Excitement is building ahead of the University of the Sunshine Coast’s annual Outstanding Alumni of the Year Awards on Thursday 24 October.
USC Alumni Relations Manager Anita Edmonds said all USC graduates, staff, benefactors and supporters were welcome to attend this free, social and inspiring event at USC’s Innovation Centre Auditorium.
Ms Edmonds said many high-quality nominations were received this year from employers, parents, friends and colleagues of graduates who are making significant impacts in fields ranging from community work to business and scientific research.
This year’s 15 nominees are listed at www.usc.edu.au/outstanding-alumni-nominees.
They are vying for three awards: the Outstanding Alumnus of the Year; Regional Achievement (graduates making an impact in the broader Sunshine Coast region or another regional community); and Rising Star (graduates aged 35 years or younger).
The awards event will be held from 5.30-7.30pm with refreshments and a presentation by USC Pro Vice-Chancellor (Engagement) Professor Joanne Scott about the University’s recent developments. For more details or to register to attend, go to www.usc.edu.au/alumniawards.
Last year’s award winners were clothing retailer Mango’s country director Sean Hurley (Business 2005); STEPS Charity Manager Angela Harris (EMBA 2018, Business (International Business) 2013); and The Circular Experiment founder Ashleigh Morris (Environmental Health Science 2015).
We’re all looking for ways to improve ourselves—at least that’s what the thriving $10 billion self-help industry seems to imply.
But as popular and alluring as the principles of personal development may be, many of us still have only a fuzzy understanding of it. Even fuzzier: How to turn personal growth into professional gains.
At the same time, there’s an undeniable overlap between the two—after all, our personal strengths and weaknesses affect us at work, too. And there are ways in which growing personally and working on ourselves can make us more effective at work.
If that still feels a little murky, we get it. Read on to learn exactly what personal growth is and get concrete ways to leverage it in your career.
What Is Personal Growth Anyway?
Personal growth or development is difficult to define, in part because it’s, well, personal. Broadly speaking, personal development is an effort to improve yourself, the outcomes in your life, or how you experience life, explains Sumayya Essack, a career-change coach and founder and owner of Curate the Future.
“Personal growth is the process of growing stronger, more confident, and more effective as a person and an agent of change for your own life,” says Kathy Caprino, a career and personal growth coach. More specifically, it relates to “how you see and perceive yourself, interact with others, engage with the world, and envision your future and your possibilities.”
It affects you in both concrete and more abstract ways, including emotional regulation, communication abilities, well-defined boundaries, decision-making, and personal satisfaction and positivity.
Where Personal and Professional Development Meet
At first glance, personal growth can seem a little vague compared to professional development goals. “Career growth tends to focus on tangible performance-related goals, such as raises [and] promotions,” Essack explains. It may also emphasize hard skills, which depending on your field could include things like data analysis or proficiency in a certain language or type of software.
However, if you think of personal and professional growth as two circles of a Venn diagram, there’s a healthy overlap between them. “Your career success and enjoyment of your career aren’t just the result of domain-related skills and knowledge. It’s also a result of what you bring to the table as a person,” Essack says.
Things we think of as soft skills—such as communication style, self-motivation, and how you relate to other people—fall into the area of overlap. And these skills greatly impact our ability to get things done at work. Developing them can help you become more effective in your career, and maybe even nab a promotion.
4 Personal Development Goals That Can Help You Get Ahead at Work
Even if you’re sold on the benefits of personal growth for your career—where do you start? In large part, it’s up to you.
“At the root of all personal development is becoming aware of what’s happening in your own mind and becoming aware of how the thoughts you’re thinking affect your emotions, behaviors, and results,” Essack says. If you can identify a result you’re unhappy with or, conversely, one you want to achieve, you can work backwards from there to determine the underlying thoughts, emotions, and behaviors you should address to make the change you desire.
For example, are you constantly struggling to get tasks done? Maybe you need to work on focusing better on the task at hand in order to become more efficient. Eager for a promotion? Perhaps you need to build better relationships to get there. Whatever area you choose, work on it in small doses.
While there are many ways you might implement personal growth into your career development, here are four examples of areas to improve, as well as advice for tackling them:
1. Build Emotional Intelligence
Solid emotional intelligence can help you forge strong working relationships with colleagues and clients, which in turn promote productivity and strengthen your professional reputation.
The ability to deal with people and conflict is important in most any job, but perhaps especially so when you take on a management or leadership role. “Emotional intelligence means being able to understand where someone else is coming from,” Essack says. “People want to work for someone who understands them.”
How to tackle it: Focus on becoming a better active listener, which helps others feel heard and understood. “We get caught up in saying what we want to say, but communicating effectively is also about being a great listener,” Essack says.
First, show the speaker that you’re paying attention. “Put away your devices, make eye contact, and fully concentrate on them rather than mentally preparing what you will say next,” Essack says. “Then, show that you’re listening with verbal cues such as ‘uh huh’ and body language, such as nodding, smiling, and leaning forward.” Finally, ask clarifying questions or reflect back with paraphrasing. Try starting with: “So what you’re saying is…,” or “What do you mean by…?”
2. Feel Confident in Your Talents
Building confidence is a common goal of personal development, and one that has a clear line to career gains. Developing your confidence can help you land a better job, negotiate for a raise or promotion, earn credit for your contributions, and be seen as a leader, Caprino says. But confidence isn’t something that’s easy to just switch on.
Instead, look for a path to confidence by working on recognizing your talents. If you don’t fully grasp what you’re amazing at and aren’t able to speak confidently about these talents, you won’t be able to fully leverage your unique abilities, Caprino adds.
How to tackle it: Many people struggle to look inward to discover where they shine—especially if they grew up hearing that they shouldn’t brag. So instead, look outward to colleagues and mentors for help identifying your unique talents. Ask them to name any contributions that have stood out to them as well as elements of your approach to work they consider particularly effective.
3. Grow Your Motivation
Wouldn’t it be great if we could bottle up motivation and consume it like we do our morning coffee? Imagine the benefits! At work, being more motivated can of course make you more productive, but it can also help you be seen as more driven and ambitious.
How to tackle it: Until motivation is sold by the bottle, you can work on building it little by little, Essack says. Think of motivation not as a mindset or mood that randomly descends on you outside of your control, but as a behavior. We tend to assume that when we’re motivated, we’ll take action—but the reverse can be true. “First you do the behavior and have a mini success, and that’s what makes you feel motivated again. Success builds on itself,” Essack explains.
For example, if you’re intimidated by holding performance conversations with employees, you might be tempted to avoid them until the last minute. But when you successfully commit to a small action, such as holding shorter, less formal performance check-ins, you may find more motivation to improve your skills and take on longer talks.
So instead of waiting for motivation to strike, try structuring your big goals into small achievable tasks to build momentum. This way you’ll help yourself experience each one you complete as an invigorating success and feel motivated to take the next step toward where you want to be.
4. Become More Mindful
Mindfulness is a term that’s thrown around a lot today, and its meaning can be as blurry as the concept of personal growth as a whole. Essentially, mindfulness is the act of training your brain to focus on the present moment, rather than racing ahead to the future, or drifting to the past.
Research has linked mindfulness to reduced stress, improved focus, and better working memory. At work it could help you zero in on the task at hand and filter out some of the surrounding noise, allowing you to become more efficient.
Mindfulness has emotional benefits too. Mindfulness can help you respond more thoughtfully to someone instead of having a knee-jerk reaction or snapping, Essack says. “You become more aware of what’s happening in the moment, so you choose a conscious response.” Building this skill can help keep you from burning bridges with clients or colleagues when tension rises or tempers flare.
Let’s say you receive some criticism that you don’t agree with or that injures your ego. “The tendency is often to react automatically because we feel defensive, but when we cultivate mindfulness, we’re able to take a step back in the moment and respond intentionally,” Essack explains. In this instance, a more mindful approach could help to de-escalate conflict and make feedback discussions more productive.
How to tackle it: Develop a daily mindfulness meditation practice, which over time, can help you become more mindful throughout the day. Set aside five or 10 minutes a day to do a guided meditation, with help from an app like Calm or Headspace that will talk you through the process.
As difficult as personal development may be to define, investing in it can help lay the groundwork for professional success. As Caprino says, “If we don’t do the work to strengthen ourselves as people first, our careers will be a dismal disappointment.”
When you’re starting a job search, your goal is to make your credentials strong enough to get you selected for a job interview. Once you get to a job interview, you can sell yourself to the interviewer by confidently making the case that you’re an exceptional candidate. Before that though, what’s on your resume and cover letter is going to be the pitch that gets you picked for an interview.
One of the best ways to achieve that goal is to brand (or rebrand) yourself if necessary, so you’re a close match for the jobs you’re targeting. What does this mean? And how do you do it?
What’s in a Brand?
Branding (if you haven’t worked on creating a brand yet) or rebranding (if you’re considering a job or career shift), means deciding what professional path you’re on and tailoring your credentials, expertise, and what’s visible to network connections and prospective employees, to match that brand.
How to Get Started
The first step in creating or reinventing your brand is to determine what you want that brand to represent. What type of job would you love to have? Would you like a new job in a similar role or the same job in a different industry? If so, that’s a relatively easy brand update. If you’re looking for a career change, you’ll need to invest more time and energy into rebranding yourself.
Check yourself out. Google yourself and check the results before you start making any changes. You will want to see how the current information available about you reflects your professional persona, and ensure that it clearly reflects where you are in your career and where you want to go next. Look at it from the viewpoint of a hiring manager to see what narrative you are sharing about your achievements and aspirations.
Make a plan. It’s important to figure out how you’re going to get to where you want to be. Does your career need a makeover? Do you need new skills or certifications? Or can you tweak your brand and update it so it’s a fit for where you want to go next? Make a list of what you need to do before you get started. There are things you can do at your current job to position yourself for success in the next one. If your career needs a major overhaul, it will require more planning and a bigger investment of time.
Upgrade your credentials. Are you short on the skills you need to make a successful brand switch? If you can carve out some time, it can be easy to gain the skills you need to bolster your qualifications. There are many free and low-cost classes you can take to get the career skills you need. Once you’ve upgraded your skill set, take on some freelance projects to create a portfolio of skills related to your rebranding objective. You can add those skills to your resume and LinkedIn, and refer to them in your cover letters.
Be careful. As with a job search when you’re currently employed, be careful about the changes you make that are visible to your current employer. For example, if you’re working in sales, you don’t want your Twitter feed to be all about product development. Gradually mix in the new topics if you’re using social media for business purposes. Make sure “Share with network” is turned off while you’re updating your LinkedIn profile if you’re connected to current colleagues. If you make changes slowly and carefully, it’s easier to stay under the radar.
Create a Branding Statement
A branding statement is a short and catchy statement that encompasses what makes you a strong candidate for a job. Writing a branding statement can help you to capture the essence of what you want to accomplish in the next phase of your career. Taking time to write your own statement will help you to focus on what you want to accomplish with your branding or rebranding.
Add a Branding Statement to Your Resume
Adding a branding statement to your resume is a way to show employers how you can add value to the organization if you were to be hired. Don’t use the same branding statement every time you use your resume to apply for a job. If your branding statement isn’t a perfect match for the job, take the time to tweak it so it reflects the attributes the employer is seeking. As with all job search materials, it’s important to show the employer how you’re among the best-qualified candidates for the job.
Update Your LinkedIn Profile
Also, update your LinkedIn profile. It doesn’t have to match your resume exactly, but it should be close enough to pass scrutiny because employers will check it. Take time to write a summary that’s informative, reflects your career interests, and will grab hiring managers’ attention.
Check Your Other Social Accounts Too
Is the message you’re sending to recruiters and networking connections consistent? When they look at each of your various public social media accounts will they get the same impression? Consistency is important when you’re using social media for career development. Using the same professional photo across platforms will help to build your brand.
Rebrand Yourself (Carefully)
When you’re thinking about a major job shift or a career change, rebranding might be in order. Rebranding is something you should do slowly and carefully if you’re currently employed. You don’t want to advertise to your current manager, other employees of the company, or clients that you’re rebranding your credentials and seeking new opportunities. That way you won’t jeopardize the job you have, and you can move on when you’re ready.
GRADUALLY CHANGE YOUR LINKEDIN PAGE
Making small changes over time will be less noticeable. For example, you could gradually change your LinkedIn profile by reworking some of your job descriptions to fit better the brand you’re aiming for. They should still reflect what you did at each job, but the focus can shift.
UPDATE YOUR LINKEDIN HEADLINE
The headline section of LinkedIn is designed for short, descriptive text. Use that to highlight the skills you have that match your goals. Again, don’t get too far off-base from your current role if you’re employed. If you’re not currently working, you’ve got some more flexibility in how you write your headline.
REWORK YOUR RESUME
Another option is to keep your LinkedIn job descriptions brief and vague. Instead of changing LinkedIn, you can tweak your resume to match better with each position you’re applying for. There won’t be a noticeable difference to current or prospective employers. There are small and simple, but very powerful changes that you can make that can have a big positive impact.
Use Your Cover Letter to Explain
What’s in your cover letter is between you and the hiring manager reading it. Employ your cover letter to tell the story of your career pivot. Write a targeted cover letter that highlights your strongest accomplishments and assets that qualify you for the job, helping to convince the hiring manager that you’re well worth interviewing.
Start All Over Again
Rebranding your career isn’t a one-time deal. Technology changes, the economy goes up – or down, in-demand skills change over time, and most people’s career aspirations change along the way. The average person changes jobs 10 -15 times over their career. Your career will most likely shift over time too.
As you gain additional work experience, take a course, or otherwise learn new skills, add them to your resume and LinkedIn profile. Tweak your job descriptions as you move forward so they reflect where you are going, as well as where you’ve been.
By making some slow and steady changes your rebranding will be a work in progress, and you’ll be able to use your brand successfully to boost your career.
The Women to Women Business Expo at The J will feature a diversity of innovative local female-led businesses in the arts, services and food industries. W2W was created to support local communities and businesses by providing the opportunity to connect, collaborate, learn and create opportunities for success. The expo will be held on Wednesday, 3 July from 4pm to 9pm at The J, Noosa.
The event will showcase a variety of Sunshine Coast local female-led businesses identified for being innovative in the arts, service and food industries by offering vendor space, exhibitions and workshops. W2W Business Expo aims to bring businesses and consumers together under one roof.
This year’s event will include free workshops on the topics of business management, marketing and finance. There will be a wine tasting workshop (for a small fee) and food and beverages from onsite vendors will be available.
The keynote speaker will be Sandra Arico, President of Innovate Noosa. Participants can learn from the best and the brightest in the industry, as they network with like-minded professionals and learn strategies to advance their business.
The Women to Women Business Expo is proudly presented by The University of the Sunshine Coast, Centre for International Development, Social Entrepreneurship and Leadership (CIDSEL), The J Noosa and Noosa Council.
The impact of road trauma remains all-to-real in our community.
Encouragingly, the number of lives lost on our roads continues to fall each year, but every life lost is tragic. Educating drivers in their early years can be a key factor in reducing the toll over time, and our coast Rotary clubs are passionate as ever about taking some action.
The combined Rotary Clubs of Noosa, Noosa Heads, Noosa Daybreak and Cooroy joined forces again last week, assisting in taking 138 St. Teresa’s Catholic College students through the RYDA (Rotary Youth Driver Awareness) Program at The House with No Steps at Fellowship Drive, Doonan.
The program sees students taking one day out of school, to receive practical road safety information targeting attitude and awareness of young drivers and their passengers.
RYDA targets 16-18-year-old students and includes six interactive sessions delivered to small student groups covering topics such as hazards and distractions, speed and stopping distance, vehicle safety, fatigue and experiences of a crash survivor. RYDA Committee Chairman, Geoff Bone said if even one life can be saved from this training then it’s all worthwhile.
“Since 2009, the combined Rotary clubs in our area have held 54 program days. Year 11 students from eight regional high schools and colleges have attended. This year’s aim is to reach a total of 5,000 for the 10 years we have been running the program,” Mr Bone shared.
Attendance by local school students at RYDA events increases each year. Last year 81% of all enrolled year 11 students completed the program. This is well in line with the national average. However, there is a lot more work to do as the aim is to have every senior student throughout the Noosa and surrounding areas fully aware of their responsibilities when driving a vehicle on our busy roads.
“We must impress on all parents the importance of the program.” Mr Bone said. “This full day driver awareness program is free so there is no reason why every enrolled student can’t attend.”
In the bigger picture, since its inauguration some 19 years ago, over 550,000 students from more than 650 schools have participated in RYDA Australia-wide.
For its part, the Tewantin Noosa Community Bank branch of Bendigo Bank stepped up again in partnership with its Cooroy, Pomona and Marcoola branches in collective support of RYDA committing a further $3,000 to the program in 2019. This financial backing assists Rotary purchasing the latest equipment that guarantees attention grabbing presentations.
Tewantin Noosa branch manager, Linda Oliver said the Community Banks started supporting the RYDA program eight years ago and remains fervent in its support.
“This program provides some of the most important lessons students can have in their senior schooling years. Our Community Bank branches continue to believe in RYDA, and our Tewantin Noosa branch is particularly proud to provide this sponsorship RYDA Noosa. It also provides us with another opportunity to partner with Rotary and highlight the great work they do in our community,” Linda said.
To learn more about the RYDA program, go to www.rotarynoosaheads.org.au/RYDA. or contact Geoff on 0427 708 928 or Tess on 0407 377 210. Rotary extends its thanks to Queensland Government Community Road Safety and to their many local supporters.
First Aid services were provided by Noosa Surf Club and Tewantin Noosa RSL provided their community bus free of charge. Also, the local SES do their part in providing traffic control on Fellowship Drive while students learn how speeding causes crashes and lost lives.
Applications for the AgriFutures™ Horizon Scholarship are now open. Students studying an agriculture-related degree, in their last two years of study, are eligible to apply.
The AgriFutures™ Horizon Scholarship, in partnership with industry sponsors, provides a $5,000 bursary and professional development opportunities for eligible university students.
The AgriFutures™ Horizon Scholarship also offers students annual industry work placements, access to industry leaders, professional development assistance and opportunities to network and gain knowledge at a range of industry events.
In 2019 there are some small but important changes to the program:
The Scholarship will now be awarded for the last two years of the successful student’s degree; this change is aimed to increase networking opportunities and pathways into careers in agriculture
Eligible agriculture related degrees now include Science, Technology, Engineering or Maths (STEM) degrees with major studies and subject selections relevant and aligned to agriculture
Students studying traditional agriculture degrees such as rural science, animal science and agribusiness are also eligible
Students studying in faculties that support the prosperity of rural industries, such as logistics, communications and IT, who are passionate about a career in an agriculture, are also eligible.
AgriFutures Australia recognises there is a broad range of skills which contribute to all areas of rural industries, and are looking to attract those skilled individuals into careers in agriculture. Fostering collaboration across multiple disciplines contributes to a growing Horizon Scholar Alumni entering the workforce.
Providing networking and professional development opportunities, along with valuable industry placements, sees Horizon Scholars beginning their careers in agriculture with direction and readiness.
AgriFutures™ Horizon Scholar, Matt Champness, graduated in 2018 from Charles Sturt University and was an Agricultural Science medalist. He is set to depart for Lao this year to continue his research in weed management, and reflects on his time in the AgriFutures™ Horizon Scholarship Program.
“Without a doubt, the Scholarship broadened my horizons and exposed me to so many opportunities that I didn’t know existed. It also connected me with like-minded young people from across Australia.”
During his time on the AgriFutures™ Horizon Scholarship program, Mr Champness participated in the 2018 Crawford Fund Conference, the National Farmers Federation (NFF) 2030 Leadership Program and co-founded ‘This is Aus Ag’- a grassroots initiative aiming to build trust between farmers and consumers.
“The most enjoyable part about the program was seeing others grow and develop in their confidence.
“The AgriFutures™ Horizon Scholarship provides an opportunity for students to collaborate with other young agricultural enthusiasts from various walks of life,” said Mr Champness.
Students must be entering their last two years of university to be eligible for the AgriFutures™ Horizon Scholarship. All applicants must have commenced their tertiary studies no longer than two years after leaving high school.
The online application form and terms and conditions can be found at agrifutures.com.au/horizon
Applications close at 5.00pm AEDT Friday, 1 March 2019. Shortlisted applicants must be available for a telephone interview in March 2019, and scholarship winners will be announced in May 2019.
Current sponsors of the AgriFutures™ Horizon Scholarship: Australian Eggs, Cotton Research and Development Corporation, Dairy Australia, Grains Research and Development Corporation, Horticulture Innovation Australia Limited, McCaughey Memorial Institute, Meat & Livestock Australia, AgriFutures Australia (Rice and Chicken Meat research programs) and Westpac.
Two-person teams from schools across the region converged on Noosa Leisure Centre last Saturday to test their drone racing skills.
It was the culmination of a unique five-week “Flying Inventor” training program to give the students a taste for careers in engineering and computer science.
Students learnt how to design, build, fly and race first-person view quadcopters, which are not your standard plug and play drones.
“First-person view racing is one of the most exciting things you can do with a drone. One of the world’s fastest growing new sports, drone racing uses special first-person-view goggles, to give flyers a first person view from the drone’s camera as they fly around a race track avoiding obstacles and fellow competitors. It’s the closest you can get to being a bird!” says Tracey King, Noosa Council’s Literacy and Learning Coordinator.
Each school nominated teams of two students from Year 9 or 10 who showed talent and interest in drones and new technology.
Teams from Good Shepherd, Sunshine Beach, Coolum State High School and Victory College competed in the final with the team of Lincoln Favelle and Will McGarry from Good Shepherd Lutheran College winning gold medals. Ben Lockwood and Kevin Varghese from Victory College and Elijah Keegan and Ethan Bischoff from Sunshine Beach State High School came in second and third place, winning silver and bronze medals.
“While race day was fun, it’s also serious business,” says Tracey. “Students were taught about mechanical engineering and the fundamental computer science of drones, before taking to a simulator to learn how to fly them. The aim of this program is to inspire youngsters to pursue careers in computer science and invention.”
Noosa Library Service partnered with Council’s Peregian Digital Hub and a range of local industry professionals to deliver the training and race day. The program was assisted by local computer scientist and engineer – Malte Von Ruden, a drone pilot and photographer – Eamon Kriz from ‘In the Air Cinematography’ and his colleague Connor Middleton (both year 11 students), a local sculptor – Matt Godden and 3D artist Hannah Crosby plus Central Queensland University and simulator software company Lugus Studios.
The Flying Inventor Program is supported by an Advance Queensland Engaging Science Grant.
One of the practices that contributes to Michael Phelps’ success as a swimmer takes place well before he gets into the pool. As part of his training regimen, Phelps visualizes every detail of his race—from responding to something going wrong (like ripping his suit) to crossing the finish line ahead of his competitors.
Phelps has used visualization (along with other training methods, of course) to achieve incredible things in his career, like winning 28 Olympic medals to become the most decorated Olympian of all time. But you don’t need to be a world-class athlete to borrow his tricks—and I’m living proof.
Visualization has played an absolutely essential part in hitting a number of my career goals, such as pitching high-profile clients with confidence, scaling my business to six figures, and tackling large, complex projects without feeling completely overwhelmed. My visualization practice has, in many ways, acted as the bridge between where I am in my career at any given moment to where I want to be—by allowing me to see and feel my future success before it actually happens.
“Think about building a jigsaw puzzle. Have you ever attempted to build one without having the box top to look at? It is extremely difficult to complete the puzzle without knowing what the outcome should look like,” says executive leadership coach Cynthia Corsetti. “You may fit pieces together, you may get bits and pieces of the puzzle done, but it will take longer, be more challenging, and possibly never reach completion.”
Corsetti believes the same is true of your career; the more clear and detailed you are when you visualize what you want from your career, the easier it will be to make it a reality.
Of course, while visualization can definitely help you improve performance, for the best results, you need to pair it with action. Phelps didn’t just visualize himself winning races—he also spent hundreds and hundreds of hours in the pool.
Want to give visualization a try? Here’s what you need to know to get started.
Before we jump into how visualization can completely transform your career, let’s quickly cover what, exactly, visualization is.
“Visualization is the ability to create a clear picture in your mind of the exact circumstance you wish to create,” says Corsetti. “It has also been called setting intention, attraction, and ‘positive thinking,’” she adds. It’s “an actual skill that a person can learn.”
Visualization is seeing, feeling, and completely embodying a future outcome—whether that’s snagging the corner office, completing a marathon, or buying your dream home—before it happens. By creating your desired future outcome in your mind in as much detail as possible, you can actually transform your visualization into reality.
How Does Visualization Actually Work?
When you visualize yourself hitting a specific goal, your brain interprets that imagery as reality—and, as a result, creates new neural pathways to support that reality.
“Visualization is effective at boosting performance because it activates the same regions of the brain that are activated when actually performing a task—athletic, academic, [or] anything else,” says Roselyn Smith, a licensed psychologist, hypnotherapist, and management consultant. “It actually changes the pattern of our electrochemical brain waves.”
In other words, by using visualization, you’re tricking your brain into acting as if your desired outcome—whether that’s nailing a presentation, landing a big promotion, or launching your own business—has already happened. And because your brain thinks your desired outcome has already happened, you’re more likely to take the actions necessary to align with your brain’s perceived reality.
Visualization can even cause physical changes. One study found that participants who visualized workouts were able to increase their muscle mass by 13.5% over the course of 12 weeks—even though they never stepped foot inside a gym. (Imagine how much more they’d have gained if they’d actually worked out!)
What Visualization Exercises Can I Do to Be More Successful at Work?
So research has shown that visualization can work. But how, in practice, do you use it to make you more successful? Here are a few exercises to get you started.
Start With Basic Visualization
If you’re just hopping on board the visualization train, you’re going to want to start with the basics. Carve out a few quiet minutes each day to sit down, close your eyes, and picture where you want to go, who you want to be, and what you want to do in your career. You can start small (like picturing yourself rocking an upcoming presentation) or go big (like celebrating your first six-figure year in business).
The key to this exercise is being as specific as possible. See what’s going to happen clearly in your mind. Home in on all the small details, from what you’re wearing to the way you’re speaking. And let yourself experience the emotions that go along with the visualization (so, for example, the sense of pride you’d feel when landing a raise or the rush of excitement you’d get when you launch a new product). The more realistic you can make your visualization, the more effective it’ll be.
Picture the Worst-Case Scenario
There are bound to be obstacles on any career journey. With visualization, you can anticipate what they’ll be—and come up with a plan so you know exactly how to handle them when they arise.
Let’s say, for example, that you’re gearing up to pitch a new project idea to your team. Visualize all the things that could go wrong—your presentation crashes, you forget important information in the middle of your pitch, your team says they’re not interested—and, more importantly, how you’ll handle them.
Entrepreneur Tim Ferriss calls this “fear-setting;” basically, you spend time imagining all the potential worst-case scenarios and how you’d navigate them. This way, you’ll be prepared and have a game plan if and when it happens, and you’ll be much more likely to succeed as a result.
Focus on Specific Skills or Goals
As the previously mentioned study showed, practicing a task in your mind can yield measurable results—even if you never practice that task IRL.
Want to become a better public speaker? Spend time visualizing yourself speaking to large crowds. Want to increase the number of potential clients you speak to each day? Picture yourself hitting the phones and connecting with tons of prospects each day. The point is, the more you practice the skill in visualizations, the better you’ll be at said skill in reality.
Write it Down
Have a hard time visualizing things in your mind? No worries! Writing down your visualizations can be just as effective as picturing them in your head—perhaps even more so.
“I have my clients write a story that describes in detail what they want their future to look like—down to the pictures on the wall of their office,” says Corsetti. “Adults learn by using all their senses. By writing the exercise they are using their thoughts as well as the physical activity of writing which seals the idea and makes it more concrete.”
The Next Steps
What Else Do I Have to Do?
Clearly, visualization is a powerful tool. But here’s an important reminder: If you want to see real results, you need to pair it with tangible actions. You can visualize yourself calling up 100 client prospects a day—but if you never actually pick up the phone, you’re not going to get the results you’re looking for.
It’s “more than just ‘think about it and it will happen,’” says Corsetti. “You see, when you visualize yourself as a leader, or as an entrepreneur…you have to start to respond [and act] as you would in that role.”
So, for example, if you’re visualizing yourself landing a coveted promotion, in addition to picturing yourself in this new role, you need to start acting as if you’re already in it, whether that means taking on more responsibility, mentoring newer members of your team, or logging extra hours at the office.
And when you pack this one-two punch—visualization and action? “Opportunities begin to present themselves. You attract people and circumstances that will help you get there,” Corsetti explains. “It literally steps up your game on a daily basis.”
Visualization is like a roadmap for that old saying—if you can dream it, you can achieve it. Because the right exercises can help you imagine the career you want. And with that vision, plus the corresponding actions, you can start making it a reality.
SUNSHINE Coast schools have been named as finalists for a Queensland excellence award celebrating innovation and leadership.
Finalists in the 2018 Showcase Awards for Excellence in Schools have been announced with four local schools part of the talented pool of 23.
Education Minister Grace Grace has congratulated the finalists who are now in the running for top honours at the Showcase Awards Gala Dinner in Brisbane on Friday, October 26.
“As the Education Minister I know first-hand that all Queensland state schools are achieving excellence every day,” she said.
“Among the amazing shortlisted entries are Meridan State College in the Excellence in the Early and Primary Years category.
“Each state finalist receives a $7500 development grant in recognition of their outstanding work which will help them further excel and share best practice.”
The winners will receive a further development grant of $30,000 each for the school award categories, or $15,000 each for the teacher and principal award categories.
Coast finalists include Meridan State College for Excellence in Early and Primary Years; Kawana Waters State College for Excellence in the Secondary Years; Nambour Special School for Excellence in Inclusive Education and Sunshine Beach State High School for Excellence in Global Engagement.
2018 Showcase Awards – State finalists
The Network Ten Showcase Award for Excellence in the Early and Primary Years
Durack State School: Project to practice
Meridan State College: Supporting successful Prep transitions – Our Meridan way
The QSuper Showcase Award for Excellence in the Secondary Years
Goondiwindi State High School: How do we make the teaching of writing everyone’s responsibility?
Kawana Waters State College: Future proofing senior students for success
The QUT Showcase Award for Excellence in Inclusive Education
Nambour Special School: Lifting literacy for every learner!
Queensland Virtual STEM Academy: Queensland Academy for Science Mathematics and Technology, Thuringowa State High School, Tropical North Learning Academy – Smithfield State High School, Breaching the disadvantage of distance: Lifting the outcomes and engagement of our top performing regional, rural and remote students in STEM
The RemServ Showcase Award for Excellence in Community Engagement
Mabel Park State High School: Health Training Hub
Mount Molloy State School: Growing our community
The Showcase Award for Excellence in Industry Partnerships
Atherton State High School: Reach for the stars – Online College of Advanced STEM
Thuringowa State High School: Advancing education for a global tropics future
The Education Queensland International Showcase Award for Excellence in Global Engagement
Sunshine Beach State High School: Creating global citizens
Wellers Hill State School: Nurturing students for a global future
The Queensland Teachers’ Union Showcase Award for Excellence in Indigenous Education
Balaclava State School: Highway to success though A,B,Cs – Indigenous kids striving for positive futures
Goondiwindi State School: Culturally responsive teaching through a community driven approach
The University of Southern Queensland Showcase Award for Excellence in Rural and Remote Education
Dalby State High School – Bunya Campus: Creating rural futures
Surat State School: Digital technologies
The Teachers Health Showcase Award for Teacher of the Year
Carly Sopronick, Atherton State High School
Louise Kliese, Indooroopilly State School
Judith Stutchbury, Kalkie State School
The Griffith University Jack Pizzey Award for Principal of the Year
Michael Kiss, Avoca State School
Yolanda Tognini, Wishart State School
The Teachers Mutual Bank Showcase Award for State School of the Year
Marsden State High School: Make a difference – the Marsden way
Woree State School: We discover, strive and shine!
Making a career change is scary. It may seem easier to stay in a job that you’re comfortable with and good at, rather than taking the plunge into a totally different career. But, those who do take that plunge often end up happier.
That proverbial leap requires more preparation than simply closing your eyes and jumping, though. To be sure that you don’t end up at another job that leaves you unfulfilled, you need to have a plan of action.
Catherine Morgan, Career Transition Expert at Point A to Point B Transitions, sees clients take a variety of different career journeys—doing the same job in a different industry, doing a different job in the same industry, or finding a job that is completely different in both skill set and industry.
And while some people know deep down that making the transition is the right thing all along, others come to the realization after a major life event. Regardless of the catalyst, Catherine advises taking calculated steps once you’ve decided to change industries.
So if you’re ready to take the leap, here’s our best advice on how to set yourself up for a successful career change.
Follow Your Passion, Purpose, or Side Hustle.
If you’re considering a career change, you’re probably not fulfilled with your current role. But, before jumping into another unsatisfying job, take the time to figure out what would make you happy. 1 out of 5 people don’t feel engaged with their job, and we know you don’t want to remain one of them.
Finding your passion can seem daunting, but if you examine the things you enjoy most, it gets easier. When thinking about changing jobs, “people often pull from life experience or something they’ve been doing on the side,” says Catherine.
Think about your hobbies—do you love to cook, or read, or sew? What activities are you best at and bring you the most joy? While not every hobby can be turned into a full-time job, examining your interests outside of work is a great way to discover what type of career might make you happy.
Have a Strategy and Take Steps to Implement It
In most cases, a career change doesn’t happen overnight. It takes work and preparation—but don’t get overwhelmed. Once you have your big picture figured out, do the following:
We know you know how to do some internet sleuthing. So, instead of stalking your ex online, use those detective skills to start researching potential employers. Check out their social media, website, and any other info you can find so that you can make an informed decision on whether a company is the right fit for you.
Make a list of people you know who work in the field that you’re interested in. If you don’t know anyone personally that’s okay. Utilize LinkedIn to expand your search, and don’t forget to ask friends and family for their connections. You can even craft an email to friends explaining that you’re looking to change careers and would love to be connected with anyone they think could help.
Once you have contact information, look them up before reaching out. You’ll want to sound informed so people know their time won’t be wasted connecting with you. Request a coffee, informational interview, or even to shadow someone after you’ve made the first move.
3. Know What You’re Willing to Sacrifice
Before making a big shift, Catherine says, consider whether there is an opportunity to rework your current job situation. “Look at what you want and what would make you happier—less travel, working from home more, boundaries to disconnect,” she says.
If you are set on changing careers, there’s a lot to consider before leaving your current job. Before quitting evaluate what sacrifices you are willing to make in order to find a role that you love—can you take a pay cut, start in a lower position, do you have leverage to leave your job without having your next one lined up?
Knowing the answers to these questions beforehand will set you up for success and help narrow down potential jobs and employers.
Catherine says “the people I work with tend to be happy with their decisions, they are going into it with the right mindset and finding something valuable to them.” We spend the bulk of our time at work, so being happy with your job can make a huge difference.
So, if you think it’s time for a career change, follow the steps above—do your research, create a plan of action, and take the leap. You may just end up happier than you ever imagined.