Career Guidance

As Women Get Closer to the C-Suite, Something Confounding Happens

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In the United States, many young women aspire to success. Almost three quarters of female professionals start off their careers with the goal of one day reaching the C-suite. A recent study conducted by Egon Zehnder showed that while women remain ambitious through most of their career stages, their ambition drops off when they reach senior management.

Why Does This Happen?

It seems confounding that women professionals aspire to reach the C-suite but lose focus and determination just when they’re closing in on their goal. The problem is that women in the workplace face consistent challenges when it comes to career advancement. As women advance through their careers, they observe these challenges and the idea of reaching the C-suite starts to feel more farfetched. They see women being passed up for promotions for men who are younger and less experienced than them, and eventually this affects their morale.

Professional Challenges

Women in the workforce report several major challenges that influence their prospects for career advancement. Three of the biggest obstacles women face are expanding their skillsets, finding opportunities to highlight their abilities and potential, and balancing their professional and personal lives. Essentially, there aren’t enough opportunities for development and many face more pressure for work-life balance than their male counterparts. Gender and age bias are also major issues.

Diversity and Inclusion

What can we do about it? The first step is to confront age and gender bias in the workplace. Not everyone agrees on the value of diversity. While diversity helps develop a creative, forward-thinking work environment, some leaders worry diversity leads to too many differences in thought and opinion. Diversity issues tend to come from the top down. To keep women motivated, leadership needs to overcome age and gender biases and actively work to create more inclusive workplaces.

Career Advancement

Career advancement is the other key. The study also showed that women receive less mentorship and career development training the older they get. Interestingly, women in the C-suite rely heavily on mentorship, advocacy, and other career development resources. The use of these resources increases with seniority but decrease with age. Career advancement resources need to be made more available to older professionals and leadership needs to encourage female professionals to work closely with mentors throughout their career.

When women start their careers, they strive to climb the corporate ladder. But the closer women get to the C-suite, the harder it becomes for them to advance. Part of the problem is a gender and age bias, and part of the problem is a lack of consistent mentorship and career development. Now is a good time to review your organization’s efforts toward greater inclusivity, mentorship, and skills-building programs. As companies evolve to meet the needs of women in leadership roles, we’ll see fewer women’s ambition wane and more women reaching the C-suite.

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How to Follow Through on Your 2020 Goals

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The start of a new year is the perfect time to reevaluate how you approach goal setting. Setting goals is easy. The hard part is following through on them. Most professional goals are challenging. They involve hard work and dedication. So how can you keep yourself motivated? Here are some tips to follow through on your 2020 goals.

Be Consistent

The key to following through on a goal is consistency. Work on the steps toward your goal every day. Not only will this help turn it into a habit, it will give you with momentum. One way to approach this is with a calendar. Each day, when you make progress on your goal, put a red X through the date. The further you go into the year, the harder it will be to stop. When you see the long chain of crossed out dates, you won’t want to break the chain. It seems simple but having a visual representation of your accomplishments is powerful. Seeing that you’re making progress on your goal every day will motivate you to continue.

Connect with Others Who Have Similar Goals

Look to friends and coworkers for support. Some of them have likely set yearly goals that are similar to your own. It is much easier to follow through on goals when you have people to support you and hold you accountable. Finding trusted friends to keep you honest can make the experience more fun. Schedule lunch dates to discuss the progress made toward goals or plan an outing together when you hit important milestones on the way to your end goal.

Use Self-Knowledge

You won’t follow through with goals if you don’t select those that you have the ability to accomplish and strategies that play to your strengths. Reaching a challenging goal always requires some sacrifice. When setting goals, make sure you consider what those sacrifices will be. For example, the goal you set might require you to work longer hours. Are you willing to sacrifice your work-life balance? Don’t pick a goal if you know you don’t have the will to make the necessary compromises. You also want to play to your strengths. If your goal is to be more organized, don’t plan time in your schedule to work on organization in the morning if you know you’re not a morning person. Think about what time of the day you have the most energy and focus.

Many of us make goals for ourselves every January. Fewer of us follow through with them. Usually, adjustments aren’t made to build the momentum necessary to achieve them. Selecting attainable goals that you genuinely care about, being consistent with your progress, and building in accountability can all make it easier to follow through on your goals in 2020.

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Using Mindfulness to Improve Clarity and Productivity

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In a fast-paced work environment, it can be challenging to stay productive. You can’t eliminate all the distractions that you face at work because there are just too many. Mindfulness can help you stay in the moment and pay attention, despite seemingly endless distractions. Mindfulness also helps improve decision-making, engagement, and critical thinking, which can all improve overall productivity. Here’s how you can use mindfulness to improve clarity and productivity.


Meditation helps calm anxiety. Meditation is especially useful during emotionally charged moments. Take two minutes to calm yourself. Sit quietly and let whatever thoughts arise come and go without any attachment or judgment. After you meditate, your heart rate lowers, you become less defensive and more solution oriented. Regular meditation can make you a better decision maker and a better thinker. Next time you feel like you need to make a point or emotion gets the best of you, take a break. If you make important decisions when you are calm and focused, your overall productivity will be higher.

Quiet Time

It can sometimes feel like taking time for yourself makes you less productive because you’re not “doing” anything. But quiet time is actually very important to maintaining productivity. Quiet time clears your brain, which allows you see things from a fresh perspective. Time spent in silence also helps you discover what’s important. In addition, it reduces stress and can make things feel a little less chaotic. This can be incredibly beneficial if you work in a loud environment full of distractions.

Meditation Apps

Many professionals who work in fast-paced work environments find meditation apps life-changing. Mindfulness apps can provide access to guided meditations and sleep solutions. Both mindfulness and healthy sleep patterns reduce stress, improve memory, improve focus, and give you better control over your thoughts and emotions. These benefits allow you to live your life in a more balanced way. If you can learn to let go of past mistakes and things you can’t control, you can focus on the here and now. You can also learn to be less reactive and approach life with a sense of curiosity instead of a need to be right.

When you work in a fast-paced role, it can feel like you are always under pressure. You might feel like you work constantly but still don’t get as much done as you would like. Mindfulness can help make you more productive by reducing stress, improving focus, and giving you much needed clarity.

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Surviving the Slump

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How excited do you think Pat Sajak is to ask contestants to buy a vowel after all these years? Do you think Beyoncé is tired of singing “Single Ladies” yet? Which do you think Michael Jordan loved more – the championship rings or shooting practice free throws for well over two decades of his life? There are monotonous phases of every career, even if your career is that of a pop star, a game show host, or a sports legend. We are certainly not exempt from that monotony either! You might not be experiencing it right now, but someone you lead may be. You might be in the height of peak professional fulfillment season but start to coast after the holidays and need a boost. The purpose of this post is not to serve as a downer, but to serve as a preemptive boost to what everyone will experience at times throughout their careers. We’ll address short-term solutions for managing a slump, mitigating boredom, and developing a carefully balanced mix of deliberate grind and patience. Even if you are in a great place professionally, if you implement a few of our suggestions, your great year can continue to evolve into something even greater. Here are some tips for surviving the slump.

Slump vs Burnout

Before we jump in, recognize that there is a difference between a slump and being burned out. A slump requires reengagement, whereas a burnout requires a comprehensive analysis of responsibilities and an analysis of future career path. A burnout can be solved by adding responsibilities to your plate, by building a team around you, and by outsourcing the lower level competencies that would allow someone to spend more time performing highly valued tasks. In order to successfully accomplish all of that, you have to be someone who others want to follow. If you are fearful that you are facing burnout, start first with treating it as a slump so you can pull yourself (or others) out of it long enough to give options for a long-term solution.

Commit to Change

Pop quiz: Five frogs are sitting on a log. Four decide to jump off. How many are left?
The answer is five. Why? Four decided to jump off, but that’s all they did. There’s a big difference between deciding and doing.

Commit to just a couple of changes and commit to how long you will change those things. At the end of that timeline, ask yourself “did I get enough from that that I want to keep doing it?” If you want to keep doing it, great! If not, commit to changing something else. But instead of committing to running a marathon, commit to running twice a week for two weeks and then reevaluating. Instead of making dramatic statements about changing your work habits, commit to working late two nights a week for the next two weeks. Do not get overwhelmed with the long-term nature of significant change; instead, focus on small wins that you can control and then control them.


Next, consider removing the unnecessary from the calendar. Focus on whatever those most important objectives are. If your mission is to generate new clients, then remove essentially everything else from your calendar that’s not related to developing new clients. If your key objective is to complete some projects that have been looming over your shoulder, postpone coffee meetings and other tasks until those key projects are complete. Contrary to what you might be thinking, this is not being irresponsible or avoiding responsibility; it’s reassessment, and it is at the very heart of getting out of a slump. Eliminate everything except for the most important objectives and don’t get distracted by anything else.

Have a Plan

Benjamin Franklin is credited with the phrase “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” Two hundred years later, that still rings true. Do not leave the office or go to bed at night without knowing exactly what your day is going to consist of tomorrow. Some adults view a plan as something that is boring and stifling; as an alternative, many “wing” their day and have no idea what they are going to do. Subsequently, many feel stressed, anxious, overwhelmed and as though they are falling short of their true potential. The answer lies in carefully designing a routine that works best for you – one which helps you be productive, in control, and the best version of yourself possible. When you carefully craft a personal routine and stick to it, it allows you get the most important things done first and out of the way.

Actively Learn

In nature, plants either grow or decompose; they do not stay the same. People are the same way; in an organization, nourishment is supplied by learning. What are you doing to foster training, growth, and new perspectives for yourself on an ongoing basis?

Consider this dilemma: a horticulturalist is stressed out because his plants are dying but is so preoccupied trying to figure out the underlying problem that he does not have time to water the plants. Should he just continue to pray for the good luck of rain, or would he be better served by changing his schedule around so he has time to water his plants? “We don’t have the money to invest in training.” “We’ve had a really bad quarter and don’t have time for this right now.” “I’m not in the right mindset to be open to new ideas right now.” These are all the same thing as saying “my plants are dying, but I don’t have time to water them.” Be proactive in seeking your own professional water, and actively learn – with outside help if needed!

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The Dichotomy of Inertia

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When it rains, it pours; most people are familiar with this phrase. It’s what we use to describe the inertia of negative circumstances building and snowballing. Can you think of the equivalent phrase used to describe the opposite, the experience of positive inertia? “Just look at the bright side,” “turn lemons into lemonade,” or “there’s a light at the end of the tunnel” might come to mind, but those all build on turning a negative into a positive. What about turning a positive into even more positives? Why is that not more commonplace? If momentum can swing us one way or the other on the pendulum of professional success, how can we keep the dichotomy of inertia positioned in a positive direction?


Let’s start with a common misnomer – that it takes 21 days to create a habit. If we want to focus on replicating positive momentum, we must start with an understanding of what it takes to get into a consistent pattern. The origination of the 21-day theory stems from plastic surgeon Maxwell Maltz. In the 1960s, Maltz released the best-selling book Psycho-Cybernetics. In it, he shares that a unique pattern occurred in his surgery patients; when the surgery resulted in an altered appearance, it took the patient around 21 days to get used to seeing their altered complexion. He also observed this in patients who had lost a limb; it would take them around the same amount of time to not feel the phantom limb before adjusting to their new situation.

Maltz’s book focused on a mind and body connection and the power of self-affirmation and mental visualization techniques. Many of his findings and the book itself were absorbed into areas of personal development in which some of the very trainers and motivational speakers focus who we know today: Zig Ziglar, Brian Tracy and Tony Robbins. However, this theory morphed from the idea that it takes 21 days to create a habit. It’s like that game of telephone; the end story has become somewhat distorted.

In 2009 Phillippa Lally, a psychology researcher at University College London, published a study on how habits are formed. She sought out to identify how long it takes to form a habit in the real world and by doing everyday tasks. The study looked at simple acts that people could incorporate into their daily lives such as drinking a bottle of water at lunch or running for 15 minutes before dinner.

Her findings? On average it took more than two months before a new behavior became automatic; 66 days to be exact. Her study went on to say that it could be anywhere between 18 to 254 days – upwards of 8 months to start and stick with a new habit!

The punchline? It takes a much longer period of time for a new habit to become your new normal.
Why is that critical to this topic? We must not regard any of the following suggestions as quick-fixes, but rather as a journey to create a completely different mindset associated with maintaining a perpetually positive inertia. Although this analysis of the dichotomy of inertia can span all facets of life, this article will focus on the professional opportunities that exist for emphasis on the positive.


Within the workplace, it is common to diagnose negative circumstances. A key employee left the organization, a prospective client was lost, or the department failed to hit quarterly targets are all examples of situations in which individuals will convene to discuss what was missed, what could have been done differently, and how to avoid replicating in the future.

Have you ever done an autopsy on something that didn’t die?

How much time is dedicated to discussing what has kept individuals at your firm? Brainstorming on what unique differentiators you have that allowed you to land a key account? Not just celebrating the achievement of a quarterly target, but breaking down at a granular level what each team member did to contribute to the success of the department? Although mistakes are our teachers, a great deal can be done to learn from success. If you want to create a long-term shift in perspective being of a positive nature, it requires a shift in the focus of experience.

Commitments Versus Goals

An object in motion stays in motion; how is that applied within a professional setting? Consider breaking achievements into two categories – commitments and goals. A commitment is a level that is attainable; one to be celebrated and which took some effort to get to. But how do we keep the motion of achievement in motion? The next level is the goal; the stretch milestone that might be seemingly impossible to attain but is in fact doable. Delineating between the two creates a space for further momentum beyond what is expected and perpetuates the positive force of an accomplished objective.

Words Matter

As a leader, it is our responsibility to help others understand that words have power; the way we say things matters. One could complain, “I am being bombarded with emails” or one could ask for suggestions for technology tools and effective time management.

I have to go to this team meeting = I get to go to this team meeting because I have a team dedicated to learning and living up to their fullest potential

I have to get this proposal to our client = I want to get this proposal to our client because they trust us to solve a problem they cannot solve on their own

I have to get caught up on emails = I want to get caught up on emails as I have knowledge and insight that others are relying on me to share with them

I have to take the kids to practice = I get to take the kids to practice as I am fortunate to have a family and resources to help them live a full, varied life

We have the freedom to choose our actions, our profession, our financial needs, and the path of our life. Each interaction is one step on the journey to create a transformed mindset associated with maintaining a perpetually positive inertia.

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3 Things You Should Never Say to Your Boss

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Whether you have a great relationship with your boss or there’s room for improvement, there are some things you should never say in their presence. It’s important to have their trust and respect, so don’t say anything to make them doubt or question your capabilities. Here are three things you should never say to your boss, and what you should say instead.

“I Don’t Know”

While you cannot know everything and your boss understands this, it’s important to express confidence and competence. Don’t use your time together to express doubt or confusion. If there is a question you can’t answer, tell your boss you will do some research and find out the answer. Alternatively, you can ask your boss follow-up questions so you can learn more about the question.

“I’m Tired”

It is common to feel tired, especially on a Monday morning or when you’re working diligently on an important project. However, it isn’t professional to talk about it with your boss. It gives the impression you don’t want to be there. Instead, find a way to energize yourself so you can maintain a positive attitude. Feeling tired frequently may mean you need to practice better self-care to achieve a balance.

“I’ll Get to That Tomorrow”

Don’t give the impression that you’re procrastinating or not doing the work. If you do have a lot on your plate for your day, you should ask your boss to clarify what the priorities are. Don’t assume that the task can wait until the next day. Perhaps, the priorities have shifted, and this is a task that needs to be completed right away. It’s always best to ask for more information instead of brushing the task off as unimportant.

What to Say Instead: Why? Tell Me More. How So?

Show your boss that you have a healthy dose of curiosity. Also show them that you care about understanding what’s expected of you and the priorities at hand. Asking for more information or for clarification is a strong sign of maturity. Things like “Tell me more” or “How so?” demonstrate that you’re seeking more details. Being well-informed will help improve with time management and prioritizing.

Especially if you have a friendly boss, it can be easy to forget they’re your superior. Your words matter. What you say can affect your career. Certain things can cause your boss to question your commitment to the job or whether you have the right personality for the role.

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Turning the Grind into the Goal

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A world-renowned athletic coach was asked once what the difference was between the best athletes and everyone else. In other words, what do really successful people do that most people don’t? Of course, there were the typical responses of genetics, luck, and talent. But there’s an added element that most don’t think of; it’s the ability to handle the boredom and grind of training every day and doing the same lifts and drills over and over again that separates the professionals from the amateurs.

Think about it this way – it’s not that the best athletes have some insane passion or willpower that others don’t have; it’s the exact opposite. They can feel the same boredom and lack of motivation that everyone else feels; they aren’t immune to the daily grind. What sets them apart is their commitment to the process. They fall in love with the daily practice, with the repetition, and with the plan in front of them.

Therefore, if you want to be a starting quarterback, you have to be in love with running drills and studying playbooks. If you want to be a New York Times bestseller, you have to be in love with the process of writing. If you want to get in better shape, you have to love the practice of eating in a healthier manner and exercising consistently.

You have to love the grind if you ever hope to turn it into the achievement of a goal.

The Pursuit of Happiness

Though some of the following may not be true all of the time, when you love the process of what you do, the following should ring true much of the time:

  • You don’t talk about other individuals; you talk about the great things other individuals are doing.
  • You help without thinking, or without being asked.
  • You don’t struggle to stay disciplined; you struggle to prioritize.
  • You’re excited about the job you are doing, but you’re more excited about the people you’re doing it with.
  • You leave work with items on your to-do list that you are eager to tackle tomorrow.
  • You think, “I hope I get to…” instead of, “I hope I don’t have to…”

You don’t focus on retirement, because retirement sounds boring – and a lot less fulfilling.

Now, there is a chance that our society may have overdone the need for the above to be true all of the time. We have been told that if you do what you love, the money and success will follow. We have been told that if you are not changing the world in bold ways, it is because you are too afraid to find your passion and follow it.

The Pursuit of Value

Author Cal Newport has emerged as one of the more vocal critics of the only-do-what-you-love movement, and says it is time to end the professional guilt trip. In his book, So Good They Can’t Ignore You, Newport argues that following one’s passions can be a dead end. He maintains that it’s better to identify which skills you have that could be unique and valuable in the workplace, and then hone those skills until you have career capital that you can spend in the way you choose.

Developing career capital requires a carefully balanced mix of deliberate action and patience. If you are in a self-directed professional environment and are responsible for carving your own path, take responsibility for the direction in which you are heading – and what you need from others to get there. Do not wait for someone to come along who can help; be proactive in seeking out those who can provide mentorship and guidance along the way.

If you are responsible for developing career capital in others, incorporate this exercise in ongoing or annual reviews. Always be aware of the following question: “What am I doing to help others identify their competitive advantages, and how am I providing opportunities for those strengths to turn into eventual career capital?”


Most roles have tasks that are required to engage in repeatedly; knowing the natural progression of a profession is essential. How many partners at a law firm still do all their own research? Does a surgeon want to spend more time in surgery, or in pre-op or post-op care? In these examples, practitioners outsource the less challenging work to junior staff that is not only capable of performing the work at a lower cost but also challenged by the work itself. What is the natural progression of your profession, and have you done a successful job of institutionalizing outsourcing?

Within a physician’s office, the nurse practitioner facilitates exams, the nurse checks blood pressure, and the scheduling department makes appointments. Each of those tasks are important but will neither provide the doctor with the challenge they need nor the financial rewards necessary to justify their time. In the case of lawyers, they have paralegals, legal secretaries, and associate lawyers they entrust. The lesson we can learn from both is that outsourcing certain tasks to other team members is not only more financially rewarding but also allows for greater challenges. Be aware of when the grind is necessary in the achievement of a goal and be aware of when the grind must be alleviated in order to avoid turnover or burnout.

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6 Great Leadership Books for Executive Assistants (and Their Executives!)

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Every executive assistant wants to be a great leader, but for most people leadership skills don’t come automatically. There are many obstacles to becoming an outstanding leader, including fear, self-doubt, and indecision. These six books on leadership are great resources for any executive assistant (or executive) looking to improve their leadership skills.

It’s Okay to Manage Your Boss by Bruce Tulgan

As an executive assistant, the relationship you have with your boss is the most important determining factor for success in the role. These days executives don’t provide the same level of guidance they did in decades past. This book will help you get the most of the relationship between you and your boss. Learn how to ask for the resources needed to excel in a high-stress job and help you understand the expectation for the executive/executive assistant relationship.

The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph by Ryan Holiday

In this book, Holiday discusses how to turn obstacles into part of your success story. Holiday applies stoicism to everyday life to help people become more successful in everything they do. He argues that the ability to endure trials and show perseverance matters more than intelligence or talent.

The 15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership: A New Paradigm for Sustainable Success by Jim Dethmer and Diana Chapman

Dethmer and Chapman outline 15 practices that will help people make the shift away from fear-based leadership toward trust-based leadership. This guide will help in avoiding the blame game, speaking more candidly with your team members, and letting go of the fears and anxieties that often prevent them from being great leaders.

Dare to Lead by Brene Brown

This New York Times bestseller discusses what it means to lead in modern society. Brown makes the case that leadership requires having empathy, bravery, and the willingness to have tough conversations.

Breaking Normal by Daniel Eisenman

In this book, Eisenman highlights exercises and practices that help people break free of self-imposed imprisonment and guides them on a journey of personal growth. This book can help with limiting the beliefs, preconceptions, fears, and harmful patterns that hold you back from becoming a better leader.

The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle

The Power of Now is a spiritual guide to living in the present. Often, the thing that prevents people from personal growth is the ego, which calls people to seek out and fixate on painful experiences. This book will help you let go of the past and the things you cannot change, and, instead focus on what you can change.

For most people, becoming a good leader involves a journey of self-discovery and self-improvement. These six books can help you learn what it takes to be a leader, learn how to overcome the obstacles to good leadership, and learn how to embrace responsibility and personal growth.

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The Treasure of True Grit

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“Tell me about a time when you failed, and what you learned from that experience.” Think of the most successful employees you’ve ever worked with, the individuals you’ve mentored who excelled the most, or the leaders you’ve studied who seem to achieve every goal they set for themselves. Undoubtedly, a common thread between them all will be that those individuals have the strength to learn why they failed, what to do in the future to succeed, and the willpower to get back on the horse and try again. But what exactly is it that leads one person to try again when others just give up? True grit.

Industrial and organizational psychologists have spent decades researching this very subject. Angela Duckworth, assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania, and her research focuses on a personality trait she calls “grit.” She defines grit as “sticking with things over the very long term until you master them.” She writes that, “the gritty individual approaches achievement as a marathon; his or her advantage is stamina.”

Success and Talent

What causes an individual to experience significant success? The obvious answer: success is about talent. Successful people can do something – hit a golf ball, dance, trade stocks, write a blog – better than most anyone else. This answer begets another question: What is talent? How did that person get so good at hitting a golf ball or trading stocks? Although talent can appear to be based on inheritance, it turns out that the intrinsic nature of talent may be overrated.

The problem is that a major contradiction exists between how we measure talent and the causes of talent. In general, we measure talent using tests of maximum performance. Imagine tryouts for most any sports team; players perform in short bursts under conditions of high intensity and motivation. The purpose of the drills is to see what players are capable of and determine their potential. The problem with these drills is that the real world is not set up for short bursts of work ethic under conditions of high motivation. Instead, professional success requires sustained performance, spending hours upon hours perfecting your craft, deliberately and methodically staying the course during times of frustration or exhaustion.

In his book, Self-Made in America, John McCormack references a trait studied by Kathy Kolbe: conation. Conation is “the will to succeed, the quest for success, the attitude that ‘to stop me you’ll have to kill me,’ that elusive ‘fire in the belly’ that manifests itself in drive, enthusiasm, excitement, and single-mindedness in pursuit of a goal – any goal. All consistently successful people have it. Many well-educated, intelligent, enduring, and presentable people don’t have it.”

Interviewing for Grit

A segment of the workforce is made up of smart people who aren’t high achievers, and others who achieve a lot without having the highest test scores. In one study, Duckworth found that smarter students actually had less grit than their peers who scored lower on an intelligence test. This finding suggests that people who are not as bright as their peers “compensate by working harder and with more determination.” And their effort pays off: The grittiest students, not the smartest ones, had the highest GPAs.

So how can we start to understand an applicant’s or an employee’s grit? Try some or all of these questions to identify the trait:

  • What experiences do you feel had the most impact in shaping who you are today?
  • Share with me the details of a time when you stayed with an idea or project for longer than anyone expected you to.
  • Tell me about some of the obstacles you have had to overcome to reach your present position.
  • Give me an example of a time when you had to finish a job even though everyone else had given up.
  • Describe a time when you were asked to complete a difficult task or project where the odds were against you. Were you successful? What did you learn from the experience?
  • What goal have you had in your life that took you the longest to achieve? What did you learn from that experience
  • Describe how you set your goals for the last year and how you measured your work. Did you achieve your goals? Why or why not?
  • Give me an example of a time you made a major sacrifice to achieve an important goal.
  • Give me an example of how you have taken control of your career.
  • What has been the biggest obstacle you’ve overcome in life? What about in your career?
  • When you found yourself faced with that obstacle, what steps did you take to begin the process of overcoming this challenge?

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Career Planning: The Value of Self-Knowledge on Your Career Path

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For young professionals, self-knowledge makes career planning much easier. Yet even for the experienced self-knowledge can also help prepare for future career steps and make the transition significantly less painful. The key is to know who you are and what you want so that you can identify the type of work and environment that will be fulfilling.

Course of Education

One way self-knowledge helps is that it makes it easier to decide on an educational course. Education can be expensive and time consuming, so it is best to know what you want before committing to a program. Knowing more about your natural strengths, as well as areas where you want to expand and grow, will help clarify a track more quickly. That way you can avoid going down a path that is not a reflection of your authentic self only to have to switch gears further down the road.

Online Presence

Self-knowledge also helps guide you on what to do (or not do) online. Awareness can help you establish healthy boundaries online. It is surprising how many people lose out on job opportunities due to over sharing on social media. People forget that potential employers often check social media for red flags before making hiring decisions. Without a clear sense of self, your resume and professional profiles can also suffer. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses can help you craft a custom resume that is unique and attractive. Hiring managers see so many resumes and LinkedIn profiles that setting yourself apart can give you an advantage.

Authentic Relationships

People who have self-awareness think before they speak and are honest about their feelings. You can build more meaningful relationships with coworkers if you present yourself authentically. Being authentic and vulnerable helps to build a network of professionals with true connections. In time, you will be able to help each other grow and succeed through mutually beneficial engagement.

Whether you are just starting out in your career or you’re looking for a change, self-knowledge can make career planning much smoother. If you know who you are, it becomes easier to determine what you want and how to achieve that.

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