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Career Goals: Don’t Sell Yourself Short!

Featured Guest Blogger: Anthony Fasano, P.E., CPC, LEED AP
Maser Consulting
Associate Civil Engineer and Professional Career & Leadership Development Coach
Click to Connect With Anthony on Linkedin and Facebook
Anthony is the author of a soon to be launched FREE service for engineers called A Daily Boost from Your Professional Partner.  Click here to read about this service.

I have said in the past that it is extremely important to have career goals, which act as a destination for where you are taking your career.  It is important when setting your goals, to take the time to figure out exactly what you want, nothing more, and nothing less.

Clearly defining your goal is extremely important.  Use an analogy of driving to a destination.  Is it easier to get somewhere if you only know the city or state or if you know the exact street address?  Your goals act as that street address that constantly tells you where you are going.

In setting these clearly defined goals, you really need to figure out what you want.  Many people will water down their goals during this process because they believe they are too lofty.  By doing this, you are giving up on your goal before you even attempt to achieve it.  Why?  You have the ability to achieve absolutely anything you want to in your career.  When you are setting your goals, just think about your current situation as scenario “A” and the goal you are seeking as scenario “B” AND DO NOT TRY TO FIGURE OUT HOW TO GET FROM A TO B AT THIS POINT.  When people think about the route they will have to take, that is when they often start the “watering-down” process.  You can worry about action plans and steps you may take later, but when you are setting your goals focus on your desires, regardless of how unattainable you may think they are.

For example, let’s say you have a clearly defined goal of being promoted to Project Manager in the next 18 months.  Attached to this goal is a rule that you set for yourself to work no more than 45 hours per week so that you can maintain your work-family balance.  In reviewing that goal, you might say to yourself, there is no way I can get that promotion if I only work 45 hours per week, so you change it to 50.  You have now altered your true goal and compromised your values by giving up your work-family balance.  This decision was based on a LIMITING BELIEF.

In coaching, we help people with limited beliefs on a regular basis.  A limiting belief is exactly what it sounds like; it’s a belief that you hold, that limits you in some way, shape or form.  Limiting beliefs typically stem from your past.  They may have developed from interaction with someone specific or a certain situation that deeply influenced you.  In the above example, the limiting belief is that you cannot become a project manager by working 45 hours per week.  Why not?  Couldn’t you work more efficiently and delegate more?  Limiting beliefs often prevent us from not only achieving our goals, but from setting true goals.  When you run into a limiting belief, the best way to beat it is to question it!

Where does that belief come from?

How can I let go of that belief?

Now that you are aware of limiting beliefs start to identify, question and overcome yours today.  Doing this will help you tremendously in achieving your lofty career goals!

What limiting beliefs are currently holding you back from achieving your career goals as a civil engineering professional?

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February 16, 2010 at 8:20 pm Leave a comment

How About Asking Yourself What’s Right?

Featured Guest Blogger: Anthony Fasano, P.E., CPC, LEED AP
Maser Consulting
Associate Civil Engineer and Professional Career & Leadership Development Coach
Click to Connect With Anthony on Linkedin and Facebook
Anthony is the author of a soon to be launched FREE service for engineers called A Daily Boost from Your Professional Partner.  Click here to read about this service.

I recently completed a certified professional coach training program at the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC) and it was an amazing experience. I have to say I was extremely nervous going into it, being a civil engineer with a technical background, however I instantly fell in love with coaching and it is now totally natural for me.

As part of the training, one of the books we were required to read was “Breaking the Rules” by Kurt Wright.  The book focuses on being your best and how people and organizations can achieve their maximum potential.  The author states that being at your best cannot occur until you gain real-time access to your intuition or your “right brain.”  This was extremely scary to me being a civil engineer who operates mostly from the analytical portion of the brain or the “left-brain”, however as I read the book I became fascinated with the message.

The left and right hemispheres of your brain process information differently.  The left side of the brain processes information linearly, from part to whole.  It processes in a logical order; prior to drawing conclusions. The right brain processes in reverse from whole to part.  It starts with the end-result or solution.  It sees the big picture first, instead of all of the details.  Everyone tends to have a dominant side of the brain; however, the thinking process is improved when both sides of the brain participate equally known as whole brain thinking.

Engineers, and pretty much all of human civilization are always looking for “What’s wrong”? We are always analyzing situations to try to identify a problem so that we can fix it.  The author of the book states that by asking “What’s wrong?” questions, you cause all of your thinking to be done by the analytical part of your brain.  Asking “What’s wrong” questions constantly puts you into a negative state of mind.

So what’s the alternative?  How about start by asking the question “What’s right?” For example, let’s say you meet with your team on a certain project that is taking much longer than it should and likely will be over budget.  We are programmed to ask the team “What’s wrong?” and start discussing all of the problems on the project and try to figure out how to fix them.  What if you were to start by asking the team “What’s right?”  By reviewing all of the things that are working for the team, you can focus on applying some of your success to the lacking portions of the project, while maintaining a positive attitude and atmosphere within the team.  This brainstorming exercise will foster use of the right brain and move the team members towards whole brain thinking.

The thought behind the “What’s right?” mentality is that people are at their best when they are doing what they are good at and what they love to do. By focusing on people’s strengths you can ensure that they are extremely productive and engaged in what they are doing and thus the organization will be more effective as a whole.  So next time you are faced with a problem or a challenge, stop, be creative, access your right brain and explore all of the things that are right about the situation and see where that leads you!

Do you or anyone that you know follow the “What’s right?” mentality regularly?   How has it worked for you?

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civil engineering jobs :: civil engineering resumes :: civil engineering blog :: civil engineering discussion

January 19, 2010 at 9:46 pm 12 comments

The Key to Success Starts With Listening not Answering


Featured Guest Blogger: Anthony Fasano, P.E., CPC, LEED AP
Maser Consulting
Associate Civil Engineer and Certified Professional Career Development Coach
Click to Connect With Anthony on Linkedin and Facebook
Read The Career Development Blog – A Newly Created Support Forum for Civil Engineers

Ernest Hemingway one said, “When people talk, listen completely.  Most people never listen.”  I believe this quote to be so very true.  Until I attended coaching school and learned how to listen, I was often guilty of selective hearing.  I believe this was in large part due to my engineering background.  Engineers as well as other technical professionals are always geared towards problem solving.  Therefore when we listen, we listen for “answers” needed to solve problems.  Once we have these “answers” we tend to tune out the rest of the conversation as we are already solving the problem in our heads or we start looking for the next problem to solve!

Why don’t people listen?  People like to hear themselves talk.  Admit it, we all do!  We have a lot of thoughts and experiences on our mind and we want to share them.  Sharing your thoughts is great but engaging and listening to those we are speaking with is important to your relationships both personally and professionally.  Do you find yourself cutting people off before they finish their sentences?  We are all anxious to keep moving forward, so much so, that we sometimes don’t hear important messages that people are trying to tell us including managers, co-workers, clients, friends, spouses, children, etc.

There is  a very valuable skill called Acknowledging.  Acknowledging is when you repeat back to someone the words they just told you.  For example, a client may say to you, “This is our largest project and it means a lot to us.”  You would acknowledge the client by saying, “Bob, we understand that this is your largest project and that it means the world to you and that is why we have our best civil engineers working on the project non-stop!”  This shows the client that you are listening to them and as trivial as acknowledging may sound, it can be extremely powerful in building relationships.

How many times have you heard someone attribute a problem in the workplace to “mis-communication?”  Do they mean “mis-communication” or do they mean someone wasn’t listening and missed out on what they were supposed to do?  I believe many times it is the latter.  Communication is a two way street, it has to be!  If someone tells you something and you don’t listen, what’s the point?

Over the next few weeks, make it a point to listen.  Even during the holidays with your family, try acknowledging them, you’ll be surprised at the response you get.  Companies lose money, projects and employees when people repeatedly don’t listen.  By improving your listening skills you will set yourself apart from other professionals and your professional and personal life will be much more rewarding!

Remember the key to success starts with listening not answering!

Happy Holidays!

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civil engineering jobs :: civil engineering resumes :: civil engineering blog :: civil engineering discussion

December 15, 2009 at 8:58 pm 7 comments

Are You Delaying Taking the P.E. Test or Getting Another Certification….Why?


Featured Guest Blogger: Anthony Fasano, P.E., CPC, LEED AP
Maser Consulting
Associate Civil Engineer and Certified Professional Career Development Coach
Click to Connect With Anthony on Linkedin and Facebook
Read The Career Development Blog – A Newly Created Support Forum for Civil Engineers

 This down economy is providing many of us with some down time due to lack of work.  Whether there is some down time at the office or you are currently unemployed.  What are you doing with that down time?  Why not spend it pursuing a license or certification that will add value to your credentials?

I know many engineers that have the work experience required to take the P.E. test, and have even passed part one of the exam (the F.E.), however they just won’t fill out the application and sit for the exam.  People make all kinds of excuses like, the application is difficult, no time to study, I don’t really need the license because my boss signs the plans, etc.  The same goes for other certifications like the LEED AP.  I hear people saying that the LEED exam takes too much memorization and they don’t have time for that.

In the coaching world, we call these excuses “blocks” because they are blocking you from achieving a goal.  There are two kinds of blocks, interior and exterior blocks.  Interior blocks are things like self-doubt and fear.  For example many people won’t sign up for the test for fear of failure.  They think about what would happen if they failed, what would people think, etc.  On the other hand, people may have fear of passing, yes that’s right passing.  They fear additional responsibilities or attention that they would rather avoid.  So how do you overcome these blocks without a coach?  You can do some self-coaching by asking yourself the following questions:

  • What is holding me back from taking the next step to achieving this goal?
  • What can I do today to help me overcome that challenge?
  • What would my career look like if I passed the test? 
  • How would it affect my salary, my job standing, my family?
  • What will my career look like in 5 years if I pass the test?  If I don’t pass the test?

Write out the answers and be very descriptive and specific.  Then re-read the answers.  Many times seeing the value of the certification in these terms will help to eliminate these inner blocks.

Exterior blocks would be things like time and money.  To overcome exterior blocks you will most likely have to put an action plan together.  For example if you say you don’t have enough time to study, set up a detailed study schedule.  Maybe you study a half an hour each day before or after work or dedicate lunch a few times a week for studying.  If you establish a plan and stick with it, you will eliminate the exterior blocks.

I hope this article was helpful in moving you closer to your certifications, now go sign up for that test!

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civil engineering jobs :: civil engineering resumes :: civil engineering blog :: civil engineering discussion

November 18, 2009 at 7:16 am 8 comments

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