NBC News has the following 20 question test : http://nbcnews.to/19WLCwB which has been modified. “The questions asked by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) are usually selected from a list of 100 sample questions that prospective citizens can look at ahead of the interview (though the examiner is not limited to those questions). Some are easy, some are not. We have picked some of the more difficult ones.”
In hearing about this test, especially during the Fourth of July holiday, I can’t help but think of the correlations that run between career management and citizenship (today or our ancestors just coming to this country). Here are a few: vision, preparation, courage, trust, resilience and independence.
¨ Vision: I love fireworks! Every year during this holiday, I’ve never shared with anyone that while I’m enjoying them, my mind is in a constant state of wonder… about a lot of things. One consistent thought is that of trying to imagine the same vision of what could have inspired Francis Scott Key to write the Star Spangled Banner. What were and are the real conversations that occur amongst the leaders and within families developing, and then relaying the plan to go to America? During the revolution, what really happened behind closed doors? History books tell us the stories, but it would be interesting to learn what conversations really happened and were shared. What truly sparked their inspiration to believe there will be a better life and it was critical for them to pursue this vision? Even for new citizens to this country, or employees looking to work elsewhere, what is driving you- what does your new world look like? Whether you are trying to manage your career or change your life, you need to have a vision, a goal and then a plan.
¨ Preparation: A key difference between a dream and a successful goal is that successful goals pack a plan. You can dream detailed, fun, action packed dreams, but unless you have a plan to execute and get there, the likelihood that your dreams will come true are extremely low. It’s true that some people can develop better plans, but we are all living in our own swim lanes. The plan you craft, will be custom fit for you. It’s your journey. You can be as detailed or wing-it as you want. Whether it’s the citizenship test or preparing for an interview, the tools and tips are out there. Are you doing everything you can to ensure success? It’s all up to you.
¨ Courage: Goals, visions, dreams and plans are wonderful, but will never have life, nor be fulfilled without the true guts, courage to take that first step on your journey. There’s a saying, “A bird sitting on a tree is never afraid of the branch breaking, because her trust is not on the branch but on its’ own wings.” Always believe in yourself. It takes courage to believe in yourself that even if you fail, you will do everything within your power to pursue the goal and execute your plans. Our ancestors, immigrants, new citizens and job seekers all have/had it. They all faced the fear and forged ahead anyway to blaze a new trail for themselves and their families!
¨ Trust: In working the plan, there has to be an element of trust in others. While you may be the conductor of your life’s symphony, there are musicians that need to play the music. Your musicians may have the face of a husband, wife, child, career coach, hiring manager , old boss, recruiter, or random stranger. Whatever face your team has, you need to have a belief that other people will properly execute their piece of your journey, that the information you have is correct, the map, path or process you are on is the correct one that will take you to your end goal. Even if there is a breakdown, you need to trust the universe that there is a lesson for you in this breakdown, recover and move on.
¨ Resilience: There will be times in your journey that I refer to as “the desert”. I call it this because I always envision a scene from a movie where the hero or heroine is walking through the desert, their camel has deserted them, they are low on water and supplies, yet they continue to forge ahead. There may be some hallucinating and crazy self-talk, but the journey continues. Being a Jersey Girl, I love the latest slogan of resilience after hurricane Sandy : “Jersey Strong” and “We are stronger than the Storm”. Even if you’re not from Jersey, remember you are stronger than any storm you are facing.
¨ Independence: Once you achieve your goal, it will be time to set new goals on how you will sustain, maintain and live within your vision on your own. Once you leave the nest, whether it’s a country or an old job, you need to acclimate yourself to your new surroundings, develop new habits, try new things that will allow you to flourish. There will always be elements of your old “home”, but as you forged your path to this new life, endured the “desert”, holding on to the past will hinder your ability to enjoy the fruits of your labor- your perfect present and the future. Like a snake, you need to shed your old skin… it no longer works for you.
So as you enjoy your time in the sun, the lazy, hazy days of summer, reflect on the world at large. Learn from history and understand that how the more things change the more they remain the same. As you enjoy the theater of the sky as it’s painted with fireworks, take a moment to look around and see the families on blankets and lawn chairs and wonder ….be grateful for where you are! A few years ago, a friend had shared that George Washington had the opportunity to be King of the United States and declined. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/films/GeorgeWashingtonTheManWhoWouldntBeKing/ Since that time, I take a minute to thank and be grateful to the original George W for choosing to be President and not King (not that there’s anything wrong with it), but our lives and the world would have been so different!
If you are looking to make a change in your career, and are stuck, it’s not working, or just can’t get going, let us help you in your journey. If you don’t do it now, when will you? Dreaming without a plan is like thinking you are going to win the lottery and never buying a ticket. Get your admission ticket to a Career Yenta Boot Camp! Let’s get going.
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