Artisan Blog

4 Tips for Being a Better Co-Worker

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

4 Tips for Being a Better Co-Worker

 

Whether you're working on-site or remotely, as part of an agency or in-house team, it is increasingly important to work more respectfully and effectively with others. Good team players are in demand because they get results, are collaborative and easy to work with. Moreover, maintaining a positive attitude toward those around you especially through challenging times will ripple out into all areas of your life.

Here are four easy to be a better coworker in 2018 and beyond.

1. Communication

As interdependent creatures, our lives require a collaborative effort. In order to contribute and do work they can take pride in, your coworkers must be heard, and know that they are heard.

Practice active listening techniques and asking questions to make sure everyone on your team has ample opportunity to shine and to add their secret sauce to the recipe. This will allow you to work more efficiently, more effectively, and will give you a chance to see what the team can accomplish when everyone has a chance to offer their best.

2. Appreciation

Everyone deserves equal respect, and we all bring different skills, talents, and passions to a team. When you praise and encourage coworkers where they excel, as well as share constructive feedback where appropriate, you have the potential to help and discover the unique greatness of each individual you work with.

When you offer appreciation, be specific. It's nice to be told, "you're awesome." It's more useful and meaningful to know what particular things that have done well. For example, you could say, " I really appreciate the way you communicate your ideas, as it opens a new perspective on how to approach this particular challenge. What other thoughts do you have on this?"

3. Credit

None of us live in a vacuum. We are each the products of our environments and of the relationships we foster with those around us. Everything we create in life is the result of an endless series of interactions and collaborations.

Therefore, when you achieve a goal or accomplish something remarkable, always share the credit with those who helped you along the way. This will show others that you think in terms of the group, which will inspire them to contribute to more success in the future.

Share your credit, and others will share your responsibility.

4. Support

Many of us spend as much time with our coworkers as we do with our friends and families. Therefore, even if you're not at the center of a colleague's life, it is important to pay attention to what's going on with them and to offer emotional support as much as you can.

If a coworker needs to step back or take time off for their physical and emotional health, let them know you respect their decision to care for themselves, and offer to pick up the slack in whatever ways are needed.

Be mindful of the humanity of everyone you work with, whether colleagues, clients, customers, or the people who serve you in any capacity - especially when it’s difficult! By sowing goodwill, and having empathy you'll accomplish more, get more of what you really want, and experience greater peace of mind.

At Artisan Creative, we strive to help professionals make the most of their careers and lives and help teams thrive. Contact us today to find your dream team.

We hope you've enjoyed the 462nd issue of our a.blog.

 


14 Collaboration Apps We Love

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

14 Collaboration Apps We Love

If your team is still using the email inbox as an organizational tool and yelling over cubicles, it’s time for you to explore some of the brilliantly useful collaboration, chat, and project management apps that are available.

Since the rise of Basecamp in the 2000s, an array of such apps has appeared, with different user interfaces, internal logic, pros, and cons. Some are focused on internal communication, while others have better document-sharing and time-management features. If you’re new to collaboration, chat, and project management apps, we suggest trying a few different ones to see which one proves most effective for your projects and your team.

In celebration of February 14th, Valentine’s Day, here are 14 apps we love because they drive collaboration. Since our Artisan Creative a.team works virtually, we rely on many of the apps below to communicate, collaborate and connect.

Basecamp

It was one of the first project management programs, and it’s still one of the simplest, with to-dos, discussions, and file-sharing capabilities that are easy to master.

Slack

This team chat app is beloved for a reason. It works well for organizing discussions, whether among groups or one-on-one. While it lacks some of the more sophisticated project-management capabilities found elsewhere, it gets things done, and it’s fun.  Slack has made our virtual team communication organized, efficient and easy.

Asana

Asana is gaining popularity for its focus on results. It works well for tracking projects, assignments, time, and contributions from team members.

Trello

Trello’s “boards” provide an engaging and friendly UI. It takes some effort to master, but it’s easy on the eyes, and it’s changed the way some teams tackle their projects.  A recent favorite, we use Trello for everything these days! From communicating about our open jobs to onboarding and training new hires, we love Trello.

Wunderlist

Microsoft acquired this German-designed task-management app and planned to sunset it, much to the chagrin of its unusually devoted user base. Despite protests, it may be absorbed by Microsoft To-Do in 2018, so give it a whirl while you can.

Discord

This voice and text chat platform, designed for gamers, is so robust and functional that it’s drawn a cult following among startups and professionals, too. It lacks strong project-management capabilities but can be used in conjunction with other programs by off-site teams who rely heavily on responsivity.

Airtable

Popular among publishers and heavy spreadsheet users, Airtable’s internal logic takes some getting used to. When you get to know it, it’s a charming and versatile suite of project-management tools with a colorful personality, with particularly strong versioning and backup capabilities.

Calendly

Calendly makes meeting planning easy! Gone are the days of emailing back and forth to schedule time for a conversation or a meeting.   Calendly integrates with our Google calendar to make life, and conversation scheduling easy!

Smartsheet

For seasoned spreadsheet-wranglers, the Smartsheet UI may look familiar. It’s a humble and practical program, comfortable for heavy Excel users, increasingly useful for those who spend time getting to know it.

LiquidPlanner

Sophisticated, expensive, and a bit intimidating, LiquidPlanner works well for larger teams with a lot of moving parts. If you’re ambitious or you’re outgrowing your current programs, give it a look.

Sharepoint

Part of the MS Office Suite, Sharepoint is popular among teams using Windows. It integrates with the chat app Yammer, and allows easy content management and collaboration across organizations.

Teamwork

With project management, chat, and an easy mobile experience under one roof, Teamwork is popular among creative and web development teams. If you enjoy the free trial, you can do an impressive amount of work using Teamwork tools.

Taskworld

This highly visual and goal-oriented project management app is popular among users of Apple products. Founded by billionaire jewelry magnate Fred Mouawad, its eccentric personality has won it a devoted cult following.

Google Drive

What started as the world’s most successful search engine has created an impressive array of products that integrate brilliantly. Between Gmail, Docs, Hangouts, and Calendars, many teams have found that they work best using nothing but Google apps, especially since the vast majority of web users have some familiarity with Google-brand UX.

As creative staffing leaders, we work with some of the most forward-thinking talent and clients in the business, which makes us experts on how professionals and teams choose their tools, manage their work, and collaborate more effectively. Contact Artisan Creative today and share your favorite app.

We hope you've enjoyed the 461st issue of our a.blog!


Dos and Don'ts of Job Applications

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Dos and Don'ts of Job Applications

An on-line job application is your first impression with potential employers. Being conscious and deliberate about this crucial first step can help target your job search process.  As you strive to learn and make each application a bit better than the last, you may find that applying for jobs can be an exciting chance to move your life and work to another level.

As talent advocates in the creative business, we have observed some consistent patterns as to which job applications are more likely to open doors. Here are a few best practices, as well as common mistakes to avoid - knowing these can save you a lot of time in your job search.

DO: Apply For Jobs You Want, and Tailor Each Application

If you must choose between quantity and quality of applications, go with quality every time. It's easy to apply for jobs online - every hiring manager who posts an ad is likely to get deluged with applications. To get noticed in this flood, it is essential that you pay attention to the text and subtext of the ad.

Craft your profile so it aligns with the hiring manager's expectations and present yourself in a way that communicates that you want not just any job, you want this job. If you are mindful about your application, it will stand out from the vast majority of those who simply apply for as many jobs as possible, as quickly as possible.

DON'T: Spray and Pray

New job-hunting interfaces with one-click "Easy Apply" features make it possible to apply for dozens of jobs per hour, but that doesn't necessarily make this a constructive practice. Make sure you exclusively apply for jobs that you understand and that you know are a good match for your goals, skills, and expectations. Always show enough consideration for the time of hiring managers and recruiters. Target the companies that you are really interested in. Your thoughtfulness will pay dividends over the course of your job search.

DO: Present Yourself Well

When creating your resume, cover letter, and other application materials, maintain a positive mindset and present yourself, your skills, and your accomplishments in the most appropriate light. You've worked hard to get where you are, and you're looking for the best opportunity to contribute and to take your career to the next level.

DON'T: Fib or Exaggerate

If you tell the truth, it's easy to remember! Duplicity isn't worth the mental energy, and it is easy enough to find the truth in our super-connected electronic age. If you mislead about your capabilities, you may find yourself in an interview for which you are not qualified, which is scary and embarrassing. Be realistic and honest, and you will make more progress in your career over time.

DO: Make Your Application User-Friendly

Keep it short - resumes of one or two pages, and cover letters of no more than five succinct paragraphs, are more likely to be read in full. For resumes, use lists with bullets, clear headings, and easy-to-read typography. Be mindful of applicant tracking software, and use common industry terms and keywords that are likely to capture the attention of robots as well as humans.

DON'T: Go Overboard With Style

Unless you're a graphic designer showing off a particular aesthetic sensibility, stick with a simple, minimalist resume that is easy on the eyes. Don't include pictures, colors, flourishes, competing typefaces, or other distractions. Your resume should be functional first. Focus on communicating your value for maximum efficiency and impact.

Contact Artisan Creative today to learn more about how you can make your application stand out. And read our advice on how to perfect your portfolio and how to have a great interview to help land your dream job.

We hope you've enjoyed the 459th issue of our weekly a.blog.


How to Build a Referral Business

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

How to Build a Referral Business

As a freelancer, doing excellent work is only one part of your job - you have to make sure that potential customers know about it. According to survey results, freelance creative professionals rate referrals, (particularly traditional word-of-mouth referrals) as their single most important source of new business. It pays to be deliberate about getting as many referrals as possible.

As you build your freelancing career, developing a strong referral network will ensure you have access to the best opportunities you need to grow, build your skills, and make more money. Here are a few techniques that freelancers use to get more referrals that generate a steady increase in business.

Build Your Personal Brand

As a freelancer, you must think of yourself as a small business that represents a certain attitude and system of values. According to brand-building coach Rajiv Nathan, it requires a deeper process of discovering who you are, what you do, and why it matters to you.

"It’s really about figuring out the core of what you believe in as a person and using that to structure how you think about yourself, talk about yourself, and the lifestyle you want to live," says Nathan. "What is your definition of success? How do you know when you’ve made it? The pursuit of answering those big questions is what leads to the development of everything that we’re doing."

Nathan advises thinking of your brand in terms of storytelling and constructing your own "Hero's Journey" outline to define who you are in a way that resonates with others.

“Look at everything that people gravitate towards – it is the story," Nathan says. "People want a hero, a villain, and a plot. That’s basically how life is constructed as well. You make yourself out to be the heroes of your own life. There are villains along the way, climaxes, and valleys. We’re telling you to architect your story. You’re playing a character in your own life – where do you want to take the story?"

The more intriguing your story, the easier it is for it to spread. If you have a clear and compelling brand, you can generate positive word of mouth and get much more mileage from social media, where concise and specific stories cut through the clutter.

Refine Your Elevator Pitch

Your elevator pitch is the distilled essence of your personal brand. It is a fifteen-second summation of the value you offer, one you could use if you met your ideal client anywhere and had only a small slice of time in which to make a memorable impression.

Michael Katz at Freelancers Union advises thinking of your elevator pitch, not in terms of being dazzling or unique, and instead in terms of filling a need that others may have. "Stop trying to impress the people you meet with fancy-pants phrases that shine brightly for a minute and then evaporate," Katz says. "Instead, just help others understand and remember what you do."

Taking this approach to describing yourself will make it easy for others to recommend your work to people who ask if they know someone who can fill a particular role or niche.

Ask

The easiest way to get referrals from existing customers or connections is to ask for them. When you've worked well with a client, you can ask that client directly - it will help their reputation to be associated with a skilled and diligent freelancer. You must be bold about soliciting referrals - when you believe in your work, you cannot be shy about making sure it's available to anyone who wants it.

However, for such a request to be successful, it is important to pick the right time and the right circumstances in which to pose it.

"Ideal times to ask for referrals is right after they compliment you, or right before a final deal closes," says freelance blogger Kayla Sloan. "If things are going well, build off of that momentum. Ask if they would refer you, or if they know of anyone who could benefit from your services. Knowing when to ask for referrals is just as important as asking for them."

It may also make sense to add a referral link to your website, social media, or email signature so that anyone inclined to give you a referral finds it easy to do so.

Be Grateful

In some cases, offer incentives for referrals that result in new business. According to USA Today, more than 50% of people are more likely to give referrals if there is a modest incentive involved, such as a gift card or some branded swag.

Whether or not you offer incentives, you should go out of your way to show your appreciation to those who give you referrals. When a client gives you a referral, give them public kudos on social media or send a private, personal email to give thanks. You may even want to invest in old-fashioned thank-you cards sent through the mail, which can really brighten a client's day.

"I don’t ever send a thank-you message expecting something in return from a client, prospect, or contact," says Cherese Cobb, a writer, multimedia artist, and "Thank You Marketing" evangelist. "I do it because it’s polite. It’s like spreading a confetti of kindness that can have a positive impact on others. And I know it works to build relationships, get referrals, and land more freelance writing jobs."

If you are a freelancer working hard to turn your talent into a business, Artisan Creative has many resources and connections, and we're here to help you. Contact us today to learn more. 

 

We hope you've enjoyed the 458th issue of our weekly a.blog.

 

 


Actioning Your Goals

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Actioning Your Goals

Now that you’ve set your goals for the year and created your vision board, it’s important to devise a plan to stay on track and act on what you’ve set your mind to do.

In his book Triggers, Marshall Goldsmith says; “We are superior planners and inferior doers!” So in order to take action, we have to develop new habits, a razor-sharp focus, and be undeterred.

Below are some tools to help stay organized and focused and apply action to the plan at hand.

  1. Make the commitment! If they are truly important to you, then you owe it to yourself to commit to them. You set these goals for a reason.

  2. Keep to an organized calendar and protect your time. Great tools such as Toggle or Trello can be a huge benefit in managing your to-do list.

  3. Focus on the important matters. Urgent matters have a way of creeping in and taking over if you aren’t focused.

  4. Breakdown your to-do list into bite-size steps that need to happen daily or weekly for the goal to be accomplished.

  5. Add a timeline or date for accomplishing each step.

  6. Broadcast your goals and let your co-workers, friends, and family know so they can be your accountability partners.

  7. Ask for support where you need it. Delegating some tasks can open up your calendar to take care of the goals you have set.

  8. Know what you have to stop doing and be aware of your triggers, so you can adjust your mindset and offset any roadblocks. For example, let's say your plan is to set workout routine 3 times a week. If you already know that you have more energy in the mornings or mid-day than after work, set your routine and go to the gym to work or during lunch. The temptation to skip a workout after a long day may be too easy if you are already tired or hungry.

  9. Celebrate every win. Every small win is a step in the right direction. Don’t wait to accomplish the goal until you celebrate.

  10. Forgive. Every so often, we all stumble. It's ok. Just get back to your routine and the new habits you are trying to create.

Wishing you a great start to the new year.  If you are looking for a new career opportunity this year, or looking to hire your dream team, please get in touch.

We hope you enjoy the 457th issue of our weekly a.blog.

 


Creating Your Vision Board

Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Creating Your Vision Board

Based on some great feedback and comments, we've decided to re-post our Vision Boarding blog with a few updates:

Every year, each member of the Artisan Creative a.team works on their New Year’s goals and creates a vision board. They present their boards at our first meeting in January. These boards are a collection of our short and long term goals, that include both personal and professional aspirations.

Presenting to the team develops accountability and enables the group to learn more about each other’s ambitions, dreams and commitments. Some people set a theme for their board or their year—others use inspirational quotes. They all have in common a shared use of imagery that inspires, tells a story and conveys a message to create a powerful visualization tool.

In addition to sharing our vision and goals at the onset of each new year, we review our boards mid-year, and share a recap at our year-end meeting. This creates a sense of accountability that helps keep us on track during the course of the year, which can have many twists and turns. This activity in one of our strongest team-building exercises, as it stays “evergreen”.

Here are some tips to create your vision board and get your new year off to a good start!

  1. Select words and images that inspire and are true to your core values.
  2. Create positivity and inspiration for yourself and others.
  3. Imagine the integrated life/work you want to live.
  4. You can either divide your board into sections for business and personal or mix the elements together throughout. The important point is to create an integrated board where your personal and professional aspirations are represented.
  5. Hang the board where you can re-visit it daily—read the inspirational messages out loud— and often! Mine is right in front of my desk, so I get to see it every time I look up from my computer.
  6. Share with others. Having an accountability partner will help you get closer to achieving your goals.

Tools needed:

  • A large poster board to give you plenty of space to visualize your year, yet small enough to hang on your wall. We use the 22 x 28 size available from Staples.
  • A good pair of scissors and a strong glue stick so the pictures stay on all year long.
  • Variety of magazines to look through and find those inspiring words and pictures.
  • (Optional) Markers/stickers to write on or embellish your board.
  • Patience and Creativity.
  • Time to reflect. I cut images and words throughout the month of December. Then one day between Christmas and New Years, I create the actual vision board. For some it’s easier to start with a theme and for others, the pictures and words shape the theme of the board. There is no right or wrong method, harness your creativity any way that works best for you.

Although electronic versions such as Pinterest also work, going old-school where you physically search for and cut out imagery and words from a magazine and decide where to place them, is in itself an opportunity to reflect and plan via a very tangible exercise.

What is your goal setting process?

Happy New Year!

We hope you've enjoyed the 456th issue of our weekly a.blog.


Holiday Prep for Freelancers

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Holiday Prep for Freelancers

Now that the Thanksgiving holiday has passed, everyone is gearing up to bring the final weeks to a close and prepare for the new year. For many, this includes vacations and paid time off. As a freelancer, your year-end to-dos may be a little different and can be just as rewarding.

Here are a few tips to help you celebrate your success as a creative freelancer during the holiday season.

Pick Up Extra Work

If you want to keep working during the holidays, you may still find work that needs doing. When full-time designers, developers, or other creative professionals are out of town, employers may need someone to pick up quick assignments that otherwise wouldn’t be turned around in time.

If you are ready, willing, and able to work during the holidays, make sure to let your important professional contacts know and update your social profile with your availability.

Additionally, this is a good opportunity to work on personal passion projects and expand your portfolio with new pieces.

Tend To Your Infrastructure

A successful freelancing career involves much more than client work. It requires managing and marketing, taking care of financial obligations, and making sure you have the infrastructure in place to get work, get paid, and stay connected.

The holiday slowdown provides an opportunity to take care of professional details that aren't often a part of your usual assignments.

For freelancers, paying taxes and doing other paperwork is often a challenge; why not tackle it during the slow days?

You can also take online classes to learn new professional skills, to be more marketable during the new year.

Now that your clients are on a break, this is an ideal time to handle all obligations of running your own business. Organizing your paper files, managing digital declutter or achieving inbox zero can be great projects to get ready for 2018.

Prepare for Down Time

Even in our super-connected, always-on culture, the business world tends to slow down during the holiday season. Starting on the week of Thanksgiving and continuing through the first week of January, offices take on a different rhythm and often focus on staff and family celebrations.

It is always wise to have plenty of money socked away for such dry spells. Lots of personal finance and accounting programs will automatically save a certain amount each month, or you may be able to set up automatic savings through your bank.

With a buffer in your bank account, you can spend your holiday season relaxing, not fretting about money.

Take a Break

If you can find regular work and manage your career, freelancing can give you the freedom to travel, spend time with your loved ones, and set your own schedule. If you are able to and have handled all your obligations, why not take off for a week or two? Time to reflect and unplug is a great opportunity to recharge and get the creative juices flowing.

Set an "away" message, letting everyone know you are taking some much-needed R&R. You can go entirely off the grid or put your hours on "emergency mode," in which you let it be known you are only available for very important matters.

Prepare for Next Year

Set your goals, create a vision board and plan ahead for a successful year ahead.This month leading up to the holidays can be a great opportunity to research companies you want to target.

If you haven't had time to update your resume, website, or online portfolio, block off some time and make sure you are showcasing all your current work in a manner that does it justice.

Give Thanks

The holiday season is an appropriate time to acknowledge the people who have supported your career.

Send a note to your clients, vendors, and colleagues, letting them know you've appreciated the opportunity to work with them and wish them the best in the new year. If you're a designer, you can send a special holiday card, extending your gratitude and ensuring that clients will keep you in mind.

Here at Artisan, we are grateful for another rich and rewarding year of working with top creative talent and clients. We look forward to celebrating continued success in 2018 and developing new ways to support you and your work.

 

Contact us today to learn more. We hope you enjoy the 452nd issue of our weekly a.blog.


Expressing Our Gratitude

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Expressing Our Gratitude

Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.
                                                                                                 -William Arthur Ward

At Artisan Creative, we'd like to take a moment and say thank you to all who have touched our lives this past year.

We are grateful for so many things and wanted to share a few with you.

We are:

  • Grateful to celebrate 21 years of Artisan Creative!
  • Grateful for our incredible, hard-working, and dedicated a.team, always bringing their a.game when working with our talent and clients.
  • Grateful for our amazing talent who create, write and bring to market compelling work
  • Grateful for our clients and the opportunity to build relationships, grow their teams and share in their success.
  • Grateful for technology to allow us to be virtual, yet always connected with each other.
  • Grateful for the 7 dogs and 3 cats who add to our work life.
  • Grateful for the two babies who joined the Artisan family this year.
  • Grateful for our friends & families
  • Grateful for the opportunity to write and share insights in 450 issues of our weekly a.blog.

Below are additional gratitudes from our a. team:

Margaret

  • Grateful that our son is living with us now and our family is complete.
  • Grateful for a job that is flexible and still challenging (in a good way) after 23 years.
  • Grateful for a family that is supportive and loving.

Laura

  • Grateful for family, good health, dogs, and friendship.
  • Grateful to have the chance to learn, progress and work in a job I love.
  • Grateful for the opportunities I've had and the chance to see the world.

Jen

  • I'm thankful to be able to celebrate another Thanksgiving with my family.
  • Grateful to have a healthy and happy baby girl join us this year and experience the holidays through her eyes.
  • Thankful for a wonderful support system both at home and at work that made the transition to being a new mom so pleasant.

Cammy

  • Grateful for our first home and the ability to work from the comforts of it everyday.
  • Grateful for my hard-working, supportive, and loving husband, who is adventurous and loves to get his hands dirty

Ana

  • I am grateful for the privilege of spending the last months of my mother's life at her side.
  • I am grateful for the love and support of my family and friends
  • I am grateful for Artisan for the privilege of working from home, where my job is more fun than work, and be part of a supportive, motivated and hardworking team.
  • I am grateful to live where food, shelter, and services are available and plentiful.

Stephanie

  • Grateful to work for a creative company and to work with team members that love people.

Regina

  • I'm grateful for such an incredible and supportive team to work for. I wake up knowing I GET to work with them and never feel like I HAVE to. It's rare to find such integrity and motivation in one's work life.
  • I'm grateful that I get to spend all my time with my dog Chewie. I never truly knew what a "man's best friend" actually felt like until I got to spend every waking moment with him.
  • I'm grateful that I found a balance in my life to take care of the sick ones in my family. So, so grateful for that.

Kimberley

  • I'm grateful for my wonderful spouse/teacher, family, and friends who are like family.
  • I'm grateful for the first responders and the outpouring of help to those who lost everything in the California North Bay fires.
  • I'm grateful to be back at Artisan working with such a dynamic team of creative, kind and devoted professionals!
  • I'm grateful to be able to make a difference in candidates' and clients' lives by bringing the right people together at the right time.

Jamie

  • To have facilitated Why Stack workshops with dynamic learners from around the world.
  • To have celebrated our parent’s 83rd and 85th birthdays together as a family.
  • To always be working with people who share similar values founded on trust and respect.

Katty

  • Grateful to celebrate 23 years of marriage.
  • Grateful for my amazing a.team. The most dedicated, intelligent and fun group I have had the pleasure to work with.
  • Grateful for health, family and friends
  • Grateful for the opportunity to travel and see the world.


How to Achieve a Winning Mindset

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

How to Achieve a Winning Mindset

"I've missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times, I've been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed."

- Michael Jordan

It's easy enough to feel positive and optimistic when things are going well. However, to prevent burnout, turn setbacks into opportunities, and build a strong and reliable business, career, or life, we must develop a resilient winner's mindset. This is crucial for those who are in the job-hunting or interview process.

Whether you're currently up or down or experiencing success or setbacks in getting to the next level of interviews, when you internalize these core principles, you can be like Mike, a person who learns from mistakes, profits from adversity, and grows stronger and wiser over time.

Respect the Body-Mind Connection

Taking better care of our body can dramatically increase the strength, endurance, and potential of our minds. The stress of the job hunt can take a physical toll, which makes body health awareness and appropriate self-care all the more vital.

Along with increasing our strength, longevity, and life satisfaction, regular exercise can improve our brain chemistry. When we overcome inertia and achieve our fitness goals, it inspires us to meet our commitments and handle our responsibilities in other areas of life.

Our bodies turn food into energy. When we consume a healthy and balanced diet, our bodies convert it to a much-needed energy that helps us stay centered, steady, and optimistic through difficult times.

Get Good Information

Just as we must be mindful of what we eat, we must pay attention to our diet of information and intellectual stimulation.

Diversions and light entertainment are fine as long as they are balanced with useful and well-informed content. We should make time for educational and technical material that keeps us up to date, inspirational stories of those who have achieved important breakthroughs, and difficult work that broadens our minds, and challenges our assumptions. .

We don't exist in a vacuum - cultivating the right environment is tremendously important to thrive and succeed. If you replace negative input with enriching and positive media, you will find that your thoughts follow suit and so will your perspective.

You don't need to spend all of your time just reading the classics - practice critical thinking about what you read and watch. Ask yourself, "what is the frame of reference here? Why does it exist, what assumptions are baked into it, and what can I learn from this that will help me build a winning mindset?"

You will gradually find yourself focusing more on work that reflects your values, and getting more optimistic as a result. And you will certainly be sharper in interviews, in meetings, and on the job.

Keep Things In Perspective

We cannot be defined by our mistakes and setbacks - as long as we stay in the game, we will ultimately benefit from challenging experiences and the learning opportunities they give us.

Likewise, we cannot let winning go to our heads. Every small victory should be celebrated, as it gives us the courage to reach higher goals. As we celebrate victories, we must remind ourselves that there is more work to be done. We cannot adequately prepare for the future if we rest on past achievements.

Stay proud in defeat and humble in victory. In this way, we can avoid the fate of the "one-hit wonder” and always play the long game, in the job hunt as in life.

A simple, daily mindfulness practice can be a tremendous help in maintaining the equanimity we need to stay agile and not let our good or bad experiences define us too strictly.

Move Beyond Zero-Sum Thinking

Many of our games and rituals are based on the notion that, for us to win, someone else has to lose. This represents a "zero-sum" or scarcity-based mentality, wherein we are competing for limited resources. In reality, things rarely work this way. We can usually get what we want without hurting others.

Our most pressing challenges and greatest opportunities lie in increasing the overall wealth and resources available to human society. We can disrupt old structures and cultivate new ideas from the assumption that everyone can benefit from our work, including those we may see as competition. We have our differences, and our best thinking springs from a willingness to better provide for all of humanity.

When we do our best work with the intention to do what’s right, everyone ultimately benefits. When we transcend zero-sum thinking and adopt an abundance mindset, we open a wealth of opportunity for ourselves, our communities, and the world at large.

Be Grateful To Everyone

To psychologically ground ourselves and maintain a balanced perspective, nothing is more important than a regular practice of gratitude.

This is easier said than done, particularly when many factors seem arrayed against us, in a job search or other endeavors. But no matter where we are personally or professionally, we must take stock of the many advantages and privileges we have.

If your job search has been challenging, try a simple “loving-kindness” practice. Be grateful to yourself, and slowly extend that outward to your loved ones, to strangers, and to the entire world. Just by giving it a try, you will open your mind to abundance and generosity, which will help you cope with any problems that come your way.

The more grateful you are, the more “luck” you are likely to have, as others perceive you as a source of goodwill, strength, and comfort in their own tough journeys.

At Artisan Creative, we help creative professionals at all levels of expertise build rewarding careers by sharing job search best practices and interview tips. Contact us today to learn more.

 

We hope you enjoy the 450th issue of our weekly a.blog.

 


The Productive Commute

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

The Productive Commute

Although remote and at-home work is gaining acceptance, most jobs still require some on-site face-time. That means you'll be spending at least some of your professional life in transit. As housing costs continue to rise and many companies relocate, you may be in for a long commute.

However a commute does not have to be wasted time and can become nourishing and productive. If you can make it a point to stay engaged, cultivate useful and revitalizing habits, you may find yourself looking forward to rush hour!

Here are a few things you can try when you want to get more out of your commute.

1. Conference Calls, Meetings, and Check-ins

If you take public transport to work, this can be the perfect place to be a "fly on the wall" for a call that someone else leads. This can also be great opportunity to check in with key clients, colleagues, or friends, provided you can still have a good reception and your environment isn’t too noisy.

2. Podcasts

Since Apple’s release of the iPod more than fifteen years ago, the growth of podcasting as a medium has exploded. Compared to radio, the barrier for entry is practically nonexistent, which has unleashed a wild variety of shows. Podcasting has been embraced by journalists and has reignited the careers of rebellious comedians who do their best work uncensored. The most popular podcasts now have devoted audiences in the millions.

There are so many podcasts to explore that it's easy to get lost. If you're looking for places to start, you can get creative and cerebral inspiration from TED or Creative Mornings, hear interviews with leading entrepreneurs on The Knowledge Project and The James Altucher Show, or dive into the more narrative-based shows from the Radiotopia network, which will reacquaint you with the mystery and wonder of life.

3. Audiobooks

Reading books remains one of the most reliable ways to become a stronger thinker and speaker. If you drive, you can find more wisdom, heroism, romance, humor, and insight in audiobooks than you could possibly absorb in one lifetime.

The personal growth coach Duff McDuffee provides a plan for "reading" quite a lot in the 1.5-2 hours a day many of us spend commuting. In the brilliant So Many Books: Reading and Publishing in an Age of Abundance, the author Gabriel Zaid suggests a strategy for choosing the right books to cultivate a rich awareness of the world.

4. Meditation

A commute may be the most unlikely place to get in touch with your innerself and the true nature of reality. However, now that meditation is in vogue among leaders in tech, media, and the creative industry, more and more people are practicing some form of mental relaxation on the go, including in traffic.

In your commute, you're likely to face frustrations, distractions, and emotional highs and lows. This makes it the perfect place to practice mindfulness.

You will need to stay focused on the journey, so you can't close your eyes and go into a trance. Today’s cutting-edge meditation instructors Vincent and Emily Horn have devised a practice called "There Is Driving," a simple "noting" practice you can use to train your attention as part of your everyday activities.

5. Train Your Brain

The human mind is designed to be stimulated, in youth and throughout life. If you spend less time "zoning out" and more time engaged in challenging your mental reflexes, you will do wonders for your creativity, productivity, and mental health, now and into older age.

You can use your commute to learn a new language, or work through riddles and puzzles.

If you typically drive give mass transit a try if its available in your city - you may be amazed at how much a train or bus ride can shift your perspective and what great ideas arise when you come in closer contact with your community. If you can't take the train, vary your route to work - take side streets instead of freeways, or allow some extra time to take the scenic route. Another option is to walk or ride a bike to work when possible and get some exercise in the meantime too!

See if you can devise your own ways to make sure your commute is productive.

At Artisan Creative, we believe that a creative life is one of the most rewarding ones you can pursue. Contact us today to leverage our resources and experiences and get more from your career and your life.  We hope you enjoy the 449th issue of our weekly a.blog.



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