Category Archives: Career Transitions

What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas!

Las Vegas March 2014

 

What an experience I had!  I just came back from my first trip to Las Vegas.  Crazy things can happen there, right?  The Hangover trilogy depicts the epitome of Vegas craziness.  My crazy story has to do with leadership.  What?  I know, not many people equate Las Vegas stories with leadership skills, but then again, how many people do you know that went dune buggy racing in the desert?  That’s what I did with my business coaches and some of the people in the mastermind group.

This was an optional event, I didn’t have to go, but I asked myself:  When was the last time you did something for the first time?  I didn’t have an answer, so I knew it was time to shake things up.  We have to keep challenging ourselves with new experiences, otherwise we stop growing.  So, I signed up!

Yes, I was nervous.  I didn’t know what to expect and I made the mistake of going on the dune buggy website to see what it was all about.  Of course, their videos were extreme!  As a result of watching them, I considered backing out.  Instead, I stopped watching the videos!  I am so glad I went.  This is what I learned while speeding through the desert.

Whether you are leading yourself, your business or your career, here are four leadership lessons we can all implement:

1.  There are NO rear view mirrors on a dune buggy.  You don’t need them because your focus is on the trail ahead.  It doesn’t matter what is happening behind you, or what the others are doing, your focus is and should only be on the treacherous trail and the dune buggy ahead of you.  *  To be a successful leader, we need to stay focused on the road ahead.  We can’t rest on our laurels and shouldn’t dwell on our past mistakes.
FOCUS on the future.

2.  During our 10-minute orientation, they told us we don’t need the brakes.  “Drive it like you just stole it” was the advice we were given.  The point was to keep moving because we were chasing our guide.  When you chase after something, you don’t need brakes.  *  In our personal and professional lives, the only way we can achieve results is to take action.  Thinking about making a move, or studying our strategy does not get us any closer to achieving our business goals.
Floor it!

3.  The terrain was so rocky and rough (I expected more sand), that we had to learn a new way to hold the steering wheel.  We needed a looser grip and to place our thumbs on the outside of the wheel.  There were times I only had my palms on the wheel, or totally let go (which is so not like me!).  Holding on too tight can result in sprained or broken thumbs and an inability to steer the buggy.  *  Being in total control of every career or business situation is not always possible.  To be successful, we need to adapt to new and changing environments. 
Be Flexible!

4.  There were several times I couldn’t see a thing, due to sandstorms or because of the hilly drop-offs (yes, we all went airborne a few times!).  We were taught to follow the buggy in front of us.  This was probably the scariest for me because this meant I had to trust the guide, someone I just met 10 minutes ago.  Trust is difficult for me because I crave certainty, and I want assurances, and guarantees.  *  In the dune buggy, as in business, life and careers, there are no certainties.  You have to find people, who have been successful and are a several steps ahead of you so you can learn from them.
Have Faith in others.

In summary, to be successful as a leader of ourselves, our businesses or our careers, we must:
1.  Focus on the Future – Don’t worry about your past.

2.  Floor it – Stop thinking about what you are going to do and Take Action!

3.  Be Flexible in new environments – we can’t control everything;

4.  Have Faith in others – hire coaches, employees, and business partners, who are steps ahead of you to show you the way.

I am so glad I am connected with this adventurous group of business professionals.  They challenge me to take risks I wouldn’t take on my own.  Who do you have in your life that challenges you? 

 

If you liked today’s article, you’re welcome to use it in your own ezine or blog as long as you include the following blurb:

Doris Braun, Leadership Development and Executive Coach, helps women business leaders promote themselves, transition to new leadership positions and take on new career challenges.  Follow her on www.LeadershipSolutionsforWomen.com and Twitter @dorisbraun.

REinvention is the Mother of Necessity; Five Steps to Reinventing yourself for your next career

career-change_scrabbleI had coffee with a friend in New York City this week. When she asked about my business, I told her about the women I coach and the training solutions I create for my corporate clients.

Her follow-up questions indicated she was less interested in WHAT I do and more interested in HOW I made the transition from Wall Street to entrepreneur. It was then that I realized Lisa was considering her own REINVENTION and wanted to know what she needed to do to reinvent herself.

In the 1970s, women left home to join the workforce. Now, women are leaving corporate America to become entrepreneurs.  ForbesWoman wrote an article last year titled Entrepreneurship is the New Women’s Movement. http://www.forbes.com/sites/work-in-progress/2012/06/08/entrepreneurship-is-the-new-womens-movement/ Because I am a part of this movement, I decided to share the steps I followed to reinvent myself and create a new career.

Follow these five steps and you’ll be on your way to your own REINVENTION:

  1. Know What You Want
    Please don’t leave your corporate position, your paycheck, and your health benefits to ‘find yourself’ (unless you can afford to do this). Know what you want to achieve, and have a vision for yourself. This will allow you to create a plan. If you’re not sure what you want to do, ask yourself these questions: What do I truly enjoy doing? What am I enjoying when I lose track of time? What comes easily to me?

    So many women have an interest, but dismiss it because they don’t think they can monetize their idea. You still have a job, so don’t worry about the money. Just identify what you love to do and would be willing to do all day, every day.

  2. Take the First Step
    As I considered my own reinvention, I talked about coaching as a career, but I wasn’t taking any decisive action. In fact, I was ALL talk and NO action! My coach said to me, “Take one step in the direction of your vision.” I did, and signed up for a coaching course at New York University. The rest, as they say, is history.After you’ve identified what you enjoy doing, take a course, educate yourself, and learn as much as you can about your interest. Please stop THINKING about it and take decisive action.
  3. Shadow Other Professionals
    To ‘try on’ careers within coaching and corporate training, I shadowed two business professionals to see what was right for me. As a result of those experiences, I knew the direction to take because I could envision myself in that role.Lisa reminded me that we tell our children to shadow professionals, but we don’t heed our own advice. Shadowing allows us to get a feel for the position and helps us visualize ourselves in the role. If I hadn’t done this, I would have gone down the wrong path and wasted a lot of time, energy and earning potential.
  4. Take the (Part-Time) Plunge
    Thankfully, NYU recommended everyone in the coaching program start coaching pro bono. Once you find what you enjoy doing, do it on a part-time basis and for free. The pressure is off, because no one expects you to be an expert. Enjoy writing? Blog something. Enjoy baking? Bake for your friends and neighbors. To borrow from Nike, whatever your passion, just do it!
  5. Learn From Others
    Once I completed my studies, I realized even though I was successful IN business, I wasn’t experienced at building my OWN business. I immediately started to work with coaches, who have created their own successful coaching businesses. There’s no need to recreate the wheel.Women often don’t ask for help. Please believe me: there’s no shame in asking for help. To quote Jim Rohn, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”  That’s why I spend my time with successful business owners, who are generating 6- and 7-figure incomes.

Now that you know what you need to do, when will you start your REINVENTION?

 

If you liked today’s article, you’re welcome to use it in your own ezine or blog as long as you include the following blurb:

Doris Braun, Leadership Development and Executive Coach, helps women business leaders promote themselves, transition to new leadership roles and take on new career challenges.  Follow her on www.LeadershipSolutionsforWomen.com and Twitter @dorisbraun.

To Leave or Not to Leave?

To leave or not to leave…that is the question!

womanThis year, I celebrated my third anniversary leaving Wall Street.  I didn’t have a party, throw an event or even eat a cupcake.  Instead, I asked myself a very important question, am I still happy with my decision to leave?  As anyone who has left a steady income, bonuses and medical benefits knows, the answer better be a resounding, YES!  Fortunately for me, it was.

Wait!  I am not trying to burn any bridges to Corporate America.  I still work with companies and financial institutions and want to keep my relationships in tact, thank you very much.  It’s just that I have met so many amazing women at networking events, who tell me they want a change, they want to leave their positions, they want to create a better life for themselves and their families and they want to spend more time with their children.  That’s why I founded Leadership Solutions for Women…an expert career counseling, guidance and executive coaching business for women professionals and organizations looking to cultivate the next great female leader.

This letter is for all of you, my fellow career women who have often thought about leaving Corporate America, starting your own business, dreaming of a life of waking up and not having to commute two hours to your office.

Here is some executive guidance and career counseling tips to point you in the right direction.

Know what you are passionate about

I know, I know, you are probably tired of reading this.  All the magazine articles I have read, and continue to read, all ask the same question, What are you passionate about?  They also ask the question in a myriad of other ways:

  • What would you do if you knew you would not fail?
  • What makes your heart sing?
  • What would you do all day for no pay?
  • What gets you to jump out of bed in the morning?
  • What do you enjoy doing and lose track of time while doing it?

I’m sure you’ve come across these questions, especially if you have been thinking of leaving your corporate position.  There is a good reason for asking this.  I believe it is best to leave corporate with a development plan.  It’s even better if you leave with a plan and some experience doing this “work” part time.  You will be so much better prepared for the unstructured world you so badly want to enter.  I know, you are craving a day less structured, without commuting, without meetings and conference calls.  But without any structure or a leadership development plan, you are positioned to lose and, dare I say it, waste time and money.

“What if I don’t know what I am passionate about?”  You probably do know.  The reason why it isn’t coming up as a quick answer for you is because you can’t figure out how that passionate thing you love to do is going to make you any money.  When people focus on the how, they get lost in the details, get confused because they don’t see a proven path and before you know it, they have talked themselves out of doing what they love.

This happened to me.  Since 2008, I knew that I was passionate about coaching women, helping them get out of their own way so that they could achieve more professionally.  But I didn’t know how that was going to make me any money.  I talked to a few people about it, but they were the people who were also trying to figure it out.  It was at that time that I realized I needed to focus on the “why” be a professional career coach.

Know “why” you want to make a change

These are the questions that need answers:

  • What is your purpose for this career change?
  • Why do you want to leave corporate?

You have to know your “why.”  If you do not know why, when things get tough, you will be asking yourself another kind of why:

  • Why did I leave my 6-figure salary?
  • What was I thinking?

If you cannot answer these questions with your purpose, you are positioned for failure, ladies.  You will run to the first Executive Recruiter’s number you can find and tell her “I’ll take anything.  Just get me back in.”

Those challenging days, when you have no clients, no income, your systems aren’t working and you don’t have tech support to call – those are the days you must know your purpose.  And, you must very confidently remind yourself the reasons you left Corporate America, started this new venture, as well as all of the good you are going to achieve in your new work.

You have to know your “why” and be able to convincingly and persuasively tell yourself what a wonderful thing this is you are doing.

Learn from others

Jim Rohn said, “We are the average of the 5 people we spend the most time with.”  If you want to be a successful entrepreneur, then go find them and be in their company.  This isn’t the time to create a Book Club because you want to catch up with your neighbors and the latest on the New York Times bestseller list, unless of course your neighbors are successful entrepreneurs and you are reading business books on how to grow your business.

As a professional career coach, my advice is that you have to invest in ourselves in order to advance, learn and grow in this new direction we are taking.  After spending so many years in banking, attending several leadership conferences and training events, and even becoming a certified trainer to help others with their leadership and communications skills, I thought to myself:

  • What additional training do I need?
  • Why should I spend money to learn how to run a business?

I’ve been in business.  I know what it takes to run successful departments, projects and initiatives.  Yes, of course I had the knowledge to do those things, and of course I would be bringing this skill-set to my new business, but I didn’t have the first clue as to:

  • How to set up a mail campaign?
  • How to design a website that would attract clients?
  • How to build a client list?

Could I have figured it out?  Of course I could have, but who has the time and resources to figure it out?  I quickly learned that I needed to learn from the people who were a few, if not many, steps ahead of me.  They learned from the people ahead of them, and so on.  The wheel had already been created long before I jumped into the entrepreneurial pool.  There was no good reason for me to try to recreate it, so I learned from others.

Ah, there is so much more to share with you.  But I think we will keep it to these fundamental steps for now.  I’m confident this is enough to get you thinking, to get you started and hopefully focused on your next career move.  If I give you any more now, the overload of information may just scare you off.  I want to help and support you with this decision.

It can feel very risky, but it won’t be risky at all if you create development plan, and:

  • Know what you are passionate about
  • Know “why” you want to make a change
  • Learn from others

If you are like me and have made a big change, I would be interested in hearing from you and how you are moving forward.  Or, if you are just thinking about making a change, I would like to hear from you too.  Rest assured, you don’t have to go it alone.

I welcome the opportunity for you to ask me any questions about a possible career change.  Please contact me for a complementary career consultation.  Or simply visit my services page for more information.