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Tag Archives: positive attitude

All Talent Development Centre posts for Canadian technology contractors relating to having a positive attitude.

Share Your Success!

Cameron McCallum By Cameron McCallum,
Branch Manager at Eagle

Share Your Success!

I’m not sure if it’s because the world we live in spends so much time talking about the negative, but it occurs to me that this has rubbed off on a lot of us. We spend an inordinate amount of time in our personal or business lives apologizing and feeling bad about the things that have gone wrong. Maybe it’s because, as Canadians, it seems the default setting is to say “sorry,” even when we’ve done absolutely nothing wrong.

As an example, the staffing industry is full of rewards, but it can be challenging. When we work out problems between our clients and contractors, we end up being the middle player. Situations can get tense and we do what we have to do to make sure everybody is satisfied with the service received. The result of this can be a real beat down and if you are not careful, you’ll forget about all the good things you do or accomplish in a day. Everybody experiences these kinds of situations, regardless of their industry or profession, including independent contractors. So, if you’re feeling defeated and it seems like every negative day is followed by another one, I would like to suggest the following:

  1. At least once a day, by yourself or with your team, celebrate the hard work and victories accomplished. This is not excessive. At Eagle, we have a simple program set up where peers can recognize the great work that they do for each other on a daily basis. Talking about wins reinforces good practices and encourages continuous learning and improvement by hearing positive stories. We always hear about learning from your mistakes… how about the important lessons learned from your wins?
  2. Propagate those stories. As a sales person, this is a powerful tool I use to demonstrate to new or existing clients the good work my team is doing. When dealing with your existing clients, spend time during meetings to let them know the recent successes you’ve enjoyed while delivering service to their firm. Believe me — they will hear about everything that goes wrong so it is important that you make sure they hear about what is going right. And if there are things that have gone wrong, there is nothing embarrassing about talking about how a problem has been fixed and turned into a win.
  3. It’s not bragging! It’s that Canadian thing again. People prefer dealing with a professional who is positive and proud of their record. Think of your own experiences when you have had the chance to evaluate a product or service. It is so much better to speak with somebody who is confident and proud to tell you about their success and it in turn gives you greater confidence in the product or service you are buying.
  4. Finally, and most obviously, if you want to accentuate the positive, you have to walk the talk. You can’t make up success and if you want to tell good stories, you have to be committed to creating them.

Whether we like it or not, bad things happen but let’s not forget, nor forget to celebrate all the good things that we accomplish in a day. Hopefully that will help put a smile on your face and that alone will make your day a better one.

The Secret to Climbing Africa’s Highest Peak

Frances McCart By Frances McCart,
Vice-President, Business Development at Eagle

The Secret to Climbing Africa's Highest PeakI just returned from one of the toughest, but also one of the best and most memorable experiences of my life. A little over a month ago, I posted about my preparation and challenges for my upcoming climb of Mount Kilimanjaro. Now that I’ve completed the journey, returned home safely, and had a chance to reflect on the past couple weeks, I’d like to share with you one of the most important take-aways I brought back with me. Something I always knew, but this trip made me see it in a whole other light:  When taking on any major challenge, a solid team with an exceptional leader will make the difference between success and failure.

Overall, our trek up Kili was a very difficult climb — harder than we expected due to some horrible weather conditions. Fortunately, we were accompanied by a team of experienced climbers, including a Chief Guide. Our Chief Guide informed us from that start that every day would be a challenge. She would give us instructions to follow that seem simple, but were critical to making it to the peak (like eating food when we did not have an appetite due to the fact the altitude had killed our appetites).  She kept us on a very short leash, yelling instructions from the minute we got up at 6am until we fell asleep exhausted in our tents at 9pm.  Twice a day we were given information about what lay ahead and what was to be expected.  She was tough on us but we knew what was expected.  She told us over and over again that she and the rest of the team (all 93 of them) were there for us and that everyone wanted to see us at the top!

The most gruelling part of the trip was Summit Night, where we set off to reach the summit starting at midnight. Forming a long conga line of people up the mountain, we had only our headlamps and the night moon to light our way.  As a team, we had to work slowly and take one small step at a time, as anything bigger was dangerous due to the slope of our climb, the darkness and the fear of hitting someone in front of us.  We all had to work as a team to get to the top and we were kept in spirits by Fuso who sang to us to help keep us awake and positive.

It was tempting to let the overall toughness of the challenge consume us but, as our Chief Guide told us, the key is to focus on the step in front of you, and don’t get overwhelmed by the day and its challenges.  It is easier to cope with any problem or task one step at a time. What kept us going was thinking about all the little steps that need to be taken in order to achieve the overall goal of reaching the summit.

Overall, it was a team effort that got us to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro. Every day had its challenges throughout the journey, but we were well taken care off.  We knew what we had to do and it was one step at a time that led to the ultimate success!

The 5 People You Need to Succeed

By Elizabeth Bromstein at Workopolis
This article originally appeared in the Workopolis Career Resources Blog

The 5 People You Need to SucceedThere was a time in my life when I looked around me and realized that a lot of the people I knew never actually did anything. They talked a lot about doing things – writing books, going back to school, going skiing – but nothing ever actually got done.

Today I prefer to surround myself with a different sort of person – one who does things. They’re better conversationalists: talking about all the things you did, rather than all the things you’re “going” to do makes for better conversation. Also they’re a galvanizing force. Being around people who do a lot of things makes me want to do things. And doing things is good.

Of course, we all have different ideas of what it means to be successful. For some it’s great wealth, for others it’s great life balance and great love. Whatever we’re striving for, the people with whom we surround ourselves have a big impact on whether we achieve it.

If you’re looking for a job, changing careers, or starting a business, the people in your life will be absolutely instrumental in your success or failure.

Here are five people who will help you get a little closer to your goals. Feel free to add your own. Then head over here to read about the 10 people you need to ditch before they drag you down.

The connector: This is the person who knows everyone. They have thousands of Facebook friends, who are real actual friends (not random strangers they don’t actually know in person), and everyone knows who they are. The connector is well liked and always willing to connect the people they know with each other.

The cheerleader: The cheerleader thinks everything you do is awesome, and is always encouraging you to do more of whatever you want to do. You want to start a business, go back to school, invent something to end world hunger? The cheerleader is sure you can do it.

The realist: Cheerleaders are great but sometimes they’re … what’s the word? … oh, yes, crazy. Sometimes your ideas are just bad. It’s not that you want people to step on your dreams but maybe you shouldn’t quit your job to write that musical about Nazis. Oh, wait, that’s The Producers…or is it The Sound of Music? OK, so maybe that particular idea is actually great. But the realist will let you know if you have a really bad one, and be your sounding board. The realist is not a pessimist. The realist can also help you come up with realistic ways to implement your ideas.

The idea generator: I have one friend who is an endless fountain of creative energy. He has as many ideas for other people as he does for himself – art projects, writing projects, business projects, solutions to problems. He never runs out and is always willing to share. No, they’re not all great ideas and some are crazy, but many are great, and his enthusiasm is infectious. Just being around him gives me ideas. Everyone should seek out someone like this to have around when your own idea well is tapped.

The success story: The success story is the person who is living their dream, whether that turned out to be the original dream they’ve been chasing all their lives, or some variation thereupon. I’ve got many of these in my life and every one of them is an inspiration when it seems like everything sucks.

Who do you keep close?

Positive (or Negative) Influences Can Change Your Life

Kevin Dee By Kevin Dee,
CEO at Eagle

This article originally appeared on the Eagle Blog on February 9th, 2015

We all know those “glass half full” people who always seem to be positive.  We also know negative people who always seem to have something to complain about.  Both of these characters can have a profound effect on our own mood, lifting our spirits or dragging us down.

The best thing you can do for your own happiness is to seek out the positive people, and spend as little time as possible with the negative people!

Positive people are a joy to be around, their energy is contagious and even inspiring.  When we spend time with them we feel good about ourselves, they lift our spirits and we too are more positive.

Negative people have a way of sucking the life out of you.  There is always some problem and it is everybody else’s fault.  They have a black cloud hanging over them and they pull you under it too!

“Attitudes are contagious. Are yours worth catching?” Dennis and Wendy Mannering

Here are some ideas for you:

  1. Francesca Reigler QuoteMake a list of the people you spend your time with and rank them on a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 is very negative and 10 is very positive.
  2. For all of the people that scored extremely low create a plan to either stop spending time with them, or at a minimum reduce the time you spend with them.
  3. For all the very positive people, make a plan to try and spend more time with them.
  4. Join organisations that have positive people … entrepreneurial organisations, learning organisations and charities are just some great examples.
  5. Do your part … be one of those positive people that others seek out.

This is easier said than done, but you can make a plan to improve things over time, just by increasing the time spent with positive people and decreasing the time spent with negative people.

Three classic issues you will need to contend with:

  1. Some of those negative people will be family! Clearly avoiding them altogether might be tough, but establishing new routines that decrease the time spent with them will work.  You may feel a little guilty but at the end of the day it is the right answer.
  2. How do you get to spend time with entrepreneurs and successful people? Get introductions, join clubs, get involved with charities and get creative with your networking.
  3. Do you need to tell the negative people that you don’t want to spend time with them? There is no need to be rude or even obvious about this, just change your routines a little at a time and it will happen naturally.

“Surround yourself only with people who are going to lift you higher.”  Oprah Winfrey

If you can spend the majority of your time with positive influencers it will change your life, and that is worth doing!

3 Attributes for a Job: Experience, Skills, Attitude

There are basically three things you bring to a team and project when you start a new Woman searching for a job onlinecontract: skills, experience and attitude. By improving each of them, you can secure great references from clients and impress during interviews which will significantly increase your chances of scoring your next contract .

You can’t do much about your experience, but you can do a couple of things to enhance it…

  1. add to your experience through charitable/volunteer work;
  2. put your experience in its best light highlighting how it can benefit an employer.

In order to get a job you need to stand out from the other candidates. Remember it doesn’t matter how many people are looking for a job, you only need one!  You can differentiate based on skills and most definitely on attitude!

SKILLS:

What can you do to add to your skills?

(i)      Take some courses;
(ii)    Get an unpaid job (intern) that gives you new skills;
(iii)   Do some self-learning online.

If your skills are too generic, can you consider going back to school and starting a new career?

ATTITUDE:

This is THE number one way to differentiate from everyone else but to truly take advantage of it you need to really buy in to your new attitude.  It is not enough to say the words, you need to live and breathe it.

  • Recognise that your job is an important part of your world so be truly grateful that you have it no matter what the job is!
  • Do everything you can to be a great contractor.  Even if it’s not your ideal contract, do it better than anyone else would and with a smile on your face. You can find a better contract after this one’s over.
  • Refrain from telling a client “that’s not my job.”  Add value by helping out on other projects and mentoring other contractors or employees when possible.
  • Dress for success take pride in yourself.  Take your cues from those around you but always try to dress at the upper range of your peers. If you’re in a casual environment where jeans and a t-shirt are acceptable, always wear presentable and clean jeans, a collared t-shirt, and nothing inappropriate.
  • Go the extra mile. Putting in a little extra time when it’s needed can make a huge impression.
  • Adopt a positive attitude. You have a job, your health, live in a great country etc.  Don’t get dragged down by negativity.
  • The world is full of people that expect the world to cater to them they expected their parents to give them “stuff”, they expect their government to provide them with “stuff”, they expect their client to pay them while they give as little as possible back!   You can beat them to the jobs every time, IF you can demonstrate a positive ATTITUDE.

How do you differentiate yourself to clients and recruiters?  Do you do anything extra that you believe has led to success?  Share your tips and help other contractors across Canada find opportunities too!

Job Interviews – Getting the Job

Job interviews are a stressful thing and new contractors don’t always realize how easy it is to do certain things that will increase their chance of getting a job. In fact, they may simply hope they do well, which puts all of the power in the hands of the interviewer!

In addition to the basic skills needed to do the job, here are some other things a recruiter First Job Interviewor client may be looking for:

  • A positive and cheery attitude. Clients don’t want a “negative personality’ on site and recruiters would be embarrassed to present negative people to a client.
  • Evidence that the person did some research before the interview. At a minimum, that includes visiting the website and understanding a bit about the client and the project.
  • Some questions that show they have thought about the role, and how it might work.
  • Appropriate interview attire.  Make sure you create that great first impression with neat and tidy clothing.  You only get one shot at a first impression!
  • Enthusiasm for the opportunity. The client wants to know that you want the job and you’re interested in their success, not that you’re only looking for your next contract.
  • Good manners! (shocking that we have to mention this one, but, ya)

Great interviewers may also dig to learn a few things about a candidate to determine a few specific traits.

  • Will they be willing to put in longer hours when it is needed?
  • Do they really care about the client’s success?
  • Are they investing in their training and making sure they’re on top of the latest trends and best practices in their field?
  • Are they involved in their industry and do they have a network of other professionals in case they hit a snag during the project?

A job interview is hard work. If you “wing it” then you are flipping a coin, if you do the preparation then you have a much better chance of success.  Not only should you remember the basic interview skills listed above, but think about the deeper traits the client or recruiter is seeking, and plant those into your responses.  It could make or break your interview!

How You Can Be Busy AND Get Things Done

There is an old saying that if you want to get something done give it to a busy person, they will find a way to get it done. There is a lot of truth in that saying

People who can get things done are often the “go-to” contractor on a client site, successfully manage multiple contracts at once, and sit on boards for industry associations and charities.  If you’re not one of these people, it SHOULD beg a couple of questions: How do they do it? and Can I do that too?  After all, it’s the easiest way to increase your revenue and your professional reputation!

Obviously not everyone wants to get those extra contracts, so this won’t apply to them. Clock running out of timeAlso, not everyone is willing to work one little bit more than they need to, so this won’t apply to them either. However, if you WANT to be successful, or you WANT to go above and beyond for your clients, or you WANT to do the best that you can then this does apply to you.

Truly busy people typically have a couple of characteristics that help them:

  • Attitude.  They care!   They want to do the right thing.  They want to succeed.  They take pride in their work.
  • Time Management.  They apply sound time management techniques and are always looking to be as efficient as they can.

How do they take on that EXTRA task AND get it done?

They are motivated to succeed which is really half the battle.  Then they give that job the right level of priority so it fits into their day/week/month and shift other “less important” tasks around. Have you ever REALLY looked at how you spend your time?  Someone who is exceedingly efficient at managing their time will increasingly fill their time with “high return” activities, squeezing out the “low return” activities with an end result of a much higher level of productivity.  THAT is how the busy people GET THINGS DONE!

IF you want to be successful and IF you have that great attitude then the next thing you can focus on that will have the best return for your career is Time Management.  It’s not an overnight fix, it is truly a lifelong learning exercise but it is worth it.  You can read a few of our past posts on Time Management here.

Being able to get things done will not only help you do more for your client, you’ll eventually be able to take on more contracts and, ultimately, increase your revenue stream! The question is, are you willing to put in the extra effort it takes and change some routines to achieve that goal?

Professionalism

Professionalism means a lot of different things. It can relate to knowledge, to skill and it can also relate to attitude. One of the characteristics that many people also associate with professionalism is consistency.  Clients specifically always expect conHappy Professionalsistency in performance and expect consistency in attitude.

So how does this affect the average independent contractor? One of the growing trends in the workplace is a propensity for people to just say what comes into their head. If they are in a bad mood, everybody knows it and if they are upset about something everybody knows it, and usually if they are in a great mood everybody knows that too.

The truth is, in our professional lives, we should put on “our professional face”. It doesn’t mean you can’t have fun, or joke around it just means that you are consistent in your demeanor. What brand you choose is another story and should be one that meets your needs in the context of your career aspirations. The people who are not consistent are typically affected by their moods and as professionals, we should do our best to regulate our moods.

The message here — Decide on your professional brand, and stick to it. It’s all your choice.  What’s your professional brand?  How do you maintain it?  Let us know in the comments below!

10 Tips on Working your Plan

If you want to be successful as a contractor, then you need to focus your energies on the types of activities that move you towards your goals and the work that you want to do.

Some excellent advice says Plan your Work and Work Your Plan.  We would take it one step further: Plan Your Work and Be Very Focused in Working Your Plan!

Person creating a planHere’s some quick tips:

  1. When working on any contract, be VERY focused on those activities in your plan! Always perform all tasks with 100%, but ensure you’re especially building good references to help land future contracts that fit into your plan.
  2. When you’re at a client site, be social with those around you but do NOT get sucked into long conversations, solve- the-world discussions or “whine sessions” about the company’s internal problems.
  3. Stay Positive! Your attitude will ultimately determine your success.
  4. Use GREAT time management techniques and continually upgrade your time management skills. The most successful people are incredibly productive and that is no accident!
  5. Don’t focus on other people too much. YES emulate those who are successful, YES learn from those around you and YES be happy for your colleagues’ success. But do not worry that “she” is better than you, that “he” is getting better contracts or that “they” should do their job better. Focus 99% of your energies on making YOU better, getting YOU where you need to be and on YOUR success.
  6. Keep focused on the positive. It doesn’t matter what happened last month, last week, yesterday or even an hour ago. By “working your plan” with a view to now and the future you will be moving towards success.
  7. Remember that we are all human and we all make mistakes so don’t sweat it!
  8. Remember to revisit your plan often enough that it is not stale, but not so often that it never gets a chance to be executed.
  9. Look for solutions not problems.
  10. Did we mention Stay Positive? Positive people make things happen, focus on the good, and, from our experience, clients love having them around!

Do you have a plan?  If so, how do you keep the right attitude to drive towards it?  We’d love your input!  Leave us a comment below.

8 Things to Ponder When Applying for a Contract

You may find yourself in a position where you are unsure about whether to apply for a contract. It could be that you’re unsure if you have the experience; it could be that it’s in a different city and you’re hesitant about travel or perhaps another reason. If you apply for the contract with this mindset then you are bound to let that show in your application which will probably be the end of your chances!

There are many factors to consider before hitting that submit button including:

  1. Unsure about submitting an application for a contractIf you really have little or no interest in the job then absolutely do not apply.
  2. Never apply just for the experience of applying.
  3. If you decide to apply, then get in the right frame of mind and commit.
  4. Apply as though it is the contract of your dreams.
  5. Be honest about your fit. Don’t oversell yourself or sell yourself short.
  6. Demonstrate how you can fit the role with your experience and skills.
  7. Make your application very personal to this project. Customize your resume to highlight the appropriate skills and experience.
  8. If you need more information, get in contact with the Recruiter to learn more about the project, the company, and if possible any decision makers.

With these consideration in mind, you will be putting your best foot forward and will have a great chance of having your resume submitted to a client for consideration. If the client like what they see, you’ll be on your way to the interview and hopefully a new contract!