Archive | August, 2019

Are You Running in Place?

August 29, 2019


You’re trying to lose weight and you have 30 minutes to work out. You could hop on a treadmill and burn 100 calories. Or you can do 30 minutes of a high intensity interval training and burn 300 calories. Which do you choose? When it comes to exercise, the answer is obvious. After all, it would take three times as long to burn the same amount of calories on the treadmill. But when it comes to work, we often choose the treadmill approach instead of the more efficient HIIT strategy. Why is that?

We often confuse being “busy” with being “productive.” We think working “hard” is the same as working “smart.” But just because our butt is in the chair, it doesn’t mean we are getting stuff done. Right? In fact, it’s often like that treadmill–we’re moving but not getting anywhere. There are a lot of variables that come into play here.

Firstly, you need to feel energized. That means plenty of sleep and good work-life balance. Next, you need to be productive, which means being organized and learning how to delegate. Lastly, you need to stay focused. Get rid of the distractions and get your priorities straight. Setting a timer for a “work sprint” (that’s 35 minutes of uninterrupted work time followed by a 5 minute break) can help you reach your ultimate goal: to work smart instead of hard and be productive instead of just busy.

Image via Benjamin White/Flickr.

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Think Two Steps Ahead

August 27, 2019


In a recent post on Ivy Exec called The 6 Habits That Make You Look Like a High Achiever to Your Manager, According to a CEO, one point stood out in particular: “think two levels ahead in your career.” We all know the phrase “dress for the job you want, not the job you have,” but this piece of advice takes it a step further. Don’t take on projects or commitments unless they put you on the path to that two-steps-ahead-position. Genius!

So what is that two-steps-ahead position that you’re yearning for? What skills will you need to land that job title? What do you need in order to reach that level? Set strict boundaries and goals that fall within those parameters. Be confident in your abilities and don’t be sorry when you turn down an opportunity that won’t get you where you want to go.

When it comes to your career, your success really does lie in your hands. You just have to be clear about what you want and what you need to do to get there. If you’re looking for more guidance, a mentor can help. And sometimes a new job is exactly what the doctor ordered.

How do you stay on track when it comes to your career goals?

Image via Craig A Rodway/Flickr.

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15 Quotes to Read When You’re Not Where You Thought You’d Be

August 22, 2019



Life is unpredictable. So why would our careers be so predictable? For whatever reason, we tie career milestones to specific ages, and if we haven’t hit those milestones by those ages, we think we’ve failed. We think it’s “too late” or our “time has passed.” But that’s so not the case. Hopefully these quotes can remind you that you’re right where you’re supposed to beand that you have the power to make a change.

“All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveller is unaware.” – Martin Buber

“Failure can either traumatize and immobilize us, or it can be seen as brave, daring and full of juicy nuggets that make us so much more interesting.” – Sara Blakely 

“The people who receive the most approval in life are the ones who care the least about it.” – Dr. Wayne Dyer

“Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” – Winston Churchill

“You have done enough. You are enough. You were born enough.” – Elaine Welteroth

“If it scares you, it might be a good thing to try.” – Seth Godin

“I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions.” – Stephen Covey

“The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.” – Alice Walker

“A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.” – Albert Einstein

“It is never too late to be what you might have been.” – George Eliot

“The best way to predict the future is to create it.” – Abraham Lincoln

“Wanting to be someone else is a waste of the person you are.” – Marilyn Monroe

“It’s not what you achieve, it’s what you overcome. That’s what defines your career.” – Carlton Fisk

“Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.” – Andre Gide

“There is only one way to avoid criticism: Do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing.” – Aristotle

Image via S A Kindstrom/Flickr.

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Do You Have to Get Along with Everyone at Work?

August 20, 2019


When the late film director Garry Marshall (of Happy Days and Pretty Woman fame) was asked what the best career advice he’d ever received was, he said this: “Learn to work with people you wouldn’t go to lunch with.” Ouch. Right? But boy is there truth in his statement! One of the most difficult transitions for new college graduates can be learning how to work alongside people who are nothing like them–in age, geography, experience, and interests–just to name a few differences.

But learning how to work with everyone–even the people you “wouldn’t go to lunch with”–is an incredible life skill that’s imperative in the work place. People have very different communication styles, and the sooner you can recognize this and be respectful and aware of these differences, the more you can excel in your career. Take a personality quiz like Myer-Briggs Type Indicator, which helps you identify your tendencies in categories like “Intuition vs. Sensing” and “Judging vs. Perceiving.” Keep these results in mind as you meet and work with new people, and see if you can identify how they may have scored on such a test.

Practice striking up a conversation with strangers. Small talk can help strengthen a relationship with a new coworker fairly quickly and painlessly–even with someone whom you seemingly have nothing in common. In fact, after a brief conversation you may find that, hey, they are someone you’d like to go to go to lunch with. It all comes down to respect. Show interest in other people–their opinions, their stories, their thoughts, and their feelings–and a healthy work relationship will follow.

Image via Rob/Flickr.

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Are You Really Thinking About the Big Picture?

August 15, 2019


We’ve touted the benefits of a career mentor and career planning, but it’s come to our attention that we might all be doing this wrong. When you think about your overall career growth, goals, and potential, hopefully your work-life balance is taken into consideration. But what about going beyond that? Really thinking about your life outside of work–your parenting goals? Personal happiness? Friendships? Relationships?

The Harvard Business Review recently wrote an article called Great Mentors Focus on the Whole Person, Not Just Their Career. It comes to the conclusion that we can’t give or take career advice without considering the person as a whole. A question such as, “What are 5 things you’d want friends or family to say about you on your 80th birthday?” can really boil down what’s truly important in someone’s life. Consider your five answers to that question and how they interplay with your career path and goals.

When we start thinking about the big picture of our life, it may put our careers into better perspective. The work-life balance conundrum may become more clear. Our priorities might more easily rise to the top. Our self-criticism may dampen and we may give ourselves permission to choose happiness. Our career path may take a different direction. How else do you consider the big picture when mapping out your career growth?

Image via Eli Christman/Flickr.


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Are You Truly Challenging Yourself?

August 13, 2019


Professional athletes aren’t afraid of feedback. In fact, they seek it out. Their daily routine involves setting up various feedback loops, in which their efforts are constantly put under scrutiny. Their work is assessed, measured, analyzed, and scored. They’re expected to take that feedback and do one thing with it: get better. It’s a part of the job. We can learn a lot from athletes and their dedication to increasing performance and results. In short, we need criticism in order to excel.

Are you making yourself vulnerable enough for feedback? It’s an uncomfortable situation to put yourself into, no doubt. But if you really want to improve in your current position and continue to find success in life, you need to seek out feedback. Then you need to take that feedback and grow. How can you get reliable measurements on your skills? Here are just some ideas:

  • Just ask–even on the small tasks: For example, after you run an important meeting, send out a quick email to the group or to a trusted colleague and say, “I’m looking to improve my public speaking skills. Is there anything you think I could have done better today?”
  • Get it on the calendar: If you’re only required to have an annual and semi-annual review with your manager, consider putting a quarterly meeting between the two of you on your calendar. While it may not be an “official” performance review, use it as a chance to assess your progress on your goals and responsibilities. Where are you lacking? Where are you excelling?
  • Be real with yourself: We’re not advocating to be super hard on yourself, but let’s be honest–we know when we’ve messed up. We know when we’ve been slacking, and making excuses, and self sabotaging. Unleash your inner critic but focus on giving yourself actionable advice.
  • Write it down: Keep track of your goals, your progress, and the feedback you’re getting and check in on it at least once per month. We can’t improve if we don’t have a starting point and an end goal. Set yourself up for success and then track that success each step of the way.
  • Celebrate the good with the bad: Don’t lose sight of your strengths as you get feedback on your weaknesses. Remember that weaknesses are simply chances to improve and we should always be seeking to improve throughout our life.

Image via Toby Bradbury/Flickr.


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Pick Yourself Up and Move Forward With These Motivational Quotes

August 8, 2019


“One’s only failure is failing to live up to one’s own possibilities.” – Abraham Maslow

“I honestly can’t think of any career ‘mistakes.’ Everything happens for a reason.” – Katherine Power

“Failure is nothing more than a chance to become better.” – Unknown

“If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.” – Milton Berle

“Believe you can and you’re halfway there.” – Theodore Roosevelt

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The next best time is now.” – Chinese Proverb

“Just start. Don’t worry that you don’t have all the answers yet.” – Alli Webb

“Fall in love with the process and the results will come.” – Eric Thomas

“I never dreamed about success. I worked for it.” – Estée Lauder

“If you want to achieve greatness stop asking for permission.” – Unknown

“If you don’t like the road you’re walking, start paving another one.” – Dolly Parton

“Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.” – Henry Ford

Image via Alan Lam/Flickr.

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The Results Are In! Spectrum Brands 2019 Day of Service

August 6, 2019


We’re happy to say that we’ve had another fantastic outcome during our nationwide annual volunteer day. More than 250 employees donated over 1,000+ hours of service to their local communities during our 2019 Day of Service. We supported various organizations across the country that are near and dear to our heart including the Clean Lakes Alliance, Second Harvest Food Bank, and Gateway Greening. Between our six locations, employees were able to:

  • Clear over one mile of invasive species and brush from Pheasant Branch Creek Corridor and half an acre at Stricker’s Pond to protect Dane County’s Yahara watershed.
  • Sort and pack more than 22,000 pounds of food for local Lake Forest and Miami families.
  • Revitalize Grayson County Shelter through painting, tree trimming, mowing and trash removal.
  • Weed 650 feet of plant beds, add 500 feet of mulch and plant 350 feet of new plants to revitalize St. Louis downtown area.

To our employees: a HUGE thank you for your continued support of our community engagement efforts. This is another shining example of servant leadership in action! We’re so proud of the hard work, dedication, and time that our employees are so willing to give. 

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How to Network Your Way Into Your Dream Company

August 1, 2019


You’re one of the lucky ones — you know exactly what you want to do and who you want to do it for. In the perfect scenario, your dream job and dream company are within reach. But how do you make that dream a reality? There are many simple steps you can take to get even closer to your goals.

  1. Reach out to your network. 
    You don’t know who your network knows unless you ask! See if anyone has a connection to this company or this industry. If you’re still in college, that network includes your campus career resource center as well as your professors.
  2. Peruse LinkedIn. 
    Can you image a time before LinkedIn? You essentially have an employment directory at your fingertips. At the very least, you can get a better idea of who’s working in your industry or your dream role (or even in the exact department in your dream company) and what their background is like.
  3. Talk to people in the industry. 
    Even if you can’t connect with someone at your dream company, connecting with people in your industry is just as helpful. Professional organization and meet-up events are a great place to start. People in the industry can give you insight into the job market and inside details on what it’s really like to work in your dream position. Ask these people if they know anyone else who’d be interested in talking to you, or if there are any other industry resources you should turn to.
  4. Set up an informational interview.
    If you’re lucky enough to find a connection at your dream company who’s willing to connect, ask if you can have an informational interview on site. Treat them to coffee and have intelligent questions prepared. You could even ask if you could shadow them for a day or for a few hours.
  5. Sign up for a job alert.
    Be the first one to know when a position at your dream company opens up. Also be open to internships, temporary work, or similar positions within the department of your dreams. Right now, your goal is to get your foot in the door and get face to face in front of a recruiter.
  6. Stay in touch. 
    Check in every month or two with your network and with recruiters that you’ve connected with. You can’t expect to be on the top of everyone’s mind all the time, but a friendly check-in brings you to the forefront.

Image via @@@/Flickr.

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