What Makes a Good Leader?

As my coaching experience grows and my communication coaching skills improve, I find myself increasingly more working with people in high management positions. The business world is an interesting kind of jungle and the activity of a top manager is quite fascinating to me.

But a person in a top management position is more than a manager. He or she is also a leader. So in my work, the question of what makes a good leader often comes up. I believe there are many traits that make a good leader, but 5 of them are particularly important. Here they are and here’s why they matter so much:

1. Vision

One of the most important roles of a leader is to inspire people. But in order to do this, they need to have a clear vision of what the organization they lead is about, of what exactly and how it seeks to achieve. And this vision must have the power to inspire others.

If you look throughout history at great political, social, religious and business leaders, you’ll frequently discover the presence of such a clear vision in them. Think of the “I have a dream” speech made by Martin Luther King. The ideas conveyed in that speech express the kind of compelling and relevant vision I’m talking about. Whatever field a leader is in, they can have such a vision.

2. Public Speaking Skills

The work of a leader involves a lot of communication, and much of which occurs not one-on-one, but with groups of people. Whether delivering a presentation to a dozen people in an office meeting or speaking to hundreds of people at a conference, a good leader must have good communication skills in general, and great public speaking skills in particular.

Business Talks

Sharp public speaking skills make a brilliant combination with a clear vision, because these skills allow the leader to articulate that vision in a persuasive way.

In their absence, the vision will likely remain just a good idea that few people actually understand or buy into. How it is communicated indeed makes all the difference in the world.

3. Self-Confidence 

As any true leader can attest, being in a leadership position involves a lot of responsibility and pressure. Good leaders work hard, take risks, deal with uncertainty constantly and face unthinkable challenges. Dealing with such situations without losing your sanity takes a lot of emotional strength, and this strength comes from a serious dose of self-confidence.

Good leaders have this solid self-confidence. They trust themselves to make good decisions. At the same time, they can accept that they will make mistakes, because they trust themselves to learn from them and quickly get on the right track. They strongly believe that, one way or another, they will get the job done.

If you wanna learn more about where this kind of powerful self-confidence comes from and how you can develop it, I suggest you check out this special video, in which I’ll show you just that.

4. Empathy 

In big organizations with hundreds or thousands of people, it’s common for a leader at the top of the management structure to lose touch with what’s going on at the bottom of the organization, at the level of the ordinary member or employee, and thus make many faulty decisions, which in time erode the organization.

This is why it’s crucial for a leader to have empathy. Empathy manifests itself in the desire of the leader to stay connected to people at all levels of the organization, and in the ability to understand what these people do and experience. Good leaders know when their people are satisfied or dissatisfied, and they know why. They never lose touch with others and they realize when a change is needed.

5. Integrity 

I define integrity as the alignment between what one thinks, says and does; the alignment between thoughts, words and actions. I believe Integrity is an integral part of what makes a good leader. Good leaders say what they truly think, and they do what they promise.

Because they are honest and they keep their promises, good leaders are trusted and respected by those they lead. People genuinely want to follow them. This makes it much easier for them to have good communication with people, to engage them, and to make things happen. It’s no surprise that integrity is often quoted in the business literature as a key trait of good leaders.

These 5 traits largely represent what I believe makes a good leader. In my experience, few people on the path towards leadership positions have all 5 of them. Fortunately these traits can be developed. They are mostly thinking, emotional and behavioral patterns, which, with practice and the right guidance, can be learned.

So if you wanna be a good leader and you are serious about it, there is nothing to stop you from becoming one. For more help from me in developing the traits of a good leader, I suggest you check out my coaching services and get onboard my free social advice newsletter.

5 Rules for Conversing With Busy People

Sometimes, especially in your professional life, you’ll deal with people who are very busy. People who are flooded with tasks and responsibilities, and they have little time for casual conversation.

Unsurprisingly, these individuals who are very busy also tend to be very successful, capable and knowledgeable, so it’s in your interest to befriend them. But how do you talk to such a person in order to make friends with them?

For the most part, talking to a busy person is the same as talking to any other person. The same principles apply. However, there are a few specific rules that apply for conversing with busy people in particular. I’d like to share these rules with you in the following paragraphs.

1. Remember That Even Busy People Are Social Creatures

Just because a person is busy doesn’t mean they don’t want to chat with others and they don’t enjoy it. They just don’t have that much time for it so they have to prioritize their conversations. But busy people can be very social and friendly. Like anyone else, they have a deep-seated need to socialize and make friends.

This is important to keep in mind because it’s easy to assume that since a person is very busy, they’re also gonna be very grouchy and distant, and so it’s not worth trying to talk to them. But in reality, this is rarely the case. And the more you make conversation with busy people, the more you’ll experience this yourself.

2. Don’t Try to Prove Yourself

Folks who do a lot of things and their time is in great demand are likely to trigger in us feelings of inferiority or inadequacy. We feel we’re not good enough for them to give us a piece of their time and attention. Consequently, when the give us their time and attention, we decide to use it to showcase our assets and prove ourselves to them.

Let me tell you: there is no bigger turnoff for a busy person than somebody trying to impress them. Yes, they know they’re capable and in demand, but it doesn’t mean they expect others to try and prove themselves to them. In fact, most of them see this as very needy behavior.

The best use of your time interacting with a busy person is in relating to them authentically, not in trying to impress them. Focus on making conversation and creating a connection, not on proving yourself. You have nothing to prove.

3. Spend More Time in Their Reality

busyUsually when making conversation with another person, I recommend you find topics that you both enjoy equally, and talk about those. So if the conversation lands on a topic you fancy, but the other person doesn’t seem to resonate with it, you try to change the topic, just as you try to change it in the reverse situation.

When dealing with a busy person though, since their time is in high demand, your favorite topics take a slight backseat to theirs. It usually makes sense to make an extra effort and unsure they find the subjects you talk about meaningful.

This often entails being curious, asking open-ended questions, and once you’ve found a topic they enjoy talking about, exploring that topic. Spend time in their reality. I’m not saying you should torture yourself with conversation about stuff you have zero interest in, but do try a bit more than usual to accommodate the other person. One way or another, it will pay off.

4. Get to the Point

Busy people have little patience for evasive communicators who beat around the bush. Their time is highly valuable. So they don’t need you to sugar coat your messages that much; they just want you to get to the point and say what you have to say.

Interestingly enough, even though they prefer a direct style of communication, busy individuals are the most likely to deal with an indirect style of communication. This is because they intimidate most people and most people are very fearful of upsetting them, so they beat round the bush.

Make sure you don’t make the same mistake most people make though. Get to the point when talking with a busy person. Be clear and straightforward in your communication. They will take pleasure in talking with you more and they will respect you more.

5. Don’t Hesitate to Reschedule

Even the busiest people have moments during the day when their time is unsolicited and it’s convenient for them to chat. But they’re not frequent. So it’s often possible that you engage such a person, and you quickly realize they’re not in such a moment.

Sensing that it’s not a good moment for them to chat, most of us do one of two things: either we end the conversation abruptly so they can get back to other stuff, or we speed up our speaking rate, often to the point where it becomes downright comical.

I would like to suggest a better alternative: reschedule. If you find the moment isn’t good for the other person to chat, acknowledge this and schedule some other time. For example, say something like: “Listen I notice you’re busy. Maybe we can continue this conversation some other time. Wanna have lunch together today for instance?”

I reschedule conversations like this all the time, and I find it to be an amazingly elegant and effective approach. Give it a try.

Making quality conversation is a skill. And making quality conversation with busy people is even more so. It takes a certain level of understanding of human psychology and social dynamics to be a good conversationalist, as well a certain amount of practice. I’ve provided some of the understanding in this article. Putting it into practice is up to you.

Enjoy yourself!

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Aim High In Your Career

It used to be that people saw their job strictly as a way to earn a living. If their work provided a good income, they would consider that it fulfilled its role entirely.

progressMany people still see their job that way today. However, I believe that it’s worth aiming higher. I believe that it’s good to ask for more from your work that to simply earn you a good paycheck. And by doing so, you’ll transform your career into something much greater than a steady income stream, and your whole life will be much more rewarding as a result.

I see career as one important piece in a much bigger puzzle. And that puzzle is what I typically refer to as lifestyle. These days, I always think of career development as part of lifestyle design. I try to look at the bigger picture. When you think about it that way, your perception shifts and aiming higher becomes natural.

Money, Passion and Time

From my perspective, aiming higher in your career means that you seek not one, but three things from it:

1. Money. Your job provides you with a decent income that ensures you a financially comfortable lifestyle. You don’t have to become filthy rich, but if you can struggle to make ends meet, you have a problem. Income does matter, even if it’s only up to a certain point.

2. Passion. You enjoy your work. You feel passionate about the activities you do in your day to day job and about the impact you have through your work. You feel excited to go to work every day and see your job as a source of emotional satisfaction.

3. Time. I don’t mean that your job gives you time; I mean that your job doesn’t take too much of your time. You work a reasonable schedule, which leaves you with time and energy to do other things as well. This applies even if you enjoy your work. There are surely other things you enjoy as well and you want to do. These require time too.

Now think of how a job that fulfills all 3 of these conditions looks: you go to work and you enjoy what you do, but you don’t spend too much time with it, and you return home with a decent paycheck.

Then you use the remaining time and the available income to do other things that you’re passionate about, whether it’s travelling, reading, cooking, partying, going to the gym, spending time with your family, horseback riding, spelunking, or whatever.

Overall, it’s a lifestyle where you have all the important elements within reasonable dosages: fun, freedom and fulfillment. Now, is this too much to ask?

Some people will tell you that it is. That work is intrinsically hard and time consuming, and that’s just a cost you need to pay in order to make a living. I disagree. I think that’s a huge limiting belief to have and I deem it’s only reasonable to ask for a career that combines money, passion and time.

Why do I think it’s reasonable? Because I have such a career and most of the people I’ve surrounded myself with do as well. In fact over the years I’ve met and talked to literally hundreds of people with such career and the resulting lifestyles. And they’re just regular people, who achieved this on their own, under no special conditions.

Yes, within the general population, they are a minority. But they’re such a well represented minority that I believe it’s worth aiming to be part of it.

Maybe not everybody will do work they enjoy, provides them a good income and doesn’t demand too much time. But you’re not everybody. The possibility is there for you, waiting to be turned into reality. So believe in yourself and aim for this kind of a career and lifestyle.

What does it take to actually achieve it?

The Power of Persistence

Well, the trouble is that many people start off aiming high in their career, but their career goals and expectations quickly plummet in the face of failure. They seek to achieve an amazing career, but their initial attempts go wrong, so they quickly get discouraged and give up.

Initial failure though is actually to be expected. I often say that if having a great career would be easy, everybody would have one. But it’s not.

You need to try various paths and methods, to experiment, to learn from failure and to keep going. You need to find your own formula for career success and it is only with perseverance that you can do so. It takes time, it takes flexibility, and it takes some patience.

Unfortunately, most people have a low tolerance to frustration, which means they’re simply not able to handle emotionally a lengthy journey towards career success, paved with traps and perils. The first time they fall in a puddle on the road, they give up and go back.

The key differentiator that can make your story a success is persistence in the face of hardship. It’s essential for you to learn to stay confident in the face of failure and to keep pushing forward. These are rare, but nevertheless, learnable qualities. And it is these qualities that, in the end, will get you the amazing career and lifestyle you want.

PS: Check out my latest posts on DatingAdvice.com as well. One is about conversation topics for first dates, and the other is about 3 powerful mindsets for dating success.

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Are You Invisible?

Do your work colleagues barely notice you when you enter the office? Does your boss hardly know your name? Do the people you hang out with have no clue what you’ve been doing lately? Do persons of the opposite sex pretty much ignore you?

Chances are that you’re socially invisible.

I am continually amazed by the importance of making yourself noticed, both in your career and your social life. It’s often not a complete method in itself to get what you want, but it is always the first crucial step.

If others don’t even notice you, they’re also not going to remember you, want to get to know you, build a connection with you or pay attention to what you have to say. When you’re invisible, you have no visible impact and you suffer the consequences.

In my coaching, I frequently work with ‘invisible’ people and help them learn to stand out more.  If you’re an invisible person, there are three action steps I advise you to focus on.

1. Dress to Stand Out, Not to Fit In

The majority of people dress to fit in. They wear commonplace clothes in boring colors; they have generic and predictable attire. Thus, they fit in so well that you pass by hundreds of them on the street every day and you barely notice a few.

You want to do the opposite: Instead of wearing what everybody else is wearing, be original. Instead of wearing dull colors, add color to your wardrobe and accessorize with style (even as a guy). Don’t go all outrageous, but do make sure you stand out.

Dressing in a way that expresses you and gets you noticed is not only a sign of fashion style but more importantly, a sign of confidence. Most people are too afraid to attract attention by dressing with personality. Well, you want to get comfortable with attracting attention.

2. Stop Avoiding Conflicts

Most invisible people are inclined to be harmonizers. They are scared of conflicts and upsetting others; so when the possibility of a conflict arises, they’ll do whatever it takes to prevent or suppress that conflict.

They’ll hide their opinions, wants and feelings. They’ll make pointless compromises and sacrifice their needs for the sake of always getting along. And since they never rock the boat, they don’t get noticed and don’t get their needs met.

Here’s what’s essential to realize: conflicts are not all bad. Often, the journey towards a positive change involves conflict; things need to get worse before they can get better. So embrace the constructive potential of conflict and assertively put yourself out there, even if you generate conflicts.

3. Talk More about Yourself

Listening is certainly one of the valuable people skills to have; and there is plenty of praise in the self-growth and business literature for it. But guess what? So is talking and expressing yourself.

I find that sharing yourself, your experiences and your ideas is frequently the ignored half of career and social success. I’ve also noticed countless times that we don’t connect emotionally with persons we barely know anything about, and this makes being talkative essential.

If you’re invisible, chances are that you’re the kind of person who keeps to themselves and tries to give others room to talk. Unfortunately, this is an excellent way to get people either using you, or ignoring you.

In this case, it’s time to get more outgoing. Share yourself more, talk about your experiences, tell stories, express your thoughts on various subjects and get used to being the center of attention, at least some of the time. It will do wonders for you.

Ultimately, I see getting yourself noticed as a matter of confidence. The individuals who believe in what they have to offer authentically put themselves out there, get noticed and get ahead. It is this kind of a mindset that you want to take in.

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How to Survive a Crappy Job Until You Find a Better One

A crappy job is no joking matter. Unfortunately, a plethora of people are spending more than one third of their time every week, month and year, working in such a job.

I’m not talking here about a job that’s just boring or unfulfilling. I’m talking about an entire work environment that’s psychologically debilitating. Think manipulative management, lack of ethics and sabotage of your advancement.

The logical and obvious step when you’re in a crummy job is to look for a better one (hopefully, a lot better) and to get out of there as soon as possible. You want to kill your job before it kills you.

Now, the practical challenge is that finding even a decent job, especially in some fields, can take 3 to 6 months and sometimes longer. So before killing your job, if you rely on it financially, you may need to tolerate it for a while.

As I often coach people in this kind of a situation, I want to share with you three of the most effective strategies I know for surviving a crappy job until you find a better one.

1. Reduce the Contact with Your Job As Much As You Can

Until you find a new and better job, you want to dedicate the least amount of time possible to your current one. Take plenty of days off, try to frequently get to work late and leave work early. This serves a triple role:

  1. It reduces your contact with a toxic work environment;
  2. It gives you time to relax, distress and recharge your batteries;
  3. It gives you more time to invest in looking for another job.

I’m a believer in integrity, but when you’re dealing with a crummy job and toxic relationships in the workplace, it is guerrilla warfare. Anything goes. So, use just about any tactic available to diminish the contact with you job.

This is a good time to catch every known type of flu out there, plus a couple of unknown types. It’s a good time to generally feel sick very often. On many occasions, you may not even have to fake it that much.

2. Set up Compensation Mechanisms

If your work causes you distress, exhaustion and lack of fulfillment, then you don’t want any other area of your life to add to this. On the contrary: in order to keep your mental and emotional balance, you want to compensate in your time away from work.

The period when you’re dealing with an almost intolerable job is a very good one to:

  • Develop nurturing relationships and use them for support;
  • Get involved in plenty of fun and relaxing activities (go to a spa, play some paintball, get plenty of sleep);
  • Do meaningful things in whatever free time you have (volunteer for a cause you believe in).

A particularly good idea during such a period is to eliminate as much as you can of the outside work responsibilities than can be stressful. Try to either dump them altogether or delegate them to somebody else.

Case in point: I’ve seen married people who in a period of real torment at work told their caring spouse about their work problems and asked them to take on more of the household responsibilities for a while, until they’ll be in a better job. If the spouse does care, they can help tremendously.

3. Stop Taking Work So Seriously

It’s crucial to realize the following point: when you’re set on leaving a job and will do so in a few months tops, apart from your short term check, the stake is pretty much gone. Being a good employee is no longer required. If you don’t, what is your employer going to do? Fire you?

First off, even if they do fire you, it will take months before your insolence accumulates, becomes evident and the decision to fire you is made. By that time, chances are you will already have another job offer.

Second of all, you’d be surprised how much shit you can get away with. I’ve met many people who are total assholes at work and they haven’t even come close to losing their job. They may get criticized by their boss or peers every now and then, but that’s pretty much it.

Fundamentally, surviving a crappy job is about strategy and attitude. Equipped with these two tools, you can deal with any job, for a while. And when you accept a new job, you’ve better not make the same mistakes again.

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What Makes a Good Manager?

Make no mistake about it: effective management is a challenge. There are many managers, but there are few good managers. I believe the foundation of becoming a good manager is, first of all, understanding what makes a good manager.

In my communication coaching work, I often help managers identify and develop key management skills. In my experience, most managers only have a vague and inaccurate idea of what makes a good manager and in what direction to take their growth.

I’ll often hear statements from managers such as: “I need to improve my communication skills”. Well, there are a lot of communication skills. Which ones specifically? This is the kind of question you can answer much better by knowing yourself and comprehending what makes a good manager.

The 6 Qualities of a Good Manager

I have pinpointed six skills that I consider essential for any person who manages people and projects. Interestingly enough, five of them are people skills. Here are the six essential skills, listed and explained:

1.  Clear Communication

As a manager, it’s crucial to aid make the flow of information clear and effective. This can be done by having a clear-cut style of communication, by using accurate words to express facts and ideas, and also assisting the people you work with to do the same.

If as a manager, you say to a member of your team “I want that sales report soon” when what you want to say is “I want that sales report tomorrow by 12PM”, you’re in trouble. A clear communication style defines good management at its roots.

2. Assertive Communication

This is one of my favorite communication skills, and for good reason: I see it as the fundamental communication skill for both managers and employees.

Assertive communication is the ability to express your thoughts, ideas, wants and emotions in a straightforward, non-hesitant way, while also being tactful and respectful of the other person.

Communicating assertively often starts with mastering the previous skill, but it goes way beyond this. It means creating a win-win blend in the communication with a wide range of individuals, which is very powerful and, unfortunately, very rare.

3. Creating a Connection

Business may ultimately be about results, but it is still an exchange between individuals and it has a very human component. Thus, an important part of what makes a good manager is their ability to connect with others, to build rapport and trust.

Good managers know how to be authentic, open and friendly with other people, especially their subordinates. They demonstrate interest in others and they can make interpersonal interactions informal and relaxed. Thus, others find it highly enjoyable to work with them or for them.

4. Integrity

This is a part of building a connection and trust that’s so important I felt the need to describe it separately. Integrity is the alignment between thoughts, words and actions. A manager with a lot of integrity is the one who says what they think and does what they say they’ll do.

As a result, the subordinated employees know they can count on their manager and it’s easy for them to trust their manager. Team transparency, constructive attitudes and performance naturally arise from there. And if you’re wondering why such conditions are so rare in many organizations, it is because high integrity is also rare.

5. Motivational Skills

No, I’m not talking about doing Tony Robbins style speeches in front of the team, although they may have their place and their worth. I’m talking about the more subtle managerial ability to understand people’s motivations and properly respond to them.

A manager with this quality is able to match the motivations and strengths with the tasks and compensations for each one of their employees. Considering the uniqueness of each employee and the structural complexity an organization can have, this is quite the skill to master.

6. Decision Making Skills

I see a big part of the manager’s role as putting together a puzzle. The pieces of the puzzle are people, tasks, goals and data. Assembling them means creating strategies, distributing tasks, supervising their execution and providing feedback.

All of these managerial activities involve a lot of decision making, and it is first-rate decision making skills that lead to the best decisions. A good manager needs to think rationally, analyze variables effectively and strategize with skill. Otherwise, when the puzzle is finished, there will still be unused pieces.

Taking into account all the qualities described above, I’m sure you realize that what makes a good manager is serious stuff. Good management is no child’s play. For this reason more than anything else, I think it’s best for managers to never get too cocky about their skills and to continually invest in their self-growth.

PS: I now blog and share advice over here. Connect with me.

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The Bold Guide to a Fast Track Career

If patience is not one of your virtues and you have a strong desire for success, than a fast track career is for you. As a matter a fact, I barely meet anyone who doesn’t crave a fast track career, in which they can grow like a kid on steroids.

Well, a kid on steroids is not a healthy thing, but a fast track career, provided it grows organically, is. I know plenty of people who were successful managers by 25, top managers in Fortune 500 companies by 29 and flourishing entrepreneurs at 33.

It can be done and there is a recipe for it. Here are the key ingredients, from my perspective, of a fast track career.

Keep Your Eyes on the Prize

I find that most people start off with big career dreams, but they forget about them quickly enough. They get distracted by the comfort a safe and warm job, the free cookies and the company teambuilding programs, and career progress stops being a mental priority for them.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned as a coach is that once something stops being a mental priority, you pretty much stop working towards achieving it. This is the sad little story of the careers millions of people have.

If you want to have a fast track career, it’s essential to keep your eyes on the prize and never forget your goals. Enjoy the benefits a particular job, but don’t let them sidetrack you: mentally, emotionally or behaviorally.

Don’t Stay In One Place Too Long

The people who make really fast progress in their career and get to a place most only dream of, all have one key trait in common: they are predators.

They don’t let anything keep them in one place for long. When they’ve learned a job, they immediately seek advancing in the company. If they discover they can’t advance in the company, they immediately start looking for another company. They act fast, they move fast and they are ferocious about it.

Fast trackers don’t let senseless norms keep them from moving forward. In my experience, this is in huge contrast with the behavior of the average employee, who will bitch about a job with no growth potential but will stay in it for years.

This doesn’t mean fast trackers have no ethics. If a company invests in them for two years and helps them become top professionals, smart fast trackers know to pay their dues. However, once their dues are paid, they seek the bigger better thing without delay.

Put Your Needs First

The fundamental thing that stops most people from being predators and having a fast track career is that they care too much about the needs and opinions of others and they put those first. Thus, they sacrifice their own goals to help the team, to not seem selfish and so on.

If you want to make fast career progress, it is essential to learn how to gain confidence and put your needs first, without ignoring the needs of others. This is commonly referred to as assertiveness, and it is one of the essential life and people skills to master.

Probably the most important part in becoming assertive is a mental leap: realizing that you do not exist in this world primarily to serve others, but to serve yourself and make the most out of your life.


This is not bad or immoral, it is the mature and healthy attitude that people with self-respect have. It is also the way to fast career progress.

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Why Your Job Sucks

Many of my coaching clients are looking to improve something in their careers.

Some of them like their jobs and they just want to take it up a notch, some of them will tell my plainly at the first coaching session: “My job sucks; I want your help to get better at finding a better one, so I can get the hell out of there”.

My experience is that in the careers of many people, there is a big gap between the kind of job they want and the kind they have. Those big dreams they had somewhere in adolescence simply aren’t turning into reality.

If this is your case, I want to take the time and explain from my perspective why this is happening to you. In my communication coaching, I see certain causes manifest over and over gain. Here they are:

1. You Have No Clue What You Want

Unless you’re one lucky SOB, it’s practically impossible to have an extraordinary job if you don’t know what you want. When you don’t know what you want, you’re like a ship adrift being taken left and right be the wind of the moment. This is exactly what happens to numerous people.

I’m not going to say “try harder to figure out what you want”, that would be pretentious. I will say this though: “Try better!” Asking yourself “What do I want?” is usually not enough to get an unambiguous answer. Take a good personality test, get a 360 degrees feedback, ask yourself more specific questions or work with a coach.

2. You’re Head over Heals in Debt

Here’s a very ‘smart’ career move I repeatedly see people doing: You end up in a job where you earn a decent salary and immediately, you take a huge loan in order to buy a big house, a car, a second car, a huge fucking plasma TV and so on.

However, a few years later, once you get over the excitement of the money you’re making, you realize that you actually hate the job you’re in, it offers you no satisfaction it itself, and you want to change your professional field. The only problem is that you’re so far up in debt that you can’t afford the initial financial drop implied by a career change. Really smart Sherlock!

3. You Do Not Take Risks

Getting to a job you find truly fulfilling involves some bold moves. I’m talking about moves such as: quitting a job, asking for a raise, negotiating hard, saying no to a tempting offer, taking on new responsibilities, failing, exposing yourself to uncertainty or putting your foot in the door.

I find that most people are not willing to take the risks associated with these moves. They want to play it safe and make it big at the same time. Well, if this applies to you, I have some disappointing news: life doesn’t work that way. You need to take some risks if you want to get anywhere.

4. You Don’t Know How to Promote Yourself

This is something I keep saying ever since I started working as a communication coach: your professional skills are basically worth nothing if you don’t know how to sell yourself with high impact. It’s a skill required with your boss, your clients and potential future employers.

Promoting yourself is one of the critical people skills for career success. Many people discover this the hard way: by hitting a wall prematurely in their careers which prevents them from moving forward. The sooner you start consciously developing the people skill of promoting yourself, the better it will be for your career and your life.

Each one of these for reasons can be broken down into smaller ones. For example, some people have problems selling themselves at interviews, some at promoting themselves through networking. I’ll leave it to you to discover the nuances of your context.

I firmly believe that we now live in the best world we as human beings have ever lived. There are more opportunities than ever for you to have a prosperous and exciting career. It all starts with taking control of your own steering wheel.

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What Do You Do For a Living? The Better Way to Answer

What do you do for a living?” – I ask him eager to do some chill networking. As I say this, my mind is automatically thinking: “Here comes another crappy answer I’ll have to work with”.

You might say that’s pessimistic of me; I say it’s more of an educated guess. It’s not that they’re not a lot of people out there with interesting jobs they’re passionate about. It’s just that they haven’t learned or haven’t considered the people skill of talking about them in a powerful way.

You see, answering “What do you do for a living?” in a stylish way is a great method to get the other person interested in the conversation, in your person, and to brand yourself. As a communication coach, there are a number of things I find important in answering this question.

Use a Suggestive Title for What You Do

It’s not important to use the exact job title in your job description in a conversation, even if it’s a business conversation. I sometimes meet a person who according to the JD is an ‘Executive Assistant’, but their job is much more of an HR job. ‘HR Assistant’ works a lot better as a title for them.

The point is to use a job title that realistically reflects the nature of the things you do in your job or the type of impact you have.

There is one answer to “What do you do for a living” that I find particularly bad: “I’m a consultant”. That doesn’t tell me shit about your job! They’re a zillion consultants out there.

Be Memorable

Some titles, they may be suggestive for what you do, but they simply aren’t remarkable in any way. Of course, there are plenty of ways to be memorable; you don’t need to desperately seek being memorable through your job title, but it is certainly a big bonus, especially in jobs where personal branding matters the most.

This is why I encourage you to use a memorable title for your job. Alain Cardon could have called himself a ‘Life Coach’, but he calls himself a ‘Breakthrough Catalyst’. Mars Dorian could have called himself a ‘Blogger’ but he calls himself a ‘Digital Crusader’. These are the kind of titles that stand out and they stick.

Follow-Up with an Exciting Explanation

After you’ve said your job title to answer the question, do not stop there. A title may be cool, suggestive and sexy, but it’s still only a title.

You want to do is continue with a short and powerful description of your job. Again, it’s important to remain clear and memorable. Some things to consider adding to this description are:

  • What you do exactly. Ex: “I speak on the area of Customer Service at conferences all over the world”.
  • What practical benefit you create: Ex: “I help organizations improve they way they interact with their customers and increase customer loyalty”.
  • Why what you do is important for you. Ex: “I believe that good results start with good customer service”.

But Eduard, What If I Have a Job I Hate and I Don’t Want to Talk About?

For this not so uncommon scenario, the first significant thing I can tell you is that you’d better at least have an aim for a different career and know what that career is.

Based on this, when you answer the question you can name your current job and then quickly move on to talking about the job you’re aiming for.

You may say something like: “I now work as a Sales Agent in an FMCG company, but I’m training to become a Career Coach. I have a passion for helping people find their way”.

The more you master your people skills and the better you present yourself, the more you “attract” all sorts of remarkable people and breathtaking career opportunities. And it often all starts with answering in style one simple question.

Image courtesy of Lucid Dreams