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Behind Goal? Channel your inner-infant self!

Do you ever find yourself struggling to make progress on a goal – what do you do?  Act like an infant! …metaphorically speaking.

infante walkingGoals are meant to be big.  They are meant to take time; yet too often we outpace ourselves early on which can be detrimental to overall success.  Ambition turns into defeatism as we begin telling ourselves the finish line is out of reach.  This is precisely the moment where we must act like an infant, because all infants are successful!

“When you were still a small child, you made your way around the world crawling on your hands and knees. Everyone else was walking, and one day you got into your little head that maybe you could give that a try to. Once that thought appeared, there was suddenly no “maybe” about it: you had to give it a try.  There was no way you were not going to attempt it, fail at it, and then keep attempting it until you mastered it.  Step-by-step, quite literally, we started working to develop the skills needed to walk.” – Jeff Olson, The Slight Edge

Could you imagine if you gave up when you were an infant?  Today you’d be crawling around on your hands and knees as a grown adult.  Of course you didn’t give up then – and you shouldn’t today either!

Embody the relentless determination you had when learning to walk.  Approach your goals moment to moment.  Like learning to walk you should expect to fall.  And just as you did when you were an infant, you get back up and keep working at it.

You first had to learn to crawl before you could walk.  Similarly, you must break down annual goals into smaller (more manageable) milestones.  Begin with a walking pace  towards your goals; and before you know it, you will be running towards the finish line.

This is the power of continuous effort…this is the power of acting like an infant!

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below as I learn just as much from you as you do from me.

Follow this blog by clicking the icon on the upper right side of this page and/or check out my twitter handle @JimCarchidi

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Why over 80% fail: Sound Familiar?

New Year’s resolutions often never materialize…

According to a U.S. News report, approximately 80% of resolutions fail by the second week of February.  Have you ever wondered why?

habits 2Personally, I believe this to be a direct result of people not setting and sticking with simple daily disciplines.  It’s the little choices, when compounded over time, that either get us closer to our goals or pull us further away from them.  The impact of those choices, for better or for worse, determine our path and ultimately the end results.

“The things you do every single day – the things that don’t look dramatic – that don’t even look like they matter, do matter. They not only make a difference – they make all the difference.” – Jeff Olson, The Slight Edge

Jeff Olson’s assertion makes perfect, logical sense; that simple daily productive actions make the difference between failure and success.  It’s like a bank account where every little daily choice is either a deposit or a withdrawal. For example, want to lose weight?  Commit to just 5 sit-ups and 5 push-ups each morning just before hopping in the shower.  Want to learn more and expand your expertise?  Rather than waking up and watching the news or checking social media, read just 5 pages of a book – on professional development.)

You might be asking yourself, “Could such little actions like reading 5 pages and/or doing 5 push-ups each morning make such a massive impact on my life?”  I am here to tell you -YES!  I know this to be true because it has made a lasting difference in my own life.  When facing long terms goals, approach them with simple daily activities.  Create these little daily disciplines and you will ultimately reach those year-end resolutions!

Ask yourself, “What would my life be like today if last January I had changed just one simple thing?”  The choice is yours!

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below as I learn just as much from you as you do from me.

 Follow this blog by clicking the icon on the upper right side of this page.   

Follow me on Twitter @JimCarchidi

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This Holiday- Pay Attention to Where You Place Your Attention!

It is a magical time of year but also one of the most hectic.  With all the gift shopping, events to attend, traveling to do; we become preoccupied with many of the wrong things.  In a blink of an eye the joy is being sucked out of the joyous season.

DistractedPay attention to where you are placing your attention.  Like how perceptions lend to beliefs, where we place our “attention” ends up shaping our (holiday) spirits.  The good news, we have more control over where our “attention” goes than what we might think.  Putting more “attention” on the cheer of the holidays is not about chasing away it’s stresses.  It’s about bringing the chase to an end.

The holidays are meant to be a special reminder for us to be in the moment and/or reflect on the many things we should be grateful for – not the growing list of things to do and places to be.   The unfortunate reality is that most of us hurry through this season without taking in the true meaning of it.  But it doesn’t have to be this way.  With a little intention and awareness, we can bring back the joy of this joyous time of year.

The next time you find yourself wallowing in holiday annoyances (traffic and long lines) refocus your attention towards all the good the season brings (connecting with friends and family who bring happiness to your life).  It’s not about getting through the holidays but rather making them as magical as they can/should be.  The only change needed is where you place your attention.  The choice is yours!

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below as I learn just as much from you as you do from me.

Click the icon on the upper right side of this page to receive my monthly messages and check me out on Twitter @JimCarchidi

 

 

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What Does Professional Development Look Like?

What does Professional Development mean to me…

By Jen Silvetti, JFC Workforce Branch Manager

Honestly- I didn’t know what it was until I started working at JFC. Every other job I have had in my career, was just that – a job.

I showed up on time every day and worked to the best of my ability. I had no idea when coming to JFC that my professional and personal world would have been changed so drastically.

I started almost 4 years ago…I still was showing up on time and working to the best of my ability.  Then, after a year, I heard a knock at the door- it was opportunity. (I know it sounds cliché doesn’t it.)

If you know my personality I am one to take advantage of any opportunity and will not shy away from the inherent challenges – no regrets!  This meant stepping into the role of Branch Manager and in the very branch I was working in.

Wow- can you imagine?  …Managing those that I called my team just the week before. What was I getting into?  I will admit, it took some time to find my way.  Just trying to understand more of the staffing industry, since I was new to this work just the year prior.

My previous life of corralling preschoolers and probationers,.  Neither prepared me for this new world of Staffing and Management- wait yes it did.

I was not managing, I was coaching. Everything I have done up until this point has shaped me in some way. My life has created a virtual tool belt. I wear this tool belt every day and you have no idea what tool you will be called to use.

Since working with Jimmy, our Chief Enthusiasm Officer and the JFC work family, I have been provided with a never ending supply of tools.  What I needed to bring to this new role was a desire to learn and grow, not to mention being vulnerable.  That is the running joke in many meetings but it is so true of me. Being afraid to make mistakes and fail…or as someone that I met just recently referred to them…as opportunities, not failures.

How cool is that?

With this mindset, you have nothing more to do than grow. All these years, I had no idea that being vulnerable was even “a thing” until I heard it and read more about it. I had always thought that this was a sign of weakness and a flaw. I had been deemed a “weak link” years ago at a previous employer- I admit I was young and inexperienced when having to deal with at-risk youth right out of college. Since working at JFC, I am able to embrace it and know that it is merely something to be conscious of and continue to work through. Vulnerable by many means, “susceptible to physical or emotional attack or harm.” Susceptible yes- but you must have the courage to face it.

 

Over the last few years, I have learned how to cope, manage and coach in my development. JFC has provided such a variety of ways to do this. I have never in any workplace felt so respected and encouraged. I feel safe enough to make mistakes and question things as long as I still have the openness to keep getting better and receive feedback. Also, I am no better or worse than anyone else. These skills that I have learned and continue to learn not only help me the 40 hours a week at work, but with everyone that I come in contact with. I am so excited and passionate about my growth, I love sharing it with others anytime I can. As you can imagine, not everyone is open and vulnerable. But I will continue to learn and share as much as I can and thank you to JFC for showing me how important Professional Development is and should be in any environment.

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What Really is Professional Development?

This month’s blog was written by Will Richard of the JFC family.  A little about his military service: 4 years in the Army with a year tour in Iraq, Rank:  Sergeant, Company:  756th EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal), MOS/Job: EOD/Bomb Squad

The term “professional development” can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people. In its simplest form, it is the continual process of acquiring new skills and knowledge as it applies to their career. It requires turning your focus inward to self-reflect and take an honest appraisal of yourself. In my own self-reflection I found that there were two areas that had the greatest potential for personal and professional growth. Figuring out how to lead by inspiration rather than fear, and learning how to better handle personal issues when they leak into the business world.

It’s easy for managers to try and lead by fear and intimidation. While in the military, fear was the main tool taught and used on a daily basis. From basic training to everyday life, fear was used by most people in charge to keep the troops in line. It’s a quick and easy way to get people to listen and do what you say. Fear has its limits, though, making people comply only enough to avoid what causes their fear. Whether that’s a talking to, a ton of push-ups, or even losing their job. Fear is a short term solution and when it is removed so is the motivation. That’s why I’ve devoted a lot of my professional development energy to learning new and superior tools. I want to inspire and lead, not just manage through intimidation.

Fear is an easy, one size fits all method. And as most good leaders know, it is rarely the easy way that’s the optimal way. In order to get best results from people you have to take a more nuanced approach that’s tailored to each individual. You must find what makes them tick and what makes them want to give their best. This takes time and can be very difficult because it requires a leader to spend energy and use tools that are much more complicated. Fear is the fast food of a leader’s tool kit. Quick and easy but it won’t give you the best results. Over reliance on it can have devastating long term effects.

Fear is a strong emotion, but many strong emotions can creep into the workplace. I’ve always been very good at learning new processes, solving unique issues and handling stressful situations, but if you put a crying person in front of me I’ll have no idea how to handle it, or at least, that’s how I used to be. This can be a problem if you’re leading a team because, no matter how hard we try, personal circumstances can infiltrate the workplace. Growth as a professional for me has meant learning how to handle emotions in the right way at work.

fear

It becomes a delicate balancing act of showing concern for your fellow employees without overstepping boundaries. Some people like sharing and having others involved in their personal lives, while others are very closed and guarded. Showing care without pushing too far and maintaining a professional working relationship can be difficult. This is where learning different strategies for handling unique situations is so important. Talking out real and hypothetical situations with others who have experience is an excellent tool in a leader’s toolkit.

Ultimately, I want to be the type of leader that motivates and inspires my team to reach their full potential rather than bark orders and get the bare minimum. In order to do this, I will continue to hone my management tools, adding new ones and adjusting others for the situation. I’ll continue to balance being there for others in their time of need with the needs of the company. I’m still not much of a hugger, but if an awkward hug will brighten your day, then feel free to stop by anytime.

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below as I learn just as much from you as you do from me.

The greatest compliment I can receive is a referral from readers.  Please SHARE my blog with your network.  Thanks for not keeping us a secret!  

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How will you pursue your better self?

So many of us are not deliberate or intentional about our own professional development.  Maybe it’s fear, maybe its complacency, or a little of both.  No matter what the reason(s), all are unacceptable.  Rather than go with the flow we should routinely stretch our boundaries and push out of our comfort zone.

Legendary leadership guru, John Maxwell, said it best, “The smallest crowd you will ever lead is you – but it’s the most important one.  The first person we must examine is ourselves.  If you don’t look at yourself realistically, you will never understand where your personal difficulties lie.  And if you can’t see them, you won’t be able to lead yourself effectively.”

My personal advice…focus on the present.  Don’t put off today what you should have started yesterday.  Do something today that your future self will thank you for.  When you’re constantly focused on the future you’re actually much less productive in the current moment.  No one can control the future BUT what you do today will influence it.

future self

My personal request…take action and repeat.  When was the last time you read a book about professional development?  When was the last time you listened to a Podcast for learning?  When was the last time you sought out a mentor?  How about video TedTalks?

Discover untapped abilities by working toward your full potential; never stop growing into your better self.  Be a driving force that contributes to your future self!

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below as I learn just as much from you as you do from me.

The greatest compliment I can receive is a referral from readers.  Please SHARE my blog with your network.  Thanks for not keeping us a secret!  

Follow me on Twitter @JimCarchidi

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Vulnerability & Professional Development

What does Professional Development mean to me…

By Jen Silvetti, JFC Workforce Branch Manager

Honestly- I didn’t know what it was until I started working at JFC.  Every other job previously was just that, a job.  I showed up on time every day and worked to the best of my ability.  Not until I joined the JFC work family did my professional and personal worlds collide so drastically.

I started almost 4 years ago in, what I thought would be, a job.  I still was showing up on time and working to the best of my ability.  Then only after one year I heard a knock at the door- it was opportunity. (I know it sounds cliché doesn’t it?)

Well, for those who know my personality, I am one to take advantage of opportunity.  This meant stepping into the role of Branch Manager in the very branch I was already working in.  Wow- can you imagine?  There I sat managing those who I called my team just the week prior. What was I getting into?  I will admit, it took some time to find my way.

My previous life of corralling preschoolers and probationers did not prepare me for this new world of Staffing and Management- wait yes it did.

I was not managing, I was coaching.  Everything I have done up until this point has shaped me in some way.  My life has created a virtual tool belt and I get to utilize it every day.  One has no idea what tool she will be called to use at a moments notice.  Since working with our Chief Enthusiasm Officer (Jimmy) and the JFC work family, I have been provided with a never ending supply of tools.

What I needed most was to be vulnerable; being afraid to make mistakes and fail.  Or as someone that I met just recently referred to them, see the opportunities in every failure.

How cool is that?

human eye tearingWith this mindset, you have nothing more to do than grow. All these years, I had no idea that being vulnerable was even “a thing” until I heard it and read more about it. I had always thought that this was a sign of weakness and a flaw I had. Since working at JFC, I have grown comfortable embracing vulnerability.  I now know that it is merely something to be conscious of and continue to work through.

Vulnerable by many means, “susceptible to physical or emotional attack or harm.” Susceptible yes- but you must have the courage to face it.

Over the last few years, I have learned how to cope, manage and coach through my vulnerabilities throughout my development.  JFC has provided such a variety of ways to do this.  I have never in any workplace felt so respected and encouraged. I feel safe enough to make mistakes and question things as long as I still have the openness to keep getting better (and receive feedback).

Also, I am no better or worse than anyone else. These skills that I have learned, and continue to learn, not only help me the 40 hours a week at work but also with my personal life. I am so excited and passionate about my growth, I love sharing it with others anytime I can.  As you can imagine, not everyone is open and vulnerable.  But I will continue to learn and share as much as I can.

Thank you to JFC for showing me how important Professional Development is!

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below as I learn just as much from you as you do from me.

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The World Needs Less Managers: More Coaches

The Coaching Management Philosophy:
In this new edition of the Vistage podcast series, Vistage member Dave Nelsen interviews Jim Carchidi, the CEO (Chief Enthusiasm Officer) of JFC Staffing Companies, a direct hire and temporary placement company. JFC Staffing Companies was originally started by Jim’s parents, who built it from the ground up, and passed it onto Jim.  In this discussion, they talk about what makes a good leader and a positive work environment during a time when there are high levels of employee dissatisfaction.

Happy Employees Lead to Happy Customers
Jim’s company was chosen as one of the best places to work in Pennsylvania, based entirely on anonymous feedback from employees (versus companies submitting an application). They have also been named to Inavero’s Best of Staffing Client List, indicating that happy employees leads to happy customers. A recent Gallup poll states that about 70% of the American workforce is not engaged, and Jim finds this to be an “epidemic.” To him, having a happy, enthusiastic workforce is just as important as having a satisfied customer.

The Coaching Management Philosophy
According to Jim, leaders need to learn to take the “chief problem solving hat off” and really listen to the input of their employees. Employee success equals company success and often they see things that someone with a big picture scope — like a coach on a football field — might not see as clearly. Listening to people needs to be personal, and management can’t try to take on the tasks of fixing everything single-handedly. A company is a team, and the leaders are the coaches.

The Power of Communication
Jim’s staff endeavors to be high-tech, as well as high-touch, ensuring that the use of today’s technologies doesn’t hinder personal interaction between human beings. He stresses that management communication sessions every month are vital to ensure continued improvements in employee performance. “It is unfair to rely on the annual review as the only time to give and get feedback about performance and management style,” he says, “not only for the employee who might be garnering criticism that comes seemingly out of left field, but also for the employer, who may have had to tolerate a full year of sub-par performance.” Communication, he stresses, is key, particularly face-to-face communication.

Express the Goals of the Company
One of the things Jim learned from a Vistage speaker was to articulate the grand scheme, long-term visionary ideas for their company, and to involve his employees in the development in the implementation of those ideas. He was taught to send a letter outlining the goals for the company to his employees home, where their families might also read it and get involved.

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OSHA doesn’t enforce psychological safety…

OSHA may not audit your organization’s psychological safety but you most definitely should!

This is psychology brainwhat makes teams succeed or fail.  It’s not member intellect, commonalities or diversity.  The dynamics of a team and the environment will vary but everyone must feel a sense of psychological safety.

What is this?

It is whether members feel they can trust each other, that honest conversations can take place without fear of retribution.

Each teammate must have a seat at the table and an equal voice.  Don’t get me wrong, this is not to be decision by consensus – each person does not have an equal vote.  An equal voice means that each teammate has opportunity to shape the greater team’s decisions and outcomes.

While this typically begins with the team leader, any teammate can take the reigns of psychological safety.  After all, as John C Maxwell once said, “The smallest crowd you will ever lead is YOU…but it’s the most important one.”  By demonstrating the above mentioned behaviors you can influence others on the team.  No matter your rank/title, think about what message your behavior might send.

Practice active listening…demonstrate sensitivity to what others think and feel…and harness self-awareness.  Pretty soon you will begin to witness psychological safety in action and the success of your team blossom!

Disclaimer: Psychological safety might be less efficient in thesafety short run (allowing everyone to weigh in) but it is far more productive in the long run (members will be committed to the group).  Remember, few worthwhile things in life come quickly.

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below as I learn just as much from you as you do from me.

The greatest compliment I can receive is a referral from readers.  Please SHARE my blog with your network.  Thanks for not keeping us a secret!  

Follow me on Twitter @JimCarchidi

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Seeds of Spring Sprouting: Goal Trajectory

Sunshine on flowersIsn’t Spring great?

This is a magical stage of the year, abound with both external and internal transitions. Outside, landscapes become greener, days grow longer, and the air warmer.  Inside, our energy and optimism take bloom like buds on cherry trees.  Everything is growing!

Both figuratively and literally, seeds are starting to sprout. It is a period for nurturing and fostering things to come.  B.C. Forbes, founder of Forbes Magazine, nailed it when he said, “It is only the farmer who faithfully plants seeds in the Spring, who reaps a harvest in the Autumn.”

Take his word, you better make haste in spring. Reflect on the goals you’ve previously planted in the year.  Identify whether or not your actions are indeed fertilization for their future achievement.  The decisions and actions you make now will become stepping stones for your future development.

Use this time of year to influence a positive change in your trajectory towards long-term success. After all, the ever-lengthening days of warmth and light, and all of nature’s responses to them, are obvious reminders to focus on growth. Be proactive in Spring so that you may reap harvest (achieving goals) in the Fall.

What is the current health of your goals? Are they taking root?

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below as I learn just as much from you as you do from me.  

The greatest compliment I can receive is a referral from readers.  Please SHARE my blog with your network.  Thanks for not keeping us a secret!  

Follow me on Twitter @JimCarchidi

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