I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends … I Thrive With A Little Help From My Friends …

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Career, Happiness, Kelly

by Kelly Bush ~

In 1967 The Beatles sang about friends who tell you when you sing out of tune, stick by you even when you’re off-key and who will continue to listen to your song despite the dubious quality of your performance. It’s a cheery, happy ditty with a contagious tune but it’s also sage advice. We thrive with a little help from our friends — not just in life — but also in our work.

I know some would say it’s not the best idea to mix business and friends. And I can appreciate that there are risks. I’ve been burned with this myself. Once, when I introduced a social acquaintance to a professional contact, she made a fool of herself, and I was embarrassed to learn about it later. But that isn’t really what I’m talking about when I think of integrating friends into one’s career. Our friends can be one of our best professional resources simply by being in our lives and by being themselves.

Over the decade+ since I earned my undergraduate degree, I have watched my friends grow into incredibly talented professionals. Some of us went back to graduate school. Some are now Managers or Directors, some are now Creatives, some are Career-Changers … and all of them are people that if I step back and consider from a professional standpoint, are amazingly talented. If these weren’t my friends and I met them now as clients or colleagues, I would be wowed. And since they ARE my friends, I have the opportunity to study the successes of these incredible people from an excellent vantage point.

That’s right. I’m saying that I look at what my friends are doing and let it influence me. Sounds crazy, right? I know. BUT hear me out.

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Moving from my twenties to my thirties, I came to know myself better. Which has meant that the friendships that lasted, or the new ones I formed, were more and more in line with my values. These are friendships that run DEEP. These are people whom I admire and trust. “Friends” almost seems an inadequate label for some of these special people. They are integral to my success and comprise a major portion of my happiness.

Given that I value and admire these good friends, I cannot help but notice and celebrate their successes. When a girlfriend of mine recently advocated for herself in an annual review and subsequently received a fantastic promotion and raise that she absolutely deserved, I was ECSTATIC. I was also seriously impressed. She knows her worth and insists it be acknowledged.

Another friend left a stable role at a major corporation to take a chance on a small organization run by people he respects. He subsequently found himself with new professional freedoms and opportunities that have reinvigorated his career. And you better believe, I took note!

A third friend took a title and pay cut to join an organization that offered stability and the benefits her family needed. Watching her find satisfaction in a different way reminded me powerfully that needs can change and that flexibility is a critical component of career success.

And it isn’t just from the successes that I learn. Seeing friends’ professional struggles from up close can be enlightening too. Listening to a dear friend talk about the impact it had on her to be in a job where she was not given the tools she needed to succeed made me think about how important it was for me to address this in my own job.

Listening to another girlfriend express frustration that her employer would give her a pay increase only when she got an offer somewhere else – subsequently making it clear to her that they knew what she was worth and hadn’t been honoring that – was eye-opening.

Sometimes in hearing friends talk about a challenge they are facing, I realize that the same challenge has previously or is currently presenting itself to me. Or through their search for a solution, friends come up with options I had not considered. And it all happens because two friends were chatting about life.

Looking then, for inspiration for our careers, to those people in our lives whom we respect and admire as friends makes perfect sense. My close friends are people whom I trust, value and enjoy. My own career benefits from their role in my life. Because I get by with a little help from my friends. I thrive with a little help from my friends.

by Kelly Bush | LinkedIn

Kelly Bush

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Two Months In And Thriving

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Career, Communications, Hannah, Internship, Job, Success

By Hannah Goodwin ~

After two full months I feel I can properly and efficiently tell you all about my new job. Well, at least I can tell you how I came to get this job as that is a pretty good story, if I do say so myself.

Now, I am sure you all have been hanging on to the edge of your seats since my last post, which was all about my number’s game strategy. But just in case you haven’t, in short, in that post I shared that the job/internship hunt is a number’s game, meaning that the more people you reach out to, the better your chances are at achieving success. I utilized this strategy once again when it came to finding a full-time job.

I reached out to as many public relations, marketing, communications, etc. companies I could find in Indianapolis. Much like previous experiences, I heard many “Thanks, but no thanks” and “We are looking for someone more experienced,” in addition to the multitude of crickets that did not get back to me at all. Thankfully, the positive responses I got boosted my self-esteem and boosted me right into the interview process.

One of my positive responses came from a communications company owner who said that while his company was not currently hiring, he would be happy to meet with me anyway. I took him up on that, as I am not one to turn down the opportunity to make a connection. By the time we met up, a former colleague of his from the Indiana Lieutenant Governor’s Office had reached out to him inquiring if he knew anyone who’d be a great fit and available to apply for a communications role that had become available.

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Signs on the wall right above the reception area depicting the agencies housed in the office.

Lots of emails, several phone conversations and one influential, mutual connection later, the job was mine! I will now get to the point of what this job actually is. I am Communications Manager for two of the five agencies that fall under Lt. Governor Eric Holcomb; these agencies make up the “Family of Business.” The two agencies I work with are the Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA) and the Indiana Office of Defense Development (IODD).

I will be the first to say that I never pictured myself working in the public sector, but the way this position presented itself to me, I knew it was too good an opportunity to pass up. Because of the way I came to hear about and then interview for this job, I had not seen the actual job description until after I had been offered the job. I was very pleasantly surprised when I was offered the job, but slightly wary as I did not know what all it included. Upon reading through the description, primary duties and qualifications, I was instantly reassured. I thought, I have been studying for this, practicing all of these duties in my internships and this is what I want to do!

I have my own cubicle with my boss’s office on one side and the OCRA project managers next to me. I am along a wall and can see out a window, with a parking garage taking up most of my view. But, as I look to the left, I can see the dome of the State House. My boss and I comprise the communications team for the Family of Business, placing us in high demand and causing me to dive right in to my position.

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Panorama of my desk. It can always be found with 3 screens, 2 phones and 1 hardworking me.

Being an integral member of the centralized marketing and communications team, I am constantly in contact with members of the agencies I work with, the communications staff within the other agencies and many others. I get to do everything from coming up with communications strategies to managing the social media and creating internal and external newsletters as well as all things press releases, media alerts, talking points, etc.

I am doing the kind of work I knew I wanted to do upon graduating. It feels like work in the sense that I have to work hard to get everything done and to have my work be the best quality possible, but the work itself is interesting to me and fun. Two months in, and I think it is safe to say I am thriving in my new position.

by Hannah Goodwin | email | website | linkedin | instagram

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It Just Takes A Little Time (Management)

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Planning, Stephanie, Success, Time Management

By Stephanie Harbison ~

Anyone who knows me probably knows I’m a little neurotic when it comes to time management, and almost everything goes on the calendar. I’m a pretty organized person by nature, so I always have to-do lists and carry around a cute planner.

But it wasn’t until I started my career at Northwestern Mutual that I started to take time management really seriously. In fact, everyone around here takes it really seriously! When you are managing a client base and meeting with several clients a day, you can’t afford be anything but purposeful with your time. I realized I wasn’t going to be successful if I didn’t have a plan going in to each day, and a way to evaluate my progress at the end of the day. At Northwestern Mutual this is actually called posting & planning, and it has been an absolute life changer. I’ll talk more about this later.

Time management is one of those terms that is tossed around, but what does it actually mean and how do you become good at it? A person may think he has good time management skills and work well under pressure at the last minute when in fact, that is just called procrastination!

When I think of someone with good time management skills I’m always envious of the person who always seems at ease but at the same time seems to be involved in everything! Now I know no one can be involved in everything and be good at it all, but it’s okay to dream, right?

My favorite definition of time management, according to Wikipedia, is “the act or process of planning and exercising conscious control over the amount of time spent on specific activities, especially to increase effectiveness, efficiency or productivity.” I appreciate that it emphasizes it is a process and one has to use conscious effort to be more productive. In other words, it takes work!

I am one of those people who used to say I was a good “multitasker,” and took pride in being able to work on lots of tasks at a time. Until I realized that I was NOT a good multitasker at all, and I am just very easily distracted! Each time I start working on something I get a text from my husband letting me know of a change in dinner plans, or another email notification, or Facebook reminds me that it’s my best friend’s birthday, or someone walks into my office.

It is easy to want to tend to those things right away, but then it just feels like I’m fighting fires all day long and nothing meaningful gets accomplished! I’m sure most people can relate to this. One of my favorite quotes to sum up this exact scenario is from performance coach and author, Jason Selk: “The noise of urgency creates the illusion of importance.” The truth is those distractions are never going to go away, so we have to work at managing our behavior so we can recognize what is an actual priority and what can wait.

As I learn from my own mistakes, and see others struggle to manage their time, I notice there are many culprits that keep people from being more productive. There is the tendency to over-commit oneself. This person finds herself saying yes to every opportunity or social event that comes up and ends up feeling like she can’t give 100 percent of her attention to anything.

Then there is procrastination, which everyone probably experiences once in a while. When there is a big or daunting project it can be tough to get started so we wait until the very last minute to pump out mediocre work.

And then there are those who are guilty of trying to do everything on their own. I see so many business owners and managers who are too afraid to delegate, then when they should be with their family or need to take a day off, they can’t because there is no one else there to step in and pick up the slack!

Maybe you struggle with one or many of these time management busters, but there is hope! I don’t claim to have all of the answers, but these are just a few tips that have been helpful for me improve productivity and effectiveness in both my life at work and at home.

  1. Identify your goals

It’s tough to know where you should be spending your time if you don’t have any established goals. Take time to understand what you are actually trying to accomplish in the short and long term, and then ask yourself if your current behavior and activities will actually help you accomplish those goals. Beware; this may bring some harsh realities.

  1. Prioritize

Once you’ve determined your goals, break them down into manageable daily processes that will help you reach those goals. This is a concept I learned as I worked with performance coach Jason Selk. These processes should be your top priority every day (your most important tasks), and you may need to rearrange some things in your schedule to make sure they happen. These things, done consistently, are what will help you get closer to those goals.

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  1. Get a good planner

I’m not even going to talk much about this one. If you rely on your memory to remind you of an appointment in 3 weeks, or assume someone else will remind you, you’ve got to get a planner! These are not expensive, and they don’t have to be fancy. If you don’t have a planner, chances are you are not following through on all of your commitments, and probably disappointing people around you.

  1. Have a planning day each week

Take a few minutes at the beginning of each week to write down everything you have going on that week. Are you hoping to fit in 5 workouts? I know from personal experience, if you put it on the calendar you are much more likely to actually do those workouts. This also helps you visualize all your commitments and make necessary changes ahead of time if you know you can’t fit everything in.

  1. Post and plan each day

This is that term I mentioned earlier. Take time at the end of each work day to evaluate your progress and plan for the next day. Did you complete all of the most important items on your list? What things do you need to have prepared for tomorrow? Don’t leave last minute preparations for a meeting for tomorrow morning. If you spend a few extra minutes before you head out to prep for the next day, you will get to work feeling much more confident and ready to tackle your most important tasks.

  1. Schedule time to focus

If you know you have a big deadline or know you are guilty of procrastinating, schedule time in your calendar to work only on this task, and eliminate distractions. If you wait until you feel like it to start working on that big research paper, you will most likely end up waiting until the last minute, once again.

  1. Don’t try to do everything all in one day

I am super guilty of pressuring myself to do everything on my to-do list all in one day, and then I feel disappointed when I only complete a few of them. Keep focused on those most important tasks you identified, and avoid creating self-imposed deadlines for tasks that can most likely wait.

I could probably write 10 more posts on this subject, so this list is in no way exhaustive. You may have some tips or tricks that help you stay on top of all of life’s demands. I would love to hear what works for you!

 

by stephanie harbison | email | linkedin

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