All posts by carmeljack

The 3 P’s: Persistence Passion Purpose

The HubSpot Growth Show is great: http://www.hubspot.com/podcast the stories truly inspiring and serve to remind us that success doesn’t happen overnight, it takes persistence, determination, a lot of pulling ourselves back up, following a path when we don’t know if and when it’s going to happen for us, while remaining true to our passion, gut instinct and purpose.

images-1At the weekend I saw the actress Denise Gough give what has been credited as the West End performance of the year in People Places Things. I read afterwards that in 2012 when she received the critics award for most promising newcomer, she respectively said she’d been around for 10 years. Despite the award she then went on to have a period of 1 year before People Places Things where she had no work. She applied for and didn’t get a cleaning job and was about to give up on her dream when it finally happened for her.

Was it a lucky break? NO, it was sheer persistence, determination, a lot of pulling herself back up, following her path and staying true to her passion, gut instinct and purpose.

 

Succession Planning

KevinSpaceySuccession Planning: In an interview with Harvard Business Review Kevin Spacey was asked if he accomplished what he set out to as the Old Vic Theatre, he said that the most important thing was succession and that he wanted to build a theatre company solidly, so that when he left, it would continue. Words from his closing speech as he stepped down as Artistic Director: “The best thing about The Old Vic is its future”

How to Deliver Bad News

imagesHow to Deliver Bad News

Sharing bad news is not easy, you need to be straightforward in saying the toughest stuff, then listen and work through people’s response and say what you’re going to do next.

The Steps:

Preparing Mentally

Prepare yourself mentally for sharing bad news, by understanding how you naturally respond to difficult conversations, you will be able to make small adjustments for immediate impact. To do this you need to recognise your emotional triggers, you can achieve this by:

Paying close attention over time to your reactions: journalling is a great tool for keeping track of your triggers, write down how you felt at the time, review and identify the emotions that provoked strong and intense reactions
Familiarise yourself with how your body reacts to your emotions, for example: your heart beating faster, your body tensing, a sick feeling in your stomach, you’ll then be able to manage those emotions before they manage you
Having this awareness of your emotional triggers will allow you to make changes in the moment: taking a deep breath, counting to 10 or calling time out are simple yet effective steps

Speaking Emphatically

Prepare what you are going to say from a place of empathy and humility. Don’t sugar coat the truth, instead say what you have to say and phrase it in a way that others know you respect their humanity and then say what you’re going to do next. To achieve this:

Have clarity on what you want to say, ensure you step into the conversation calmly by rehearsing the conversation ahead of time
Know the key points you want to communicate in case emotions highjack your brain, and remember your ‘time out’ plan
Prepare how you will respond constructively to whatever accusations, grievances, or upsets that may be brought up, you can do this by considering the range of possible responses and highly emotional reactions

Managing Emotions

The conversation you’re about to have will most likely evoke a strong reaction. Emotions are the most present, pressing and sometimes most painful force in our lives. Prepare to manage emotions by:

Setting the emotional tone: The more sensitive the issue, the more rapidly emotions can escalate
Learning how to see things from other’s perspective, not as “you in their shoes” but as them, by really listening to their response and allowing them to tell their story
Countering emotional reactions with humility, when you share something difficult it’s natural for people to have an emotional reaction

Following these 3 steps will help you to develop a straightforward approach in saying the toughest stuff, to be open and honest about bad situations, and to navigate difficult situations with dignity for everyone impacted.

Evolving Careers Players run Masterclasses in Courageous Conversations. Experiential learning which is fast, focussed and intense: Each masterclass last 90 minutes and gets you practising your new found know-how through role-playing every day work-based situations.

To find out more about our Courageous Conversations Masterclasses visit: http://www.evolvingcareersplayers.com/masterclasses.html

 

Interviews: The Opening Question: Tell me about Yourself

Image 14-03-2016 at 12.52

INTERVIEW #1

The Opening – Setting the Scene – Steps to Crafting Your Inspiring Story

“Be yourself, everyone else is already taken” Oscar Wilde

Many interviews will start with the same prompt “Tell me about yourself”

Standard responses are along the lines of: “I studied (Major X) because I really wanted to make a difference in (Industry Y) and as you can see from my CV through my last job at (Company Z) I …

To move beyond this standard response to stand out from the crowd from the outset you need to craft “Your Inspiring Story” to show who you are as a person, not just a professional. To give meaning to what you will bring to the role and organisation.

The way your life has evolved, the things you’ve learned, your achievements, failures, dreams – these things are unique to you and make you more interesting than you perhaps realise. A good story is not a replication of your CV or LinkedIn profile, you need to go beyond that.

Steps to crafting your story:

Take an inventory of the chapters of your life – turning points that shaped who you are – what you learned, accomplished and experienced
Focus on memorable “aha” moments – vivid dimensions so people experience that moment with you
Uncover the themes in your story – what emerges as your passion – mentoring, research, relationship building, advancing knowledge …

http://www.evolvingcareersplayers.com

A Masterclass and the Power of Words

imagesI was at a Masterclass at the Theatre Royal Haymarket in which the Actor Mark Strong shared his experience of the industry and his career before hosting a Q and A. One of the questions Mark was asked was how he gets into a character – to understand the essence of their being. His reply was that’s its in the writing and he gets everything he needs from the words, he spoke in particular about his role as Eddie in the play “A View from the Bridge” by Arthur Miller.

It was a very simple yet powerful answer, because words have the power to change the world. Think of the four words, “I have a dream”. The moment they enter your mind, you know who said them and why. They are a call to action, and a call to find the best part of ourselves, because words have the power to arouse every emotion.

Words are fundamental in our lives and the medium through which we communicate who we are and what we stand for. Just as Mark used the words written to understand who Eddie is, the people we interact with come to understand our beliefs, values and dreams though the words we use to communicate. Because as people its what we can make with words – ideas, images, hopes, theories, fears, plans, understanding, expectations, a past and a future, culture, ways of seeing …. the list is endless and the power is simply ‘powerful’.

Whenever we communicate there is much at stake, and perhaps even more so in our working environment. When you’re preparing your next presentation or key note speech, to help your process, consider the following techniques actors in training develop to hone their skills in understanding the words, that will allow them to deliver them with the greatest impact:

They are encouraged to read play after play after play because script analysis is the nuts and bolts in the literal fleshing out to bring characters to life. Every line of dialogue, every movement, every action and reaction gives an understanding of a character’s motivations and objectives, emotions and desires and allows the actor to step in and become the character.

You can apply this technique by following the ‘Thought Leaders’ in your industry: study them as the actor does to gain valuable insights into their characters and stories. Use the same approach to understand what’s happening outside of your industry and sector, to recognise successful trends, practices, and behaviours that could make a difference to your world. Harvard and Forbes are good sources for promoting excellent communicators and leaders and people worth reading. Another excellent source is The growth Show from HubSpot, a business podcast for leaders featuring conversations with people who have achieved remarkable growth. The Growth Show from HubSpot

Interestingly writers are often recommended to take an acting course to follow this same process, because particularly in the early stages of developing a concept, they need to get to know their characters inside and out and learning to live in a character’s skin, the same way actors do sharpens their innate ability to substitute and imagine emotionally truthful stories. Maybe its time to take an acting class to develop your voice – technically to develop a great speaking voice and also to develop your unique character voice that will motivate, inspire and impact those listening to you.

In the meantime you can draw on your learnings from your reading, research and analysis to adapt this process to the concept, message, idea you want to communicate, by following these three steps:

1. Begin by understanding the bigger picture in the same way Dr. Martin Luther King did. He had a deep rooted understanding of the world he existed in, the challenges and problems, and the changes that needed to take place to move beyond this. You will need the same understanding of the world/industry/organisation/team you operate in.

2. Dr. King took time to get to know people at grass roots level, to understand their hopes, dreams, fears and challenges, you need to stand in the shoes of your audience to understand your world from different perspectives. These are the first steps in developing your message to communicate your understanding of what others are feeling and thinking and show respect of other’s point of view.

3. Having an understanding of both the big and small picture – the world you operate in and the individuals within that world, provides the backdrop to your story (script, concept, idea, message), as well as an understanding of the fundamental words you need to use that have the power to arouse every emotion, and how to deliver them with the greatest impact that demands a call to action.

Evolving Careers Players can help you make an impact through the power of words. The techniques of performing arts are at the core of our work. Get in touch to discuss your needs: carmel@evolvingcareersplayers.com

You can check out our programmes: http://www.evolvingcareersplayers.com/programmes.html

 

Thinking is the Ultimate Human Resource

imagesBecause I help people in career transition, I sometimes get asked by people if I’m always able to tell people what job they should be doing and I have to explain that that’s not what I do. What I actually do is facilitate the process which allows people to come to this realisation themselves, in essence I help people to have clarity in their thinking and as I said in an earlier post if we have a question, problem or situation we also have the answer or solution.

My programmes also support job search, and I get asked if I always get people a job, to which I reply: ‘my role is to support people in getting the job themselves’. This may all sound very cliché but when I’m performing in my role at my very best, I’m merely the facilitator in helping people do things for themselves. I meet with my clients weekly, fortnightly or whatever time-frame which allows them to carry out the objectives agreed on in our session, and I always say to clients that the best work takes place away from the sessions, whether that’s research, networking or marketing themselves, these are the actions that will drive their programme in line with their needs and objectives outlined at the outset of our work together.

I sometimes use the analogy of a sports coach and the world of Career, Leadership and Executive Coaching evolved from the world of sport.  Many of my clients will have worked with a sports coach or personal trainer or will have an understanding of how these people help their clients – individuals or teams get the most from their performance, they don’t go out and play a game or do their fitness programme for them, they do however walk alongside them , supporting their motivation, determination and persistence in achieving their goals, they help them to continuously improve their performance and to be in a position to achieve things for themselves.

Clients will want to achieve the objectives outlined at the beginning of their programme for themselves. This gives them great satisfaction and the skills they gain throughout the process remain with them and indeed help to progress their career to the next level, because of their ability to recognise what’s unique about themselves in terms of their skills, experience, knowledge and attributes. This allows them to be confident in communicating this and effectively marketing themselves, whether in writing – job application, CV, and cover letter, or in person – interviews, or in networking situations. The experience they gain in building their networks in their chosen field also remains with them and gives them the impetuous to continue to develop strong relationships, allowing them to easily navigate and progress their career when the time is right.

I truly believe Thinking is the ultimate human resource and once people are confident in their ability to think for themselves and believe they have the answers they need within them, this instils the belief they can do for themselves. The ultimate satisfaction for me in my work is when my clients are confident in thinking and doing for themselves and creative thinking promotes creative doing.

Evolving Careers Players can help you manage and develop your career. We deliver 121 career coaching, group learning and development, and outplacement services. We devise community forum theatre, corporate drama workshops and role-play scenarios. http://www.evolvingcareerslayers.com Get in touch to discuss your needs: carmel@evolvingcareersplayers.com

Mrs Beetons Christmas Puddings

????????????????????????????????????????My brother is an amazing cook and dinner at his house is always a culinary delight. As we both live in London we’ve shared many Christmas dinners with our respective family and friends. I remember one Christmas dinner when we were finishing our meal with a traditional Christmas pudding which he had made and I relayed a story of the first Christmas pudding I made.

It was in my first year in secondary school. I gave the pudding to my sister and her family as a Christmas gift but when she opened it, she found it had gone mouldy! My brother relayed a similar story about Mrs Beeton, who secured an order for her Christmas puddings from Fortnum and Mason – the wonderful British Food Emporium who for three centuries have been committed to bringing the world’s best food to Piccadilly. (In their own words) Now unfortunately for Mrs Beeton the Christmas puddings she made which were distributed in their Christmas hampers to their elite clients suffered a similar fate to mine – they were mouldy. Ooops!

This lead the conversation to Mrs Beeton, who perhaps was the Martha Stewart of her day. I originally thought she was a woman who had many years experience as a cook but the truth is she set out to develop her cooking ability at the age of 21 when she undertook a writing assignment to write a guide to all aspects of running a household in Victorian Britain, the book contained over 900 recipes and also gained the name ‘Mrs Beeton’s Cookbook’.

Mrs Beeton was an accomplished pianist, having studied music in Heidelberg, however she established her career in writing when she married her husband who was a publisher of books and magazines and she began to write articles on cooking and household management for his publications. The rest as they say is history.

I expect Mrs Beeton would have developed her career even further or indeed developed a new career as I’m sure you’ll agree she was a woman of many talents but sadly she died aged 28. Similarly to Mrs Beeton we all have the potential to develop new skills that will allow us to perform in the career of our choice and in line with the demands of the role, I also believe we all have the capacity and capability to have a number of careers in our lifetime and the proof of that I guess in the pudding – or maybe not!

Evolving Careers Players can help you manage and develop your skills and career. We deliver 121 career coaching, group learning and development, and outplacement services. We devise community forum theatre, corporate drama workshops and role-play scenarios. http://www.evolvingcareerslayers.com Get in touch to discuss your needs: carmel@evolvingcareersplayers.com