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The Problem with our Pursuit for Perfection and the Life-Changing Practice of Good Enough’


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    Entries in career (3)


    Careful how you answer this popular job interview question!

    Next time you’re preparing for a job role interview, think carefully. If a potential employer asks the classic question about weaknesses, what will you say?

    Many people offer in response to the ‘What’s your greatest weakness?’ question that they're a perfectionist. They think it still sounds positive, not too bad a weakness.

    Saying you're a perfectionist can sound like you're a hard worker and that you have high standards. But beware! Perfectionism isn’t turning out to be a good trait after all.

    Recent data from PhD researchers Curran and Hill have uncovered that perfectionism is on the rise globally and it's a behaviour that's not making us feel good about ourselves nor helping us bring our best to a job role. Perfectionism has links to depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, migraines, asthma, insomnia and plenty of other nasties.

    It's time to stop putting our hand up for something that isn't helping us or a potential employer.

    What's a weakness you'd rather share in an interview ... that's not perfectionism?


    3 Things to Future-Proof Your Career

    Are you thinking for a living?

    When demographer Bernard Salt presents, he's always sensemaking for us; making sense of complex data, trends and information, no matter the topic.
    At a presentation on Jobs in the Knowledge Economy, he said with the rise of machine learning and constant technological developments, we might wonder if knowledge jobs (where you 'think for a living') are under threat or it's an even bigger opportunity waiting to happen.
    Constant change and daily disruption are familiar themes in the world of work and business today; the big upsides I see are there for the makers, artisans and creators.
    This is not about hippy art, pastels and macrame. It's about the way we think, design, engage and create things for customers, clients and each other.

    It's becoming easier to be a maker today. As Salt says:
    ‘the tools of production
    have become democratised’
    We've got greater access to a host of tools to make, create, shape and inspire change – whether that's in an analogue and/or a digital way.
    Entrepreneurism too is becoming even more accessible where you can adopt the thinking style of an entrepreneur, even if you're in a job role. I see this as the path for the future.

    Being entrepreneurial is no longer the thing you would 'fall back on' if your career path wasn't quite working out. Rather as Cameron Herold explains in his TED talk 'Let's raise kids to be entrepreneurs' (read the transcript) we have an instinctive drive to create, make and share. 
    In business we need to work smarter to adopt a culture of enterprise – and with it, a culture of failure. Failure is still hot right now in talk, yet I don’t see nearly enough leaders encouraging experimentation, inspiring curiosity or allowing and fostering ingenuity in their teams.
    Though digital might have brought the 'death of distance', Salt says we humans still crave connection. Our ability to start and maintain interpersonal relationships is still crucial to our future careers. 

    So how do you future-proof your career as these changes and disruptions continue?

    These three things will do it:
    • Fluidity
    • Agility
    • Mobility
    That means we need to be malleable and to 'go with it'.
    We need to adapt and respond. Swift-like!
    And we need to move... and be willing to be moved. 
    We need to upskill, reskill and soft skill and to adopt an easy-goingness that makes us approachable. This is a type of affability that keeps you friendly and outgoing... so that people want to work with you.
    Being social will get you far.  Whether it’s social face-to-face, online, remotely or however else you can connect, engage and be human with other humans... do that. 
    Fluidity. Agility. Mobility. And while you're at it, upskill, reskill, softskill.

    Affability will take you well into the future of work.

    The power of a book, no matter your job or role

    Books have become a powerful marketing and branding tool of today. They're better than a business card and can become a key part of your social media content. A book authored by you is an immediate way to show that you've got a point of view and that you have some wonderful expertise.  

    Yes, authoring a book shows you have a story to tell, advice to give or you want to provide an accompaniment to your services. This is ideal if you’re a coach, trainer or business or management consultant or have your own business. 

    Imagine being able to drop a book on the desk or table of a prospective client… it's powerful, influential and impactful.  You’re saying ‘here’s my thinking on the topic’, and 'this is why we know what we're doing'!

    But writing a book is a big deal. There are plenty of people who start but can’t finish. Or they don't start because they’re not sure of what's really involved ... it can be a tricky process to think, write and publish!  So, yes, a book is a BIG project.  

    Starting and then fizzing out...

    Many people start with great intentions, some clever ideas and a few words here and there with their initial attempts to write a book.

    I sure did! Several times. I think I had six different books that I'd started - and none of them finished, published or available for sale or put out into the world to go to work for me! That's a missed opportunity. A BIG one.

    A book can seem insurmountable at times; especially if you start with a flurry and then it all fades away and other things in life seem to take a higher priority. You might feel like you lose that initial spurt of energy or enthusiasm. You might even wonder if writing a book is a bit of a 'brag'. 

    Having a book (a hard copy book or an e-book or digital download) with your name on it isn't an ego thing at all. In fact the opposite is true; it's saying 'here is my thinking', 'here's what I'm working on' or 'here's where I'm heading next'. It's helpful, instructive, supportive and clarifying. 

    A book is a vital marketing tool for today. With social media available for you to share your thoughts, ideas and opinions, a book is the perfect way to bring these - and other -  ideas together in a focused, professional and contemporary way. 

    From average to leverage

    Having your own book published can help take you from being lost or hidden in the crowd.

    With so many businesses, consultants, entrepreneurs, marketers and job hunters looking to stand out and have a profile, it's too easy to slip into a space where everyone else is. Being a commodity or the same as others doesn't give you a competitive advantage. You're lost, hidden. 

    If you appear the same as every other consultant or coach, business owner or entrepreneur, how do you get ahead, build your profile or get known for your unique offer, services or expertise?

    Whether you're starting up your own business - or hope to in the future - having your services clearly positioned early on in the journey is smart thinking. And if you're already along the journey of being a freelancer, sole trader, entrepreneur or business guru, the best time is always 

    Getting the leverage of a book looks like this...

    Break clear

    Writing and publishing a book is a strategy to help you break clear from average. 

    You'll build your profile in the fields or industries you're interested in, strengthen your identity and be able to leverage the power of having your thinking, ideas and knowledge in print and able to be shared.

    This powerful combination helps position you in the market or industry in which you work - or would like to work. And if you're writing a book for the pleasure of it, you'll position your unique thinking and ideas in a way that no one else has. 

    You'll move from commodity to identity; from average to leverage

    Once your book is published, you have incredible opportunities to build on the profile and positioning that come from authoring. 

    Make 2016 the year you write and publish your book.