5 reasons breaking my arm was worth the pain

Resilience turns pain into learning

I’m not a big fan of tourist buses, so I decided to take the local bus to Portofino. This proved to be a bad decision. The bus was overcrowded, and I was squashed into the space next to the door. My arm was trapped when the door opened resulting in a fractured elbow and risk. In some ways, my visit to the Italian hospital was even more traumatic than the accident itself. In the long months of recovery and rehab though, I learned some valuable lessons in resilience. I’ve always been fascinated by the psychology of resilience. After all, resilience is what allows us to bounce back after traumatic or negative experiences. My accident certainly gave me an opportunity to test my practical application of what I’ve learned through all my years of studying this field. Five unexpected lessons emerged from my mishap.

 

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Everyone’s an expert these days

Have you noticed how popular the word “expert” is becoming on social media profiles? My quick search of LinkedIn has just yielded a result of 885,170 results for people using the word expert in their profiles. Many of them fail to explain exactly what their expertise is. For example, among the top 20 people who appeared in my search, six use the format “Expert at (company name)” as their profile headline. Four use the format “(very broad topic) expert”, for example, “digital expert”. This haphazard use of the term is rendering the label expert meaningless and that poses a problem. If you are genuinely an expert in your field, wanting to showcase your technical or professional mastery, you need to overcome this problem. I recommend that you begin to behave like an expert, rather than simply relying on labelling yourself as one.

 

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Glass-ceiling-proof your career

It’s an all-too-familiar tale. Serena makes rapid progress in the early days of her career, then for no apparent reason, her momentum stalls. Despite her desire to continue developing, she is unable to access a more senior role. In everyday language, we call this hitting the glass ceiling. What exactly does this term mean? Is it still relevant to professionals in today’s business world? And if so, what can we do when we hit the glass ceiling?

 

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Transform your skills into talents

Given a choice between a talented job candidate and a skilled job seeker, most recruiters would select the person with talent. Why? Because talent implies a higher level of accomplishment and mastery. A talented staff member is someone with extra flair or ability. Imagine an organisation which only employs talented people. If that’s the sort of business you want experience in, you need to learn how to transform skills into talents. 

 

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When no one takes you seriously, do this

It’s a gripe I often hear in my Women in Leadership program. “My team doesn’t take me seriously.” “My boss doesn’t take me seriously.” “My colleagues don’t take me seriously.” Often this issue is expressed as a criticism of the other party. However, it’s usually a sign that the speaker needs to work on boosting her credibility. That, of course, is advice that’s usually offered with little thought given to how precisely it can be implemented. After all, credibility is an abstract concept. But to build it, a leader needs to take concrete action. 

Doing this becomes easier when you understand the three basic components of credibility. Most dictionary definitions of credibility will mention trustworthiness and believability. To this list, I think we should add congruence, or the ability to be perceived as walking your talk. Let’s explore these three components of credibility, seeking methods of building each one.  

 

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Beyond keywords – write to impress humans, not computers

Type ‘keywords’ LinkedIn into Google. What do you see? Your first page of search results will include three types of article. Firstly, keyword and search engine optimisation advice. Secondly, a list of verbs to include in your profile. Thirdlylist of words not to include in your LinkedIn profile. While this advice will help candidates get their profiles through automated candidatescreening processes, it won’t help them make a great impression. This is because the principles that make for good search engine optimisation are the opposite of principles of influential language use.  

 

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How recruiters view LinkedIn photos

Once a job candidate’s LinkedIn profile is clicked on by a recruiter, what happens next? It’s a critical question for both job seekers and recruiters. Thanks to the fields of applied psychology and eye tracking technology, interesting answers are emerging. This article explores what we now know about how recruiters view and make sense of profile pictures on LinkedIn. Let’s start with what eye tracking technology has revealed. A study conducted in 2012 demonstrated that recruiters spend 19% of their time looking at the head shot when viewing LinkedIn profiles. While that sounds like a reasonable amount of time, in practical terms, it translates to approximately one second per profile page. This means job seekers need to take the old saying First impressions count very seriously indeed. And so do recruiters. After all, first impressions are usually created at an unconscious level and therefore, can trigger unconscious biases.

 

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Why be competent when you could be excellent?

I was an experienced trainer when the competency-based training model was introduced in Australia. When I first heard the term competency-based, I thought, Why would anyone want to be competent when they could strive for excellence? Today, I believe this reaction reflected a mindset which has underpinned my success as a consultant. It also explains why I enjoy working in learning and development. I’m always thrilled to meet people who share my passion for excellence and self-improvement.

 

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Speak the language of influence

First-rate negotiators are adroit influencers. They know how to subtly guide their counterparts’ thinking by making smart linguistic choices. These are word choices that prime a listener to give a positive reaction. Think about the most influential people you know. I bet they’re skilled in the art of priming. They keep others on-side by framing their messages in positive and collaborative language. This means they get ‘yes’ responses more frequently.

 

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Don’t let ‘no’ hold you back

It’s a frustrating situation. During a high-stakes negotiation, your counterpart shoots down every idea you put on the table. They respond to every suggestion you make with a resounding ‘no’. They definitely don’t seem to know how to disagree without being disagreeable. Oh dear. This behaviour can really bog down a negotiation and create a stalemate.

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