Got Stress? I do, too! Let’s kick its bum!

Although stress is a constant in our lives, it CAN be managed. Did you know that there is “constructive stress” caused by positive events? A good job interview is the perfect example. You’re elated, but totally stressed about the outcome. On balance, it’s good.

Stressed woman draped over credenzaTony Jeary says in Success magazine that stress occurs when challenges in life exceed our coping skills. It can derail our lives professionally and cause burnout. And, dang, it will always be there.

Far be it for me to lie about a lack of stress in my own life. Fat chance. 49% of Americans reported stressful experiences last year, according to a Harvard School of Public Health study. Only 49%? Seriously? 13% reported “problems with work.” For those of you “looking for work,” the percentage could be higher. Uh-huh.

Let’s look at some facts about “good” and “bad” stress that could help you deal with your own in more healthful ways.

  • The gory details are all around us, but let’s look at both sides of the coin.

True, the Harvard study shows that too many responsibilities and problems with finances cause stress. If you’re a job hunter with a family and bills to pay, it’s a double “duh,” right? But, there are some good things you need to hear. First, 3rd quarter stats in the US show that we had an increase in jobs and drop in unemployment. Power Connections CEO Susan Howington says recruiting is up.

Good news, right? Stay focused on thinking about how this news could motivate your search. Let it be a “good stressor” to keep you going.

  •  What’s wrong with us? We’re the most anxiety-laden citizens on the planet.

The Atlantic says one reason is the pressure to succeed. You don’t say? I have flailed around my office in anguish over this, and need to get a grip. Et tu?

Jeary says be clear about your own values and what YOU truly want for yourself, no matter what someone else wants to hear. Ohhhhh, boy. If you can leave the pressure to succeed behind and do what you value, “bad” stress will dissipate. Follow your path. That’s “good” stress.

  •  Aha! I knew it! Worry can kill me!

Note to self: get over it! Achor and Alia Crum, Ph.D. at Stanford say that stress can enhance new priorities, greater appreciation of life and self-meaning. Studies show that folks who learn this experience a drop in headaches, backaches and fatigue.

  •  Relish the “good moments” every day.

While you’re rushing like a hamster on a wheel, stop and enjoy any good moment that happens. Had a great lunchtime? Savor it for at least 12 seconds and it will go to long term storage in your brain. Experts say pondering positive moments creates lasting neural structure. Our neuroplasticity helps us become more positive thinkers.

  •  Coffee with a buddy busts stress like nothin’ else.

Isn’t that great to know? If you want to live a long healthy life by slashing stress with zeal, keep strengthening your relationships, baby! It absolutely reduces mortality and boosts happiness.

Millennials: Achieve Your Workplace Goals!

Seven ways to show ‘em you’re in it for the long haul.

Group of young adultsMany older employees don’t believe we Millennials have the same work ethic as previous generations. And, if that’s not bad enough, we also supposedly lack interest in “paying our dues.” Here’s a list of highly effective ways to help you shine brightly for older generations to see.

First, Set Crystal Clear Goals: Define your goals to allow yourself to go beyond your immediate plans, and to see results of your efforts further out. Relish the small rewards for accomplishing tasks and achieving steps in the right direction. Without goals, you won’t be giving it your all, and this will be evident in your work ethic and interactions with co-workers. Map out your professional gains to connect current tasks with future opportunities.

“The man who thinks he can and the man who thinks he can’t are both right.” Henry Ford

Always Take Responsibility: Please, do NOT wait to be told what to do in your workplace. Step up to take a task. This simple act will show you’re responsible and mature. And although it’s difficult, own up to your mistakes. It’s okay! We ALL make them in our jobs, and they become learning opportunities. They’ll help you grow in your career.

“Get comfortable with being uncomfortable!” Jillian Michaels

Use your time wisely: Make a plan, have an agenda, have a task list, and do the thing you loathe the most first to get it out of the way. Prioritize tasks in columns to see what needs to happen today, this week, this month, this quarter. But don’t forget to plan to do a few fun things during the month, like lunch with co-workers, or coffee with the new guy.

“Determine that the thing can and shall be done and then…find the way.” Abraham Lincoln

Be Determined: When you really see what it is you want, do whatever you can to achieve it! Subconsciously, you’ll spend energy on bringing your vision to life. Strive to do what you can to make this sight a reality.

“I have discovered in life that there are ways of getting almost anywhere you want to go, if you really want to go.” Langston Hughes

Engage Emotional Intelligence: Be self-aware of how your emotions may impede the best results for your company. When you don’t allow your emotions to get in the way of your performance, and you can channel your emotions, you have achieved emotional intelligence.

“Your emotions are the slaves to your thoughts, and you are the slave to your emotions.” Elizabeth Gilbert

Be Curious: Seek new ways of doing the same ol’ same ol’ to keep your career exciting.   Can technology help you create new ideas/products/results? Curiosity will help you adapt to change as you seek new ways of doing things. It’ll help your problem solving at work.

“Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person” Mother Teresa

Persevere: Finally, maintain your course of action even when you don’t feel like giving 100%. The continual action of pressing forward and upward will outshine your competitors. Keep the vision of better things to come within you to drive your persistent attitude.

“Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never…” Winston Churchill

If you have questions about great goal-setting in the workplace, you can engage the services of a Millennial coach. Just ask about it!

Age Is A State of Mind Part Deux – Five Ways to Ignite Change

If you’re a Boomer in job search, take these steps to project energy and vitality!

I’ve wWoman dressed for job interviewritten before about the importance of being honest in regards to presenting your finest self when you are in the market for a job. Your search should be a time of introspection, and even adopting a new perspective about yourself and the age and energy you project to others. I don’t believe you can sidestep this important aspect of being in transition.

I’ve said it before, and I stand by it. Take a good look in the mirror. What do you project to others? An aging professional in need of an updated appearance? Someone who no longer presents the energy needed for their position? A manager who is difficult to work with? A co-worker with a consistently contrary persona in the office? If you need a personal “tune-up” to present your best self, don’t rationalize it away. Do something. Change is necessary to move forward.

Here are five ways to ignite change:

1.) Sit down and be honest with yourself about what you truly project to others. If you’re starting to appear noticeably “older,” change NOW. Adopt a grooming habit like tooth whitening and frequent brushing; or take more frequent showers; or get a badly needed hairstyle and new glasses.

See an image consultant about a wardrobe and accessory update. Even a personal shopper in a department store or men’s specialty store can give you this service.
Man in suit

2.) Gentlemen, don’t think this isn’t about you. Notice I said “men’s specialty store” in starter #1. Women are not the only ones who must consider their appearance during job search. Visit your dentist for a checkup. Whiten your teeth, freshen your breath, get a great haircut, and replace that 2009 suit and tie. I’m just sayin’.

3.) Re-ignite your vitality. Do you seek self-improvement? Do you make good health a priority and look as fit as you can? Are you walking, bicycling, swimming, or seeing a personal trainer? Commit to the energy of optimum health.

4.) Help others with their success at the office and in your community. If you’re not living by “do unto others,” it’s time to re-evaluate how everyone sees you. Do you really want to be known as someone unlikable? It’s very deleterious during job hunt and life.

5.) Embrace the possibilities your life can bring. Sure, you may not have thought you’d be at this crossroads right now. But, “Boomerdom” holds tremendous potential for the life you want, and a job change can be a fulfilling way to create it. Why not see your life as a chance to grow in new rewarding ways?

Finally, ladies and gentlemen, recharge your perspective and forge new paths. Why not blaze a trail? At this particular fork in the road of your life, choose a direction and make it yours. Yes, you can.

Our Young Adult Children Are Home Again – How We Can Teach Them To Find Jobs

I’ve read that we boomers are the last holdouts in the 20th century lifestyle, one that emphasized leaving the nest, making our way, getting married, and supporting ourselves through retirement. It’s what we were supposed to do, and we figured that our fruit wouldn’t fall far from the tree.

But a curious change has happened within our progeny. Stealthily, an evolutionary shift crept into their DNA, erasing their drive to do what we’ve done. They’ve thrown us a left hook: they’re back home, sleeping in their old beds at 23, 30, or beyond.

Young adult at homeWhy they would want to be back home again baffles us. Why aren’t they out working, creating lives separate from us, like WE did? WE started working at 15 or 16, flipping burgers, pumping gas, or running a manual cash register at the quick mart, and never stopped. Working signified our freedom.

Many of us parents are boomers, and our starting pay was $1.00 per hour, yet it fueled our dreams for independence and adventure. It bought our first cars, hand-me-down 1965 Tempests or Cutlasses from our parents; or better yet, a well-worn Continental with “suicide” doors. We accepted almost-scrapped “beaters,” but they were our ticket to better things.

After high school, we packed up our motley cars to hit the road and never looked back. There was college, working, marrying in our 20s, buying homes, having our 1.2 children, and accumulating microwaves, slimline phones, and answering machines. It was good.

Then, one day, something happened to our boomer brains while admiring our babies. Let’s come clean. We decided to spoil them rotten. And so, “Millennials,” “Gen Xs” and “Gen Ys” were raised. These young adults who now inhabit our sofas, smart phones in one hand, a tablet in the other, and if they’re lucky, a third hand on the remote, are our children grown up. Ask them why they want to live with us, and they’ll respond incredulously, like one Millennial who told me, “Why should we pay rent when we can live back home?”

To 32% of them, “living at home” is just another way of living. They aspire not to buy homes or cars, but to ownership of wearable tech. “Home” is at mom and dad’s. Cars they can now rent by the hour.

Taking care of adult kids again is so huge that AARP now runs continual articles about it.  Ameriprise now publishes “how-to” manuals for supporting children who move back in.

Many of these young adults are college grads who are vying for jobs. We boomers used to jump back into our used cars and go where the jobs were. Now we’re writing resumes for adult kids at home. “You want to give them everything,” says a girlfriend of mine who has two 20-somethings under her roof. “It’s difficult to watch them do without.” Seriously? Somehow, even jobless, they’ve managed to amass every electronic gadget invented, but have yet to write anything on a piece of paper.

Tiffany Adair, a Millennial who teaches Power Connection’s Generational Career Coaching, is focused on walking young adults through job hunting techniques and etiquette. “This is something many of us have never learned,” she says. “Most of us have never even sent a paper letter to anyone. Technology is our way of communicating, but job hunting requires human connection. Human connection wins job search.”

If we don’t want our young adult children to be on the sofa for good, we MUST help them acquire job search skills and the ability to connect with adult job providers in a communicative, person-to-person way. They need to know how to groom themselves and dress for job search. They need to know how to create a helpful network of working adults. They need to know how to “pound the turf.”

You want them off the sofa and on their own? Teach them these critical skills.