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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.

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!

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

Happy New Year

to love, laughter and renewal...

to love, laughter and renewal…

I have found myself in great introspection over this holiday period, and very happily so.  One thing that was puzzling me, however, was why I was avoiding the New Year’s Eve parties and not even wanting to wish people a happy new year.

But I finally realised why, and it is not because I am a “bah humbug” sort of person…

It is because I dislike the finality of reducing the “new year, new opportunity” to one day per year!  Don’t you think there are more possibilities offered if we see every single day as a chance to start anew and make great things happen?

That is what I have vowed to do, at the very least.

I sincerely do wish you a happy new year, but I will be thinking the same thing tomorrow, and the next day, and the next…

The possibilities are endless.  I am vowing, today, to spend more time with friends who stimulate my thinking and make me laugh.  I am also intent on doing more swimming and more skiing, preferably in good company, but also alone if I so wish.  There will be more worthwhile reading and less messing around on Facebook.

So much of this is stuff that I think about and (mostly!) act on all the time, so 31st of December just does not ring the bell for me.  But it is important.  Seize the moment and decide, today, and every day, what is important, what you want more of, and what more you have to give…

To many, many tomorrows and renewals, and above all to love, laughter and lightness of being!

Got Grit?

unknown-1I was coaching one of my Asian clients today, one of the hundreds that I have seen through their early career years, and was struck by just how hard he had been working to fit into the new (for him) culture of the UK.  Allen told me that when he had first arrived from China, he had felt cold, and not understood the labels on food in the shops.  He had singularly failed to understand the accent where he was studying (Liverpool!  I comforted him that I found it pretty difficult to manage that one too!), not grasped for ages that the approach to education, study and self-development are completely at odds with those in his country.  In all aspects, he had struggled terribly.  He felt lonely in his sterile campus room, and found solace in ordering noodles from the local Chinese take-away, where at least he could find friendly flavours and accents!

Does this feel familiar to any of you?  Baked beans anyone?  Nice cuppa tea?  Don’t mind if I do!  How are you doing at expanding your horizons and finding a job that suits you, now you are in a new country?

The way Allen solved his problem was to get out and about, to meet people, to join in activities, to risk making a fool of himself.  He did make a terrible idiot of himself, many, many, many times, but  he never gave up!  He joined a choir, he went to a local church, he played football, and he strummed a guitar, but always on the search for interaction.  And he got what he wanted!  He asked endless questions, no doubt annoying to some, but he got his answers and built his new life.  And now, he is preparing for a final interview for a job as an auditor at KPMG in Manchester.

Are you willing to make that kind of effort to get to the place you want to be?  Many of you are far away from home, labouring, just like Allen, with a language that you may not quite master, but all of you have the opportunity of striving just a little more.  Or even a lot more!  Little by little, ask yourself how you might improve, not just your language skills, but also your sense of belonging, if you joined the local choir.  You might even find a connection there with someone who could introduce you to your future employer!

unknownGrit is described as “courage and resolve; strength of character”.  Have you got grit?  Are you applying it to solving your career questions?  Your fitting in to your local community?  If you are, then, bravo!  I am pretty sure you will find your right path soon.  If you are not, then I wish you a little bit of courage in taking the first step.

Either way, there is always more we can do to improve our lot.  Always one more article to read and learn from, one more kindness to carry out for a neighbour, and one more connection to strike up with a stranger.  It is not easy, but then, nobody ever promised you life would be easy, did they?

Transitions are hard!  You might enjoy reading this article which examines the lives of several professionals who started their career far from home.  Their stories prove it is hard, but rewarding.  If you need some help with figuring out how to do it, then please get in touch!
To read this article in its original publication, you can go here


Getting Back to Work – just how difficult is it after a break?

imagesThis recent article, published with my client and partner, Antoine TIrard, tells the story of five very different individuals, who made it back to their career after taking a break for parenting.  Each one gives us some hints about how we can make this transition easier, however, challenging and frustrating it may still be…

Read more Back to Work After a Break