Author Archives: culturepearl

If you adopt this habit, you will join the elite 5% top earners

Money may not be everything, but it certainly helps!

You want success in your life?  Follow the gurus, those you can observe being successful, and see what habits they have that make a difference.

One thing they all have in common?  They READ!  Voraciously!

It is well documented that a thirst for mastery and knowledge is a key to success.  If you are aiming for this kind of success, you need to get the habit, if you don’t already have it.

I try to read at least 30 books per year about  my subjects (talent, leadership, culture, etc), and others of a “general” nature, which can be fun or stimulating of other ideas.  As a result, I know that my wisdom, knowledge, understanding and abilities are constantly in progress.

What are you reading?

When did you last read a book that you found to be really life-transforming?

Tell me about your experiences in reading, by answering this mail.  I will read them all!

In a forthcoming issue of BecomingGlobal, there will be a list of recommended reading for those who want to succeed in reaching their dreams.

Taking a moment to gain a lifetime

If you are living anywhere in western Europe, then you are probably having a love-hate relationship with the weather just now. The unusually early heat is a surprise to most of us, and brings positives and negatives. Here in Toulouse, it has been between 36 and 39 degrees every day for over a week now.

So, when I got up early this morning, and found that the sky was a clear blue, and sun sparkling, but the temperature still relatively fresh, I felt a delight and pleasure at how comfortable it was, after several days of, frankly, wanting to die between noon and six! I did my various morning getting up things and then rushed to the kitchen, to “get my breakfast done with quickly”, before getting on with important stuff.

And that was my mistake!

I rushed…

I made my coffee (bulletproof, by the way; we can talk about that another time!), and scurried over to my desk, to deal with today’s task load. I am sitting here now, with the empty mug just finished.

What was my mistake?

NOT taking the five minutes to savour the coffee on the terrace!

What a missed opportunity that was, to sit in the shade, surrounded by the leafy plants, many of which provide our daily goodness – basil, rocket, chives, and even some strawberries.  It is such a calm place in the midst of the chaos of the city, and I just rushed to my desk!

Taking five minutes to recharge is important.  We all need it, and should not deny ourselves the pleasure.  Focusing on the moment, the beauty, the bounty and the gratitude that those engender is amazingly productive, and creates a sense of wellbeing that lasts a whole day, and, arguably, if you do it long enough, a whole lifetime!  We can go into the science of that another time, but there is scientific evidence of this, too!

For now – ask yourself what you could to today to create some gratitude and pleasure, however busy your schedule.  I am going to be doing an awful lot of different things today, but the first, after finishing this post?  I am going to have five minutes on the terrace!

Have a great day!  And, if you want more tips on how to work towards a healthy, happy life, full of success and satisfaction, then sign up for free daily message from BecomingGlobal.

What to do if your Netflix connection is down…

If you cannot watch that latest episode of Breaking Bad or Big Bang Theory, what are you going to do?

Of course, you could channel hop aimlessly through Netflix or any other TV or streaming app. That is what the average young person would do…

But do you want to be average, and join the masses who do not make it through the statistics to the top?

Obviously, you deserve some restful downtime, we all do.  I am as happy as you are to collapse in front of a series or movie after a long hard day.

But, is Breaking Bad going to be the best thing for you to be consuming? Is it teaching you the kind of life lessons you would really need as a future leader?

What alternatives might be good for your future?

Reading – obviously, not as immediately exciting as a fast-moving TV series, but how wonderful might it be to get lost in the pages of a classic, like To Kill a Mockingbird, or Wuthering Heights?  You may think, yeah, yeah, I had to read that in middle school, but nothing beats a return to these time-tested tomes when you are a bit older and more mature.  Not to mention that if you are going to work in Anglo-Saxon countries, you are going to need to have these as conversational points of reference, like it or not!

Online Course – platforms like Coursera are amazingly rich in content, and the courses are free! I just signed myself and my sixteen year old son up for a course on the Blockchain, so that we can better understand the Bitcoin, and maybe make millions in the coming years!  Take a look and see what might spark your interest.  Remember, it does not have to be super academic, but finding a new passion and learning about it is so much fun!

Paint, colour, sing, play an instrument, draw, write or dream.  Studies show that any creative activity will be developing more neurones for you to use and enjoy in future.  Let it flow!

Watch TED and other educational channels.  I can guarantee that some of these talks truly ARE as exciting as Breaking Bad!  Take a look at this one, for example

And when Netflix comes back on, then, go ahead and enjoy that BB episode, but come back to the other stuff too, and you will create the kind of balance that your future professors and employers will be hoping for!

If you want more support from BecomingGlobal, to help you  on your journey to a great, global career, then sign up here for free information almost daily!

How to help your peers

But wait, you say, I don’t want to help them.  They are my competition!

You are missing the point in so many ways.  And if you miss the  point, you miss out!

First of all, usually recruiters, whether for companies or universities, are much more focused on  your package of talents and abilities than they are on how you “compare” to the others.

And next, what is crucial here is that if you were to volunteer to help your less fortunate peers, perhaps you would gain a lot of new things, like:

  • confidence
  • empathy
  • collaboration
  • generosity
  • new perspectives
  • and so on…

Take a look at this video, all the way through, and see what you think!

More help on how to find volunteer work in next issue of BecomingGlobal. Make sure you subscribe before it comes out.  SOON!

Culture clash and how to handle it…?

I read this article yesterday, from the NY Times, describing how a Chinese company had invested in Ohio, and how the city had been happy to accept the incoming money and boost to the economy, with new jobs, energy and so on.  However, a few months on, they were less happy to find that the corporate culture the company had “brought with it from China” was not in line with local thinking, or regulations.

I intend no judgement of either side, but this is just the kind of ugly, complex situation you risk finding yourself in as “foreign” students and graduates.  You go into a company or situation, where you are initially “valued” for your difference, but after that, it all gets more and more complicated!

How many of you have already experienced this kind of thing?  I certainly have, over my time working in 17 countries and 4 continents, and it surely is not pretty!

There is one way to protect yourself from the worst of this kind of clash, and that is to learn about culture, and how it plays in our lives.  BecomingGlobal can help you do that, with monthly articles on cultural nuances, and all kinds of ideas of how to survive the tensions that differing cultures inevitably cause…  Sign up now for free daily information, and consider the monthly premium issue, if you want the full wisdom on how to survive and thrive across cultures!

Sometimes, you just need a substitute for a FIDDLE SPINNER!

What state do you intend to be in at the end of the upcoming recruitment season?  And after your final exams?

The demands on you are huge!

Many of you will be feeling increasingly desperate, as you try to figure out where that elusive company with the perfect job for you has been all this time!

You may well have resorted to being nervous all the time, playing with the ubiquitous fiddle spinners, telling yourself it is all the rage, and definitely what you need to calm your spirits…

Sound like you?

What you probably need to do is take a deep breath and slow down.

Hard to imagine, when you are supposed to be in the labs, or writing a dissertation, scouring the graduate job ads or booking a flight home…

But, you will find that even the time of a short stroll through a nearby green space, or of a swim at the local pool will empty your head, and make a bit more space for making sense of it all!

Reading BecomingGlobal regularly will for sure help you to find more remedies to the stress, and more tips for finding and defining your dream job.  Try it now for free, or sign up right away for the full, premium version with the very top strategies!

See you soon, without your fiddle spinners!

The job interviews I am most ashamed of

OK…I am going to tell you about some interviews I did when I was younger when I REALLY sucked!

If I could go back in time, with some kind of amazingly clever time machine, and SMACK myself, then I would.  But I can’t, so my punishment will be mocking myself in front of hundreds of you.

You should try this sometime. Embarrassment is a powerful motivator.

January 1987 – Claire goes to her British Airways management trainee interview, and they ask her “when did you last fail at something?”.. She says (cringe….) “Actually, I make sure that everything I undertake is something I can succeed at”.

I thought it was true and clever, whereas in fact it was arrogant and thoughtless.  It also suggested that I never tried anything outside my comfort zone.  FAIL!!

April 1993 – Claire travels specially to Paris to meet one of the world’s top headhunting firms.  She is doing the final interview and really really really wants the job.  Not just because she thinks they are a great firm, but because she and her husband need to make a massive payment on a house, and she really needs the money.  Before the interview was even halfway through, she is asking, “so, how much, exactly, will the salary and bonus be?”  She broke a golden rule, and she even knew it while she was doing it, but she just could not stop herself!  FAIL!!

February 2011 – Claire is interviewing with a local events company that wants her help with developing its business internationally.  She is pretty certain that they want her to join, and will pay her properly, but this time, she has ASSUMED that they will be happy to let her work from home.  While, this time, she did save the situation, there was a horrible ten minutes of really awkward communication in which they must have thought she was some sort of terrible, pretentious person.

Ahhhh, goodness!  All of those make me so embarrassed.

But you know what?

I’m glad I went through it.  At least I kept on trying to do new and different jobs.  And this all built into experience that I can now use to coach others to have the best career for themselves. And the feedback I got in those crappy interviews helped me to be a better interviewer and communicator, to get better in general at what I do.

Since then I have:

  • Written tens of articles that have been read by tens of thousands
  • Authored a book on career transition
  • Booked an interview next fall on national TV
  • Coached more than 1000 students and graduates towards their greatest potential in their careers

I could have waited around until I was perfect…  or I could have just kept on trying and doing, working and improving, every single day.

In other words, I would rather TRY THINGS OUT… than stay safe and bored.

PS – how do you try things out and get outside your comfort zone?  I have a magazine that can help you to do this better: BecomingGlobal.  Click here to subscribe to free information to help you in your career

6 reasons NOT to go to university at all

This is a time of year when many of you are struggling over what to study, where, and whether it is the right choice for you.

Without knowing you individually, I cannot comment on your precise choice, though of course, I can help you with that if you so choose.  Get in touch here if you do want that kind of support…

Here are some things to bear in mind, as you make your choice.  There is more than one way to kill a cat, as they say!

1 – If you don’t go to university, you will be able to start working earlier.  This may sound kind of obvious, but not all career paths require study up front, especially if you are contemplating working in an area  in which you are already technically sharp.  For instance, if you have been learning coding since you were 12, you may be able to start straight away!  If you are a master baker and you want to start a cupcake shop, you may not need a degree to achieve this.

2 – if you do not have a strong feeling about the area in which you want to study.  This is more common than you might believe.  It may seem that all your friends have certainty about what they want to study and why, but scratch beneath the surface a bit, and I can guarantee that many of them have just signed up because that is what everybody else is doing.  What would it cost you to choose a subject that you found you hated?  How much time would you waste discovering that medicine is not for you?

3 – if you have a clear plan for a business or a volunteer activity, that you truly believe you can manage without university study.  After all, fees are huge.  The debt you will accumulate may be enormous.  If you can test your ideas with a few friendly experts, you may find you can go straight into them rather than doing class for three or four years

4 – if you suspect that your vocation lies in a field where apprenticeship or other types of more practical study would be a more reasonable way of learning.  Be wary of intellectual snobbery in this area, and get all the facts before embarking on a university course that may be no more valuable than anything else

5 – if you realise that your learning style just may not be suited to hours and hours in a lecture theatre.  Many of you my be more apt in learning from a “master”, or by online classes, from books or whatever.  All types of learning styles exist, and you need to think of this before you decide where and how

6 – if you have a passion for something that needs a different route.  Maybe you know that you want to speak five languages before you are 25.  You can go study them in university, or you can find a way to be working and living in the countries concerned…  think it over and get creative!

More on this subject over the coming months in BecomingGlobal!

Meantime, please write in and tell my what you want to study and why?  Or indeed, why you are NOT going to be studying next year!

What happens when you are afraid

Over the weekend, I was coaching a very talented young woman, who was preparing for an assessment centre at a large global audit firm.  She told me that she had failed her previous assessment centre with another company, because, during the group exercise, she had not contributed much.

I asked her to tell me a little more, and she explained that she had, in fact, been able to lead the group from the outset, establishing an agreed approach to the problem in hand.  I was pretty impressed by this first fact, as the company’s evaluators would have been too, no doubt at all.

She then explained that during the work they all did, using her approach, she became afraid that she would make a mistake: “there were a lot of numbers to remember, and I was afraid I would forget one, or get it wrong, so I just did not really speak up”.  BIG MISTAKE!

Fearing getting something wrong and therefore doing nothing is not going to get you very far ahead in life.  If someone is in the street when you pass, and they appear to be dying or very sick: will you fear doing something wrong and walk past?  Or will you stop and try something, anything you can, to help?

If you do not try, you cannot succeed.  If you do not take the risk of helping save that life, or speaking up in a group, you cannot possibly create a result of any kind.  The event will just go on without you. The moment “Zoe” decided not to speak up because of fear, she had failed that assessment centre!

So, we worked on this question for a while:

  1. what did you really have to fear?
  2. how was this exercise really any different from group work that you do daily/weekly at uni?
  3. why did it feel so risky and scary for you?
  4. were you in fact already able to remember/manage SOME of the numbers/facts?
  5. could you have done what was required, if you had been brave enough to open your mouth?

And so on… and you can imagine that her answers showed her that this special exercise in the context of a recruitment is not much different from situations she meets every day!  There is no need for fear if you are well prepared and can find your confidence!

BecomingGlobal, with its monthly articles which go into greater detail about how to beat fear, find the best techniques and approaches, may be of help to those of you who need preparation for this kind of recruitment path.  It will help any or all of you who are planning study or a professional life away from home!

Please tell me about your worst fears and how you have beaten them!  I read every answer!