Quote of the Day: Ralph Waldo Emerson

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“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.”

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

There will always be moments when we feel less than grateful for the positive things in our lives– it is so very easy to focus on the negative, the things that go wrong.

It is at precisely these moments when one must pause to remember all the positives and express gratitude for them. Whether this be a mental checklist at the start of each day, a handwritten journal entry before bed each night, or simply a smorgasbord of thoughts sprinkled throughout one’s day, it is imperative to cultivate an attitude of gratitude.

Today’s message for gratitude brought to you by Contemporaries, and today’s quote brought to you by Thoughtful Mind.

Photo: retrieved from Pixabay and available under the public domain.

Networking 101: The Follow-Up

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You did it– you went to the networking event, or your college alumni weekend, or the business summit– and you met a few people you really hit it off with.

Now what?

For most of us, new networking relationships often fizzle after the first contact. You might exchange business cards, but no initiates further contact or conversation. In her article “3 Things You Should Do Immediately After Meeting Someone” Kat Boogaard suggests three ways to continue building the new relationship rather than letting your new contact’s business card sit and collect dust.

  1. Take note. You just had a conversation with this person– what did they tell you? What did you learn? They might have told you a bit about where they are in their career, or perhaps they mentioned a few hobbies. Either way, if you don’t jot down a few notes in the moment it’s almost guaranteed that you won’t remember what the other person said three months from now. It can be quick, it can be brief, it can even be stored on your phone. The important thing is to take note somewhere.
  2. Set a reminder. We’re all busy, and remembering to follow up with new contacts can be difficult. Good news– there’s an app for that. Set a reminder! Whether it be a day, a week, or a month from the first introduction, setting a reminder will do the hard work (remembering) for you so it’s easier to follow-up.
  3. Send a LinkedIn request. What better way to follow-up on your networking efforts than adding that person to your virtual professional network? This is also an easy way to follow your new contact’s career and company updates to show that you are engaged.

Today’s message for following-up on your networking efforts is brought to you by Contemporaries.

Photo: retrieved from Pixabay, available under the public domain.

Quote of the Day: Bryant McGill

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 “One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say.”

-Bryant McGill

It is easy to dismiss the words of another as illogical or utter nonsense. It is more difficult (and extremely more rewarding) to listen and try to process the line of thought behind those words.

Whether an opposing argument, a parental or other authority figure, or a peer– the easiest and most sincere way to demonstrate respect is to simply listen to what another has to say.

Today’s quote brought to you by Thoughtful Mind and Contemporaries.

Photo: retrieved from Pixabay, available under the public domain.

Attitude– More Important than IQ

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You’ve heard it before, but we’ll say it again: the manner in which you respond to a situation is both more important and more telling of you as a person than all your inherent character traits combined. Having a positive attitude and a growth mindset, even when things go wrong and you’re faced with failure, will serve you better in life than obsessing over raw talent or intelligence.

In his article “Why Your Attitude is More Important than Your IQ” Dr Travis Bradberry explains how some individuals, those with growth mindsets, believe they can improve over time with increased effort and determination. It is this belief and refusal to give up which sets the growth mindset apart from the fixed mindset. Bradberry suggests a few ways in which we can find success in life by dealing with our failures:

  • Don’t stay helpless. If you haven’t already met with one failure or another, you most certainly will at some point. The trick to moving past it is to push away the feeling of helplessness and move forward, to bounce back and try again. Wallowing in failure and helplessness does nothing to help you on the road to success.
  • Take action. The fear and anxiety which accompany instances of failure are paralyzing. People with growth mindsets realize this and consciously decide to take action, rather than let these paralyzing emotions rule their lives.
  • Expect results. Know that failure will happen from time to time, but always demand results from yourself– have that expectation driving each renewed effort in the pursuit of success.

In other words, use the fuel of failure to stoke the fire of success. Only you have the power to turn perceived failures into perceived successes.

Photo: retrieved from Pixabay, available under the public domain.

Finding Confidence During the Job Search

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Searching, applying, and interviewing for a job (no matter what stage of career you find yourself in) is a long process that can quickly drain one’s confidence. When you send out dozens of applications a week and hear nothing back, it’s easy to feel as though you’ll never find a job. When you go through second, or possibly even third, round interviews and then don’t receive an offer of employment, it often feels like a very personal rejection.

Working for Contemporaries allows you to bypass all the waiting because our connections and relationships get your foot in the door without us having to send your resume, and usually without you having to interview. For those who don’t work for Contemporaries, Jane Burnett offers tips on maintaining your confidence through the long job-search process in her article “How to Feel Less Insecure While Applying for New Jobs.

Here are our favorite points:

  • Volunteer. If you’re unemployed, nothing will drain you faster than sitting at home all day applying, thinking about applying, and remembering all your unanswered applications. Volunteering in your local community will benefit those around you while also filling the gap on your resume between your last job and the one you’re searching for.
  • Visualize your goals. That’s right, it’s arts and crafts time. Making a vision board allows you to quickly see all the goals you wish to attain and provides a motivating reminder each time you glance at it. A written list isn’t as effective as a board with visual cues– we are visual creatures, after all.
  • Maintain an attitude of gratitude. When facing an onslaught of perceived rejection, it’s easy to forget all the positive things we have going in our lives. Keep a notebook close by and write in it those things you’re grateful for, every morning or every night.

Today’s message for confidence is brought to you by Contemporaries.

Photo: retrieved from Pixabay, available under the public domain.

Learn, Know, Grow

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At Contemporaries, we always recommend our employees add value in any way they can while working an assignment– to make themselves indispensable. One of the easiest ways to do that is picking up new skills on the job. Does your work place offer training? Is there a company-specific program or database you don’t know how to use yet?

In his article “The 4 Fastest Ways to Pick Up New Skills in Your Current Role” Ryan Galloway suggests the four ways you can quickly add to your skill set, thus making you a more indispensable member of the team at work. Here are our two favorite suggestions:

  • Read up. We live in an age where literally any resource you can think of is available at the click of button. Articles, e-books, even blogs– all can be a valuable instruction tool when building a new skill. Visual learner? There is surely a YouTube tutorial with your name on it.
  • Find a mentor. No matter where you work there will always be someone who has more company or industry experience than you. It is incredibly easy to both befriend someone with more experience than you and pick up new skills in their area of expertise.

Want a company to invest in you? Lead by example and try investing in yourself first– others will likely follow suit.

Photo: retrieved from Pixabay, available under the public domain.

Interviewing 101: Positive Spinning

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There is no shortage of advice online for interviewing– you can find articles for everything from what to wear to the top 100 most-asked questions during an interview. No one wants to be under-prepared when entering an interview, but there is such a thing as over-preparing. Practicing your answers to one-hundred questions you may or may not be asked definitely qualifies as “over-preparing,” and it also is not a great use of your time.

In her article “The Best Way to Answer ‘What Are Your Weaknesses,’” career coach and author Elana Konstant describes what she refers to as “always staying on the sunny side” when interviewing. To put it simply, the best way to prepare for an interview is to practice putting a positive spin on every answer. Here are a few of our favorite tips when answering the question “what is your biggest weakness?” from Konstant:

  • Avoid using phrases from the job description. If you are interviewing for a managerial role and tell your future potential employer that one of your weaknesses is delegating tasks and tracking progress, you’re basically saying you can’t perform one of the main responsibilities of the job for which you’re interviewing.
  • Talk about a past weakness that you resolved. Konstant gives the example of struggling with the technical aspects of a project in a previous job, but taking a few coding classes on the side to better understand and grasp the technology. You want to convey that you can both identify and improve upon your own weaknesses– conveying this to a future employer makes you an attractive candidate for any position.
  • Talk about a weakness that you are currently resolving. Similarly to the example described above, demonstrating your ability to identify areas that need improvement and subsequently executing a plan to resolve the weaknesses will leave a more memorable impression on your interviewer.

These are just a few ways to put a positive spin on a question that is characteristically given a negative context. Answering interview questions “on the sunny side” leaves an overall positive impression on your interviewer.

Today’s  message for using a positive spin is brought to you by Contemporaries.

Photo: retrieved from Pixabay, available under the public domain.

It Takes Multiple Crazy Ideas to Find the Perfect One

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You’re sitting in the staff meeting, surrounded by superiors and colleagues, and the meeting speaker says “We need some ideas, just throw them out.” And silence ensues.

Sound familiar? No one wants to throw out ideas that will be pushed aside as “too crazy” or “not good enough.” And yet, throwing out crazy ideas gets the ball rolling and allows your brain to think of less crazy, yet equally good, ideas. In her article “Why You Should Absolutely Be Sharing Your Crazy Ideas in Meetings” Abby Wolfe describes all the benefits of throwing out your crazy ideas in staff meetings, to your colleagues, or to your boss. She writes:

“OK, forget about money and logistics. Tell me what your ideal partnership between our two departments would be,” my colleague, Ben, said to me a few weeks ago…

“Don’t be afraid to suggest crazy ideas,” Ben said, as I sat there thinking and tapping my pen against my notes. When I laughed, he told me that he “always starts with crazy ideas, because it helps lead other people to have more realistic but great [ones].”

He’s right, and I need to start thinking more like he does. We all should.

Because the thing is, you never know what that “wild” thought will lead to. Sure, it might be declined right off the bat. Or, perhaps, your suggestion inspires an even better, and more brilliant idea, from your teammate. But maybe, just maybe, the decision-maker surprises you and approves your initial proposal.

I’m not saying these have to be completely bizarre or fantastical in nature. I’m just saying that, sometimes, we need to push convention aside and abandon the standard mold (at least temporarily) to find the best solutions and to take things to the next level.

The worst anyone can ever say after you propose an idea is “no.” And really, that answer isn’t that bad at all. The whole point of “brainstorming” is to create a storm of ideas. Not all of them will be good– the goal is to get your brain thinking and hopefully find one good idea among many that aren’t as good.

At the very least, sharing your crazy ideas gets them out of your head and will allow room for other *better* ideas to grow.

Photo: retrieved from Pixabay, available under the public domain.

Today’s message for sharing crazy ideas is brought to you by Contemporaries.

Successful People are Morning People

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Ever wish you were a morning person? Maybe you should strive to become one– according to Dr Travis Bradberry“research shows that early risers are more proactive than night owls, they’re more agreeable and conscientious, and they’re happier than people who sleep in.” I can honestly say I feel more productive and accomplished when I start my day bright and early, and I’m sure many others can attest to similar experiences. In his article “8 Things Ridiculously Successful People Do Before 8 AM” Bradberry suggests eight behaviors and habits one can establish to best utilize the early morning hours and start each day off on the most successful note possible.

Here are a few of our favorites:

  • Disconnect. When you just wake up from blissful slumber to piles of notifications demanding attention, your morning suddenly becomes about responding to the wants and needs of other people– all before you’ve even climbed out of bed! Rather than responding to notifications right after waking up, take a few moments set a calm mental tone and start the day off right.
  • Set goals for the day. Taking the time to plan out exactly what you wish to accomplish will help your brain keep track of it and will also act as a visual reminder to continue working toward that specific end-goal– despite all the day’s distractions.
  • Eat a healthy breakfast. We’ve all heard this one time and time again– that’s because it truly makes a difference! Eating a healthy breakfast “gives you energy, improves your short-term memory, and helps you to concentrate more intensely and for longer periods.”

Photo: retrieved from Pixabay, available under the public domain.

Quote of the Day: George S. Patton

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 “The test of success is not what you do when you are on top. Success is how high you bounce when you hit bottom.”

-George S. Patton

For all the literature out there that says we should embrace failure, that failure is the building block upon which success is built, we still have a difficult time welcoming failure into our lives. Rather than viewing failure as defeat, Patton’s words remind us that we can and absolutely should use our failures to propel us toward our successes– use it as fuel.

If success is determined by how high you bounce after hitting rock bottom, it follows that the height of said bounce is directly correlated to how one views and channels the failure that resulted in reaching rock bottom in the first place.

Embracing and channeling your failure will result in successful future endeavors. Something went wrong? Okay, where? What happened? How can you avoid the same mistake? How can you improve for next time? Questions like these will prompt your brain to begin channeling the failure, which you can then use to springboard into success.

Today’s quote brought to you by Thoughtful Mind.

Photo: retrieved from Pixabay, available under the public domain.

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