“Today I choose to live with gratitude for the love that fills my heart, the peace that rests within my spirit, and the voice of hope that says all things are possible.” – Anonymous
It’s easy to be grateful when things are going well. We count our blessings, and express gratitude for all the good we have. It takes effort when things are not.
In those moments when life challenges us, it becomes even more important to count the good that is still around us, even though we may not be fully aware of it.
Martin Seligman, an American psychologist, and the founder of positive psychology says “When we take time to notice the things that go right – it means we’re getting a lot of little rewards throughout the day”.
It’s a choice to take time every day to notice the beauty around us, things that are right with the world, even in the midst of a pandemic, even in the midst of one of the highest unemployment rates in our history.
What if amongst these hardships we could seek the good and express our gratitude for it, and shift our mindset towards happiness?
Warren Rustand, the Dean of Leadership at the Entrepreneur’ Organization (EO), a long time friend and mentor shared his 10-10-10 morning routine with me a few years back. He starts each day with 10 minutes of reading positive writings from a selection of well-known books, followed by 10 minutes of thinking positive thoughts and ending with10 minutes of journaling about gratitude.
Based on this learning, I personally have been using the Day One app to write down my own daily gratitudes. When personal tragedy struck a few years ago and I lost several family members over a short time due to illness, it was the gratitude journal that helped me heal. Even in the darkest of times, I could be grateful for the time we had together, grateful for the memories I was left with, grateful for the lessons they had taught me. Although I could not change the outcome of their illness, I could change my mindset.
David Steindl-Rast in his widely viewed Tedtalk talks about the connection between being grateful and being happy. He says we can be grateful in every given moment.
I’ve chosen to embrace the power of gratitude and have shared these learnings with my team here at Artisan Creative. We’ve started a gratitude Slack channel and each day share them with each other.
So today, at the start of our 10th week of Safer at Home I’m hoping you’ll also join me in expressing gratitude for all that you have.
This week my ten are:
- Grateful for health
- Grateful for weekly family zoom calls with family across the world
- Grateful for my pets and spending so much time with them at home
- Grateful for expanding my culinary skills
- Grateful for the jacarandas that paint LA a beautiful purple this time of the year
- Grateful for early morning walks in our neighborhood
- Grateful for the Artisan Creative team helping candidates who are looking for work
- Grateful for Yoga with Adriene!
- Grateful Southern California beaches are open again
- Grateful to you for reading this.
Will you please share yours?
We hope you’ve enjoyed our 561st issue of our a.blog.
The current massive unemployment rates have many talented candidates out of work and searching for new opportunities. Additionally, the impact of stay-at-home measures is clearly exasperating the job search efforts for many.
As we navigate these unchartered waters and contemplate what the next version of what “work” is going to mean, it becomes important to take a moment and reflect. Julio Vincent Gambuto calls this moment “The Great Pause”.
We are indeed in a (prolonged) moment of pause—which is not comfortable. However, since we are unable to rewind and go back to what once was, we can be more fully present and work on evaluating the future and possibilities that we can create.
To do so, here are three tips on how to evaluate what you really want to do next.
Define your Core Values
Take the needed time to think about what you want to do next and how that may align with your core values and purpose. If you haven’t had a chance to define your core values yet, now is a good time to partake in core values or visioning exercises to discover what is important to you.
Focus on Upskilling
As you re-imagine what that future of work will be for you, now is also a great opportunity to upskill. Many well-known universities around the world are offering free online classes. If you’ve been thinking of pivoting into other fields such as UX or product design, now is your chance. Ideo offers Design Thinking classes, as well as Leadership and Innovation classes. Masterclass is another great resource to try out a new hobby, learn something new, or write the story you’ve always wanted to tell.
Volunteering is a great way to keep busy, make new connections in a new field, and help others in need. If you’ve always wanted to help out a non-profit what better time to share your expertise? It also provides a great opportunity to enhance your resume. More importantly, giving back is a great mood enhancer as it boosts oxytocin levels by creating levels of engagement, productivity, and usefulness which leads to gratitude.
We wish you the best as you embark on your job search. For additional tips on resume writing and interviewing please check our a.blog. We hope you’ve enjoyed our 560th issue.
By staying safe at home, and seeing nearly all interviews and meetings transitioning online, we wanted to share twenty remote meetings best practices we’ve learned over the past ten years of working exclusively as a remote team.
Whether you are having ongoing daily team huddles, interviewing for a new opportunity, meeting a client or prospect via video for the first time, it’s important to keep the following pointers top of mind:
- Ensure your device and headphones are fully charged or plugged in prior to your meeting.
- Whether you are Zooming, using Facetime, Google Hangouts, or another tool, test your device’s audio and video connections before the actual meeting.
- Look right at the camera when you speak. If you only look at the screen itself it’ll appear as if you’re not making eye contact with the attendees.
- With everyone working from home, combined with homeschooling for many others, ensure that you are in a quiet place with enough wifi bandwidth.
- Adjust your device screen to ensure your head and shoulders appear in the frame – don’t get too close or move too far away from the camera.
- Be stationary and mount any handheld devices such as your mobile phone or iPad so you aren’t “traveling” with your device. It’s distracting and disrespectful.
- Let your family or roommate know you’ll be on camera to avoid unexpected noise or interruptions.
- Practice your on-screen time and record yourself if possible.
- Adjust the lighting so your face is front-lit without any shadows.
- Keep an eye on your posture. Adjust your lighting as needed.
- Pay attention to your surroundings—especially your background. Select a clean, neutral, and distraction-free backdrop like a wall, a screen, or a panel of curtains. Close closet doors, make your bed and clean the clutter. If you are unable to do so, use zoom’s virtual backgrounds to create a branded look. You can find many examples on Canva.
- If you are presenting or screen sharing, make certain you have a clean, uncluttered desktop and if needed, change your desktop wallpaper to something creative and professional.
- Confirm time zones in case you are meeting with someone in another state or country.
- Speak clearly and succinctly. Use your voice, tone, and body language to communicate and connect. Use modified hand gestures as needed or gently lean in when making a point.
- There can be a slight delay in communication, so be mindful not to talk over the other person.
- Mute when not speaking (just remember to un-mute when it’s your turn to talk).
- Dress and groom as if you are meeting in person. Working from home still requires being professional.
- If in a larger gathering, become familiar with layout views so you can fully engage with everyone.
- If you are making a pitch or presenting your work, have your portfolio or presentation loaded on your desktop to screen share as needed. Practice Zoom’s presentation tools such as whiteboard, and annotation to create a bigger impact on your audience.
- Be friendly and smile while talking. It lifts and warms your voice, which helps you to connect with the group.
In 2009, we decided that the benefits of a successful remote environment outweighed the stresses of the daily commute. We love it and firmly believe in the life/work integration that being a remote company provides our team. If working in a remote setting is new for you, please check out this video and our additional blogs on the subject matter.
WE hope you’ve enjoyed the 559th issue of our a.blog
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.”
― Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities
These are indeed interesting times we live in—the best and the worst woven into the fabric of our lives and businesses.
The best, because this is the most family time many of us have had together. The best because we are cooking more, walking more, calling our friends more, playing board games more, enjoying the simple things in life more.
And of course, the worst of times, because our world is in pain. Our friends’ and families’ health and livelihood have been severely impacted.
We live in a time when Zoom has become a verb. I zoomed with my family last weekend and will be zooming with a friend for her birthday next week. We see many loved ones and share their pain and their joy across our digital devices. Birthday parties, weddings, and even funerals are now zoomable.
Our team has been zooming for several years. We went remote as a company in 2009 when the last economic downturn impacted us, and we haven’t looked back since. We believe once many clients and talent experience how well a remote team can function it will shift many perspectives as well as work patterns.
I’d love to share with you a few learnings from my team, as well as from several of our freelance talent about best practices for keeping accountable, organized and motivated while working remotely. Being solo does not mean being in a silo!
- Maintain your schedule– Keep the same work hours you had when you were in the office, and keep a balanced scheduled at home before and after work. Having a consistent schedule helps set boundaries and creates uniformity.
- Designate a specific place for work(not your bed, not the couch) If you don’t have a designated home office, create a space where you can be working ergonomically. Where possible have a set area to work that can help maintain routine and organization.
- Work with a headset– Be good to your neck and have your hands free. You can type and take notes easier for additional productivity.
- Be in a work mindset. If you’re not used to working at home, don’t get distracted with home chores. Schedule times for those chores as you would if you were out.
- Take breaks & Stretch to stay mentally focused and positive
- Stay connected with your team as if you were physically at the office.
- Communicate & Collaborate. Use technology to bridge the gap of distance. Check-in with co-workers and clients often.
- Work your calendar! Keep productive and stay on task. Make lists, set goals, track your time. Apps like Pomodoro or Toggl can help.
- Have fun while you work. Play music, have your pet with you, cook an amazing lunch.
- Be Grateful. It’s a unique opportunity to work from home and not have to commute.
If you need additional best practices on managing a remote team, check out our brief video ” A Remote Team Needs TLC”
“I typically get to work at 10 am, so while at home I start working at 10 am too. Keeping my morning routine (for me that’s meditating, moving my body, and making coffee) helps. The days when I start working right when I wake up are the days when I feel more anxious and restless.”
~ UI/UX designer Joni
Know that your employer trusts you enough to let you work remotely and that is something that should not be taken lightly.
~ Artisan Creative Account Manager, Margaret
When you prepare dinner, make extra. It’s nice to have something prepared for lunch.
~ Presentation Designer, Karen
We hope you’ve enjoyed the 558th issue of our a.blog.
This month marks a momentous occasion at Artisan Creative where we celebrate our senior account manager, Margaret Jung’s 25th year with our company.
In this day and age, it’s extremely rare to find such continued loyalty and passion; a quarter of a century is quite the feat.
For those of you who have been fortunate to meet Margaret, know that she enters every room with the biggest smile, the loudest hello, and usually with a handful of cupcakes (every time, without fail, they are always from Dots Cupcakes).
Working for a company whose values are aligned with hers, the opportunity to create a difference in people’s lives and to build long-lasting relationships is what motivates her. Her energy, enthusiasm, and drive come down to one phrase: creating relationships based on trust.
She is a consummate business development professional, highly knowledgeable in the world of creative and marketing recruitment, and has a first-rate understanding of the design marketplace.
We had an opportunity to sit down with Margaret and have a conversation about the past 25 years and the lessons learned to stay strong all these years.
Margaret believes we must:
- Stay positive
- Be open to change
- Be realistic
- Work with and hire the right people–it goes a long way
- Know you have a team to back you up
- Support your team
- Believe in the core values of your company and share the same philosophy with your team
- Be accountable to yourself and the team
- Be self-aware
- Know your capabilities
- Keep yourself motivated
- Have a boss who gives you constant encouragement and advice
- Lead by example
- Have the mindset of being your own boss (especially in a remote business model like Artisan Creative’s)
- Have good communication skills with both internal and external stakeholders
- Understand that things aren’t always black and white
- Compromise when needed
- Don’t be afraid of having difficult conversations
- Sometimes you need to just pick up the phone to get your point across (emails and/or text can get lost in translation)
- Follow-up, follow-up, follow-up…
- Control what you can control and what you can’t–move on
- First impressions are lasting impressions
- Stress can be managed. It’s not the end of the world
- Be true to yourself, know your limitations and stick with it
- Finally, life is so much better when you are laughing.
If you need help with recruitment to hire a position on your team, reach out to Margaret. You’ll see what we mean.
Thank you, Margaret, for an amazing 25 years. Here’s to creating even more impact and new relationships in 2020 and beyond.
We hope you’ve enjoyed the 557th issue of our a.blog.
As the events of this week have progressed and social distancing has become a real thing, it’s important to re-evaluate all our emergency plans and policies to ensure we are prepared as a business to stay healthy.
The safety and health of our team members, talent and clients are of the utmost importance. Many businesses are needing to make the transition to working from home quickly, and here at Artisan Creative, we have had the privilege of working remotely for the past 10 years.
I’d like to share the three key things I’ve learned as a leader that remote workers need.
TLC: Technology, Leadership, and Communication
The advent of technology makes the process of going remote so much easier than when we first ventured into this space 10 years ago. Tools such as Zoom and Slack can bring the team together fast to create cohesiveness and connection.
Trust is the key component of leadership. Knowing and believing that our teams know what they need to do, and have the capacity and know-how to do so. If not, it becomes our responsibility as leaders to train, set expectations and share tools for our teams to be successful in challenging times. In a time of crisis and uncertainty, our teams need us to trust them, remain solid and calm and create a plan of action.
There is a big difference between being solo and working at home, vs. being in a silo and working alone. Communication and collaboration are key components of setting a standard for achievement in a remote setting. The cadence of zoom meetings, slack channels and maintaining culture online are critical for a cohesive, productive team.
This past week, we held a webinar for several clients who wanted to learn more about our remote process. The recording is available here for download.
For many of the talent who are working remotely for the first time, rest assured there is an entire community of freelance talent who has tested and tried this format. If you have questions, reach out. Over the years we’ve written several blogs on this topic to help transition into this alternative way of working together.
Additional resources for both our clients and our talent can be found here.
We hope you’ve enjoyed the 556th issue of our a.blog.
In our quickly changing modern world of work, there is much more to success than raw, intellectual intelligence, or the mastery of facts and information. Much has been written on the importance of EQ, or emotional intelligence, and that it’s becoming ever more essential. Now there’s even more to the story.
The key to long-term thriving may be an ability to enthusiastically embrace change itself. AQ, or Adaptability Quotient, refers to this sort of resilience in the face of ever-changing circumstances. It’s vitally important, and it can be learned.
The Importance of AQ
According to recent research, the average U.S. employee spends 4.2 years in one job, which means they may have nine different jobs over the course of their standard-length career. Furthermore, they can expect up to 35% of the job skills needed to change over the course of just a few years. Clearly, change is a constant, and adaptability to this change is the one job requirement guaranteed to endure.
How to Improve AQ
The good news about AQ is that, compared to IQ, it is relatively fluid. Steps we take now can help us significantly improve our AQ over time.
To boost AQ, leadership consultant Mattson Newell recommends a four-step approach:
- See it: be aware of what’s going on and interpret it in a spirit of intellectual honesty
- Own it: take responsibility for mindfully adapting to ever-changing conditions
- Solve it: use your strategic capabilities to take useful and novel views of your situation
- Do it: adopt a posture of agency and action
Strategist Robert Cerone suggests we cultivate:
- An open mind: to avoid fixed ideas and continuously refresh our perspectives
- An open heart: to enrich our thinking by taking on the perspectives of others
- An open will: to release ego and identity and plunge willingly into new waters
Honing AQ is more than a job skill; it’s a way of life. You can boost AQ by adding an array of different elements and activities to your lifestyle – and have a lot of fun in the process.
Fast Company points to the example of Yangyang Chang, who has achieved success as an auditor at Ernst & Young, a teacher of Chinese language and culture, and an improvisational comedian (a skillset that may be particularly useful for building AQ – and having a great time doing all of these).
Indeed, the easiest way to get enthusiastic about change may be to build the most interesting life you can.
Those with the highest AQs don’t just accept change – it makes them stronger. The mathematician Nassim Nicholas Taleb writes about this concept of antifragility.
Several overlapping skills, mindsets, and practices can help us become antifragile, including choosing the right risks, seeing life and work as a laboratory, and grounding ourselves in tradition while preparing for the long game.
Start the Conversation
At Artisan Creative, we have a long track record of helping creative professionals and leaders move into the future prepared to get more from their lives and careers. Contact Artisan today to learn more.
We hope you’ve enjoyed the 555th issue of our a.blog.
International Women’s Day is coming up on March 8th and celebrates achievements by women in business and across all areas of society. IWD is also a chance for reflection, for focusing on and encouraging diversity implementation in the workplace, and to increase opportunities for mentorship and peer support among women in the business world.
Here are a few ways we plan to celebrate International Women’s Day this year.
We believe it is important to take this time to be grateful and inspired by the tremendous success and remarkable inroads that women have made into the realms of business and entrepreneurship. In the last decade, entrepreneurial women have worked both smart and hard to leverage the economic boom to launch numerous new ventures across multiple sectors.
According to recent research, women-owned business enterprises are now generating more than $1.6 trillion in revenue and employing over nine million people. This creates a more robust opportunity for women to support each other in the workplace. One that has never before existed in U.S. history.
Support Professional Women and Women-Owned Businesses
Artisan Creative is itself a women-owned business. Sharing our experiences and connections has provided us with many opportunities to enrich our community, especially when it comes to helping other women-owned businesses find their footing and utilize all the resources available to help facilitate their growth and success.
If you are interested in obtaining a Women Business Enterprise (WBE) certification, or in providing others with the specific steps they can take to get one, our own president, Katty Douraghy has shared the process in detail.
This is one example of the knowledge and experience that Artisan Creative shares with professional women and women-owned businesses.
Break Through Taboos and Challenge Social Norms
In the modern era, women are ascending to positions of global leadership at an unprecedented rate. However, even in this new and more empowered time, unique challenges remain for professional women on their path to success. So that we won’t have to face these challenges alone – let’s work towards creating a platform of support for professional and entrepreneurial women that can make things smoother for all of us.
The Emotional Financial Intelligence Coach Anne Beaulieu offers some advice and insights on “embracing the new normal” and supporting ourselves, and each other, in an era of new and exciting opportunity and change.
Discover What You Can Achieve
At Artisan Creative, we have a long track record of helping professional creatives and creative businesses understand and harness their unique strengths to open new avenues to success, become more involved in thriving and supportive communities, and get more from their careers, their ventures, and their lives.
As the world becomes more networked and the workplace becomes more collaborative, one of the most important professional skills to develop is emotional intelligence, also known as “EQ.”
EQ is associated with empathy, strength of character, and getting along well with others, whether on difficult projects, in virtual meetings, in brainstorming sessions, or in social situations. Speaker Jen Shirkani identifies emotional intelligence using her “Three R Method,” recognizing strengths and weaknesses, reading the room and the people in it, and responding appropriately and usefully to your circumstances.
This concept has been discussed since the 1990s, and has gained increasing prominence, with 71% of recruiters and hiring managers claiming to value EQ over raw intelligence (as measured by IQ).
It’s the “It” Factor
Because emotional intelligence is hard to quantify, it represents many of the “intangible” qualities sought by creative recruiters and hiring managers and is also highly valued by coworkers, clients, and collaborators. It manifests as empathy, charm, tact, or a “gift of gab” that allows you to bring people together, make others feel valued and understood, and build consensus around your ideas. Indeed, it’s one defining quality of work that cannot be automated or outsourced to AI, as technologies such as chatbots still struggle to replicate the behavior of emotionally intelligent humans. In meetings, client presentations, or job interviews, EQ can make all the difference.
It Can Be Cultivated and Improved
When you make an investment of time and attention, you can improve your own emotional intelligence. It takes patience, practice, and effort. And it’s well worth it!
Here are some areas in which emotional intelligence can bestow significant advantages, in life and at work.
Life is all about connecting with other people. Much of your professional success comes down to how well you work together with others to achieve mutually rewarding and satisfying outcomes. Emotional intelligence can help you build your network, work well with the right people, and build a career that survives setbacks and gains momentum over time.
Most of the work we do is about:
- Mutual respect
- Careful listening
- Processing and incorporating feedback
- Appreciating a diversity of perspectives, incentives, and contributions
Great collaborators are present, mindful, and thus more open to the ideas and experiences of others. Emotional intelligence emphasizes the skills of effective teamwork, understanding that they can always be improved and that collaboration is a process, not a product.
Being emotionally intelligent on the job can help you make more thoughtful decisions. You can better understand the facts of a situation, put them in context, and account for important hidden variables, such as how others may react emotionally to sudden changes.
As you become more well-regarded at work and gain a track record of trust, strong emotional intelligence can help you ascend to leadership roles.
It can also help you stand out in the hiring process, navigate job interviews, and make mutually beneficial decisions about what work to take on and what opportunities are right for you.
At Artisan Creative we help creative professionals and leaders get more from their lives and careers. Contact Artisan today to start the conversation. We hope you’ve enjoyed the 553rd issue of our weekly a.blog.
As the new year begins, it’s important to set priorities and use your time and effort more efficiently, by focusing on the most important task first in a way that ensures you’ll have time enough for everything.
At work, it’s easier to set priorities when you take on the responsibility yourself. Those who can set their own priorities, hold themselves accountable, without relying on strict oversight and micromanagement, have a clear advantage.
Take stock of your current priorities and how you recognize and tackle them. Notice what works well for you and what can be improved. Like anything else, useful prioritization is an ongoing practice – the better you get at it, the more bandwidth you’ll have left for other things.
Follow these tips to set work priorities at the office.
Get Clear on What Matters
“Clarity is the beginning of all empowerment,” writes Greg McKeown in Harvard Business Review. Before you can effectively prioritize your work, it’s essential that you understand what matters and why. If you don’t understand your company’s strategy or direction, or confused about how your priorities align with those of your business and clients, or you’re struggling to manage an array of freelance projects, take the time to better understand your larger objectives. Get your clients, managers, and colleagues involved as needed.
A great team-building exercise that also helps clarify goals is doing a team vision building exercise.
Get a System
There are many different schools of thought on time management, lots of competing project management software products, and a nearly infinite number of tips and tricks you can try. You can be a believer in GTD, the Eisenhower Decision Matrix, or the Project Management Triangle. Maybe you have a system of your own. It’s less important which system you use and more important that you use it consistently. Do enough research to pick a system that works for you and then stick to it.
Color-Code Your Calendar
Calendar-based planning tools can be quite useful. They make use of the rhythm of time, something we all inherently understand. If you’re a visual thinker, creating a color-coded system to categorize and prioritize your work within your calendar can provide a breakthrough in understanding what you’re doing.
Find Your Sweet Spot
According to the Pareto Principle, we get approximately 80% of our positive results from 20% of our applied effort. When you get good at tracking your work and analyzing your results, you can get an idea of what your “20% tasks” are and lean more heavily into those.
Another way to determine your most significant priorities is to understand where your passions (the work you love to do) intersect with value (the work with the biggest business benefits). This requires quantifying and qualifying your work, along with some introspection and self-awareness, and it can pay enormous dividends when you make an effort to spend as much time on work that brings out your best qualities for the maximum benefit of those around you.
We hope you’ve enjoyed the 552nd issue of our weekly a.blog.