our minds, share and learn from one another, and be inspired to not only dream bigger but act more diligently to make those dreams come true.

So, in the spirit of sharing and learning, here are just a few of the takeaways from our Mastermind:

  • I learned that the reason most of us are in business is not to make money or serve others (although those two things do happen, which is a good thing!), the real reason we are in business is to have freedom. And, every decision we make as an entrepreneur will either contribute to, or contaminate, that freedom!
  • In one exercise during the Mastermind, everyone in the room was asked to come up with 3 ways to add an additional $20,000 to their monthly income. After one colleague at our table said, “Are you kidding? I want to think of a way to add that to my WEEKLY income,” I learned that what we get used to becomes our norm. (With that, I encourage you to think of three realistic ways to add a lot more to your monthly income!)
  • I learned that if you’re struggling to get clients, often the most effective thing to do is simply ask past clients what they want for products/services and what they would be willing to pay for it!
  • I was reminded that even when you land a big contract or have a significant financial win, you never, ever, ever stop prospecting and filling your pipeline.
  • I heard about a cool new app called Telepromt+ that you can use to prompt you when you’re giving speeches or recording videos … way kewl!
  • Susan Whitcomb & Julie Carrier

    Susan Whitcomb & Julie Carrier

    I was reminded of the idea that you will become the average of the five people you spend most of your time with. And that made me remember why I was attending this Mastermind. I want to spend my time with people who are setting, and achieving, big goals, and making big differences in the world! (Here’s a picture of me with one of my colleagues, Julie Marie Carrier, a former Miss Virginia, Emmy-Nominee Success Coach for Teens, and Award-Winning Speaker)
  • I’ll stop here, but please know that there were dozens more ideas that we came away with and will take action on immediately!

In closing, I was at a social event this weekend where someone asked me if a tough economy was helpful or hurtful for my business. I used to think that the economy dictated my success, but I’m singing a different tune these days.

To some degree, a difficult economy can make almost anyone’s business more challenging, but the reality is this: if I . . .

1) decide to be successful,

2) quantify what that success looks like, and then

3) take strategic action toward that success daily and diligently, the economy is secondary to my success.

This reminds me of Henry Ford’s advice (paraphrased) that “if you think you can do a thing, or you think you can’t, you’re right.” So join me in my own personal challenge to think, “I CAN!”

——

Looking to overcome limiting beliefs in your business? Call me today (877-659-3769) for practical, action-oriented entrepreneurial coaching!

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