Uplevel your LinkedIn

LinkedIn is THE place recruiters go to fill the jobs you want. Think of it as a 24/7 networking event (sounds SO FUN, right?). It’s not that you need to be there, schmoozing, all the time (hallelujah). You just need to make sure you’re showing up, looking good, and clearly explaining who you are and what you do.

Here’s a summary of five basics I share with clients for getting started, and another five ideas to easily up your game and attract recruiters now.


LinkedIn Basics

Set your settings

On your profile, there’s a button where you can “edit public profile and URL”. Make your LinkedIn profile your name, then use the link in your other materials during your job search (headers on resume and cover letter, email signature).

Before you start to tinker with your profile, go to “settings and privacy” under your profile and choose whether you want your changes to be visible.  You can change it after if you want.

And if you’re actively looking, let recruiters know! There’s an option on your profile to “let recruiters know you’re open” and give details about the jobs you want.

Nail your headline 

Some experts call this the most important piece of content in your profile. Three words, guys: Make It Sparkle. Replace “Communications Manager at X Co.” with “Accomplished Communications Professional ; Award-Winning Campaigns ; Putting Strategy into Words”. Want inspiration? There’s a fun headline generator OVER HERE.  And if you’re not sure how to “brand yourself”, beware being too generic (HERE’S a great take on the perils of that). If you want a soulful career expert to help you figure it out, get in touch with ME over HERE🙂

Check your photo

I want you to love your photo. If you don’t, it’s time for a re-take. Your photo should show your face, look sharp, look smart, and show you as your best professional self. Bonus points for adding a background photo that’s a nod to your experience and vision.

Summary = Story 

Use your summary to tell a compelling story. Think strategically: what aspect of me and my experience will stand out to my target employers? Write that story. I love the examples in this article by Muse OVER HERE.

Think broad 

A lot of people get hung up on the Experience section (they ask: is it a copy/paste of my resume? No). For most of your past jobs, a sentence (or two) works. It’s about showing where you’ve worked and the type of work you’ve done, so briefly summarize your role and impact. Then complete the other sections (the more, the better): education, certifications, volunteer experiences, interesting projects, etc. Each one is an opportunity for you to show up in search results. Boom.


Up Your Game… now that you’ve got the basics covered, here are five more tips to attract recruiters to you.

Make it interesting

Take advantage of the medium, and add links to articles you’ve written, videos of you or the projects you’ve worked on, or shareable presentations. Make your profile as fun and interesting as possible, even if you feel like your current work isn’t either of those things.

Endorsements & recommendations

Social proof is powerful. Most people have a strategy, where they either start recommending people in the hope that some will reciprocate, or they directly ask . If you want endorsements and recommendations, pick the strategy that feels right for you.

Connect

Build your network: practices vary, but generally if you’re sending an invitation to connect to someone you don’t know, include a short note on why you like what they do. If people ignore you, just move on. It’s the internet, there’s no rule book. Just be friendly and courteous and don’t take anyone else’s response or lack thereof, personally.

Engage

This is a marketplace for talent. If you want to be visible, be visible. An easy starting point is to like and comment, or share others’ posts. Then once you’re feeling warmed up…

Share!

Want to share your ideas with the world and show that you’re a thought leader in your space? Start posting. Think of it as an open-source news platform where you are your own editor. Try hitting the “write an article” button and see what happens.


To re-cap, imagine an avatar of your most confident, charismatic, competent professional self, heading off to that 24/7 virtual networking event. Take some time to work on THAT profile with these ten tips. Then sit back and let the magic happen.


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Write your leadership manifesto

How does anyone learn anything? By getting their hands dirty and figuring it out.

So, even though I’ve been studying leadership in the workplace for a decade, dipping my toe in here and there…

I learned to lead over the past year, because of my family, because I had to.

At our house, I’m the lead parent. My partner is wonderful. And we have agreed that I’m the lead parent.

The primary steward of two special souls, entrusted to me to raise on this earth. A sacred privilege. Significant.

I am responsible for feeding them and ensuring they get enough sleep. I identify when they’re not well and make sure they get treated.

I set boundaries. I draw the lines around which books and toys and activities and friends and caregivers and screens and language we do and don’t engage with.

And as the lead parent at our house, I have cobbled together what I stand for in that role.

My leadership manifesto.

Because after stumbling through it for the last year, questioning whether I was doing it right, when everyone, everywhere (literally) is doing it differently, I needed to find my feet as a leader. And stand on them.

It includes things like: They chose me as their mother. We don’t meet one person’s needs at the expense of another’s. Humans before schedules. One of my jobs is to demonstrate living the kind of aligned life I want for them… the list goes on.

So, why am I telling you?

Because I want you to think about your leadership manifesto, whether you’re leading children or a company or a team or a wine club.

Get clear on what you stand for. Get empowered in your role. Define yourself as a leader, in whatever aspect of your life feels most in need of steady, empowered, authentic leadership RIGHT NOW.

Because you were made for this. And because the clarity and confidence you create will carry you through the up days, the down days, and all the days in between.


Want more? I help people tune into their calling, locate their courage, and achieve their biggest goals in work and life! Get access to strategy, inspiration, free resources and upcoming events by clicking HERE. Follow on the ‘gram HERE.


Legal cannabis and permission to change

I went through a bit of a rebel stage in high school. When I say rebel, I mean I got straight A’s and I knew how to roll a joint (I had some practice). It’s all relative.

Over time, my friends and I got into other things like working 24/7, spinning and a glass of wine after work. These activities were socially acceptable and could be done relatively shamelessly around other humans.

Basically, we changed.

It happens.

This week cannabis became legal in Canada.

And now the whole country has to figure out what this means. Before there was a clear message of “it’s BAD,” and now we’re like “OK, maybe it’s fine”.

It’s a massive perception shift. It’s calling on us to think about how we think. It’s challenging the views many of us never questioned before.

Imagine you invested years enmeshed in a certain way of a thinking, pursuing a specific career path, believing it was right for you, only to discover it actually wasn’t? Life marched on and you became different.

People tell me this story all the time. They feel like they did it wrong. They didn’t.

They just changed.

And for a lot of people, change is difficult.

A government takes an illegal substance and says “never mind, enjoy!”. A focused, motivated human looks at the road ahead, the road they chose and sprinted down, and feels nothing.

How do we reconcile the before and after of such a cosmic shift?

We pause. We observe. And we come to a view.

Then later: We pause. We observe. And we allow that view to change.

If your views aren’t changing, ask yourself whether you’re pausing and observing enough. If your career path doesn’t seem to fit anymore, allow yourself to come to a new view about where you need to be.

Let the old perceptions, the old truths, burn away (see what I did there?).

And let the new truth settle in.

Having come of age in a time when this little plant was vilified literally to the point of criminalization, where there was a real societal risk involved with buying and consuming it, I wonder, how will legalization change how our kids discover and potentially engage with it?

Here’s what I hope: They’ll know more than I did. Like, the effect it could have on their development, how much is too much, and what’s a safe(r) way to consume it. I hope legalization will be accompanied by education – and I’m already seeing it.

I also hope this: If they choose to try it, they can try a version that was grown responsibly, and with proceeds contributing to government revenue which funds healthcare, education and security rather than human trafficking and violence.

I hope that post-legalization, it won’t always be about that rebellious image, the “bad kid” who is “acting out” and getting high. I hope we can keep the entrepreneurial ones – bless their rebel hearts – from getting into selling this stuff out of their backpacks. They can do their homework (or start a legitimate business!) instead.

I hope that you too can step back, look at your path with grace and an open mind, and accept that it may need to change.

Then, have the common sense and courage not to stand in your own way. Your continued evolution is your human birth right. At work, at home, everywhere. Let it happen.


PS! if you’re on the road to change and interviewing, grab the interview prep guide HERE – it’s designed to help you nail your message, build your stories, find your voice and get the job.


Want more? If you’re into living intentionally, getting super clear on what you want in work and life, taking inspired action and using your work as a catalyst for exploring your human potential, then hello kindred spirit! Get enlightened career strategy, inspiration and first access to new free resources by clicking HERE. Follow on the ‘gram HERE.


Three career crossroads: which one are you at?

Ever been stuck on a big career decision – feeling out of alignment, confused or paralyzed? Over and over, I see three major decision points that stump us. Three career crossroads that we stop and stand at, gazing around… some of us for a long time.

Let’s stop doing that! Chances are if you’re reading this, you’re taking a pause at one of these crossroads. Let’s figure out which one and get you moving…

The first crossroads: what work should I be doing? 

You may think this is a question for teenagers before they choose their major, and it is. But it resurfaces, often several times as we grow into our careers and our lives; when you’ve been through change; when you’ve grown significantly; when you feel out of alignment with your path.

Asking this question doesn’t mean you did it wrong up until now. You didn’t mess up! It means you’re evolving. It means you’re brave.

How do we solve it? I like to start deep by understanding values. Your values are the underpinning of all your choices. So, when you consciously understand your values, you will simplify your choices. For example, one of my top values is evolution. I am obsessed with growth and change. I am surrounded by plants and tree images all the time. So, what work should I be doing? Work that focuses on helping people evolve.

The second crossroads: what’s my next move? 

This is a career transition. It’s what happens when you’ve outgrown your role or your manager or your company or your colleagues or your least favourite spreadsheet.  You’re ready to change…. change jobs, change companies, go to flex, go to ownership, go to parenthood, go back to work, CHANGE.

Remember outgrowing your sneakers as a kid? It’s uncomfortable. Often, we need to get really uncomfortable and feel really out of alignment, before we are willing to take the risk of stepping into the unknown. Our human brains are wired to keep us safe and doing what we know, so it can be a BATTLE, even when you know on some level, that it’s time.

Whole generations before us simply avoided this; now, the economy of work is much more fluid. In a lot of ways, we are always on the job market, always marketing ourselves. Some people embrace this and others don’t; it’s fine. But when you want a change – when your feet get itchy and it no longer feels good 75%, 80% of the time where you are, it’s time to seriously think about that leap of faith. And then to stop thinking, and MAKE YOUR MOVE.

The third crossroads: ready to thrive

I’ll be honest: some people never get here. Even for those who do want to THRIVE, it takes a good measure of self-awareness, focus, willingness to take risks, and universal timing. It happens when you’re in the right place, when you’ve put your roots down in the right soil. And you’re ready to grow.

And it’s a crossroads because often, it’s not obvious how to grow. You probably need to learn skills you’ve never needed before. You probably need to get way outside your comfort zone, and risk looking dumb, and make some mistakes (a lot of mistakes), to really grow and thrive. But it’s all possible. It’s all exciting.

So even if you’re an expert at what you do, put your humility hat on and be open to stumbling. Double your rate of failure. Paradoxically, it’s the fastest path to thrive.

So, where do you stand? 

Which crossroads are you hanging out at, and are you feeling the nudge to move forward? Just standing there gets old pretty quickly, so let this be your invitation to take action without delay. What are you waiting for?! (actually though, what are you waiting for?)…


PS! now that you know the problem you’re solving, check out the resources page HERE for top posts and free tools to help you. And if you’re feeling the pull for a conversation, you can always get in touch here.


Want more? If you’re into living intentionally according to your core values, getting super clear on what you want in work and life, taking massive inspired action and using your work as a catalyst for exploring your human potential, then welcome to the fold, kindred spirit! Get enlightened career strategy, inspiration and first access to new free resources by clicking HERE.  And if you’re on the ‘gram say hi HERE. XO


 

Just because you can, doesn’t mean you have to

I’m kind of a hustler. I know some people don’t like that word; some days I don’t either. But I’m out there chasing, growing and building and trying my best to live an awesome and intentional life, and I call that hustling.

There are many days when things flow.

But some days it feels like pushing against a door that just won’t open. And when that happens, it’s usually because I’ve slipped into the energy of needing to PROVE something: to myself, to my people, to the world.

And that energy is bad. So lately when it happens, I take a breath and just…

Stop trying to prove everything all the time 

I’m not suggesting we shy away from proving things out of a fear that we can’t. Fear is what makes us think we need to prove things in the first place.

Try this: just because I can prove it, doesn’t mean I have to.

Just because you CAN be a VP at your company, doesn’t mean you have to.

Just because you CAN lose fifteen pounds, doesn’t mean you have to.

Just because you CAN write a book, doesn’t mean you have to.

Well, um, if I stop having to prove anything, what will I do with my time? 

Focus on fun instead 

Feeling like you always have to prove something is so heavy. What’s light?
Fun is light!
Remember fun? fun; fən; noun; enjoyment, amusement, or lighthearted pleasure.
We can actually figure out what feels right and aligned with who we are and who we’re authentically becoming by swapping in these five words: “for the fun of it”.

I think I’ll be a VP at my company for the fun of it.

I think I’ll lose fifteen pounds for the fun of it.

I think I’ll write a book for the fun of it.

How about “real life” stuff? 

Of course, some things need to happen and may not sound like fun.

I need to feed my children, several times daily, whether I’m having fun each time or not (sometimes yes, sometimes no).

But for those big goals, the ones you spend so much time thinking about and planning for and remodeling your life and schedule and well-being to make room for, do this check. If it doesn’t feel one bit of fun, if doing it for the fun of it does not resonate, then please:

Stop trying to prove it, stop trying to do it, just. stop. it.

Let the magic in 

If you think about it this way, a lot of things on your NEED TO PROVE list will get shelved immediately and permanently. Others will will be transformed into things to pursue for fun… and that’s where the magic happens. My friend, you just opened the door: go ahead and let the magic come in.


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Grace through change: returning to work after maternity leave

This post is not about babies or mothering or priorities or meaningful work or difficult decisions or finances or getting a tribe or a therapist or setting expectations or negotiating flexibility or guilt or feminism or all the things I promise I’ll write some day.

This post is about grace through change. Because regardless of who you are, the truth is that returning to work after maternity leave generally feels like a massive and terrifying change (even if you’ve never been more excited to get to work!).

I have this friend who actually claims that she loves change. I’m like, what?

Not that I don’t like change. I mean, of course, I am obsessed with personal development and evolving as a human being and that is all change, all the time.

But what about changes that shake up your world suddenly, like returning to work after maternity leave? Or adapting to any new routine (hello, back to school). Or moving and building up a repertoire of favourite spots in your new neighbourhood. Or moving in with a partner or going through a breakup. These are big changes. But good news: they usually feel bigger than they actually are. Here are some ways to handle them:

Honour that sh*t  

It’s happening. And it’s not easy. And you’re going to make it through. And in the meantime your going to get a little anxious. Just permit yourself to feel all of it. And cry or take a day or whatever you need to do to honour it and honour yourself moving through it. Change is not easy (except for my friend, #yougogirl). For most of us, it’s a challenge.

Lighten up 

I know, annoying. It’s like when you’re freaking out and someone tells you to relax. Not helpful. But try this: nothing is permanent, everything is a lesson, you’re on a journey, this change will come and go and soon it will be the new normal and you’ll be on to the next. The only sure thing in life is change. If you’re starting a new job, you’ll still have good and bad days, take vacation and spend time with your family and all the good stuff. If you’re moving, you’ll still eat breakfast every day (if you do that) and enjoy coffee (me) and find a nice place to go for runs (in my fantasy life). However big this change feels, it will not change everything; nothing is that powerful. So lighten up on the gravity of the situation.

Send that change some love 

Now if you’re like me, you might have some experience with catastrophizing that change to death. Like what is it going to feel like when you have to commute to work at 7am on a Monday in a blizzard in February and your kid is like “no mommy, don’t leave. why don’t you love me?”… Let’s just put that in perspective for a moment: that’s an imaginary thing that may or may not happen. So instead, think of some good things that are going to come out of the change and send it some love that way. Like how much reading you’ll be getting done during that commute. Or the amazing coffee you’ll be picking up every morning on your way into the office.

Change is actually good 

Because you’re going to grow! Baby, you’re going to grow so much from this. It’s going to hurt some days but it is going to take you somewhere you would not have been able to go without it. Even if it’s quickly out of this job and into another, or back home to care for more babies or into your own business or who knows? This change is a step on your path. It is actually good. Courage pants on. Hand on heart. Bring it on!


If you are heading back to work after maternity leave and want to talk it out, get in touch with me here.


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Supercharge your development according to your MBTI type

Ever heard of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator? You are in for a treat. This is one of my (and the world’s) favourite personality typing tools and learning it has literally transformed how I approach relationships: with my partner, with my parents, with my friends and colleagues. If you don’t know your type, here’s a free test. And here’s what you can do to supercharge your development now, based on your type:

Analysts – the ideas people

INTJ: Focus your energy. You do all the things and you do them well. In order for you to step up your game, you need to stop doing the non-essentials and focus your energy on what really matters.

INTP: Capture your brilliance. Think of topic you know a lot about that could help you in your work and write it down. Then share it – either as an article on LinkedIn or more low-key, like an email to some top clients or trusted colleagues. Your status as an expert in your field will be noted (and you’ll have fun).

ENTJ: Find a mentor. You’re ready to develop into the next iteration of yourself. Look around at the people you know, put on your humility hat, and ask yourself “who has done things that I want to do, and how can I learn from them?”.

ENTP: Nurture your network. Your network is one of your most powerful tools. Think of three people you can connect with and offer to help them with something. They’ll remember the favour and pay it back later.

Diplomats – the values people

INFJ: Look after yourself. Being your awesome self can take a lot out of you so you need to recharge. Look at your schedule and ask yourself: does everything in it align with my values now? How can I adjust to make sure I’m getting what I need?

INFP: Read a book. Think of something that’s been on your mind lately. Maybe your intuition has been nudging you toward a certain topic? (I think so). Grab a book that will take you deeper.

ENFJ: Find a mentee. Oh hi Oprah, you love empowering people. So why don’t we flex that muscle and get you doing what you do best, by hooking up with a mentee and helping them get to the next level? Spoiler alert: you’ll grow too.

ENFP: Do the next right thing. You’re a free spirit and that’s a beautiful thing, so I’m not suggesting a three year plan. But spend a moment thinking about where you’d ultimately like to be and then do the next right thing to get you there. Small steps.

Sentinels – the doers

ISTJ: Take a course. Think about the most exciting projects you’ve worked on in the last year and what would equip you to keep pursuing that type of work.

ISFJ: Step into your power. Take control of a situation that has felt out of control. This could be at work, with a client, or at your kid’s school. Set up the conversation and handle it, because you can.

ESTJ: Prioritize. Your productivity is off the charts, but ask yourself, am I prioritizing the high value-add things on my list, or just getting things done to get things done? Challenge yourself to prioritize your work and watch your results soar.

ESFJ: Give yourself space. You need to breathe. Whether it’s a weekly yoga class, or a walk, or just watching Netflix, establish a routine to unplug a little. It will give you more horsepower to develop in all areas of your life.

Explorers – the adventurers

ISTP: Improve a process. You have a talent for seeing the gaps in a process that others don’t always see. Think of a process you do that could be improved and make it happen. You’ll get a lot of satisfaction and you’ll get noticed.

ISFP: Get inspired. Whatever that means for you, whether it’s go hiking or paint, you do best when you are inspired and so the best way to supercharge your development is to feed your inspiration muscle regularly.

ESTP: Join a group. This could be an industry association, coaching program or a team at work. Get involved with a group of people who are going after the same things you are, and contribute your energy to supporting them and getting support back.

ESFP: Get an outlet. You’re a creative soul with a lot of energy. Whether you rediscover your childhood love of dance or start a wine club, get an outlet and give that creative energy a place to thrive.

That’s it folks. Does this resonate? I’d love to know. Happy development 🙂


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And now for the choice

This is the final post in the Career Cornerstones for a Lit-Up Life series 🙂 If you didn’t catch the other three, here they are: Values, Tools and Purpose.

It’s summer 2001. Cell phones flip open and don’t have cameras. AOL is the most popular website. Social and media are just two words. Britney and JT are an item.

It’s a while ago.

I’m living out of two Rubbermaid bins, moving between tiny plywood structures with no electricity on a weekly basis. I’m showering irregularly but swimming often. I’m singing my heart out every night at campfire.

I’m a camp counselor in a place where I was an overnight camper for a decade prior. Meaning all my dreams have come true. I’m a role model for kids, I’m responsible for their wellbeing (including supervising dangerous activities like water trampolining, ziplining, developing grit and independence from their families). It’s silly, it’s creative, it’s demanding.

I’m trusted. I’m growing into it.

I’m the most alive I’ve ever been.

More than once, on “night out” from my cabin (note to self: immediately implement regular night out policy in parenting life), I experienced a lapse of consciousness. I felt as if I was completely alone at camp. For just a few moments, I would see myself standing there under the huge sky, surrounded by trees and nature and all the camp buildings, but with no other soul for miles.

Like it was all there just for me.

Perhaps it was the silence, the expansiveness of the brightly lit sky. Perhaps it was an invitation to come into oneness with the higher power that brought me there, that united that community. To let all the distractions fall away.

I mean, it was eerie.

But it was thrilling too.

Have you ever felt that?

A while ago I took an inventory of all the jobs I’ve had, and it’s a lot. Retail, food service, garden centre, telemarketing, customer service, tutor, church musician, yoga teacher. And those are BEFORE I started my HR career as a consultant, manager, director of programs, educator and coach.

But that camp job. Until now it was THE ONE that led me closest to a lit-up life. All the cornerstones were there – it aligned with my values, it made use of the tools I had to offer, it gave voice to my purpose and – it had me walking down a path that felt right.

The fourth career cornerstone is the path you choose to walk. Your values are well established, even your tools are largely your natural gifts. Your purpose is your unique contribution to the world.

Your path is different because it’s a choice. It’s the context. It’s the wrapper. It’s the industry and workplace and job that usher your offering into the world. It’s the scenery around you while you’re making your magic.

So what’s been the job that gets you closest to a lit-up life, and how do you know? Was there a sign? Like the vast wilderness holding its breath just for a moment, just for you?

And now for the choice: what path do you belong on now?

Me, I’ll take what I’m doing right this minute.

…with a few more starry nights and campfires thrown in. ♥

 

 

That thing that drives us

This is the third post in the Career Cornerstones for a Lit-Up Life series. In case you missed them, here’s the first (VALUES), and here’s the second (TOOLS).

I have this friend. She’s a total connector. She loves showing up for her people, helping them out by connecting them with each other, supporting their growth, sticking up for them, finding a doctor when one of them has an intoxicated fall and requires forehead stitches in the middle of the night in a foreign country.

I have another friend. He is hilarious. All he wants to do is create and perform funny, quirky, nerdy content. He did this for years for mostly no money – all through high school, then for the first fifteen years of adulthood – creating. making people laugh. creating. making people laugh. Until one day, he got a big break. And now he’s still doing it, only he’s got a company behind him that’s funding it – allowing him to spread his content far and wide.

These friends, they’ve got PURPOSE. Hers is connecting and lifting people up. His is making the world laugh.

Your purpose is what drives you to action. It’s the impact you want to have when you’re feeling your most confident. It’s the dream you have for your career when you’re totally in the flow. It’s the third career cornerstone for a lit-up life and the best news of all is…

YOU DEFINITELY HAVE ONE.

Or maybe you have a few.

Here are three easy things you can do to tap into your purpose:

Think beyond the confines of your current job. You might find ways to exercise your purpose there (in fact I guarantee that you do), but it’s not where your purpose lives. And chances are it’s not allowing you to fully live your purpose.

Ask someone who knows you. Choose a perceptive friend or family member who’s seen you work and live your life and ask them for the themes they’ve noticed.

Pay more attention to your thoughts. There is an incredible amount of information available to all of us that we cannot see and generally cannot explain. You can call it your intuition, your higher self, universal intelligence, spirit, source, guides, gods, whatever. Maybe this resonates with you and, and maybe you’re like “that’s weird”. Both reactions are fine.

But if you’re still reading, let me tell you this: our culture doesn’t really talk about this, and that’s a shame, because the simple act of paying attention to your thoughts is the fastest route to more authenticity, abundance and joy.

I challenge you to start looking at the thoughts and ideas that pop into your head as having meaning. As in, think of your thoughts as a conversation between your conscious mind (which is receiving these thoughts) and the source, AKA wherever they came from. Research suggests we have 50,000+ thoughts PER DAY. That is a lot of opportunity for profound messages and insights. Like, for example, learning to recognize your purpose.

Oh, and chew on this: It’s highly likely that your real purpose is smack-dab in the centre of your biggest fear. Living a lit-up life is not for weenies, you guys.

Stay tuned for the final career cornerstone next week. If you’re enjoying this series, I would love to know! Get in touch directly or leave a comment here or over on IG (link below). X

What 2-year-olds teach us about tools

This is the second post in the series Career Cornerstones for a Lit-Up Life. If you missed the first cornerstone (VALUES), read it here

Lately my two-year-old has been acquiring new skills with alarming speed. This week alone she mastered such critical life skills as climbing in and out of the tub, putting on pants, plugging in a nightlight, dragging a toy shopping cart up and down stairs (v. dangerous, not a life skill), climbing every public play structure within 1km of our home and putting a full garbage bag in the giant bin outside (not asking questions, going with it).

But more amazing than any of the skills she’s developing is the attitude a person needs to learn that much that quickly. It’s an attitude of being in the moment, embracing the process, unencumbered by expectations and unconcerned with what others might think. It’s the ultimate winning belief system and we’re all born with it.

So where does it go?

Over in the corporate world we looove talking about our toolkits – what’s in there and what we want to put in there next. The general practice is to equate “tools” with “skills”. We identify skills gaps and then gather said skills – think courses like coding-for-beginners and speaking-with-confidence. But often after we’ve checked off the skill we needed, we’re still experiencing our work – satisfaction, motivation, all of it – in exactly the same way as before.

This is because skills only comprise some of our work tools. If our values are the “WHY” of what we do, our tools are the “HOW”. And that includes the skills, traits, habits and beliefs that we work with every single day.

The toolkit analogy reminds me of those plastic toy sets where it’s the whole construction site – workers, truck, road signs, crane, and tool boxes complete with tiny colourful tools. Everything in its little place.

Skills alone are basically inanimate objects like the tiny colourful plastic tools. It’s our mindset and beliefs that bring them to life, cause them to play, and allow them to shine.

The “it factor” behind my toddler’s outrageous development is not her gross motor skills or her cognition or even her inquisitiveness, it’s her sheer tenacity. This little creature believes in herself 100% and that enables her success.

We could learn a thing or two from that.

Next time someone asks you about your toolkit or career development goals, think beyond new skills and take stock of your beliefs. What new ways of thinking could bring your existing skills to life?