Jess Wass is a Career Coach & OD Consultant with a Masters in Org Psych. Follow me on IG (@jwass24) or www.jesswass.com.
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Something funny begins to happen in your late 20s/early 30s, or whenever you face a massive crisis or life stage transition. You start to look at your life and ask yourself, am I really happy? Is this the life I wanted to lead? What you find is that the early part of our life is guided by what I call “box checking”. Influenced by the “shoulds” and the “coulds”. I should do that. I could do that. If you’re lucky you hit a bump in the road that allows you the chance to pause and question, is this what I want? Did I actually choose this or did I just let other people make those decisions for me? What would it look like if I made a choice based on my needs and desires instead of everyone else’s? …


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We’ve all had experiences, particularly over the last few weeks, when we attempted to start a new project but struggled to make progress and complete it. However, the reason we haven’t completed that project isn’t because we are lazy, unmotivated, or didn’t have the time. The real reason is because of a sneaky little affliction called perfectionism.

Over the last few weeks, I had two different friends, both of whom are entrepreneurs, decide to use this time to finally get a new website launched for their business. The problem is, each of them had been kicking around this idea for months and still had nothing to show for it. The problem wasn’t their motivation, their abilities, or that they were too busy. Rather, perfectionism was preventing them from making progress. Perfectionism was causing them to get distracted by all the potential details and decisions that could be made in the process of creating a website. …


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Photo by Icons8 Team on Unsplash

I rolled my eyes as I received another email from Dave*.

A few weeks earlier, Dave and I were friendly colleagues who would have brief catch up conversations when we’d run into each other in the office. But now, we were butting heads every day and it simultaneously befuddled me and infuriated me. I had always thought of myself as someone who got along well with different people and could handle even the most contentious employees. That is what struck me as odd with this situation. Dave didn’t have a reputation for being unreasonable and neither did I. So why were we not able to get along while working together on this project? Yes the project was stressful, but it hadn’t caused me to have conflicts with anyone else on the team who was supporting this project. The easiest answer was that Dave was a jerk. …


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“What are you?”

I was daydreaming a bit while waiting for the train to arrive, but the question interrupted my thoughts.

“I’m sorry, what?”, I asked as I came out of my mental slumber.

“What are you? You Puerto Rican or something?”, he asked.

This is where I sigh silently to myself as I make a quick calculation on whether I have to divulge my personal family history to a stranger in order to make polite conversation or risk upsetting them by rebuffing their question.

I should note this is unfortunately not an unusual question or occurrence for me. You would think it would be odd for a complete stranger, whom you are not engaged in any sort of conversation or interaction, to stop you and ask you about something so personal. When I was a younger woman, I chalked it up to a bad flirting tactic, as it usually happened with men. However, I noticed over the last few years that the situations, aggressors, and questions would evolve and change to the point where I had to acknowledge it wasn’t about flirting. …


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Not to get into politics, but in many parts of the country, companies have acknowledged that bringing employees back together on a large scale is going to take some more time. As a result, remote working is not disappearing before the end of the year and may linger beyond that. In fact, some companies like REI have even decided to sell their corporate headquarters . That means it is worth the investment to improve your skills related to managing your remote team, whether your entire team remains remote or only a portion. There are growing pains associated with transitioning to managing a remote team. …


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Photo by S O C I A L . C U T on Unsplash

Back in 2018, I finally had the right motivation to make significant changes in my life, but struggled with how to turn those ideas into action. Despite being a high-achiever with a string of past roles at high-performing companies across Finance, Consulting, and Startups, I had never set personal goals for myself. There was always a fear that if I set goals then I’d feel too pressured or overwhelmed to achieve them. Or if I didn’t hit my goals, I would somehow be a failure. The key to overcoming my fears was to adopt a growth mindset and create a goal-setting process that would make it “dummy-proof” for myself to succeed. …


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There are often two schools of thought when it comes to deciding whether or not you need to focus more on your strengths or weaknesses. On one hand, you could focus on addressing your weaknesses so they do not hold you back in your career. On the other hand, you can ignore your weaknesses and focus on leaning into your strengths. But which is the correct approach? In order to answer that question we need to explore a bit more about each perspective.

The first important question to consider is, “What is a weakness?” Is it a skill in which we don’t have innate talent or is it something in which we are less practiced and experienced? …


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Photo by Sasha Freemind on Unsplash

Our thoughts can influence our feelings which then affect the actions we take. As a result, negative self-talk can often become a vicious merry-go-round of negativity. So how do you get off the ride? Here are four steps you can take to combat your negative self-talk and start to break the cycle.

RESPECT

Respect yourself and your feelings by acknowledging, yet not judging, your negative feelings. The first way that people get stuck in the quicksand of negativity is by beating themselves up for having negative thoughts in the first place. For many of us, our negative thoughts are automatic. Changing our automated thought process takes time and training. In the meantime, we need to be kind to ourselves. Acknowledging the feelings without allowing them to trigger us into more negativity is the first step to breaking the cycle. …


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Photo by Bench Accounting on Unsplash

It’s easy to get so caught up in our to-do lists that we lack the time to think about the big picture, solve hard problems, or just reflect on the work we are doing. We are constantly moving at a million miles a minute and that constant go-go-go is not beneficial to us. So I was inspired by Marie Kondo as I thought about how to change up my daily routine to allow more time and space for reflection and what brings me joy.

Mario Kondo’ing your work-life means maximizing the time spent on the things that bring you joy. Now I know what you are thinking…not everyone has the luxury of working for themselves and having full control over their work. For those of you working full-time or just feeling overwhelmed, you can still apply this principle to your work life. …


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At one of my earlier jobs in my career, I was like any young overachieving 20-something. I was eager, hungry, and wanted to have a huge impact on my company. Being promoted was on my mind from the moment I stepped foot into the building. However, promotions require more than executing your job well. One of the core skills you also need is being able to “manage up”.

When most people think about the term “managing up” they think about how to communicate with and manage their boss’s expectations. However, it’s less about managing or trying to control your boss and more about delivering value and leverage. …

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