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Productivity Archives | Elizabeth Borelli

Archive for the ‘Productivity’ Category

Maintaining Resilience in Covid Time


Feeling frustrated with plans on hold or overturned? Even in normal time, everything takes so much longer than we expect it to. In this time of Covid, make it a double.

And depending on how you manage this time, waiting it out can make you feel like a failure.

I woke up this rainy Monday morning to a one-two punch. It all happened over email. First I learned I wasn’t going to get my $250 deposit back after having to cancel my family Thanksgiving plans, then I opened the results of my most recent e-newsletter to find 23 unsubscribes.

It was enough to trigger my go-to story of stuckness. “It’s taking so long to build my coaching practice. Maybe I’m just not good enough.”

I felt so defeated as I shared my story with my sister, the one about always losing money and never getting traction on my business. Finally after a few rebalancing practices, I began to put things into perspective.

As we navigate the long, messy middle of change, those emotional triggers will release your story of stuckness. The one where you’re unable to meet your goals or get your needs met. And now more than ever, the changes we’re enduring as a result of Covid suck us in.

Almost every client I work with shares this frustration. It comes in the form of;

Why isn’t my business growing?

Why don’t I have a job yet?

How can my body look no different when I’ve been working my ass off for the past month?

How is everyone else doing so well during this nightmare?

What’s wrong with me?

When you’re triggered by things either going wrong or going nowhere, it’s hard NOT to fall into the story trap. The one that gets your anxiety up.

The problem is, this script ultimately turns the normal time it takes for change to happen into a flaw in your personhood. Remember, everything takes longer than we think it will.

We’re hardwired to react to a triggering event with a fight, flight, freeze stress response, like I did this morning. So it’s from this high anxiety state that we interpret what happened and why. Unfortunately, this all plays out so quickly we have no time to stop that old story of self-blame and stuckness from unfolding like it did for me this morning.

1. Once I used some favorite stress management techniques, I was able to think of a different approach to my challenges. With the stress response de-activated, I could put things in perspective; although I have had some unfortunate short-term rental experiences I don’t frequently lose money. I’ll make sure to be more aware of the fine print next time.

And I’m shifting direction in my coaching and my newsletters to a more whole-person approach to transition. Some people are not interested in that approach, so of course they’ll unsubscribe.

2. I reviewed all the things I have accomplished. I have to remind myself weekly that this new shift takes time, and to remember to reward the effort and build my resilience to stay the course.

Studies show you can manage the release of a neurotransmitter known as dopamine when we anticipate a reward, which is how we stay motivated.

Yet in the face of long-term goals, you’re putting in the work but the reward is too out of sight to trigger this response. This is when it burnout happens and you’re tempted to give up entirely.

Fortunately, you can anticipate this challenge and use recognition and positive feedback to reward the process along the way instead of waiting for the outcome. Your goals may be very distant, but you can manage our dopamine levels to stay motivated over the long haul.

If you know it takes an average number of months or weeks to land a new job, drop a dress size, or get your business off the ground, give yourself double that time, not so you’ll slow down your efforts but so you’ll be able to stay the course. Reward your progress along the way by sharing it with others or treating yourself in a way that aligns with your goals.

Now more than ever, we need to build our resilience to stay the course. So use your tools, stay the course and you’ll emerge from this Covid time warp that much closer to your goals.

Finding an Upside to Post-Election Anxiety


In the spirit of coping with post-election anxiety I’ll share what I learned in 2004. I strongly disagreed with environmental policies of the Bush Administration and was devastated that Gore’s promise of a greener future hadn’t materialized.  So, in 2004 I poured my heart and soul into campaigning for the Democratic candidate, John Kerry, based on his environmental platform.

I was joined by a small team of people committed to the same political goals. The 8 of us spent most weekends selling raffle tickets to raise money for my Committee to Defeat George Bush initiative. We raised thousands of dollars, and then as a grand finale, held an art auction gala.

I was 6 months pregnant on the night of the big event, and excited to donate the more than $13,000 we’d raised to our candidate. And then election night came and we gathered to watch as the results rolled in. We were devastated.

After election night, I decided to pick myself up and redirect my energy. That money could have had a much bigger impact had we donated to an environmental non-profit directly. We were successful in raising the funds, why not just change our strategy and keep the momentum going?

I was excited to share my brilliant insight with the team. However, among the few people who answered my calls, one woman shared that her dad, who had been part of the team, had to go on Prozac to cope with the disappointment.

So in the end, the impact it had on this terrific group of caring people distressed me more than the election results. And it dawned on me that we were fighting the wrong battle.

Of course, in hindsight, the contentious (for then) 2004 election was a walk in the park compared to now. Which on the surface sounds bleak for our future. Fortunately, when we look back through history, we can see that change is never linear. In fact, some thought leaders and historians view this point as pendulum turnaround time.

In their new book, The Upswing: How America Came Together a Century Ago and How We Can Do It Again, Robert Putnam and Shaylyn Romney Garrett argue that, though the U.S. suffered a similar confluence of political, economic, cultural, and social upheaval in the past, Americans were able to come together and organize to create change. And, these authors believe, we can do it again.

This article is a must-read for understanding our current national turmoil in the big-picture context and helping to stay our course, regardless of the uncertainty surrounding us.

The uncertainties and upheavals of 2020, the world-wide coronavirus pandemic, the very real awakening to the inequities of racial-social-economic injustice, the threat of catastrophic climate change, and the divisiveness in the fabric of American society, certainly challenge us all in understanding our place in our rapidly shifting world.

Yet the takeaway from my 2004 election lesson is that we can’t count on a broken political system to right these wrongs. Pouring countless hours and dollars into a political race is ultimately diluting your ability to make a real difference. It’s the causes themselves that need you. Advocacy groups like Green America offer opportunities to make a real difference to the issues that matter to you.

To be sure, this week will continue to challenge us, regardless of our political leanings. These practices to strengthen resilience will help you to weather the storm.

The reality is, in the days, weeks and probably years following the election life will go on mostly as usual. Both candidates have held the seat before. Our friends and relatives with opposing political opinions will hopefully remain our friends and relatives.

And we have the opportunity to, in the words of Margaret Mead, “be the change you want to see in the world”. Meaning we don’t have to take on the whole world in order to make a difference.

7 Career Goal Confidence Hacks


Experts know, the biggest key to building confidence is taking action!  Yet it’s a chicken and egg problem, if you’re not feeling confident, it’s hard to put yourself out there.

We all know how important networking is to landing your next career opportunity.  That said, I frequently work with people who aren’t ready to dive right in.  For most people, these high-stakes strategies take some building up to.

As a natural introvert with my own share of self-confidence struggles, I get it.  For most of my life I stayed hidden from the spotlight, letting my fear of judgement hold me back.  Yet a few years ago I reached a point in my career when I knew public speaking would take my work to the next level.  While I knew it was the right direction, the idea was too daunting to jump into straight away.

As much as I cringed at the very thought of it, I started attending my local Toastmasters meetings.  After hiding in the back row for at least a month, I began pushing myself to participate weekly in some low-risk way.  I would volunteer for the task that required the least visibility, and even that felt scary.

Eventually I worked up the courage to complete a year-long Toastmasters certification program, a challenge that occasionally reduced me to tears, but I kept moving forward one baby-step at a time.  Finally, after some dedicated practice, I now enjoy speaking in front of an audience, having found the confidence to own my voice.  This complete turnaround is not only possible, it’s predictable, and it’s now a regular part of my coaching practice.

Studies show taking action builds confidence, and pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone with a regular diet of low risks is the sure path to reaching your potential!  So instead of pitching yourself against a prospect too daunting to deal with, try adding low risk action item(s), or confidence hacks, to your calendar on a weekly basis until you feel ready to step up to meet your challenges with the confidence you need to succeed.

Ready to move forward on the path to your career goals? Build Your Brand with these 7 Career Goal Confidence Hacks

  • Set up a LinkedIn account if you don’t already have one. Click here to download your LinkedIn Basics Worksheet
  • Send a LinkedIn connection request to someone in your industry you haven’t yet met.
  • Share an article on an online professional networking platform, like an industry specific blog or LinkedIn group.
  • Update your resume or online professional profile to highlight a success or accomplishment
  • Ask for an introduction to someone in an organization or industry you’d like to know more about
  • Attend an industry-specific workshop and meet at least one new person
  • Ask a former colleague out for coffee and get caught up on industry news

I know firsthand this isn’t easy but venturing outside of your comfort zone is where the growth happens.

It’s a new mindset, requiring planning and practice.  Yet applying this process is well worth the effort; developing self-confidence is a critical key to reaching your potential!

About the Author

NextCareer Coaching founder Elizabeth Borelli is a professionally trained Career Coach, curriculum developer and workshop facilitator. Frustrated by a lack of resources for candidates ready to return to work after a career break, she created CareerBuilders Bootcamps; a set of interactive, online courses to accelerate job search success.

Engaging, online courses combined with one-to-one coaching calls prepare job seekers to find the right new career opportunities, helping them to stay positive and engaged throughout the process.

Are you considering returning to work in 2019, but not sure you’re ready? Take the quiz!