Friday, December 28, 2018

If You Didn't Accomplish Your Goal in 2018, Try This in 2019

I wrote this article in 2014 and it’s still relevant now. With a new year upon us, this is a great time to review what worked, what didn’t, and try something different…enjoy. 
— Stacey Young Rivers
Once when I attended a women’s entrepreneur event, I met a young lady who was experiencing the most remarkable things. She had just completed her MBA, published a children’s book, created an interactive companion app for the book, and was on a mini marketing tour for PR. As I sat next to her in an adjacent booth stuffing bags for the event patrons, I launched into interview mode for the next 15 minutes. The more we talked, the more I became impressed with her humbleness as she described what she had accomplished and the plan she was starting to work on. During the conversation I complimented her achievements, and as she downplayed the magnitude of being a newly published author, I realized that she, like most of us, don’t stop to appreciate the wins that got us here.
As you look back over your life surveying your accomplishments, did you stop to celebrate and appreciate your achievements as they occurred? The saying “stop and smell the flowers” is as relevant now as ever and should be the sign hanging on your mirror, refrigerator, vision board, or where ever you look to get instant inspiration. I, too, have fallen victim to looking forward to “the next thing” that I rarely gave my self time to revel in what ambition and drive allowed me capture as part of a growing portfolio. There are certain things we should do to fully engage in the process of achieving our goals and now is a great time to assess how we can enhance the journey.
First, focusing on just the destination, and not stopping to celebrate once you arrive, can be a symptom of a bigger issue. This is when self-awareness becomes really important, and if you are not, I encourage you to start using situations like this to understand who you are. Learning about who you are while you are going through the peaks and valleys can help insulate you against what any naysayers or negative thoughts may try to tell you.
Second, so what the journey is challenging on the way to the destination? Don’t get discouraged or let discomfort rob you of realizing the lesson and who you are becoming as a result. The ability to be cognizant and appreciative of the obstacles you are overcoming along the way is an indication of growth and resilience. You will miss this value in the process if your only focus is rushing towards the destination.
In 2019, consider what you can do different to enhance your journey while working towards your goals:
  • Make a mental note or journal about your thoughts during this time. Reflect on the lessons you are learning along the way.
  • Thank those who encourage and support you now, not later. People don’t know the value of their actions unless you tell them.
  • As you learn, share your lessons with someone else to encourage them while you are going through your process. This alone can give you a sense of purpose and make the journey enjoyable.
  • Be threatened or feel apprehensive about others who may reach their goals before you. We are all on different paths and your time will come to claim your success.
  • Dismiss how you are feeling, positive or negative. It is strategic to understand the “why” behind your feelings and embrace change.
  • Minimize what you have done to get to where you are. Have a healthy balance of humbleness and confidence. Talk positively and candidly about yourself, opening the door to help others who may be in a difficult place.
I see accomplishments as a tool to drive you to your greatest you. The mere fact that you set a goal and accomplished it is evidence of your potential and desire to grow. What is not embraced is the friction, uncertainty, awkwardness, or uncomfortable feelings we experience as part of the process. What we are not aware of is that this is the very essence of what it means to be “accomplished”, “an overcomer”, or “a success” because you grappled with the resistance in the process to realize the benefit.
Analyzing and learning more about you during the journey makes the accomplishment even sweeter in the end. Reflecting on what you made happen and sharing your unique story of triumph can fuel you on to create new goals. Even more, your behavior becomes a model and encourages others to pursue and accomplish their goals too, and that is the definition of a real influencer.
Take time in 2019 to think different about your approach for accomplishing your goals. Celebrate your wins and reflect on lessons learned to create a richer experience for you and those around you.
Connect me with on one of the sites below…
LinkedIn or IG: Stacey Young Rivers and @staceyrivers2023

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Why Most Applicants Underestimate This Job Prep Tactic

How do you know if the company you are applying to will meet all of your needs? Why do you think you are a fit for the role? What don't you know about the company's culture that may derail your career plan? 

Getting the answers to these questions before accepting a job with a company is imperative to creating a successful career plan. Applicants usually make the mistake of not talking with professionals in the industry or employees at a company where they desire to work to find out if the job or the culture is a fit. As part of your interview preparation process, it is important to uncover what you may not know. Like the mock interview, an informational interview is an underutilized tool that can give applicants essential insights and great connections before starting with a new company. Most people don't use this tactic because they fear people won't accept the invitation.

This is the one job prep tactic you can't afford not to try. Most people will share what they know as long as you are professional in your approach. Find out what you can do to gain the information you need and build relationships. 

Things to consider before you get started:

Conduct your own research about the company before you engage anyone for the informational interview. You have access to public information about the company via the internet. This will eliminate wasting time for data that is available and will inform your questions for more in-depth answers.

Approach every interview with the intent of making a real connection. Coming across superficial, opportunistic, and self-serving will immediately send red flags to your contact who may either reject your invitation or be reluctant to share real experiences that can give you the insight you need.

Be flexible with your time since it is you who is seeking information and insight. Time is money; your contact can surely use his or her time for something else.

IMPORTANT: Be professional and approach the informational interview like you would a real meeting. At every stage of the job search process, you are being observed by those you encounter along the way. Making the mistake of being unprofessional, too casual, or using poor judgment can hinder your opportunity to join the company you are targeting.


The easiest way to find contacts who will share insights about their company is to look at who you already know. If you have been actively networking, you should either have a connection with the company you are targeting or know someone who does.

1) If the contact is in your network, invite him or her for coffee, lunch, or "virtual coffee" to talk about the company.

2) If a contact in your network knows someone who works for the company, ask them to make a formal introduction through email. As soon as the email is sent, "reply all" to keep your contact on the email for support.

Introduce yourself and ask to meet via conference call, coffee, or lunch. Make sure you allow the contact to share their availability and convenience.

3) If you nor your contacts know anyone, search LinkedIn to see the profiles of those employed or previously employed. Send an Inmail to let them know you are considering employment with the specific company and would like to assess whether the culture is a fit for your needs.

4) Before attending the interview, make sure you are familiar with your contact's profile (background, experience, accomplishments). Research could be conducted via LinkedIn, Google, or your immediate colleague if they provided you with the contact.  


1) Introduce yourself and have a resume prepared for the contact

2)  Come with documented questions

3) Don't ask personal questions unless the contact shares his or her information first

4) Don't take more time than you scheduled, keep track of time and close out the interview a couple of minutes before the end
Once you have met with your contact, thank him or her with an email or written note. Make sure to keep track of all the details you are gathering from your conversations and compile your records. It's important to schedule the time to talk with a mentor or career coach about your findings.

Don't forget to connect via LinkedIn with your new contacts and determine how you can return the favor. You should use this connection as an opportunity to add to your network and build relationships.


Connect with me on Twitter or Follow Me on LinkedIn for more career advice tips.