A Successful Interview Primer


We all want to have an interview that leads to a job offer correct? Get a job offer after all and we can stop writing resumes and going to job interviews. Even if you enjoy writing resumes, applying for jobs and attending job interviews, you can’t get past that it takes time and energy; both of which we’d rather spend actually working and getting paid to do so!

So here’s some pointers broken down into categories. Hope you find them helpful.

FIRST IMPRESSION

  • Dress a notch above what you’ll typically wear on the job
  • Formal, business or business casual dress depending on the job; never casual
  • A firm, dry handshake, solid eye contact, a smile
  • Stand up straight, no slouching or stooping; look as fit as possible
  • Good hygiene: deodorant, clean hands and teeth, hair off the face, fresh breath
  • Turn your phone off just before reaching Reception
  • Greet the Receptionist with warmth; he/she may be asked for feedback

BRING WITH YOU

  • A résumé for yourself and up to 3 copies for those interviewing you
  • The job posting showing with highlights on the skills and qualifications
  • 2 pens (if 1 should run dry), paper for notes
  • A thank you note to be given to the lead interviewer later the same day
  • 3 or 4 written questions to ask before leaving
  • Enthusiasm, a positive outlook and some energy

IF YOU SIT DOWN

  • Show your preparation and lay out your résumé, job posting, notepad, pen, etc.
  • Offer copies of your résumé to anyone without one
  • Glance at your résumé if you need to recall points during the meeting
  • Lean slightly forward in the chair, sit up straight but look comfortable
  • Enjoy the conversation; this is an opportunity NOT an inquisition
  • Put your shoulders back and watch your posture

IF YOU STAND OR WALK

  • Match the pace of the interviewer, put energy in your step
  • Keep your right hand empty for handshakes along the way
  • Look interested in what you see, be observant and picture yourself working
  • Be friendly with whomever you meet; you never know their title or influence

WHAT YOU SAY

  • Ensure you have energy and enthusiasm in your voice
  • Market your value and benefits just as you would a product you’re selling
  • Know why you want the job and how hiring you benefits them
  • Vary the pace of your words, slowing down to emphasize points made
  • Never curse, resort to slang or speak badly of former employers, companies etc.
  • Use skill-based language as you speak; the words you found in the posting
  • Provide examples from your past and specific examples that prove your claims
  • Express gratitude for the interview, anticipation of joining them soon
  • Avoid talking excessively or one-word answers
  • Ask for clarification if you are unsure of a question
  • Steer clear of saying anything controversial that could damage your chances

NON-VERBAL COMMUNICATION

  • Keep good eye contact throughout the interview
  • Avoid distracting behaviour like twirling hair, tapping your pen, bouncing legs
  • Always look focused and show strong interest
  • Listen to questions asked and make sure you answer the questions asked
  • Check your clothes before putting them on for cleanliness
  • Shine your shoes
  • Avoid large, dangling jewelry
  • Be punctual, allow for delays
  • If there’s time, check your appearance nearby before announcing your arrival

WRAPPING THINGS UP

  • Make a solid last impression – (more important than the first impression!)
  • Know the next steps in the hiring process by asking
  • Get business cards, contact information and how to follow-up
  • Find out when a decision is to be made
  • Ask if there’s more information they would like which you could offer
  • Express gratitude again for the conversation and your peaked interest
  • Thank the Receptionist, get their name (you will be calling them to follow up)
  • Smile again and shake hands firmly
  • Leave them your references

POST INTERVIEW

  • Ask Reception for interviewers contact info and proper spelling of name/title
  • Find a quiet spot and jot down any problem questions
  • Pen a Thank You card now and return to the Receptionist, leaving it with them
  • Note a follow-up date in your phone or agenda
  • You may still be observed until you leave the property so you’re still, ‘on’
  • Note your surroundings should there be a 2nd interview

There is great debate over which is more important, what you say or how you say it. Many people believe that the interview is largely successful or not somewhere in the first 45 seconds to 3 minutes of meeting a candidate. In other words, that first impression is critical.

Interviewers are generally smart enough to know that their first impressions are just that, and the bulk of the interview is determining if that first impression was correct or perhaps they misjudged an applicant and their opinion is changed. You are fully in control of how you come across with your body language, your words, the preparation and research you completed ahead of time and how you behave during the conversation. While this is a lot of responsibility, it’s nice to know that you’ve got a lot more control on the decision to hire you than you might have thought otherwise.

For more pointers, tips and general suggestions on how to both get and keep a job, I invite you to visit https://myjobadvice.wordpress.com/ where you’ll find my personal blog. There you can check out past blogs, comment, click on follow to get notifications on new ones etc.

Always with enthusiasm and appreciation for your readership and support

Kelly

 

 

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Nervous About An Upcoming Interview?


First things first; congratulations on the interview! Give yourself credit because you’re up against a lot of other people all competing for employment. So well done!

That credit your giving yourself is important because its external validation that  you’ve done a good job responding to the employer’s needs. Employer’s need people who can be productive and add to the success of the organization, so just getting to the interview is a good sign that they like what they read.

Okay, so you’re nervous. There are two kinds of situations where nerves can have you feeling anxious . The first is where you haven’t prepared at all for the interview. Not only did you not prepare, your plan is to wake up and wing it, counting on your natural ability to charm and think on your feet. If this has worked in the past, it will likely work again. Wrong. Employer’s are better qualified than before, better trained and can size up these candidates quickly. Your nerves will go through the roof as you slowly become more and more exposed as having not invested any time at all in doing some basic homework. You’ll be nervous, and for good reason as you’ve brought this on yourself.

The second kind of nervous is the good kind; yes you read right…there is a good kind! This is nervous excitement! You’ve prepared yourself as best you could, read up on the job posting, their website, you may have talked to some employees and you really want this job. The possibility that you’re soon going to be hired for a job you can do well, doing work you’ll enjoy and in a situation you’ll be successful at is so motivating! So this nervous excitement as the interview draws closer is fantastic.

As someone who loves interviewing, I’d be more worried for you if you felt no nervousness at all – that would be a huge warning sign that you’re running on autopilot and aren’t as invested in the job or company to the extent you should be.

Now, what to do to help you get those nerves under control. First off, breathe… Stress is a physical thing, and a few deep breaths; in through the nose and out through the mouth will help you give your body oxygen when it needs it to relax. Now stand up for a moment. Seriously. Place your hands on your hips and spread your legs, with equal weight on both feet. You’re in the, ‘Superman’ pose. Head up and looking straight ahead, chest slightly out and hold this for two or three minutes. Do this before the interview – say in the washroom or reception area and you’ll feel confidence growing. Odd thing is, it works.

Now, first impressions are important so choose clothing you feel comfortable in that fit the job you’re applying to. Check them a few days before so they are clean, ironed and you’re ready. On the morning of the interview, shower, brush the teeth, do your hair (off the face as a general guideline for women) and give yourself enough time to get where you’re going anticipating delays.

It’s always good to bring multiple copies of your résumé (for you and for them), pre-determined questions you want answered, paper and pen for notes, the job posting and your references to offer at the end. Depending on the job, you might want any certificates or proof of licences and education requirements too.

Smile at the first meeting, offer a firm handshake and look the interviewer(s) in the eye as you do so. When you walk, don’t amble or shuffle along, walk with purpose and be aware of slouching shoulders.

As for answering questions, use the STAR format. Well, I endorse it at any rate. Essentially you answer by sketching out SITUATIONS you found yourself in so the get a framework for your answer, present the TASK or problem to overcome, move to the ACTION you took in rising to the challenge and finish with a positive RESULT that came about because of what you did.

This format is neat, tidy and concise. It will help you PROVE you’ve done what you claim you can do. I can’t stress enough how specific examples you give are essential to a successful interview. Without specific examples in your answers, you’re hoping they’ll believe you’ve got the experience and skills you state you do, and you’ll come up short.

The tone of your voice is important too. Nervous people often talk quicker and their voices are slightly higher. Slow your words down, pause every so often to emphasize certain things you believe are critical, and your voice suddenly gets more interesting, more meaning is attached to your words and the overall impact is a more attentive audience.

As the interview wraps up, ask for their business card. All the information you need to follow-up with a thank you note or phone call is on that card. Do send a card of thanks! Many don’t bother these days and that’s even more reason to do it. You stand out and that’s what you’re hoping to do.

The most important thing you can do is leave a lasting positive impression. Why hire you? What makes you the right fit? Answer this now, before you get to the interview. It’s not about what you want, but how hiring you is in the company’s best interests.

Doubt Yourself? This Is A Strength!


Do you doubt your abilities or skills in your workplace? Do you wonder if you’re as effective or as productive as you should be? Good! You my friend have just identified a strength.

I bet that comes as ironic because perhaps seen your lack of confidence as a weakness. I mean after all, how can self-doubt be good? Well, read on and see if what I’ve got to say doesn’t make you change your point of view.

Think of doubt as your instincts kicking in when you’ve got a decision to make. Should I choose one thing over another, or even when presented with several options and having to make the best choice. Some people confidently make a choice and stick by their decision, sure in their ability to make the correct one. You however, are less sure, so you pause, hesitating while you think and weigh the pros and cons of the choices before you and even as you make your choice, an inner voice is crying out, “Wait! Not all the information has been processed yet and we might be wrong!”

Now if the top prize always goes to the person who makes the quickest decision, sure the confident person might win more than they lose. However, even the most confident person will tell you that their confident decisions turn out to be incorrect every so often.

Self-doubt is a good thing if it causes us to check on the information we already have or gather more information when necessary to make the best choices. So if you teach or instruct, you may doubt your ability to communicate a topic to your audience; to get through to the extent you’d like. The ideal thing to do is to check with those you’re teaching; essentially determining if you’re being as effective as you’d like or as your employer expects. Checking with your audience might be done verbally as in asking for them to paraphrase what they’ve learned, or it could be in the form of a test. Have you ever considered that tests don’t only show what someone has learned but also show the ability of the teacher to instruct?  It’s true!

Self-doubt can also benefit you if you are feeling pressured into doing something that goes against your moral compass. Ever had one of those moments when you were dared to do something that you just felt was wrong? You wanted perhaps to impress someone or a group, but to do so meant hurting someone intentionally? You doubted your ability to actually do it though and said something like, “I don’t know if I can do this. It just seems wrong.” That was self-doubt kicking in and it was a good thing back then and it’s still a good thing today.

Now while self-doubt is a good thing; a strength, in its extreme, it can be a negative. When self-doubt has you completely paralyzed, unable to go ahead and make any choice at all, that frozen state of inaction that robs you of your ability to choose is not a good thing.

If you know you have to compile a report for your boss by a certain date and you’re completely at doubt about if you can do it, it will definitely be an issue if the day comes and you haven’t even started. However, I don’t think that’s just self-doubt kicking in, that’s also the fear of asking for help until you gain the confidence to do similar reports on your own in the future. Not everybody learns at the same pace, and you might need more help before mastering the skills needed to compile reports on your own.

Of course self-doubt takes energy. Many who doubt themselves wish they had more self-confidence, especially when it comes to big choices and big decisions. I have to say though, at the root of this self-doubt there’s often an explanation for this present behaviour in the past. Many who continually doubt themselves had little praise, support and encouragement from people in influential positions while growing up – parents, teachers, employers and yes former/present partners.

An abusive partner who constantly looks for every opportunity to be critical and demeaning, can unfortunately cause a lot of damage in a person. If you were told all the time, “This coffee tastes like crap!” you’d start to doubt your ability to make a good one. This lack of confidence and heightened self-doubt is a cruel result of bullying and abuse. In fact, if you as a co-worker or boss find you’ve got an employee who seems plagued with self-doubt, you could help them immensely with some encouragement to make choices and not come down hard on them when they make a choice you’d rather they didn’t. Words of encouragement will do more to achieve the desired result than any words said in anger and frustration. In fact, just by being such a person’s boss, your title alone is something they’ll feel intimidated by.

Good advice? Start with small decisions; those with small consequences. If you can, look for work that might have less responsibility for decision-making; at least until your self-doubt gradually subsides. Increasing your confidence is also something you might share with others, so you receive encouragement more often. Remember self-doubt is a strength and can often have you re-evaluate your thinking and come up with a better result.

All the best out there today and every day!

Not Feeling As Grateful As You Should?


If you count yourself among those in the workforce, think back for a moment to the last time you were unemployed . If it was a brief period where you were out of work you might not have felt any desperation, but if it was a prolonged period, you’ll appreciate the state you emerged from. Appreciate not from any endearment of course, but appreciate from the point of having great respect for what it felt like.

If you go back in your memories, you might remember the anxiety and worry; the fear of not knowing how long it would be until you found a new job. Maybe you can recall the constant mental energy that your unemployment consumed. Any time you took a break from your job search to do something else, you felt like you should be job searching, so things that typically brought you joy failed to do so. Even if you did escape the concerted thought required to job search successfully, it was for the briefest of times, and then you’d be right back consumed with your unemployment.

At some point, I wonder if you thought to yourself, “When I do get my next job, I’m going to be so grateful; I’m going to do my best to work hard at rewarding the trust somebody will show in hiring me.” Did you think something along these lines? Maybe you even went so far as to make a promise down on your knees in a prayer? “Help me find a job and I’ll (fill in the blanks)”.

Okay now back to the present. Here you are and yes your thankful you’re back among the working. So about that prayer where you promised something in return for a job…? So about that gratitude you’d feel and hard work you’d show everyday once you were working…? How are you doing?

Have you slipped back by any chance into the old, comfortable you? Has your status as a working person and the income it provides that offsets your expenses lulled you back into old habits that might have been responsible in part for your previous unemployment? If so, why is that? Did you or didn’t you promise yourself that things would be different if and when you found your next job? So what happened?

One explanation might be that the job you ended up getting is a far cry from the job you’d imagined at the time you made those promises and had those feelings of future gratitude. Had you known you’d end up where you are now, you wouldn’t have been so grateful or desperate. Really? If that’s the case, you wouldn’t mind returning to being out of work? Think on that. You don’t really want to be back there again do you? I mean, thinking all day long about finding a job, watching what you spend, doing without and the only things rising are your worry, anxiety, fear, desperation, debt and depression.

Human nature being what it is, maybe you have slipped back into the old you – behaving the same way, as your actions are products of your thoughts, and your thoughts are similar to pre-unemployed days. There’s a saying that goes, “Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it.” Does this saying in this respect apply to you?

Okay so grudgingly you admit you’re not as thankful as you were when you got that call that offered you the job. That’s a day you don’t mind remembering at all. Oh it was good! So were the moments you told someone close to you that you’d been hired and of course the first pay.

Of course this job you have now might not be your dream job. Yes, it could be that you took this job you’ve got now as a transition job – just to curb the financial bleeding of money out. The thing is, it’s taking longer to find the right job than you’d ever have imagined, and there is a part of you that resents this current job,  as it seems to be a reminder some days of the difference between were you thought you’d be and where you are. Is that however, any justification for taking your own feelings of poor self-worth with you into your current workplace and spreading that disappointment and negativity around? Is this how you show gratitude for their faith in hiring you back when you were feeling desperate?

If we’re completely objective here, or if we look at things from the perspective of the employer, no it’s not fair. The baggage you’re carrying with you about your career aspirations and how things have worked out is yours and yours alone. This employer who brought you aboard by hiring you doesn’t deserve anything but your best. If you’re moving on to something better soon (well that’s the plan anyhow), that’s fine, but while you’re in the here and now, you’ve got a job to do.

In other words, as you go through your day, make sure your invested in the work you’re getting paid to do. Don’t let your thoughts wander too far into the future, thinking about what you’d rather be doing. These thoughts can, if not checked, make you miserable in the present and miserable workers aren’t attractive to employers. The last thing you want is to be let go.

Gratitude is best shown in the attitude you bring and the value you add.

Anyone Getting Asked What Animal They’d Be?


“If you were an animal, which one would you be and why?”

Even though I know the purpose behind this question, I cringe every time I hear it. For starters, it’s old, tired and used so often as an example of a bizarre question that I wonder if anyone out there actually asks it any more. If you’ve been on the receiving end of this question recently, I’d love to hear from you in the comments section.

Okay, so the point of the question; I mean, what purpose does it serve? Fair enough. That’s a good starting place for any potential question coming your way – know what’s behind the question; the purpose it serves. This type of question was often included in an interview to see how a candidate thinks on their feet when given something unexpected.

These days many people prepare for their upcoming interviews by enlisting the help of a Job Coach, Employment Counsellor, Career Counsellor etc. These people typically help by readying the applicant to succeed by having mock interviews. They anticipate questions that employer’s may ask, then coach their clients on how best to go about answering those same questions.

As an employer, it makes sense that in evaluating the applicants they interview, they want to see a person think and respond as themselves, not someone who is just regurgitating what they’ve memorized or been told what to say. To safeguard against this possibility, they may throw in the odd question that no one could reasonably be expected to ask. For decades now, some interviews have used the animal question or some version of it such as, “What fruit would you be?”, “What colour would you be?” or “What superhero would you be?” and of course “Why?”

Some think it is imperative to choose an animal that has qualities that relate to the job being applied to. A commissioned Salesperson choosing an aggressive animal, someone being expected to make a long-term commitment choosing a dog because of its loyalty etc. As for colour, fruit, superhero etc., it’s the same idea – pick one that you can relate to the desired qualities of the job you are applying to.

Me? I’ve found very few employer’s are using these as much anymore. Their questions are limited by the time set aside for interviews, and the information they need is better obtained asking directly relevant questions.

When I’m conducting mock interviews with those I serve, the closest I come to this is my last question which is simply, “Impress me.” I find it serves the purpose of being unexpected and as I observe their reaction I can see it has the desired impact of having them pause to think. It then gives them the latitude to tell me whatever they feel would best sway my opinion of them in their favour. Think of it like being asked what your greatest accomplishment has been, what you’re proud of, what I would truly find remarkable or something to note about you as we draw this interview to a close. In other words, it’s a chance to make a last impression on me the interviewer. And yes, relate it in your own way to the job you’re applying for now.

The animal question specifically though? I cringe. The way to answer this is easy. Answer quickly instead of stalling for time and stay away from anything questionable such as a weasel, snake or rat. Even if you like these personally, stereotypes don’t endear them to a lot of interviewers. Or be contrary and provocative if you wish and take your chances.

The thing about this question is its comparatively weak and has questionable benefit to anyone contemplating whom to hire. If you nail all the other 8 questions asked and bomb the animal question, you’ll likely still impress. Conversely, answer the animal question well but fail to impress when asked the more relevant questions and all you’ve got is the knowledge of what you’ll choose to be if/when you get asked to choose your next life form. How likely is that to happen?

There are all kinds of versions of the bizarre, unexpected question. “If you were a brick on the wall, which would you be and why?” is another. These also get asked if the interview suspects your answers sound too rehearsed, too practiced, anticipated and the answers simply robotic. So yes, they serve a purpose beyond just playing head games with poor unfortunate interviewees. Most interviewers respect their own time – and yours by the way – far too much to add unnecessary questions.

So I wonder, as an applicant in an interview, when was the last time you got asked such a weird question? Could be this question and others like it are out-dated and not worthy of being delved into much anymore, or perhaps they are confined to certain types of jobs.

Do they ask potential Brokers and Financiers what currency they’d choose to be and why? Has Richard Branson ever been asked to choose between being a Snail or an Aardvark and explain his rationale for making such a choice? I doubt it.

I ponder if Donald was ever asked, “If you could be a playing card, which one would you be and why?” Maybe he answered belligerently that he’d be a Jack of course because they are the ‘trump’ card? Ooh, a groaner!

 

Want To Get Past Probation At Work?


Hooray! You’ve landed yourself a new job! If you were unemployed, all that stress of looking for work is behind you now. If you left one job for this one, you’ve got a lot to look forward to, presumably this opportunity has more for you than where you worked last. Congratulations either way!

Your goal has actually shifted in any event, from finding a job to maintaining this job. So how long is your probationary period? 3 months is a good guess, but it might be longer. Oh, and if it’s a contract job, you’ll be hoping perhaps to perform so well they’ll keep you on. The same is true for many of you out there who land yourself a seasonal job for the holiday season approaching. Unless of course you’re the new Mall Santa; your job has a definite end date just before Christmas day!

Here then are some things to do to maintain that new job. Again, congratulations!

  1. Show up when you’re scheduled. It sounds completely obvious I know, but I’m continually surprised by the number of people who upon taking a job, think it is well within their rights to show up late or not at all. When your name is on the schedule, you’re being counted on to be at work. You might have good reasons to be absent or running late, but just the same, your new employer has a business to run and needs employees there to do the work.
  2. Get your childcare in place now. This isn’t exclusive to single parents. Get childcare arranged now – before you start a job – and work on getting a back up on call if your primary source of childcare isn’t available. In other words, a private sitter won’t watch your child if they are ill, or on vacation, have an accident; maybe even if they have medical appointments of their own one day – and they will. Don’t plan on figuring this out after you accept a job; you’ll be too busy.
  3. Dress the part. You want to last don’t you? Okay then, fit in. Now I know that individualism counts, that it’s your right to express yourself as you see fit, and yes, if people don’t accept you for who you are then that’s their problem. Sure, this all sounds noble and under many circumstances I’d agree entirely. It’s also just a tad self-serving too. If the job calls for safety equipment to be worn, wear it as it’s designed, not how you think looks most fashionable. If you interact with the public, keep in mind it’s not just your right to express yourself that’s on display, so is the reputation of the employer who hired you. Keeping up that desired image is expected of you.
  4. Be positive. Be friendly and accentuate the positive. People generally like being around people who are optimistic, personable and yes the odd smile goes a long way. Try a little experiment today – smile and see how many people smile automatically back at you. It’s a reflex motion!
  5. Stay until your shift is over. Cutting out early gets noticed. If you expect to get paid right up until your shift ends, you are expected to work until your shift ends. When you’re off at 5 p.m., that doesn’t mean you start putting on your coat and heading out the door 10 minutes early so you get to your car at 5 p.m.
  6. Pitch In. When appropriate, lend a hand to others. By appropriate, I mean make sure your own job gets completed and helping others doesn’t distract you from doing what’s expected of you. Where possible, a simple, “Hey can I help?” might win you some goodwill, get you noticed and signal to others that you’re a team player.
  7. Be careful who you listen to. At the start of your job, you haven’t any idea who the gossips are, the idle workers, the ones Management has targeted as in line to be let go. Be wary of comments, advice or conversations that just feel wrong, paint the employer in a bad light, or taint anyone badly.
  8. Focus on the work. Make sure the job you were hired to do is actually your focus. While you want to get along, you’re under the microscope more than the other long-standing employees. You’re being evaluated and if you can’t hit targets, seem to be standing around more than working etc., they’ll cut you loose and hire someone else.
  9. Ask for feedback. If you’ve got a 3 month probation period, ask how you’re doing long before you get surprised with being released. It’s too late to say, “What? Why?” You should have been told any concerns so you could improve in any areas they identified as needing attention, but it’s still your responsibility to find out how you’re performing. Ask your Supervisor this one, not a co-worker.
  10. Show some enthusiasm. Enthusiasm is my mantra; it’s the number one quality employer’s want in their employees. It’s no longer enough just to, ‘do the job for a pay cheque’. Employers look for workers with some passion, some investment in what they are doing; people who understand WHY they do what they do and HOW what they do contributes to the overall success of the organization.

I’m happy for you! Yeah! Follow the above and I you’ll hopefully keep your job long past your probationary period. Getting hired and staying employed are two different skills; don’t start coasting now.

Time; How Much Have You Got?


“I’ll get around to that one day.”

“I can do it tomorrow”.

“That’s important sure, but I’ve got lots of time.”

So how much time do you have and how can you be so sure? Honestly, you don’t know how much time you’ve got; none of us do. Generally speaking, when we’re young we don’t even think about how much time we’ve got, we just enjoy the here and now. As we move into our teens we start looking a few years ahead – milestones like getting a driver’s licence, graduating from high school, our first jobs, plans for the upcoming weekends have us looking ahead, but not too far down the road. Soon we look into the future and see the day we’ll move out, maybe plan a wedding date, think about having children, a better job, etc.

Fast-forward a bit and we’re suddenly much more appreciative of the concept of time; but we still believe we have lots left. For the first time we start seriously regretting some of our previous choices. Sure we might have regretted things in our childhood, but it’s hard thinking of any major decisions we made that had long-lasting implications. Ah, but as a teenager or young adult, we’d go back if we could and take back some of the things we said, actions we took, hurt we caused.

Some of those regrets might even be preventing us from doing things we’d like today. Dropping out of high school or taking college-level courses instead of university prep courses . Who would have thought we’d change our minds and actually want to go to University? Didn’t see that coming!

In the latter stages of our lives, we’ll hopefully look back and not have too many regrets; if we don’t, we’ll have lived a life worth living we assume. Maybe we’ll have made a difference in the world, had a big extended family, seen the world, lived in the dream condo or home we pictured as a young adult. Who knows? Depends what we consider important enough. One thing seems pretty clear now: the older we became, the more we appreciated the saying, “Time flies.” Where did it go?

Of course you’ll have noticed I skipped over the 30 – 75 or so time period. Rather a large part of one’s life to skip! You might figure that 45 year period or so is enough time to make some readjustments, mend some mistakes, figure a few things out that we thought we had right. Maybe we have that time and maybe – just maybe we don’t. What if life expires at 33? 53? 96? 25? Time is one thing we haven’t solved – how much of it is ours to spend.

How we perceive time decides whether we see ourselves as having a lot or a little. I could show you two people – each 32 years old, and one would tell you she’s too old to head on back to school; that time has robbed her of that choice. The other would say she’s going back to school because it’s the rest of her life in front of her and that’s a lot of life to live. How can they both see things so differently? Perception.

How we perceive Time (the big one with a capital, ‘T’) becomes our reality. We might figure – YOU might figure to be more accurate – that time is one thing you’ve got a lot of. Because you can’t know with any certainty how much you’ve got, why worry about it? Just enjoy things in the here and now. What’s so wrong with figuring it will all end in our 80’s or 90’s so there’s no rush to choose a career, save for the future, start a retirement savings plan or fix that relationship. As Mick and the boys sang, “Time is on my side.”

Hmm… imagine you’re in a gift store and you spot some hourglasses. The sand is yellow, green, blue, etc. and catches your eye. Each holds a finite amount of sand, and there’s a multitude to choose from; 1 minute, 3 minute, 10 minute timers. You choose one you like and whatever one you chose, you get no more or less than the contained amount. Life is like that – except we are given the timer without knowing how much sand we’ve got in our hourglass. When it runs out, it runs out. The only thing wrong with the analogy? You can flip the hourglass over again and again and it goes on and on. When your life timer runs down, there is no flip.

Imaging we have a lot of time left to live can be wonderful as we plan for the future. It can motivate us to get going and start working to achieve our long-term goals. However, think back to school where the teacher gave you some essay to write and you figured you had weeks to get it done. You put it off for precisely that reason didn’t you? Then as it dawned on you that the deadline was looming, you got down to work – you had to – and you pulled it off. Sometimes therefore, believing we have a lot of time left can hinder and not help us get going.

Whether you feel any urgency to get going on your goals is entirely your business. Put off getting started at your own choosing but realize time might rob you of that chance – or rather, you might rob yourself.