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Are you listening to everyone but yourself about what path you should take in your career?  Are you just staying in your current role or taking the next position because that’s what’s expected from you?

This year marks the 72nd anniversary of the movie, The Wizard of Oz.

In the movie, Dorothy is repeatedly told to follow the yellow brick road by everyone she meets and she blindly listens.  Are you just following the yellow brick road in your career? Have you been just listening to everybody else and now finding that you are either dissatisfied, not completely fulfilled, unemployed, or just stuck about what to do next?  Every day, just like advertising, we are bombarded with new stories of individuals who have defied the odds and achieved unexpected success.  Everywhere you turn people are looking for the secret formula, the yellow brick road that will just lead them there, if they just follow and not ask questions.

However, in my experience working with clients from all walks of life, unless you choose your path, you will never truly be happy.  Whether you choose to stay exactly where you are, or transition to another career, the key is that you choose.  One clue to help you uncover if you’re in the right spot is to review the last time you had a peak experience at work.  Take a moment to reflect when you were last on top of your game, when everything was flowing smoothly and you were motivated and enjoying your work. How long has it been?  Have you ever had a peak experience at work?  If you are feeling unmotivated and struggling to either go to work, look for a job, or drum up new business it might be because you’re not really clear that you want to continue what you’ve been doing over and over.  You see unless you have chosen this path for yourself, you will naturally resist, even if it’s unconscious.  This resistance will make it harder to move forward on your goals and will hold you back.

Yet, with more choices and advanced speed in communication, there are more resources available than ever before.  The Internet has changed our world and this is the first time we have ever connected to each other in this way.  From Linked In, to Facebook, to Twitter, our people connections are growing exponentially.  Yet, with all of this external stimulation, there is little time to focus internally and reflect.  Therefore, if you find yourself just reacting and riding the assembly line of life without pausing to figure out where you’re going, you will end up on the nowhere road and wonder how you got there.  Just like Dorothy, in the Wizard of Oz, everyone told her to follow the yellow brick road.

So, what does this all mean?  Let’s look at the bigger picture to understand some of the influences exerting pressure on us.  In our generation, in America, we have witnessed more life defining moments and fundamental shifts in how the world and business operates.  Since 9/11, there has been a lot of pressure to find our true passion or our life purpose.  Seven years later, in November 2008, the housing crisis fundamentally changed the playing field.  Everything we believed and were told to follow has fundamentally shifted.

How can you find your road map for success in career, relationships, and life when the world has turned upside down? One way to start is to frame our shared experience.


It feels like we have all stepped onto a “Rotor-ride” or more currently known as the Gravitron ride where the world has been spinning and our floor has dropped out. However, the ride hasn’t stopped, most of us are still spinning. Yet, we can’t operate in the same way. As you are becoming aware, it’s not business as usual anymore. The floor or foundation disappeared when the economy and marketplace shifted and historic business structures tumbled down the rabbit hole.

Yes, just like global warming, the job and business climate has changed.  However, crisis breeds opportunity if you know how to use it.

The very next action step to take is to decide if you want to choose what happens next in your career.  If you’re ready to step off the yellow brick road, define where you’re going and develop your strategic road map, then it might be helpful to work with a career coach to jump-start this process and make it easier.

Try a free coaching consultation with Wanda Ropa, your success coach, to get you started and get clear about where you’re going with your career, or with your life so you can develop a strategic plan that really works for you.  With clarity, success becomes a natural outcome.

Posted by Wanda Ropa, The Success Coach.

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Things Are Different Now

The world has shifted. All the old paradigms of success are being tested and put on trial as we watch in disbelief. As individuals and a society, we are now faced with redefining how we will thrive in these new and ever-changing times.  In the last fifty years, we have seen a social and economic revolution.  As our culture changed, so did the music.  The Beatles started the musical revolution and ushered in a new era that expanded our connections to the world.  Step into yesterday as the Beatles whisk you back to 1966 and take a moment to reflect on what the world was like in that era.

In the 60’s, the world was clearly defined. During the Industrial age, people usually went to work for one employer and remained there until retirement. As we experienced the Information Age and everything moved faster and faster, the world of work started to change.

Fifteen years ago, Daniel Goleman talked about the new rules for work as he wrote about emotional intelligence. According to his findings, it was no longer enough to have intellectual ability and technical know-how to do our jobs; it was now about personal qualities, such as initiative, empathy, adaptability, and persuasiveness. Ten years later, Daniel Pink cited further evidence of change, in A Whole New Mind, when he acknowledged that we moved from the Information Age to the Conceptual Age. With globalization and shareholders demanding more ROI, large corporations, small business owners and employees alike are experiencing uncertain economic times. Only one thing is certain, increasing your marketability increases your chances of thriving in this current economy.

So, how is the new economy working in your favor? Because now you get to be in the driver’s seat by creating your personal brand and leveraging it in the marketplace to get the results you want.

The new rule: When everybody zigs, zag. – Marty Neumeier

You can easily do this by radically differentiating from your competition by translating your natural talents, skills, and experience into your unique value proposition:  your personal brand.  Being in the driver’s seat with your career means that you treat your career as if you were running a business.  The first place to start is to have clarity about where you’re going.  If you’re not clear about your vision or where you’re headed, you end up on the nowhere road.  In the story, The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy was advised to follow the yellow brick road.  This was not a path she chose on her own.  She didn’t have all the facts.  As a result, her long journey ended with a wizard in Emerald City who had no answers and couldn’t help her reach her goals.  She just wanted to get home.

When we create our personal brand, we come home to ourselves.  We step into who we are and finally get comfortable in our own skin.  Think about individuals you may know that stand out from the crowd.  Do they have exceptional talent or have they discovered how to leverage what they have and translate it to the world?  Career coaching can easily help you identify and package yourself to fundamentally improve your career advantage so you increase your marketability and your market worth.

Neumeier acknowledges that your brand is not what YOU say it is.  It’s what THEY say it is. It’s about building your personal reputation, as well as your digital presence.

It’s about how others perceive your value.  The public’s gut feelings about the company, their products and services impact the best business brands.  It is not enough to have emotional intelligence and just understand yourself.  In today’s market, you need to understand how you impact the world at large or how marketable you really are.  Many of my career coaching and business coaching clients start working with me to get promoted, transition to a better career, be successful in their job search, start or develop their businesses.  Whether you’re an entrepreneur, climbing the corporate ladder, or just trying to land a higher paying job, the first place to begin is to examine your state of mind.  Are you clear about your vision?  Do you have clarity about where you’re going?  Once you have clarity, the decisions are easy with the right tools and resources.  If you aren’t clear or need support discovering the right tools and resources that fit you, try a free career coaching or business coaching consultation to explore if coaching is right for you.

Try a free coaching consultation with Wanda Ropa, your success coach, to get you started and get clear about where you’re going with your career, or with your life so you can develop a strategic plan to become more marketable that really works for you.  With clarity, success becomes a natural outcome.

Posted by Wanda Ropa, The Success Coach.

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If you are in the job search market, you have inevitably heard about creating your 30 second elevator pitch for networking purposes.  But how far has that that pitch gotten you?  As a recap, the old elevator pitch is a quick highlight of your work experiences and key successes (aka: abridged resume).

But, what if you have decided to shift your career focus a bit or even — “gasp” — change your career to truly align with your dreams?  Where can you pull the data for that pitch if you don’t have direct work experience? Yes, you absolutely have several transferable skills, but will those get the attention of the person listening to your pitch?  

Here is a way for them to really hear you–put the passion behind your message and start speaking to your natural talents in your personal brand. With the competition seeming even greater for the career changers, ignite the passion within your personal message and unlock the secret to differentiating you from all the rest.

It will not only get you in the door for an interview, but you will be “the competition”.   And you will make the jobs of any recruiter and hiring team a cinch, since often their final decision factor between the last two candidates is typically made on “fit” and personality.  Since you will lead the interview with your personal brand, which has a component of why you are really there along with your vision, they will be able to see how you are the perfect person for the role.  Now, let’s get started with creating your personal “passionate” brand.  Get your free consultation with Wendy.

Wendy is a current career and life coach at Feroce and former HR professional. Read more about her.

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Before starting career coaching and life coaching, my clients frequently ask:  where is Yoda?  How do I find Yoda?  What they are really looking for is answers.  Yet, as a result of our technological advances, people generally aren’t taking time to reflect and search for their own answers. Instead, addicted to instantaneous button clicking, our society breeds impatience, so we expect instant gratification and results, immediately, if not sooner, as my Dad used to say.  What have we become?  Let’s hear from a cyborg anthropologist what has happened in our current culture.

Join me for a closer pictorial look to see how our world has evolved and the impact it’s made on our lives.

From the first ride of the Pony Express:

To the assembly lines of the Industrial Age:

To the Information Age of computers, as we head into the Conceptual Age:

Dan Pink acknowledges that we have left the Industrial Age and entered a Conceptual Age. What if instead we are entering a dark age? The economy, the workplace, the political stage, your current state of mind all take its toll on your sense of self.

At the TED conference, Barry Schwartz discusses why too much choice is bad for us.
Too many choices cause:
1. Paralysis rather than liberation – people prefer to make no decision rather than make a complicated choice.
2. Less satisfaction with decisions as people have greater reason to regret the decisions they have made.
3. Unrealistic expectations.
4. Self-blame – when experiences are not perfect, people blame themselves.

So, what does this all mean?  With more choices and advanced speed in communication, there are more resources available than ever before.  The Internet has changed our world as we know it and this is the first time we have ever connected to each other in this way.  From Linked In, to Facebook, to Twitter, our people connections are growing exponentially.  Yet, with all of this external stimulation, there is little time to focus internally and reflect.  More than we suspect, outside influences control our actions. Therefore, if you find yourself just reacting and riding the assembly line of life without pausing to figure out where you’re going, you will end up on the nowhere road and wonder how you got there.  Even if you take a first step and start working with a career coach and life coach, it is too easy in our current age, to expect immediate answers and changes.  It takes 28 to 30 days to change a habit, introduce a new routine, practice, or start to reframe your situation and it takes another couple months to make it stick.  So, how can one expect to shift into the driver’s seat and get instant results?  However, with career coaching and life coaching, you will be supported to help make these changes stick.  So, what do you have to gain?  Yes, it’s about finding the Yoda inside of you that may be foggy or unclear at the moment.  Take the first step and get your life coaching and career coaching consultation from your success coach now.

Try a free coaching consultation with Wanda Ropa, your success coach, to get you started and get clear about where you’re going with your career, or with your life so you can develop a strategic plan that really works for you.  With clarity, success becomes a natural outcome.

Posted by Wanda Ropa, The Success Coach.

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Do you struggle with no time to get anything done?

Take a pause break and listen to an oldie but goodie song from the 60’s that captures one band’s perspective on this age-old problem.

Before they start life coaching, many of my clients identify their lack of time as the biggest reason for not meeting their goals.  They explain that they just need to have extra time to become successful and happy.  Just recently, during a coaching session with one of my executive coaching clients, he admitted that he works 60-65 hours a week and wants to achieve work-life balance and do the things he wants to do.  I asked, “What would happen if you fewer less hours?  Would your job still get done?”  He answered that it would.  So, I continued to ask:  “So, what is preventing you from working fewer hours?”  He replied, “me.” Before he could move forward on his goals, he needed to discover the root cause of what was really going on.

Up to now, my client had been thriving.  He had been extremely successful and never questioned the hours he worked.  So, what changed?  Understanding this process and what shifted as he began to question his current work style and consider other options was important to evaluate because this was influencing his current behavior.  Only when you drill down and begin to understand what motivates your actions, what triggers your responses, and what drives you will you be able to get back in the driver’s seat and choose how to respond.

It is too easy to let life just happen.  Remember, you can’t change the people around you, or affect the weather, or control the world.  All you can do is choose how to respond.  Yet, in order to do so effectively, you will need to understand what is going on underneath the surface.  Root cause analysis doesn’t have to feel like a root canal.  Working with a coach can easily help you identify what’s going on.  Once you bubble up what’s really going on up to the surface, you can look at it, review it, and then choose what comes next.  Otherwise, all the actions in the world will be forced and will be met with internal resistance because you will naturally sabotage your efforts.  When this happens, you have 2 choices:  blame it on external events, or reflect on what’s really going on inside.

After working for many years with coaching clients, I have discovered that if it’s a priority, it will get done.  So, the key is to truly identify your real priorities.  The ones that are really driving you and not the ones that you believe you are expected to do.  How do you drill down to your top priorities and claim them as your true heart’s desire?  The first step is to be honest with yourself.  It is important to understand how you got to this place.  You may have traveled a short time on this road, or have been derailed from your original route.  With coaching, you can get the support you need, as well as the objectivity to help you clarify your long-term vision that best fits you and helps you leverage your natural talents and experience to date.

The most successful people hire coaches.  Success and happiness can’t be achieved with a hit-or-miss approach.  You need to be laser focused on your highest priorities.

Using the 80/20 Principle, 20% of your critical priorities will yield 80% of your results. The question is how to identify your highest priorities? If you haven’t developed a personal strategic plan, it will be challenging to start this process without support.

Is it worth investing in you?  Try a free life or career coaching consultation with Wanda Ropa, your success coach, to get you started and get clear about where you’re going with your career, or with your life so you can develop a strategic plan that really works for you.  With clarity, success becomes a natural outcome.

At Feroce coaching, we know it’s about fit.  That’s why, you get two free coaching consultations (risk-free) to explore if coaching is for you.

Posted by Wanda Ropa, The Success Coach.

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Boost Your Success With Feroce Coaching

At Feroce, we believe that the 5 most common reasons people are unhappy in their jobs or careers are:

1. Lack of FIT: they end up in the job by default, without an understanding of whether their strengths actually match the position.

(by the way, most employers don’t understand this either!)

2. Lack of FIT: they end up in an environment that doesn’t suit them. (right job, wrong company culture)

3. Lack of CONFIDENCE…they lack the confidence that comes from having the opportunity to do what they do best.
(Only 1 in 5 people have the opportunity to do what they do best every day in their work, according to the Gallup Research study from 1.2 million respondents in 101 countries.)

4. Lack of VISION – for their life, for their career, for their business.

5. Lack of VALIDATION – they aren’t rewarded for their strengths. VALIDATION builds momentum, contributes to the sense of FLOW.

Top Ten Reasons To Hire A Feroce Coach to Boost Your Career or Your Business:

1.  It’s all focused on You!  Since it’s all about Fit, learn what best fits you.  (match your skills to your role or your business)

2. Work with your very own strategic partner to help you every step of the way to achieve your business or career goals.

3.  Use tried and tested tools to develop your brand and launch your new role or new business.  (Or give your current one a face-lift)

4.  Leverage your existing skills and resources to become more visible in the marketplace.  (Big confidence booster)

5.  Achieve results with creative and innovative techniques customized for you.

6.  Boost your productivity, performance, and above all, your bottom line by uncovering what’s been holding you back.

7.  Get the clarity you’ve always wanted about what to be when you grow up.  With clarity, the decisions are easy.  Without clarity, you end up on the nowhere road.

8.  Develop your personal strategic plan and map out your road map to be successful and happy.

9.  Get the competitive edge to navigate in today’s economy and market, including office politics.

10. Learn the secrets your competition isn’t sharing.

The most successful people hire coaches.

Is it worth investing in you?  At Feroce, you get two free coaching consultations (risk-free) to explore if coaching is for you.

Posted by Wanda Ropa, The Success Coach.

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Many of my clients decline opportunities for networking simply because they dread the piercing question:  “So what do you do?”  -As if, your sum worth can be captured by your day job or lack of it.  Take a look at the video below for a different perspective:

Brain Surgeon – That Mitchell & Webb Look, Series 3 – BBC Two

Remember that life is a mirror that reflects back what you feel inside.  So, if your last performance review eroded your self-confidence, or you are dissatisfied with your job, or are restless and searching for more, all of this will come across as you answer.

When you are in the driver’s seat, you have a road map, navigate with a personal strategic plan, have a clear vision and clearly understand how you can leverage your natural strengths and talents to support you to thrive or be successful and happy.  Ask yourself, when you take a road trip, what do you use to help you navigate:  GPS, an online road map, or a travel directory from AAA?  Why do you take more time and planning to design your travel experiences but fall short with designing a road map for your career and your life?

Right now is the perfect time to take a look under the hood and see if you’re in shape for success.  It is perfectly natural to come to the fork in the road and question if you’re on the right career path.  To help you evaluate if you’re on track or have lost your way, take a look at the top ten pitfalls and see if this describes you.

Top Ten Pitfalls: (You’ve lost or never had a career road map)

1.  When you wake up in the morning, do you hit the snooze button 20 times, thinking you can delay the inevitable?

2.  You are comfortable in your misery….so does misery make you comfortable?

3.  You are repeating the same career strategies and expecting different results:  this is Einstein’s definition of crazy.

4.  Your self-help book budget exceeds your paycheck.

5.  If you view your job as only a paycheck, who’s the slave and who’s the master?

6.  Your current job is sucking the life right out of you – like a human vacuum cleaner.

7.  You are calling in sick, hoping that when you come back, the players and the field has changed.

8.  You think “presence” on the job means surprise presents under your desk.

9.  You dread Sunday nights because Mondays keep showing up.

10. You are coming into work later and later, hoping that the job changes when you get there.

Does any of this sound familiar?

For years, the staff at Investor’s Business Daily has been studying people from all walks of life.  They have identified 10 common traits for success:

  1. How you think is everything.
  2. Decide upon your true dreams and goals.
  3. Take action.
  4. Never stop learning.
  5. Be persistent and work hard.
  6. Learn to analyze details.
  7. Focus your time and money.
  8. Don’t be afraid to innovate; be different.
  9. Deal and communicate with people effectively.
  10. Be honest and dependable; take responsibility.

Before you can use these 10 traits to become successful, you will need to create your personal strategic plan.

Identifying your strengths and creating your ideal work and home environment is the first step.

Strengths

1.    What key strengths are you currently using at work?  Have you completed an assessment or instrument to measure your strengths or styles?  Which ones?  What did they measure?  How do your current strengths coincide with your assessment results?

2.    Remember one specific peak period in your life.  Now focus on this specific time when you were incredibly successful:  you felt you were at an all time high in your career, you were truly on top of your game and everything was just working well.  What was going on at that time?  Was it a period of rapid learning?  What skills were you using?  Who was involved?  What made this possible?

An opportunity happens when the conditions seem right.  The right place at the right time with the right action equals the right results.  So, the key to success is leveraging your opportunities or being prepared before they arise.  Here’s an example of how this worked for one of my clients.

One of my clients was stuck waiting on companies to decide her fate.  She only had applied to companies with posted positions in human resources and the training field.  Working in the coaching relationship for 90 days, she identified her strengths and created her ideal job description.  While interviewing for a lesser role as a recruiter at a company she really admired, she did something completely different.   She took out her copy of her ideal job description and handed it to the VP.  She acknowledged that working as a recruiter would not take advantage of her true talents and the company would be wasting an asset.  Yes, they were surprised and told her their first priority was filling the posted position but they would consider her offer and be in touch.  Two weeks later she began the negotiating process with this same company and even picked her job title and salary range.  It was a match made in heaven.  She agreed that life isn’t about finding yourself; it’s about creating yourself! And your perfect job!

Are you ready to jump-start your road to success?  Try a free coaching consultation with Wanda Ropa, your success coach to get you started and get clear about where you’re going with your career, or with your life so you can develop a strategic plan that really works for you.  With clarity, success becomes a natural outcome.

Posted by Wanda Ropa, The Success Coach.

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There are a variety of reasons to meditate.  Some meditate for stress reduction. Others do it to improve their sleep; while others strive for more mystical benefits. But another good reason to meditate is that it is a great tool for anyone who is seeking to make a transformation.  And this is why I use it in my work as a coach and wellness teacher. With all of my coaching clients, whether they are seeking life coaching, spiritual coaching, or career change coaching, I teach them a basic, five-minute meditation practice that they can do once a day and that fits into the busiest of lifestyles. This meditation practice complements the other standard coaching techniques that I use in my work.

Meditation as a tool for career change along with other types of coaching serves dual purposes:

  • It expands the horizon of our self awareness so we become aware of beliefs and thought patterns that may be blocking us from moving forward;
  • It provides a vehicle for communicating to the subconscious mind where deeply ingrained beliefs and thought patterns are embedded.

When clients come to me for coaching – whether it’s life, spiritual, or career change coaching – they are trying to get from point A to point B.  But for some reason, they aren’t getting to point B. Though they may be 100% committed to getting to point B, they just can’t seem to get there. This is because another part of them, or another part of their consciousness, is going to point C or point D. And in some cases, it’s going nowhere at all. This subversive part of them is their subconscious mind.

As a coach, I’ll spend some time talking with my clients about why their subconscious mind is running a different program. It’s usually due to an underlying fear of some kind and a corresponding commitment. In coaching parlance, we call this a “UAC” – an Underlying Automatic Commitment. A UAC is a commitment to something that we haven’t consciously chosen. That’s why it’s underlying.  And it’s happening involuntarily, which is why it’s automatic. Furthermore, it’s overriding the conscious commitment because it’s stronger.

For instance, if a career change coaching client comes to me and says he wants to leave his corporate job and become a writer. He has a conscious commitment to becoming a writer. But he hasn’t taken the necessary step(s) to become one.  In this case, a common UAC is that he is more committed to staying safe.  A less common UAC is that he is committed to proving something about himself to be true.  For example, he may be reinforcing a belief that was instilled in him as a child which told him he wasn’t creative enough to succeed or some variation of that theme.

UACs can be tricky to uncover. Some are deeply embedded. This is where meditation serves a very useful purpose.  It expands the horizon of our self awareness – not during the meditation – but throughout the day.  As we go about our day, we become increasingly aware of the subtler streams of consciousness (our thoughts and emotions) that are flowing through us. And as a result, we uncover these UACs.

Once we discover these Underlying Automatic Commitments, it’s just a matter of shining the light of our awareness on them and then balancing them. In order to balance them, you need to speak the language of the subconscious.  This is where meditation plays a pivotal role because the subconscious is most receptive when the conscious mind is most calm.  It’s like the lines of communication are open for business.

So after clients get acclimated with the basic, five-minute practice that I teach them, and once I get to know them better and what may be blocking them, I give them a technique for speaking to their subconscious that is tailored to address their particular UAC.

This is deeply transformative work but it doesn’t have to be hard. In fact, it isn’t. When the conscious and subconscious minds are on the same page, transformation can happen quickly and more importantly, it will be sustained. It’s actually pretty effortless once you unlock the keys to your subconscious mind and communicate to it in a language it understands. Meditation is a great tool for doing both.

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©2007 Andrew Mark (istockphoto)

Are you dreading going to work? Are you finding that you hit the snooze button more and more frequently during the week? Does it feel like you’re entering a dark, foreboding place every time you set foot at the workplace? Is it fraught with unseen dangers?

Whether you are a senior leader or climbing your career ladder, if you are in the wrong work environment, you will feel like you’re experiencing this situation on a daily basis. If you’re an attorney, an executive, or responsible for launching a new product to market, if you don’t have support to help you reach your peak performance, you will feel like you are constantly at risk.

It is time to face the truth. YOU are in danger. The latest neuroscience research can now validate that there’s a part of your brain that’s activating the danger alarms. It has been called the mammalian brain, the ancestral brain, or the instinctive brain. It is really your amygdala. Yes, it’s a hard word to pronounce and harder to understand because when it’s engaged, all your logic, creativity, and problem-solving abilities shut down. You are in survival mode. The amygdala located within our midbrain triggers the ‘fight or flight’ response when you perceive danger. This instinctive process slows down our rational and creative thinking patterns. When you’re in ‘fight or flight’ mode, logical reasoning goes out the window. What are you left with? Your fear. This fear triggers anger, which ensues in attack posturing or escapism.

What is even more common in our society is what I call the “freeze.” When you want to initiate a change, or when your immediate manager wants you to “stretch outside your comfort zone,” the amygdala is triggered, or your natural alarm system is activated stopping you right in your tracks. You become immobilized and nothing gets done, no stretches, no professional or self-improvement. Why does this happen?

One of the main reasons it is so difficult to change your current situation is that it is much safer and more comfortable to stay in your current patterns. So even if you’re restless or (miserable), that experience itself becomes your comfort zone and it is difficult to change.

IMG_0901

Let’s look at a wild animal and its amygdala. It’s so simple for them. Animals are natural masters of shifting from fight to flight with ease. When have you ever observed a lion that was conflicted, stuck in gears between fight and flight?

How about human beings? Have you heard that your mind is your own worst enemy? The reason is that we evolved to handle all kinds of strife. However, when was the last time you faced the danger of a saber-toothed tiger on the road or in the hallway at work?

Let’s face it; sometimes going to the workplace is shifting you out of your comfort zone. Are you the only one with this experience?

If you look around the world, you will observe that most people are run by their amygdala. It’s evident in the conference rooms when different groups vie for territory or meeting their agendas, above all else. Cross-functional teams seem to travel to different destinations while tasked with one major outcome. Project managers in all industries face this phenomenon constantly.

So, if your amygdala is triggering and so is everyone else’s, how can you accomplish anything? You’re right. It’s not simple, but easy once you start becoming aware of what’s really going on.

So what does this all mean? All of us have built mental structures that frame how we perceive the world and ourselves. In order to change, we need to break down these structures and reformat our hard drives (our minds).

First, things first, in the book, the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey advises to “Begin with the end in mind.”  However, I recommend that you actually start with yourself and your amygdala. Everyone is hard-wired differently based on genetics and adaptive conditioning as we experience more and more of what life has to offer.

So, first begin with acknowledging that your amygdala is a very powerful tool. Just like the military with a very sophisticated defense system, your amygdala is your personal security system. However, the only way it knows how to keep you safe is to keep you within your comfort zone. Any time you venture or step foot out of this defined boundary of comfort, your amygdala is activated. When the amygdala alarms go off, you can experience a range of mild to severe symptoms. Let’s review what we’re really talking about when this happens.

Symptoms of Amygdala Activation:

  1. Procrastination
  2. Self-Doubt
  3. Worry
  4. Over-doing to over-compensate
  5. Workaholic mode
  6. Feeling Stuck
  7. Poor self-confidence
  8. Beating Yourself Up
  9. Resistance of any kind
  10. Losing Momentum
  11. Lackluster view of your situation
  12. Sad, maybe depressed
  13. Caustic or cynical
  14. General feeling of misery (remember misery is relative)
  15. Symptoms of Stress, including Anxiety and Dread, may lead to panic or severe fear response, if unchecked.

If you have been experiencing any of these sensations, your amygdala is trying to talk back to you. You are in danger of leaving your comfort zone. Remember, everyone has different levels of tolerance to risk. For some, paragliding, skydiving, starting new companies, mountain climbing, traveling and backpacking to third world countries is all within the parameters of their comfort zones. For others, trying exotic foods, starting a new position, scuba diving, or riding a hot air balloon all trigger the amygdala.

The very next action step when you experience any symptoms of amygdala activation is:

HIT THE PAUSE BUTTON

©2008 Sergejs Nescereckis (istockphoto)

If you adopt the metaphor that your life is one long movie, then as you’re watching it, hit the pause button for an unscheduled break. At this point, you have stopped everything.

Tips To Hit the Pause Button

  1. Stop whatever you are doing, and take a deep breath.
  2. If you concentrate on your breathing, that will naturally slow you down.

Once you have paused, your amygdala will stop escalating to higher alarm levels. The next step will be to calm your amygdala down.

To Illustrate Amygdala overdrive, let me share what happened yesterday evening. A comedy of errors occurred when I unknowingly posted the draft version of this article and then couldn’t log in immediately to fix it. After 15 attempts with new passwords, I was able to log in and delete the draft post. What do you suppose MY amygdala was doing? On a scale of 1-10, it was escalating towards the 10! If you are a Feroce blog subscriber, you received a sneak preview this morning.

Remember, it is not YOU; it is just your amygdala!

Stay tuned to the next installment in this series to discover Tips to Calm Down Your Amygdala.

For immediate relief, contact The Success Coach, Wanda.

For more tools, sign up for this blog to get tips immediately sent to your email inbox hot off the press.

Posted by Wanda Ropa, The Success Coach.

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©2007 Irene Chan (istockphoto)

Is the marketplace spinning you in all directions with no focus?  How do you get off the spinning carousel and get back in the driver’s seat?

According to Daniel Pink in, A Whole New Mind, we have moved from the Information Age to the Conceptual Age. With globalization and shareholders demanding more ROI, large corporations, small business owners and employees alike are experiencing uncertain economic times. Only one thing is certain, increasing your marketability increases your chances of thriving in modern times.

How do you increase your marketability? Marketability is a tenuous term and is referenced by a plethora of career articles. It’s defined as being in demand and therefore relatively easy to sell.  Marketing usually refers to products and services. However, we’ve all heard over and again that you need to identify the concept of You as a product. Once you accept this notion, you are ready to become an asset to your organization, to your internal and external clients. The core of everything you do embodies ‘your brand.’  Everyone is born unique, but how many are remarkable? Fear holds you back from being your personal best. According to Seth Godin in his article, In Praise of the Purple Cow: The opposite of remarkable is very good.

One’s natural instinct is to blend in, to be accepted. Marty Neumeier, in The Brand Gap asserts that human beings are social animals – our natural inclination is to go with the group.  But blending in may mean that your work performance is only very good. You don’t stand out and you are not as remarkable or marketable as you could be.

Conducting a personal audit of your marketable skills is the first step toward becoming remarkable, or a purple cow. Are you valued as an asset to your company? To your clients? Are you marketable as a product? Are you marketable to your current employer? Ask yourself, what do you do that’s really special? If you have trouble with this question, ask your closest colleagues, or your best friends. It is so easy for us to criticize or judge our own performance. How many of us look inside for the answers? If your current position is just a paycheck or if your heart isn’t in your business, how does that reflect in your current environment?

Many enlightenment experts acknowledge that life is but a mirror of what we feel inside. How does your external world look and feel? Even if you’re not in the ideal work or business situation, there must be something or many things that you do exceptionally well. The key is to uncover these great treasures. As individuals, we are all equal, but unique and special in our own right. To use our special gifts, talents, and abilities and promote them to a current employer or to our internal or external clients, we must first uncover them. Take a marketability quiz and see if you’re ready.

To begin you will need to conduct an audit of your previous roles and accomplishments. Identify a peak performance period when you were at your absolute best. Try to remember your specific activities, who was involved, and all the factors that impacted your top performance. Pay special attention to your workflow and successes. To guide you through this process of discovery, consider taking the free online assessment offered by purchasing the new updated book, Strengthsfinder’s 2.0.

Diane Stafford, career columnist for the Kansas City Star states, “You can’t change the other guy. You can only change yourself or your response to the other guy.” In this lifetime, you are the major star in the movie of your life. Everyone else is either a secondary or tertiary character, or maybe not even a character. How will this process unfold? The journey to becoming remarkable doesn’t have be an impossible feat, such as climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. It can be as simple as the way you answer the phone, the special care you take with clients, the magic you create when you come into a room, or the special quality you add to a meeting. Think small, think baby steps.

The key to success is adaptability. Change takes us out of our comfort zone, activates fear, and stimulates the fight, flight or the freeze response. In the 21st century, it is our mind that gets in our way. So, how can we get results in an easy and effortless way? How can we get unstuck without struggle or the need to change? The answer is play. As adults, we have forgotten how easy and fun it was to play in the playground. There were no expectations. We just had fun.

Riding the Merry-Go-Round of Time

How do adults play?
When all we want to do is dismay.
What is the allure of sophistication,
Procrastination, dread, and indignation?
Conformity, tried and true.

Being silly is the cure
For creative spirits that are demure.
Visualize riding the merry-go-round of time.
Situate yourself comfortably as each chime
Signals reverting back yet another year
Passing adulthood by until you’re there!

A resurfacing of your inner child
Will bring about metamorphosis that is not mild.
Be prepared to jump in bales of hay
Giggling, laughing, imagining, in the name of play.
Counter intuitive to patterns of thought
Creativity and Innovation will be sought.

Wanda Ropa © 2007

Posted by Wanda Ropa, The Success Coach.

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