I am shocked to hear that 60% of people don’t know what’s holding them back from reaching their goals. So I decide that I will address the topic: The way  you figure out what you should be doing next is that you try stuff.

You make bad choices, you try again. This is really standard advice for recent grads. But then, somewhere around age thirty, people start thinking they are above this advice. Like, this would be too slow and annoying for someone who is older than thirty.

And, in fact, that’s true. Finding out what you should be doing is a slow and annoying process because you have to try stuff. And a lot of times when we get stuck, we think philosophizing will get us out of the rut. But in fact, action gets us out. That’s right. Even for people like INTPs, who basically create theories in response to anything, even the INTPs have to take action in order to find out if they want to think at a think tank or at a university or a business. Read more

1. They use lists. High achievers organize their thinking with lists, they organize their time with lists, and when they want to spur their creativity, the best tool they have is to force themselves out of the comfort of their list.

2. They use pharmaceuticals. Adderall is de rigueur for the high-powered jobs in high-powered cities to the point that there is a shortage of available Adderall, (and a site to monitor the shortage). Pharmaceutical frenzy is nothing new for gen-yers who used prescription drugs to get a leg up on everything. New York magazine’s ode to Xanax lets you diagnose the type of overachiever you are with the type of pharmaceutical you like best.

3. They let doors shut all the time. Overachievers know their mom was lying when she said they could be anything. So it’s not that big a deal when they see doors shut. They pick a specialty, they give stuff up to get stuff, they know adult life is about making tough choices. Read more

The last company I founded, Brazen Careerist, was full of Gen Yers. In fact, for a while, I was the only person in the company older than 25. I spent a lot of time learning to adapt. Fast. And the whole time I thought to myself: I can’t wait until these kids need to adapt to the next generation. I want them to know what it feels like.

At this point, the oldest in Generation Z are just turning 13, and we have enough information about the two demographics to predict what will happen. Aside from my case of schadenfreude, I’m particularly interested in Generation Z because my sons are smack in the middle of it. But also I’m interested because if we understand the impact the next generation will have on the workforce, we’re better able to adapt our own careers for it. So get ready:  Read more

Branding has finally reached the snobs who think they are above it.

Every Gen Y-er knows about personal branding, and every Silicon Valley social media maven has one eye on their Klout score. But this year the New York Times declared that branding is a must-do for psychologists. You can’t make money if you don’t have a brand.

I was thrilled to read this because I have thought for many years that my therapists could benefit from having me help them run their careers. But whenever I ventured into this territory, the therapist invariably did something annoying like reminding me of client-therapist boundaries. Now, though, it’s clear: they should hire me.

Also, in case you think you are not in a field that requires branding, there is now officially nothing without a brand. Because look, even Liechtenstein is rebranding itself as a party room: Harper’s magazine reports that you can rent the whole country for the evening for $20,000.

The thing is that most people don’t want to brand themselves as a party room; they want to be known for being creative. Which makes sense because really, we are all creative – to be human is to be creative. But you have to work hard at it to be good. Read more

Powerful people do not have good listening skills. They hate to listen. They succeed by getting good at faking it. Here’s how I know. There are sixteen Myers Briggs personality types. Only 4% of people are ENTJs, but almost all Fortune 500 CEOs are ENTJs. Each type has an Achilles’ heel. The ESFP can’t stand being alone. The INTP can’t get their head out of the clouds. The ENTJ can’t listen.

Which means that listening skills must not be essential for major success in the corporate world. So maybe instead of building your listening skills, you should buy the book How to Talk so People Listen. If you’re an extrovert, you think while you’re talking. And it’s impossible to listen to someone if you are thinking of the next thing you want to say.

As an ENTJ I get bored with the idea of becoming a better listener. Why would I do that when interrupting people is so much faster? And anyway, there is great advice on how to deal with the people who won’t listen. Forbes magazine says that if you want people to listen to you, you should cut to the chase. That’s great advice. If you could just get your idea out faster, I would listen to it. Read more

I was a latchkey kid with unlimited charge accounts at all the local stores before there were charge cards. As a kid I worried I was annoying, because people always rolled their eyes when I said “charge it please”. Now I understand that I was the only person in the city with a charge account at each of these stores. And they thought I was a spoiled brat.  Oblivious to this social nuance, my parents had the idea that if there were no limits to what I could buy then surely I would be taken care of.

You know what’s coming next: kids don’t want money, they want nurturing. I am a very take-charge kind of person, though, so I used my open charge system to buy caretakers. For a while it was the clothing store. But when my mom saw that I owned more than forty sweaters, mostly never worn, she yelled so much that I knew my friendship with the clothing store owner was over. Read more