Recent Posts by Joseph Dworak

Top Five career tips for young professionals

Top Five Career Tips I am no longer a young professional. Once upon a time I was, but no longer. This past fall I signed up to be a mentor at my alma mater, Bethel University, and am in the process of mentoring a bright student who no doubt will do well in her career.  She is only a sophomore but is already doing informational interviews at top companies in the area.  I told her that not many people her age are doing that and she is already gaining an edge in finding a job after college.  All of this made me think of some tips for young professionals who are just starting out in their careers.  Some of these may even apply to all of us, regardless of where we are at in our careers. 1)  Know what strengths you bring to any environment you are apart of Before you ever get to a job interview, whether it be formal or not, know what you are good at.  Better yet, know what are you are great at.  If you have not already take the Clifton StrengthsFinder test and find out your areas of talent.  Then, work with a coach or mentor to refine how you use these talents and turn them into strengths.  If you can go into a job interview and be able to answer the question, 'What are your strengths,' you will already be ahead of many people who cannot provide good answers to this standard question. You should be able to talk about your strengths without mentioning what the strength name is.  There is no way of knowing whether or not the person interviewing you knows about the Clifton StrengthsFinder, but that should not preclude you from talking about your talents and how you use them. 2)  Have a mentor who helps you navigate your life and career When I started out in my career I worked for nine months as a temporary worker at Prudential insurance.  There was probably no environment that more resembled the movie "Office Space."  Looking back it is amazing that any work got done at all.  There was low supervision, lots of young professionals in tight quarters, and a general lack of direction from top management. I did not have a mentor who was helping me navigate this environment, either inside or outside of the organization.  There was no one challenging...
Read more

Break through vs. Break you moments – what to do?

path I am on an email newsletter that comes out somewhat infrequently, but when it does, rarely does it not grab my attention. My friend, Ben, is a dreamer and innovator who I am glad my life has crossed paths with. It is an opt-in newsletter and I have no idea how many people receive it. Ben helps people follow their dream and turn it into what they do for their life. He recently wrote a book called "Dream Year" and is having a great impact on many people. So, back to this newsletter. Ben talked through an interesting situation for one of his projects and how he was close to shutting it down. There were many factors, but he was not seeing a way through to continue this project. Then, he received a text message from a friend and everything changed. There was a way forward, maybe even better than before.  He experienced a 'break you' moment before he had a 'break through moment." Ben is always encouraging people to follow their dream. Not unlike how I try and encourage people to use their strengths in a passion area for their life. Ben does this in spades. He is his own boss. He writes his own ticket. But, Ben works his tail off to make things happen. Even in his own area of strength and passion, he works hard. There is no shortcut to his success. As some of you know, I left a successful career in higher education to pursue what had been a smaller platform in my life - doing strengths based organizational consulting.  Helping people understand their StrengthsFinder results and how they fit in their organizations, etc. Our aim at Leadership Vision Consulting is help empower strong people in strong teams to become strong cultures. Cultures based on what is right about them and not focused on their weaknesses. I love doing this work. It has been completely gratifying to make this leap and start on a new journey. Has every moment of leaving the perceived 'safe' job at a big organization been rosy? No. Have the positives completely outweighed the negatives? Yes. Last week I had one of those 'break you' moments. We had a client say no to a proposal and I started to focus on when people have said no over the past 10 months. I started...
Read more

What are you good at? Do you use it to help other people?

What are you good at? Better yet, what are you great at? Can you answer either of those questions? Ok, if you can answer either or both, move on. If not?  You have some work to do. If so?  Read on. If you know what you are good at, and hopefully great at, how are you helping other people with your talent? IMG_1494 That is a picture of my friend Trevor.  Trevor and I went skiing last July at the top of the Beartooth Pass in Montana, at Beartooth Basin summer ski area.  It was a great day where we were able to ski in the middle of summer.  Trevor is a great skier.  He is a ski instructor and is a great person to ski with. Trevor is gifted at being great at many things.  That is not the best part about Trevor though, what I really appreciate about him is the fact that he is generous.  He is always looking for ways to help other people out.  Ailing neighbor who has to go to the hospital in the middle of the night?  Trevor helps her out.  We need help installing a new microwave?  Trevor right there to help us out.  Our son needs someone to help him find a great hiding spot to fight the invasion of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles?  Trevor is there.  Trevor gives away what he is good at to help other people out. Do you know what I notice about Trevor besides that he is always giving away what he is good at?  He is a happy person. Is there a correlation between being generous and being happy?  Yes.  The most generous people I know are some of the happiest people I know. I would take it one step further and say people are even more happy when they give away what they are talented in. So, what are you good at? What are you great at? I am a connector. I am a connector of people, and people to things. My whole life whatever I have been excited about I have tried to get other people interested in.  I did not know my strengthsfinder results growing up, but this was my Woo and Activator working together.  I am wired to do this connecting.  When I do it, it makes me feel good.  When I do it and it helps other people it makes me feel fantastic. This is...
Read more

Tempus Fugit: Time Flies When You Are Having Fun

time-flies I think I first heard the saying 'time flies when you are having fun' early on in life.  I do not think I gave it much thought at the time. It was something we all said, but did we really even think much about it? The origin of this phrase comes from the Latin, Tempus Fugit. Wikipedia says this about it:  Tempus fugit is a Latin phrase, usually translated into English as "time flies". The expression comes from line 284 of book 3 of Virgil'sGeorgics,[1] where it appears as fvgit inreparabile tempvs: "it escapes, irretrievable time". The phrase is used in both its Latin and English forms as a proverb that "time's a-wasting". Tempus fugit, however, is typically employed as an admonition against sloth and procrastination (cf. carpe diem) rather than a motto in favor of licentiousness (cf. "gather ye rosebuds while ye may"); the English form is often merely descriptive: "time flies like the wind", "time flies when you're having fun". So, for a long time people have thought about this concept. Which means a few things to me. 1) Find something you love doing and do it. It is more fun than the opposite. 2) When you are doing an activity that is not in your passion area it will not be much fun at all and time will not fly by. Often I meet with people who are considering a career or job change one of the things I often ask them to do is to think about when time flies by vs. when time goes slow. If a majority of their day time is going slow, it is a sign they are probably not in their sweet spot. Recently I read a widely circulated blog by Mike Rowe who was chastising people not to pursue their passion but just to get a job and work hard. While I did not disagree with the fact there are times when you just need to work and get a job, I think people should aim for using their passions and talents in their role, If they do this, time will usually fly by. Tempus fugit! Time has flown by for me the past three months. During the past few months I serve as an assistant volleyball coach at Bethel University and during the season I work my normal job at Leadership Vision Consulting during the day and then at...
Read more

What really matters and who you can count on

[caption id="attachment_377" align="aligncenter" width="300"] What really matters[/caption] For the past two weeks my wife Danielle has been sick.  It started off as a cold/flu kind of deal and this past Friday progressed into pneumonia.  Danielle was admitted to the hospital late Friday afternoon.  All of this forced me to confront some hard life questions. We all want things to be normal.  There is even a psychiatric diagnosis for people facing emergency situations called, "normalcy bias," where people so badly want things to be normal that they almost do not react at all when an emergency happens. This reminds me of a time where I was at an annual staff/faculty retreat at the school I used to work at that we had every year.  Each time, 50 or so of us would gather, meet and talk about our work for the year at our institution.  During every one of these the President of our school would address all of us and lay out some vision and focus for us.  This was normally an interesting talk and one that everyone attended.  During one of these sessions a colleague of mine collapsed and fell the the floor and was having some convulsions.  Do you know what happened?  Almost no one did anything.  The President kept right on talking and no one moved to help my colleague.  It was surreal. As someone who is trained in first aid, I knew immediately that we needed to get emergency medical attention for this person.  I stood up and went to the nearest phone and had security call for an ambulance.  By this time another one of my coworkers had made their way to the phone and was going to do what I was already doing.  Also people were tending to person who was having the medical issues. But even then, a few minutes later, most people just sat and listened to the talk and made no move.  They just wanted things to be normal.  At some point the President stopped talking and we were all ushered out of the room.  It turned out that our colleague had a bad reaction to some medicine he was on and he ended up being fine. I was kind of stunned by the lack of response from my colleagues, but once I understood what was going on in their heads, it was really not that unexpected.  We want...
Read more