Want A Better Life?


Last night while talking with my wife, she shared a comment that someone she knows often makes. The fellow said, “I’ve had a lot happen in my life.” This, apparently is what he says as a way of both explaining why his life isn’t that good and why it won’t get better either. Like people all over the world, this fellow has had his share of challenges, but it’s like he wears his as a badge of honour not choosing to actually make some changes and do things in the here and now that will alter his future for the better.

It struck me then as it does now, that it might be useful to talk about how to go about improving the future; your future. After all, it’s a safe bet you’d like yours to get better whether your past and present have been a series of disasters or quite good. There are some, many I suppose who actually like chaos and disappointment but let’s look to focus on making life a better one in the future for you.

So here’s some ideas to get you started. Share these with anyone you feel might benefit from reading them with my thanks.

  1. Change has to happen. If you want a different future than your past or present change must occur so see making changes as a good thing. This will take some getting use to and it may be uncomfortable at times when you do things differently. However, expecting a better future when you keep doing what you’ve always done hasn’t worked before and it won’t work now. Welcome changes.
  2. Make better decisions. Those changes I spoke of in point 1 can only happen if you make different decisions than you’ve typically made. The key is not only to make different decisions but better decisions. Again, these better decisions won’t always be easy or comfortable but you want a better life right?
  3. Take responsibility. This is your life, and it’s made up of your decisions in the past, the present and the future. Stop blaming your parents, family and friends, former bosses and co-workers for what life has ‘done’ to you. Stop giving them power over you and admit this is your life to live and yours to make. That’s empowering and with that power comes responsibility and accountability.
  4. Get help. If you had the necessary skills to make better decisions, it’s highly likely that you would have done so right? Yet, here you are wanting things better than they are which indicates you need some guidance and advice when it comes to both making those choices and support on the follow through.
  5. Move on. The thing about the past is that it is…well…the past. You can’t go back there, you can’t live there. Move on. Try walking forward down a sidewalk with your head facing backwards and you’ll run into a lot of obstacles. Turn your eyes forward and you can avoid those collisions. Look forward in life and move on.
  6. Learn and not re-live. Making the same mistakes over and over and re-living the errors of your ways isn’t productive. When things go wrong – and they will – learn what you can from the experience with the goal of making better decisions in the future when you find yourself in similar situations.
  7. Eliminate temptations. You might have good intentions but fall to temptations if you don’t remove yourself from what’s caused you problems up to now. So it could mean dropping friends who are bad influences, moving from a bad neighbourhood, clearing the house of the alcohol or the chocolate and fatty foods. You have to want your end goal more than your temporary fix.
  8. Set Goals. Know what you want in this better future you imagine. Picture that job, the ideal partner, a better apartment or condo, a clear complexion, a new set of teeth, no criminal record. Whatever it is, set a goal; maybe several that are meaningful to you personally.
  9. Develop plans. Goals don’t turn into reality without some planning. Again, get some help from someone you trust. Start with one of your long-term goals and come up with a plan that will eventually cut the things getting in your way of having this better future. Big problems will take time and a lot of effort. Small problems are easier addressed. Both big and small need attention.
  10. Commit to yourself. You’re going to have setbacks, make some spur of the moment decisions you regret but don’t pack in the, “I want a better future”, plan. When you have a setback, re-commit to yourself what you’re working towards and focus on what you’ve accomplished so far.
  11. Forgive. A big one. Don’t carry hate, anger and bitterness around with you because it’s not attractive, certainly doesn’t help you and always hinders you. Let it go and forgive those who harmed you, set you back, let you down and disappointed you. This is your life not theirs; you’re forgiving them because YOU’VE moved on.

Look it’s not going to be easy and few things in life that are worth having are. In fact, ‘easy’ hasn’t been your past life has it? Nor your current life? So, ‘easy’ has nothing to do with it. Yep, you’re going to have to work for what you want and all that’s going to do is make you proud of yourself when you get it. It’s your call.

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And You Are Building A Reputation For…?


Whether you know it or not, you and I are constantly building our reputations. The good news is that we have a great deal of control over the effort we put into this process; not always achieving the results we’d like perhaps but, the effort invested is entirely ours to give. Consistently delivering results is also a key factor for many in establishing their reputation.

Those we work with, those we come into contact with on a daily basis; we’re all building our individual reputations throughout the day. We may not always have our reputations foremost in our minds, but the words we speak and the actions we take which others observe adds to or diminishes how we are perceived. And it’s not just one or two things we become known for; we gain a reputation for numerous things. Hence we become known for always arriving early or being late, contributing our fair share in group projects or riding along on the strong work of others. We can have a reputation for having an optimistic outlook, being authentic, exercising patience, extending ourselves to help others or always saying, “Yes”.

What we become known for and how we are perceived can have a tremendous impact on our success or lack thereof. If you’ve got aspirations of advancing in an organization, your reputation for the quality and/or quantity of work you produce will influence the decision-making process in whether to promote you. Have a good reputation and you’re impressing others while a tarnished reputation could leave you out of the running when you want to get ahead.

So when does building a reputation start? It starts when we first interact with others be that in-person, in writing or correspondence, by association with others and when we come into the awareness of those around us. Initially it starts as a first impression, then with each bit of information the other person takes in about us, their perception of us is reinforced or changed. This is why first impressions become of such critical importance in the hiring process for example. From the first inquiry, the cover letter and resume or CV, interview(s) and follow-up, we only have a limited amount of time and exposure to make a good impression on the decision-makers in the organizations we wish to work with. We do our best to build on that initial impression, all the while establishing our reputation with these people.

Making an error in a job interview therefore could be critical as we don’t have the benefit of time to give the interviewer(s) pause to re-evaluate us and see that error as out of character with our reputation. Anyone who has ever said something they realize they shouldn’t have, or who made a joke of something that didn’t go over well and wishes they could take back knows of what I speak. We don’t want the impression we create to be one of being flippant, insensitive, having poor judgement or not being a positive influence in the workplace. It is for this reason we feel anxiety in interviews; the slightest error we might make could negatively alter the other person’s perception of us and we fear not having the ability to change their initial impression which could ruin our reputation; leaving us ultimately rejected.

Those that  fear interviews and long to just be given a chance to show an employer what they can do are typically the kind of people who are banking on their ability to perform a job to enhance their chances. They know that the speed or quality of their work and adherence to safety on the job would impress the people seated across from them, but sitting and answering questions isn’t their strength. In such situations, the strategy they might be best to use than would be to provide tangible, concrete examples of what they’ve done, how others benefitted and yes, the reputation they’ve established for high quality work, a good attitude etc.

Providing references, sharing what others have said about us is another way we hope to transfer our good reputation to these people we are just meeting in the interview. So a Home Builder will for example invite a potential client to speak with the owners of homes he or she has constructed, show photos of work performed and the classic before and after shots. They home that their good work and good reputation with one home owner convinces another home owner to contract their work. Your reputation is something you can and should pay attention to. It’s a big part of your personal brand and with every interaction you have with others, that reputation is reinforced or possibly re-evaluated.

Suppose today you sat down on your 15 minute break and thought about what you’d like your reputation to be. What would you like to be known for? What are you doing that backs up and gives you credibility with respect to this goal? Now ask yourself if your actions, words and performance achievements enhance or detract from this reputation you’d like to have. If it’s important to you, you’ll do more of what builds your reputation and less of what works against it.

So what do you want as YOUR reputation? Expertise? Communication skills? Physical fitness? Helping others? Give some thought to this; you’re building one regardless so it makes sense to determine what you want.

 

 

What Do You Want?


What do you want to experience in your life that you currently aren’t? More money? Power? Flexibility? Job satisfaction? A stronger intimate relationship with someone? Knowing what you want can help you realize it. Not knowing what you want can seed frustration, anger, regret and confusion.

So let’s say you’ve identified that you want more income. Having decided on more income you can then move on to looking at your options; taking on a secondary job, applying for better paying jobs, investing your funds to grow them faster etc. The choices are yours to make but they all have one thing in common as they all seek to increase your overall wealth.

When it comes to relationships and wanting a deeper, more fulfilling one, you can opt to put yourself in more situations where you’ll meet more people, you can risk telling someone how you feel, or you can send out the word that you’re on the market and / or join some dating sites. Already in a relationship? You can invest more of your conscious energy in making that relationship stronger.

Now as for your career, again I ask, “What do you want?” Some people are very happy in their life just moving from job to job, doing different things, gaining a wealth of experiences, and of course being paid to do those jobs. For others, this idea of floating along and not having some overall master plan is not satisfying at all. No, some people are happier identifying what it is they want early and then taking the courses and gaining the experiences that will ultimately put them in a position to take advantage of things and realize their long-term goals.

You know I’m guessing the people in your workplace that everyone can easily identify as the go-getters. They volunteer for committees, they move with the right people, they climb the corporate ladder with speed and purpose. It’s like they’ve got a career path all laid out and are acting the plan. Well good for them you say to yourself; and you either mean it sincerely or you say it wishing it was you on that path instead of them.

Of course what we want career-wise has a lot to do with the factors we experience. If we are in our late 50’s vs. our early 30’s, we might not want to invest much time and energy aspiring to reach the top if we’re not close to it. After all, it might be we just want to play out the string, get paid for our work and then retire early enough to enjoy life without having the stress of putting in the extra hours required to impress the higher-ups and get that plum job which we might have under different circumstances reached out for.

Where we live can play a big factor too. Maybe we’re just not into a long commute, we don’t want to arrive early and work late; we’re content with how things are and to make a big corporate leap would mean moving from our cozy urban dwelling into the heat of the city; all dusty, busy and noisy. No thanks.

What do you want? It keeps coming back to these four words. What you want is very personal; there’s no right or wrong answer, but there is a personal answer. It requires some thought doesn’t it? I mean, what do YOU want?

Some people think that just wanting something is akin to dreaming. Write it down they say and it’s a goal. Plan to make it happen by developing some written steps that have some kind of timeframes attached and you’ve got a workable map that will lead you to the goal you’ve described. But there are a lot of people who have their goal in mind and they still make it happen without the benefit of writing it down and mapping out the steps.

Then of course there are those who have no goal in mind other than seeing how life unfolds. If opportunities arise with respect to their career, they’ll think about them at the time rather than plan now to stand at that crossroads. To be honest, in some fields there are new jobs that didn’t exist even a short time ago, so how could anyone have planned to make the move to the jobs that didn’t exist? So there are many people who are content to find something they enjoy doing and just plan to continue doing it until they no longer enjoy it; then and only then do they look around and say, “Okay so what are my options?”

When you’re in school, good advice is to keep all your doors open down the road by getting all the education you can; the degree over the diploma so to speak. It can open more doors down the road; doors you don’t even know exist. But what about post school? What actions can you take to keep your doors open?

Take advantage of learning opportunities your employer presents. Network positively and often. If you get the chance, take the lead at work on some project so you both learn and stretch a little while getting known to those you don’t normally interact with. Keep looking every so often at other job postings just so see what’s trending. Could be a perfect job comes up and you find your next move.

What do you want?

Positioning Yourself For The Future


I suspect at some point we all consider leaving one job for another. Whether with the same employer, achieved through promotion, a lateral move or quitting, it’s safe to say we’ve imagined what it would be like to make a career move. It’s like the lottery; we dream of what we’d do if we won.

So if it’s a safe to say that all of us – you included – are at some point going to make a career move, would you agree that you’d like to be in the best position possible when that time arrives? Let’s work from that basic premise; putting ourselves in a position where we can legitimately compete for the jobs we want in the future.

Whether it’s because we are mistreated and want to quit, ready for a change in environments, wanting more responsibility, burnt out, moving to a new community, or changing fields entirely, we’re going to have our own reason(s) for experiencing change. So the real issue is how to actually get ourselves ready for that change at some point in the future, under circumstances that we don’t know in the here and now.

One thing you can do with great certainty is take stock of your likes and strengths. Write down what you’re good at and what makes you feel good, which may not be the same. For example you may be great at selling, but find no joy in selling items people don’t need. You may be great at counselling others, but you wish you could feel a passion for it like you do when you’re working on your car. Maybe the peace of mind and pride you feel when you’re painting the interior of your home is something you wish you could experience in the workplace.

Notice I’ve omitted recording your dislikes and your weaknesses at this point. While important to know, let’s leave those two for now. Brainstorm your positives; likes and strengths and don’t limit yourself to the paid work environment. Consider leisure and personal time, how you choose to spend your vacations, weekends, time off and your moments of greatest pleasure throughout the day. You might find the best part of your entire day is when you’re cleaning the house, adding to your journal, talking with children at the crosswalk or when you flip the, ‘open’ sign at your cash drawer in the bank. Where are you when you catch yourself smiling and feeling good?

So armed with a list of what you’re good at and what makes you feel good, the next thing to do is give yourself permission to imagine. If you have a clear picture of your desired future employment, look at the functions of that position and compare your likes and strengths lists. How well do you match up? You want a job that will be enjoyable and play to your strengths and likes after all. If it’s a good match all the better for you!

A common mistake people make is only looking at educational requirements and courses they must have to compete for their dream job and then enrolling in those courses. While logical, it’s much more important to identify the personality traits of successful people in that job and seeing how you compare. Would your natural personality be a good fit for the requirements of the job? Can you make tough decisions, exercise patience, empathize with others or remain calm under pressure?

If you aren’t sure what the future holds, you can still take steps to help yourself out in the here and now. Knowing your likes and strengths, you probably are aware of things you’d like to build on and improve. Not necessarily weaknesses in your current job you understand – but areas you’d like to develop, interests you like to fuel. What you’re doing is self-identifying areas you want to explore and skills you want to add, without necessarily going about it from the point of view of picking up skills required for a specific job. As you acquire these skills, qualifications and pursue your interests, opportunities may arise which will only come about because of your developing interests. You meet and network with people sharing your passion.

Looking ahead need not be akin to that dreaded, “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” interview question. It may be that you look at the next season on the calendar instead. “What would I like to do in the coming year or this winter?” may be more realistic, tangible and therefore meaningful to you. For example getting yourself in better physical shape and feeling better about your appearance might be your main motivator, but it would also make you more attractive to some employers.

The crux of the matter is to identify and feel good about what likes and strengths you have now, and pursue the things which will build on your happiness. When you do the things that bring you joy it shouldn’t only be on your own time. The happiest people find joy not only in their personal lives but their professional lives as well. When you play to your likes and strengths, you’ll find purpose in your work and your future self will appreciate the actions your present self takes in your immediate future.

Put off this critical process and when opportunities arise, you may neither recognize them for what they are, nor be qualified to seize upon them.

Trapped In A Dead-End Job


Are you trapped in a job that’s draining your life away? Stuck in a job with no future, no chance for advancement or worse yet, not even some variety in the work you do?

To people on the outside it might seem a simple solution; find something else to do and quit. Ah, if only it were that easy! It’s not like you haven’t thought of this very solution yourself of course, because you have. The real sticking point in the plan is finding what that, ‘something else’ could be.

That’s the difficulty isn’t it? You put in a full day grinding it out, and by the time you check out at the end of your day, you’re beat. Your skills may be confined to doing a certain kind of work; a specific job. You haven’t got a clue how to go about finding something else you’d enjoy doing, you can’t quit outright and start looking because you need the income. You look ahead at the time between the present and the day you can retire, and see a lot of monotonous hours doing the same thing you’ve come to hate. You don’t even want to think about it because it’s so depressing.

Some hard choices are going to have to be made, and you’re the one who has to make them. Before doing anything rash, do two things; determine your financial health and your obligations. Knowing how much money you have saved in bank accounts and any investments is critical to knowing how long you can support yourself if you had no pay coming in. Knowing your mandatory obligations will tell you the length of time you’ll have before exhausting those funds. You should also look for areas you could conserve or cut back on expenses before you quit and when you find them, start now.

So let’s look at your choices. The first choice is both the easiest and at the same time the worst.; do nothing and keep dragging yourself in daily hating both the job and yourself for not doing something about it. Depending on the length of time we’re talking about, can you mentally and physically tough it out? Does the money you receive compensate you enough that you can keep going without breaking or just withering away on the job?

A second choice is to speak with someone in your organization and see if you can be laid off. This could not only answer your prayers but make them happier too. The company might appreciate your years of service but at this point rather have a younger, hungrier person on the job, and one that costs them less. So it could be a win-win, and you’d be able to apply for financial help while you job search; maybe the employer even has some severance package that would get you out quicker and in better financial shape.

You could just quit of course as option number 3. This is usually a move made by people who are desperate, or by those who haven’t thought things through very much. If you quit, you potentially lose all references you worked hard to earn, and you may not qualify for employment insurance because of how you left. Quitting also makes you ineligible for many re-training programs and severance packages. On the other hand, if you are seriously finding the job is killing you, quitting might be the option you choose if just to save yourself.

One of the best things you can take advantage of when you walk away – no matter how you choose to do it – is to get involved in  re-training programs or employment workshops. These help you deal with the stress of unemployment, help you answer those tough questions you’ll face from future employers regarding the circumstances around why you left your last job. You’ll also find help figuring out what potential jobs or careers you could turn to next.

Be advised though, things may have changed significantly since you last looked for work. How are your computer skills? Many jobs now require online applications, emailed resumes, some require you to complete long assessments. Look around for free computer classes either online or in your neighbourhood.

Saving your sanity and being a nicer person to be around for the family might mean a drastic alteration to what you do for a living and for whom you do it. Such changes sometimes require courage and a complete makeover. Are you willing to invest the time and put in the energy to change your life for the better? It’s going to be hard work make no mistake; but the potential benefits might save your life.

There may be another option which is to look at the organization you currently work in and look at advancement, transfers, job sharing or cross-training into another role and split your responsibilities between several jobs. This requires a discussion, succession planning on the part of your employer and some flexibility on your part. If you go this route, don’t just present your problem to the boss, present the benefits the company would realize and make it an attractive alternative.

Look for ways out of the trap you find yourself in, and get yourself prepared now for the big leap you may choose to make. Breaking free may just be the answer and lining up support systems the way to make it happen.

How To Build Job Search Momentum


Looking for employment is often a frustrating experience. Now I’m pretty sure that comes as no revelation to most readers. While there are still a fortunate minority who find work with a single job application and interview, for the vast majority, it is a time-consuming process of raised expectations and frustrating disappointments.

I recently heard it expressed that for every $10,000.00 you expect to earn, plan on a month of job searching. That equation may or may not be your personal reality, but you’ll be making a mistake to think that without a plan you’ll have no problem finding a job. There’s another saying, “Those who fail to plan, plan to fail.” Unfortunately for many, the only planning they do is to say they plan to get a job!

Momentum is vital in a job search because it can sustain you through periods of disappointment and frustration. Without a plan, any job seeker might just succumb to the recurring lows, not being able to really see viable progress being made. Build momentum however, and you can see movement from where you were to where you want to be at times when you otherwise might doubt you are making any progress.

First it’s necessary to know what your specific goal is. “Get a job – any job”, is not a goal I would typically recommend. On the other hand if you know you want a job such as an Investment Commodities Broker, Industrial Welder or Cemetery Groundskeeper, you can develop a plan of action for whichever of the above is your job of choice. The plan to go from where you are to each of the above three jobs however, would be very distinct from the other two. Hence just saying you are looking for a job is too vague and impossible to plan for.

For the job you do settle on, know the qualification requirements, objectively determine how you currently stack up against the skill, education and experience needs the position demands. Wherever you find yourself lacking, instead of counting on your charm to worm your way into the job, look at those key areas you’ve identified where you are weak and then investigate or research what your options are to gain what you lack.

Missing a degree or diploma? Look up the potential schools that offer the education required, and then get registered, take out a student loan to pay for the course and you’ll be taking the necessary steps to build the momentum you need. If it’s a licence you need and not years of school, research the cost, the providers, what books are available to train with and book the licencing test after preparing yourself.

A workable plan will make you feel good about yourself. You may be sitting down for three days on the couch reading up on your licencing needs, taking pre-tests in preparation for the exam to get that licence. While observers would say, “Why aren’t you out getting a job?”, you’ll know the truth of the matter, and you’ll confidently know the movement you are creating toward your goal of licence first, fully qualified to apply second.

There are resumes to make, cover letters to write, research into companies and people to undertake, mock interviews to arrange, conversations to plan and engage in, questions to plan answers for. And these are just the obvious things you need to do. You might have to also arrange childcare, ensure you’ve got minutes on your phone, update your interview clothing and do some shopping, maybe invest in some repairs on the car you own, set aside money for transportation etc.

Without proper planning, there are too many things that can go wrong and you then run the risk of raising your stress level by having to scramble and divert your focus. So the day before an interview, instead of reassuring yourself, you might find the car won’t turn over, you realize you never did get around to replacing your pants with the stain on them that won’t come out, and so you scramble.

Another good idea is to create a, ‘to-do’ list built around what you need to do in order to eliminate the barriers you have at present keeping you from your end goal. Put this list in writing and put it where you’ll see it every day – out in the open not in a folder. That list will both remind you what needs doing, and as you check off the actions you’ve taken, you can reassure yourself in the low moments that you’re further ahead then you once were and the gap is narrowing to your desired goal.

Self-doubt and beating yourself up for making no progress is harder to do if you are looking right at a piece of paper that has some boxes with a check mark in each for the things you have completed. Working a plan also helps you make a logical order of the things to do. No point really writing the cover letter if you are in a 9 month training program and have no specific job to apply to just yet for example. And if you’re planning on dropping 20 pounds, don’t go interview clothes shopping today only to find when the time comes those new clothes slide right off your waist!

Developing a plan is a skill you can get help with. Employment Counsellors, Job Coaches, Mentors and Career Advisors are well-trained to assist with. All the best out there!

 

 

 

 

Plan Backwards; Move Forward


So there I was in front of 16 unemployed people yesterday. I was wrapping up a 7 day Career Exploration workshop I was co-facilitating with a colleague, and we were down to coming up with a plan to move from their unemployed status to reaching their individual career or job goals.

Having identified barriers to success, I was at the point where we were collectively discussing the steps necessary to eliminate the barriers. After all, eliminate your barriers and then you’re closing the gap between wherever you are at present and where you ultimately want to be.

One of the barriers someone self-identified was the lack of grade 12 education; which in 2015 is pretty much the bottom of the barrel from most employer’s points of view. Without it, your relegated to entry-level minimum wage jobs much of the time and the prospects for advancement reduced.

So I asked the group if we took the lack of grade 12 as a barrier we wanted to overcome, what would be the first step to eliminate that barrier. Their answer was a unanimous, “Go to school and get your grade 12.” Not entirely unexpected but the wrong answer. You see this answer is just like telling an unemployed person that the steps to resolve their dilemma is, “Just get a job.”

The problem you see is that if you write down, “go to school and get my diploma” as the step to resolve your lack of grade 12 and then turn your attention to your other barriers, when you DO want to put that plan into action, you’re no closer to knowing HOW to go about getting your grade 12! After all, you don’t really just go over to the school and ask for your diploma and then get it. We know all that.

And this is where so many get stuck by traditionally planning forward. It seems to make sense to plan forward, and that’s why so many plan this way and so many fail miserably. The logic says, “Here I am, I want to get my diploma, what’s the first step? But no matter whether you are wanting to address the lack of grade 12, a poor resume, literacy, criminal record, a lack of proper interview clothing or even figuring out what your career goal is, forward planning will often get you stuck, not knowing the steps you need to take.

Look at things using backward planning however. So the first thing I asked the group was to imagine themselves being handed their grade 12 certificate, and I wrote that on the board. I wrote all their replies on the board from under the goal achievement. Here’s what the question and answer exchange looked like:

“What happened just before you got the certificate?”

“I passed all the necessary courses.”

“And before that?”

“I was in the classes.”

“And before that?”

“I signed up for the classes by registering.”

“And before that?”

“You have to attend an orientation over at the school.”

“And before that?”

“You have to find out when the orientation sessions are by calling them or going to the school.”

“And before that?”

“You have to decide you want your grade 12 bad enough to go back and get it.”

And that last statement brought us back to where we were sitting together in the room – to that moment; their present.  With all those 7 steps laid out on the board as they said them out loud, they could quickly see that from where they were the first step was to decide they wanted their grade 12 and wanted to do something about it. They could see all 7 steps required, with the 7th step being handed the diploma.

The next thing we did was put some timeframes beside each step. “How much time is required to decide you want your grade 12?”, I asked. “Already done” someone said. And the group assigned a timeframe of a day to call the school and find out when the orientation sessions were all the way up to six months to actually attend the classes. It turns out they figured 7 months from step 1 to step 7 was required for one person to achieve their goal.

By utilizing the backward planning concept, the group became aware that what they had in the end was a workable plan that was realistic, had definite timeframes and they could see that by following the steps they’d eliminate their barrier. Now I have to tell you that I presented them with a list of potentially 20 barriers. Most people in the room had several barriers and each one requires its own backward planning process to identify the steps needed to eliminate it.

Here’s the beautiful thing that’s going to sound attractive to YOU. While eliminating a barrier sounds great, taking 7 months to do it might seem a long time. But if you break the barrier into smaller steps like I suggest, your self-esteem will rise with each small step you take. So even when you just call the school to determine the next orientation date, you can check off step 1 and say, “I am one small step closer to my goal.” The longer steps work the same as you remind yourself, each step is part of your bigger plan.

When you work out your plan, get someone to look it over and confirm you’ve got all the steps covered. Like anything new, it takes a little time to get the hang of it!