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Articles | Insight

How Self-Confidence Impacts Your Career Success

Look around you at the people who are moving up the corporate ladder or landing good jobs. What is the one thing in common you see? Do they come across as very confident and self-assured; people who have opinions and don't hesitate to share their views; people who believe that they can do whatever they take up. Well, you are right. Confidence is one of the most common traits of successful people.

A psychology study from Ohio State University found evidence that an individual's career paths are influenced by their own levels of self-confidence and, to some degree, the amount of social validation they receive along the way.

The study explored key contributors to student success.  They focused on how painting a positive picture of a future career path would influence the student’s confidence and eventual success in achieving it. Basically, if you can picture a future version of yourself succeeding at a goal—say, becoming an engineer or entrepreneur — you're more likely to actually achieve it.

While self-confidence is often stimulated from within, it's worth remembering that teachers, parents, and other mentors can leave a lasting mark on a young person's career path. When you help someone picture a future possible self, they are more likely to believe it could be a reality and begin working to achieve it.

A few encouraging words can go a long way—something to keep in the mind the next time a young person tells you he or she wants to do something that may seem difficult or extraordinary. Your encouragement can actually help make it a possibility. By the same benchmark, be very careful about what you say to yourself. If you tell yourself you can do it, you most likely will. But if you start by saying, something is very difficult or that you can’t do it, believe me, you are already defeated.

This is where having a coach or mentor who can prod you on and make you believe in yourself, can make a huge difference to your career. SoaringEagles is built on this premise that confidence in one’s ability to succeed is what will lead to success eventually. Hence all our programs are designed to build your confidence in yourself and your abilities. To know more about the programs visit soaringeagles.co/coaching or request a free consultation by clicking on the button above.

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Articles | Behaviours

Why Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone is Important

Many years ago, when I was attending one of my favourite counselling classes, my mentor said, “In life, you can have comfort or growth, you can’t have both.” It is these words that have motivated me to keep moving ahead in life and to inspire others to do the same.

Stepping out of one’s comfort zone requires considerable effort. After all, venturing from a familiar territory to an unknown can appear to be a daunting task, at first. However, once you learn to look at anything new as a challenge, an opportunity to innovate or maximize your potential, you will also learn to embrace the new phases of your life with ease.

Learning to be more open-minded is the key to evolving continuously. Being open-minded means having optimism towards new ideas while viewing life as a journey and a learning experience. Being open to new ideas also means, learning to be accepting of others’ point of view, even if they are different from your own.

There are several ways to step out of your comfort zone, if you haven’t done it already. You could either choose to begin the new year by enrolling in something that’s new to you; be it a new sport, a cooking class, an adventurous trip or learning to play a musical instrument. These are just a few examples that have been listed. The point is, if you truly want to move ahead in life, you have to keep trying something new.

On the professional front, stepping out of your comfort zone could mean exploring opportunities in different places or learning to operate in known places, including your city and country of origin, from a fresh perspective.

Growing up is never easy. But every time, being flexible seems difficult, I’m reminded of what my good old friend from New York once told me before I moved back to India after completing my higher education and acquiring some work experience, “We cannot and should not live in the same chapter of our lives forever. Because the farther we go, the richer we get.”

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Articles | Leadership

The 5 Step Process for Giving Constructive Feedback

The process of communication comes full circle only when the sender’s intended message is completely understood by the receiver of the message and feedback about that understanding is communicated to the sender by the receiver. However, it is not always as simple as sending and receiving messages. At times we need to communicate feedback as well and depending upon the situation, the feedback may be positive or critical.

Minal shares her experience and says, “The schedules had been sent out two weeks in advance and the dates had been blocked for the monthly review meeting. This was one monthly catch up session we did as a team wherein we went over all our business plans and reviewed our numbers. This was my fourth review meet with this new team I had been asked to lead and as I sat in the conference room waiting for the team members, I still worried about Rahul who had consistently walked in, unprepared, for each of the review meetings. What was I to do if he did that again?”

We are all faced with similar apprehensions when we need to give feedback. At such times, we may choose to ignore the problem, we may choose to get upset about the whole thing or we could consciously choose to share feedback with the person concerned.

This five step process is quite helpful when it comes to sharing constructive feedback:

1. Point out the Problem in Behaviour: It is essential to understand the difference between the person and the problem. We need to point out that we have a problem with the person’s behaviour and not with the person.

Minal: "Rahul, I need to speak to you. Could you please come with me to my office? I have noticed that you have been walking in unprepared for our review meetings. It is essential that you come armed with your data when we do the review meeting so that we are all on the same page."

2. Point out exactly what is wrong: Vague feedback seldom helps. It is therefore essential to specifically state what the issue is quite clearly and why that issue is a problem. Not painting a clear picture will only lead to ineffective communication and a lot of misunderstandings.

Minal: "The business plans we create are all dependent on the numbers. When you don’t bring in the data, coming to a conclusion regarding what plans are feasible and what plans are not becomes difficult."

3. Help them recognize the Issue: It is not enough just to give feedback. Once feedback has been given, it is also important to seek acknowledgment as to whether the issue has been understood or not and whether the person receiving the feedback plans to do something about it.

Minal: "It is a problem area and you do see that it needs to be corrected, right?"

4. Establish Goals: Goal setting essentially entails creating an action plan which will help in attaining the desired end result. Feedback does not stop just with pointing out what is ineffective. Effective feedback comprises solutions to problems, not just identifying and acknowledging problems. In the case of Minal and Sarika, the end result is a change in behaviour and approach to work.

Minal: "Help me understand the reason for being unprepared so that we can both work out solutions to this problem together. Let us figure out how we can solve this problem. Also, let me know how I can help you."

5. Evaluate Performances: A follow- through is essential, especially after feedback has been given and goals have been set. A performance evaluation post constructive feedback helps deliver two pertinent messages: i) It helps to understand whether the feedback has percolated down to the receiver of the feedback. ii) It helps in establishing the message that the person providing objective feedback is concerned about the issue.

Minal: "I would like to do a small review with you every Friday at 4.00 PM so that we can resolve all the issues you are facing and get you all the requisite training before our next review meet."

A bonus tip: Focus only on developing future plans through your feedback. And remember, especially while giving constructive feedback; make sure you give it in a private setting.

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Articles | Training

Personal Development Plan – A Portfolio

Ahana is a vibrant 21 year old who recently graduated with acceptable grades, completed her internship with the organization of her choice and also managed to acquire full time employment with the same organization. She however feels that there isn’t much else to look forward to and is now feeling dissatisfied with her job. Many youngsters today are very much like Ahana. They bring with them technical skills, knowledge and enthusiasm but with time, end up losing their drive.

The findings of a survey conducted at the beginning of the year by a job portal Wisdom Jobs revealed that attrition rates would be pegged at somewhere between 12- 14% at the entry levels in the year 2015. While many industry experts have named poor employee engagement, unsatisfactory work conditions and poor pay as the reasons for high attrition rates, one also cannot ignore the fact that most graduates do not have a clear vision or action plan in place, which further compounds the issue of attrition, especially at the entry levels.

Ahana has her technical skills in place. She is quite adept at her job and the organization is also to her liking. So the issue for her is not that of poor pay, poor work conditions or poor employee engagement. She needs to get a clear understanding of the way forward for her, in terms of her career. Creating a Personal Development Plan goes a long way in resolving this crisis that most graduates like Ahana face.

A Personal Development Plan (PDP) is a document which can serve as a manual for self development, self reflection, and self awareness and for generating action plans. This Portfolio like document can be written, revised and re- written to be made tenable to current situations.

The PDP helps to identify and outline one’s abilities, skills and interests. Once these have been identified, the next step is to set goals which would help strengthen existing skills as well as develop new ones. Establishing time frames for attaining each set objective will also help in having a strong PDP.

My Personal Development Plan is a handbook which has been created by SoaringEagles to help you discover yourself. This written exercise book comes with challenging questions which will help you reflect. The handbook lets you pen down your thoughts as well as any ongoing developments in your life that you would like to make note of. A peek into this handbook can be quite helpful when you are applying for a job or when you feel you need to do more at your existing job.

This personal portfolio is a key take away from the Lakshya Employability Acceleration Programme (LEAP) which equips participants to become more self-aware, motivated, influential and networked. It also enhances their Communication and Interpersonal Skills, Analytical and Problem Solving Skills and Commercial Awareness, skills that are highly valued by employers. The programme culminates with sessions on how to write impressive resumes and how to do exceptionally well in interviews. Participants of this programme are equipped to go after their dream job with confidence.