The 3 Week Slump - What To Do When You Hit A Wall With Your Goals

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We’re three weeks into the new year. Many of you have set goals to land a new job, earn a promotion, switch careers, or improve your skill set.

How’s it going?

Are you on track to reach your goals? Or have you already started to derail?

Regardless of your answer, everyone experiences obstacles and internal resistance when implementing new habits and striving to reach challenging goals. While it’s to be expected, it can be very frustrating.

5 Ways To Get Through The Slump When You’ve Hit A Wall

If you feel you are hitting a wall when it comes to your new year’s goals, you’re in the right place. Let’s chat about 5 ways to get through the slump when you’ve hit a wall with your goals.

Be honest. Don’t pretend that you are on track with your goals if you aren’t. There are no heroes when you’re only limiting yourself. Most of your goals aren’t shared with anyone, so take the opportunity to really be honest with yourself and analyze how you’re doing.

Question yourself. What obstacles are getting in your way? Did you create these walls, or are they out of your control? Spend time brainstorming the issues the you’re facing, keeping in mind that some may be more obvious than others. Once you think you understand what is getting in your way, talk it out with a trusted mentor. Sometimes it’s easier to see problems from the outside.

Tap your creative side. Doing what you’ve always done is only going to yield similar results. How can you change what you’re doing to get back on track and reach your goals? Consider setting up an accountability partner, changing your routine, or even reframing your goals. The solution will be different for every person, and every goal. So be creative and figure out what will truly work for you!

Target smaller steps. It can be overwhelming to tackle your goals, especially if you’ve created challenging goals that are going to stretch you. Stretch goals are good (and healthy!), but if you find yourself hitting a wall, step back. Make smaller goals to reach your bigger goal and then focus on one step at a time. Set yourself up for success and target that first small step.

Keep going. Take a deep breath and release any guilt you feel over hitting the wall. Put one step in front of the other. Keep going. The first three weeks are always the hardest! Don’t let a detour or backstep deter you from reaching your goals.

If you need an extra boost, we’d love to coach you through the process. A career coach may be just what you need to keep going and make it over the three week slump. Contact us today!


Posted on January 22, 2019 and filed under Career.

Bringing The Spirit of MLK Into The Workplace

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Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “Everyone has the power for greatness, not for fame but greatness, because greatness is determined by service.”

MLK’s commitment to servitude inspired people around to globe to work for every person’s freedom, by any means necessary. His selfless acts of service to the country live on well past his death. Each January we reflect and remember the lessons he instilled. While Martin Luther King, Jr. primarily spoke on civil rights, his strong leadership can be incorporated into our work lives to inspire us to give back.

As we remember the great civil rights work of Martin Luther King, Jr., let’s consider how we can give back in the workplace.

Here are 4 ways you can give back at work and make a difference in the lives of your coworkers:

  1. Become a Mentor -  Use your unique experience to mentor a junior employee. Reflect on how you felt at the same stage of their career and empathize with their challenges, offering solutions to consider. If you don’t have years of work experience under your belt, consider reaching out to your alma mater and mentoring someone who shares the same major as you. Be a helping voice to others on a similar path.

  2. Give a Shoutout - Workplaces are often a thankless place. But a little thanks goes a long way! Did a team member step up and help you complete a project? Let them know! Did a client love the work your production team did on the latest project? Give the production team a shoutout and thank them for their hard work. By encouraging your coworkers on their “wins,” you’re contributing to a healthy and productive work environment.

  3. Champion Volunteer Efforts - There’s no doubt volunteering can help others, but it can also boost your overall well-being. For most of us, it’s not a part of the regular routine. Why not lead the charge and put together volunteering efforts for your company or team? Start by scoping out volunteer groups in your area, then ask your team which they would want to work with. You’ll be giving back to the community while also adding value and confidence in your workplace.

  4. Empower Team Members -  No matter your place on the organizational chart, you can give back by empowering others. Here are some ways to empower others, no matter your job title:

    1. Invite coworkers to share their ideas on a new project or client task. They may add a fresh perspective and feel empowered by learning more aspects of the job.

    2. Help your team members grow by giving direct, constructive feedback. Feedback is often viewed as uncomfortable, but most people want more of it. Structure the feedback in an empowering and constructive way. Don’t tear down but build up!

    3. Work with others to identify and develop skills they want to learn. Empowering them to explore new skills will help them gain confidence and become a more dynamic coworker.

    4. Demonstrate trust by not micromanaging. Instead, establish regular check-ins. This trust empowers your team members to do their job with feeling like you’re looking over their shoulder.

A team that empowers each other to do more, be better, and grow is a true testament to a strong culture. Give back and contribute to a positive culture by empowering those around you.

Interested in more ways to give back? Thank you notes go a long way in showing gratitude. Learn more about how to lead by serving.


Posted on January 15, 2019 and filed under Leadership.

Do You Have A Career Binder?

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We love tools that help make our professional development easier. One of our favorite tools is a career binder or portfolio.

What’s a career binder and why do I need one?

A career binder—also known as a brag book—contains the documents that back up the achievements on your resume. A comprehensive binder builds your confidence and can help you be prepared to impress your supervisor, hiring managers, and anyone else in leadership. It gathers the very best of who you are and what you’ve accomplished in one place, ready to share with anyone at a moments notice.

As you begin the new year, create a career binder now to help align your goal planning with the contents.

What Should Be in Your Career Binder?

You can use a career binder to prepare for an upcoming performance review, when discussing a promotion or raise with your supervisor, or when applying for a new position. Think of it as your emergency kit to always be ready to put your best foot forward to elevate your career.

Here’s a quick snapshot of what should be in your career binder:

  1. Introduction/Elevator Speech - Write a cover letter of sorts that introduces you, your personal brand, and your core competencies. Even if you never show this to anyone, it is helpful for you to have thought through these topics so you are ready to talk about them if the opportunities arise.

  2. Professional Background - An updated resume or CV highlighting your professional background should always be ready to go.

  3. STAR Behavioral Examples - Let your accomplishments shine! Most supervisors and interviewers will ask open-ended questions like, “Describe a time when…,” or “Tell me about…” Answer these questions using the STAR method which stands for Situation, Task, Action, Resolution. When composing your career binder, think of your best accomplishments and break them down using the STAR method. Having an overview in your binder for your supervisor or interviewer to review, will impress them. However, don’t write out word for word what happened, aim to keep the example in your binder concise. Use the interview to elaborate on the example.

  4. Recommendations and Awards - Add relevant recommendations or reviews from previous employers or professors. These don’t necessarily have to be formal recommendation letters or award certificates. If you receive an email with kudos for a job well done or a congratulations for completing training, print it and include it!

  5. Work-Related Documents - It can be helpful to include any supporting documentation that completes the picture of your work capabilities and achievements. This may include performance evaluations, publications you’ve authored, or other evidence of your skills.

Want even more career development tips and tricks? At the Wilbanks Consulting Group, we can help prepare you for your dream career – from creating your first career binder to negotiating your salary package. We have the tools and expertise to give you the competitive edge in your job search. Contact us to learn more.

Posted on January 1, 2019 and filed under Career.

How To Give Back At Work

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The holiday season signifies a time to slow down, reflect on the good and bad, and appreciate the joys of life. Why not do the same at your workplace? Showing professional gratitude and giving back at work will leave you feeling more fulfilled and encouraging a pleasant work environment. However, giving back at work doesn’t necessarily mean gifts – it can come in many different packages. Show your gratitude at work without spending any money, here’s how!

7 Ways To Show Gratitude At Work

  1. Lend a hand - ‘Tis the season for holiday travel and fast approaching deadlines. If time permits, help your co-workers with projects that may be adding stress. You could also share your expertise by mentoring a junior employee.

  2. Slow down - Our lives can be fast-paced and a bit self-centered, especially around the holidays. Taking the extra minute to ask about your co-worker’s day is a small but mighty gesture. You never know what they have on their plate – both personally and professionally – until you ask. By slowing down and simply listening, you can gain perspective and have a friendly conversation. If you have an extra 30 minutes in your day, ask a colleague to grab a coffee mid-afternoon and practice active listening.

  3. Encourage others - Sure, you’re at work to do work, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take the time to appreciate and encourage others. Did your direct report have a great client call they were nervous about? Encourage them by expressing a job well done in a way that you know they would appreciate. That may mean a simple pat on the back or a quick announcement at the next team meeting. A little encouragement goes a long way.

  4. Say thanks - Who are the unrecognized heroes of the office for whom you’re thankful? Perhaps it’s the receptionist, mailroom clerk, or your manager. Take the time to write individual thank you notes to the people who make your workday better.

  5. Reflect on the positive - Maybe you accomplished a challenging project, connected with your co-workers outside of work, or achieved a promotion. Keeping a big picture perspective and reflecting on the good things that happen at work can motivate and inspire you during the day-to-day. Plus, it will make you much more pleasant to work with, which your colleagues will definitely appreciate!

  6. Volunteer - Organize a community volunteer day with your co-workers. Not only will you give back to the local community but it also doubles as a team-building opportunity.

  7. Rest and recharge - While you’re giving back to others, don’t forget to give back to yourself! Take time to unplug, get fresh air, and reconnect with family and friends. Giving time to yourself time to recharge will feed into your work performance and happiness.

We hope you enjoy the holiday season with friends and family. If you find some downtime in between family time, check out these five books that will inspire, motivate, and equip you for success.

Posted on December 18, 2018 and filed under Community, Leadership.

Using The STAR Method To Ace An Interview

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Open-ended interview questions such as, “Tell me about yourself,” or “Have you ever worked with a stubborn teammate” are stressful! It’s hard to prepare in advance for situational or behavioral questions that sometimes come out of left field.

If you struggle with these types of questions, the STAR method is a great way to lower your stress level and answer in a way that will satisfy the interviewer.

The STAR Method

STAR stands for Situation, Task, Action, Result. This method helps formulate your answers in a clear and specific way. Since past performance is a good indicator for your future performance, interviewers will be listening closely to the way you answer questions such as:

“Give me an example of…,”

“Describe a situation in which you were able to use…,”

“Describe a time…”

Situation - Start by describing the situation that required you to solve a problem, use a skill, or come up with a new idea. Be specific and give enough information for the interviewers to understand.

Task - What goal were you working toward? Explain what your job required in the situation. Make sure to include any specific challenges you faced.

Action - This is where you describe exactly what you did to overcome the challenge. What specific steps did you take and what was your particular contribution?

Pro Tip: Focus on qualities and soft skills the hiring manager is looking for (i.e., initiative, leadership, attention to detail, teamwork). You will know this from the job description.

Results - Finally, describe the outcome of the situation. Don’t be shy in  emphasizing your contribution. Also, incorporate what you learned through the process.

Tips for Using The STAR Method

  1. Be prepared. You won’t know the questions your interviewer will ask, so think through several STAR situations from your experiences that highlight your best traits. Practicing the method will help when you are put on the spot in an interview.

  2. Be specific. Make sure your situations are targeted and specific. Identify qualities the hiring manager is looking for in the role before the interview and incorporate those words into your responses.

  3. Be quantitative. If you were responsible for growth in your department or project, know growth percentage and share those numbers in your interview. When you incorporate numbers, you're not just voicing your ability, you’re proving it. Numbers don’t lie!

  4. Be honest. Avoid inflating your story or success in hopes of impressing your interviewer. Not only is this lying, but when they find out you fibbed, workplace trust will be compromised.

Want to practice the STAR method and other interview tips to help land your dream career? Through our Interview Preparation service, our team of career consulting experts can equip you with the tools and guidance to succeed. Contact us today!

Posted on December 11, 2018 and filed under Interviewing.

End of Year Planning

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The final month of 2018 marks an opportune time to plan your end-of-year career push. Often during the year, we’re consumed with working toward our current goals and forget to reflect on how 2018 went and what we want to achieve the upcoming year.

Here are the very best 2019 career planning tips from our professional career coaches.

Take Inventory of Your Previous Goals

Grab your 2018 goals and take a brief inventory.

Which ones did you accomplish and where did you fall short? Be honest and realistic with yourself. Career planning is more than fixing what went wrong, it’s identifying what went right and repeating those actions.

For the goals you accomplished, recognize what went well. For goals you didn’t reach, determine the blocker. Did you need a new skill? Prioritization? Once you determine WHY you didn’t achieve it, you can work toward HOW you’ll fix it in the future.

Forecast Your New Goals

Picture yourself a year from now. What do you want to be doing? What do you want to accomplish? Do you want to explore different career opportunities? Do you want to explore different career paths completely? Visualizing this will help plan your 2019 goals.

As you plan for the year ahead, consider learning advancements. Is there a course you could take to boost your knowledge? Develop your long-term goals for the year and break down each one into actionable short-term goals.

Use this month to boost your career, not drag it along. The winter can be a great time to gain clarity on your past accomplishments and and professional goals.

Quick Wins To Plan For 2019

  1. Refresh Your Linkedin - Linkedin continues to rise in popularity as a professional social networking site. If you don’t update your profile regularly, pencil in a time to give it an refresh.

  2. Schedule a Performance Review - Many companies hold annual performance reviews at the end of the year. If your company doesn’t, ask your manager. This type of reflective meeting pulls insights that help you become a better employee and progress in your career.

  3. Ask for a Raise - Use the performance review to understand where you stand. Depending on your performance and other factors, it could be time to ask for a raise. If you’re unsure of how to ask for a raise, consider our Offer Negotiation service.   

We wish you the best of luck in the new year! If you’d like assistance with your 2019 career planning, our team of career consultants use proven assessments to examine your personality type, interests, and strengths. Then, we align the results with your goals to create a strategy for future growth and development through your current position or a new one. Get in touch with us today!

Posted on December 4, 2018 and filed under Career.

Celebrating Holidays Professionally At Work

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The holidays can be an exciting yet tricky time in the workplace. Between juggling office potlucks, gift exchanges, and holiday parties, it’s important to remember not everyone celebrates the same holidays. And some celebration activities may make a diverse workforce feel uncomfortable. Here are some tips to keep in mind as your company navigates the holiday season in the workplace.

Respect Different Celebrations

Some colleagues may observe different holidays from one another, while others may celebrate the same holidays in different ways. Neither is better or worse. However, when planning and attending office holiday celebrations, keep in mind the unique diversity of the workforce.

To get an idea of what’s important to your colleagues, encourage them to share what they love doing this time of year – including traditions, food, and decorations. Encourage each person to contribute something special to the holiday celebrations. Also, consider providing flexibility with events, even if they’re during work hours. Certain celebrations may be against people’s beliefs. Be mindful, respectful, and inclusive during this time.

Holiday Party Etiquette

With casual work environments on the rise, it can be easy to feel too comfortable with your co-workers. While taking that extra drink or exchanging flirtatious comments with a coworker might seem like a good idea at the time, it’s not. Simply put, avoid these temptations. Limit your alcohol intake and drink plenty of water throughout the event.

Holiday parties are work events and should be treated professionally. Don’t say or do anything you wouldn’t do in the office. Refrain from gossiping about your boss or acting like you’re back at a college party. At the same time, holiday parties are a great opportunity to have fun, get to know your co-workers, and reflect on a great year. Go into the celebrations with the mentality you’re at a work event and you’ll have a great time, within limits.

Some companies will reimburse employees for safe transportation home. If yours doesn’t, transportation home is best planned ahead of time. If you don’t have the convenience of ride-sharing services or taxis, consider public transportation, or coordinate designated drivers with coworkers to make sure each person has a safe ride home.

Don’t Lose Focus of Work

While it’s an exciting time of the year and celebrations certainly are in order, remember to wrap up the year on a strong note with your work. Stay focused and mindful of deadlines or quotas you need to reach. Don’t miss them!

The end of the year marks a great time to assess your current career path and decide if it’s the path for you. If you’re interested in exploring different options but don’t know where to start, our team of career coaching experts is here to connect.

Posted on November 27, 2018 and filed under Community.

Professional Gratitude

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Unfortunately, there are workplaces out there with cut-throat, climb-the-corporate ladder no-matter-the-cost environments. Hopefully you aren’t a part of a toxic workplace. But even “normal” workplace environments are not often seen as a place to show gratitude. After all, most people expect others to do their best since they’re earning a paycheck. However, this “thankless” mentality can do more harm than good – it can hurt company morale, breed resentment, and encourage employees to only do the bare minimum. On the other hand, by incorporating gratitude into your daily work life, you can foster a more positive environment and help boost productivity and overall employee happiness.

Showing Gratitude to Higher-Ups

Those in management roles are responsible for the success of their entire team(s). If one player underperforms, it’s their responsibility to redirect the employee. Since your higher-ups are in a position of power, it can be tough to show your appreciation without coming across as disingenuous.

We find the best way to show your gratitude toward your higher-ups is to deliver great work and be a “step ahead” of them. This can be the best symbol of gratitude. You can also verbally give them positive feedback for a job well done and to show appreciation for their leadership.

Showing Gratitude to Colleagues

Show gratitude toward your colleagues by befriending them and taking an interest in getting to know a bit about them personally. Establishing a camaraderie will help improve teamwork and create a better work environment.

Did a colleague lend a helping hand when you needed it? Show your gratitude by thanking them and giving them praise in front of your manager. Better yet, provide the praise via email so that it can be used as part of a performance review.

Showing Gratitude to Direct Reports

Did someone go the extra mile on a project? Was there someone who picked up slack while another team member was PTO? Don’t let these go unnoticed. Thank these team members and let them know how much you appreciate them.

The key to showing appreciation to your direct reports is to praise them in a group setting and provide constructive feedback in a one-on-one setting. Praising in a group setting can boost the team member’s confidence and motivate other team members to match their job well done. Be genuine with your communication and be specific with praise. Also take the extra step to provide the gratitude in writing, which can be used later as part of a holistic performance review.

Showing Gratitude to Clients

While you can call your clients and thank them any time of the year, the holidays mark a great time to get creative with showing appreciation. Send them gifts like chocolates, a bundt cake, or a bottle of wine. If you don't want to send food, consider sending a stationery set, tumbler, a nice card or anything that matches their personality or business. Above all else, a hand-written thank you note will go a long way.


Be sure to check out this guide for writing proper thank you notes!

Posted on November 20, 2018 and filed under Community, Career.