Challenge Yourself

Last week, I was preparing dinner and suddenly realised there is no atta (flour) at home. I panicked. What should I do? Rush to the grocery shop or call the grocer to deliver it or ask someone in the family to get it fast. Pause. I told myself- It’s ok if there is no atta. Let me not buy atta till next weekend and see what happens. For the full week I treated us with some interesting unusual dishes that otherwise I would not have explored.

“If something that you’re doing doesn’t challenge you, then it doesn’t change you.”Challenge yourself

Challenging yourself from time to time is a good way to practice and prepare for the unexpected challenges that often come up in life and help us to be in control. We usually fall into routine because it’s easy, manageable and predictable. But our routines will not take us in direction of greater heights. We need our daily dose of challenge.

Here are few simple ways of making yourself uncomfortable:

  1. Go for a digital detox- Try it this weekend- no computer/phone/TV.  Enjoy the real people around you.
  2. Figure out one thing that you are scared of. Promise yourself to do that for one week consistently.
  3. Go Backpacking- Rather than taking an all inclusive luxury tour go backpacking. Pack basics and travel local, eat local, stay local.
  4. Learn something new- pick up a hobby, a language, a new skill-driving, cooking anything. Make it a project and take it to completion.
  5. Identify one expense head that you can cut back realistically. Now invest the amount you save.

 

When you get out of your comfort zone, you explore new possibilities. New routes open for you. You get creative. You explore the unexplored. Making yourself uncomfortable and challenging yourself will help you grow your skills and knowledge and above all give you the belief that You Can!

Let us know how you are going to challenge yourself in the comments below.

Keep Calm and Carry On

Keep calm“I have been trying to return to work from past so many months, I feel so suffocated and frustrated…”  Job search especially after a career break is tough and often brings lots of negative energy. Self doubt, frustration of futile attempts, disappointments can leave us feeling worthless. But negativity and frustration only lead to a downward spiral. We need to trust ourselves during rough patches and keep going. But how? Let’s start with five minutes.

Brad Willis, a former NBC News foreign correspondent and now a Vedic scholar-Bhava Ram, shares some simple steps with Inc. to increase your calm and mental focus any time, even sitting at a desk- by taking five minutes to follow these eight steps. These are not very difficult meditation and yoga techniques but very simple easy to do steps with some proven big results.

1. Close your eyes.

Bring your attention inward, and notice that you are moving to internalized awareness. Set aside the distractions and stimulations of the day for the moment.

2. Listen to your breath.

Really listen, Bhava Ram advises. “Make it deeper, slower, smoother, and fuller.”

3. Feel your body.

Follow your breath as it reaches all of your body’s outer edges.

4. Feel the support beneath you.

That’s the chair you’re sitting on and the floor under your feet, but ultimately it’s the planet itself. “Feel the support of the earth,” he says.

5. Think “I” as you inhale and “am” as you exhale.

Continue repeating these thoughts as you breathe. This will deepen your calm and inner focus. “It’s implementing a yoga pose for the mind,”

6. Bring your awareness to your heart center.

The “heart center,” which is the fourth chakra, or energy point in your body, is a spot right behind your breastbone. Focus your attention there “as though it were the light of a candle flame,” he says.

7. Stay in the moment.

Remember that you are here in the present moment and that you have everything you need to solve the problems before you.

8. Remember that we are all connected.

“All of us are connected with all that is,” Bhava Ram says. “And in this state of awareness, begin to contemplate the task at hand.”

Give yourself this time every day to bring some positive energy, increased focus and self belief into your life.

Things to Do on a Career Break

Things to do on career break

You have decided to quit working for a while. May be just for a year or two. Life circumstances sometimes force us to take decisions that we don’t want to. Leaving your career, giving your ambitions a back-seat is certainly not easy.

But if you want to bounce back after this phase is over, prepare for it! Returning to work is not easy after a career break. Here are few things you can do to make sure your career break is a productive one. Whatever your circumstances are, try to dedicate 1-2 hours daily to nurture your career, to keep you updated and to make returning to work easy for you. Listed are few life events that might have forced you to quit and some things you can do to make your coming back easy.

  1. Relocation: Spouse relocation is quiet common. Many women leave their jobs to accompany their husbands for their assignments abroad or because of getting married in some other city/state. See your break as an opportunity to learn a new language, understand a new culture. Take online courses. It’s easy to volunteer in most of the countries. Contribute your skills for a cause that will also help you keep updated in your field and later you can show it as experience in your profile.
  2. Child Birth and Care: When the baby is small make time to take few online certification courses in your domain to up skill yourself. When you have little bit more time in your hand opt for Freelancing. Working on live projects will ensure you are never out of touch.
  3. Elderly Care: Similar to child care- depending upon the time you have, opt for online courses and freelancing.
  4. Health and other personal problems: It depends on your health condition. If you are completely bed ridden take time to recover without the additional guilt of career break. Keep in touch through reading from online and offline resources.

 

For all the above conditions a universal rule is never to disappear from the scene. Be active on LinkedIn, keep in touch with your colleagues and friends through social media and other channels. Read business news and current affairs to know what changes are happening.

And when you are ready to return, send us your profile and we’ll try our best to help you return to work.

 

 

 

How to Work from Home (Part- 2): Telecommuting

Dilbert © Scott Adams, Inc./Dist. by UFS, Inc.

Dilbert © Scott Adams, Inc./Dist. by UFS, Inc.

Many big employers in India are now offering policies and programme to assist their women employees through crucial milestones of life. Companies are making an effort to retain women in their workforce by providing them the option of working from home. Employers are recognising the need of a work environment that supports a good work life balance and in many cases it actually increases employee availability, productivity and retention.

Technology companies took the lead in India by introducing mobility suite of IT applications that allow access to office IT infrastructure from anywhere. This enabled work from home and flex time. Companies now offer various flexible working models to cater to different segments of employees who have diverse needs and priorities.

Work from home programs are blessing for women who have to take care of personal and social responsibilities along with their job. Such flexible work options help women to continue with their careers at critical life stages like child birth or elderly care.

Many employers generally are reluctant to hire a new employee who wants to work from home from day one. A better and feasible arrangement is to work from office for initial months to familiarise with the company’s work culture and later switch to working from home. It’s an understanding between employer and employee if she would prefer a temporary work from home arrangement or would like to work permanently from home.

Work from home does not hinder ones’ career growth directly, but employees working from home have to work harder than their in-office peers to increase their visibility, showcase their contributions and to network. It takes lots of discipline and hard work.

In India, a common dilemma for employees is that working from home affects their career prospects and lower the chances of a promotion.  It is partially true however here are few tips to make remote working work for you:

-Self Discipline: Do not take work-from-home for granted. With liberty comes responsibility- you have flexibility on your time but deadlines should be always adhered to.

-Time Management: The success of telecommuting depends on effective time management. You need to decide your working hours and communicate it to your colleagues too. Mixing up work and home responsibilities will only increase your stress.

-Be in Touch: Do not isolate yourself. Stay in touch with colleagues at work so that you are aware of what is happening out there, attend office parties and get-togethers. If possible, plan to be in office for sometime (ideally no less than once a week).

-Effective Communication: When you are not physically present in a meeting, effective communication becomes quiet critical to help you in making your presence felt.

In the end, flexibility must lead to increased productivity to make remote working successful.

How to Work from Home (Part-1): Freelancing

Work from Home

Work from home broadly defines two scenarios: Either a person working for a company opts to work from home (telecommute) or a person works from home independently as a freelancer (self employment). Focus for this post is freelancing.

Freelancing is a good choice for those who prefer versatility and flexibility. Certain skill sets like designing, writing, translation, accounting, photography, social media, apps development are more apt for freelancing. Many freelancing sites in India are not legitimate thus searching and identifying the right freelance projects is not easy. There are plenty of good global websites that can help you find suitable projects worldwide as a freelancer for a small fee.

Below are key pointers to help you establish as a freelancer:

-Showcase your skills: Build an online portfolio, a blog or a facebook page as per your expertise. References from previous clients are a big plus.

-Research your client: Distinguish between legitimate work from home jobs and stay away from scams.

-Build Your Network: As a freelancer you will be working alone most of the times. Try to network with people in your domain by attending seminars, conferences etc.

-Use Social Media: Promote your offerings on social media like LinkedIn and Facebook.

-Know your Worth: Depending upon your experience level and expertise decide the amount you will be charging for your services.

Though it might be difficult to find well-paying clients at the beginning but start small and build your credibility gradually as a freelancer. Freelancers need to decide the optimum price of their services. Your earnings depend upon your expertise and the amount of work you undertake. For freelancers it is also important to keep themselves up-skilled in their domains. So they should consider re-investing a part of their income in their career growth through various trainings, courses and conferences.

Tools and Templates to Pep Up Your Resume

Resume writing is a tedious task. To make your resume impressive and make it stand out is even more challenging. Here we present some easy to use resume tools ‘n templates from the web that will help you get started and are absolutely free to use.

Text Resume: These resume are always a safe bet for a conservative corporate environment. Use these templates to give a creative touch to your profile without going overboard.

resume-template-1

free-resume-template_10

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 For more such templates visit: Primer Magazine

 

 

Infographic Resume: Get Creative, give your plain text resume a makeover. Infographic resumes are great way of showing your profile online. Create a visually stunning resume using this resume builder powered by Accenture.

Infographic Resume

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Video Resume:

Also known as profile video, creating a video resume is an excellent way to stand out from the competition. There are many tools available online to create your video profile. Tools like Resu-me can let you instantly convert your LinkedIn profile to a compelling video resume complete with a voice over and infographic.

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