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Embrace the New

Embrace the New

When I don’t have strong clarity about what I want to experience next in my life, I like to explore something new. I know that I want to keep growing, so I seek out new growth experiences, new places, new people. Anything new.

This default decision to embrace the new has been a powerful heuristic in guiding my life path. I find myself leaning into many experiences for the simple reason that they’re new. If I receive an invitation to try something I’ve never tried before, I tend to say yes fairly often. If I’m not sure, I nudge myself towards the affirmative. I figure that exploring something new is generally better than doing nothing. New input means learning, and I love to learn.

Sometimes I need to return to my comfort zone to catch my breath. Too much newness can feel a little overwhelming at times, so when I feel that way, I take some downtime for personal renewal. A long meditation, a solo walk at night, a journaling session, or writing a new article are restorative experiences for me.

Then when I feel ready to branch out again, I put out some fresh invitations and/or say yes to more invitations to go explore. I lean into the new. The more I do this, the more my comfort zone expands, and the more I feel capable of saying yes to experiences that I once resisted.

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Oslo

Last weekend I had a wonderful time at the Morten Hake Summit in Oslo, Norway. The summit went very well, and there’s already talk about doing another one next year.

The days before and after the summit have been a whirlwind of social activity — an 8-hour mastermind session with the other speakers, several video interviews (some of them spontaneous), nights out, parties, intimate conversations, delightful cuddle sessions, reconnecting with old friends and making new ones, brainstorming new business ideas, and inspirations galore. I must have had well beyond a hundred hugs while I’ve been here, and I directly encouraged hundreds more hugs between others.

Initially I flew to Oslo with a one-way ticket. This is the second time I’ve flown to Europe this year without a return ticket booked in advance, and it’s my fourth visit to this continent since 2011.Up until 2009 I had never been outside the USA. Embracing the new has been a helpful heuristic to guide me in saying yes to travel experiences. Lately this has taken the form of doing more open-ended travel, i.e. flying somewhere without knowing where I’ll go next or when I’ll return home.

While I desire to explore other parts of the world too, lately I’ve been drawn to explore Europe. I’ve been to five countries here so far, and soon I’ll land in my sixth European country — Romania. My flight to Bucharest leaves tomorrow morning.

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Bucharest

My friend Zan Perrion likes to say, “Accept all invitations.” That’s another growth-oriented heuristic, and it nicely overlaps with “Embrace the new.” Zan invited me to come stay with him in Casa Amorata after Oslo, so in alignment with both of those heuristics, I gratefully accepted. Zan and I have been friends for several years, and like many others who know him, I love the energy that he and his friends create together — the energy of love, happiness, lightness, and beauty.

I’ve never been to Eastern Europe, so I’m really looking forward to it. I’m not sure how long I’ll stay, but I already have some interesting invitations coming through for Bucharest. Once again, I bought a one-way ticket. I have no doubt that this trip will be filled with interesting growth experience. The newness of it pretty much guarantees that.

After Bucharest I may go somewhere else, or I may return to Las Vegas. I trust my intuition to make those decisions.

Familiar Unfamiliarity

As I keep leaning into new experiences, I find that the unfamiliar starts to feel increasingly familiar. Getting my bearings in new places, making new local friends, calibrating to new social environments, and learning the nuances of other cultures becomes less uncomfortable after a while. The surprises are still there, but paradoxically they’re becoming familiar surprises.

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The more I embrace the new, the more I feel at home on a path of growth and change. Going outside my comfort zone ceases to feel scary and stressful, and instead it becomes fun, stimulating, empowering, and even playful. I become comfortable in those spaces of awkwardness, confusion, and mistakes, knowing that whatever happens, I can deal with it and learn from it.

When I embrace the new, I make plenty of mistakes. I spend more time in that uncalibrated beginner phase, not really knowing what I’m doing but eager to learn. I love this phase because it’s where I learn and grow the fastest. Even simple gains, like learning to navigate a new public transportation system, feel like significant accomplishments. I love reaching the point where a once unfamiliar city feels like a place I can call home, or a previously undeveloped skill can be utilized with reasonable competence.

Embrace the New

When life begins to feel stale, embrace the new. When you’re not sure what you want, embrace the new. When you feel stuck in your job or your relationship, embrace the new.

This is not an easy path, so if you prefer to play it safe and stick with your current comfort zone, then don’t use this heuristic. But if you want to learn, grow, and become smarter, then embracing the new can serve as a powerful way to get unstuck and move forward.

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Don’t overthink this. Embrace the new isn’t rocket science, unless you want to visit a new planet. This is a simple suggestion to favor invitations (and to issue invitations) to explore the untried, the untested, and the unknown.

Much of the time you can still keep the old. Use your comfort zone as a home base. Return to it when you need a break from exploration. But eventually you may find that the zone of exploration becomes your new comfort zone. You may begin to feel at home on the road of growth and change, instead of only feeling comfortable at your favorite inn.

Embrace the New | Steve Pavlina

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Last Updated on March 14, 2019

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

Recruiters might hold thousands of interviews in their careers and a lot of them are reporting the same thing—that most candidates play it safe with the questions they ask, or have no questions to ask in a job interview at all.

For job applicants, this approach is crazy! This is a job that you’re going to dedicate a lot of hours to and that might have a huge impact on your future career. Don’t throw away the chance to figure out if the position is perfect for you.

Here are 7 killer questions to ask in a job interview that will both impress your counterpart and give you some really useful insights into whether this job will be a dream … or a nightmare.

1. What are some challenges I might come up against this role?

A lesser candidate might ask, “what does a typical day look like in this role?” While this is a perfectly reasonable question to ask in an interview, focusing on potential challenges takes you much further because it indicates that you already are visualizing yourself in the role.

It’s impressive because it shows that you are not afraid of challenges, and you are prepared to strategize a game plan upfront to make sure you succeed if you get the job.

It can also open up a conversation about how you’ve solved problems in the past which can be a reassuring exercise for both you and the hiring manager.

How it helps you:

If you ask the interviewer to describe a typical day, you may get a vibrant picture of all the lovely things you’ll get to do in this job and all the lovely people you’ll get to do them with.

Asking about potential roadblocks means you hear the other side of the story—dysfunctional teams, internal politics, difficult clients, bootstrap budgets and so on. This can help you decide if you’re up for the challenge or whether, for the sake of your sanity, you should respectfully decline the job offer.

2. What are the qualities of really successful people in this role?

Employers don’t want to hire someone who goes through the motions; they want to hire someone who will excel.

Asking this question shows that you care about success, too. How could they not hire you with a dragon-slayer attitude like that?

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How it helps you:

Interviewers hire people who are great people to work with, but the definition of “great people” differs from person to person.

Does this company hire and promote people with a specific attitude, approach, worth ethic or communication style? Are the most successful people in this role strong extroverts who love to talk and socialize when you are studious and reserved? Does the company reward those who work insane hours when you’re happiest in a more relaxed environment?

If so, then this may not be the right match for you.

Whatever the answer is, you can decide whether you have what it takes for the manager to be happy with your performance in this role. And if the interviewer has no idea what success looks like for this position, this is a sign to proceed with extreme caution.

3. From the research I did on your company, I noticed the culture really supports XYZ. Can you tell me more about that element of the culture and how it impacts this job role?

Of course, you could just ask “what is the culture like here? ” but then you would miss a great opportunity to show that you’ve done your research!

Interviewers give BIG bonus point to those who read up and pay attention, and you’ve just pointed out that (a) you’re diligent in your research (b) you care about the company culture and (c) you’re committed to finding a great cultural fit.

How it helps you:

This question is so useful because it lets you pick an element of the culture that you really care about and that will have the most impact on whether you are happy with the organization.

For example, if training and development is important to you, then you need to know what’s on offer so you don’t end up in a dead-end job with no learning opportunities.

Companies often talk a good talk, and their press releases may be full of shiny CSR initiatives and all the headline-grabbing diversity programs they’re putting in place. This is your opportunity to look under the hood and see if the company lives its values on the ground.

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A company that says it is committed to doing the right thing by customers should not judge success by the number of up-sells an employee makes, for instance. Look for consistency, so you aren’t in for a culture shock after you start.

4. What is the promotion path for this role, and how would my performance on that path be measured?

To be clear, you are not asking when you will get promoted. Don’t go there—it’s presumptuous, and it indicates that you think you are better than the role you have applied for.

A career-minded candidate, on the other hand, usually has a plan that she’s working towards. This question shows you have a great drive toward growth and advancement and an intention to stick with the company beyond your current state.

How it helps you:

One word: hierarchy.

All organizations have levels of work and authority—executives, upper managers, line managers, the workforce, and so on. Understanding the hierarchical structure gives you power, because you can decide if you can work within it and are capable of climbing through its ranks, or whether it will be endlessly frustrating to you.

In a traditional pyramid hierarchy, for example, the people at the bottom tend to have very little autonomy to make decisions. This gets better as you rise up through the pyramid, but even middle managers have little power to create policy; they are more concerned with enforcing the rules the top leaders make.

If having a high degree of autonomy and accountability is important to you, you may do better in a flat hierarchy where work teams can design their own way of achieving the corporate goals.

5. What’s the most important thing the successful candidate could accomplish in their first 3 months/6 months/year?

Of all the questions to ask in a job interview, this one is impressive because it shows that you identify with and want to be a successful performer, and not just an average one.

Here, you’re drilling down into what the company needs, and needs quite urgently, proving that you’re all about adding value to the organization and not just about what’s in it for you.

How it helps you:

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Most job descriptions come with 8, 10 or 12 different job responsibilities and a lot of them with be boilerplate or responsibilities that someone in HR thinks are associated with this role. This question gives you a better sense of which responsibilities are the most important—and they may not be what initially attracted you to the role.

If you like the idea of training juniors, for example, but success is judged purely on your sales figures, then is this really the job you thought you were applying for?

This question will also give you an idea of what kind of learning curve you’re expected to have and whether you’ll get any ramp-up time before getting down to business. If you’re the type of person who likes to jump right in and get things done, for instance, you may not be thrilled to hear that you’re going to spend the first three months shadowing a peer.

6. What do you like about working here?

This simple question is all about building rapport with the interviewer. People like to talk about themselves, and the interviewer will be flattered that you’re interested in her opinions.

Hopefully, you’ll find some great connection points that the two of you share. What similar things drive you head into the office each day? How will you fit into the culture?

How it helps you:

You can learn a lot from this question. Someone who genuinely enjoys his job will be able to list several things they like, and their answers will sound passionate and sincere. If not….well, you might consider that a red flag.

Since you potentially can learn a lot about the company culture from this question, it’s a good idea to figure out upfront what’s important to you. Maybe you’re looking for a hands-off boss who values independent thought and creativity? Maybe you work better in environments that move at a rapid, exciting pace?

Whatever’s important to you, listen carefully and see if you can find any common ground.

7. Based on this interview, do you have any questions or concerns about my qualifications for the role?

What a great closing question to ask in a job interview! It shows that you’re not afraid of feedback—in fact, you are inviting it. Not being able to take criticism is a red flag for employers, who need to know that you’ll act on any “coaching moments” with a good heart.

As a bonus, asking this question shows that you are really interested in the position and wish to clear up anything that may be holding the company back from hiring you.

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How it helps you:

What a devious beast this question is! On the surface, it looks straightforward, but it’s actually giving you four key pieces of information.

First, is the manager capable of giving you feedback when put on the spot like this? Some managers are scared of giving feedback, or don’t think it’s important enough to bother outside of a formal performance appraisal. Do you want to work for a boss like that? How will you improve if no one is telling you what you did wrong?

Second, can the manager give feedback in a constructive way without being too pillowy or too confrontational? It’s unfair to expect the interviewer to have figured out your preferred way of receiving feedback in the space of an interview, but if she come back with a machine-gun fire of shortcomings or one of those corporate feedback “sandwiches” (the doozy slipped between two slices of compliment), then you need to ask yourself, can you work with someone who gives feedback like that?

Third, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about before you leave the interview. This gives you the chance to make a final, tailored sales pitch so you can convince the interviewer that she should not be worried about those things.

Fourth, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about period. If turnover is keeping him up at night, then your frequent job hopping might get a lot of additional scrutiny. If he’s facing some issues with conflict or communication, then he might raise concerns regarding your performance in this area.

Listen carefully: the concerns that are being raised about you might actually be a proxy for problems in the wider organization.

Making Your Interview Work for You

Interviews are a two-way street. While it is important to differentiate yourself from every other candidate, understand that convincing the interviewer you’re the right person for the role goes hand-in-hand with figuring out if the job is the right fit for you.

Would you feel happy in a work environment where the people, priorities, culture and management style were completely at odds with the way you work? Didn’t think so!

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Featured photo credit: Amy Hirschi via unsplash.com

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