Archive June 2012

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10 Tips To Achieving The Ideal Internship Mindset

The student-employee role played by the intern provides a unique opportunity to learn lessons about the workplace and yourself that will serve you throughout your career.  The tips that follow will prepare you with the mindset necessary to the make the most of that opportunity.
  1. Be an anthropologist, not a missionary.
    1. Be a curious, open, respectful, and nonjudgmental invited guest.
    2. Employees have strong opinions about people and things and you may develop strong opinions as well. It is very important not to voice strong opinions (like the missionary), take a side in an issue or make unsolicited suggestions, since you don’t know who may feel insulted or resentful.  Instead, cultivate your curiosity and focus your mental energies on understand all the factors that drive different opinions.
  2. Despite any promises and job or program descriptions, assume nothing and be prepared for anything
  3. Insist on not insisting on anything
  4. Set expectations based on reality – not the other way aroundAppreciate all opportunities and stay positive, positive, positive
  5. Do the best you can – that’s all you can do
  6. Be aware of yourself as an interconnected part of a community
  7. Welcome frustrating experiences
    1. Insist on learning from adversity
    2. Notice your thoughts and feelings in response to the various situations and interactions you experience. Learn what pushes your buttons and gets you to overreact
    3. The most important learning outcome is the ability to experience everything around you without fighting, fleeing or freezing.
  8. Those mundane tasks that seem beneath you are a great opportunity to distinguish yourself.
  9. Give and get the most out of every role and relationship
  10. Keep a journal of your experiences, challenges, and lessons learned.
Cultivating and maintaining these habits take time and discipline.  No human being can adhere to these standards for very long, especially under pressure when your survival instincts will be push you toward defensive action and reaction.  Its best to think of these as aspirational values that can keep you on course.
Whatever time and energy you commit to achieving this mindset wont be wasted since it stays pretty much the same throughout your career!

Coaching “Drivers”


The men and women who occupy many of corporate America’s most influential leadership positions ascend to those roles based on their decisiveness, drive for success and ability to achieve results in challenging, high-risk environments.

The other side of the mental toughness Drivers[1] bring to the organizations they lead is the tendency to avoid acknowledging and engaging with the emotional or human element. When threatened, their strong bias toward action, combined with the lack of mindful awareness of what’s going on internally, their motivation and uncertainty puts them at risk for making emotionally driven decisions that hurt their careers and the organizations they lead.

An Executive Coach with highly developed emotional intelligence can be invaluable to reckless driving drivers if they can engage their interest long enough to introduce them to the strange new world of feelings, needs, and emotions – in other words building up their empathic side.   For several mostly obvious reasons, drivers are not natural candidates for coaching, and when they do wind up working with a coach, it is only after trying and failing and trying and failing repeatedly on their own.

Drivers are often unaware of their impact on others. Being quite self-confident and self-reliant, they rarely ask for feedback about how others experience them. Their aggressive nature and intimidating body language in response to feedback discourages others from offering honest feedback. So it is not unusual when there is a considerable gap between their self-perceptions and the perceptions others have of them.

In fact, while drivers have a long history of secretly or not so secretly feeling contempt coaching and those who take advantage of it, once they connect with a coach, their experience can be quite profound.  Drivers often suffer emotionally – feeling alone, unloved, empty, needy for intimacy, understanding, being taken care of – but like other pain, learn to live with and ignore it.  That’s just how warriors roll.  So when they make a connection to someone they can respect and trust – someone who listens and makes them feel understood and able to talk about their pain, they can keep it going indefinitely.

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