Sarah Shore, MS

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10 Tips for Innovating Yourself...

#10--Get Support!  
Loosing a job or being laid off is a significant life event.  Find friends, family, and colleagues to offer advice and support.  These people can supply useful information directing you to new opportunities.

#9--Take an honest inventory of your strengths.  
Whether you've been laid off or suffered a business failure, its time to look at what was working and what wasn't.   Were you able to maximize your strengths?  Do the work you enjoy?  Or, were you bogged down in tasks that were not fulfilling, or even profitable?  Do you need to develop new skills?  Identify what you are happiest doing, what your strongest skills are, and where you'd like to be 5 or 10 years from now.  Use this time to map out a plan that is based on your strengths and goals.

#8—Focus on the future.
Professionals and entrepreneurs who are successful in economic downturns have several things working for them. The most vital is a forward-thinking focus. Establish a support network, take an inventory of your strengths and goals, then focus toward the future. Ask yourself, “What is the best action I can take, right now, to reach my goal?” Ask this several times a day. Decide to spend a certain number of hours each day working toward your goal.

#7—Seek out every resource available to you.
Reinventing yourself in a transition requires looking inward to determine your goals and desires. It also requires looking outward to utilize every resource at your disposal. Engage in out-reach to individuals, organizations, and programs that can provide information and resources. The Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) is a national organization with local offices which assists entrepreneurs and small businesses free of charge ( Maximize your opportunities during this critical time. Make new connections and learn new skills that are necessary to stay ahead of the pack. Are you using every resource available to you to make this time beneficial? Are you planning for a successful future?

#6—Patience is a virtue.
The job market is not moving as fast as we might like. What can you do? Set a realistic goal for your new position or venture. Then, break that goal down into small, concrete steps that you can act upon. Share these goals with someone you trust. Ask him or her to check-in on your progress. Identify target dates for accomplishing these tasks. Re-evaluate at regular intervals—every week or every month. Remember, transitions happen over time. You must give yourself a break.

#5—Be creative.
Take note of the generational differences in attitudes about the economy and the job market. Are you feeling like you’ll never find something right for you again? Or do you see numerous opportunities and just need to get your foot in the door? Have you heard of things like Facebook, Twitter, blogging? Social media has grown rapidly. People seek community, connection, and collaboration in our fast-paced society. How can you use these developments in communication and technology to find your dream job or start a new business venture? Take note of those individuals and organizations that are profitable now. What can you learn from them?

#4—You did it once. You can do it again!
You have lived through many successes and failures. You have survived them all. Use this time to come out ahead. Focus on what is within your control. Can you send out resumes or meet with the bank for a loan? Yes. Can you make them give you the job or the loan? No. Focus on what you have personal control over—like sending an excellent cover letter or making new professional connections. Spend as little time as possible worrying and complaining. It will only slow you down. Accept the aspects of your situation that are not within your control. Focus on what is within your control. Focus on what you want—not what you had.

#3—Confidence is key.
What things are you really good at? What do you love to do? When abilities come naturally to you, do you recognize them? We are most confident when doing something we love and care about. Build up your confidence by experiencing small successes. When time seems open-ended, it’s a habit to say “I’ll get to that tomorrow.” Start saying “today” instead. Experiencing a string of successes is vital to strengthening your confidence.

#2—Keep an eye toward future trends.
When you are reinventing yourself, the world is your oyster. Think expansively. Do not limit yourself with outdated attitudes or “impossibilities.” No one would have imagined the “internet” would be ubiquitous 20 or 30 years ago. What trends can you spot? What segments of society and industry are changing or evolving? Can you use your skills or strengths in those areas? How can you be of the most value to others? In what ways can you give your time and energy to promote something that is important to you?

#1—Optimize this time!
Its hard to see the bright side in a bad situation. The good news is, you might never find yourself in this situation again. That’s precisely why you can optimize this time and consider it an opportunity to reinvent yourself in the way that will make you happiest and most successful.

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