Caroline Dowd-Higgins Career Coach • Author • Speaker Mon, 28 Jul 2014 17:05:05 +0000 en-US hourly 1 How Can I Help You? Mon, 28 Jul 2014 17:05:05 +0000 Great leaders develop by helping others. Ask “How Can I Help You?” Join the movement to pay it forward and you will benefit in the process.

]]> 0
How Do You Keep Great Talent? Mon, 28 Jul 2014 15:44:38 +0000 The talent war is back and you must engage and challenge people in order to retain sought after professionals and create a culture you would want to work in.

]]> 0
Your Working Life Podcast with Rene Banglesdorf Mon, 28 Jul 2014 15:43:14 +0000 René Banglesdorf is co-founder and CEO of Charlie Bravo Aviation, in Austin, TX. She is part of the elite 4% of high-level aviation positions held by women in North America and Europe.

]]> 0
Surround Yourself with Positive People To Boost Your Career Mon, 28 Jul 2014 15:42:10 +0000 I have been getting some wonderful blog submissions from freelance writers who have career wisdom to share.  Sandra Mills is a freelance health and career writer. She likes helping people advance their careers and live healthier lives. I particularly enjoyed her piece below and I know you will as well. You can follow Sandra on Google+.

Many people say that it doesn’t matter so much where you work, but rather with whom you work. Your job is much more enjoyable if you’re surrounded by pleasant, fun, and helpful coworkers. Friendly chats by the water cooler, effective group work or fun office outings make the workday go by much faster. But did you know that positive and upbeat coworkers can actually boost your own career? Their optimistic energy rubs off on you, and you will be more likely to put in the time and effort to get ahead in your job.

It’s no secret that it takes more to be successful in your career than merely working hard and producing consistently good work. There are many more things to consider: you want to be innovative to get noticed, outstanding to become promoted, and alert to catch career advancement opportunities. Furthermore, it is crucial that you take advantage of all the training you can get and network as much as possible in your field. However, there’s more to climbing up the career latter than following these strategic moves.

Consultants Dorie Clark and Bob Legge told to Forbes that surrounding yourself with positive people will allow you to tap their positive energy. “That will fuel your won energy to learn, achieve and grow,” they explained. According to Wharton University professor Sigal Barsade and Dr. Donald Gibson, Dean of Dolan’s School of Business, people’s attitudes in the workplace directly affect job performance, teamwork, creativity, leadership, decision-making, turnover and negotiations. If the employees’ (and employers’) attitude is positive, it will have a positive impact on each individual worker and the company as a whole.

Similarly, a coworker’s bad attitude can have a decidedly negative impact in you. Negative colleagues spread their negativity by generating secondhand stress. Coworkers who are always busy, stressed or grouchy convey those feelings to everybody else in the workplace. This causes concerns among colleagues that “maybe I should be doing that, too, or maybe my stuff isn’t as important as his, or maybe he’ll be irritable if I interrupt,” says Jordan Friedman, a New York City stress-management speaker and trainer. Furthermore, it can in fact decrease productivity down as stressed people usually produce inferior work.

While positive people tend to perform better at work because the can process information with greater awareness, efficiency and accuracy, negative people dedicate too much time and energy into their negative mood, which prohibits them from obtaining the information they need to perform better. A positive attitude can make a person more responsive, whereas a negative one can cause a person to regard new information in a negative light. When it comes to teamwork, a negative attitude can shut down the creative process or stifle the overall workflow because it undermines collaboration and conversation in the workplace.

Especially true for fast-paced, demanding work environments like the healthcare field, law-enforcement, a single negative coworker can have a huge detrimental impact. For instance, a registered nurse has to cope with widespread staffing shortages, rapid changes in patient condition and constant technological advances, which translates into high stress levels. In addition, medical personnel like nurses work in teams and rely heavily on their colleagues to perform properly. In this medical scenario, the negative attitude of a co-worker may have really serious ramifications for both other employees and patients. On the other hand, positive colleagues will make the work of a nurse easier, safer and more efficient, which can result in positive career developments for him or her.

Seek out a work environment with positive workers or associate with the positive people in your workplace and avoid the negative ones. While positive colleagues will help, encourage and inspire you, negative colleagues will only cause you stress and impede your performance. Remember that a positive attitude goes a long way.

]]> 0
What Would You Do If You Weren’t Afraid? Sat, 19 Jul 2014 17:54:21 +0000 Expand your comfort zone and try news things. By stating your fears out loud you can create strategies to overcome them and move towards your goals.

]]> 0
Your Working Life Podcast with Brad Karsh Sat, 19 Jul 2014 17:43:19 +0000 Brad Karsh’s book: “Manager 3.0: A Millennial’s Guide to Rewriting the Rules of Management” is a must read for those in a multi-generational work setting.

]]> 0
Habits for Success: How To Work Smarter Sat, 19 Jul 2014 17:37:21 +0000 I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing over 400 women from around the world about work and career for my book: ‘This Is Not The Career I Ordered’ and my forthcoming book: ‘Thrive Where You Are’.

Whether entrepreneurial in spirit or working in more corporate environments, many of the women I spoke with had similar ‘habits for success’.  Here are five that rose to the top – helping these successful women work smarter and achieve their career goals.

Network before you need it.  Successful professional women know the power of positive relationships when it comes to generating new business, gathering information, and building a supportive community. Regular networking, whether you have a job or not, sharpens your communication skills and keeps you visible and accessible. It also gives you the chance to ‘pay-it-forward’ by acting as a connection for others.

Cultivate your organizational skills to achieve your goals. Writing To-Do lists, and keeping work and living spaces (including the car) organized and clutter free, are common practices for the successful women I interviewed. Choose an organizational system that’s right for you – that can help manage the many facets of your life. The more organized you are, the more you can get done, and the more you can spend your non-working hours doing the things that really matter to you.

Keep learning. Take advantage of certificates, online classes, webinars, and short-term courses that can expand your knowledge and can give you a competitive edge in your field. Professional development can be an enjoyable pursuit that keeps you sharp and marketable for years to come.

Use Your Creativity.  Creativity and innovation are among the most desirable skills in the workplace. Many of us take the creative problem-solving strategies we use at home for granted, but being innovative is valuable on the job as well. Adapting to change and dealing with unexpected challenges with a level head can help you stand out in the professional arena – so get those creative juices flowing on the job.

Relax and reflect to gain perspective and improve productivity. A ‘time out’ in the form of a lunchtime walk, an off-site coffee break or a weekend away may be exactly what’s needed to ‘reboot’ and gain insight into any challenges you may face at work.

Giving yourself a structure in the form of these ‘habits for success’ can help you find more balance, control and greater fulfillment in your work – as they did for many of the women I interviewed. Cheers to you!

]]> 0
Don’t Be a Vacation Loser Sat, 12 Jul 2014 15:34:08 +0000 It’s vacation season and the time of year to step away from work to recharge and refresh. Sadly, many people don’t take all the vacation days they earn. Others who take vacation end up working during their time off which defeats the purpose entirely.

According to a Glassdoor survey, only 25% of employees with paid time off took all of their allotted vacation time. I am part of the 75% with copious amounts of unused vacation days – shame on me!

This is not a badge of honor I wear proudly – it’s a waste of precious time I should be enjoying that I earned by working very hard. You may remember from a previous blog that I am a recovering workaholic and I’ll admit – it’s a daily struggle. Some days are great and others I slide backwards down a slippery slope of overworking madness. My most immediate challenge is to unplug for an upcoming week away from work so I don’t become a vacation loser.

I have deputized several accountability masters to hold me to the task of truly unplugging during my summer vacation. Life is too precious for all work and no play so here are some step-by-step instructions for those like me who need a primer on how to take a vacation and not work.

Digital Detox – I am tethered to my smart phone at least 14 hours a day. Like a Pavlovian response, my heart speeds up when I hear the audible sound of each new email or text message ping on my phone. I plan to leave my phone on for social calls but I vow not to conduct business by phone during my vacation. My goal is to not check email for a 7-day span – the thought of which makes me twitch even as I write this. It would be great if I was going to a remote tropical island with no cell reception but I’ll be visiting family in New Jersey so the temptation will be great and the bandwidth is plentiful. I aspire to reconnect with myself as I disconnect from technology.

Try Doing Nothing – my meditation practice is slow but steady and sitting still and quieting my mind for 10 minutes a day seems like an Olympic effort for this self proclaimed Type A Energizer Bunny. I know in my gut that occasionally doing nothing – some call it relaxing – is good for your mind and your body. I plan to put this into practice during my week off and lounge around with a good book for at least some of the time. I’m tired of glorifying being busy and ready to relax. Wish me luck!

Clarity of Expectations – I’ve been really good at telling my friends and colleagues to unplug during their vacations and I honor their time away. At least I write: “Don’t read this email until you get back from vacation.” when I send messages to their crowded inboxes. I know it’s my responsibility to teach others how to treat meat work and at home. I must lead by example and tell my colleagues that I’m really unplugging during my week away. I’ll break down and turn on my out of office email message so my absence won’t cause alarm for the masses.

Give Up The Guilt – I was raised Catholic so I’m really good at guilt. My people have made it a professional sport. On New Year’s Eve four years ago, I gave up guilt when I finally realized it was a useless emotion that was never used for anything positive. Don’t ever succumb to feeling guilty about taking a vacation. You work really hard and vacation time is a form of payment which should be valued as part of your overall compensation package. It’s always going to be a crazy time at work and there is rarely a good time to leave since something important always needs to be done. If you don’t prioritize yourself, neither will anybody else. Enough said.

Live in The Moment – whether you arestaying put to do some home improvement projects or embracing on an exotic destination during your well-deserved time off, consider how you embrace each day. Breathe in the flexible schedule you can keep. Be aware of how your body relaxes differently when you don’t have to commute. Enjoy the freedom to make choices based on what you want, not what you must accomplish in a given workday. Even if you stay at home, vacation should be paradise.

A Remedy for Burnout – Enjoy the opportunity to sleep longer and replenish your body with nourishing rest. Arianna Huffington shared this tip in a piece about 10 things she wished she had known in her 20’s.

 “Not only is there no tradeoff between living a well-rounded life and high performance, your performance will actually improve when your life includes time for renewal, wisdom, wonder and giving. Taking this advice will save you a lot of unnecessary stress, burnout, and exhaustion!”

Back to The Grind – I’ll admit, thinking about the re-entry back to planet work makes me anxious and I haven’t even taken my vacation yet. But I am not going to let that ruin my forthcoming time away. I know that I will have hundreds of emails and voice mails to answer and my schedule will fill up with meetings before I can post my vacation photos to Shutterfly. The work will always be there and I actually love my career so going back won’t be all that bad. I need to give myself permission not to expect that everything will be back up to speed on my first day.

I just might get used to this vacation concept and take some random days to burn some banked vacation time for wellness breaks and “just because” days. Time off is meant to restore your mind and your body so you can come back to work refreshed and rejuvenated. Take it from a former vacation loser – enjoy your career and love your life! And please – don’t contact me during the next week since I’ll be on vacation.

]]> 0
Your Working Life Podcast with Lauren Berger Sat, 12 Jul 2014 15:32:13 +0000 Lauren Berger is the CEO & Founder of, a FREE internship destination for young people attracting thousands of ambitious young professionals every month. Her new book “Welcome to The Real World” is essential for every workplace rookie.

]]> 0
Continue Your Lifelong Learning Sat, 12 Jul 2014 15:28:53 +0000 Continue your lifelong learning – from micro credentials to conferences, continue to sharpen your competitive edge and stay fresh in your career field with professional development.

]]> 0