7 Ways to Face Down Your Fear of Failure and Come Out Stronger on the Other Side

Right now, there’s only ne thing holding you back from success at work. And that’s fear. Not of ghosts or clowns or spiders, but of messing up and falling flat on your face.

Regardless of what you do for a living or where you are on the ladder, here’s some advice/inspiration on how you can face your own fears—and come out stronger on the other side.

Read the full article here:  7 Ways to Face Down Your Fear of Failure and Come Out Stronger on the Other Side.

Message us here or via Twitter and let us know what you think!

 

Meet Yourself Half-Way: Why a Mid-Year Check-in Can Spell Success in All Areas of Your Life

August is here!  Aside from ungodly heat, spiked lemonade and the omnipresent Summer Olympics, what this time of year truly has in store is the opportunity to do a check-in with yourself.

In sports, the split is the intermediate times during a race that gives athletes an understanding of how they are performing, allowing them to adjust their pace accordingly.  In screenwriting, figuring out the midpoint is the key to determining where the story goes, what it means — and how to make it a success. And, in business, smart companies examine goals and performance at the half-way point to ensure that they will hit the marks set earlier in the year.

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When Your Job is Like a Bad Relationship

We’ve joked that there’s a book in our future (or at least a blog post or two) about the connections between your career and dating. Think about it: Going on a job interview is akin to a first date. You want to make sure you have on the right outfit, you’re well-groomed, and come across as confident, relaxed and likable.

This fun Forbes.com post, “When Your ‘Dream Job’ Isn’t Your Dream Anymore”, is more about what goes wrong after you are officially committed — comparing that new job you were so psyched about to a relationship gone sour. The truth is that jobs–just like partners–may not always be as great as they seemed at first glance so make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into!

The Good, The Bad and the Scary: How Your Digital Profile Impacts Your Job


The Web still continues to be, in most minds, the Wild West (the WWW, if you will). Constantly changing, filled with danger and opportunity, you never know where the next shot will be fired and who will be the next sheriff in town. So, with that in mind, we share with you the WWW’s impact on your job search — Spaghetti Western-style: The Good, The Bad and the Scary:


THE GOOD: Getting Information and Access Is Easier Than Ever.

A lot has been said about companies using social media to identify and screen potential employees, particularly the newly minted set.  But now, the proverbial mouse is in the other hand, according to a recent survey — nearly 28 percent of college students plan to seek employment using LinkedIn. Slightly more than seven percent plan to use Facebook, a platform formerly seen as primarily social.

It’s that blurring of the lines that is actually putting the soon-to-graduate set in the driver’s seat; instead of waiting around for that recruiter to reach out, they’re using digital tools to identify and, ideally, land their ultimate gig. For them, the wealth of online information helps them cull through options to identify companies that align with their values and goals. All is fair game, and a strong digital presence is one way for employers to attract the best and brightest to their ranks.

THE BAD: The Internet never forgets.

Another survey — this one from the Society of Human Resource Management — shows that more companies are recruiting via social networking. Not surprising that almost 100 percent of recruiters use LinkedIn.  What might be news is that Facebook is the next most utilized Social Media site (58%), followed by Twitter (42%).

In addition to being careful about what you post, it’s a good practice to give pause before giving access. In other words, think twice about to whom and to which sites you give access to your Facebook profile. You are who you “hang” out with — one and offline; make sure you know the friends who have access to your profiles and that everyone you are connected to is carefully considering what they post to your wall or the photos you’re tagged in.

THE SCARY: Like it or Not, Everyone is A “Public Figure”

As we’ve said before – Google is your first resume. In Be Your Own Best Publicist, we caution that everything you say (or post) can and will be used against you. Run a red light? Cameras are there to catch it. Fall in a fountain accidentally? Someone is filming on a flip cam and uploading to YouTube before you dry off. In this day and age, when walking on the street can inadvertently turn you into an overnight celebrity, everything — did we say “everything”? — is on the record and privacy has basically gone out the window.

Unfortunately, unlike the of-the-moment celebrity or sports star, that white hot spotlight doesn’t translate into a lucrative endorsement deal or the ability to borrow that $1 million pair of Harry Winston earrings for your company’s annual awards ceremony.

 

So remember, your digital profile is your lasting legacy.  Pay attention to your posts, your posse and your privacy settings to stay on the right track.  Giddyup – and good luck!

What other things worry you about the impact of the digital realm?  Share with us here, on Facebook or on Twitter.


Four Career Resolutions You Can Stick To

We all do it — make resolutions at the outset of a brand new year that often fall by the wayside before the end of January (why do you think the New Year is a peak time for gym membership sales but 60% of them go unused?). So how do you strike a balance between setting reachable and unrealistic goals for yourself? How can you approach the “New Year, New You” mentality for your career and actually stick to your plan?  Here are four ideas:

1. Think about what you’ve learned. At the beginning of every year, we each gather our teams together for a “What I’ve Learned” meeting, where everyone shares their top lessons from the past year. This is a great exercise for anyone to do because it enables you to step back and review how the last 12 months went at work and what enlightened you along the way. By discussing it in a group, you also get the added benefit of other people’s lessons. These key learnings — drawn both from mistakes you made and things you did well — will help you plan ahead for the coming year, avoid making the same mistakes again and find ways to put your helpful knowledge to use.

2. Give yourself a few attainable goals and one stretch goal. Even better than creating a laundry list of big goals (e.g. lose 50 lbs., start the next Facebook), many of which you may not reach, break them down into bite-size lists of two or three realistic goals per quarter (i.e. work out 2x/week and cut 100 calories a day, organize your office, spend an hour a day on strategy). Then, just to push yourself, add one that’s a bit harder to reach, what we like to call a “stretch” goal. It should be something that you strive to accomplish but will challenge you and get you outside your comfort zone. For example, maybe there’s an industry award that you’d like to win for your work that’s tough to get. How can you go about getting nominated or creating something good enough to be recognized in 2011?

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GIVE YOURSELF A HOLIDAY GIFT: REASSESS YOUR CAREER

Where did the year go?  We feel like the dog days of summer just ended (summer, what summer?) and now we can’t go into a store without hearing Bing Crosby sing White Christmas. As the countdown to 2011 is in full swing, instead of focusing solely on buying gifts and decorating your tree — or lighting the menorah or kinara, what have you — now is an opportune time to take a good look at your career and assess where you want it to go in the New Year.  Are you vying for a new job?  More responsibility in your current position?  An entirely new career?

Here are a few key things you can do between now and the end of December to take stock of your career situation:

1. Check out the market. Speaking from personal experience, we’re actually hiring right now (and know of lots of others doing so as well) so it’s not true, as many people think, that the job market dies down between Thanksgiving and New Year’s.  In fact, we’ve seen some really stellar talent out there at this time of year and, because many people take a break from their search over the holidays, there’s also less competition. Check job listing sites but don’t rely solely on them.  Ask around — often the best jobs are the ones that aren’t advertised and, if someone is hiring towards the holidays, he or she will be eager to snap up a strong candidate who is ready to start as soon as possible.   No one wants to kick off the New Year without a full staff in place.

2. Spread some holiday cheer. If you’re not finding open positions in your field, try to book some friendly informational interviews at companies that interest you.  Things tend to slow down for people in December so they might actually have the time to squeeze in a quick coffee with you (or, if not, you can at least get on their calendars now for after the New Year).  Offer to come to their office or a convenient location for them — and be sure to pick up the check.  If you can’t get in to meet people face-to-face, send a nice note or small token to wish them a happy holiday season.  Be creative so you stand out from the pile of “Season’s Greetings.”  We just received a package of salted caramels in a small corrugated cardboard box with a hang tag that we absolutely loved — it was low-cost and simple but memorable (and delicious!).

3. Look back and look forward. December is a great time to analyze your accomplishments over the past year and set goals for the year ahead. Write them all down — having a record will come in handy when you want to ask for a raise or promotion in your current job, outline your assets for a potential new job or create a roadmap to follow as you move forward.  Ask yourself: Did I achieve what I wanted to this year?  What could I have done better?  What am I most proud of?  What do I hope to accomplish in 2011 and how will I tackle it?

How do you view the end of the year — as a time to get some rest and focus on friends and family, or an opportunity to reflect on where you’ve been and where you’re going?  Let us know your thoughts in the comments section.

WHAT’S YOUR (RESUME) STORY?

It’s not news that workers today feel the need to jump around to get the money, experience or accolades they desire (and feel that they deserve). According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median years a person stays in one job is 4.1 years (2008) and an average person will have to have 7-10 jobs over their careers.

Given that today’s workplace narrative has shifted from a loyalty tale to one where varied experience is king, your resume should be crafted to reflect who you are and where you want to go.  And, perhaps more importantly, when you walk into an interview, knowing how to share your resume story will be crucial to locking in any new opportunity.

Do you flit or sit?

FLIT: If you’re a “Butterfly” (i.e. candidates that have a long list of positions on their resume, each held for only a year or two), it begs the question: If the candidate is hired and the time (and money!) is spent on training, will he/she stick around long enough to make it worthwhile for the company?

SIT: On the flip side, maybe you’re more like a “Beagle” — someone who has been at the same company for years, who has demonstrated loyalty and dedication.   The one watch out: You may be seen as set in your ways or not as tapped into what’s happen in the current marketplace.

Whoever you are, when walking into a job interview, you should be prepared with a strong story about why you did/did not make the jumps:

  • Have you stuck it out at your company for a long time? Talk about qualities like loyalty and commitment and the opportunities that have been offered to you.  Come ready to share stories about your various victories and accolades earned.
  • Do you move around every few years? Focus on sharing the evolution of your experience and what that varied background can add to a potential employer.  Underscore your interest in finding a place to learn and grow for a while.
  • Are there gaps in your work experience?  It’s not unusual in today’s economy to have some gaps.  Maybe there were layoffs or shifts in directions that created the need to separate from your employer.   No worries, just make sure you’re prepared to talk about alternative experience (e.g. volunteering, school, externships) and that you can explain simply/easily why you and the companies in question parted ways.

Tell us, do you relate more to the butterfly or beagle?  What’s the story that you’ll tell to a potential employer about your work experiences?   Share your thoughts with us on Facebook or Twitter (@bestpublicist).

MOVING FROM BACKSTAGE TO CENTER STAGE

“Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain” — so bellowed the Wizard of Oz as he tried to maintain the magic that he had created.

Jessica and Meryl "backstage"

We know his pain. In Be Your Own Best Publicist, we talk about how public relations people are typically the ones behind the proverbial curtain, pulling the strings and making other folks look good in the spotlight.  And, our goal with this book is to help you learn how to promote yourself in the best way possible, so you’ll reap rewards in the workplace. But in doing that, we have had to come out from behind the curtain and take a bit of center stage ourselves — that’s what you have to do these days to sell a book!

So, instead of setting up a photo shoot for our clients or being on set while a celebrity was photographed for a magazine cover, as is often the case with our jobs, we arranged a shoot where we were the subjects.  Let us tell you, it is not easy being a model — no wonder supermodel Linda Evangelista said she wouldn’t get out of bed for less that $10,000 a day!

In the talented hands of photographer Simon Alexander and makeup artist/hairstylist Sadah Saltzman, the experience was made much easier.   For fun, we took some shots of us “behind the scenes,” a few outtakes featured here.

Getting our dance on to Lady Gaga

Both of us prefer to be on the other side of the camera, but here are a few tips we used to loosen up and get comfortable on set, all of which you can also use before you going on an interview or speaking in public:

1) Music feeds the soul. Simon loaded up the 80s tunes and some Lady Gaga to get us going on set.  If you have a big interview or presentation, before you leave for work or on your way, crank up your favorite tunes to pump you up and help your confidence so you’ll do a good job.

2) Keep a sense of humor. Laughter truly is the best medicine and helps diffuse an awkward situation or a tense meeting.  It also instantly relaxes people.  We found plenty of comical moments during the shoot and it’s reflected in some of the best shots of the day.

Laughing on the set

3) Dress confidently and comfortably (and powerfully). We brought several outfits as options for the shoot but the common thread was that they were bold, stylish and yet comfortable enough to stand around in for hours. When you’re preparing for an interview, a speech or an important work function, pick something that will reflect your personality and style, help you stand out (even if it’s a great tie or necklace that elevates that simple black shift or grey suit) but doesn’t make you want to change into your PJs and slippers after wearing it all day.  If you’re going to sport those 5-inch heels, make sure you’ve broken them in and you can walk in them. Choose your “power” look (be it “business chic” or “casual cute”) and rock it.

Last of all, no matter what the situation–photo shoot, interview, presentation, networking event–the best advice is to have fun.

Have you ever had to be front-and-center vs. behind-the-scenes? Share your story with us on Twitter or Facebook.