Thursday, June 10, 2010

CDAA workshop: 33. Your roller-coaster

(This post forms part of a series of powerpoint slides from a presentation I gave at the Career Development Association of Australia Conference 2010 entitled: The Roller-coaster Ride from Permanent Part-time Employee to Private Practitioner.)


And so we come full circle.

This roller coaster hasn't been painted with your colours yet. It's just waiting for you to climb aboard. No doubt you'll paint it with some energetic, vivid reds and oranges, interspersed with some more soothing and nurturing greens and blues. with the occasional splash of pure individuality.

The speed will change abruptly, and may even take you by surprise. You'll be barreling along, full tilt towards an apparent abyss and get a moment's pause before a sudden, frenetic and stomach churning decline. A bit of a slow down before you re-gather your energy, and focus on the climb ahead. Some dark and long tunnels await, but in all, the ride alone should be worthwhile and extremely satisfying.

My personal journey giving the presentation has been a bit like this analogy. I began full of nerves, wondering if anyone at all would attend. Even then I was daunted with the breadth and depth of experience of the private practitioners who joined in.

Was it worth it? An emphatic yes.

Would I do it again? Yes, when I have something worthwhile to share.

... and as Douglas Adams would say: "so long and thanks for all the fish" ;)


CDAA Workshop: 32. What can you do next?

(This post forms part of a series of powerpoint slides from a presentation I gave at the Career Development Association of Australia Conference 2010 entitled: The Roller-coaster Ride from Permanent Part-time Employee to Private Practitioner.)

Participants were invited to jot down their answers to these questions.

Interestingly, some have really taken this to heart, and communicate with me regularly, updating me with their goals, and what they've achieved. They also share their frustrations, and we brainstorm ideas on how to overcome the inevitable obstacles.


CDAA Workshop: 31. To do list



(This post forms part of a series of powerpoint slides from a presentation I gave at the Career Development Association of Australia Conference 2010 entitled: The Roller-coaster Ride from Permanent Part-time Employee to Private Practitioner.)

How does any self employed person become known? Whether you be an artist, author, musician or career development specialist, it seems we all face similar challenges.

I was reading the blog of an author this morning, and she was commenting that whilst she can write well, and her books sell, there is still the need for self promotion - it happens to be a major hurdle for her, and was certainly mentioned by most of the workshop participants. I think it may be one of the reasons why so few people "make a go of it" - it comes back to that feeling of being really exposed and vulnerable. We all have skills, not all of us have the skill of promotion.

Have you also noticed that often when someone does go down the road of blatant self promotion, it can come across as them having an inflated sense of their own EGO, so they get flak for that too. It's a fine line isn't it.


CDAA Workshop: 30. Portfolio or Mixed Business model

(This post forms part of a series of powerpoint slides from a presentation I gave at the Career Development Association of Australia Conference 2010 entitled: The Roller-coaster Ride from Permanent Part-time Employee to Private Practitioner.)

I've tried teaching full time, I've tried counselling full time. Both are great, but leave me a bit twitchy. I've found I work best and most happily when I follow the "Portfolio" style of career package.

For me that means a bit of teaching/training, a bit of career development and life coaching, some work at organizations, some private work, and with the open mindedness to keep space available for the unexpected.

So much to do, so little time...

CDAA workshop: 29. HBDI influence

(This post forms part of a series of powerpoint slides from a presentation I gave at the Career Development Association of Australia Conference 2010 entitled: The Roller-coaster Ride from Permanent Part-time Employee to Private Practitioner.)

I came across the The Whole Brain model of thinking at "The Mind and its Potential" conference in Sydney late 2009. It's an excellent conference with relevance for many people in their day to day living; covering aspects of science, learning, creativity and personal development.

The "Hermann Brain Dominance Instrument" is a helpful way of getting a 'birds eye' view of whatever it is you're setting up or beginning. It follows the idea that the brain has a right and left hemisphere, each with it's own distinct way of looking at the world. It then subdivides those halves, so there is a total of 4 parts, giving them particular attributes as well. These are colour coded which makes them easy to remember.

The diagram on the top left gives an idea how I used the ideas in my own small business setup.

I found the ideas helpful even at this late stage having already begun my business, and with clients already making appointments. It reminded me to look at the 4 quadrants and check that I'd covered the different aspects and hadn't got carried away with a feel-good, hair-brained scheme and forgotten about the facts and details. 

The model is particularly useful when you get on a roll with a brilliant idea, as it brings you down to earth with an easy, sequential and logical way of checking that you are being rational, thinking of the financials and all the things that can be ignored in the excitement of a new venture.

For anyone who is particularly pedantic, I suggest you don't get caught up trying to find the exact spot in the brain that equates to the concept being covered. It's not meant to be a map of the brain, but a way to help us relate to others at work and at home.

The Whole Brain Business Book by Nedd Herrmann is user friendly, easy to read and practical. It focuses more on the personal and inter-personal business aspects of the uses of the instrument but was still a useful addition to the overview I gained at the conference. Differences are celebrated, careers suggested to complement a person's strengths, and we're reminded of ways to get the most from all members in a team.

Another book using the HBDI could be good for parents of young children. "Why don't you understand?" by Susie Leonard Weller. Weller discusses the 4 thinking styles, and using these, suggests practical ways to improve communication within the family.

Whilst I'm not accredited in the HBDI, I've found the information gained from reading the books, attending talks and having my profile completed have been extremely useful for day to day living, family interactions and within my business.

.

CDAA Workshop: 28. Ladies who Launch

(This post forms part of a series of powerpoint slides from a presentation I gave at the Career Development Association of Australia Conference 2010 entitled: The Roller-coaster Ride from Permanent Part-time Employee to Private Practitioner.)

After the disappointing experience with the business mentor, this book was a God-send. I came across it while rummaging around in the local library.

Written by women, for women - bliss! It tapped into so many experiences I'd had personally, so many of the setbacks and negativity surrounding a new project.

It also goes into how women think differently from men, and that the male business model isn't necessarily the best for us. So all that guff I'd been fed about the necessity of creating a sound business plan BEFORE I even began was enthusiastically thrown out the door with gusto.

I gave one of these books away at the end of my talk, and hope the recipient is as enthusiastic as me, and finding it encouraging for her new venture.

CDAA Workshop: 27. Shoulds and Oughts

(This post forms part of a series of powerpoint slides from a presentation I gave at the Career Development Association of Australia Conference 2010 entitled: The Roller-coaster Ride from Permanent Part-time Employee to Private Practitioner.)


Do others know us better than we know ourselves?

"You should only see young clients"

"You should brand yourself"

"Everything from your business card, to your invoices, to your web site to your ... should reflect your brand"

"You ought to return calls within an hour"

"If you really want to be successful you have to work evenings and weekends"

"Why did you get a blue business card? Everyone knows people don't trust people with blue business cards". OK, I'm making that last one up, but I've heard all the others, and more.

One unfortunate experience I had was making use of a business mentoring service where the mentor may have been very experienced in selling goods, but apparently had little expertise in the service arena. She insisted I needed a comprehensive business plan before I embarked on my venture, and promptly shot down all my dreams. She brought few new ideas to the table, but managed to belittle all the plans I had. I felt completely demoralized and disillusioned, and seriously questioned my ability to take that vital first step.

Thankfully I had already had a successful tutoring business, which operated for 3 years until I decided to try working for an organization again.

When I began tutoring, friends and acquaintances said it would never work if I only worked school hours. That didn't sit well with one of my values. (ie: it is important to be around after school for teenagers as well as for younger children.) It was something I was reluctant to compromise on. I stuck to my guns and it worked for me. Which is another way of saying that I was somewhat stubborn!

This isn't to say that the world always adapts to your whims. I don't believe in that rose coloured glasses version of events. Crap happens, not everyone can be at the top of the tree, we can't all be "Tall Poppies". But, it's important to trust yourself, try, see what happens, and be adaptable and open to possibilities.

.

CDAA Workshop: 26. Gremlins

(This post forms part of a series of powerpoint slides from a presentation I gave at the Career Development Association of Australia Conference 2010 entitled: The Roller-coaster Ride from Permanent Part-time Employee to Private Practitioner.)

I'm pretty sure we've all experienced these haven't we. The sneaky little voice that undermines us so effectively and quickly.

We can begin the day with great will, determination, and enthusiasm. But way too often the gremlin will appear - niggling and questioning, carping and moaning about how difficult it all is. How we aren't good enough. How no one will use my expertise. How we're not as good as .... (insert name here).

I've been hugely reassured when a couple of high profile people, widely regarded as leaders in their field, and with enviable world wide reputations have expressed this same private doubt about their skills. One said he often begins consultations feeling "like a bit of a fraud", and wondering how it will all turn out. It has normalized this extremely uncomfortable experience, and made me realize that if people I respect feel this way, then it's OK.

It's a bit like when you're a mother of young children, and animal hour hits, or teething, or any number of other dreary events, and the mantra is: "This too shall pass". That's a pretty good mantra for anyone in the challenging start-up phase of business as well.



CDAA Workshop: 25. "The One Thing Holding You Back" Raphael Cushnir

(This post forms part of a series of powerpoint slides from a presentation I gave at the Career Development Association of Australia Conference 2010 entitled: The Roller-coaster Ride from Permanent Part-time Employee to Private Practitioner.)


I heard Raphael Cushnir interviewed on the radio one morning. He was inspirational. I think the title of the book says it all really.

I invited the workshop participants to reflect on what is holding them back from pursuing their dreams. It would have been good to have allowed more time for this, as it struck a cord with many people. Sharing could be empowering, and it's often reassuring to know you aren't alone when it comes to obstacles to change.

After some months I was able to borrow the book from the library - it was certainly in heavy demand, and lived up to my expectations. Cushnir uses skills related to Mindfullness Meditation and invites readers to work with the ideas to the best of their ability. It'd be worth buying to work through the exercises in an unhurried way.


.