The Summer 2016 Olympics starts this weekend. I love the Olympics!

I’m especially interested in watching the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team compete. If they win this year, the U.S. women’s soccer team will not only be the first team to win the gold in the first ever Olympics that included women’s soccer in the regular program in 1996 but also the first women’s team to win gold at the Olympics after winning the previous World Cup. Side note: can you believe it was as recent as 1995 that women’s soccer WAS NOT included in the Olympics main program?! For comparison, men’s soccer has been in the Olympics since 1900. Geez, that’s shocking to this girl who played under 8’s back in the 1970s and club soccer in college. What the heck took so long?

When it comes to the Olympics though, I’ll watch pretty much any sport. I simply love championship athletics altogether: the drama of it, the purpose of training coming to a head, the kinesthetic brilliance on display. That being said, I will be sure to catch archery, judo, wrestling, trampoline gymnastics, fencing, and volleyball too, no doubt.

There are many excellent resources for tracking the Olympics this year. The 2016 Summer Olympics website is good except that you can only favorite three sports. Their scheduling page is pretty handy for the big picture of what is going on day-to-day. There is also NBC’s schedule for Olympics events they will be covering, and you can set reminders to catch what most interests you. There is also a good general list of what sports are being covered by which NBC stations here.

Of course, there are apps to keep up-to-date with news and happenings on mobile. I plan on tapping into Google’s coverage with their app. I like Google Now webpage for Olympic coverage too.

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Life Improved: Career

Want to feel good about your career? Many people desire a satisfying career, and with good reason. A career that fits well is a luxury that enhances life overall. In addition to monetary resources gained through work, a good-fitting career fuels self-development and self-confidence. It is a main avenue for continued learning and development. Through the work you do every day, you demonstrate where you are willing to focus. Finding work to focus on that meshes superbly with your inner nature and what you want to experience maximizes your personal power, creativity, and freedom.

Sometimes people are surprised to realize what an inside game career development is. Magic happens once you plan ahead to feel good about your career and begin to include your work seamlessly into the fabric of your life experience. Building a satisfying career begins with knowing it is possible and believing you can tap into that kind of abundance.

People who have found their perfect work are passionate and proud of the work they do. They exude a special type of joy and zest for life. I wish that for you. Dive into your career development one optimistic step at a time. Follow what appeals to you now as an indication of your intuition at work.

A career is more than one job, a progression of jobs, or even a certain task or title. It’s your life’s work and may include many areas of focus, some paid, and some not (such as schooling, volunteer work, or being a stay-at-home parent). Finding a larger perspective like that can make the significance of the immediate day-to-day more palatable, especially if you are currently in a job you hate. The job doesn’t feel so bad when you take the bird’s eye view. What you are doing now is just one step on the path.

If you can find a big perspective and lean positive with your outlook for the future, you suddenly find yourself with more patience and room to maneuver. It starts to feel like it is possible to make small changes that get you closer and closer to discovering the sweet spot where work feels like play. That’s what happens when you find the flow. You realize you are working on something or for something that feels significant to you personally that uses your best skills and provides the right amount of challenge for development. Add to that the feeling that your work fuels you with purpose and your career begins to feel very sweet indeed. Below are a few ideas for your to consider as a basis for creating a career that you love.

Be selfish. Embrace and pursue your own path.

Sometimes people feel pressure to choose a career based on what someone important to them expects. Often it is easy to turn away from our interests because of what those around us would think. But remember, you are the one putting in time and attention to whatever you choose for your career. You are the one noticing every day how you feel about your work. So be selfish in your career development planning. Intend for your work to enhance your life. Those you care about will be glad that you are happy in the end.

Building a career is an ever-evolving process, not a one-time choice. Each day you learn and gather new skills, meet new people, and gain important insights and info about yourself and what interests you. Through self-analysis and experience, you become more knowledgeable about yourself, what it is you do best, and how to present that to others. You learn more about what is a good fit for you and you become better able to match up with opportunities.

Follow your interests without concern about what other people think. It doesn’t matter if others notice what you are doing or what you are interested in, but when you fully engage with your work without the need for their attention, everyone will notice. You can feel confident knowing that people recognize you for what you do best as soon as you own it and keep working on it.

Begin by focusing on how you want to feel about your work. How does it feel when your work is easy and enjoyable for you? What feeling are you mainly wanting from your work at this time? Feel it now. Feel what it is like to do what you want. Make it a daily practice to visualize and feel that money comes to you without struggle and that your work is a joy.

A fulfilling career is built upon natural strengths that enable you to work with ease and to gain expertise faster. Strengths are activities that you enjoy doing, that you do well, and that you don’t mind doing repeatedly, as defined by Marcus Buckingham, one of the first strengths researchers. Once you find your top 2-3 strengths, I suggest you build your career around them ruthlessly. Work with a career counselor or coach to help make them the hub of your life’s work. Use them to communicate what distinguishes you from others in your cover letters and resumes and in important conversations with hiring managers, bosses, colleagues, and mentors.

Build on your career keyword and your strengths.

Your career keyword can provide clarity in understanding what you want recognition for and likely what will be easily recognized in you by others. Once you have it, you can integrate it with your strengths to use as a guiding light in your career decision making.

Identifying a career keyword is an exercise in big picture thinking. It is kind of like choosing a theme song, but in this case it is one word that describes what your career is about at its core. What is your career keyword? Get quiet for a few seconds then ask yourself, “what is my career about?” See if your intuition supplies an answer. If not, choose one for now and change anytime you find a word that fits even better. Your career keyword will resonate with you. You might feel proud, excited, or confident when you hit on a good word for you. Here are some example keywords.

administrating • art • beauty • bravery • building • challenge • communicating • compassion • competing • cooperating • creating• dancing • defense • diplomacy • efficiency • empathizing• enforcement • exploring • fashion • foreign travel • harmony • hedonism • healing • honesty • images • imagination • independence •
innovation • leading • movement • music• negotiating • nurturing • perfecting • performing • persistence• philanthropy • philosophy • physical stamina • power • problem solving • protecting • relating • religion • research • sales • science • self-expression • service• social reform • spirituality • storytelling • teaching • team building • technology • transforming • writing

Plan ahead to enjoy and focus your mind as you go.

Have you decided that work is a “grind?” Do you leave your workplace already dreading returning tomorrow? If so, it is no wonder work is difficult. When you notice and talk about what you don’t like, it is so easy to continue focusing in that way. If you want different results, then you need to establish a new thought pattern about your career. You simply must find a positive perspective about your work to ensure that your career enhances your life.

Even if you already think your job is good and you enjoy your work, you can give it more juice. Try this strategy. Go to work looking for something to like during your day. Maybe it’s a certain feeling in the air or special people you involved. Maybe it’s that you have a lot of time to think while you do a repetitive task. Maybe it’s that moment when you help a customer and they genuinely appreciate it. Maybe it’s noticing how someone else seems happy or is a pleasure to be around. Maybe it’s the precision with which things are getting done. There is always something positive to notice, find it. Then talk about it, and notice it again tomorrow.

Plan in advance to enjoy your work in the immediate future (as in today), short-term (as in this year), and long-term (ten years from now). What does it feel like to know satisfaction about a job well done, a position you are proud of, and a well-developed career? Feel it all now. Let your body feel the visualization as if it were the real thing. Use your imagination to your advantage to raise your vibe by intentionally feeling like you already have all that you want in your career. Do it daily and notice the differences. The positive differences you notice are your “wins.” Focus on them and make a big deal of it. Things are changing for the better!

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On Interviewing, Part 4

Of course when you go into an interview for a position, you will have done your research. You looked into what’s going on with the company. You checked out their website. You prepared for potential questions. You have questions of your own. You reviewed your power stories.

Now realize that the people who are hiring, they have a problem. And they need to find someone who can solve that problem. So be sure you are aware of why they are hiring right now. Make that a part of your research. Begin to think in terms of how you can be a solution to that problem. That’s what they want to hear, and that’s what will make you stand out. They’re looking for a solution, and you can be that solution. Position yourself to show that you’re aware of what they intend to accomplish by hiring someone. Check in with them too. When you go into your interview, say, “I imagine that blah blah blah is a problem, and I think that I could contribute by blah.” Doing so will help you demonstrate how you want to be a solution to their problem. They’ll like that.

Much what goes on in an interview is the interviewer seeking to understand your personal brand. It is often an awkward situation because each question is basically, “What makes you the best choice for us?” And, that is such a mind trick of a question. You can get into this idea of, “Oh my gosh, is it okay to say that I’m special…that I’m the best one?” You know what, it’s okay. You have a personal brand, and they want to know about that to determine if you are going to fit into the company culture. Be okay with saying, “This is who I am. This is what I do especially well. This is how I contribute.” Take pride in that.

Prepare yourself by losing that awkwardness about how they’re going to ask you what makes you unique. What makes you better than the other applicants. Understand, that is your invitation to tell them about your personal brand. What you embody. Go ahead and be yourself and stand for something. Know in advance, who you are and what you are looking for and say it with calmness and pride. Question them too. It’s the only way to find out if the match is a good fit for you both.

On Interviewing: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5

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Take Ownership

  • Your career is yours and yours alone. You have the power to create it and live it as an expression of your unique talents and energy.
  • Forget what other people think of your choices. Even though people often mean well, you will be the one putting in the hours so be selfish enough to do something you enjoy and to have fun with it!
  • Being yourself in your work gives power, creativity, and freedom. You are off track if you feel insecure or like a pretender at work.

Look Inside Yourself, You Know the Answers

  • Take note when you find yourself fully engaged in a work activity. If it feels as if you are in the zone, or plugged in and energized, or connected to something larger than yourself: Pay special attention.
  • Then describe it further…what are you liking about what you are doing? Is it this? Is it that? Keep asking yourself and you’ll know when you hit the answer that feels right.
  • Start general then get more specific in your description of what you like about what you are doing. For example, is it the communication or connection? Is it the performing or beautifying? Is it the helping or healing? Is it the organizing or administrating? Then add more detail by asking why.

Respect the Career Development Process

  • The beauty of a great career is in the way it unfolds.
  • Enjoy the present moment. Each small step adds up until you are absolutely ready for more.
  • Appreciate then forget when you felt lost or frustrated in your career. Through those times, you learned more about what you DO want.

Understand the Power of People

  • People can be powerful and brilliant in sharing their connections with others. Cherish and maintain your connections to tap into the power.
  • People can be dark, egotistical, and negative, but this is nothing compared to an individual in harmony with self. Recognize the negative as the weaker power and stay beyond it.
  • See and applaud the strengths of others as you do for yourself. Be a builder-upper who is generous with knowledge, info, and positive energy.

Be an Opportunity Bulldog

  • Take your individual strengths and mesh them into your public identity, and no one can take your place.
  • Research and understand the opportunities that exist because of the challenges in your field of expertise.
  • Present a passion for being or finding the solution and be unafraid of asking for the opportunity.
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“Superior men and women trust themselves at a deep level. They are very sensitive to what feels right.” –Brian Tracy

“We move toward a kind of defining presence because, through our passions we are utterly present.” –Greg Levoy

There is no scarcity of opportunity to make a living at what you love; there’s only a scarcity of resolve to make it happen.” –Wayne Dyer

“Acknowledging the good that is already in your life is the foundation of all abundance.” –Eckhart Tolle

“Find something you’re passionate about and keep tremendously interested in it.” –Julia Child

“Just as the master musician may cause the most beautiful strains of music to flow forth from the strings of a violin, so may you arouse the genius which lies asleep in your brain.” –Napoleon Hill

“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement nothing can be done without hope or confidence.” –Helen Keller

“Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing you will be successful.” –Herman Cain

“A career is born in public, talent in privacy.” –Marilyn Monroe

“Life is a process. Enjoy it.” –Stevie Puckett

“Burnout doesn’t happen when you are working long hours on invigorating activities.” –Marcus Buckingham

“As you become more clear about who you really are, you’ll be better able to decide what is best for you the first time around.” –Oprah Winfrey

“Follow your bliss.” –Joseph Campbell

“And as we let our own light shine we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.” –Marianne Williamson

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