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2018

How to Handle Success Like a Pro

Posted Aug 30, 2018
    Annie Sullivan
Annie Sullivan
Content Marketing, Wiley

About a year ago, I wrote an article for The Wiley Network, “How to Handle Rejection Like a Pro.” As an aspiring author, I was used to getting rejected—sometimes six times in one day. The rejection letters were not only painful, but also confusing, like the two that came one day apart. One said my fairytale retelling was too dark. The other said it wasn’t dark enough. It seemed near impossible to please anyone in the publishing industry until I finally got the “yes” I’d been waiting for.

 

Annie.jpgThen, while vacationing in Antarctica, I found out I got a literary agent, and I was over the moon!  I finally had a literary agent after searching for a year, but now what?

 

Now, I had to get a publisher. My agent and I spent about six months revising my story and then we waited about six more months to start hearing back from publishers. And the answer was usually “no.”

 

Yet again, I found myself getting rejected. But this time, the rejections hurt worse. There was more at stake. However, I told myself I’d made it through months of rejection before—I could do it again. While my book was out for consideration, I started working on other books.

 

Then, the day finally came. My manuscript, A Touch of Gold, about the cursed daughter of King Midas who has deadly gold powers got an offer from an imprint of HarperCollins called Blink. Eight years after I’d started writing the book, I now had a book deal.

 

I’d gotten the “yes” I needed to make my career dreams complete. But it turns out success comes with challenges all its own. My life became a whirlwind of writing publicity articles, posting about the book on social media, and setting up book signings and conferences all while trying to keep up a 9-to-5 job and a social life. It reminded me of a meme I’d seen in college that listed good grades, enough sleep, and a social life with the caveat that you could only pick two. My problem was I was trying to maintain all three—and I was burning out.

 

Here’s how you can handle success while maintaining a balanced life:

 

1. Prioritize sleep.

You won’t be at your best if you’re exhausted. Take the time you need to recharge so your performance won’t suffer.

 

2. Make detailed to-do lists.

The first thing I lost control over when I got swamped was my memory. What article was due when? What day did I set up that book signing? Had I sent my headshot over to that contact? By making a list and crossing off items as I went, I had a visual reminder of not only what I still needed to do, but what I’d already accomplished. 

 

3. Set boundaries.

You can’t do everything or be everywhere all at once. If you can’t delegate tasks, prioritize them. Figure out the most important ones that must get done and accomplish those. Don’t feel guilty that you can’t do as much as you could before.

 

4. Be gracious.

Whether your success is in your company or on the world stage, be kind and gracious no matter what. Accept praise with humility. Brush off the jealousy of others the same way. Never feed the trolls.

 

5. Extend a helping hand.

There’s no better way to appreciate where you are now than by helping someone else who wants to be where you are. Sharing your knowledge with a mentee, friend, or colleague is a great reminder of how far you’ve come and a way to pay forward your success to help others.

 

Following these five tips will help you handle success in a humble and thoughtful way because you never know if there’s another “no” around the corner—and your determination may just be the inspiration another person needs.


Image Credit: Annie Sullivan

    Tara Trubela
Tara Trubela
Content Marketing, Wiley
MA, Columbia University

 

homeoffice.jpgAs I read Katrina Alcorn’s book, Maxed Out, about her nervous breakdown and subsequent downward spiral into anxiety and depression, I thought, I can relate to her story. And I was sure that many working parents like me could, too.

 

My breaking point came when I was on maternity leave, simultaneously caring for my infant son and attempting to re-wire our rescue dog, Harper, a habitual biter who had to be tethered to me at all times to prevent future attacks.

 

One evening, I set out to go to the pharmacy and got in an accident in our driveway—slamming my car into my husband’s parked vehicle as I backed up. I was beyond exhausted—so tired my bones hurt—stressed out, and constantly on edge watching over an unpredictable dog while caring for two children who were clearly my priorities.

 

Something had to give, and it wasn’t going to be my sanity or my children’s safety, so we decided to return Harper to the shelter. A few months later, we were relieved to learn that she was re-adopted.

 

I could breathe a little easier. 

 

But just when I was getting into the “mother-of-two” groove, my maternity leave was over. I was about to return to the office, which was a little over an hour commute by train each way. Luckily, my parents lived only three minutes down the road at the time, so my mom became our primary caretaker while I was at work.

 

Even with extra help, it was a struggle to get out the door every morning. I had to feed my children, lay out clean outfits, wash bottles, stock up on diapers, wipe breakfast crumbs off the kitchen counter. Most mornings, I left the house with wet hair pulled up in a bun, wrinkled top, and a poor excuse for a bagged lunch that consisted of a banana and yogurt. By appearances, I did not have it all together, and if I was being completely honest, I knew that I couldn’t “have it all” or even juggle pieces of the elusive whole very well.

 

Then my husband got a new job and we moved even further from my office. There’s no public transportation where we live, and my team is based across the country in Indianapolis, so it was the perfect time for me to start working remotely. 

 

Fast on the rise, telecommuting increased 79 percent between 2005 and 2012 and now accounts for 3.2 million American workers. And research tells us that far-flung employees are not only more productive, but they’re happier too.

 

I was instantly grateful for my newfound situation, which allowed me to do the work I loved while still being available for my family. But I also knew that to be good at telecommuting, I had to change a few things about the way I approached the work week. Here’s what I learned:

 

1. Get up and get dressed. I instilled a morning routine that was so simple it became a habit. Now that my children are both in elementary school, I have a cup of coffee alone outside on my deck and then make all the beds in the house. Next, I eat breakfast and journal for about 15 minutes, teasing out any worries from the night before or getting ideas down on paper, setting forth clear and obtainable goals for the day (see point #2).

 

2. Check off three tasks a day. You can’t accomplish everything in eight hours, but you can finish at least three priorities on a given day. First, check your calendar for meetings or appointments so that you can work around them. Then write a short list of what needs to get done, including urgent deadlines, to give yourself a visual outline. It also helps to set aside an hour in the afternoon to answer emails instead of responding to them one by one so your inbox doesn’t become a constant distraction.

 

3. Make human connections. Tools like Skype and Microsoft Teams help me feel instantly connected to my team. Scheduled phone check-ins with direct reports and managers also keep the lines of communication open and help you address concerns before they flare out of control. I even started a virtual book club with a few work colleagues because let’s face it, flying solo can get lonely and talking to other like-minded adults about anything—fiction, current events, home decorating—makes you feel like you’re a part of a community.

 

4. Give yourself a break. Here’s the thing: there will be work-from-home days that are fluid and seamless—the stuff work dreams are made of—as you throw in a load of wash while you wait for a conference call to begin or log off at exactly 5 p.m. to prepare a home-cooked meal. There will also be those days when you need to stop everything and answer a call from the school nurse or type a meeting agenda with a sick child on your lap. Take time throughout your day to have lunch, go for a walk, or call a friend. Mini brain breaks go a long way in ensuring your productivity for the long haul.

 

Flexible work is in demand, inching out the typical, perhaps soon-to-be antiquated, 9-to-5 office setup. According to a Harvard Business Review study, U.S. workers say they would consider taking a lower-paying job with benefits like flexible hours and the option to work from home over a higher salary.  

 

What are your thoughts on the remote working trend? Let us know in the comments below.

 

Image Credit: Free-photos/pixabay

 

How to Mentor Interns to Success

Posted Aug 17, 2018
    Annie Sullivan
Annie Sullivan
Content Marketing, Wiley

tirachard.jpeg

Ten years ago, I was an intern at the company where I work now. I remember my first few days as I tried to figure out what time I should take a lunch break and where the bathroom was because no one let me in on those vital pieces of information. It was my first real job, and I wanted to impress everyone—so I was afraid to ask questions because I thought that would make me look incompetent.

 

Being an intern can be overwhelming and disorienting at first. Unlike moving from one job to another, for many interns, this could be their first foray into a corporate culture, and they may not know the ins and outs of office etiquette. This is where a mentor comes in.

 

Mentoring interns allows them to grow and ask questions in a safe environment. It also provides them with someone outside of their direct manager who can help them find their footing.

 

To give your intern a comfortable start, follow these simple guidelines:

 

  • Meet early.

Introduce yourself to your intern on day one. Even if he’s had a tour of the building, it doesn’t hurt to show him around again, especially where you sit so he can find you. Ask him questions to get to know him as you walk around.

 

This initial meeting is also a great time to cover things like acceptable office attire, upcoming holidays when the office might be closed, and any office social activities.

 

  • Be available.

Don’t just meet your intern once, say you’re here if she needs anything, and then disappear. It’s unlikely she’ll seek you out unless something is terribly wrong. It’s better to check in with her every few days to see if she has questions.

 

  • Know what he’s working on.

If you don’t know what your intern has on his plate, you can’t help him or suggest resources that may be available. Keeping up with his assignments allows you to gauge his workload and get insights into how he’s doing.

 

  • Lead the conversation.

An intern may be too shy or nervous to come right out and say she has a problem, that she’s having trouble meeting a deadline, or that she doesn’t understand a project. Ask leading questions like, “How’s your workload?” or “Were you able to find the information you needed to complete that report?” This gives her an opening to express how she’s really feeling.

 

  • Encourage questions.

Don’t just tell your intern to let you know if he has any questions. Really drive the point home with an anecdotal example if you can. Start with something like, “I remember when I first started here, I couldn’t get the printer unjammed and spent an hour trying to fix it. I wish I’d asked for help.” This reassures him that there are no stupid questions.

 

  • Help her network.

Are you on a committee at work? Why not take your intern to that meeting so she can see how it runs? Are you taking a client to lunch? Take your intern too. Expose her to as many opportunities as you can. Encourage her to interact with colleagues in the hallway too. It also helps to set up brief meetings for your intern with colleagues across functions in the organization so she can meet new people, learn what they do, and understand how you all work together.

 

  • Create camaraderie.

If you have more than one intern in your office, introduce them to each other and/or take them out for a group lunch or coffee. Establishing this network of peers can help interns feel less isolated and bolster their confidence.

 

  • Track his growth.

Assign a special project to your intern and ask him to give a brief presentation on the project to the team at the end of his time at the company. This will help him build up presentation skills, and you may gain a fresh perspective on a company challenge in the process!

 

 

Following these guidelines will help you set your intern up for success so he or she can be a happy, functioning member of your organization right from the start.

 

Image Credit: pexels.com/Tirachard Kumtanom

 

    Laura Goldsberry
Laura Goldsberry
Marketing Manager, Wiley

In our research, we discovered something buyers rate much higher in importance than do sellers. It's the link between core values and actions. When sellers have aligned their values and actions, they will strengthen their credibility, improve the buyer's experience, and find greater sales success. See five classic situations that can trip up sellers and learn how to avoid them.

 

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