Talent Development Centre

Category Archives: Personal Development

All Talent Development Centre posts for Canadian technology contractors relating to personal development.

Inspirational Quotes from 100 Brilliant Minds


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We’ve all heard the expression “It takes all kinds of people to run the world” or some variant of it. There is so much truth to it, but unfortunately media frequently focuses on the less intelligent, somewhat shameful minds to showcase to the world. Constantly seeing news reports of people saying dumb things can be deflating to a person, so we were excited when we came across this page on Funding Circle’s website showcasing quotes from 100 of the world’s most brilliant minds. In addition to the website, the infographic below shows all of the top quotes from each of those people.

Inspirational Quotes from 100 Brilliant Minds

Use SMARTer Goals to Boost Your Career in 2018


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Crystal Nicol By Crystal Nicol,
Delivery Manager, Eastern Canada at Eagle

Welcome 2018!! Yes, a new year is here! It’s the perfect time to set new and exciting goals. As we all know from experience, making a New Year’s resolution is easy. Sticking with it and actually achieving your goal is hard – very hard. Unfortunately, only about 8 percent of us who set goals achieve them. But the good news is that research shows people who make resolutions are 10 times more likely to change their behavior than those who never commit. Why do we find it so difficult to stick our resolutions/goals? It’s probably because the resolution wasn’t S.M.A.R.T. In order for goal setting to be effective you need to understand how to write S.M.A.R.T. goals. Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely.

  • Specific: What specifically do you want to accomplish? For this step you can ask yourself the 5 W’s – who, what, where, when and why.
  • Measurable: What will it look like if you achieve your objective? How will you know when you’ve reached this goal? We need to know where the finish line is and when we have completed the goal. The answer to this goal must be a true or false, a yes or a no or a specific number.
  • Attainable: Can you realistically reach this goal? Remember, the whole point of a goal is to be challenged and set a goal that will push you, but it shouldn’t be impossible.
  • Relevant: The goal must fit into the overall reason you are doing this. This plays along with “why” you are setting this goal or “why” you want to obtain this goal.
  • Timely: What is your deadline? All objectives need a timeline, which will hold accountability to your actions and progress.

Check out this video for a more detailed discussion on setting your S.M.A.R.T. goals…

Can This Decision-Making Strategy Work for You?


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Should you take the job? Which agency should represent you? What solution will you recommend to your client? Independent contractors have to answer these and more questions to make decisions every day. Often these choices will impact your contract or your entire career. It’s crucial that you make the best decisions for your company and they often need to be made quickly.

This video from The School of Life explains the various forces that impact decisions we make and provides strategies to manage those influences and come to the best decision.

5 Reasons Staying in Shape Benefits Your Career (and how to get better at it)


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5 Reasons Staying in Shape Benefits Your Career (and how to get better at it)There is no doubt that regular exercise and staying in shape has significant health benefits. People who are fit generally live a more active, longer and happy life. Of course, people who are not in as good of shape also tend to be happy, and may not see a reason to make it a priority. If that sounds like you, would you make it a higher priority if you knew being healthier can make you more money? According to this post from Salary.com as well as this article from Time, those who are in better shape have a higher salary.

We get that money isn’t the end-all-be-all definition of success, but if you want to do better in your career for any reason, exercise plays a crucial role. Here are 5 reasons why:

  1. You’ll Sleep Better. Better sleep is known to have so many benefits, including being more productive and more focused. If anything, it makes you less irritable and more able to deal with that useless team member, jerk client or annoying recruiter. Exercise is a proven way to get better sleep, as backed up in this article from the Huffington Post.
  2. You’re More Productive. Partially due to that better sleep, but also the fact that exercise brings you more energy and alertness, people who are in better shape are more productive. That means completing projects faster and better, taking on more projects, impressing more clients, and building a well-known positive reputation in the industry.
  3. Your Brain Gets Sharper. Not only do muscles get stronger when you exercise, but so does your brain. As this article from the Huffington Post explains, exercise leads to increased blood flow and oxygen which has significant benefits to the brain. It’s known to boost brain cell function and create new brain cells which help improve memory and learning.
  4. You Take Fewer Sick Days. Naturally, when your health is better, you’re not going to be off sick as often. Independent contractors don’t have the benefit of paid sick days — when you’re not working you’re not making money. Exercising has proven time and again to keep people healthier, both physically and mentally.
  5. Your Networking is Better. Some would argue that even networking events are more successful. Staying in shape gives more energy to deal with some of the boring events, and also gives you more confidence to approach people and start a conversation. As well, people can unfortunately be shallow and often make better connections and feel more comfortable with those who are more physically in shape.

How a Busy IT Contractor Can Stay in Shape

That all sounds great but how can you possibly exercise when you’re juggling contracts, updating resumes, managing accounting and spending time with your family and friends? The simple answer is to make time (watch less TV, wake up earlier, etc.) but that also may not be realistic. Consider other simple options that don’t require a time change such as changing your diet, taking the stairs or biking to work.  If you’re having trouble getting motivated, talk to others to create a group of people who work out together and encourage each other.

Are you in as good of shape as you’d like to be? If so, how do you make sure you do you make it a priority? Do you think it has helped your career? Please share your advice in the comments below!

What Kind of Learner are You? Use the Flow Chart to Find Out


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Learning new skills and keeping on top of your current ones is one of the main recommendations we give to independent contractors to remain competitive in the technology space. This industry advances quickly and clients are always seeking IT professionals with the best skills and knowledge to help them advance and compete.

For some, learning new things is a breeze. They can pick up a book, read it once, try it a couple times, and they’re already approaching “expert” level. For others, this is far from reality. If you find you have trouble learning, or you hate having to do it, perhaps it’s because you’re not fully understanding your learning style. This infographic from PoudPlace provides a flow-chart to help you identify what kind of learner you are, as well as some tips for you based on the results.

What kind of learner are you? Did the outcome surprise you?


Courtesy of: Pound Place

Are You Prepared with this One “Critical” Skill?


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Some will say our post secondary institutions do a good job at preparing students for the world; however, there are critics including Freedom in Thought who believe some specific skills are not being taught, including critical thinking.

According to Freedom for Thought’s video, there are two types of thinkers — Critical Thinkers and Passive Thinkers — and it’s the critical thinkers who are most able to think rationally and succeed as a leader or teammate. Furthermore, the video argues that these thinkers are more creative and able to learn better.

IT contractors are constantly working in teams, leading others, and solving multiple problems, so critical thinking would naturally be a valuable skill in this field. Do you think you can improve yours?

A Job Seeker’s Guide to Brand Building — How to get Started


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Brianne Risley By Brianne Risley,
Delivery Manager at Eagle

A Job Seeker's Guide to Brand Building -- How to get StartedChances are if you’re engaging in a career search, you’ve heard about the key role Personal Branding plays in landing you the job you want. A brand is your elevator speech. It is your career and unique value proposition shared in 30 seconds. It is how you want others to view you — hiring managers, colleagues, peers, friends.

For as important as it is, it can be daunting to figure out where to start to build a personal brand of your own. I recently reviewed many articles and sources on this topic which all suggest this basic framework or something similar to it. Answer these questions simply and read the result aloud. The result should be the beginning of your 30 second elevator speech that you can tweak before your next interview:

Step 1: State WHAT you are — your primary job role.

“I’m a visionary coding artist who connects bipeds to binary”.  No.

“I’m a career Business Analyst….” Yes.

Be specific on what your primary job role is — two words. Don’t come with a long list of your capabilities, just mention the one that aligns well with the job you are interviewing for. A hiring manager won’t want to hear how passionate you are about Management Consulting when she’s interviewing you for a Business Analyst position.

Step 2: Share WHO you enjoy helping.

“I can work with anybody, I like People!” No.

“…. and I’ve enjoyed success partnering with Fortune 500 companies….” Yes

Mention specific industries? Business groups? Methodologies? Keep it short and simple. This line captures an element of what makes you passionate about your job. When you say it, it should get you smiling, or at least give you a charming eye twinkle.

Step 3: Say HOW you make their life/work better.

“…to give individual teams the chance to collaborate and voice design ideas. Small design stories have made the biggest impact on my best projects.”

Step 4: Give PROOF that you are credible.

“I am a proud holder of my CBAP designation…”

Results? Rewards? Credentials? Pick one to mention here.

Step 5: Wrap it up and turn it over to the manager.

“I’m looking forward to hearing more about your project team and how I can help”

You’re expressing interest in the role (ie: I want to hear more) and giving the manager an opening to do some of the talking about his/her project team.

Just like consumers who line up to buy the newest phone, hiring managers are making an emotional buying decision when they select a candidate for hire. A personal brand is your ticket — your bridge to move beyond just the skills on your resume and connect with your leader on a more personal level. It gives you access to that emotional buying centre. Invest the time, build your brand, and be prepared to really impress someone in your next interview.

Other Tips:

PRACTICE — Sit in front of the mirror, make eye contact with yourself, and practice it until your branding pitch is second nature. Focus on making sure you get a little sparkle in your eye when you say it — that’s how you know it’s personal enough, and it will help you connect emotionally with a manager!

VALIDATE IT — Use the dinner party rule. If you shared your brand with a stranger at a party, can you get through it without sounding ridiculous? A brand is personal and central — if you feel silly saying it, the statement needs fixing. “I’m a visionary coding artist who connects bipeds to binary”.  No.

IF YOU ARE STILL STUCK – If you don’t know where to start, LinkedIn is like the “Amazon” of personal branding. You can shop, browse, and select something that works. The “Whos” in your industry — how have they branded themselves? Is there anything that works for you? Ask people you know and trust what your brand is — how might they describe you to a person you don’t know.

10 Habits of Happy People


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Do you want to be happy? Of course you do! Granted, some days it isn’t possible to get a smile on your face and it’s easier said than done with factors beyond our control. But, there are some actions you can take to make you a happier person in general – that’s according to this video from Practical Psychology.

According to the video, there are 10 habits that separate happy people from less happy people:

  1. Gratefulness
  2. Optimism
  3. Smiling a lot
  4. Having a lot of friends
  5. Weeding out bad friends
  6. Taking frequent breaks
  7. Setting SMART goals
  8. Learning when they’re sad
  9. Taking care of themselves
  10. Helping people

If the list above piques your curiosity, then watch the complete video below for all of the details (and remember to share this with any unhappy friends).

Tired? Check Out These Tricks to Boost Your Energy (without unhealthy energy drinks)


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Let’s be honest: The whole concept of relaxing on the weekend and catching up on sleep is not a reality for many of us. Between family gatherings, kids’ sporting events, social events and dreaded housework, by the time Monday roles around, your batteries are not always recharged. As a result, you may not be starting out your work week totally refreshed. Throw in the fact that Monday has been proven to be the saddest day of the week, and energy may be hard to come by today.

If you’re nodding your head right now (either in agreement or because you’re trying to stay awake) then this infographic from GetVoIP is going to be the best thing you’ve looked at so far today. It tells you how to hack your chronotype, boost your energy in the morning, and stay supercharged throughout the day at work.

Tired? Check Out These Tricks to Boost Your Energy (without unhealthy energy drinks)

4 Better Ways to Use Your Spare Time


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Are you lounging around with nothing to do? Are you looking for some fun and entertaining things to do? Practical Psychology wants you to turn away from spending numerous hours in front of the TV or gaming with your free time, and instead, look into adding some net worth to your name!

This video tells us about the 4 best things we can do with our free time to start constantly improving our lifestyle. It can be as simple as exercising regularly, or meditating for 10 minutes a day. These 4 interesting habits and activities will be sure to keep you busy. Take action now, and cure your boredom!