Each day of life an adventure awaits,
brimming with curiosities to explore,
beholding stories to tell.

Here you’ll find some of Nicole C. Wong’s favorite adventures
at work as a storyteller
and in life as an inquisitive soul.

Come join the journey.

Posted in Explorations | 1 Comment

How to invest a $1K bonus to sharpen your future-proofing job skills

As I gazed 60 feet up at the jagged rock-climbing wall, I cautioned my belay partner, “I’m not going to be able to finish this route, but I want to see how far I can get. I’ll probably fall off, too, so put a lot of tension in the rope.” Within 15 minutes, I had ascended to the top — without slipping off the wall!

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The resulting euphoria underscores why I love climbing: it’s a quick opportunity to prove to myself that I can conquer new obstacles that require more skill or experience than I possess. Then I carry the mental focus, determined spirit, creative thinking, and newfound confidence out of the rock-climbing gym and into other areas of my life.

So when PwC announced that it was surprising each staff member with a $1,000 bonus to spend on enhancing our well-being, I decided to invest mine in a climbing-gym membership. Climbing offers this trifecta for fueling well-being: it reinvigorates my physical energy, renews my mental energy, and replenishes my emotional energy as I examine problems from multiple perspectives, experiment with various techniques, take calculated risks, and celebrate both creative efforts and hard-fought successes.

All of that is important today and will be even more important tomorrow in the big scheme of things — in our lives that are growing more volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous and in our workplaces that are eliminating routine responsibilities and creating new roles due to automation and artificial intelligence.

According to PwC’s 2017 CEO Survey, 77% percent of CEOs identified the limited availability of key skills as the biggest threat to their business, ahead of technological advances and changing customer behavior. Which crucial skills are executives finding in short supply? Problem solving, adaptability, creativity, and leadership.

Here’s how my hobby of indoor rock climbing has strengthen four pivotal skills that give me a foot up in the workplace:

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How to Communicate the Value You Offer at Work

My personal mission statement: Inspire radical hope!

image created at http://www.postergen.com

The next time someone asks you, “So, what do you do?” offer an intriguing answer that communicates your value, opens up the conversation, and invites that person to connect with you on a deeper level.

Answer by sharing your personal mission statement.

Here’s mine: “Inspire radical hope.” That’s been my mission throughout my careers as a business journalist, a global brand-marketing manager, and a leadership-development trainer.

Usually, when asked that rote yet requisite question, we simply state our job title or name drop our employer. Unfortunately, that allows the listener to buttonhole us into a single role or a stereotype. It’s also a good way to kill the conversation, especially when the listener isn’t genuinely curious about us, can’t relate to the profession, or misinterprets our brief answer for disinterest in discussing it further.

Instead, help people see you more broadly. Your personal mission statement will communicate the vision and value that you bring to the workplace, rather than just the job that you get paid do. It also will convey your personality, which could range from cleverness to compassion, depending on how you craft your mission statement.

This unconventional answer will feel particularly freeing for someone who doesn’t love his job. Is in between jobs. Wants to switch careers. Or works for no pay, whether as a non-profit organization’s volunteer or as a full-time family caregiver. And even if those situations don’t describe you, who among us wouldn’t want to be remembered as a dynamic, whole person instead of as a single-dimensional stereotype?

So what exactly is a personal mission statement? And how can you create a great one for yourself?

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How to Find Your Dream Job

How to Find Your Dream Job Venn diagramPeople often ask to pick my brain about finding fulfilling careers — or even just a dream job, for starters — because over the past decade I’ve been fortunate to thrive in three dream jobs, with each one adding new skills and experiences that paved the way to the next dream job.

And when I say “dream job,” I’m not talking about a job that your former classmates, colleagues, and everyone else think sounds cool. I’m talking about a job that literally makes you wake up smiling, excited to go to work — week after week, month after month. Because it doesn’t matter what everyone else thinks. This is your life, your dream, your job.

Maybe your current job pays the bills, but it doesn’t pay off with personal satisfaction. Maybe it’s challenging, yet uninspiring. Or maybe you are really good at what you do, but doing it doesn’t energize you or bring you joy.

If you’re wondering whether there is something better out there for you — your undiscovered dream job — then ask yourself this question:

What can I see myself doing when I am 87 years old?

Some people may laugh and reply, “Nothing! I’ll be retired!”

That’s the point.

Envision this:

When you are age 87, what will you have become so good at and so passionate about that you would be willing to come out of retirement to do? What opportunity to make an impact is going to energize you to break the leisurely routine of your golden years and get back to work, even if it’s just for a one-time project or as an occasional volunteer?  Continue reading

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