Roberta Chinsky Matuson
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How To Avoid Winding Up On “The Hit” List

exhaustedIn some industries, like film and music, ending up on the “hit list” is a good thing. Fame and fortune are bound to follow. Unfortunately, winding up on the “hit list” as a manager is an entirely different story.

In the movie, “Horrible Bosses,” three friends devise a plan to rid themselves of their bosses. This idea seems to resonate with many, as the film had a strong showing at the box office. Here’s why.

Bad bosses are all around, which means there is a shortage of role models for those interested in becoming a boss that others admire. Don’t despair. There are ways to make it into the Good Boss Hall of Fame on your own. Follow these steps and you’ll be well on your way.

Get a life-Bosses who have nothing better to do than work assume that everyone around them is in the same position. If you take the time to get to know your people, you will see that most have a life (or at least they are trying to have a life) outside of work. Good bosses assign work with realistic deadlines. They then get out of the way and allow employees to manage their time.

Hold people accountable-Despite what you may think, the best bosses aren’t the ones who let people get away with murder. They are the ones who hold everyone to the same standard. Good bosses provide ongoing positive feedback. They also provide immediate guidance when workers appear to be going off track.

Be consistent-Bad bosses get their reputation for being psycho because of erratic behavior. One day they are the kind to those around them and the next day their evil twin takes over. Employees who work for inconsistent bosses, waste time and energy coming up with contingency plans in case the evil twin wins out that day. A good boss is even tempered. His people have a pretty good idea of which personality will be showing up on any given day.

Establish a harassment free environment-It should be a no brainer that the boss doesn’t hit on an employee, but sadly this is not a lesson that everyone has learned. Sexual harassment isn’t about sex. It’s about power. Leaders who inspire others to follow are more powerful than those who manage through fear. Set the example. Now matter how tempted you might be, don’t mix business with pleasure.

Control your anger-Being a boss in these tumultuous economic times is stressful. But that doesn’t give you the right to run around the office screaming at everyone. Learn to manage your stress. You can do this on your own or if need be, seek professional help. Good bosses are known to keep their cool, especially when the heat rises in the organization.

Be generous-Good bosses are generous with their time and do their best to reward those who have proven they are worthy of more. Budgets may be tight, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find non-monetary ways to show your gratitude. You can do this by accommodating scheduling requests, allowing valued employees to home office several days a week or by acknowledging employees in front of valued customers when they do something right.

Be empathetic-Good bosses recognize that even their best employees may go through troubling times, which will impact their work. Look for signs that may indicate that something may have changed for your employee. Perhaps your most reliable employee is now showing up late for work. Or your happy-go-lucky employee no longer smiles. Acknowledge this shift and share resources, such as the phone number to your Employee Assistance Plan, to demonstrate that you are genuinely concerned about their well-being.

No one said playing the lead role of boss would be easy. But with practice, and some coaching along the way, it won’t be long before you are thanking the academy for your nomination into the Good Boss Hall of Fame.

Take advantage of my summer time special on coaching. Mention “Summer Special” and I’ll add an extra month of coaching, at no additional cost. Contact me at to learn more.

Posted in Coaching, Leadership, Management

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Sometimes The Problem Is You

businessman hiding face not my faultYesterday, the WSJ, in an article titled Outdated: The Plain-Vanilla Accountant, featured three companies that were in desperate need of accountants. The US unemployment rate for accountants and auditors is 2.9% in the first quarter. That compares to an overall jobless rate of 5.4% in April. We can all agree that it’s tough to find people these days. In particular accountants. But what if the problem isn’t the economy? What if the problem is you?

One of the companies featured in this story is York Telecom. I was intrigued by the comments made by their CFO, Judi Pulig so I hopped on over to their website to see what they were doing to attract talent. I searched high and low for their jobs page, at least three times, and came up blank. A career page…yes. A listing of job openings…no. Now I may have very well missed this. If I did, then you can bet others are missing this as well.

“It was a struggle to find people who are qualified,” notes Pulig. Indeed, I’m sure it is. By why make a difficult task harder? Stop blaming the economy and start paying attention to the details. A few simple changes, such as actually listing your job openings on your website, can vastly improve your odds of filling your jobs.

Order a copy of my latest book, Talent Magnetism: How to Build a Workplace That Attracts the Best.

Posted in Hiring and Recruitment, Talent Acquisition and Retention, Talent Maximization

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How To Impress Your First Boss

As I drove through town this afternoon, I saw another group of Smith College graduates ready to take on the world. How fortunate for today’s grads to be leaving school at a time when there are actually jobs. Congratulations to all of you who have just graduated and landed your first “real” job. Here’s my advice on how to impress your first boss as you go out and make your way in the world.

Show up on time. You are in the big leagues now. This means that showing up for work on time is not an option. It’s a requirement. And when I say showing up for work on time, I mean being at your desk, Starbucks in hand, prepared to begin work at the time you and your boss agree you’ll begin your day.

Dress appropriately. I know you are probably rolling your eyes wondering why I would even have to remind people to dress appropriately. It’s because I’ve seen a lot in my day and some of it isn’t pretty, especially as the summer heats up in the city. Dress conservatively on your first day of work. If you are a guy and you don’t know if ties are required, bring one along so that you can put one on if you notice that more of the guys are wearing them than not. If you are a woman, select an outfit that will work, if by chance your office is in a church.

Don’t be the first one out the door. You may indeed be the smartest person in the room, but that still doesn’t mean your legs should be flying out the door the moment the clock hits quitting time. Before leaving, always ask your boss if there is anything he or she would like you to do, before you pack your things and exit.

Be aware of your surroundings. The world of work looks nothing like the world of education. You’ll quickly learn about expectations in the workplace by being aware of your surroundings. For example, take note of your bosses interaction with others. Does your boss appear to be a bottom line kind of guy or does he prefer to have all the background information. Can’t figure it out? Then ask.

Be resourceful. You were hired because you impressed your boss during your interview. Don’t stop there. Be resourceful. Share  ideas you’ve come up with that will make life easier for your boss.

Be respectful. Your boss isn’t your pal, even if she is a year or two older than you. She is your boss. Treat her with the same respect that you’d treat someone higher up in the organization.

Manage yourself. Your boss has a full plate. Your job is to be an asset. Not a burden. When you make a commitment to your boss, do what you say you are going to do. If you are unable to do so, at least let your boss know ahead of time so she is not surprised.

Manage your boss. The idea of managing your boss (also known as managing up) is a topic that is rarely taught in school. That’s why I wrote the book on managing up in the top down world of business. The book is called Suddenly in Charge. Even if you are not in management, be sure to get a hold of a copy and read the section on managing up. Once you acquire this skill, you will be impressing bosses for years to come and who knows, one day you may indeed be a boss.

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Posted in Careers, Managing Up, Millennials

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Leadership Lessons Learned From Motherhood

photoToday is Mother’s Day so I thought it was appropriate to share some leadership lessons that I’ve learned as a result of being a mother.

Equal isn’t fair. I have two children, which means there are a lot of competing demands. I learned early on that there is no way on this earth that you can possibly treat two people the same. Even if you think you are doing so, their perception is completely different. Our mantra is the following. “Everyone will get what they need when they need it.” A great lesson for those leading others in business. Giving everyone an award because one person excelled will result in confusion and misery. Take note of the person who did something great and dare to treat them special. Others will notice and will do their best to be singled out as well.

Everyone wants to feel needed. It took me a long time to figure out that I wasn’t doing my kids any favors by doing for them what they could do for themselves. If only I had learned that lesson when I was a young leader. I would have certainly stepped back and allowed my people to stretch their boundaries. I would have also allowed them to fail. Nothing prepares you more for success than failure.

You can’t want for others what they don’t want for themselves. How many times have you seen kids dragged to batting practice or dance class when in reality they really didn’t want to go. In most situations, the parents never stopped to ask their kids if this was an activity they were interested in continuing. Everyday, I see people tossed into management roles. Many are never asked if they wish to lead others. Don’t make this same mistake. Prior to promoting someone, ask him or her if they are interested in taking on this level of responsibility. Make it okay for them to say no.

It’s better to be respected than loved. Okay, this is a hard one, as what mother doesn’t want to be loved? But I know in my heart that my job as a mom requires me to frequently lose the popularity contest. I have to say no when saying yes will put my child in harm’s way. I have to monitor their study habits and provide feedback so they can succeed later on in life. I have to say no. A word that doesn’t easily slip off the tongue. I see too many managers not managing because they fear they will not be liked. In order to be an effective manager, you have to actually manage. You have to say no and you also have to make decisions that aren’t all that popular. But at the end of the day, that’s your job. And by doing so, you’ll have a team of people that respect you.

Your kids and your employees are not your friends. You role as a parent isn’t to be your kid’s friend, although hopefully that will happen later when your kid matures and is on her won. You are there to provide guidance. The same goes for employees. You can find friends on Facebook or any other place where you hang out. Just don’t look for friendship from your employees. If you do so, you’ll find that it will be that much harder to do your job.

Everyday is a both a challenge and an opportunity for growth. As a parent, no two days are the same, which is kind of cool and also very scary. Each day is also an opportunity to watch your child do something great, that you never expected they’d be able to do. It could be as simple as hearing a thank you after you’ve taken them to the mall or even more awesome like the Mother’s Day clip my daughter just put together for me using Final Cut Pro. Being a leader is scary as well. You’ve got a ton of responsibility and little control over those who are assigned to your team. Be prepared for greatness and do your best not to look overly surprised when they rock your world in ways that you could never have imagined!

I wish all of you have a great Mother’s Day!



Posted in Leadership, Musings, Talent Maximization

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Inconsistent Consistency

Consistently InconsistentWe took our family out to breakfast this morning at one of our favorite restaurants, where I experienced first hand what happens when you deliver inconsistent consistency. My meal came out lukewarm and was severely lacking in flavor. I found the experience quite puzzling, as I’ve ordered this dish before and remember how flavorful the food at this restaurant has always been. That was yesterday. This is today. The problem is, there will unlikely be a tomorrow. Why? Because I no longer trust that this business can deliver a consistent acceptable dining experience. How long will this establishment will remain in business is anyone’s guess, if this is their new norm.  I suspect this could be the beginning of the end. Hopefully it’s not your business I’m referencing.

The concept of inconsistent consistency isn’t completely reserved for restaurants. I see this phenomena occurring a lot with leaders. One of the biggest complaints employees have about their bosses is that many are too unpredictable. One day they are working for Mr. Nice Guy and the next day his evil twin brother, Mr. Not So Nice shows up for work. It’s enough to make a sane employee seek counseling! Here are some tips that will help you as a leader remain consistent day in and day out.

Write things down. It’s hard enough recalling what you told one employee yesterday. Now multiply this by 10, 20 or even 50 employees who are all working remotely. Create a folder on your computer for each employee and use it to  jot down notes from conversations. Refer to this folder prior to providing employees with responses to their questions, to ensure you are consistently giving them the same response.

Establish policies. Entrepreneurs typically hate policies until such time as they reach the point where their organizations are too large to manage by the seat of their pants. You know it’s time to establish some concrete policies when you can no longer recall who you promised what! If you are adverse to policies than at a minimum, establish some guidelines. Your employees will thank you as they will know exactly what to expect.

Survey your employees and customers. You may think you are delivering high levels of consistent communication and service. However, you’ll never really know unless you ask your employees and customers for their opinion. I suspect I’ll never receive a survey from this restaurant, which means they’ll never know why I have chosen not to return. They’ll also never know how many others I will advise to steer clear of their establishment. Now imagine how differently things might have gone had a member of management asked me how I enjoyed my meal. Don’t wait for your employees to quit or your customers to depart. Ask them now how you are doing and ask them again next week. Ask until you consistently receive the answers you hoped you’d receive.

Posted in General Observations, Management, Thought Leadership

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Why You Are Struggling To Fill Sales Jobs With Millennials-Part II

Office chair Help Wanted Job Hiring IconsIn part one of this two part article, we shared stories and ideas on why so many companies are struggling to fill sales jobs with millennials. In this post, Part II, we’ll share what you can do to reverse this trend.

Start solving the millennial challenge now, says Francis.

“Building the best team possible is a crucial step for businesses that are serious about accelerating their sales,” explains Colleen Francis, founder of Engage Selling Solutions. “Solving the millennial challenge needs to be your top task in that bigger job.”

As a sales strategist, Francis works with companies to develop field-tested, winning methods of attracting and retaining top talent. While that search cuts across generational lines, her work with top-ranked sales organizations has helped her formulate specific advice on how best to reach this millennial generation—the sales force and sales leaders of tomorrow.

It starts with adopting a new mindset. “Get ready turn what you think you know about sales on its head,” says Francis. “The tried and true methods of recruiting young people just don’t work anymore. And that means you need to take a hard look all the way down to your corporate structure and rethink what it needs to do to be able to better drive sellers and influence buyer behavior.”

There are five steps your business can take now to help solve the millennial challenge.

1. Money really does talk. Time does, too.

Pay for performance with no cap. Far too often executives put a cap on sales incentive plans. That just turns off millennials. They view it as an arbitrary limit on their earning potential. And quite frankly they have point. Consider individualizing your company pay scale. Don’t be afraid to have unique bonuses for individual top performers. Put away the old-school invitations to a President’s Club winner’s circle. Instead, offer something that is meaningful to the seller—ahead of what’s meaningful to your organization.

Time off can be just as valuable as money. Consider the example of a sales director (let’s call him Brian) of an international software company. He successfully motivated his younger team members by offering them a mix of time off and some extra money to invest in what they enjoyed doing.

2. Catch people doing the right thing.

Praise goes a long way, even with younger employees. Millennials want to feel they are contributing to your organization and to your client base. Case in point:  a client recently lost a top performing millennial seller who was earning $250,000 annually. Why? Because that seller felt her contributions were not valued by the CEO.

Take more time to listen carefully to their suggestions, and offer praise for good work. Just as important, go out of your way to highlight client success stories on a regular basis. When a client accomplished great things using your product or service this is a sign that you are not just “selling stuff,” but making a different to the lives of the people and businesses that you serve.

3. Flexibility is a big deal.

Does it really matter if your sellers are in the office 9-5 every day? Consider adopting flexible work arrangements for top performers, allowing them to work at home if they are producing.

Here are two examples. First, there’s Melissa, a young sales director based in the Netherlands, managing a team in Singapore. She chooses to work from Miami Beach throughout the winter. Her company’s leaders are happy with this arrangement because her results are excellent. Second example: David in Edmonton Alberta is a top seller who works hard at managing two territories and consistently delivers great results. His employer lets him go home every weekday from noon to four to rest up and have an early dinner. Then he comes back to the office and works late into the evening. While that’s not a great schedule for many people, but it’s ideal for David and his performance numbers back that up.

4. Be a leader, not a follower in embracing new technology.

Too often, this gets overlooked in organizations with legacy systems. Millennials are highly connected. Embrace a work style that encourages this, using multiple platforms and multiple media for reaching clients. Excessive limits on—or over-managing of—social media activities only repel this new generation of sales performers, to say nothing of what it can do to your reputation with customers.

If you’re worried about responsible behavior online, offer a class to sellers on what’s expected of them before you allow them to log-in to their platforms of choice. Never shut them off completely. If you find yourself on the wrong side of progress, you’re bound to be seen by millennials as not worth their time.

5. Rethink your expectations about retention and loyalty.

One of the biggest complaints companies make today about millennial hires is that they leave too soon and jump from job to job. That’s not a generational problem. It’s a symptom of a corporate problem: of not knowing how best to harness the millennial sprit, their capabilities, and of accepting that ambition is an important part of being young. The old way was to assume you would keep a seller in place for five years and it would only be in year two that they would become profitable. What if you assumed today that this seller was only going to be in place for two years? Could you onboard them quickly and make sure they were profitable in 6 months? The faster a millennial seller is profitable, the happier they are. The happier they are, the better job they do, and the longer they will stay.

Your next step: know what’s at stake.

Experts tell us that 2015 is the year millennials will surpass the Baby Boom generation as the largest living generation in the United States. That’s a worldwide trend and it’s one that will keep growing well into this century.

Therefore, it’s vital that businesses get serious about tackling the millennial challenge: making your organization a more attractive place for this young, vibrant generation to invest their time and their considerable talents.

This is about more than chasing a demographic. These are the future leaders of business and the future top-performer in sales. You need them more than they need you. By making your company be seen as a great place for these young sellers to grow and thrive, you are positioning yourself for steady growth and accelerating sales for years to come.

We welcome your thoughts and ideas on what companies can do to attract and retain millennial sales talent. Please post your comments on the blog.

 © Matuson Consulting and Engage Selling Solutions, 2015. All Rights Reserved.

Roberta Matuson is the Talent Maximizer® and president of  Matuson Consulting. Her latest book is Talent Magnetism: How to Build a Workplace That Attracts and Keeps the Best. 

 Colleen Francis is The Sales Leader ™, founder of Engage Selling Solutions and author of Nonstop Sales Boom: Powerful Strategies to Drive Consistent Growth Year After Year, among other titles.

Posted in Hiring and Recruitment, Leadership, Millennials, Retention, Sales, Talent Acquisition and Retention, Talent Maximization

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Five Characteristics Of A Great Mentoring Relationship

MentoringI’m currently helping a number of my clients design and implement mentoring programs, as they seek ways to deepen their relationships with their employees, by providing additional developmental opportunities to their people. This is a great strategy for attracting and retaining top talent. If you’ve ever had a mentor or been a mentor, then you know how this relationship can be a game-changer for years to come. Here are five characteristics of a great mentoring relationship:

  1. The relationship is mutually beneficial. The best mentoring relationships are those where both parties are getting something out of it. The mentor may receive personal satisfaction knowing he or she is helping someone who is looking to propel his or her career forward, while the mentee feels fortunate to have access to someone who knows the playing field fairly well.
  2. There are high levels of trust. Trust is the thread that holds the mentoring relationship together. Without trust, neither party can move forward. Here are some signs that you have a trusting relationship. Both parties share personal challenges. Neither person thinks twice before speaking. Honesty is the rule rather than the exception.
  3. Communication flows easily. Both parties look forward to their next point of connection. Conversations become more sophisticated as the relationship matures. Both mentor and mentee actively listen to one another and remain in the moment.
  4. Commitment is strong. The relationship is a priority to both parties. Meetings are rarely missed.
  5. The sun sets in a timely manner. Nothing lasts forever, including mentoring relationships. When the relationship has run its course, neither party hangs on out of convenience. Both agree that for growth to continue, one must let go.

What would you add to this list?

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Posted in Careers, Employee Engagement, Leadership, Learning and Development, Mentoring, Talent Maximization

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Why You Are Struggling To Fill Sales Jobs With Millennials-Part I

Office chair Help Wanted Job Hiring IconsA few decades ago, a career in sales was a much sought-after career by young graduates entering the workforce. College seniors would clamor to get on the interview list of on-campus recruiters representing blue-chip companies like IBM and Xerox who were hungry for top sales talent.

Today, it’s much harder to sell young people on a career in sales. And yet it’s vital for successful organizations both large and small to overcome this barrier if they want to grow their sales force and their profits—not to mention their market appeal to this giant demographic group.

In this two-part article, Talent Maximizer® Roberta Matuson of Matuson Consulting looks at why sales gets a bad rap from millennials, and sales strategist Colleen Francis of Engage Selling Solutions explores what you can do to reverse that trend.

Identifying the problem is key, says Matuson.

“Finding ways to make top talent stick with you is one of the biggest challenges that businesses face today,” says Roberta Matuson. “Nowhere is this challenge more acute than with this new generation of bright, young people moving into the professional workforce. More than just retaining them, you need to make a convincing case that a career in sales is a noble profession where they can really make a difference.”

Matuson, who helps world-class companies like General Motors, Best Buy and New Balance attract, engage and retain top talent offers the following examples to show how businesses are tackling this problem.

Repackaging the appeal of sales.

John Geist, VP of Sales for the Boston Beer Company, believes the business of selling has an image problem. “When young people think of sales, they conjure up an image of a guy in a plaid jacket going out to sell a product. At Boston Beer, we are professional, yet casual. Ties for men are no longer required for daily wear, although reps are expected to have one available in case the situation calls for it.”

Steve Richard, Founder and President of VorsightBP, believes that colleges and universities do little to promote the field of sales to their students. “You don’t see sales courses in colleges and universities,” says Richard. “There is a lack of exposure to the positive and productive sales roles that are out there. Instead, many times the only exposure a student has to sales is a poor one, when they go with their parents to purchase a car.”

Richards is on a mission to change the way young people view sales. He is passing the college placement offices. Instead, he’s building relationships directly with the professors and the undergraduate business fraternities. “We put on programs and seminars for the kids,” says Richards. “We host lunch and learns. We buy them pizza and soda or healthy drinks and we talk about sales and provide advice on their job search.”

Getting young people excited about sales is crucial, according to Richards. He makes it a point of staying in touch with them through marketing automation tools like Hubspot. “We put them in the nurture stream, so we can be front and center in their minds.”

Besting the competition.

Technology companies have had a huge impact on the ability of sales leaders to attract millennial talent. According to Geist, “The creativeness and freedom they offer is appealing, whereas sales requires discipline that many people don’t have today.”

In other words: tech is hot, sales is not.

Ted Kennedy, VP of Sales and Marketing at William B. Meyer, Inc. is preparing for the fight of his life. Working in what he describes as an old-line industry, he explains “we are not glamorous nor are we sexy,” but that the opportunities for young recruits with his firm are nevertheless considerable. Despite this, they struggle. “I have 20 people in sales,” says Kennedy. “Our average age is high 40s to low 50s. We cannot attract a millennial into our organization.”

Kennedy acknowledges that as his sales force ages, he has to have new people to replace them. His company is thinking about starting an apprentice program for the children of some of their best employees, who can be groomed for these jobs. Kennedy admits that they’ve been thinking about ways to attract new talent to the sales organization for the past three or four years.

However, reality is now hitting him in the face and he understands he must take decisive action, rather than merely thinking about things.

Nurturing and retaining new talent.

Back at Boston Beer, the focus is on retention. “The big challenge for us is holding onto our sales people past the two-year mark,” says Geist. Promotions at Boston Beer often require relocation, which young people agree to, yet resist when the time comes to make a move.

Be sure to come back and read Part II, where Sales Guru, Colleen Francis will offer ground-breaking ideas on how you can solve the millennial challenge.

© Matuson Consulting and Engage Selling Solutions, 2015. All Rights Reserved.

Roberta Matuson is the Talent Maximizer® and president of  Matuson Consulting. Her latest book is Talent Magnetism: How to Build a Workplace That Attracts and Keeps the Best.  

Colleen Francis is The Sales Leader ™, founder of Engage Selling Solutions and author of Nonstop Sales Boom: Powerful Strategies to Drive Consistent Growth Year After Year, among other titles.

Posted in Employee Engagement, Hiring and Recruitment, Millennials, Sales, Talent Acquisition and Retention, Talent Maximization, Thought Leadership

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Make Time To Stop And Smell The Cherry Blossoms

IMG_8177Many of us are running around like chickens with our heads cut off. So much so, that we miss out on the best that life has to offer. I’ve traveled around the world (more than once), yet I had never seen the world famous Cherry Blossoms in Washington, DC. As luck would have it, my mentor scheduled our annual meeting this year in DC during cherry blossom time. I immediately cleared my calendar and made it a point to arrive early so I could enjoy the day.

I guess the horrific winter paid off, as the blooms were delayed this year, and I arrived in DC on what many consider to be the peak of the blossoms. The weather was spectacular as were the blossoms. Breathtaking. So much so, that I will bring my family back next year so they can experience this for themselves.

If I had just waited one more day, I would have been too late. You see, the day after I took a stroll by the tidal basin to view the cherry blossoms, it rained. That combined with strong winds quickly brought the season to a quick end. In retrospect, I’m glad I made the decision to take time to smell the cherry blossoms when I did, as the next day work was still there but the blooms were gone.

What are you going to do this year so that you can stop and smell the cherry blossoms? Will you become better at delegating so that you can take a vacation with your friends or family? Will you learn to stop saying yes to every request that you receive? Will you pencil in vacations at the beginning of the year so that you are sure to have time to do the things that you truly want to do?

You only get one life. Make sure you enjoy it fully.

© Matuson Consulting, 2015. All Rights Reserved.

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Posted in Musings, Worklife Balance

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Five Keys To Building A Joyous Life

Jumping with balloonsI know a lot of people who move through life as if they are carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders. You probably know some of these people as well. They are the friends on Facebook who start each day with a tale of another disaster that has just taken place in their life. I keep wondering if and when they will realize that what is happening to them is directly related to something they have either done in their life or have not done.

Take the twenty-something year-old, who is constantly complaining about her earnings or is dissatisfied with her job. Yet, this person refuses to complete her college degree or seek employment in a field that is more suited to her liking. Or the person who complains daily about the boss, who is a jerk, yet refuses to seek out a new boss who might be more respectful.

Here’s what I want to say to these people. Stop it! As far as we know, we only get one life. Here’s how to build a joyous life.

1. Discipline. You might think it’s odd to begin a conversation on joy with discipline, since many find the idea of discipline to be unpleasant. However, much of our unhappiness comes from lack of discipline. We are overweight because we don’t have the discipline to refrain from eating foods we know are not good for us. We stop attempting to reach for our dreams because we come across a roadblock that at first glance appears to be too hard to overcome.

Imagine how different life would be if people intentionally made the effort to power through some of those tougher moments. I bet most people would be happier.

2. Build on your strengths. No one is great at doing everything, although sometimes you might feel like a sibling or friend is incredible at everything. Focus on what you do really well and build upon this. For example, you may be a whiz at using computers. Keep challenging yourself to learn more programs. You’ll become invaluable.

3. Have fun. If I asked you the question, “Are you having fun?” how would you reply? If the answer is no or I’m not sure, then it’s time to reexamine why you are doing what you are doing in the first place. Life is too short to wake up everyday without loving what you do or at least enjoying some aspect of your work and your life.

4. Build your career around what you are great at doing and what you love. We spend so much of our waking lives at work that it seems like a life wasted if you have chosen a career that does not give you joy. There has never been a better time in our economy to explore careers where you can soar.

5. Shed the naysayers. As you mature, you’ll find that some people no longer serve a purpose in your life. They are negative more than they are positive. They work diligently to ensure that you remain on their level. These are not people that you need in your life. Shed them and allow yourself to make room for those who will support you in your efforts to build a joyous life.

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Posted in Careers, Coaching, General Observations, Job Searching, Learning and Development, Millennials

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