Tips for Work Travel

Below are the Ignite Your Potential coaches pointers for making “the bag drag” a bit easier. Know that you can never guarantee a “restful” journey, but these tips will help you feel more polished when you get there.

Dress

To state the obvious, get a few no-brainers, no-wrinkle, all-purpose work outfits down cold, so you don’t have to think about what to pack (especially for relatively short trips). Invest in a large silk scarf or cashmere wrap. It’ll serve as a travel blanket first and foremost, but make sure it’s also polished enough to function as a compact layer for meetings. (It’s impossible to escape the tyranny of male-biased air conditioning, no matter your destination.)

Pack

Bring a carry-on only, ever. End of discussion. (And even if you have a bag that fits the carry-on dimensions, be sure to check weight limits on international flights. Another tip is to bring an extra tote bag in there, in case there’s space to cram your nonessentials in the overhead bin at the last minute (and give yourself some extra leg-room). Also, make sure that the bag at your feet stands up on some sort of base; you don’t want a shapeless laptop bag dumping your belongings all over the aisle.

Self-Care

Pack a sheet mask or two for your final destination to help restore moisture at night. Hey, it’s a spa trip! Bonus: Put some rose water in a travel-sized spray bottle and use it to freshen up your face and/or underarms after a flight or long day.

To (help) avoid getting sick, take Emergen-C before and immediately after a flight. And—this is where it gets a little socially awkward—always clean the tray table, arms, and entertainment screen of your seat with a travel-friendly pack of disinfecting wipes.

Need more tips on how to successfully travel for work? Our award-winning coaches at the Ignite Your Potential Centers offer a complimentary 25-minute phone session to help. We are the #1 career coaches in San Francisco and Los Angeles, let us show you how we earned that praise.

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4 Ways to Find The Answer to “What Should I Do With My Life?”

What should I do with my life?

Unlike so many other questions you have about your career, this one’s not quite as easy to Google.

The good news is, you’re not alone—in fact, we guarantee that everyone has pondered their career path, finding their passion, or what they’re meant to be doing at some point. And luckily, many of them are willing to share their advice. If you’re at a loss for what steps to take next, read on for the best pieces of advice from a Quora thread on this topic.

1. Talk to People

“Meet or call at least 50 people. They can be your friends, relatives, friends of friends/references. Call them up, schedule a meeting, go see them and interact with them on what they are doing. Don’t expect anything, don’t ask them to find you a job, don’t ask them to give you a job. Just talk and meet and have a normal conversation.” – Gaurav Munjal

You’d be surprised at how much you can learn just listening to other people talk. If you take the time to really listen, you’ll get insight into people’s motivations, hopes, dreams, and ambitions. And when you piece all that together, you can learn how others got to where they are today—and if that’s a path you want to be on, too.

2. Get Started

“My suggestion is to do something. Even if it isn’t quite the right thing, it is nevertheless a movement that can give you an opportunity to experience. You can spend a lot of time taking tests and getting evaluations for what you might be suited for; ideas always sound good on paper. But words don’t match experience, so acting on something is your best choice.” – Kathleen Grace

Regardless of what you generally want to do, it never hurts to start building something. Start creating a portfolio, launch a career newsletter, or learn how content creating works. There are so many things you can do for your career—even if you don’t know what you want to do.

3. Gather Inspiration From Others

“Walk into your local bookshop and go straight to the autobiography section. Buy three books from across different industries, societies, and cultures. Focus on biographies that document great and successful people’s early lives, before they were great. Read them before bed. Wake up in the morning and write down 10 things you could do differently that day. Do some of them. Do this the next day. And then do it again.” – David Ball

What better way to get started than by learning how others reached their goals? Keep in mind as you’re reading that these people weren’t born knowing what they wanted to do either.

7. Enjoy Not Knowing

“Enjoy the meanderings, the soul-searching, the loves lost, the time wasted. All of it will add up to a complex and very unique ‘you.’ The more you appreciate right now, the more the future will become a fantastic reality. Don’t pressure yourself to be in the future.” -James Altucher

You know how math problems always seem impossible when you first look at them, but then, after taking a break, the answer feels so obvious? Figuring out what you want to do with your life is kind of like that.

By focusing on other less-pressing matters, the obvious answer will come to you when you’re least expecting it.

Just remember that you don’t have to have it all figured out. And that even when you do, you might change the course a few times. So don’t worry about having all the answers—just thinking about it is a good start.

Our award-winning coaches at the Ignite Your Potential Centers offer a complimentary 25-minute phone session to help you answer the age-old question, “What should I do with my life?”. We are the #1 career coaches in San Francisco and Los Angeles, let us show you how we earned that praise.

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Taking Constructive Criticism Like a Champ

Some people can graciously accept constructive criticism while others may struggle and feel overly sensitive.

Unfortunately, in the heat of the moment, we might over-react with defensiveness or anger and attack the person giving feedback. But the truth is, we need to get over it. We live and work in collaboration with others and intellectually we know there’s value in constructive criticism—how else would we identify areas of improvement? It helps us maintain relationships and be more successful in everything we do.

So how do you learn to take constructive criticism? The next time you receive useful feedback from your manager or a peer, use this three-step process to handle the encounter with tact and grace.

1. Don’t Express Your First Reaction

When someone is giving you feedback before you do anything—stop. Try not to react at all! You’ll have at least three seconds to stop your reaction. While three seconds seems insignificant, it’s ample time for your brain to process the situation. At that moment, you can halt a dismissive facial expression and remind yourself to stay calm.

2. Remember the Benefit of Receiving Feedback

Now, you have a few seconds to quickly remind yourself of the benefits of receiving constructive criticism. To improve your skills, leadership capabilities, and to help you meet the expectations that your stakeholders, manager, colleagues, and direct reports have of you. If you find this step challenging in the moment, get in the habit of reminding yourself of this before you step into a meeting or 1:1. Practice poker face with the person who is delivering the feedback. It can be challenging to receive a different opinion from a co-worker, peer, or someone that you don’t fully respect, but remember: Useful information can come from flawed sources.

3. Say Thank You

Next, look the person in the eye and thank them for sharing feedback with you. Don’t gloss over this—be intentional and say, “I really appreciate you taking the time to talk about this with me.”

Expressing appreciation does not have to mean you’re agreeing with the assessment, but it does show that you’re acknowledging the effort your colleague took to evaluate you and share his or her thoughts.

Constructive criticism is often the only way we learn about our weaknesses—without it we can’t improve. When we’re defensive, instead of accepting and gracious, we run the risk of missing out on this important insight. Remember, feedback is not easy to give and it’s certainly not always easy to receive, but being able to be receptive will help you now and in the long run.

Need more tips on how to take criticism like a champ? Our award-winning coaches at the Ignite Your Potential Centers offer a complimentary 25-minute phone session to help. We are the #1 career coaches in San Francisco and Los Angeles, let us show you how we earned that praise.

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Why You Need a Professional Headshot

Many professionals assume a headshot is something you upload to your LinkedIn profile and then never touch again. That assumption is wrong! 

Your headshot will come in handy throughout your career. It will grace the “About Us” page on your company’s website, be sent to new coworkers so people can easily recognize you, and be asked for by event organizers to advertise your speaking engagements.

Maybe you’re thinking: Speaking engagements? Please, I am never going to need a professional headshot in my career. 

If so, you need a reframe. Our Ignite Your Potential career coaches can point out countless blurry or inappropriate LinkedIn profile pictures (or no photo at all) that affect whether or not people reach out and collaborate. 

A headshot is useful for many professional situations:

  • Your Email Account
  • Your Email Signature
  • Your LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram 
  • Your Website or Portfolio
  • Your Posts or Bylines
  • Your Company Bio

Convinced? Great, now it’s time to take one. And the good news is, it’s really easy.

Step 1: Pick out a shirt that you feel confident in (Tip: Avoid busy patterns or anything you would not wear to Grandma’s Sunday dinner).

Step 2: Find a plain, but ideally interesting backdrop (Tip: Avoid posing in front of windows or busy backgrounds unless you’re a lighting and photography editing pro.)

Step 3: If you’re a woman, you might consider makeup. Even if you don’t usually wear it. Without it you may look a little faded out in a photo. Time to smile and take the photo.

Step 4: Save it and use it for everything.

Whether a friend takes the shot or you hire a professional photographer—it is up to you. But whatever you do, make sure you have one handy—and update it every couple of years. It can costs you very little to make and will save you from having to scrounge through old Facebook albums and crop an adult beverage out of your hand.

Need more tips when it comes to professional headshots? Our award-winning coaches at the Ignite Your Potential Centers offer a complimentary 25-minute phone session to help. We are the #1 career coaches in San Francisco and Los Angeles, let us show you how we earned that praise.

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