Category Archives: Personal Development

Turn. Smile. Shift. Repeat.

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Get a grip.

Not only is the title of this post a Phantom Planet song I used to play on repeat in my 1992 Geo Prizm (yup, that’s right) when I was a senior in high school, but it’s also the way I wished some things worked. The song’s lyrics refer to the daily hum drum we find ourselves falling into all too often. One morning you wake up and you realize you’ve been driving to the same job, hanging out with the same people, going to the same local establishments without even realizing it. Now that’s depressing.

But what about the things you WISH you could repeat? To either live them all over again for the pure happiness, excitement or surprise you felt, or to live them completely differently. In its most innocuous sense, I had one of these moments today. Let me set the stage for you…

I rushed home during lunch time to grab a can of soup. I didn’t want to spend money on lunch, so I figured soup from my own pantry was the best bet. I raced back to work, prepped my soup and brought it back to my desk. I picked up my phone (yup, the one I’ve had for only two weeks,) and I proceeded to drop it right into my delicious bowl of Chicken Noodle goodness.

My life with my phone as my closest companion for the past two weeks flashed before my eyes, as everything else moved in slow motion. I immediately rescued my phone and manically began to pat it dry and blowing on it (not exactly sure what I was trying to accomplish there.) It was one of those moments where all you can think is, “This is really not happening right now…” Of course my own voice echoed in my head, replaying the conversation I had with the wireless provider rep as she offered insurance on my phone. “Oh, no thank you. I’m all set.” AHHHHH!

It was one of those moments where you immediately start to get really hot, knowing your cheeks resemble those of someone who’s been out in the blazing sun for three hours without water. My throat closed up, and I couldn’t think clearly. Random thoughts raced through my head, knowing my husband was going to be less than pleased, people were going to try to get ahold of me and get my oh-so-annoying voicemail, spin, spin, spin…

But then I tried putting things into perspective, as I often times do. How could I be fretting over a stupid, replaceable phone, when thousands of people only a few hours away from me, are homeless today in the wake of Hurricane Sandy? Many have been separated from their family members, many have lost their lives, many have lost everything.

Why is it so difficult to naturally think like that? Why is the first reaction to anything a bit “havoc-like” to fly off the handle and feel as though the world is about to end? There are so many things that happen to us each and every day that in the grand scheme of things are so incredibly inconsequential.

And as for those moments we wish we could relive over and over again so we’d never have to let go of the naturally-charged high they gave us, sometimes the memories are all we need.

-Ambitioussoul

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Do What it Takes to be Envied

Click. Customize. Celebrate.

Yes, I know, I know, envy is one of the seven deadly sins. But in this case, it’s totally acceptable. When could having envy in your heart and soul be okay and almost advocated for? When you’re talking about Banner Envy of course! Let me start from the beginning…

In starting this blog several months ago, it became more and more apparent with each post I published that I needed a change. The marketing world was where I wanted to build my career, but with what I was doing and where I was, I didn’t feel like I was building a career with brick and mortar; I felt like I was digging a huge hole in attempt to start laying the foundation, but the digging seemed unending; I was running out of motivation and energy, with the goal of a perfect, satisfying career slowly dissipating each day.

I couldn’t fall to hypocrisy. After all, the majority of my posts have been dedicated to doing what you love, making your career not feel like work, and just because a job landed in your lap five years ago doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the job for you. I had to take my own advice, knowing sometimes the right thing and the hard thing are the same. With this epiphany, my search for not only a job but a CAREER was underway.

Enter Banner Envy, the perfect job opportunity, a business carved out of what people are looking for in today’s marketplace: something that makes a statement, sets itself apart from all others like it, and adds a personal touch to the year’s best party or event, making it unforgettable for all who attend. Not only do people hope and pray they are invited next year, they would do anything short of taking care of your landscaping for a summer or shoveling your driveway for a winter to be sure they remain on the guest list.

Another great thing about Banner Envy: it’s simple and easy. All you have to do is visit the site, click on the banner you like, customize it, and viola! And who doesn’t need a banner for their monumental event? Whether it’s your annual Cinco de Mayo siesta with all your neighborhood friends or your ten-year class reunion where you  evaluate who has aged well and who, ahem, hasn’t, forget the confetti and the streamers. Just get a banner.

-Ambitioussoul

For the Love of the Game

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I am going to start this post out by making myself perfectly clear: I love football. There’s just something about watching it on a crisp, autumn day, with the windows open just a crack in the family room, enough to let the sound of rustling leaves and the smell of the cool yet comfortable breeze drift through the opening. And fantasy football has made it all the more entertaining. Not only do I watch Steelers game religiously every week to see how my beloved team fares against its rivals, but I pay close attention to other games that leave my week’s stats hanging in the balance. But I have to say, all of this interim referee bashing and NFL-hating slander has ruined the experience for me this season.

Now before anyone starts pointing a finger, I’m not a Green Bay Packers hater. I’m sure some of you jumped directly to that conclusion, especially after the team beat the Steelers in the 2011 Superbowl. I have respect for the green and gold ( I mean hey, I watched Donald Driver on Dancing with the Stars– who wouldn’t?!) No but seriously, it’s not about that. And it’s defintiely not about being a Seahawks lover. Seattle is one of those teams I always feel bad for, because I don’t feel like it has any fans. But that’s about as far as my empathy goes.

So why am I exceptionally riled up and less than thrilled about all of this referee nonsense? Let’s see… there’s a presidential election coming up in a little more than 30 days, one that will stand to change all of our lives in one aspect or another, there are people dying for our country each and every day, the nation’s debt is at an all-time high, and people just can’t seem to keep up with their bills. Must I go on?

I can’t tell you how frustrated I was when I woke up Tuesday morning and was bombarded with Facebook status updates, news headlines, and tweets, 95 percent of which were originated to relay their utmost disgust and disappointment with what is now being badged as one of the worst calls in professional sports history. Maybe it’s just me, but I think our priorities are a bit skewed.

To be honest, this all started for me Sunday evening, prior to the “call heard around the world” even happening. I just arrived at the Financial Peace Unviersity class I’m helping to coordinate, and I ran into a woman I know. I hadn’t seen in her quite sometime, so we got chatting about the class and how I was so excited to see her there. She proceeded to introduce me to her husband, who stared blankly at me and looked extremely irritated. It was wildly obvious that he did not want to be there. The woman then went on to tell me that she and her husband didn’t know the class was nine weeks, and was freaking out because it’s at 7 p.m. on Sunday nights during football season. At that point, I had to graciously walk away and distract myself by starting another conversation with the couple behind them.

So let’s recap… yes, of course I’m glad they’re in the class and  they’ve made the commitment to be there each week, albeit extremely heartwrenching for the husband (cry me a river.) But how is this the way priorities are set? How is it that your bank account and your retirement future can be in dire straits, but you’re fine with sitting and watching football to your heart’s content on a flat screen that was probably not in your budget and put on credit?

If I’m describing you, I don’t want you to think I don’t like you, or that I’m mad at you, I’m just trying to put things into perspective. Let’s reevalute and readjust today. Forget the flat screen– five or ten years down the road you can buy season tickets for your favorite team and even travel around the country for the away games! Who needs instant replay when you’re in the stands, watching plays like the one Monday night, right before your eyes?

-Ambitioussoul

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Everyone Needs a Special Day

Who would pay thousands of dollars for this dog? This girl.

September 16 is only eight days away! I have been counting down the days until next Sunday for the past several weeks. No, it’s not my birthday, or my anniversary, or the start of an exotic vacation. But because of my genuine and unstoppable excitement, I’ve done everything short of create a paper chain to symbolize the arrival of this special day. I know, I know, the suspense is killing you. So what IS September 16?

Well my friends, September 16 marks the day that I will embark on a journey, along with 20 or so strangers, to change their financial mindsets, practicalities, and futures. Yes, that’s right, I will be leading one of Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University classes, showing them what it’s like to live like no one else, so later they can live like no one else (I just HAD to insert Dave’s famous tagline in here somewhere.)

As if you couldn’t tell by now, I’m ECSTATIC about this opportunity. But as I sat in my family room, leafing through the pages of the course book, I began to get anxious. I started to remember how I felt when I sat in those same seats. Hopeful, nervous, guilty, and most of all embarrassed. I’m sure these emotions, along with dozens of others, will flood the classroom each and every week. Of course as the class progresses, each week people will get more and more comfortable talking about their own personal anecdotes; their past financial mistakes, their current budgeting plan, their future investing goals. And I in turn am expected to share all of the same details. Two years ago, I would have been like a seagull, burying my head in the sand. Today, I’m that same seagull, only soaring above the ocean, feeling more free than ever before.

I’ve learned to not be ashamed of the rabid spending habits that haunt my past. Sure I get a little red in the face when I tell people I bought a $2,300 dog and charged it on the way to the gym (and yes, that’s a true story– she was on sale!,) but I remind myself that I should be proud of the fact that I can now laugh at that story, instead of pretending like it never happened. Whether financial mistakes come in the form of a $100 pair of Nike sneakers or a $40,000 Mercedes CLK, we all need to remember these lapses in judgement are how we learn and grow. It’s just like when reminiscing about a regrettable night of heavy drinking or a relationship that had gone stale weeks, months or even years before you actually ended it.

The hard truth is we can’t change the past. It’s over. It’s done. It’s gone. Thank God. So look ahead. Straight ahead. And when you happen upon an awakening in your personal, professional, or financial life, celebrate it. Mark it on the calendar. Pop a bottle of champagne. And quickly reflect, only to recognize and appreciate you’ve changed your mindset and are NEVER willing to go back to being simply content, or in my case, simply broke.

-Ambitioussoul

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Melt, Mold, and Set : A Steel(ers) Introduction

Steeling a city’s heart and soul

As I sat at a traffic light in the city of Erie, Pennsylvania, I found myself peering into a gaping hole on the side of a depressingly dilapidated and eerily vacant steel mill. Mentally erasing the vines and moss that were growing in and around the brickscape, I began to visualize what  the people who used to work there (or steelers as I decided to classify them in my title, or maybe that was just a shameless plug for the best football team on Earth?,) looked like and wore, how hot it must have been inside on 100 degree days with 80 percent humidity, characteristic of that exact day. I envisioned the blistering steel dripping from metal wands into a giant, bubbling vat of the same consistency. I could hear the sounds of workers yelling over the roaring machines. Steel mills used to define the city; it was the livelihood of thousands. Now they were just a memory, blanketed in soot.

It’s incredible how quickly steel’s consistency can change; it’s equally incredible how quickly a city can change. And then it got me thinking… life is the same way, especially when considering a change in someone’s career path.

Just like steel, in order to really set forth to change your career, whether it be just a facet of it or revolutionizing it completely, you must first delve into yourself and think about what you really love and want to do. Almost think of it as liquefying, just as steel would be, in order to be able to see things more clearly and start from scratch, if necessary.

Then there’s the molding process: getting the steel (or yourself) into the perfect shape. What does that shape look like? A rod? A teacher? A hammer head? A life coach? So to mold steel you need a cast. But to mold a career, you need a plethora of things. Whether it be additional schooling, training, apprenticeships or simply mentors, all of those things can make or break the mold.

And then setting. Without this step, your mold will simply keep changing shape without any real definition or purpose. If you’re a hammer head, be a hammer head. If you’re a beam, be a beam. I’m sure you can already understand how this correlates to your professional life. If there’s something you want to do and you do it well and most importantly it will make you happy, own it. Be 100 percent dedicated to it, knowing it’s what you were put here on this Earth to do.

And if you’re ever driving down the East Coast, or across the country, be sure to stop in Erie, Pennsylvania, where “pop” and the steel legacy will live forever.

-Ambitioussoul

From Sea to Shining Sea

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A soul searcher’s journey

Arizona, Florida, Idaho, New York and North Carolina. Why the random states? Well, believe it or not, those are all the places my best friend has lived in the past nine years. You’re probably thinking it’s because she’s married to someone in the military, or she’s a broadcast journalist who’s had to move into increasingly larger markets. Sorry to burst your bubble, but neither of those scenarios are the case. The reason: she’s trying to find happiness.

Now, you could interpret this many ways: she’s trying to find love, she’s trying to find peace of mind in her day-to-day world, she’s trying to find herself. While I believe all of those are a tad true (depending on the state she lived in,) one thing is for sure: she needs to find what brightens her day. And no, I’m not simply talking about the blistering hot sunshine in Arizona or the gorgeous rays in Florida (after all, it IS the Sunshine State.) I’m talking about what will make the love of her life BE her life, from the time she steps out of bed onto her apartment floor to the time she gets  back into that same bed.

Ironically, this is what my BFF (and I mean that literally… we’ve been stuck together like glue since pre-school,) posted on her Facebook wall today:

“Your journey has molded you for your greater good, and it was exactly what it needed to be. Don’t think that you’ve lost time. it took each and every situation you have encountered to bring you to the now…. and now is right on time.”

Lots ofthings to think about within that one measly quote, right? But if you dissect it, it’s so true. And definitely a positive way to think about your life. There are so many things I’ve been through in my short 27 years of existence on this earth. My parents divorced when I was 12, my boyfriend in junior high passed away in a snowmobiling accident, I was in a few bad relationships (who wasn’t, right?,) and all kinds of things in between. It’s natural to think, “Why did all of this happen to me?,” or in the case of mentally taxing and hurtful relationships, “Why did I waste so much time?” But I challenge you to shift your paradigm of thinking for a second: what if those “things” hadn’t happened to you? Would you be who you are today? So driven? So sensitive to others around you? I truly believe experiences build character. And for those nasty, rotten people in your life, use them as an example of who not to be. And I promise you’ll be better for it.

“Now is right on time…” that’s something interesting to think about. So many people say “Timing is everything,” and in my experiences, that couldn’t be more true. But there are alot of people out there who wait for timing to happen. Hello, people! “Timing” is now! I know so many people that can’t make decisions. I’m not talking about menial decisions like what to eat for dinner. I’m talking about life-changing decisions, like what your next career move should be, or whether you should make your “dream career” a reality.

In Dan Miller’s 48 Days to the Work You Love, he says he gives big decisions a deadline: two weeks. Any big decision, from inception to finalization, should only take two weeks. This way, you stay focused and it keeps from these grandiose decisions to being pushed to the back burner. Because let’s face it: we all suppress decisions when they are too much for us to extrapolate and really delve into. So try it: two weeks, and deal or no deal.

So let’s recap: you should look at your experiences as character builders and never look at them as wastes of time or energy. But at the same time you should look at every passing second as a new opportunity to forge ahead in life, whether it be in your career or your relationships. That’s alot to digest at once,  huh? Let’s try for baby steps. Give yourself time to marinate in these ideas, and remember: any progress is good progress.

-Ambitioussoul

Say “Ahhhh”

This weekend I happened to stumble upon an obituary that piqued my interest (I know, a bit morbid, right?,) but I think it was written with the intent of showing how this man left this world… as a legacy.

Not only was he an extremely well-known oral surgeon and philanthropist in Syracuse, but he was a man that began his career out of his passion for helping people. Did I know this man? No. But I do know his son, who followed in his footsteps and became an oral surgeon as well, and let’s just say he’s a complete and refreshing replica of his dad. If his father was anything like him, I know he had the best intentions and the best results from doing what he loved.

But back to the obituary… it was the LONGEST write up I’ve ever seen. It took up two newspaper columns; the text seemed to scroll endlessly. Several paragraphs down, it explained his recipe for success, and the principles he lived by, appropriately named “The 3 As.” It read (I’ve renamed him “Dr. A”, being overly cautious):

“Dr. A taught others through story and experience. He treasured the moments he could help someone and often shared his own formula for success–the 3 A’s: In order to be successful you were to desire and practice to have Ability, be Available to do the hard work and to help others and most importantly be Affable…be likeable, be kind.”

As soon as I read this I thought to myself, “What an amazing thing to put in an obituary.” I mean, typically it’s the usual statistics, symbolizing the culmination of someone’s life here on Earth, however long or short it may have been. But never have I seen someone live so strongly by a certain set of values that it makes his/her obituary! It reminds me of one of the questions after a chapter in “48 Days to the Work You Love”: “What would you want your epitaph to read?”

So let’s reflect on Dr. A’s words for a bit in terms of your career path. Ability makes complete sense. You obviously have to be able to do the work in order to perform well and to feel a sense of purpose. In my mind, everyone has the ability to do whatever they put their mind to. Sure, some things may come easier than others, but you need to be willing to learn new things and be the best you can possibly be at the task at hand. The ability to grow and learn is much more important than anything else.

Available… now there’s one that some people have trouble with. It’s SO difficult to balance life these days. Family, work, friends, church, extra-curricular activities… the list goes on and on. But are you available (physically, mentally and emotionally) to make a change in your life when it comes to dedicating yourself to and doing something you truly love? If not, make this a priority. And just as it’s put above, you need to have time to help others. The personal gratification from this is so astounding– that alone will get you motivated, if nothing else will.

And affable– kind of a funny word, huh? Being likeable and getting along with the people around you is SO key. Of course you’re always going to have the few people that drive you nuts (especially on a day where you’ve already spilled your coffee, forgot your lunch in the fridge, and your gas light goes on all before 8 a.m.) But people are everywhere. And then come in not only all shapes and sizes, but personalities. To help myself out with this, I always try to tell myself that I never know what kind of a day a person is having; I never know if they just received devastating news or are going through a tough time. So yes, Dr. A., you’re right– we need to remember the old addage, “Treat others as you would like to be treated,” or in your words, be affable.

ImageThank you, Dr. A. for sending such a refreshing message. Not only did you make people’s smiles brighter through your work, but also through your words. I’m sure you didn’t expect someone to write about your obituary in a blog, but it did exactly what you wanted it to do… helped your “3 As” principle live on.

-Ambitioussoul

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Hello, Your Calling is Calling

How many of us have heard someone say (or have even said ourselves,) “I just haven’t found my calling,” or “This job fell into my lap; I guess it’s what I was meant to do.” These are the common sentiments of most people in the stereotypical, corporate ladder world. And a few months ago, before I started focusing on all of this career stuff, I would have heard that (or even said that,) and not thought twice about it. But now I realize and understand how as Dave Ramsey would say, it’s not what happens to you, it’s how you happen to things.

ImageLet’s take the first statement I mentioned above: “I just haven’t found my calling.” Are people expecting that one day they’re just going to wake up and the perfect opportunity that they were meant to embark on will be sitting in front of them, with all the promise and answers leading to success? I’m sure in rare occasions this may happen, but for the most part, people haven’t found their calling because they haven’t done enough to try and hear it.

We all have natural skills and abilities that are undeniable. I can sit down and write for hours on end, needing to sharpen my pencil a few times, but ask me to solve a simple Physics equation, and I’ll sit there for three hours, tapping my pencil and staring out the window, waiting for the answer to subliminally appear in the clouds. In order to “hear” our calling, we really need to hone in on these said skills and abilities. What do you love to do? What are you good at? If money was no object, what would you do every day to not only make a living but make a life?

For those of you out there that pray or believe in a higher being, you may have heard the line, “I’ve been praying to God for an answer, for him to show me the way to the career I’m supposed to have.” In my opinion, yes, God can help you find the way, but it is your job to free your mind and let the world of limitations we’ve all created become illegitimate. You have to make it a priority to focus and stay on task if you really want to change your professional life. Rather than asking for Him to show you the way, you should ask for the knowledge, strength, and patience you’ll need to find it.

As for the second misnomer, “This job fell into my lap; I guess it’s what I was meant to do.” Again, this may be true for some people. Opportunities may arise that align perfectly with their passion and their natural, gifted talents. But for the rest of us, this is a simple way out. I used to think along these same lines. As I talked about in my previous post, my career path has been shaped by convenience and happenstance, nothing more. But this isn’t enough. This only defines what we can do, not what we should do.

So let’s start organizing our thoughts. Do whatever you need to do to hone in on the things that make you… well, you. For me, the only way to properly organize my thoughts is to write them down. Write a list, draw a brainstorming web, but whatever you have to do, just take some time to focus. Once you do this, start thinking about (and writing down,) ways you could make these attributes work for you. And don’t necessarily think everything has to weave in and out of each other. You can have many different careers that start and stop and come and go when it makes sense. Once the brainstorming is complete, it’s time to start the real grunt work! Don’t be scared of a little sweat, and maybe even some tears. Those are almost necessities in this type of self-actualization. And don’t worry, EVERY ONE needs this!

-Ambitioussoul

Movin’ and Groovin’

“To change the world, start with one step.
However small, the first step is hardest of all.”

What gets you up everyday? (And no, your alarm clock’s incessant beeping is not a valid answer.) We all have our obligations and duties; some mundane, only defined by the repetitive motions they possess, others by their unpredictability, vulnerable to a sense of spontaneity. Whatever the case may be, a lot of us may answer, “I don’t have a choice. I have to get up to go to work.” But why? What propels you to keep going? Is it money? Is it power? Maybe it’s the need for order in your own life.

The Affinity HR group met with a group of employees from my company to talk about our motivators and how they tie in with the DISC assessment we had performed a year ago (see below for a further description.) First, each person started with writing down the three reasons why he/she comes to work. For me, it was people, purpose and routine. I thought this would be difficult for me to come up with, but I wrote these three words down in literally five seconds. It was almost as if I had subconsciously contemplated it before.

From there, the six natural motivators were explained, and each person’s natural placement was revealed. The six motivators are:

1) Theoretical: These people love learning. They thrive in environments where they are constantly gathering new and improved information on various topics. They love research and analysis and aren’t satisfied unless they are deemed an “expert” in any given category.

2) Utilitarian: Money, money, money! Well, it’s not all dollar signs for these  people. Those grouped in this motivator category are all about what they will be getting as a return on their investments. Whether it be time, dollars, or energy, these people want to know it’s worth it!

3) Aesthetic: The first word that comes to mind for this group is “zen.” These people love balance and harmony. They are motivated by how things appear, and ideally, that would be seamless and beautiful. They work through visions and need their endless thirst for creativity constantly quenched.

4) Social: Not only does this group thrive on the people they are surrounded by, but they also love to help those in need. They are constantly reaching out to lend a hand not only monetarily, but with their skill sets and abilities. This group is extremely selfless, wanting to give back all the resources that are available to them.

5) Individualistic: Picture this group on top of a mountain, shaking their fists and shouting orders. These people love being in control. They almost NEED to have a position of true power and authority. They work best when they are leading others.

6) Traditional: Routine and a reason for everything are what keeps this group going. Many things to this group may seem black and white, as there is a specific system in place to address all issues and problems. These people do not waiver; they are by the book and live for policies and procedures.

Everyone has two motivators, a primary and a secondary. Each feed off one another in order to keep everything balanced. At first, I was pretty taken aback by my results. My utilitarian motivator was extremely high, dominating all the other categories by a crazy margin. The runner up was social, but it still wasn’t anywhere near where my theoretical money-grabbing hands were. I looked at the graph and thought, “Oh my goodness– I am an insane, selfish person. My top motivator is MONEY?! And INVESTMENTS?! How is this possible?

Come to find out, the results weren’t as cursing and demeaning to my character as I had made them out to be. Basically, my results are interpreted in this way:

Money and finances are extremely important to me, not because of  the tangibles, but because of what it means for my family to be completely financially secure. I ultimately want to retire at an early age and be able to live financially free without any bills/debt hanging over my head, and this is what kicks my utilitarianism into high gear.  This is all very true for me (hence my obsession with budgeting spreadsheets and Dave Ramsey,) so I backed away from the ledge at this point.

My results went on to say that once my family is completely taken care of, I want to be able to give as much as I can in all facets of life. I want to earn to give… hmm… I had never really thought about it like that, but that’s definitely me! What could be more rewarding than writing your most cherished non-profit a hefty check to help serve those in need? That’s has to be the epitome of happiness. As Dave Matthews would croon, “If you give, you begin to live…”

So with all of that said, take some time and think about your motivators. I promise you once you pinpoint them, you’ll work with much more purpose, knowing what gets you going.

Lions and Otters and Beavers, Oh My!

Do the DISC dance

I’m going to be 100 percent honest with all of you: I’m one of the nerdy, dorky people that LOVES learning more about themselves through personality assessments and deep dives. I know, cue the groaning. But I think it’s extremely fascinating. Not only can this type of insight give you a better understanding of how you operate at home, but how you behave at work and what jobs are best for you.

Last year, my company sponsored a half-day seminar on what’s called the DISC assessment. It’s an extremely thorough personality test that drops you into one of four categories for both your natural state (who you were born as) and your adaptive state (how you’ve learned to behave based on your surroundings.) After taking the test, I thought, “Oh my goodness– this explains me to a T!” And looking around at the other tables, I could totally understand why each person was grouped the way they were.

The first group was noted as being “dominant,” depicted by a lion. These people can be harsh and outspoken, but they are there to get a job done. They don’t necessarily care about nit-picky details, but they just want to cross things off their to-do list– and fast!

The second group was the grouped labeled “influence.” A picture of an otter (and Oprah for that matter) were shown on the Power Point slide. Why? Because this group always has to be surrounded by people. They aren’t worried about an agenda, and do not have any sense of urgency. They are only worried about two things: who can I talk to and how long will they listen (or at least pretend to.) This is how my adaptive state tested out.

Next comes the steady group. These people do not like conflict. They are even-keeled and just want everyone to be happy, just like a golden retriever. They do not like change, and feel as though if everything was done in a slow and methodical manner, it would be done right the first time. This, unsurprisingly to me, is my natural state. This is why I used to write down what I wore every single day and had a numbering system for my outfits (I know, ridiculous.)

The last to be grouped were the compliers. They are extremely analytical and love numbers. They see everything in black and white and always need processes in order to get things done. Just like an otter, these people plan where every single stick is strategically placed in order to build the most durable and practical house possible.

Although it may be difficult to categorize yourself by these four simplistic descriptions, if you really think long and hard about it, you will figure out exactly where you belong. If you’re interested in learning more about these tests and possibly going through the entire process, the Affinity HR Group is a great place to start, and I honestly think it’s worth every penny.

Why? Because it’s important to figure out where you truly belong. If you love writing and creativity, you probably shouldn’t strive to be an accountant. Or if you love formulas and strategies, you probably shouldn’t set your sites on marketing. But so many people fall into these…well, for lack of a better term, ruts. They start in one direction and don’t feel as though they can do an about face because they’ve dug “too deep.”

I truly believe it’s never too late. Think about your job right now: could you do it every single day for the rest of your life? Maybe so. And if that’s the case, you’ve found one of the many best-kept secrets in life. But for many of us, we’re not doing what we were put on this planet to do. The trouble is, that’s hard to pinpoint. So take some time and a small investment to learn ALOT about yourself and your career. I mean come on, who can resist an adorable otter?

**Read on to find out about the six motivators that kick you into high gear**