As I sit here, fingers poised on keyboard, there is something glaringly obvious on my desk. It is a contrast drawn by the titles of two books sitting side by side: Me 2.0, 4 Steps to Building Your Future by Dan Schawbel and The Next Ten Minutes, 51 Absurdly Simple Ways to Seize the Moment by Andrew Peterson.
I have read both in the last week or so, but it wasn’t until I had the visual that I realized they complement each other pretty nicely. Both are filled with valuable information and tools, depending on your mindset or phase. It breaks down like this: When you’re in “do” mode Schawbel has you covered, but if you’re in “do nothing” mode it’s time to turn to Peterson.
Whether you’re unemployed, pondering a career or other life change, or advising a friend or relative who is in that situation, these resources come from authors who know of what they speak. As a life coach, I can not only recommend them to clients, but tap into the exercises for use in client sessions.
Let’s begin with Schawbel, the managing partner of Millennial Branding, LLC who writes the syndicated PersonalBrandingBlog.com (named the No. 1 job blog by Careerbuilder.com). His book is structured so that you can read it cover to cover for a comprehensive guide to branding in this social media age or you can simply access the section you need in the moment.
“Personal branding is the ultimate career catalyst,” Schawbel writes. “It will allow you to achieve your long-term goals in the short term and empower you to become the commander of your career.”
Part of that requires investing in personal discovery and Schawbel has a section devoted to that. No surprise that’s my favorite section. Regular readers of Game Plan know I love to beat that drum, as it is essential to tap into what makes you tick if you’re going to have a fulfilling, meaningful career and life. It’s not just about the cash.
Here are a few sample questions from Schawbel’s “Personal Discovery Assessment” to give you an idea what I mean:
~ What are my five favorite activities?
~ What are the top five personality attributes that others use to describe me?
~ What classes were your favorites in college?
Now let’s say quizzes and tips and exploration sound like a big drag to you right now because you’ve been in that mode for a while and you’re sick of doing. You don’t want to think about your finest attributes, the text for your Web site, the recommendations for your LinkedIn.com page or even what your name is. You need permission to drop the to-do list for a while.
Here comes Andrew Peterson to take care of what’s going on with you now.
Like his subtitle says, Peterson -- a writer, composer and licensed therapist -- puts forth 51 tangible exercises. They are grounded in research, so don’t be fooled by their simplicity. As a life coach, they strike me as somewhere between a quick fix and full-blown therapy.
“Rather than taking readers out of the everyday, Dr. Peterson invites them to move more deeply into the familiar tasks of ordinary life, such as turning simple breathing, eating, physical love, or throwing out the trash into meditative exercises that can transform your day,” reads the book’s back cover. “Based on both Buddhist philosophy and proven psychology techniques, these succinct and accessible meditations also offer simple and effective methods for therapeutic counseling and personal growth.”
Want it boiled down? Peterson’s motto is “everyday mindfulness.”
Oh, how I love that. Let me count the ways.
He introduces the book by stating that he meditates for 10 minutes every morning, but then admits that actually isn’t true. He intends to meditate every day. By using this anecdote, one so many people relate to (especially if you sub out meditate for exercise or any number of other activities), he lures in the reader. Please, bring us a solution.
Surprise! That solution is “throw something away” or “stare at the wall” or, yes, “procrastinate.” Each of these is a chapter and Peterson takes the reader through what she’ll need and how to do it.
“The specific elements that I have drawn from different theories share a common goal that I believe is universal to all schools of psychotherapy: the enhancement of the individual’s capacity to observe his or her own mind in action,” Peterson writes.
The key, then, is a heightened awareness of one’s own power.
Hmmmm. That also helps with Schawbel’s suggestions for branding.
And the beat goes on …