Career Growth

How to Go from a Boss to a Conscious Leader

Recently, I read a post from a business owner who was asking human resources professionals for advice about an employee who requested not to be contacted after work hours or on weekends, except in the event of an emergency. 

He explained that he “made it clear” to the employee that she is not required to respond to anything not urgent after hours or on weekends, but affirmed his “authority to send emails to their work email address for items that may cross his mind after hours so he doesn’t forget. He sent this employee an email over the weekend. She “politely and respectfully” reminded him of her request. “I really would like my time and space respected during off-hours.” He pushed back. She pushed back. 

“You may not like me setting boundaries but this is important to me. If you respected me and my time, you would understand that an employee should be allowed to have a reprieve.”

His perspective was: “As the boss and owner of the company, I should be the one who sets operations and not the employee… She is setting (or changing) the business guidelines and protocol, and it does not sit well with me.”

Many people advised this leader to let her walk, his way or the highway, and he was very much in agreement at the time I read and responded to his post. This advice and his source of discomfort were very much coming from ego rather than empathy. 

Here was my response: 

“Look, everyone is doing the best they can to cope in difficult times. This requires MORE self-care than ever. The only solution isn’t to send emails anyway because it works for you and she can just opt to ignore them. She obviously has notifications on to deal with emergencies, so she will get every email, and even though she may not be required to respond to non-emergencies, she still may feel compelled by a sense of duty and obligation that adds pressure (self-imposed, yes) when she needs to be disconnected. Need – as in, a physical need to manage stress for overall well being. By insisting on your way and not respecting her boundaries, you are communicating that what she needs is less important than what you want. Self-care = putting your needs over someone else’s wants. Selfish = putting your wants over someone else’s needs. What kind of leader do you want to be? Can’t you create the drafts when you think of them and send them off Monday morning? Yes. You can. If you don’t value her, let her go. If you do value her, respect her boundaries. Be the leader she needs.”

He responded, “Fair and well put.”

While he was in ego at the time of posting, he was also open to really hearing other ways to look at this problem. 

I’m not sure how he’ll handle it, but I am glad that he was open.

He said, “I want to do what is fair and just, which is why I came to this group! Thank you!!”

At that moment, this boss/manager had a choice to move into conscious leadership. He was able to do so because his intention was to be fair to his employee. He was open to guidance and new self-awareness, and if he does decide to accommodate his employee, he will have moved from ego to empathy and compassion, which is empathy in action.

As a leader, you have multiple points throughout their days, weeks, months, and years that give you the opportunity to make similar choices. 

Like forming any habit, and what I love about habits, is that once a habit is formed, doing that thing becomes a compulsion rather than a choice. You are pulled to do it, rather than having to push. However, that time in between the self-awareness of the habit that needs to develop and the time that the habit is developed, the push is a challenge for most people. 

Join me for a free online masterclass on Wednesday, September 30th at 2:00 PM EDT to find out more about how you can create more speed and ease during that in-between period so that you can become more consistently conscious as a leader.  

What would you have advised this leader to do? What would you do?

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If you’re dedicated to making a meaningful impact in the world through your work, I invite you to join my LinkedIn group for conscious leaders. Join C3 now to be a part of future free events, watch replay recordings of our past events, interact with the conscious community, speakers, and experts, and have your chance to share your expertise by becoming a future guest panelist for upcoming events. Remember that without you, meaningful change is not possible.

Dashboard Confessional – Bend And Not Break (Lyrics)

Lovely band, lovely song, lovely album Album: “A Mark, A Mission, A Brand, A Scar” – 2003 Lyrics: I catalog these steps now Decisive and intentioned precise …

Karen Huller is the creator of the Corporate Consciousness Ripple Blueprint and author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days. She founded Epic Careering, a leadership and career development firm specializing in executive branding and conscious culture, in 2006. 

While the bulk of her 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales. Her solutions incorporate breakthroughs in neuroscience, human performance optimization, bioenergetics, and psychology to help leaders accelerate rapport, expand influence, and elevate engagement and productivity while also looking out for the sustainability of the business and the planet.

Mrs. Huller was one of the first LinkedIn trainers and is known widely for her ability to identify and develop new trends. She is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer, Certified Career Transition Consultant, and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist with a Bachelor of Art in Communication Studies and Theater from Ursinus College and a minor in Creative Writing. Her blog was recognized as a top 100 career blog worldwide by Feedspot. 

She was an Adjunct Professor in Cabrini University’s Communications Department and an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business  She is an Instructor for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA) where some of her students won the 2018 national YEA competition, were named Ernst & Young’s America’s Next Top Young Entrepreneurs, and won the 2019 People’s Choice Award. 

She is board secretary for the Upper Merion Community Center and just finished serving as Vice President of the Gulph Elementary PTC, for which she received recognition as a Public Education Partner and Promoter from the Upper Merion Area Education Association. She lives in King of Prussia with her husband, two daughters, and many pets, furry, feathered, and scaly.

The Truth Shall Set You Free

The truth shall set you free. That’s what they say, but is it true?

Some have found that saying to be very true. Though freedom wasn’t exactly what they were going for, it’s what they got – freedom to no longer work for their company.

What they learned is, the truth is not always seen as a ray of light showing everyone the way.  It is often unwelcomed, harmful to hidden agendas, and is often resisted and suppressed.

Furthermore, truth isn’t what we used to think it was. It used to be something everyone could objectively agree upon. That’s how we could decide something was the truth. What even is true these days?

The truth can be found in data but as we have been seeing throughout this crisis, people can weave very different stories and conclusions based on data.

So, how can people come to an agreement about what is really true? Additionally, how can they come to an agreement about what to do with that truth?

Many well-meaning leaders, whether in leadership positions or not, see withholding or suppressing truth as counter-productive, wasteful, and potentially harmful to progress, conscious decision-making, and engagement. Some of them are the few willing to raise their hand, risk their status, and deliver the truth.

However, to believe that spouting out the truth in a public forum is the best route of delivery for the best possible outcome is naïve and in direct opposition to how humans really operate.

The truth is, sometimes no matter how you deliver the truth, you could be risking that it won’t be received well. You’re taking a risk that you may face consequences for speaking up, even if it is the right thing to do.

The Epic Careering Corporate Consciousness Ripple Blueprint, launching this month, teaches conscious leaders who want to level up their conscious contributions to the corporate landscape. In the program, we’ll focus on more than 8 protocols related to inspiring cooperation with and collaboration on conscious change initiatives. This particular article addresses one of the biggest mistakes people make that result in change getting shot down before it even begins – telling the flat-out “truth.” It also guides you in broaching the truth in a way that doesn’t put you on the immediate chopping block.

Blurting out the truth is a mistake I’ve made. It’s probably a mistake most people have made.

So, before you go and blurt out the truth at work, consider the following. Create a sound plan to divulge the truth that accounts for human nature and determine whether sharing will produce an outcome that benefits most everyone.

Ask These Questions:

My kids were taught three conditions to determine if what they want to say should be said:

Is it kind? Is it helpful? Is it true?

It’s interesting to see them grapple with that is true. Oftentimes, they state things as true when they’re really opinions (modeled after what they see others doing), even if they’re educated, experienced opinions.

So, be sure to ask yourself if what you’re thinking is an opinion or truth. If it’s truth, how can it be proven as such?

What does the data say? Could the data also indicate something else? What are the counter-arguments? Who might know more about historical applications or misapplications of the data?

What is your reputation at work? Are you known for being credible? Will people resist what you say automatically because you are known to ruffle feathers?

What is your intention in sharing this truth? What is the highest good that can come from sharing it? Alternatively, what is the worst possible consequence of sharing it? Who could be harmed by it? How can you mitigate any potential harm if the good outweighs the bad? How does this serve you?

How is this truth supposed to guide decisions, strategy, and actions?

Devise a Plan:

Next, it’s time to devise a plan. If this truth does, in fact, reveal some problems within your organization, expect at least some resistance. As a golden rule, if you are going to point out a problem, you need to also present a solution. You may not be a solutioner by nature or by trade, but you need to at least come up with some options. Starting from square one with no potential path forward is not an option for any business. Pair up with a solutioner to create a Plan A, Plan B, and Plan C, as well as projections on what will happen if this truth is ignored.

Make a Pitch (or solicit someone even more credible or influential to):

It may sound a bit counter-intuitive and certainly in direct conflict with conventional corporate posturing, but when you do take the opportunity to present the truth, you must also admit your own margin of error.

Data can reveal trends, but it doesn’t always reveal when trends will be bucked by other forces. Take, for example, the upset when the team that is favored to win loses. Sports statisticians use increasingly accurate automated algorithms to make predictions and assign over/under wagers so that the person who makes the bet with the highest risk of being wrong earns the most if there’s an upset.

No one will believe that you are presenting absolute truth, or that you are infallible. When you are transparent that it may not be the BEST path forward but you are committed to demonstrating all of your plan’s strengths and weaknesses, you’re allowing an educated decision to be made by the people with the authority to do so.

This is really counter-intuitive, but start with the weaknesses! This lowers resistance, proves you are attempting to be unbiased. Believe it or not, you’ll find that, once these concerns are validated by you, some will even jump in just to point out why the weaknesses really don’t compromise the soundness of the proposed plans once you get into the strengths.

Be mindful of your state of mind when you are you presenting, especially when you are addressing questions. Be honest when you don’t have an answer, when more data is needed, or when experts in the room have yet to weigh in on certain aspects in their wheelhouse. Invite them to contribute. Ideally, you will have checked your plan with an expert in that area already.

Businesses make decisions in vacuums all the time. The ivory tower has earned a poor reputation for a reason; as professionals grow ever higher from the front lines up the corporate ladder, they assume that they can see it all much better from up there. Unfortunately, they forget what the day-to-day is like for the front lines (or they never really learned.)

Oversights can be very costly to companies. When companies start to bleed money in ways projections did not account for, without self-awareness, leaders will succumb to the human inclination to protect the ego from looking bad and the instinct to protect one’s livelihood. Many times, CYA culture is reinforced and scapegoats are assigned. Then it is modeled and passed onward.

Unfortunately, the people who have the most to lose, those who have the highest to fall, far too often make those below them take the fall instead.

Is that a fact?

All I have to prove this is anecdotal evidence, honestly – over 15 years’ worth! There are also numerous headlines and class action suits, but very few in comparison to personal accounts. Think about how many executives enjoy bonuses while mass layoffs ensue.

I absolutely admire leaders who have the guts to say it like it is. Progress would be much faster if we didn’t have to work around ego.

The fact is, however, we are human. People can get more resilient, and companies can do things to enhance the resiliency of its workforce and its leaders, but no one is getting there overnight.

Put some influence victories under your belt, and it gets much easier to inspire more change.

Everyone has to start somewhere, and everyone can level up from where they are right now.

Are you a truth-teller who wants more victories? Is the truth a legacy you feel is important to leave behind?

Perhaps The Epic Careering Corporate Consciousness Ripple Blueprint is the personal and professional development program that makes the most sense for you right now.

Let’s find out. Book a call today.

Truth Hurts (Clean Version) (Audio) – Lizzo

This is the audio for the clean version of “Truth Hurts” by Lizzo. From the single, “Truth Hurts”, and the album, “Cuz I Love You”. This song was written by:…

Karen Huller, author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days, is founder of Epic Careering, a 13-year-old leadership and career development firm specializing in executive branding and conscious culture, as well as JoMo Rising, LLC, a workflow gamification company that turns work into productive play. 

While the bulk of her 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales. 

Karen was one of the first LinkedIn trainers and is known widely for her ability to identify and develop new trends in hiring and careering. She is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer, Certified Career Transition Consultant, and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist with a Bachelor of Art in Communication Studies and Theater from Ursinus College and a minor in Creative Writing. Her blog was recognized as a top 100 career blog worldwide by Feedspot. 

She is an Adjunct Professor in Cabrini University’s Communications Department and previously was an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business  She is also an Instructor for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy where some of her students won the 2018 national competition, were named America’s Next Top Young Entrepreneurs, and won the 2019 People’s Choice Award. 

CYA Culture is Killing Competitiveness, Progress, and Engagement in Corporate America

Have you ever wondered how you could create ripples of change in the current corporate paradigm?

Facts:

  • People are sick of corporate initiatives with catchphrases that amount to nothing actually changing for the better.
  • There is a fundamental lack of trust in corporate leadership.
  • The resistance to change stifles progress and much-needed evolution. Some people have their invincibility cloak on, deflecting all change that might make their “baby” obsolete.
  • As more and more ideas get shut down, creativity is discouraged and stops.
  • High performance in many companies is a perception based on who earns the most praise, works on the most visible projects, receives the most pats on the back, and seems to be doing better than the next person, which suppresses willingness to bring awareness to the issues that need to be resolved.
  • In some companies, the default behavior is to insist everything is great, or else other departments will use your weakness to their advantage and make you the scapegoat for performance failures. This creates/reinforces silos! It breeds the attitude: “Let’s deal with this problem among ourselves vs. let’s get the best knowledge in the company working on this bottleneck” and stifles growth and productivity.
  • Even in a company that is fantastic about professional development and helping people get to the next level, the lack of space to be real about breakdowns prevents breakthroughs.

Then you have highly promoted leaders who have not adequately worked through their stuff to become more self-aware and emotionally intelligent. These leaders are motivated to make decisions that protect their status over doing the right thing.

This motivation is dangerous for everyone – it’s especially dangerous for the company! It opens up huge risk factors in terms of compliance while also damaging engagement, morale, and retention of true high performers who value making a real contribution toward progress and solutions.

In cases like this, true high performers may then be conditioned to believe that they’re so lucky to be part of a big picture where there is a lot of incentive to grow professionally. Meanwhile, unconscious leaders decide not to be authentic about issues (including personal issues that impact productivity) and look for scapegoats to deflect any potential negative attention.

A leader can only be as empathetic as they are aware.

Few people have had the experience of being able to be honest with their boss about why they lose motivation – if they are even aware of why themselves. Often, people suffer silently with these issues. They may recover and it may seem as though it was just a temporary slump, but the reasons for that slump don’t go away. Those reasons can manifest in other ways, influence decisions to act or not act, and keep people in a loop that they never escape in order to grow to the next level consciously, even if they still grow professionally.

It seems for the sake of job security and professional growth, as well as financial growth, whole workforces are willing to accept these conditions as business [politics] as usual.

And you know what…

There’s no sense trying to get buy-in from people who have been duped before.

Corporate America needs a complete overhaul, and it won’t happen overnight.

  1. Integrity has to be restored in a meaningful, authentic way.
  2. Individuals need enhanced self-awareness to know from what emotion and mental state they are making decisions.
  3. We need leaders who are willing to show their imperfections, build trust and rapport, and create the space that allows others to show their imperfections as well, promoting progress over perfection.

Companies who perpetuate the CYA culture are not as stable as they appear; they are covering up cracks all over the infrastructure that they are afraid to reveal. They are not providing anyone with genuine job security.

Have you overheard or even had these conversations?

“Why didn’t they listen to me?! We wouldn’t be in this mess if they had.”

Or…

“The executives are so out of touch with our customers’/front lines’ reality. They keep making decisions in a vacuum, and we all suffer because of it.”

Or…

“Everyone’s so busy covering their a**, I don’t know if or how anything is actually getting done.”

Do you want to know what usually happens next? These employees contact someone like me to help them find and nurture greener pastures… and they find them, though there simply are not enough of them for everyone.

It always bothered me to know that as I help these brilliant corporate climbers escape their situations, they were leaving casualties behind. Some of these companies are supposedly out to do big, important things in this world, and you’d think their standards of leadership would be higher.

While it may seem logical that the mass exodus from corporate America may be halted due to COVID-19, what we’ve seen in the previous national crisis of 9/11 is that people quit their jobs in record numbers because they realize what really matters – health, family, and being able to look at yourself in the mirror for the rest of your life.

Leaders right now are scared about their own job security. They’re also concerned about the productivity of their teams and losing talent.

What can you do about it?

Most people think there’s nothing they can do.

There is a dominant atmosphere of resignation that corporate politics and bureaucracy just goes along with being a corporate drone.

This feeling of resignation is dangerous. Right now, it is more evident than any other time in our human history that resignation enables the powers that stifle progress. Ego, self-preservation, and idle busyness keep us from working toward what CAN be achieved and what few have achieved.

“Let those who love peace be as organized as those who love war.”  – MLK, Jr.

What we need are pioneers willing to learn, apply, and teach a better way to lead – a corporate conscious leadership blueprint, if you will. We’ve got it! Our corporate leadership program has been 3 years in the making.

We need people who are starting to see clearly that correcting the course serves their kids more than complying with it for the sake of job security.

Where are you, my good leaders? Who is willing to work from the inside up and out to create ripples of change in the current corporate paradigm?

For those concerned about your job and your financial security – this is a valid concern.

That’s why there is a safety net built into this program.

You will likely find that your attempts to create ripples of consciousness at your job is met by resistance. In our program, you will be taught how to gracefully disarm this resistance. It will absolutely work magically in many situations, but not all.

You are up against some formidable, powerful systems that will feel threatened by any attempts of change. We will teach you how to implement a support team well before you take on these systems, and you will have a community of people in this program who will have your back!

Still, this is a long-game. If you find that where you are is just not the best place to spread your new conscious leadership wings, we’ll put you on a transition track. At any time, you can switch tracks so that we can professionally brand you and set up an efficient, highly effective career campaign that will put you not only on more stable ground financially in a company that is willing to invest in real solutions vs. Band-Aids, but you will also be blazing a much better trail for our youth to follow and replicate. Maybe, by the time they reach the corporate ladder, they’ll find that the heights of the top rungs are a less precarious place to be with a view worth climbing toward.

Message me at karen@epiccareering.com, or tag someone below in the comments section who has the courage to be a beacon of change and is an example for others to follow.

Miley Cyrus – The Climb (Official Music Video) (HQ)

The Climb is the brand new hit single from Miley Cyrus available on Hannah Montana: The Movie Soundtrack in stores March 24! Hannah Montana: The Movie only i…

Karen Huller, author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days (bit.ly/GetFocusIn30), is founder of Epic Careering, a 13-year-old leadership and career development firm specializing in executive branding and conscious culture, as well as JoMo Rising, LLC, a workflow gamification company that turns work into productive play. 

While the bulk of her 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales. 

Karen was one of the first LinkedIn trainers and is known widely for her ability to identify and develop new trends in hiring and careering. She is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer, Certified Career Transition Consultant, and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist with a Bachelor of Art in Communication Studies and Theater from Ursinus College and a minor in Creative Writing. Her blog was recognized as a top 100 career blog worldwide by Feedspot. 

She is an Adjunct Professor in Cabrini University’s Communications Department and previously was an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business  She is also an Instructor for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy where some of her students won the 2018 national competition, were named America’s Next Top Young Entrepreneurs, and won the 2019 People’s Choice Award. 

Negotiating Safe Working Conditions

Today, I held a training inside of my Facebook group for conscious leaders about negotiating safe working conditions with employers. After recent news of the economy starting to open back up, now is the time for us to ensure safety in the workplace. 

To effectively move forward, leaders should be focused on protecting people over profits and restoring trust through systems and protocols. You can help make this happen.

Join the Facebook group and access the training to learn:

  • Keys to successful negotiations with employers
  • Data points to ensure your employer considers
  • How to hold employers accountable
  • Immediate action steps for ensuring a safe work environment
  • How to become an even more influential conscious leader

You can access the training replay here. Please note, in order to access the training replay and materials, you’ll need to join my Facebook group if you haven’t already.

​​Karen Huller, author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days (bit.ly/GetFocusIn30), is founder of Epic Careering, a 13-year-old leadership and career development firm specializing in executive branding and conscious culture, as well as JoMo Rising, LLC, a workflow gamification company that turns work into productive play. 

While the bulk of her 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales. 

Karen was one of the first LinkedIn trainers and is known widely for her ability to identify and develop new trends in hiring and careering. She is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer, Certified Career Transition Consultant, and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist with a Bachelor of Art in Communication Studies and Theater from Ursinus College and a minor in Creative Writing. Her blog was recognized as a top 100 career blog worldwide by Feedspot. 

She is an Adjunct Professor in Cabrini University’s Communications Department and previously was an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business  She is also an Instructor for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy where some of her students won the 2018 national competition, were named America’s Next Top Young Entrepreneurs, and won the 2019 People’s Choice Award. 

Staying Productive During a Crisis

​​Let me be crystal clear: No one is an expert at navigating this current situation.

I hesitate to advise anyone right now on coping because I’m having my own challenges. However, I’m making some things work and I’ve tried some things that didn’t work. My hope is that what I’ve learned can also be of value to you.

Before COVID-19, I thought I had working from home mastered. I did, in fact. I had a routine and it was all on the calendar. I had an app my clients could use to set up appointments. I was prompt. I liked being prompt. I had my business stuff together.

Since then…

I spent the first couple of weeks in the Poconos with my family. We were as secluded as we could be from people. I have suffered from serious respiratory illness for two years in a row. One of those years nearly broke us financially, so I was not about to take chances in my lovely, close-knit neighborhood. We taught our kids how to properly social distance, but the moment a dog came by, they completely ignored us (I also have one kid with ADHD who lacks impulse control.)

Those two weeks in the Poconos felt a little like a vacation. I continued to work, albeit with a spotty internet connection. It wasn’t sustainable, but it worked for the time we were there. I kept all of my appointments. I even landed a new client. I set realistic deliverable dates for my client’s work and scaled back my curriculum for my students.

My kids logged into school apps even though they weren’t required to, so they got a taste of distance learning.

We didn’t have the usual chores. We didn’t see many people at all. We went to the lake, played ping-pong, worked on puzzles, played card/board games and watched movies. We celebrated St. Paddy’s Day and my first born’s big 10th birthday. We had plenty to eat and drink. For the most part, it was an ideal way to transition into stay-at-home life.

We returned home to a missing chameleon and a dead turtle. Right away, my anxiety spiked.

I knew there was a lot to do, but I felt a bit frozen. I gave myself grace.

That kicks things off with lesson #1.

Lesson #1: Give Yourself Grace

There’s already so much to feel anxious about. Give yourself grace when it comes to getting things done on a normal timeline. Don’t commit yourself to anything too soon. Allow for those times when news hits you like a ton of bricks. We are all grieving our old lives! You might be angry, frustrated, worried, glum, whatever…  Allow it. Allow everyone else to feel their feelings as well. Extending grace to others doesn’t mean accepting abuse, but it might look like taking a few verbal punches you don’t need right now. Walk away when it’s needed. Feel free to communicate, “It’s okay to be angry (or whatever,) but it’s not okay to take it all out on me. Find another outlet (see below.)”

Lesson #2: Communicate Specifically What You Need

Last week, I set an expectation that since I am the primary worker bee, I’d need support to make sure I have ample time and conducive conditions to work. Once we got home, I was interrupted many times by kids not knowing how to log in, missing passwords, not understanding assignments, etc. My husband was busy, too, but with basement organizing.

I didn’t communicate my expectations clearly enough and I left my door open, which was misleading.

Clear delegation: I had to have another talk with my husband while keeping in mind he is stressed and losing patience, too. I specifically told him I need him to be the point person. I need him to check for e-mails from the teachers daily. I passed on to him everything I know (so far) about what websites they need to log into, passwords, hours I’d need him to reliably be supervising the kids, etc. At school, our youngest daughter had an aide, someone with divine patience, to make sure she was on task. This wasn’t going to look like just letting them log in and leaving them be.

Boundaries: I used the whiteboard to start mapping out a schedule so that everyone would know when I was “on the clock” and not to be disturbed. I made it clear that there would be certain hours during the day that they would not be able to ask me a question. They might see me getting coffee, stretching my legs, etc., but that was not a signal that I was free.

Systems: I explained to my family members that the tasks I usually spend time asking them to do should just be automatically done – picking up socks, putting away toys, cleaning up the table after meals, etc. This has never worked before, so my fingers are crossed on this one. I made a list of all the fun family things we can still do together, then explained that if my work gets interrupted, I’d have to take things off that list simply by virtue of the fact that I will not have the free time to do it. This has made this concept a little more tactile.

Once I know that we have found a flow, I’ll adjust my appointment calendar and be able to let clients self-book once again. It’s all felt so unpredictable. My brother and his family are 3 weeks into distance learning and they’ve settled into routines and seem much more relaxed. I’m looking forward to finding that rhythm and predictability.

Lesson #3: Find Several Outlets

A physical outlet: Playing ping-pong (Huller-pong, technically – as we play full contact) was awesome! It was physical (our way of playing is) and it was hilarious. It allowed us to let off some steam in a healthy way. Find something physical you can do alone and with your family.

A cathartic outlet: I see a lot of people clearing out their junk drawers and basements. Don’t feel like you have to tackle that right now if you don’t feel up to it yet. You can start smaller, like coloring or organizing your sock drawer.

A consumption outlet: Find something you can consume every day (photos, stories, videos, music) that uplifts and grounds you.

A creative outlet: It matters not what you create, just that you create! Paperclips, paper, strings hanging off an old shirt, there’s bound to be something in your home you can use to create. Learn how to make masks for your local frontline healthcare workers or food preparers. If there’s nothing physical, create in your mind such as a story, a song, a poem, you get the idea.

A nature outlet: I see many people are starting gardens. If you don’t have a yard and the parks by you are closed, bring some nature inside.  Order a plant to be delivered to your home, especially if you live alone! I also see people are adopting or fostering pets.

A negativity outlet: When it really gets bad, have a go-to – a pillow you can punch or scream into, something (not living) you can squeeze. Destroy some weeds or lanternfly eggs.

A quiet/calm outlet: Create as much of a sense of calm as you can as often as possible. Breathe. Zoom in and notice the detail on things of beauty, especially in nature. The more calmness you can create in your mind, the more you can prepare your brain for higher levels of conscious decision-making and action. You can’t change the circumstances you are in, but you can change your reaction. You’ll thank yourself later.

Of course, you can also quiet your mind by journaling! Your descendants and even future strangers will want to know about this time in the world. Put your thoughts down. Get them out of your head. Negative thoughts will lose their grip the moment you put them on a page for the light of day to see. It is so very helpful in creating peace in your mind.

A learning outlet: Maybe it’s time to see what kind of software came free on your device that you never tested out. There are so many online learning opportunities right now. Epic Careering will soon launch its own Corporate Consciousness Ripple Blueprint program to help more conscious leaders and aspiring leaders master influence to move their companies toward making conscious decisions with reverence for people and the planet. For more details, contact me directly through social media or join our Facebook group: Raising Corporate Consciousness.

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Right now, it’s okay to not feel okay. Do what you can as you can. As time passes, some things will get easier and some things will be harder. We will get through this together.

Godsmack – Serenity (Official Music Video)

Playlist Best of Godsmack: https://goo.gl/ihjM8N Subscribe for more: https://goo.gl/mps91z Music video by Godsmack performing Serenity. (C) 2003 Universal Re…

Karen Huller, author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days (bit.ly/GetFocusIn30), is founder of Epic Careering, a 13-year-old leadership and career development firm specializing in executive branding and conscious culture, as well as JoMo Rising, LLC, a workflow gamification company that turns work into productive play. 

While the bulk of her 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales. 

Karen was one of the first LinkedIn trainers and is known widely for her ability to identify and develop new trends in hiring and careering. She is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer, Certified Career Transition Consultant, and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist with a Bachelor of Art in Communication Studies and Theater from Ursinus College and a minor in Creative Writing. Her blog was recognized as a top 100 career blog worldwide by Feedspot. 

She is an Adjunct Professor in Cabrini University’s Communications Department and previously was an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business  She is also an Instructor for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy where some of her students won the 2018 national competition, were named America’s Next Top Young Entrepreneurs, and won the 2019 People’s Choice Award. 

What You Need To Do To Prepare for a Down Economy

​​Most professionals in my generation and above have already survived a few down economies. In fact, my struggle in a down economy and the lessons I learned that eventually got me back on my feet are what compelled me to eventually shift from recruiter to coach.

There are still a lot of unknowns about our current global situation. So, it’s in this time of uncertainty that I’d like to shed some light on how to thrive through it all. Below are my recommended tips for navigating this new territory.

Evaluate: Do you need to pivot?

You’ll likely notice that some sectors will be heavily hit, but others may be prospering and growing. So, should you redesign your career path around this?

I advise everyone to have a purpose-driven, passion-fueled long-term plan. It is the best way to optimize your overall career trajectory in terms of growth, fulfillment, and income. It’s also the best example you can provide to your kids.

I also recommend fully dedicating yourself to your plan. Learn and apply the best practices of proactive transitioning (taught by me at Epic Careering and Cabrini University) for at least 3 months before devising and following a backup plan.

At this time, there will be fewer and fewer people able to afford even three months in transition. You may need to adapt after two months of a dedicated transition, especially if what you learn from people in the field (not from job boards) is that hiring has stopped, or will slow down for a season. In the short-term, you may be able to easily translate your strengths, qualities, and past achievements into value for a stable industry.

I recommend choosing a strong sector that offers you an opportunity to make a meaningful contribution, such as:

  • Biotech/Pharma/Labs and the companies that support them
  • Hospitals/Healthcare are most certainly in need of clinicians, telehealth professionals, and janitorial staff
  • Health/Wellness
  • Scientists of all kinds
  • US manufacturing
  • Supply Chain/Logistics
  • Farming/Agriculture/Consumer Goods
  • Food/Grocery Delivery
  • Online Entertainment/Video Game Industry
  • Online Education/Coaching/Remote Learning
  • App Development/Remote Tech such as developers and online support
  • E-Commerce

Then there are the industries that will be hurt in the short-term, but will rebound:

  • Hospitality/Travel
  • Service-based industries that require in-person support
  • Retail – Many will not feel confident buying luxury items, high-tech consumer items, name brand clothing, jewelry, and other non-essentials while there is the uncertainty of how long life will be disrupted.
  • Housing
    • While this isn’t a market correction that will impact housing directly, the housing market has been prime for correction for awhile with pricing majorly inflated, inventory low, and demand high. The Federal Reserve, as you probably know, dropped interest rates to nearly 0%, which would normally spur growth in this area. Foreclosures are stalled in the meantime, which is not going to add to the inventory driving prices down. New construction is stalled during critical months, which will put home completion behind. All signs point to the housing market picking up mostly where it left off once things return to normal.

Finally, we have the industries that will be majorly disrupted and in need of overhaul before rebounding can even be predicted:

  • Higher Education
  • Health Insurance

If you are less than 80% certain that your current or planned career direction provides you with your best chance at financial security, schedule a consultation with a job market expert at Epic Careering.

Fine-Tune Your Brand

Keeping your résumé updated is, of course, a basic recommendation from any career coach or résumé writer. It’s the equivalent of taking your car for regular oil changes and inspections. If you want a high-performance résumé, a strong brand is still your best tool in positioning yourself competitively in a competitive market. Working with a branding expert, such as Epic Careering, will help you identify and articulate the unique value you offer above and beyond your, or any other candidate’s, qualifications. When copy, such as your résumé, LinkedIn profile, cover letters, and networking messaging, is crafted to build a subconscious sense of urgency and establish you as a hot, in-demand candidate, you can still garner competing offers, even as the volume of opportunities shrink.

Reconnect

If you’ve neglected networking, it’s catch up time! The good news is that as humans, we naturally crave connection (even introverts crave connection). Some people are still settling into a new rhythm and may not be able to commit to a time to talk when you reach out to them. They may be challenged by having the ability to structure their workday since previously, structure was provided by their leadership. In this case, practice patient persistence and empathize with the disruption we are all dealing with. As usual, don’t take lack of response personally.

“Some will, some won’t, so what?! Next!”

Many others are craving connection now more than ever. Many people are focused on the future and still have to continue with their company’s hiring. “Work with the willing,” as Cy Wakeman says. It may take you a higher volume of outreach than before, but you can still multiply your momentum by having productive conversations that convert into multiple introductions and opportunities, especially with a compelling, powerful call-to-action within your message.

Focus on Wellness of Mind, Body, and Spirit

Even during “normal” circumstances, nothing impacts your results in life more than how well you are feeling. Do whatever you can to adjust your lifestyle and schedule to incorporate alternative methods of achieving a calm mind, strong heart, clear lungs, and a positive outlook.

Even though we need connection, some of us are already emotionally fragile and need more uplifting versus more gloom and doom. Be careful not to impose your anxiety (which is justified, just not helpful) onto others. So, if you are feeling anxious before a scheduled call or outreach e-mail, take some time to exercise to get endorphins flowing or meditate to achieve a calm state of mind.

Incorporate time in your schedule to be alone and engage in activities that raise your vibration while limiting activities that induce stress. Be aware of any inclination to pick up your phone or device to check for constant updates. Recognize if looking for updates becomes a compulsion that isn’t serving your state of mind. You can find a helpful mini-hypnosis session on overcoming social media addiction, as well as some other helpful videos on this Facebook page.

Islands In the Stream

Provided to YouTube by Sony Music Entertainment Islands In the Stream · Dolly Parton · Kenny Rogers Greatest Hits ℗ 1983 Sony Music Entertainment Released on…

Karen Huller, author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days (bit.ly/GetFocusIn30), is founder of Epic Careering, a 13-year-old leadership and career development firm specializing in executive branding and conscious culture, as well as JoMo Rising, LLC, a workflow gamification company that turns work into productive play. 

While the bulk of her 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales. 

Karen was one of the first LinkedIn trainers and is known widely for her ability to identify and develop new trends in hiring and careering. She is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer, Certified Career Transition Consultant, and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist with a Bachelor of Art in Communication Studies and Theater from Ursinus College and a minor in Creative Writing. Her blog was recognized as a top 100 career blog worldwide by Feedspot. 

She is an Adjunct Professor in Cabrini University’s Communications Department and previously was an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business  She is also an Instructor for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy where some of her students won the 2018 national competition, were named America’s Next Top Young Entrepreneurs, and won the 2019 People’s Choice Award. 

Conscious Leaders Stepping Up – Keep the Conscious Leadership Going!

If the Chinese government had conscious leaders willing to defy big pockets and do what was best for people and the planet, we’d all be going on with life as usual.

Instead, here we are blaming each other. This crisis is certainly taking a toll on our healthcare system and supply chain, along with increasing societal vulnerabilities. Mistakes were definitely made and they will need to be evaluated. In my opinion, criminal negligence or actions that cause deaths deserve justice but instead of placing blame right now, I’m most concerned about how we will all get through this together.

We need social distancing to curb the spread of Coronavirus. Stopping the spread is for the highest good of all, especially our fragile, immunocompromised, and those already susceptible to pneumonia and lung issues (me), but doing so is going to financially devastate many.

The financial ramifications of social distancing are not falling off the radar. Here are things being done to soften the blow while we curb the spread:

  • The Department of Labor is allowing states more latitude to enable more employees, which may include part-time employees or self-employed contractors if a state allows, to file for unemployment without having to quit.
  • Pennsylvania is working to protect workers forced into quarantine or isolation by guaranteeing their jobs.
  • Companies are being compelled to move to all-remote reporting and for those that can’t, a bill is currently in the Senate to obligate employers with fewer than 500 employees to provide additional FMLA benefits for Coronavirus-related absences. Larger companies are being encouraged to extend PTO. I’ve heard payroll taxes may be suspended to help relieve the burden on those companies.
  • The Federal Reserve cut the benchmark interest rate to 0%-0.25%. I haven’t heard yet that considerations will be made for the mom-and-pop shop owners and self-employed, such as my husband, who still rely on being on-site to do work.
  • Some utilities are offering to waive late fees and forego service suspensions. Some are even offering special payback plans.

Things individuals can do to support themselves and others:

  • Many fitness instructors who cannot go to the gym are leading remote workouts. I hope they open a Patreon account to enable those who are able to donate to do so. If they’re really tech-savvy or find some tech talent-for-hire, they might be able to set up a subscription service.
  • Musicians can do the same thing. I’m already thinking about how my band can hold our practices via Zoom video conferencing. We’re preparing for a June 20th gig that may no longer happen in person, but we could still perform digitally. If digital performances are well-received, maybe we’ll be able to play even more since our largest obstacle to practicing and gigging is logistics.
  • While it’s discouraged (if not already prohibited) to go dine at your local mom-and-pop restaurant, many are delivering or offering food for pick up. You can also buy gift certificates to keep them floating during this time.
  • I have seen that some people are continuing to pay their cleaning services even though they are not using them at the moment.
  • While parents aren’t busy shuffling the kids to and from practices and activities, this is a really great time to think about what’s important to accomplish in your career. It’s a good time to devise a strategic career plan, get your career tools into shape, revisit and refine your brand, and start getting reacquainted with people in that sphere.

In a lot of cases, it’s the conscious leaders of corporations who have stepped up to show the world how to show up for each other. They deserve attention to show others the way, and they deserve positive reinforcement for doing the right thing.

Here are some of the companies rising to the occasion.

  • Comcast has taken various different measures:
    • Offering two months of free Internet for students to study remotely. If you have an X1 or Flex remote, just say “Coronavirus” into your remote and their collection of grade-based educational content will appear.
    • Pausing their data plans.
    • Extending hot spots to accommodate low-income communities.
    • Expanding broadband to every customer.
    • Offering bill assistance and agreeing not to overcharge customers (AT&T and Verizon also agreed to this, though I heard people are still receiving shut off threats), charge late fees, or shut off service for non-payment.
  • Bill Gates donated $100M to fund testing and Adobe is offering free Creative Cloud tools for students through May 31.
  • Alibaba owner Jack Ma sent 500,000 tests and one million masks to the US.
  • The Airbnb CEO is allowing penalty-free cancellations during certain booking dates. Guests can cancel a reservation and get a full refund. Hosts can also cancel reservations without impacting their Superhost status.
  • Citadel is donating $7.5M in financial relief to China’s hardest-hitting provinces.
  • Apple is allowing Apple cardholders to skip their March payment penalty-free and interest-free.
  • I have to give a huge shout-out to Rep. Katie Porter on gaining the commitment of the Centers for Disease Control Director to fund COVID-19 testing for all.

Keep in mind that we are all dealing with is a direct result of wealthy collectors of exotic animals for food, healing, and status who have lobbied the Chinese government to keep wet markets open. This is in spite of most of the Chinese people NOT shopping there or supporting the continuation of these wet markets where SARS and MERS are said to have previously originated.

Let’s all make a call to action for the world’s wealthiest to act with more consciousness. Let them know via social media, sharing, tagging, etc., that we are watching and we need them to step up now more than ever.

Amazon, while grappling with many supply chain and logistics shortfalls, is implementing controls to make sure that its sellers aren’t price-gauging customers. It will also continue to pay all hourly office employees, such as cafeteria workers and janitorial staff, during the period of mandatory remote reporting. Drivers and fulfillment workers, meanwhile, are busier than ever before. On the other hand, Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest man, is being criticized for asking his Whole Foods employees to donate their time off to sick co-workers instead of footing the bill.

Richard Branson at first downplayed the threat of the virus ahead of his cruise line launch and now is lobbying the British Prime Minister for financial relief for the aviation and travel industries in order to save jobs.

Do you think these leaders can do more? If so, I encourage you to let them know what you want to see them doing more of.

More importantly, share the actions of conscious leaders that you have admired and tag them so that they can get the recognition, appreciation, and positive reinforcement they deserve!

U.S.A. For Africa – We Are the World (Official Video)

Music video by U.S.A. For Africa performing We Are the World. USA For Africa #USAForAfrica #WeAreTheWorld #Vevo

Karen Huller, author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days (bit.ly/GetFocusIn30), is founder of Epic Careering, a 13-year-old leadership and career development firm specializing in executive branding and conscious culture, as well as JoMo Rising, LLC, a workflow gamification company that turns work into productive play. 

While the bulk of her 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales. 

Karen was one of the first LinkedIn trainers and is known widely for her ability to identify and develop new trends in hiring and careering. She is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer, Certified Career Transition Consultant, and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist with a Bachelor of Art in Communication Studies and Theater from Ursinus College and a minor in Creative Writing. Her blog was recognized as a top 100 career blog worldwide by Feedspot. 

She is an Adjunct Professor in Cabrini University’s Communications Department and previously was an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business  She is also an Instructor for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy where some of her students won the 2018 national competition, were named America’s Next Top Young Entrepreneurs, and won the 2019 People’s Choice Award. 

When Keeping It Real at Work Goes Wrong

Authenticity is quickly emerging as a top desired quality of conscious leaders in 2020 and beyond. In particular, a leader who can be vulnerable, honest about flaws, accountable for mistakes, and commit to positive change with believable conviction is highly prone to inspiring today’s and tomorrow’s workforce to follow him or her.

Any strength, however, can also be a liability if it’s not balanced by consciousness. An unconscious leader is not self-aware enough to distinguish truth (data, facts) from story (opinion, perception, bias.)

When decisions are made from this place, the ego fights to maintain control, and will staunchly produce confirmation bias. Science has proven that we are all prone to confirmation bias. Self-awareness is like a muscle that can be developed and strengthened over time with practice. Just like any other skill, we can form better habits around self-awareness. It can become something we do automatically as we become unconsciously competent.

Over 15 years ago, Dave Chappell demonstrated the drawbacks to “keeping it real,” and how people sometimes justify outrage, verbal assaults, or even physical assault. In the end, they lose.

Nowadays, with social media even more commonplace, “keyboard warriors” and “trolls” have emerged. We also have the term “snowflakes” to describe those who express an emotional response, take things personally, or voice an opposing opinion with passion.

We have more venues for communication than ever before, and different preferences around communication. Consequently, there’s more than one way people want to be shown respect.

It’s confusing to have so many people trying to influence if, when, and/or how it’s acceptable to express emotions. On top of that, people have an opinion about whether your emotional response is right or wrong. Civil discourse has disintegrated into name-calling and divisiveness that appears to be beyond bridging.

A new generation is entering the workforce with the highest rates of mental illness of any generation. Is this what is causing this?

Way back in Interpersonal Communications, a course I had as a communications major, we learned a very simple method to have effective conversations with people. It started with active listening – listening for comprehension, not reply.

And then, to ensure comprehension, because so much can be subjectively translated based on one’s personal experiences and perceptions, to repeat back to the person your understanding/translation of what they just said. Then asking for clarification, reflecting, and thoughtfully responding.

It seemed then like just a helpful guide for having clear communications, which is VERY easy to NOT do and results in unnecessary stress, conflict, divisiveness, and unharmonious collaboration that stifles progress and wellness.

After years of studying other disciplines that also impact communication, such as neuroscience, the reflection part of this is where there is a development gap, and thankfully mindfulness is coming along to fill that gap.

It’s a busier world now. Unless leaders are consciously making time for conscious reflection. They are prone to making decisions from bias, perception, and opinion. There’s also a need to make sure that future leaders are supported in developing these habits by being able to take regular brain fatigue breaks throughout the day and work reasonable hours. Time off is also important so that people have the ability to travel, to see things from a different perspective, and to turn off the problems and stress of work for periods of time.

Another communication gap is words, or at least, it would seem that it’s words that directly cause a response. Actually, it’s the mindset from which the words originate.

I read a short, but highly impactful book many years ago called Change Your Words; Change Your World by Andrea Gardner. It advised bathing words in your mouth with love before they leave your lips.

Your ego is always trying to convince you that you’re right and others are wrong. Your higher self will favor understanding over judgment.

No one likes feeling judged or being judged. Any hint of judgment in your words can backfire in harmful ways, the least of which is resistance – the opposite outcome you desire.

Make sure you are not insinuating someone is wrong when that is really just your opinion.

Ask yourself if your words are kind, honest, and necessary.

If so, consult with your highest self. “Taste” the words you intend to use. Do they drip with love?

Your ego is real but does not always see the truth. Your highest self is real and sees profound truth. If you’re going to keep it real at work, stay in alignment with your highest self, not your ego. The more you do this, the more automatic it will become. The more automatic it becomes, the more influential and authentic you will grow as a leader.

Fugees – Killing Me Softly With His Song (Official Video)

Fugees’ official music video for ‘Killing Me Softly With His Song’. Click to listen to the Fugees on Spotify: http://smarturl.it/TFSpot?IQid=FKMS As featured…

Karen Huller, author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days (bit.ly/GetFocusIn30), is founder of Epic Careering, a 13-year-old leadership and career development firm specializing in executive branding and conscious culture, as well as JoMo Rising, LLC, a workflow gamification company that turns work into productive play. 

While the bulk of her 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales. 

Karen was one of the first LinkedIn trainers and is known widely for her ability to identify and develop new trends in hiring and careering. She is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer, Certified Career Transition Consultant, and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist with a Bachelor of Art in Communication Studies and Theater from Ursinus College and a minor in Creative Writing. Her blog was recognized as a top 100 career blog worldwide by Feedspot. 

She is an Adjunct Professor in Cabrini University’s Communications Department and previously was an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business  She is also an Instructor for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy where some of her students won the 2018 national competition, were named America’s Next Top Young Entrepreneurs, and won the 2019 People’s Choice Award. 

Is There a Mass Exodus from Corporate America?

Since announcing Epic Careering’s 2020 initiative to raise corporate consciousness, I’ve gotten some interesting, but not very surprising, feedback.

My new effort is being met with a lot of skepticism, which I totally get!

A couple of people cringed at the word “corporate.” How does that word hit you? What comes to mind when you think of “corporate” entities? Are they good things or bad things?

Mostly, what I perceive is resignation. Essentially, all companies these days need to be able to adapt to change quickly. Keeping up with technology, competition, global trends, and customer experience is more important than ever. However, when it comes to truly transformational change, in which the leaders are transparent, communicate proactively, and show genuine concern about their people and the planet, many people feel like it’s all a bunch of lip service intended to pacify the disgruntled, manufacture motivation, and trick new talent into joining the ranks.

I’ve learned, from my own clients over the past 13 years, as well as from candid candidates back when I was working as a recruiter, that many, many people are disillusioned with their jobs and corporate leaders in general. Fortunately, these people are not giving up – yet.

My clients discovered that there were better opportunities available, and there didn’t necessarily need to be a large quantity of them; they just had to improve at qualifying companies and proactively pursuing positions that truly present the potential to thrive. That leads to the serious concern I’m experiencing right now – if I continue helping people land the great jobs, what will be left for the rest?

You may be starting to see that unless transformation comes soon, everyone loses.

I’ve been collecting articles about companies doing wrong and companies doing right for about four years now. I’ve been told countless tales of leaders failing to give talent what it needs to thrive and prosper, such as growth opportunities, training, sponsorship, resources, and ample time for self-care.

Here are some quick stats that I’ve found very interesting:

  • 12% of people who start businesses (2019) did so because they were dissatisfied with corporate America.
  • The workforce participation rate has been declining, and that trend is expected to continue, accounting for a projected 9% decrease from 1998 to 2028.
  • A Korn Ferry study predicts that by 2030, there will be a global talent shortage of 85 million people, at an estimated cost of $8.5 trillion. In the US, the tech industry alone “could lose out on $162 billion worth of revenues annually unless it finds more high-tech workers”, in addition to losing out on $500 billion due to anticipated disengagement in all markets.

A staggering 79% of independent contractors prefer working for themselves as opposed to working as a full-time employee. Unfortunately, the success rate for 1st-time entrepreneurs sits at about 18%, which works in corporate America’s favor because it means that some of the talent leaving may eventually return, or be more favorable to acting as a consultant. So, what happens when a company needs more ongoing, stable presence and leadership? And if those returning to corporate America from nontraditional roles are the answer, how many companies may disqualify this talent simply for not having been in the corporate game recently?

The generation entering the workforce actually values stability. I predict that it won’t be long before this generation is forced to realize that company job security is an enigma; only by learning how to generate opportunity do they actually stand to gain true security. They’ve witnessed it when their parents, who did everything right, still found themselves financially strapped and perhaps even unemployed. They’re being forced into the gig economy because of the number of jobs being outsourced to freelancers or firms.

Corporate America has little time to keep this new generation from becoming just as disillusioned. This doesn’t mean delaying or resisting automation, but completely revamping and figuring out how to offer opportunities to do more meaningful work under more enjoyable conditions.

So, while the data doesn’t reflect a mass exodus of talent from corporate America just yet, the problems that already exist are predicted to get much worse. Raising corporate consciousness is the solution.

Do you want to be part of the solution? Join the LinkedIn group.

Want to keep up with who is moving toward, or away from, corporate consciousness? Join the Facebook group.

Bob Marley – Exodus [HQ Sound]

Bob Marley in Exodus. Enjoy!

Karen Huller, author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days (bit.ly/GetFocusIn30), is founder of Epic Careering, a 13-year-old leadership and career development firm specializing in executive branding and conscious culture, as well as JoMo Rising, LLC, a workflow gamification company that turns work into productive play. 

While the bulk of her 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales. 

Karen was one of the first LinkedIn trainers and is known widely for her ability to identify and develop new trends in hiring and careering. She is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer, Certified Career Transition Consultant, and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist with a Bachelor of Art in Communication Studies and Theater from Ursinus College and a minor in Creative Writing. Her blog was recognized as a top 100 career blog worldwide by Feedspot. 

She is an Adjunct Professor in Cabrini University’s Communications Department and previously was an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business  She is also an Instructor for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy where some of her students won the 2018 national competition, were named America’s Next Top Young Entrepreneurs, and won the 2019 People’s Choice Award. 

The Dangers of the “Average of 5” Rule

I have learned profound wisdom from Jim Rohn, but one thing he taught, which many other coaches echo, is that we are the average of the five people with whom we spend the most time. The advice around this is to surround yourself with people who already have aspects of the life that you want for yourself to elevate your station in life.

One study confirmed that it’s not only the five people closest to you, but also the people who are close to them, and so on. The reason, they identified, was norms. “Your perception of what is… acceptable … and your behavior changes” according to what you see more regularly.

A few dangers could arise from following the “average of 5” rule too strictly. Let’s explore some of them.

On one hand, if you aspire to be a visionary entrepreneur, by all means, seek out opportunities to spend time among visionary entrepreneurs. Spending time with people who have achieved what you aspire to achieve is one great way to keep you motivated, and it serves as a pull rather than a push. It will also most likely shorten your path from current reality to achieving your desired reality if you can learn from them how to overcome challenges, navigate most successfully, and expand your sphere of influence to include people in theirs.

On the other hand, people use this “average of 5” rule to justify cutting poor or unambitious people out of your life. I do agree that, while very hard, it’s important for self-preservation to put distance between you and toxic people in your life – those who seem to intentionally make you feel bad, whether conscious or subconscious. However, we know it happens – some people make it big and forget where they came from. They lose touch with the struggles of everyday people. It’s why self-aware executives participate in the show Undercover Boss. Even if you don’t intend to, you can forget the reality of not having money, status, luxury items and vacations, etc.

Yet another problem is that sometimes people do get left behind, and you can’t make and keep any guarantees.

Sometimes naturally, just as a byproduct of growing and changing your lifestyle, things you once had in common with people shift. You can become people that no longer have the same struggles that originally bonded you. The bonds can weaken and you could become unrelatable to each other. Sometimes ego is in the way of someone else wanting more for you (e.g. why should you get what they don’t have). Other times, people will “punch holes” in your plans because they fear losing you. They fear you changing or they fear being left behind. In another possible scenario, they could genuinely believe that you’re more likely to fail than succeed, which is really a reflection of their norms, and they are trying to “save you” from getting hurt or disappointed.

When people get left behind, the divide can widen. Feelings of hurt can manifest as anger and resentment. One person can turn the rest of your old crew against you.

Now, on the bright side, people can just as easily become more likely to succeed because you do – the same way you are more likely to smoke or gain weight along with those closest to you. So it stands to reason that if you intend to follow this advice, and cut out or intentionally distance yourself from these people who are below your measure of achievement, then their chances of being positively impacted by your success is much less.

Another danger is falling into a new crowd that may elevate your pay or status, but denigrate your core values. If you are not mindful of keeping your norms aligned with your values, you may start to lose touch with your values and act in ways that start to seem acceptable, because more of your close contacts act in those ways, even if they are in direct conflict to what you had decided individually were your values. Think about the celebrity college scandal. Even in that illegal situation, one person allegedly involved couldn’t see what was wrong with it – everyone was doing it.

Still more dangerous is this “go get yours,” “rugged individualism,” “drop the baggage holding you down” mentality.  While we are fighting as a nation about how to deal with mass shootings, seeing how we put controls on guns without taking away freedoms, and knowing that mental illnesses are on the rise and also contribute. What to do about this seems to escape us, except to try to strip away the stigma so that we can get that conversation going. Leaving people behind can also be dangerous.

There is another way to look at this. As per my last blog about raising corporate consciousness, just as people can elevate so much further in income and status and become removed from their poorer or less ambitious connections, people can also evolve too far in consciousness and lose touch.

Not all of us will be monks or spiritual gurus and live a life detached from material things altogether. It seems so far fetched. Most of us will not risk our 9-5 jobs, healthcare, etc. to chase butterflies, so to speak. However, some people have found ways to live in which their lifestyles are provided for as a result of imparting their wisdom to a following or tribe. Though the average everyday person* can certainly glean wisdom from these teachers, there is too much dissonance from the current reality of a guru to the current reality of an everyday person for a guru to serve as a true model.

* Let’s define the everyday person as someone who works for someone else to generate their income, carries some debt, follows a budget out of necessity, and would need a loan for very large purchases. This person may have religious beliefs but is not necessarily living according to them at all moments. Life is challenging, and sometimes also very time-consuming. So much so that self-care, self-reflection, and spiritual practices are sacrificed.

We need people at various levels in the middle to serve as ladders, to stay relatable and somewhat in resonance with the lower levels to inspire them to elevate.

So, if you’ve heard this advice and it felt wrong to assess your friends and family’s worthiness of being close to you, honor those feelings. Do bring new people into your sphere of influence to help you elevate, but keep your hand outreached to those below. Not everyone will be willing to take your hand, especially if your rise has been less than gracious. However, work with the willing, and, based on the science backing up the “average of 5” rule, gradually more and more will elevate at their own pace.

Pearl Jam – You Are

Pearl Jam – “You Are” (Riot Act Album) unoficial video clip

Karen Huller, author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days (bit.ly/GetFocusIn30), is founder of Epic Careering, a 13-year-old leadership and career development firm specializing in executive branding and conscious culture, as well as JoMo Rising, LLC, a workflow gamification company that turns work into productive play. 

While the bulk of her 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales. 

Karen was one of the first LinkedIn trainers and is known widely for her ability to identify and develop new trends in hiring and careering. She is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer, Certified Career Transition Consultant, and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist with a Bachelor of Art in Communication Studies and Theater from Ursinus College and a minor in Creative Writing. Her blog was recognized as a top 100 career blog worldwide by Feedspot. 

She is an Adjunct Professor in Cabrini University’s Communications Department and previously was an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business  She is also an Instructor for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy where some of her students won the 2018 national competition, were named America’s Next Top Young Entrepreneurs, and won the 2019 People’s Choice Award.