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highlighter-yellowHighlighters can be little magic wands of a kind. Magic because they help to select what is essential and worthwhile to you and bring it to the forefront of awareness. As I explain more below, this literal act can lead to the strengthening of a valuable perceptual tool.

When I am reading a good book, I always have a pencil and a highlighter by my side. I underline and star outstanding passages with the pencil or pen, and then I highlight and draw keys next to the “key” content. That way when I glance back over the book months or years later, I can easily get straight to the juicy parts.

If something is usable to some aspect of my work (like an exercise or diagram I want to reference in a workshop) then I will dog ear it on the bottom or more recently write the page number and a brief note about it on one of the blank pages in the back of the book. That way, I can extract and access useful content out of the book in an efficient way. I read books like a prospector looking for gold. When I am done, the treasure I found is literally highlighted in gold.

The great thing about highlighting key passages in books over many years is that it teaches you to think with a highlighter filter. Trains you in highlighter perception if you will. You automatically look and listen for the most exciting, relevant, and profound sections to jump out at you and then you give them the ability to easily jump out at everyone because of their bright color. This ability to listen for the essence of something has served me very well in working with coaching clients. My mind is naturally highlighting key parts of what a client is saying when they are sharing about something.

Who has time anymore for excess and fluff? We want to cut straight to the chase, get to the point, and get the juice of a concept without having to chew on a lot of excessive fiber.
So get yourself a literal highlighter and use it on articles, poems, instructions and books. Also practice highlighter perception and listen for and then “highlight” the essence of what a person is saying to you or the core of a situation.

INTEGRATION  EXERCISE

Write in your Journal if you have one or just do a Free Write on a piece of paper.
Go over it with your trusty highlighter and mark the parts that jump out at you as interesting.
Write a new and more streamlined expression using mainly the highlighted sections of the old.

What about You?? Any good highlighter tips?
Comments are welcome.

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There are so many people seeking work right now. Whatever label you want to put on our current economic situation, one of its undeniable effects has been many out of work, leading to many seeking work.

Though I am a certified career coach, these tips are not just general intellectual ideas. They have been extracted from the lessons I learned these last few months during my own job search process. (After spending the Winter in Asia I came back to California and had to dive into manifesting a couple of day jobs to pay the bills while I keep progressing towards my big goals)

So- here they are.

1.    Intentionally target your ideal work situation and pursue them even if they have no Job Listings.

The truth is that most jobs are filled via “internal” connections within an organization before they ever get posted to the public. (internal meaning the friends, family and colleagues of those already working at the company) By the time a job gets posted on Craigslist or a job board, job site, or in the newspaper, it becomes victim to an overwhelming pile of resumes. Due to this huge load of qualified and overqualified resumes, your chances of standing out are pretty slim. So try another approach altogether. Ask yourself who you really want to work for and what you want to do. Choose what you have the most qualifications or the most passion for and get as specific as possible about your ideal job situation. Then do your research and single out a small group of target jobs and gather relevant information about the company and people in leadership. If possible, deliver your resume in person and make a friendly positive impression on anyone and everyone you meet during the process. Perhaps they have a position opening up in the near future, or are open to hearing what you have to offer. In any case, you have shown yourself to be pro-active and flattered them by choosing them specifically, so you have already set yourself well apart from the majority of the competition.

2.    If you can’t find a job, Create one.

If you get depressed looking at the list of available jobs and feel like you would not fit into any of them, then maybe you should try custom making a job to suite you. There are many ways you can go about creating a job. As is often true, the only limit is your imagination. Some Possibilities:  Volunteer for your favorite organization and offer to creatively fundraise to pay for your salary. Propose a position for yourself and then make it risk free by offering to work the position for a period of time for free to let them feel the benefits it will generate. Turn a hobby into a side job. Teach a class or workshop in something that you love/are good at. Basically, look for needs and opportunities everywhere and then get creative.

3.    Create a simple Follow-Up System.

It is very easy to attach a resume to an email and hope for the best. But it is relatively rare to be organized and persistent enough to actually follow-up. This is an easy place to set your self apart from the masses. Example of a very simple system: Create a Follow-Up List on your desk, and document the relevant info about the position you applied for and date you applied. Then schedule 2 or 3 follow-up communications in the week or two following your initial application. You want to be persistent in a friendly way and not become a nuisance. There are software applications and calendars, and phones and coaches and friends and many possible elements to utilize in customizing a system that works for you. Get creative in making your own follow-up system- and make sure to use it!

What about you? Any useful tips you have gleaned from your own experience?

I love movies. I tend to be picky and have strong opinions as to weather they are contributing to the ultimate betterment of the human species or harming it.
I rarely want to just rave about a movie though, and Pixar’s latest masterpiece makes me want to do just that.

First of all, the Short they played previous to the feature film was an absolutely hilarious and cute little film about clouds creating various babies for storks to carry to the expecting mom’s below. It of course had a twist to make it funny. The whole audience had already laughed heartily before the main film even started. clever…

Anyway, some reasons why I thought that UP was a Brilliant movie:

* Great Characters- truly unique (which is hard to do at this stage in the game)
* Some stellar writing and hilarious lines woven in throughout
* A plot that is compelling on its own and profound if looked at as a metaphor
* Has a great message (or many)
* Some quirky unexpected out of left field ideas
* Leaves you feeling warm/fuzzy and glad to be alive

The critics and reviews seem to agree with me. Here is one review:

Up is a marvel of a movie which will enchant cinemagoers around the world and remain a family favourite for decades to come. A highpoint of ingenuity and storytelling in the Pixar canon and indeed the animated form…

So if you want to see an Uplifting movie… go see UP.