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TheLadders.com is collecting advice from career experts to help people entering the workforce. I have a soft spot for anyone beginning their careers. It often takes bravery and resilience.

When starting out, you don’t know what you don’t know and you feel like no one’s really telling you how it is. So you’re left to figure it out while miserably wasting your potential away under a fluorescent light. (Can you tell I’ve been there?)

Truth is, our 20’s are messy, and that’s true for everyone. It’s a time for trial and error. It’s about figuring things out on your own and finding yourself. That can’t be rushed!

Don’t discount the value of your errors. (tweet this!)

Must-Know Advice For Anyone Entering the

Here are 6 pieces of must-know advice:

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Action Advancement Career Development Change Growth Happiness Purpose Reinvention

Goal setting. Intention setting. Declaring a word or theme of the year. Whatever your thing, this time of year is great for reflection. Although you know I believe this ought to be done every few months, what better time to get crystal clear than at the start of a fresh page of your book.

Last year I wrote about goal setting and the feelings associated with those goals (thank you Danielle Laporte!). Then earlier this year I shared my career plan template. So obviously the idea isn’t lost on me. However, I’m tired of the same old way of doing it.

This can be a sensitive subject, one that holds fears and feelings beyond a simple goal written on a page. So many feelings come up when setting goals that can excite us and then deflate us within minutes. Some people already feel behind simply because it’s one week into 2015 and their colleague had her vision board done in November. Annoying!

This year I’m trying something new. Yes, I’m reflecting and I’m setting intentions. Only I’m not setting rigid guidelines to reach my goals. Instead my measurements are “more” and “less.”

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Action Advancement Career Development Change Growth Happiness

It’s a festive time of year and it’s hard not to be caught up in the buzz of it all. We’re often encouraged to not be a scrooge and instead to be festive and happy.

We can’t be happy, however, if we’re not grateful. But what happens when you’re just not feeling it? Sure the holidays mean time off work but they can also mean stress, obligations and even let downs. They can highlight what’s missing or make you nostalgic for times past.

Sometimes it’s just hard to feel festive let alone grateful.

Let’s rewind a couple weeks. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. What’s not to love? The bustle of a house crammed full of family,18NNxqe kids and dogs. Food and football. Tons of laughing. A bit of wine. And more food. It’s a holiday that has a feeling; loud, cozy and accepting.

When I learned that again I’d be missing my family’s Thanksgiving I felt instantly deflated. And I cried.

And threw a solid pity party. I thought about everything that got me down: like why we live far from family, the downside of compromise and how it sucks royally when you actually have to give up what you want. Like how I’d miss waking up in my childhood bed and getting over-fed, the laughs with my brothers, cuddle time with my niece and nephews, bonding with my sisters-in-law. And of course how I’d miss my parents, every single thing about them.

In short, I felt bad for myself. It was easy to do and I did it pretty hard.

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Change Growth Happiness Purpose Reinvention Stress

I was visiting my friend Sara last week and was having a good laugh at her current marital tiff. Nothing comforts me more than knowing I’m not alone in those. As I listened to her explain it, I couldn’t help but think of all the times I’ve done what she did.

She asked her husband’s advice and then didn’t take it. I’ve witnessed this before; she’ll ask which shoes he likes and then pick the DeathtoStock_Creative Community8opposite. But this time she asked his advice about taking on a leadership position at work and then did what she wanted to do anyway which was turn it down. He was insulted which is why she invited me over (“he can’t be mad directly at me if you’re here”…the perfect invite :) )

I’ve been there before, I told her. And it’s true, I often do this. The reason I give myself that it’s ok is something my dad says, “in the asking you often find your answer.” (Tweet this!)

Great for me. Annoying to whomever’s advice I’m after. Do you do the same, ask advice and then ignore it?

Sure it’s annoying when someone selects a pair of shoes, a restaurant or movie and you choose another. The difficulty is when the decision is more weighty.

How do you know when to heed advice and when to follow your gut?

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Action Advancement Career Development Change Growth Happiness Leadership

We’ve all been there, wondering if the not-so-loving feelings we’re having about our jobs are a phase or if they require action. picjumbo.com_IMG_0541Avoiding the topic only adds stress.

The good news? Clarity can make all the difference. This list will provide that to you.

If you’re in a position that does it for you, congratulations! You have what we all want. If not, hope is not lost. There is a way to better enjoy your career, whether in your current job or a new one. And, it’s easier than you may think.

As you go through the list, be honest with yourself. Reflection is the foundation to taking smart action.

You’ve outgrown your current job if:

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Action Advancement Career Development Change Growth Happiness Impact Reinvention

Have you ever been having a casual chat with a friend and they tell you about an app they love? So you check it out and it’s awesome and you wonder to yourself, how have been living my life without this for so long?! What else don’t I know about?

Well…me too.

So I’ve put together a little cheat sheet of word-of-mouth great apps that I absolutely love. My hope is you’ll add to the list in a sort of app exchange. (Of course I’m no expert or affiliate!)

Here are a few apps that’ve saved me time or frustration, have made life easier or are just fun.

Perk: While a few have a paid upgrade version, they’re all FREE! [click to continue…]

Advancement Happiness

When I was 7 we got a VHS recorder. My life was forever changed.

By 8 I was setting up a tripod solo (that camera weighed what felt like 50 lbs- it was a beast), and I was directing and co-starring in my own show Wake Up Australia. It was loosely based on Danny Tanner and Aunt Becky’s show Wake up San Francisco on Full House. Classic.

My best friend Emily and I not only had what I’m sure were dead-on Australian accents but we also had guests, commercials and fullme&em wardrobe changes. This was serious business.

I won’t mention how I was really tall for my age and Em was a little guy so in re-watching the “films” she looks cute and I look like the awkward giant neighbor kid. (This was pre-VHS fame but even still, look at that size difference!)

The point is, we were fearless.

Then along came the lovely teenage years when all sorts of negative feelings I’d never even considered came at me like a tidal wave, tripping me up and turning me upside down.

And that was the end of that…

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Action Advancement Career Development Change Growth Happiness

 

Does this sound familiar?

You don’t really care that you just signed a new client. The thought of going to work each day is a drain. The “chase” isn’t lighting you up at the moment. You’d rather be anywhere than at work.

If our jobs are like a TV show, this would be season 3…slow, a bit boring, waiting for something good to happen. We all go through these phases in our jobs; it’s natural. Instead of sinking deeper into a slump, you can do something about it.

I’ve been there, in my past job and as a business owner and I’ll be the first to say it: it sucks. If you’re a make-things-happen type it’s especially frustrating as you’re sitting there waiting for things to change. No thanks!

I decided to try out this experiment, first using myself as a guinea pig and then I had a few clients try it as well. It worked so I’m sharing it with you!

Here’s my quick fix for instantly finding engagement at work:

How To Instantly Find Engagement at Work [click to continue…]

Action Career Development Happiness Impact Purpose

It’s graduation season and commencement speeches are in full swing on YouTube.

I love watching them. It makes me nostalgic – the graduation parties, the excitement and anxiety about the future, even the hangover headache that accompanied me to the commencement ceremony. As I watch these great speeches, I feel the hopefulness of being young and I get re-inspired.

This year when I noticed that one of my favorite actors had given a commencement speech I was excited and curious to hear what he had to say.

charlie day

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Action Advancement Career Development Growth Happiness

I’m currently at war. With a word. It’s “should.”

I’m more than familiar with Shoulds holding me back from being happy in my career. For years I worked hard, moved up the corporate ladder and met the success I was after but was ultimately unfulfilled once I got there. All those things that should have made it all worth it, weren’t. That was annoying.

Shoulds can hold us back from making choices that feel right to us. Freeing ourselves from their trap can result in more fulfillment and happiness in our careers.

How are the Shoulds in your life?

Many of my clients can relate to this. The truth is, it’s ingrained in us to push through, to keep our heads down, to expect sacrifice in order to get what we want. Many of us see that hardcore work ethic as a badge of honor. Myself included.

Don't Let This Determine Your Career Happiness

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Action Career Development Growth Happiness Purpose