Figuring things out in your 20’s and 30’s to prevent your mid-life crisis

Let’s first start off by acknowledging that the majority of people coming out of college or high school do not have a clear vision about what they will be ideally doing for the next 10-20 years. What tends to happen is that after graduating from school, people begin their journey into becoming an adult, and joining what some refer to as “the real world”. You know what I’m talking about…paying for your own phone, apartment, food, transportation, student loans, etc. The list of expenses seems like they have come out of nowhere, and most people in the first 2-4 years’ post-graduation are adjusting to becoming an adult, with real life responsibilities.

In your mid-twenties, you start to think about whether the job you decided to accept and pursue is in good alignment with what you like to do, and the reality is that often it isn’t. This tends to add to your stress, although you keep plugging along, as you are not certain what you should be doing instead. You also begin to start thinking about your romantic partnering reality, and if you are not in a serious relationship, this can also cause more stress, as the majority of people are interested in having a meaningful connection with someone.

Adding to this stress, is that many woman in their mid 20’s to mid 30’s often also start to begin panicking about whether they will be able to find the right partner, and they do have cause for concern, especially if they want to have children. Unfortunately, fertility statistics are not working in women’s favor as they enter into their 30’s, and the reality is that many women are not either emotionally or financially ready to take on becoming a Mother until they surpass 30.

I realize the written picture I have painted isn’t as promising and rosy as most people would prefer it to be. However, there is a strong degree of harsh realities associated with what is happening to the young adults in their 20’s and 30’s. Fortunately there is good news though, and here is some of the advice I give to help people in these decades of their life to not only reduce their stress, but enjoy these decades more than they might currently be doing.

  • Keeping your experiences in perspective is critical. Even though you may not be in a job you want to have, live where you want to, be in the relationship you would prefer to be in, all of these things can change very quickly. Also for the better.
  • Yes, misery can enjoy company, but do your best to avoid others who are chronic complainers or drama kings or queens. They will only drag you down, and no ones needs or enjoys this type of interaction.
  • Seek out people who are doing things (e.g., hobbies, activities) or work you either enjoy doing, or aspire to be doing. The best way to change your situation, especially if you are not satisfied is to take action.
  • Volunteering your time is also a great way to realize you may be in a better off situation than you think you are, and yes, you do have time to help others. No excuses, as most of you are only responsible for taking care of yourself.
  • Challenge yourself everyday to get out of your comfort zone. Someone in their mid 20’s the other day was surprisingly shocked that I practice what I tell others, and do something every day to challenge myself. You should never stop doing this.
  • Ask for help and guidance from others, especially others who have more life experience than you do. This could be your family members, or people that are 15-20 years plus older than you, and who have volumes of strong advice or suggestions to help you. People also derive enormous satisfaction from helping others, so let them help you.
  • Come up with an action oriented and goal driven plan for the next 5-10 years of what you would like to accomplish. We are so used to having most of our lives programmed for us up until we are 18-22, but after these ages, we are on our own to come up with a plan. The funny thing about this, is you might not realize this is the case, although upon telling you this, it probably seems obvious. Make your plan flexible enough to be accomplished, and yet challenging enough so you can experience and delight in your progress being made.
  • Seeking therapy is also a strong option, as therapists can help you to get to the root cause of what is causing you to feel the way you do, especially if you are experiencing more anxiety than you are comfortable with. However, in reality, it can also take years to feel better, and there is no guarantee offered from therapists that you will feel different or any better after you have been in therapy.
  • Most people I talk to do not fully understand who they are, or what motivates them, or what their purpose is. Figuring this out is far easier than you might think, and as a certified Gallup Strengths Coach, I help people with this challenge every day. I also love doing this, and I have seen incredible results from helping people to understand better who they are and what they are good at in less time than you might think it would take. Many people I work with also have a therapist, and I laugh when they tell me that working with me is much more therapeutic, and gets actual and faster results. How ironic.

I wish I could tell you there is a magic formula for figuring things out in your 20’s and 30’s. There isn’t, but these are a few of the suggestions I give people who ask me for advice on this topic. Let me know if some of them help you out, or if you have suggestions I can share with others which have helped you. This is my “thanksgiving” gift to you. Happy Thanksgiving…if you happen to celebrate this holiday.

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Performance Strategist and CEO of Market Me Too. Market Me Too has expertise in bridging teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth and revenue numbers, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. She is also the author of a newly published business book called Wisdom Whisperer which is available via Amazon, and has had numerous strong reviews.

Market Me Too also works with individuals from students to C-level executives. The individuals, business and sports teams we work with are coached on how to leverage and apply their peak performance talents on a daily basis, which produces repeatable, measurable and amazing results personally and professionally. Think of me as a “people are like diamonds – polisher”.

If you want better results with what you are doing, let’s talk. We know how to help you get them. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com or (339) 987-0195.

 

Ten Reasons Being a Mature Worker Has Advantages

When I first began my business career, I rarely thought about what it might be like for me and where I would be working when I was 40 or older. I was so focused on what was directly in front of me, it was difficult to think too far ahead.

I knew I wanted to advance, but I did not have a vision for exactly what that meant. In speaking with many of today’s twenty- and thirty-somethings, I realized they have a better sense of having plotted out where they are headed.  Of course, this is not always the case.

In the last 20 years, society has put enormous pressure on younger people to know from an early age what they want to be doing in their careers. This is incredibly unfair and unrealistic. The decade immediately following college should be a time to explore various career options, travel, and obtain a better sense of your skill set as well as what you like and do not like to do.

By the time you reach your 30s, you have generally settled into an industry which you may or may not be satisfied with. You have also, by this time, hopefully have had an opportunity to work with people who are a variety of ages.

Unfortunately, if you are in the technology industry, you will not see too many people past the age of 50. Over 50, most are either a “C” level executive, or on the software development, testing, and customer support side of the business. Perhaps in non-technology industries you will have an opportunity to work with more mature colleagues. There is much to learn from them.

What most people do not realize is how valuable employees with years of experience are, or how to fully tap into their potential. Our society has done a decent job of on-boarding new and younger employees.  Where society has failed is knowing how best to leverage the talent of the workforce over 50.  Or 60.  Or 70.

Last week, I had an opportunity to witness an incredible team effort.  The average age of the people working together was around 70.  All of them were women. They worked for well over a month making homemade holiday gifts to be sold at a community fair. The proceeds were being donated to both the local school system, as well as the village church and community hall where the event was to take place.

When I walked in on the morning of the holiday event, where all of the incredible handmade items were on display, I felt as if I had been transported to a different and magical world. The sheer beauty of the handmade items was stunning. They were a testament to a team of people working together who had donated their skills and time.

Could a group of people who were younger have accomplished the same thing this group of women in their 70s, 80s and 90s did? Sure! Age should not be a limitation in either the workplace or in life if someone is determined to participate.

However, due to age discrimination, and this happens to younger people, too, many of our more mature workers are forced out of the work place. This is such a shame.

Here are ten reasons for why older workers rock, along with the benefits of being a more mature worker.

 

  1. Understanding what has been done in the past can be incredibly helpful in directing what the priorities should be. Mature employees have experience with knowing what has worked, and what has not. Knowing what not to focus on because it will waste time is an enormously valuable skill.

 

  1. Time is our most precious commodity. Due to experience, most mature workers have become exceptionally good at managing their time, and know how to maximize accomplishing goals with a more disciplined approach.

 

  1. Mature workers, in general, tend to be dependable, and have built up a work ethic which is both commendable, and the type of mindset and behavior that is great modeling for younger generations.

 

  1. Having experienced a number of failures already in their life, as people mature, they can be much less afraid of making mistakes and taking risks, contrary to other thinking.

 

  1. Communication skills generally improve over time, and because of this, mature workers do a better job of being able to articulate information relating to the work they are doing, the challenges they are experiencing, or interacting with customers who can sometimes be difficult to deal with.

 

  1. Focusing on tasks or on developing a longer-range strategy becomes much easier to accomplish as you mature. You tend to take more of a longer-term perspective when taking strategy into account, and this is very valuable.

 

  1. Knowing how to handle more interactions with both people and situations is something gained from being exposed to a variety of scenarios over one’s career.

 

  1. Having the ability to be retrospective on most matters can be quite beneficial in terms of getting beyond challenging matters sooner.

 

  1. Patience is generally a skill developed over time. Having the ability to be patient and not too quick to react, can help a company to remain on course and make small adjustments versus reactive decisions that typically do not serve companies well in the long term.

 

  1. Although there is a perception people only have high energy when they are younger, mature employees might in fact have more energy. Less of their focus is on concerns such as social pressure, college loans, raising young children, have passed.

Points to ponder:

  • Has your perspective on what it means to be a mature worker changed?
  • Are you willing and/or able to reduce ageism in the work place?
  • Are you ready to hire mature workers at your company?
  • Will you add them to your team, making it more balanced?

The best performing teams I have seen, are the ones that are generationally balanced. Is yours?

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Performance Strategist and CEO of Market Me TooMarket Me Too has expertise in bridging teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth and revenue numbers, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. She is also the author of a newly published business book called Wisdom Whisperer which is available via Amazon, and has had numerous strong reviews.

Market Me Too also works with individuals from students to C-level executives. The individuals, business and sports teams we work with are coached on how to leverage and apply their peak performance talents on a daily basis, which produces repeatable, measurable and amazing results personally and professionally.

If you want better results with what you are doing, let’s talk. We know how to help you get them. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com or (339) 987-0195.

 

Advocate for yourself. You’re worth it.

If everyone could afford to have their own public relations and branding company working for them, imagine how much fun you could have with this? Since this is not realistic for the majority of people, the next best or potentially the best person to develop your image and brand is you. Yes, you, although you may be initially challenged with how to do this, it is possible to do.

Whether you want to develop your own brand is something you have to decide to do, but essentially everyone should be doing this. Why? Because if you have a LinkedIn account or are active on any social media platforms, you are already in the process of developing your brand. However, are you giving your brand the kind of attention it deserves, and is the type of effort you are putting in worth it? It should be, otherwise why would you bother to invest your time in the process?

As we all know, no two people are exactly the same, and everyone has their own talents and different types of experiences which add value to who they are personally and professionally. Some people may have taken a more prescriptive approach to charting out their paths, and others may have taken a less formal approach to developing their personal or professional journeys. Either approach is fine, and what makes the difference in terms of your satisfaction with either path is how you go about advocating for yourself along the way.

I have written about the importance of developing your own value proposition,  and this is the foundation you will build upon to advocate for yourself in just about any scenario. It is possible to have two value propositions, and one would be for your personal life, and the other your professional one. However, it is fine to have one which is a blend of the two, especially since some people do not separate their personal and professional lives. For those that have a strict delineation between the two, then crafting two value propositions will make sense.

As a refresher, think of your value proposition as your “elevator pitch” to tell and promote yourself to others. Give some thought about how you are coming across to your audience from both a verbal and strategic perspective. Are you coming across in a way which elicits a response of “so what”, or a response which has the recipient asking more questions about you? The latter is obviously preferred, so here are some tips on how you can craft the elevator pitch to do the best possible job of advocating for yourself.

  • Write down (3-5) things you enjoy doing professionally, and are good at.
  • Come up with 2-3 examples of what makes you exceptional at the things you enjoy doing personally or professionally.
  • Ask your friends and trusted colleagues to tell you what they perceive are your best skills personally or professionally.
  • Write down and practice giving your “advocate/elevator pitch”. Yes, really do this and refine it as you are crafting and stating it to others.
  • If you are not being asked questions after reciting your advocate pitch, go back and re-craft it and try it again. It may take 2-3 iterations to get this right, and it will likely need to be modified over time as you add more skills to yourself advocacy list.

Still not convinced you need to advocate for yourself? Think again, as how do you think the people who you hear about or admire professionally or personally got to where they are today? Yes, this is a rhetorical question, but it boils down to being a strong advocate for themselves. The bottom line is you are worth it, so get out there and start advocating for yourself. I’ll be looking for you to do so.

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Performance Strategist and CEO of Market Me TooMarket Me Too has expertise in bridging teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth and revenue numbers, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. She is also the author of a newly published business book called Wisdom Whisperer which is available via Amazon, and has had numerous strong reviews.

Market Me Too also works with individuals from students to C-level executives. The individuals, business and sports teams we work with are coached on how to leverage and apply their peak performance talents on a daily basis, which produces repeatable, measurable and amazing results personally and professionally.

If you want better results with what you are doing, let’s talk. We know how to help you get them. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com or (339) 987-0195.

 

Busy, but not productive?

Anyone who knows me knows I do not enjoy wasting time, and I’ll admit that relaxing can be a challenge for me, and that I actually will schedule time to relax. This works for me, but certainly isn’t going to be a strategy that will work for everyone. I wouldn’t expect it to, but I do expect that if someone wants to be more productive versus being only busy, then you are in the majority of people I talk to.

In our society today, saying you’re busy is what others expect to hear you say. Seldom do you hear someone tell you they don’t have much going on, or that they are never busy. Busy is one of those words which is a way of politely expressing you have a great deal going on in your life, but that does not require you to explain what this means. This statement applies to both work and life, and you would almost never say at work that you are not busy. If you said this, it could be quite detrimental to your current employment.

So, when someone says they are busy at work, they typically will justify and explain how and why they are busy. They may not go into details about what constitutes making them busy, but essentially when they express this, it generally means their time is consumed by doing a number of things related to their job. However, if you are a manager and someone tells you they are busy, your job is to ask questions to see what the person working for you means by this expression, since there are multiple interpretations of this word.

If you are wondering how to determine if someone is busy versus being productive, here are some questions you can ask them to find out which one they are.

  1. Do you feel good about the list of priorities you are working on?
  2. How are the timelines on the projects you are focusing on progressing today/this week/month?
  3. Are your projects and the completion of them positively impacting others?
  4. Is the work you are doing and accomplishing being communicated to others well?
  5. Do you have a good sense the work you are doing is well focused, or does it need to be redefined to increase the productivity of the work?
  6. On a scale of 1-5, (5 being the highest level) are you feeling overwhelmed, or well supported to get your work done?
  7. With your workload, are you feeling that you need more resources to accomplish your work, or that you have the right amount of support?
  8. Do you ever feel like you are “spinning your wheels” on the work you are performing? If they answer ‘yes’ to this question, or do not give you a convincing response and tell you ‘no’, chances are they may be falling into the only keeping busy category.

Keeping busy for the sake of either not being bored or unchallenged is fine for some people. However, if you are running a business, then it’s not so fine. Having employees or teams who are only appearing to be busy, yet who are not actually productive can be the beginning to a serious engagement and management challenge. Taking on this challenge is not easy, and often requires an external perspective to help identify and determine where to start with fixing and then addressing the situation.

Knowing your team or company has a productivity issue should be addressed as soon as possible, as it should be obvious the situation will not improve upon by itself if it is ignored. The good news is that productivity can quickly come back. Just don’t fall into the trap of thinking you or others are too busy to address this matter.

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Performance Strategist and CEO of Market Me TooMarket Me Too has expertise in bridging teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth and revenue numbers, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. She is also the author of a newly published business book called Wisdom Whisperer which is available via Amazon, and has had numerous strong reviews.

Market Me Too also works with individuals from students to C-level executives. The individuals, business and sports teams we work with are coached on how to leverage and apply their peak performance talents on a daily basis, which produces repeatable, measurable and amazing results personally and professionally.

If you want better results with what you are doing, let’s talk. We know how to help you get them. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com or (339) 987-0195.

 

Connected socially, but not really

My father is the perfect example of someone who has enormously benefitted from mobile and social media connections. He was not someone you would classify as an early adopter of technology, but when he was reluctantly coaxed into purchasing his first mobile phone, it was a life changing experience for him.

Having three children and seven grandchildren, with his mobile phone, my father now had a new way to communicate with people that was far different from the standard way of speaking with people on the phone as he had done so for years. He still enjoys speaking on the phone, but his mobile phone has opened up a whole new way for him to communicate.

Texting appears to be his newest favorite form of communicating, and based on the number of emoji’s he has, I personally think he must send emoji ideas to designers, or has them created for him. He also loves sending all of us unique photos which tie into our interests and hobbies, and I am also amazed at how he does this so well.

Although mobile communications and social media are powerful connecting methods, they are also only one to two-dimensional in terms of being able to connect people. Connecting with people face to face is still the most powerful way of communicating with others. However, given the choice, it seems that more people will opt to engage with people via social media versus seeing them in person. Obviously, there are some people who we cannot easily see in person due to distance or other extenuating circumstances, and this is an upside to social media interactions.

Since engaging with social media has a relatively low barrier for easily being able to interact with people, I have seen that more people will defer to this type of engagement rather than making the effort to see people in person. What they may not realize, is that the social media interactions they have do not have the same level of genuineness and impact level that in person interactions have. In person interactions take planning and time, and given the fact people are so busy, they will generally defer to interacting via social media versus in person connections.

Fewer in person interactions and increased social media interactions are what in my opinion have contributed to people being less apt to have strong face to face conversations, as well as making them feel less connected to others. There is a serious disconnect that occurs when we exclusively communicate via social media, or have this method of interacting with others at such a high percentage rate which causes an imbalance for us socially.

Humans have a strong need and desire to socially engage with others, and our social media interactions cannot be a complete substitution for this. However, when you are out in public, look around and just about half or more of the people you see will be heads down, with their phone commanding their full attention. I have often wondered if due to this phenomenon and new reality, if it has contributed to our levels of anxiety and depression. This could also be despite the fact people think they are fully socially engaging with others, but in reality, they really are not.

In person communications takes both patience and practice, and engaging in social media does not necessarily contribute to helping to enhance these skills. So, if you feel as if your anxiety levels are on the increase, consider utilizing your social media communications to set-up face to face interactions with people. Doing this will make you feel much more connected, and will help to develop your actual and real relationship with the people you are engaging with either personally or professionally.

Start queuing up your in-person meetings with your on-line people right now. Once you do this, you will then start enjoying the benefits of truly leveraging the full power of your on-line world of connections, especially when you have them cross over into your real world. What are you waiting for? I’ll be waiting to hear from you.

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Performance Strategist and CMO of Market Me TooMarket Me Too has expertise in bridging teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth and revenue numbers, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. She is also the author of a newly published business book called Wisdom Whisperer which is available via Amazon.

Market Me Too also works with individuals from students to C-level executives. The individuals, business and sports teams we work with are coached on how to leverage and apply their peak performance talents on a daily basis, which produces repeatable, measurable and amazing results.

If you want better results, let’s talk. We know how to help you get them. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com or (339) 987-0195.