Never say “whoa” in a bad spot!

Never say “whoa” in a bad spot!

“Never say whoa in a bad spot” is an expression I learned from my father Sterling Laffin, seen here as a young man.  He just celebrated his 93rd birthday.

When you are driving a team of horses across an icy patch of ground, the worst thing you can say is “whoa” (that’s horse driver language for “stop”).  If you do that, the horses are certain to stop and quite possibly not start again, or at least be slipping and sliding and much more unsure of themselves than if they had just kept going across the ice.  And quite possibly, they will end up stuck.

The relevance to your career is this:  often the best time to stop what you are doing is not when you hit a bad patch.  As tempting as it may be to pull the plug when the going gets rough, I have learned that if you do that, the only thing people may remember is that you quit.  Not all the great work you had done before, or even the circumstances of why you gave up…just that you gave up.

Even worse, if you actually quit your job, you may find your career gets mired in all sorts of things for a while, even a long while, and you are stuck.  That’s when second-guessing yourself may come in to play.  How bad was it really?  Should I have ignored the fact that my boss is a jerk and just kept going?  Others seem to be making it across that icy patch, maybe I could have too?

So how bad does it have to be to warrant stopping?  What are the circumstances that make it worth shouting “whoa” and declaring to yourself and others that you are done?

I suggest that everyone needs his or her own personal set of standards to help assess whether it is worth the risk of quitting.  What are the things that are truly “no fly” zones for you?  Taking the time to establish these standards in your own mind can give you the measuring stick you need when the going gets tough.

While I encourage you to think on what your standards are, here are a few of mine that may kick-start the discussion for you:

1. Integrity feels wobbly – it is easy to say “I would never sacrifice my integrity” but what does that actually mean?  If something is clearly dishonest or illegal, that’s a clear call.  But what if the integrity of a situation isn’t totally clear and just feels wobbly?  At that point, for me, it is simply time to listen to myself and decide if the situation crosses my personal boundaries.  Feeling the integrity go wobbly is enough for other measures to come into play and if the feeling persists, it is likely time to get out.

2. I’ve looked at all sides, and it still looks bad – I have made more than a few wrong calls based on being fixated on only one side of things.  An issue, particularly one that brings into question whether you should quit, rarely has just one side.  Ask yourself: have I looked at all sides?  Or am I so focused on this one thing that is so wrong, I can’t see beyond it?

3. My health and well being are being compromised – these are two sure fire challengers.  If a situation gets so bad that you are becoming ill, or the quality of your life and those around you is negatively impacted, its time to seriously consider bailing out.

4. What are the consequences – quitting a situation or a job, will not be without its consequences.  The old axiom “look before you leap” is an important one.  Jumping off the train may seem like the only alternative, but consider whether you will be landing in a bed of thorns and how long it may take you to get back on track!

Having taken measure of your situation, you may still feel that it is time to make a change and maybe it is.  My advice:  don’t do it in the heat of the situation.  It is always better to leave under the best possible circumstances and that is not likely to be when you steam out of the office in a fit of rage.  May feel good for a short time, but then the consequences set in.

Does this mean you have to stay stuck in a bad situation?  Absolutely not!  There are times when you need help to set those personal measuring standards and take a full account of where your career is at.

If you would like to talk about whether it is time for you to leap and what the consequences might be, give me a call!

Happy Springtime!

Linda Oglov

PS – hope you can join us at one of the upcoming Step into Your Future workshops.  Next one is May 2-5 at beautiful Poet’s Cove, Pender Island, BC.  I will lead 2.5 days of work focused on YOU!  Peter Ciceri, international executive turned psychotherapist and business coach, will be a special guest speaker speaking on the topic of career transition and self-esteem in the wake of job loss.  To find out more please click here >

Finding your personal networking style and why it is important

I have a friend and long-time colleague who likes to call me the Queen of Networking. In truth, I hate what are considered the traditional forms of networking – such as schmoozing at cocktail parties, just for the sake of schmoozing.  This type of networking conjures up images of a guy in a white vinyl belt with matching shoes, randomly passing out business cards! What one author calls the “networking jerk”.

But I do think effective networking is hugely important, no matter what you do. We know that people are more likely to hire people that they like and therefore trust; and we know that opportunities can come from unlikely sources, so the broader your network the better. If you happen to be in or considering career transition, it is even more important to have that network in place.

I can readily say that the vast majority of my jobs, contracts, and opportunities to live and do business in other countries, potential for reinventing my career, etc have come from my network. I have been lucky enough to have calls out of the blue to say “how would you like to work on a World Exposition” or “would you like to go to Asia for 4 years” or “I hear you are a business coach now, how would you like to coach a member of my team” – all of which came from my network.

So how do you build a networking style that works for you? I will provide a couple of resources below that I think are worth reading but here are my top networking tips: 

  1. Build it before you need it – if you wait until you need your network, it may be too late. Consider the information that is out there on networking and start developing your personal networking style NOW.
  2. Get your story straight – those readers who have worked with me know that I am very big on people having their Career Story nailed no matter what stage they are at in their career. Figure out what your succinct, compelling story is and how you will articulate it before you reach out to your network. Not only who and what you are, but why you do what you do, or want to do.
  3. Make a list of who is already in your network – my clients often tell me their network is limited to the field they are in or that they don’t know anyone in the field they want to be in. Really? Everyone has a network and it is broader than most people think. It can include parents in your child’s soccer club or the person you see everyday at the gym or someone your sister knows. Sit down and make a list – and think outside of your immediate connections.
  4. Decide who is at the top of your list and start contacting them – one of the best ways to start networking is to start! You will get better at it if you practice. It may be that you just start with casual lunches or chats but figure out in advance what you might want to offer that person (what value can you provide to them) and then what are one or two things you might ask them for – everything from advice to the names of other people that you can add to your network.
  5. Maintain your network – just like a fitness regime, a networking plan needs constant care and feeding. One of the things I have done for years is keep a weekly TO DO list and down the side is a column called “Networking This Week”. It could be called “Business Development” but in fact often the people that I will network with that week will not and may never be direct leads to business. The point is to make it a constant and regular feature of your life.
  6. Never Eat Alone – this is the name of a book by Keith Ferrazzi that I recommend you pick up. The subtitle “And Other Secrets to Success One Relationship At A Time” kind of says it all. I have subscribed to the “never eat alone” philosophy for much of my business life. Whether I am in Vancouver, Toronto, London UK or Mexico, I seek out people in my network and line them up for coffee, lunch, drinks, dinner. Great things come about in such relaxed environments.
  7. Hone your social media skills or hire an expert to help – of course these days social media networking contains a suite of powerful tools to help you be more effective than ever in reaching a wide network. I don’t pretend expertise in this area but I have engaged expertise and then been the beneficiary of how effective social networking can be. For example, I was recently invited to speak at a meeting of global leaders in a field that holds potential for me as a business coach and the connection came through my positioning on the web. So don’t delay on getting that LinkedIn profile in decent shape and figure out what else can work for you.

In addition to the book Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi, I also appreciated a recent post entitled “7 Key Habits of Super Networkers” that you can find here:  http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/224819

Always happy to talk about networking or anything else that your career might need – you can reach me on linda@oglov.com or 604.288.7031.

Linda Oglov

UNIQUE CAREER TRANSITION WORKSHOP BEING OFFERED IN KINGSTON, ONTARIO MARCH 25-30.

MEDIA RELEASE
Perhaps you are feeling a bit stagnant in your career, or searching for a new one?  Or maybe you are approaching retirement age with lots of energy and drive, but not sure where to direct it?  If, like many people today, you feel the need to kick-start a transition in your working life, then you might consider attending the Step into Your Future workshop being held at Kingston’s Rosemount Inn March 25-30, 2012.

Hosted by certified business coach and consultant Linda Oglov, the workshop is a 5-day event geared towards anyone looking to reassess, reshape or even reinvent their careers.

“I created this workshop because I saw that many people are either looking to improve their performance in their current job – trying to stay ahead in a competitive marketplace – or are perhaps coming up to traditional retirement age but really not being able or wanting to retire,” says Oglov.  “People rarely get an opportunity to devote time to reassessing their work life situation and coming up with an Action Plan to move forward.  This is a practical, pragmatic way to do just that.”

Linda Oglov has had a 40-year varied career in which she too has recreated her business several times.  Born near Smiths Falls ON, she graduated in journalism and worked for small town newspapers for a few years before moving on to marketing and communications in the arts (National Arts Centre, Ottawa; EXPO 86 Vancouver) and sports (Commonwealth Games in Victoria, BC and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia).  She was Vice President Marketing for the Vancouver Bid for the 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games, and then went on to negotiate record-breaking sponsorship deals for Bell Canada, RBC Financial, Petro Canada and others for the Vancouver 2010 Games.

Linda now lives on Pender Island, BC and in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico with her husband Stan, who is a sculptor.  She is consultant to sponsors of the London 2012 and Sochi (Russia) 2014 Olympic Games.  A graduate of the Royal Roads University Executive Coaching Programme, she has a busy business coaching and workshop practice.

For more information on the Step into Your Future workshop, please visit www.oglov.com; email: linda@oglov.com or call 604-288-7031.