Category Archives: Career Coach

How To Dump Your Inner Mean Girl

Last week I was speaking with a long time business colleague and the subject turned to beliefs and specifically, limiting beliefs. Both us concluded that much of our adult life has been spent unlearning beliefs that no longer serve us. Crazy, huh?

 I first learned about “limiting beliefs” from Gail Straub and David Gerson in their fabulous workshops & books entitled Empowerment. (I know, an overused term but this was the 80’s folks and they were way ahead of the curve!)

In short, a limiting belief is exactly what it sounds like– it limits you. Like any belief, it can be rooted out but that’s not enough. They must be dumped.  My favorite way to dump them (discussed at length in Lesson 18, of my book, Lessons From a Headhunter… With Heart! ) is to turn them around them around until they work for me with a belief that expands me. 

So in the spirit of helping others learn my past tortured self, here’s a limiting belief I struggled with forever:

 I’m not good enough

I call this particular limiting belief: my inner mean girl. It’s a doozy, isn’t it?  It knows no bounds. Until we dump it, it often manifests itself in the relationships we choose; how well we take care of ourselves physically, emotionally and spiritually; how we groom ourselves and how we operate in the world. I’ve learned it’s really about deserving.  Here’s what my inner mean girl looked like for me:

  • I dated unavailable men in all shapes and sizes for years and years;
  •  I beat myself to a pulp running miles and miles that ruined my feet and ankles;;
  •  I didn’t advocate for myself with doctors when I knew there was something wrong with my thyroid;
  •  I didn’t think I deserved to own a house until I got married.

Excuse me, but what the what? Rest assured these beliefs were not ones my parents wanted for me. Both my parents were huge advocates for women. Frankly, I no longer spend time analyzing where I learned how to be mean to myself. I spend all my energy working the Turn-Around and the Expanding Belief.

Want to hear my Turn-Around? My Expanding Belief?  Let me know in the comments below and I’ll share it. And how about you? What does your inner mean girl sound like and how can I help you dump it?

With Love,

Patty Comeford Adams

Ps.  Two terrific resources on examining your limiting beliefs are:  (1)Renee Stephens’ fabulous free podcast @ docrenee.com; and (2)  Louise Hay’s book, You Can Heal Your Life.

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Filed under Career Coach, Inspirational Themed Blogs, Self Help

How To Sell Your Business & Walk Out The Next Day: Part 2

Having something valuable to sell does not translate to having a buyer. Why? Because to attract the attention of buyers, you must be visible—to the right people. While a good product or service makes you visible,  entrepreneurs have  to raise awareness themselves.

Here some tips:

Ask yourself—Who needs to notice your company?

Your competitors are an obvious market. They do what you do; maybe they want to buy your company and do more of it. So, go ahead and identify large industry players, but go the next step as well. Identify what companies might want to add your business as a competitive advantage to their portfolio. Case in point–the company that acquired my business had a portfolio of HR-related companies and had just begun building legal and accounting divisions.

Once you have done your research, you are ready to start networking. I’m not talking about taking the easy way out and emailing or tweeting them. I’m talking about actual face to face contact. What conferences do they attend? What contacts do you have in common? Who could introduce you?

You can obviously start with those charged with acquisitions. But don’t stop with the obvious targets or assume you have to start at that level. . The reality is that you never know where a contact—whether social or professional—will lead. I knew I was going to sell my company some day, and I wasn’t shy about sharing that bold idea with anyone who would listen!

Ask yourself—How do I make the company visible?

I’m dating myself here, but I was operating pre-social media. The acquisitions person that called was someone I had reached out to early on in business. I had read about him, sent him a handwritten note, later chatted. Don’t kid yourself. The “old ways” still work because few are doing them.  Today’s entrepreneurs have an entire new arsenal of tactics at their disposal via Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram.  Turn those imaginings into action. No excuses!

Here are a couple ideas from my playbook:

  • Give lots of free, valuable advice consistently. As I mentioned in my last post, we wrote trade and magazine articles, career tip sheets, employer tip sheets, spoke at national and local conventions, participated in roundtables, joined committees, and sat on boards. We also reached out beyond our business world and did things like sponsor concerts and speakers. And yes, all this took time. A lot of time. My personal rule: I dedicated 50 percent of my time to this kind of marketing.
  • Build trust relationships with reporters. I believe one of an entrepreneur’s duties is to speak for the company (primarily for brand consistency). It shouldn’t be delegated to a public relations firm or someone who isn’t in senior management. Thus, I reached out to local and national reporters with story ideas. Importantly, those story ideas were not about us, but were trend stories, up-and-comer stories, career success stories, and client stories. They not only helped establish the company as an expert in the field, but also helped the reporters succeed in their jobs. Reporters are always looking for ideas. Try it, you will see!
  • Hired a team to put together impeccable financial summaries. As they say, part of success is knowing what you are not good at. Consequently, I hired two people I respected to help me showcase our financials in detail. I presented the financials at my first “casual” meeting with the acquisition’s lead. I thought he was going to faint. He told me it was not uncommon for them to have to go through shoeboxes filled with data to figure out the kind of information I presented! To this day, I believe our showcasing efforts were key to establishing credibility in our negotiations.

When I was approached about selling The Esquire Group, I was not in the market to sell, but forced myself to listen to the offer. In hindsight, I realize this was not a fluke, but a consequence of doing more than selling a good service.

  • We advised others.
  • We shared our good fortune.
  • We knew who we were and who we were not.

All that made us an attractive purchase.

My commitment to advising did not end with the closing of the sale, however, so please comment below, or message me privately.

Remember…You’re Never Stuck!

With Love,

Patty Comeford Adams

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Filed under Acquistion, Business, Career Coach, Employment, Entrepreneur, Jobs, Self Help

What employers really want…

headhunter book cover

Having been in the search business for many years, I’m often asked what employers really want. While the demand for certain skills often change, there are a number of key personal attributes which never go out of demand. Today we focus on five:

1. Good Common Sense:  Yes, you read that correctly: good common sense. I can’t tell you the number of times a client has specified that a job candidate “have a good head on his/her shoulders”. Sounds like something your parents or grandparents would say, doesn’t it? Well, they were spot on. I haven’t met an employer yet who wasn’t looking for it and that’s not going to change anytime soon.

2. Ability to play well with others:   Organizations are doing lots more with way less. This is where the ability to play well with others comes in.   Employers tell us that they simply don’t have the time nor inclination to iron out conflicts, turf wars or just deal with plain old immaturity. So even if you can’t stand that co-worker of yours one more minute, do your best to ignore it, rise above it and demonstrate your ability to work well with individuals at all levels in the organization.

3. Strong social skills:  This may seem strange at first but given we are in a service economy, the ability to build relationships and market is a key skill.  Lawyers, doctors, bankers…they are all expected to market to and develop prospective clients. Employers are even  evaluating new grads on social skills.   So while once upon time it was all about grades and class rank,  employers today  view proven social skills as a prerequisite to long-term success.

4. The ability to “Manage Up”: Roseanne Badoski, former executive assistant to Jack Welch,  coined this phrase in her book aptly named Managing Up.   It’s a brilliant concept.  In essence, she believes that to truly succeed , you need to go above and beyond the tasks assigned to you so that you can enhance your manager’s work. In other words, it is your job to anticipate your manager’s needs and make him/her shine, not the other way around.  It’ s  your job to present possible solutions and not just problems to your boss.  By Managing Up, you not only make your employer look good  but also become indispensible. Not bad, eh?

5. Dependability:  In this economy, I am always shocked to hear that employers struggle with this issue. Webster’s dictionary defines “to depend “as placing reliance or trust in another. Employers often describe it a little more bluntly:  “Doing what you say you will do”. In other words, if you accepted a job, your employer is depending on you to show up on time. If your employer assigned a project to you, that means you will get it done in a timely fashion. If your employer….well, you get the idea.

So, let’s say you have some or even each and every one of these traits.  How do you convey them to a prospective employer without sounding obnoxious? One very effective way is to have your references convey this on your behalf. Typically references struggle with what to say anyway; so a little coaching on the above goes a long way. Another way is to convey them in a behavioral interview setting or bring them up yourself as some of the  strengths you possess. Last but not least, you can work them into your cover letter instead of  typical boiler plate language.

Always Remember…You’re Never Stuck ,

With love,

Patty Comeford Adams

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Filed under Attorneys, Author, Career Coach, Career/Job Related Blogs, Change, Cover Letter, Employment, Headhunter, Interviewing, Job Change, Job Offer, Jobs, Networking, Recruiter, relationships, Self Help, Stuck, Success

What’s friendship got to do with it?

Greetings dear friends and my apologies for the long hiatus. Life has been a whirlwind of travel and fun (more on that at a future date)  but I am officially back.

I’ve been thinking quite a bit about friendship these days; specifically what makes it tick and what makes it last. Three things come to mind.

1. Reciprocity: Yes, much like a marriage, friendships are a two way street.  We can’t expect to ask for something and not give it in return. This came to mind of late after a request from a dear friend to stay more in touch. When she asked for that, not only did I feel awful for being so absent but I resolved to do better.  So I embarked on a plan of staying more in touch even if it was just by text.  But guess what,  calls/texts/emails were sent and not  much more than a peep back. No two way street there. Ouch, Ouch, OUCH!  This not only has served as a vivid reminder of why I hadn’t been more in touch, is also a reminder that I too can do better at behaving in a reciprocal fashion.

2. Not a transaction: Many people mistake friendship for a transaction. I guess that underlying thought is  “What can I get from this person”. This “transaction” can take many forms: money, status, gifts, time and even one’s heart strings. If you have ever been on the receiving end of one of these friendships, you know how rewarding it is. (Not!) .  Friendships like that may tick for a while but they don’t last.

3. It’s Fragile:Oh the things I wish I could take back when said out of fear . (Forget anger; anger is merely a “cover” emotion for fear). Now when I am tempted to lash out in anger, I  take 3 breaths and ask myself what I am so afraid of . Try it, it’s life changing.

So what’s all this got to do with getting unstuck?  Well, C.S. Lewis once said: “Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art… It has no survival value; rather is one of those things that give value to survival.” And it’s often our friends who help get us unstuck. And that makes the effort to be the best friend you can be, totally worth it.

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Filed under Attorneys, Career Coach, Change, Cover Letter, Forgiveness, Kindness, Life, Self Care, Self Help, Stuck, Wellness

Dream a little (No, BIG) Dream

Happy Monday and Happy Thanksgiving.
 
 
Maybe it’s because Thanksgiving is already here or that New Year is right around the corner, but folks have been asking me lots about how to help them find their “dream job” and all that.  Mainly it sounds like this: “Given the current status of our economy, how can I ever hope to get my dream job?”
 
I know it’s easy to get discouraged right now.  Negative news is everywhere but here are some quick keys to get you through it all and how not to give up on your dream:
 
1.  Turn off all negative stuff:  I did this myself this past summer and the results were immediate and amazing.  My overall attitude and feelings of well being improve immensely.  Trust me, I still watched the news but if a story was negative, I changed the channel.  And, if you feel you need to stay connected with the news watch the news when you get home but do not watch the news just prior to going to bed.  None of us need all that rolling around in our brain at night!
 
2.  Check your dream:  What I mean here is to check that your dream is realistic. Now don’t you go and decide that for yourself (it is too easy to talk yourself out of your dream, get discouraged or not go for it all). Check your dream with someone who would know and has your best intentions at heart.  Someone in that field. Or a career coach. Or a school counselor.  Or a mentor.  Or a peer.  In other words, get independent advice of someone without a hidden agenda.
 
3.  Research, Research, Research:  There’s an old saying that 99 percent of success is in the preparation.  So do your research. We live in the land of the internet and social networking like LinkedIn and Twitter. You can reach unprecedented numbers of people in many different ways.  It’s vital to educate yourself so you can create a realistic new life/career plan.
 
4.  Breathe: Yup, the best de-stressor I know.  This is new for me and it works. Everytime.
 
5.  Create your own little mini board of directors:  When I started my first company, I did this.  Mind you, we didn’t regularly meet (would have been better if we had, I never got around to that) but, I had my “go to people.”  I went to them when I got stuck on any variety of issues such as employee issues, financial issues, life-balance and marketing issues. If you are stuck on how to create one for yourself, email me at pcomeford@youreneverstuck.com and we’ll brainstorm.
 
6.  Practice Gratitude: I think gratitude is one of the most powerful forces in the Universe.  We can’t just practice this one week out of the year, it’s best as a daily practice.  For me, that practice has helped me through the good and the bad in all aspects of my life. I love the website www.thankfulfor.com.  The website features a gratitude journal where I write 3 or 4 things down.  I don’t do this every day but each and every time I do it, my whole attitude—my whole being enters a different space.  It’s magical for me.  Give gratitude a go, however you choose to do so, and observe how life changing and attitude changing it can be.
 
7.  Remember that your current success & “failures”  brought you to today:  What I mean by that is that you’re here today because of past successes.  Many successful lawyers and business professionals that I coach worry year to year that their business will dry up.  Yes, that can happen if you aren’t keeping informed in your industry and marketing yourself, but my experience overall is that we all torture ourselves with that and it’s often just anxiety . So my best advice is to gently let it go.
 
The main point of all this is.  Take your power back and take ownership of your dreams.  Maybe after doing your research, your dream needs to change, alter or get tweaked a bit.  But don’t just toss your dreams out with the leftover Thanksgiving turkey and stuffing because the economy is bad!  Dream, dream big, dream really big!  In that regard, one of the best quotes I have come across that has always kept me going is by Joan Baez… “Action is the antidote to despair.”  Now, how powerful is that? 

In Love & Gratitude,

Patricia A. Comeford

Author, Lessons from a Headhunter with …Heart!

CEO, YOU’RE NEVER STUCK, INC., WWW.YOURENEVERSTUCK.COM



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Filed under Career Coach, Career/Job Related Blogs, Job Change, Job Offer, Life, Personal Growth, Recruiter, Self Help, Spirituality, Success