Thursday, December 31, 2009

Thursday: Goals

“We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year's Day.” ~Edith Lovejoy Pierce

Resolution #5

I will live my life to the fullest. I will enjoy my family and friends, laugh, have fun, and remember that life’s meant to be lived, not watched.

Happy New Year my Friends. I wish you love, prosperity, good health, happiness and all the success you can possibly handle.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Wednesday: Positive Attitude

“Become a possibilitarian. No matter how dark things seem to be or actually are, raise your sights and see possibilities - always see them, for they're always there. “ ~Norman Vincent Peale

It really is all in how we look at things.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Tuesday: Focus

“Every man's life lies within the present; for the past is spent and done with, and the future is uncertain.” ~ Marcus Aurelius

So, in what may seem a contrary post to what I wrote about yesterday, today I am choosing to write about focusing on the present. I don’t actually believe it’s contrary; for me, I need to both plan for my future and focus on today. And, I often need to be reminded of both as well. I read something a long time ago, and while I couldn’t find its origin, it went something like this, “Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That’s why we call it the present.” I wish to learn from my past, look forward to the possibilities, plan for what I can, and live in the here and now.

One of the greatest gifts you can give to another person, and frankly to yourself, is to truly be present when in conversation, whether it’s during an interview, at a networking event, or over dinner with your spouse or kids. So, focus on today, be present, and grant yourself this gift.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Monday: Preparation

“Those who are unwilling to invest in the future haven't earned one.” ~H.W. Lewis, Technological Risk, 1990

Planning for the future seems like a good topic for this last “Preparation” Monday of 2009. And while over-preparation may crimp inspiration, I strongly believe that without a plan, we are sure to flounder. An investment can be as simple as a contribution of time, energy, or effort, so one of my investments in my future is my plan for 2010. It’s simple. It’s realistic (with a pipe dream thrown in for good measure) and it stems from my “small successes” of 2009. And, it has significantly helped me to prepare; for next week, next month and the year to come.

So go for it! Make a plan!! (You can always adjust it later!)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Thursday: Goals

“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” ~T.S. Eliot

Resolution #4

I will get out of my own way. I know what I am capable of. Now I need execute.

What will you resolve to do today?

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Wednesday: Positive Attitude

“The human spirit is stronger than anything that can happen to it.” ~C.C. Scott

“Either way, things are a lot better - either a lot better than they were or a lot better than they're going to be.” ~Robert Brault,

So – here we are. The Eve of Christmas Eve. Not yet the actual holiday, but filled with anticipation nonetheless. And, I have a leak in my kitchen ceiling. Water is dripping through the light fixture. And I will be preparing Christmas dinner for 10 in that kitchen tomorrow. Good times.

I am reminded of several Christmases past… The Christmas morning where we woke up late to no power in the house and were expecting my husband’s entire family for breakfast; the Christmas Day that the tree fell across my driveway taking power lines with it and blocking us all in; I could go on.

Well, on the bright side, we have wonderful memories of working together to get things done and fun (funny) stories to tell over and over. They never get old.

It really is all in how you look at it.

Another quote for today: “Too many people miss the silver lining because they're expecting gold.” ~Maurice Setter

And an affirmation: I always see the silver lining and am frequently thrilled by the gold.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Tuesday: Focus

“I'm a great believer in luck, and I find that the harder I work, the more I have of it.” ~Thomas Jefferson

Like with a child where sleep begets sleep… it is also true that hard work begets results. So, it may be the holidays, and my focus may be on taking care of myself and being responsible for myself so that I can better be there for others… but I’m also making sure that I keep some focus on the work at hand, and on getting things done! I’m still striving for those results! So, I’m off to make things happen!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Monday: Preparation + Resolution #3

“Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now.” ~ Alan Lakein

Even in a short week, maybe especially in a short week, planning is critical. Getting things done in 3 days instead of the 5 or 7, well… you know what I’m talking about.

So, since this blog is about motivation in challenging times, I hereby declare the next two weeks “the holidays” and would like to motivate you to take care of yourself!

An affirmation: Today, I will be responsible for myself. Then I can be more responsible to others. (Thanks Dad!)

And, since I missed posting last Thursday…

Resolution Number 3

3. I will not sweat the small stuff. I will enjoy the moments and all they have to offer. I will take the challenges for what they are… the things that help me get to where I want to go, and help shape who I will become. And I will learn from them.

What will you resolve to do today?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Wednesday: Positive Attitude

“I've decided that the stuff falling through the cracks is confetti and I'm having a party!” ~Betsy Cañas Garmon

I had to laugh when I read this one. I really do minimize the stuff falling through the cracks, but it happens. We all know it. Especially around this time of year when there’s just SO much going on.

So, figure out what it is that fell, and pick it up! It’s all in the attitude. Don’t stress about it, just fix it. Then it’s done, and you can enjoy the party!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Tuesday: Focus

“Look and you will find it - what is unsought will go undetected.” ~Sophocles

True, you need to know first what you seek… and then, only you can stop you. So, what are you waiting for?

My affirmation for the last two nights: I have the energy and focus today to accomplish even more than I planned. And yes. I had a truly productive and wonderful day yesterday! And, I’m off to a great start today!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Thursday: Goals

“It is always during a passing state of mind that we make lasting resolutions” ~ Marcel Proust

Again, a perfect quote…

Resolution Number 2 (for number one, please see last Thursday's post)

2. I will take better care of myself, both mentally AND physically. Mentally: I will start saying “no” and I will begin to spend less energy and time on those people and things who and which are not “good for me”. Physically: I will stress less. And I will. Starting now.

So, my short term goal – to not let events of my very recent past jade my feelings about the future.

And, my longer term goal – I will continue meditation and affirmations every night and spend more time appreciating the wonder. And, I give myself permission to “not” once in a while.

What will you resolve to do today?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Wednesday: Positive Attitude

“Your own mind is a sacred enclosure into which nothing harmful can enter except by your permission.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

What an empowering concept! I love when I find the perfect quote for expressing my thoughts for the day!

My preschooler has been home sick for the last few days so I’ve been spending more time than usual observing his behavior. There is so much to be learned, or remembered, from the mind of a preschooler. He is so innocent. He is so full of imagination. He is so full of joy and a zeal for playing! He can turn a crayon into a rocket ship in the blink of an eye. He can become Bob the Builder or Spiderman or Superman by simply turning around. He can do anything he wants to do and be anyone he wants to be just by thinking it is so. Even through a fever, he can smile just by getting a hug. He knows he is loved unconditionally, and even when he spills an entire full cup of milk all over his just-changed-into clothes he can turn tears to laughs in seconds. What power! How empowering!

Everything I need to know…

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Tuesday: Focus

“Nothing can add more power to your life than concentrating all your energies on a limited set of targets.” ~Nido Qubein

When we strive to reach our goals, concentration and focus help propel us toward success. Believing you can get there and then focusing on the positive outcome really does help you stay the course. Lately, there has been some discussion (or question) in the news about the “power of positive thinking” and if it really is effective, but regardless of the “officia1” outcome, I am a firm believer.

I am often surprised at how many times I catch myself letting negativity and doubt get in the way of accomplishing what I really want. I did it again this morning. I am so grateful that I now have the tools to recognize it early-on.

A new affirmation may be: I will concentrate and focus on my short term goals today.

Are you concentrating on yours?

Monday, December 7, 2009

Monday: Preparation

“It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan.” ~Eleanor Roosevelt

I feel so much better than I used to on Monday mornings! Between my Sunday night affirmations and my planning for the coming week, I wake up energized and ready to go! I love that I have a plan for the week, and a solid “to do” list for the day. Even if when I don’t accomplish everything on my list each day, when I actually have the list written out, and can see the things I’ve completed and crossed off, I love that I can see that I’ve gotten so much done. It used to be that I’d set what my husband calls, “unrealistic expectations”, mostly because I’m not very good at judging how much time certain things will take, but when I can really see how much I’ve crossed off the list, it’s a great feeling. We’ll talk (again) about staying focused tomorrow, but know that the list, and actually being able to “see” that list, really helps!

Last night’s affirmation: I have enough energy and focus to accomplish even more than I planned.

If you want some help drafting your own “planning affirmation”, feel free to drop me a note!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Friday: Motivation

"There are some people who live in a dream world and there are some who face reality; and then there are those who turn one into the other." ~Douglas Everett

Last night I came across something on Twitter. It’s Dave Carpenter’s 31 Day Success Plan that he’s posting with “Accelerate Success”. For those of you who are familiar with Twitter, it’s @Dave_Carpenter #2010Plan.

I am once again inspired, and since I will not take away from anyone else’s brilliance, please visit the link above for what is promising to be a very exciting 31 days (or less – it is apparently day 3.)

But, and here I will quote Dave directly, “You can catch up quickly. Don’t beat yourself up, just climb back up.”

Hmmm… how many things can I apply THAT to?

Well, let’s do it together!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Thursday: Goals

“Clothe with life the weak intent; let me be the thing I meant.” ~John Greenleaf Whittier

Goal setting is akin to making resolutions, so every Thursday for this month, I will resolve to do one thing, thus creating my list of “New Year’s Resolutions” for 2010. There is just so much I want to do, it’s hard to know where to start… and sometime, therein lies my problem. Can you relate? So, here goes:

1. I will be a better networker. This includes better communication with family, friends, colleagues, and those whom I have yet to encounter. I slacked this past year in sending birthday cards, thank you cards, acknowledgements, photos, updates… I gave myself permission to do so, but still felt badly about it, so clearly that was not the right answer for me. I teach networking as a lifestyle… and I take that to the nth degree professionally… but really want to do a better job personally. And I will. Starting now.

So, my short term goal – to send an anniversary card to my grandparents, a birthday card to several people with upcoming December birthdays, and holiday cards.

And, my longer term goal – to send at least 5 acknowledgements / thank you cards per week. I’m absolutely certain I can find one person per weekday to be thankful for. It starts now.

Thank YOU! Those of you who check in to read my posts…I appreciate you! I’m thankful for the opportunity to help encourage you do all you can do, and to stay motivated while doing it!

What will you resolve to do today?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Wednesday: Positive Attitude

"To different minds, the same world is a hell, and a heaven." ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my life 3 years ago this month. I had been laid off the week before Thanksgiving, and finally agreed to sign my severance / non-compete the week following – so this week, 3 years ago. I now had to decide how to handle my circumstances. Part of me was still angry as I had given up my maternity leave for my now former employer (although I did work from home during the time it should have been), but part of me saw some beauty in having the holidays “off” to finally spend some quality time with my then 6 month old son. I am thankful every day that I chose to see “heaven” in my time off. I went about networking and job hunting without anger attached to my circumstances, and only 3 short months later I launched my own business. And I’m still here.

So, today I challenge us all to see our own personal “heaven” in our circumstances.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Tuesday: Focus

“Do whatever you do intensely.” Robert Henri

According to The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, “intense” often suggests a strength or concentration that arises from inner dispositions and is particularly appropriate for describing emotional states.

So, work intensely, job search intensely, play intensely, live intensely. And… intently; with purpose, with focus, and with a plan.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Monday: Preparation

“Confidence is preparation. Everything else is beyond your control.” ~Richard Kline

…and "the best laid plans…"

It doesn’t matter that I spent several hours yesterday planning for a very productive day today after a long holiday weekend…

Thankfully, I am confident that it will all still be here tomorrow.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Monday: Thanksgiving Week

“Difficulties are opportunities to better things; they are stepping stones to greater experience. Perhaps someday you will be thankful for some temporary failure in a particular direction. When one door closes, another always opens.” ~Unknown

In preparation for Thanksgiving Day with our extended family, I asked my 3 ½ year old this morning what he is thankful for. I am absolutely delighted with his answers, so I’ve decided this week, since I will likely only write Mon – Wed, to share with you quotes on being thankful, despite difficult times.

I find it especially comforting, if not motivating, to remember that things really could be worse… Someone told me that if they had trouble paying their bills this month, at least they could be thankful they weren’t one of their creditors. That’s true optimism right there!

By the way, my 3 ½ year old is thankful for flowers, trees, and houses.
I am thankful for him and all his innocence.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Friday: Motivation

“There can be as much value in the blink of an eye as in months of rational analysis.” ~Malcolm Gladwell

You never know where, never know when, and never know how that next great thing will come your way! I love when the stars align and I’m in the right place, at the right time, with the right people and greatness occurs. Or, do we create the greatness????? Hmmm… food for thought as you go into this Thanksgiving week ahead.

Today, I am reminded that I am truly thankful for the ability to create greatness! And, I am equally thankful to all of you who also create greatness.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Thursday: Goals

“Without goals, and plans to reach them, you are like a ship that has set sail with no destination.” ~Fitzhugh Dodson

Well, at least I’m off the river...

Today, I am thankful for music and song!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Wednesday: Positive Attitude

“Your present circumstances don’t determine where you can go; they merely determine where you start.” ~Nido Quebein

OK – so back to my river analogy… We have several choices here. We can go with the flow and let the current take us where it will, but I choose not be a passive observer. We can charge the waterfall on the left side of the fork ahead, but I choose not to be reckless as I have other responsibilities (like my three year old son!) We can get out of the river completely and rest on the bank, but I choose to participate. So, my choice is to take the fork on the right. I’m prepared (I brought my map!) I’m focused (my task is at hand and I’m clear on which way to go.) And I am choosing to see the best in the path that lies ahead. I’m choosing to enjoy the journey! And I’m choosing to continue this journey with “a smile on my face and a song in my heart” (advice attributed to Patricia A. Trumpler) and I’m ready for what may come! Bring it on!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Tuesday: Focus

“The successful warrior is the average man, with laser-like focus.” ~Bruce Lee

To continue with yesterday’s analogy of the dreamer and the vessel and the river… If we are to stay the course and be successful, we must focus. If we are to get to where we want to go, we must first identify the destination and then focus our efforts on reaching that goal. Otherwise we risk floating aimlessly down the river; or worse, find ourselves in a lazy river.

Have you been in a lazy river? They’re found at some water theme parks, and if memory serves, also at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. It’s a circular waterway with a strong current that moves you around as you lounge, possibly sleeping, on a flotation device of some sort. Sounds nice, right? Well, sure, as long as you’re not actually describing your job search, or your business model… I would much rather be racing down rapids with clear direction on reaching the next turn then be at the mercy of some current as I sit letting someone/something else take control of my path.

Into which river will you venture?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Monday: Preparation

“There is no short cut to achievement. Life requires thorough preparation - veneer isn't worth anything.” ~George Washington Carver

Garth Brooks writes/sings that a “dream is like a river” and the dreamer is the boat (or vessel) following the river’s course. The dreamer needs to learn from the past and anticipate the future, and needs to stay the course until he gets where he wants to go. “The River” is one of my all-time favorite songs. It really has meaning for me as I struggle often to “stay between the shores”. It also helps me remember that as the dreamer, I have some control over my path. I am a sturdy vessel, built from real-life experiences, who can and does learn from my past. (No veneer here!)Preparation and planning, along with perseverance and persistence will get you where you want to go. Let’s decide that the dreamer has a map of the river, so isn’t so unsure of the future course…

Today I am thankful for my ability to go with the flow and change course as necessary to keep my dreams afloat, all while planning whenever possible for the twists and turns.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Friday: Motivation

“Life is change. Growth is optional. Choose wisely.” ~Author Unknown

Today I am thankful for the growth I have experienced over the last year, both personally and professionally. I am also thankful for all of the wonderful role models in my life who have helped me to embrace change and choose wisely.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Wednesday: Positive Attitude

“If you don't think every day is a good day, just try missing one.” ~Cavett Robert

Make today a great day! I am choosing to embrace my stress as motivation to get more done and the impetus to start Yoga again.

Today, I am thankful that I woke up. It sure beats the alternative!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Tuesday: Focus

“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan "press on" has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race” ~Calvin Coolidge

Food for thought: Focus, determination, and persistence… Hmmm…. I can accomplish anything I set my mind to. Now, what will I focus on today?

I am thankful for the opportunity and the ability to choose.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Monday: Preparation

“I will prepare and some day my chance will come.” ~Abraham Lincoln

…and then he brought about the emancipation of the slaves.

What great things can we do? They may not change the world... or will they?

I love to tell the story of the 3M engineer who tried to create a super-strong adhesive and ended up with post-its… And, I’m fairly certain (although who knows for sure???) that even Percy LeBaron Spencer (who is credited for discovering the microwave – accidentally!) did not set out to change the face of “fast food”! Imagine the possibilities…

Today I am thankful for all the possibility in my life.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Friday: Motivation

“Difficulties are opportunities to better things; they are stepping stones to greater experience. Perhaps someday you will be thankful for some temporary failure in a particular direction. When one door closes, another always opens.” ~Author Unknown

While coaching at Hire Aspirations yesterday, one of my clients suggested that since he had no significant failures in his life, he had a hard time discerning what his significant accomplishments were. I found that really interesting. Here is a person who truly sees challenges as opportunities, and who is humble enough (perhaps too much so!) to not see how much of an asset he truly is/can be to an employer.

So, how can you turn your negatives into positives? Take action! Take control! Motivate! Change the way you look at your situation and if you still don’t like what you see, do something about it! And, if you have difficulty figuring out a new course, get help. Remember, every great player needs a coach!

As for my quest for this month: Today, I am thankful for hugs and kisses from my son, and my ability to both give and receive encouragement.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Thursday: Goals

“Set priorities for your goals. A major part of successful living lies in the ability to put first things first. Indeed, the reason most major goals are not achieved is that we spend our time doing second things first.” ~Author Unknown

“If you set goals and go after them with all the determination you can muster, your gifts will take you places that will amaze you.” ~Les Brown

Today, I am thankful for all of the people in my life who have helped me to set and achieve my goals, and for all of the people who have yet to enter my life who will help me succeed in the future. I am also thankful for all of the people who have let me, in some way, help them achieve their goals.

Have you set your goals for today?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Wednesday: Positive Attitude

“We cannot change our past. We can not change the fact that people act in a certain way. We can not change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude.” ~Charles R. Swindoll

Knowing and believing that you can choose your attitude and how you react to things is truly a blessing and a life-saver. Knowing that you can choose to focus on the positive things, even in the face of negativity is empowering.

I’d like to tell a story, mostly because it will be cathartic for me, but also because it will hopefully be empowering for you.

I recently reconnected with an old friend on Facebook. He has a habit of posting status updates that, as a recruiter, I find inappropriate. Last week he actually reached out to me and inquired about an open job I had posted. I asked him to send me his resume… and then last night he posted another inappropriate status update on Facebook. As a recruiter, and frankly, as a friend, I suggested that he not continue to post things like this if he wanted to find a new job. (See, for example where they say that "one out of 5 hiring managers conduct background checks on candidates using social networks and that 34% have dismissed a candidate based on what they found."**) I was simply trying to be helpful.

What resulted was astounding to me. This person proclaimed that I was “un-American”, was refuting the first amendment, that I epitomized everything he hated about “Corporate America”, and so on… He went as far as to say, well, never mind. THAT is not the point. Needless to say I un-friend-ed him, removed my comment from his post, and will have nothing further to do with this person.

At first, I was deeply disturbed. I began to second-guess myself. Am I in fact self righteous? Am I unreasonable? Did I deserve at least some of this backlash? The answer is NO! I instead chose to focus on all the good I know I do. I chose to reflect on the large number of people who have sincerely appreciated all that I teach them in my social networking seminars geared towards job seekers. I recalled all of the great feedback I have received, and the recommendations I have been given, and chose to change my attitude from one of distress, to one of serenity. And, I felt sorry for this person.

Again, I tell this story hopefully to empower you to choose your attitude. We can’t control the things that happen to us all of the time. Even the best of intentions can turn into challenges. But we can choose how we face these challenges, and as long as you know that you are doing the best you can, you will come out on top.

Today, I am thankful for my true friends and for my dad, who was the first to teach me that I had the power to choose my attitude.

**Thanks to Steve for this timely statistic!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Tuesday: Focus

“It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light.” ~Aristotle Onassis

Sticking to my thoughts on November being “We Are Thankful” month, I’d like to share some things for which I am thankful.

My family
My friends
My ability to persevere
My capacity to encourage others
My passion for networking and helping other people
My ability to recognize others’ strengths and my willingness to acknowledge them
The changing seasons
Cool, crisp autumn mornings
… and good food!

Take some time to reflect on the things that make you smile. Then get back to working on ways to get through the challenges you’re facing today.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Monday: Preparation

“I'm just preparing my impromptu remarks.” ~Winston Churchill

I love this quote. It really speaks to me on so many levels.

Preparing impromptu remarks is like preparing for an interview when you don’t know what questions will be asked. As a career coach and recruiter, there is a general rule I teach people to follow. Be prepared to discuss your recurring results. If you can identify your most significant accomplishments, and are prepared to talk about the why, the how, and the impact, then you should be prepared to answer almost any question you get tossed. So, I guess that’s the “surface” reason this quote speaks to me. The other reason is a bit more abstract, but something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately…

I often wonder, much like Don in a recent episode of CBS’ Numb3rs, if I’ve actually *made* the choices that led me to where I am today, or if things have just sort of “fallen into place”. In other words, wondering if I have been preparing for impromptu decisions or choices vs. actually consciously making decisions and choices. Then I wonder if that actually matters… Sure; I’m certain I never *chose* to have a difficult pregnancy, and I’m certain I never *chose* to get laid off when my son was only 4 months old… But I did choose how I reacted to those situations. And those choices have led me to owning my own business and having the ability to be here for him on days like today when he’s home sick.

So much to think about… and (entering November, which is “We Are Thankful” month on Nick Jr… on all day today for said sick child…) so much to be thankful for…

Friday, October 30, 2009

Friday: Motivation

“Only as high as I reach can I grow, only as far as I seek can I go, only as deep as I look can I see, only as much as I dream can I be.” ~Karen Ravn

Empowering... I choose to see this as a call to action. I am in control of my own destiny.

How high are you reaching? Are you working to make your dreams a reality? Do you have a plan?

While I firmly believe that I am exactly where I should be today… that does not mean at all that it is where I want to be tomorrow. And, I am responsible for my own future. Hold yourself accountable, or find someone to help hold you accountable, and go after what you want. You can get there if you believe you can get there.

As the wise Yoda said, “Do or do not. There is no try.”

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Thursday: Goals

"By recording your dreams and goals on paper, you set in motion the process of becoming the person you most want to be. Put your future in good hands — your own." ~Mark Victor Hansen

As a career coach I find myself saying more often then I like, “I can only show you the way, but you actually have to do the work.” Or, “I’m here to provide you all help you want, but you have to a: want it, and b: do something with it.”

I found this quote when looking for something on setting goals, but what really spoke to me was the notion of taking control of your own future. It seems so easy to blame your current circumstances on some other set of external circumstances… You don’t have time; it’s too hard… But the reality is if you don’t like it, do something about it!

Only YOU can prevent forest fires… only YOU!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Tuesday: Focus

“Only one thing has to change for us to know happiness in our lives: where we focus our attention.” ~Greg Anderson

I’d like to add that it also matters HOW we focus our attention. Staying focused on the job hunt (or any work for that matter) amid all the distraction can actually be more difficult than it seems. For example, just this morning as I launched my browser to search for a quote regarding focus, and got sucked into Facebook instead… you get the point.

Social Media has changed the way many of us work, communicate, research, and play. It is the blurry line between wasting time and being productive that has caused much ado. But it’s not much ado about nothing.

STAY FOCUSSED on the job at hand, don’t get side tracked, set time aside for each task, including the task of applying social media, and stay on track. LinkedIn, Twitter, even Facebook, can all be very useful in your career campaign, but please use them appropriately. In job search, they should be just one tool on your tool belt and do not replace face-to-face interaction and networking! But that’s another post…

Monday, October 26, 2009

Monday: Preparation

“To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe.” ~Anatole France

My Sunday nights often consist of preparation and planning for the week that lies ahead. It helps me feel as though I’m productive immediately upon the start of my work day on Monday. Sometimes however, things like Game 6 get in the way of what I know to be the right thing to do. (GO YANKEES!) So be it. With enough preparation from the end of last week, and a little work over the weekend, I’m still ready to face this week with enthusiasm.

That being said, it is a challenge to figure out what to do first when there is just too much to do, and it can get overwhelming. So, here’s my advice today: Take it one step at a time. Make your To Do list, and cross things off as you go. It gives you a great sense of accomplishment at the end of the day/week.

And, here’s my word of caution: Don’t let MAKING your To Do List become a day-long task. Don’t get sucked in to having that list be perfect or even complete. You can always add to it or edit it anytime you want.

“It pays to plan ahead. It wasn't raining when Noah built the ark.” ~Author Unknown

Friday, October 23, 2009

Friday: Motivation

"Don't let life discourage you; everyone who got where he is had to begin where he was." ~Richard L. Evans

Perfect. For what may be the third time this week I remind myself that I am exactly where I am supposed to be today! I love it! By the way, that doesn’t mean it’s easy. That doesn’t mean I’m complacent. That doesn’t mean I’m not working hard to get somewhere else. It just means that I’m enjoying the process and that I know I am on the right path.

"In order to get from what was to what will be, you must go through what is." ~Anonymous

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Thursday: Goals

"All successful people have a goal. No one can get anywhere unless he knows where he wants to go and what he wants to be or do." - Norman Vincent Peale

My quest for figuring out my direction continues, as I’m sure is true for many of you. At the HR Whine and Dine networking event in Norwalk, CT last night I spoke with no less than 5 people who are on a similar quest. Again, it seems to me that this economy has been a catalyst for change in more than just the financial part of our lives. The phrase, “physician heal thyself” came up more than once, and I will be seeking external guidance very soon! I need to decide where to focus my energy, set the goals, and go after them. I am actually really excited about the possibilities. Bring it on!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Wednesday: Positive Attitude

“The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitudes.” ~William James

Last night I wrote about my clear lack of clarity regarding which direction I want to take my business. And I spent most of the evening thinking about all of the people I encounter who are at some sort of crossroads. I even spoke with one person this morning who is in a high-powered role, and now that she has two small children (and just returned to work after a maternity leave) she is questioning whether or not she wishes to continue in a role with such great responsibility.

It seems that in a time filled with uncertainty in many areas of our lives, we are revisiting what’s really important to us. That actually excites me. By altering how we look at things we can create a new reality. I have always known what’s most important to me; it’s why I started my own business. But I lost sight of that somewhere along the way and now it’s up to me to change the way I look at my role and get back to the reality I want.

In the past I have written about visualization and the importance of goal setting. I urge you to revisit your plan and make sure you’re really going in the direction you wish to travel. And remember, you are exactly where you are supposed to be today. Sometimes it takes setbacks and challenges to help us recognize when things are going the right way.

“Make your optimism come true.” ~Author Unknown

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Tuesday: Focus

“The indispensable first step to getting the things you want out of life is this: decide what you want.” Ben Stein

You wouldn’t think this was so hard… but I spoke at two events (last night and today – and the reason that I did not blog this MORNING…) and I have encountered no less than 15 people (MYSLEF INCLUDED!!) who have no idea what they want to be “when they grow up”.

I share this with you because maybe you have the same or similar issues. I wear so many hats, and love everything that I do, that my focus is actually lacking. It’s not that I’m not focused, I am quite focused… on too many things! So much so that sometimes nothing gets accomplished.

I am a recruiter, a coach, a trainer, a speaker, and a strategist… and that’s just my professional life. I also have a personal one. So, I ask you – how did you identify what you wanted? Or, have you?

Monday, October 19, 2009

Monday: Preparation

“I am prepared to go anywhere, provided it be forward.” ~David Livingstone

Every Monday I write about preparation. I believe that preparation, whether it’s setting up a workspace, planning for quiet, distraction-free work time, or doing due diligence pre-interview, is so important. But I also know it is impossible to be prepared for every single potential happening. You just never know what’s coming! So, I’ve created a new set of affirmations for myself, and thought I’d share them with you.

I am prepared for whatever life has in store for me.
I am strong enough to overcome the challenges I am presented.
I learn something new every day.
…and my new favorite…
I am exactly where I am supposed to be today.

What affirmations work for you?

Friday, October 16, 2009

Friday: Motivation

“Life takes on meaning when you become motivated, set goals and charge after them in an unstoppable manner.” ~Les Brown

I’ve had no less than 6 conversations this week with people who seem to have lost their motivation; some because their work is no longer interesting and challenging, some because their frustrated with how long things are taking, and others who have been immobilized by fear of the unknown. I think it’s the weather. So, as a coach AND a cheerleader, I offer this. Don’t ever stop believing in yourself. You can do this, no matter what “this” is. Keep it up, keep going, and keep your eye on the prize. Remember Casey Kasem? "Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars." YAY YOU!!!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Thursday: Goals

“Some of the world's greatest feats were accomplished by people not smart enough to know they were impossible.” ~Doug Larson

“Life's problems wouldn't be called ‘hurdles’ if there wasn't a way to get over them.” ~Author Unknown

“Life is full of obstacle illusions.” ~Grant Frazier

Are you picking up what I’m throwing down? It’s not hopeless. We’re not helpless. Anything is possible. We CAN do it!

I met a great group of people last night at the in-transition networking event at which I spoke. One of the people in attendance just actually landed in a new role, and she brought donuts to share with group. But she did so much more than that. She stated that while not having much money during her unemployment was certainly a challenge, she would not change her experience. She talked about how she has made so many new friends, and that she encountered so many helpful people, and how her life had been changed forever for the better. WOW! Talk about focusing on the positive! And she had been out for a while… The message I got was this – things will get better. Hurdles and obstacles will be overcome. And, everything happens for a reason.

Set your goals, and go after them!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Wednesday: Positive Attitude (and Affirmations)

“Constant repetition carries conviction.” ~Robert Collier

OK, so maybe not a powerful quote in itself, but the thought behind this one this morning comes from the power of affirmation. I have written in the past about some affirmations I use. Last night I went to sleep (powering through some insomnia and actually falling asleep was the first great success) repeating these words in my head,” I am focused, motivated, and positive.”

Here’s the story. I went to bed too late. It was about an hour and a half later than normal. And, I have a presentation I am giving tonight on “Social Media & Your Career Campaign” so I need to be “on”. And, I have a ton of work to do today. And, I have a bunch of personal stuff going on (who doesn’t?). And… And… And…

And, as I lay awake I realized (thankfully) that again, I can control this. I thought about how I needed to wake up alert, focused, and ready to go. And, I needed to sleep unstressed by the daunting morning ahead…

So, I started my affirmations, and let me tell you – I feel GREAT today. I am tired, but I have coffee for that. As far as being focused, motivated, and positive, well, this post should speak to that!
Remember... “If you think you can do a thing or think you can't do a thing -- you're right.” ~Henry Ford

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Tuesday: Focus

“Focus 90% of your time on solutions and only 10% of your time on problems.” ~Anthony J. D'Angelo

A subtle shift in where you put your efforts is sometimes all you need. Focusing on solving problems is still focusing on the problem, so I suggest even changing the way you look at this altogether. I prefer to focus on the possibilities.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Monday: Preparation

“Confidence is preparation. Everything else is beyond your control.” ~Richard Kline

As a control freak, this is a tough one for me. I don’t ever want to be a victim of circumstance (to quote my favorite singer) but there’s a fine line between being prepared and over-thinking, (a.k.a. over-stressing) about all the possible outcomes and how I can direct them. Sometimes you just have to let things happen and see how they turn out. I don’t prepare for the worst, because I don’t even want to put that out there – but as long as I believe that things happen for a reason, I’m ok. And, so far, I have to say that my life has turned out pretty well! Today, I celebrate my 7 year wedding anniversary! I can’t believe how far we’ve come, and am so looking forward to the rest of our journey – wherever it may take us.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Friday: Motivation

“All that we are is the result of what we have thought.” Buddha

I learned a great phrase yesterday from someone I coach. Coincidentally, this person is also a coach, but as I’ve said before, all great players need a coach, and those of us who strive to do our best, have one in some form or another.

Anyway, the phrase was “second creation”. We were talking about visualization and he used this term to describe the phenomenon of visualizing, which was the “first creation” to cause reality – the “second creation”. I love it!

I’ve written about the visualization techniques I use. What have you done to create your “second creation”?

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Thursday: Goals

“How often I found where I should be going only by setting out for somewhere else.” ~Richard Buckminster Fuller

Sorry for the hiatus. I’ve missed writing. I was visiting family, and had a lot less time on the computer than I had anticipated. I had had a goal to create posts in advance for such occasions, and never did so. Frankly, I’m glad. When I write these posts every morning, they actually help me set the tone for my day. Not having them pre-drafted and not being able to draft them while I was away really showed me how much I enjoy this. So, I’ve changed that goal, and I’ve also given myself permission to not stress out over writing these posts. And, there’s a lesson in that.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Friday: Motivation

“Opportunity…often it comes in the form of misfortune, or temporary defeat." ~Napoleon Hill

I went looking for the silver lining, and discovered platinum!

On this beautiful Autumn Friday, I wish you all a wonderfully fulfilling day, and a fantastic weekend.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Thursday: Goals (and overcoming fear)

“The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.” ~Michelangelo

Truer words may never have been spoken. I find it odd that while people think that they are afraid of failure, I believe that they more often they are afraid of success… Success requires change, and change is scary. Even if you believe that change happens for the best, it’s still unknown… and that, I think, is the most real fear out there.

It’s usually a subconscious fear that prevents us from taking control of our lives. It’s a fear that will allow us only to maintain the status quo. It keeps us doing the same thing we’ve always done, because that’s where we’re comfortable. Well, it has been said that doing the same thing we’ve always done but expecting different results is the definition of insanity… so tell me, how do you expect to achieve your goals and get ahead if you’re afraid to change and afraid to succeed?

I challenge you, as I challenge myself, to examine these fears. Identifying them will help us get past them.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Wednesday: Positive Attitude

“If you aren't fired with enthusiasm, you will be fired with enthusiasm.” ~Vince Lombardi

At the HR Whine & Dine networking event last night we had a conversation about employee engagement and employee retention. While many who attended are in fact, “between successes”*, others are presently employed yet genuinely fearful of losing their jobs. One person commented frankly that everyone in her company was “actively looking” and that was no secret. While in _her_ case that is understandable as her company is going under, in many cases the same is true even when the company is viable.

I remember recently reading a blog post (wishing now that I could find it to give credit to the writer!) about a person who was employed, but publically complaining about their job in the coffee shop across the street from their office… and another who was complaining that her boss wanted her travel… and how “unfair” that she had to pick up all this extra work!

And, I know people who have gotten so jaded about their job search that all they have left is anger and negativity; actively blaming everyone but themselves for their situations. (This recruiter was stupid, that company was unprofessional, there are no jobs, LinkedIn is a waste of time, etc…)

These are tough times. I get that. We all have to do a little more with a little less. But these people who either take for granted they have a job, or who refuse to be accountable for their own career campaign, need a little attitude adjustment.

At the event last night I spoke with at least three people who were actively taking responsibility for their job searches and were actually excited by the possibilities that lie ahead. As hard as it is out there, and as down as you may get sometimes, the fact is that possibilities lie ahead. Go find them, and please, I beg you, get fired with enthusiasm. Complaining will get you nowhere.

*phrase attributed to one of our attendees

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Tuesday: Focus

“It was character that got us out of bed, commitment that moved us into action, and discipline that enabled us to follow through.” ~Zig Ziglar

Today, I challenge you to focus on following through. Follow up; do what you said you were going to do; be accountable for your actions; be proactive; take control of the conversation…

Too many opportunities are lost from a lack of follow-through. Use a calendar; tie a string around your finger; set an alarm or a task reminder; whatever it takes… If you say you’re going to put a cover letter and resume in the mail, as well as send it via email, put it in the mail. If you say you’re going to call someone on Friday, please call them on Friday.

You can have the best of intentions, be extremely well prepared, and have great focus, but if you don’t follow up, you’ll blow it.

Focus. Then follow through.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Monday: Preparation

“The best preparation for tomorrow is doing your best today.” ~H. Jackson Brown Jr.

I was just speaking with a job seeker who said that he’d rather cut the grass then spend the day on the computer looking for a job; at least he would feel like he accomplished something.

While emotionally I do understand this, and I can sympathize, this is not the best way to do your best. A job search IS a full time job. It has the same ups and downs any job has. There will be good days and there will be less than good days. But as long as you honestly do your best, you HAVE accomplished something.

It’s easy to get frustrated. Just do the best you can possibly do, and know that you are paving the road to success.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Friday: Motivation

“Every worthwhile accomplishment, big or little, has its stages of drudgery and triumph; a beginning, a struggle and a victory.” ~Mahatma Gandhi

Wishing those who are celebrating a very Happy New Year. May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Thursday: Goals

“Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.” ~John F. Kennedy

Set a goal, choose a course of action that will help you achieve that goal, and then maintain course until that goal is reached. One key is action. The other key is recognizing when to change action when you are no longer headed toward achievement of the goal, or when the goal is no longer the right goal.

Don’t be afraid of change. It is typically for the best.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Wednesday: Positive Attitude

I heard a song on the radio yesterday morning as I was driving to the Westport, CT Public Library to give a presentation to job seekers on using social media as part of a strategic career campaign. I guess, even after this many years of public speaking, even I could use a little encouragement.

The song actually reminds me of junior high school, but in a good way, and it makes me happy. I think it fits in really well for a post on attitude. So, thank you Corey Hart!

Excerpted from NEVER SURRENDER:

“So if you're lost and on your own
You can never surrender
And if your path won't lead you home
You can never surrender
And when the night is cold and dark
You can see, you can see light
Cause no-one can take away your right
To fight and never surrender”

There is light at the end of every tunnel.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Tuesday: Focus


“It's not what's happening to you now or what has happened in your past that determines who you become. Rather, it's your decisions about what to focus on, what things mean to you, and what you're going to do about them that will determine your ultimate destiny.” ~Tony Robbins

So this one’s not about staying focused, but it IS about choosing what to be focused ON, so it’s still relevant, and still important.

Your circumstances don’t define you. Be who you are and believe in who you can become.

And, because I loved this one, here’s a bonus: “If success you want to permit, persistence you cannot quit.” ~@BreakThruGuy (Paul Sutherland)

Monday, September 14, 2009

Monday: Preparation

“A strong, positive self-image is the best possible preparation for success.” ~Joyce Brothers

Confidence and self-image really do go a long way. Working with a client recently I was reminded (again) how demoralizing the job search (or any adversity, really) can be. In speaking with some colleagues and fellow coaches about what _we_ can do to help besides be a cheerleader as well as a coach, we came back to the idea of accountability groups.

In addition to providing great motivation, a perfect place to get feedback and share ideas, and fostering the sense of community and camaraderie most of us crave, a group of peers in similar situations can really do a lot to boost our own feelings of self-worth.

When you know that it’s not YOU… When you know that there are others who seem like smart, intelligent, kind, good people to whom bad things have happened… When you have the opportunity to help them and be helped in return… you can begin to rebuild your confidence.

Confidence does need to come from within, and relying solely on others to give you a self assurance is not a good idea, in times of need it’s really nice to know you’re not alone.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Friday: Motivation

“Striving for excellence motivates you; striving for perfection is demoralizing.” ~Dr. Harriet Braiker

Affirmations for today:

I accept myself unconditionally.
I appreciate my life and all its variations.
I have the strength to handle the rewards of my choices.

Make it a great day!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Thursday: Goals

“I know the price of success: dedication, hard work, and an unremitting devotion to the things you want to see happen.” ~ Frank Lloyd Wright

As a career coach and a recruiter, I encounter all kinds of job seekers. I work with those who require almost no external motivation to work harder on their job search than they may have even in their last “paid” job. I work with those who, while frustrated, with a just a little help, they find the inner strength to keep going and really work their career campaign. And, I work with those who spend a few hours a week searching job boards and wonder why they’re still unemployed.

A job search may be the hardest job you will ever have. Managing a true, well-rounded career campaign takes a lot of soul searching, planning, research, communication, networking, and follow through. It’s a full time, 40 hour a week endeavor to find your next full time, 40 hour a week endeavor.

If you’re in search mode, in transition, unemployed, under-employed or just plain looking for a new job, you need to take control of your future success. Dedication, hard work, and devotion to your campaign are required in this market. You need to be able to distinguish yourself from the masses. You need to be able to differentiate yourself from the others in your field who had your same job title. You need to be creative, and you need to be committed.

I get it. Sometimes that’s hard. But you don’t have to do it by yourself.

I believe that every great player needs a coach. I believe that every great player needs to be held accountable. I believe that every great player needs to work hard to stay great. And, I believe that every great player needs to pay the price for success.

Frank Lloyd Wright certainly built great things. We can too.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Wednesday: Positive Attitude

“Every thought is a seed. If you plant crab apples, don't count on harvesting Golden Delicious.” ~Bill Meyer

With change often comes doubt. It doesn’t seem to matter much if the change feels positive or negative, doubt comes. Even after years of practice, I find I still have to remind myself to think positively and not doubt myself. I find I still have to remind myself that I am in control of how I look at my circumstances, that things happen for a reason, and it’s always for the best. I still have to remind myself that even though it doesn’t feel like it’s for the best at the time, that better things will come as a result. It’s that, “when one door closes another opens” concept.

I know that my thoughts dictate my behavior, and that my behavior is the only thing that will help me propel forward.

I am really working hard on only thinking good, positive thoughts. I don’t like crab apples.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Tuesday: Focus

"If our thoughts and hopes are elsewhere, it is impossible for us to set our faces steadily toward the work required of us." ~ Anonymous

Over the holiday weekend I took some more time to reflect on my goals, especially as they relate to my family, and am taking small steps to rebalance my life. As often as I write about focus, I have been feeling unfocussed a lot lately, and have decided to adjust my focus accordingly. In the down economy I spread myself a bit too thin as I worked diligently to make money… as a recruiter in a recession. I am now preparing to narrow my scope, and focus more closely on my core business. I believe it will provide the best return and help me

With Labor Day (aptly named) behind us, how are you working to stay focused on your search? Are there adjustments you can make to your process?

Preparation Quote

“If I had six hours to chop down a tree, I'd spend the first hour sharpening the ax.” ~Abraham Lincoln

Friday, September 4, 2009

Friday: Motivation

"You may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing we call 'failure' is not the falling down, but the staying down." ~Mary Pickford

This quote reminds me of my son learning to walk. He started off slowly, holding on to everything. He eventually got up the courage to let go and try to walk on his own and he fell. And, he fell a lot. But, he never gave up. And now he won’t stop running!

On the surface this may not seem comparable to things we go through as adults, but if you think of it from my son’s perspective, learning to walk seemed insurmountable, and arguably was the one thing that would help propel his future.

Crawl. Cruise. Take Baby Steps. Learn to Walk. Learn to Run. Never Stop.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Thursday: Goals

“Amidst all the clutter, beyond all the obstacles, aside from all the static, are the goals set.” ~Donald Rumsfeld

Setting goals involves the establishment of specific, measurable objectives. Goal setting is a process that allows you to spell out, and then work towards your objectives. But, goal setting requires motivation. And, sometimes, with all the “noise” out there, it’s hard to find that motivation. Is it silly to set a goal to set goals?

I found it best to set two different kinds of goals.

The first set will help me achieve my “twenty year plan”. They include business goals and personal goals, and they are fairly “task” related. They include sending acknowledgements to at least 10 people a week, reading certain books, and building a successful business. Knowing where I want to end up is useful in setting the course for how to get there.

But, in order to stay motivated about my goal setting, I also set daily goals. These are more about personal accomplishments and living up to my affirmations. Today, my goal is to make 10 people smile.

I hope you’re one of them.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Wednesday: Positive Attitude

“What happens is not as important as how you react to what happens.” ~Thaddeus Golas

Today I will follow my preschooler’s lead. He woke up singing. He woke up happy, and although he clearly stated that he missed his daddy and wished that he wasn’t in Texas on a business trip, he sang his way through his bath and breakfast. He chose his favorite toy for show and tell, chattered the whole way to preschool about how green the trees were, and ran into the building with such exuberance that one of the other moms even commented about how she wished she had that outlook on starting her work day. Well, I say you can! Choose to make each day the best day that it can be. Choose to be happy. Put a smile on your face and a song in your heart and be happy to be alive. Acknowledge the good in your life.

Yes, these are challenging times. Let's choose to rise to the challenge! Bring it on!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Tuesday: Focus

“Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it.” ~ Greg Anderson

Well, ok. Joy is found in finishing it too, but the journey really can be enjoyable, even the job search journey.

Using the Hire Aspirations methodology of career coaching, I challenge my clients to reach back and explore their greatest achievements and most significant accomplishments. This is not an easy task, but really can be enlightening. After a series of exercises, my clients are able to validate their top skills and strengths, and can use what they’ve discovered in cover letters, on resumes, and especially during job interviews. It’s quite the process! And, they find, despite all the hard work that the process really was fun!

Of course there is joy in landing the right job, but you can also focus on the possibilities of self exploration, and the new experiences that lie ahead.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Monday: Preparation

“For every minute spent in organizing, an hour is earned.” ~Author Unknown

Sometimes it feels like all I do is make lists. To Do Lists, Wish Lists, Honey-Do Lists, Grocery Lists… it’s an endless list of lists.

Over the weekend I bought a new phone, and in syncing it with my computer, I found yet another task list. It turned out, however, that I had already accomplished everything on it! It was such a great feeling to be able to “check off” every last task! It seemed that simply typing out the tasks put them in the front of my mind, and I got them all done without really putting in any extra effort.

When I started working this morning, already coming in with a sense of accomplishment from the weekend, I had another small organizational win! In my email were two questions from a potential new client, and since I had spent a good deal of time late last week re-organizing my files and actually putting everything away, I was able to very quickly find my proposal, and answer the questions. And, when another client called unexpectedly, I was easily able to get her all of the information she needed so quickly, that she essentially asked me if I had been anticipating her call.

I always knew that being organized was useful, and that making lists really worked for me, but it’s nice when it all comes together! It may take time to make the list, but the feeling you get when you have completed the tasks on the list is wonderfully gratifying.

I’m celebrating small successes today!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Friday: Motivation

If I had to choose one favorite song, it would most certainly be “Vienna” by Billy Joel. The lyrics speak to me. They almost always have. No matter what is going on in my life at a particular moment, there is a stanza that fits. Right now, there are two.

“Slow down, you're doing fine You can't be everything you want to be Before your time”


“You've got your passion, you've got your pride but don't you know that only fools are satisfied?”

They may seem contrary, but to me, Billy’s reminding me to be patient, but to keep going. I need that.

What songs motivate you?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Thursday: Goals

Stephen Covey said that he is convinced that we can write and live our own scripts more than most people acknowledge. I do believe we create our own destiny, and we have the power to fulfill our dreams. However, I do also recognize that sometimes it’s hard to hold on to that belief.

I’ve worked hard to set goals. Some of my goals are easily achievable and are more like a to-do list for the day, week or month. Others are very long term goals which fit into a 20-year plan. And sometimes they seem like pipe dreams. I find myself questioning how achievable these goals really are, and if they’re worth the work. I find myself asking if they’re really what I want. I find myself doubting… second-guessing myself. And I can tell you from experience, that’s a slippery slope.

In an affirmation I chose for myself this morning, “I believe my inner wisdom”, I was reminded not to let this happen. I was also reminded to honor my gut feelings by exploring them. And my gut tells me that something isn’t working… so off I went in search of a quote for today, and this is what I found.

“When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don't adjust the goals, adjust the action steps.” ~Confucius

Ah! I GET IT! I’ve heard that the definition of insanity is doing the same things you’ve always done, the same way you’ve always done them, but expecting different results.

Sometimes you need to alter the path in order to get to where you want to go. And sometimes you need to have patience. “It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.” ~Confucius

Another affirmation might be, “I allow myself to take small steps toward my goals.”

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Wednesday: Positive Attitude

"I have learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends on our dispositions and not on our circumstances." ~ Martha Washington

While attempting to fall asleep last night I found myself playing my “to do” list over and over in my head. I then started to think about all of the things that were not yet on that list, but that really should be. I began to stress out, which is really not a good thing as you’re trying to fall asleep.

Quite thankfully I remembered that I was actually in control here, and that my thoughts were just thoughts. I remembered that I was in control of how I thought about those thoughts. I was in control of my own feelings.

I made a conscious decision to be grateful that I had so many things to do, and even more grateful for the ability to think of so many more things that I could be doing. These things, especially the new ones, could really help propel me to new heights. I chose to get excited about this, instead of stressed. (…maybe also not the best way to fall asleep, but a lot more fun!) I decided that since these new ideas were things that could really help me achieve my goals more quickly, that I would begin to apply them today.

I woke up this morning feeling refreshed, reenergized, and excited!
"If your ship doesn't come in, swim out to it." ~ Jonathan Winters

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Tuesday: Focus

“Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life - think of it, dream of it, live on that idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body, be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success; that is the way great spiritual giants are produced.” ~Swami Vivekananda

I listen to The Osgood File on the CBS Radio Network, and Dave Ross gave a great bit this morning on a recent study about multi-taskers who actually retain too much information. They can’t weed out the noise. In the age of social media and information overload, it can be hard to weed out the noise. It requires focus.

Focus. Focus on one thing at a time. Choose the task, accomplish the task. Move on to the next task. Make sure the tasks will help you accomplish your goals and take you to the next level.

“Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work at hand. The sun's rays do not burn until brought to a focus.” ~Alexander Graham Bell

“Our life always expresses the result of our dominant thoughts.” ~Soren Kierkegaard

Monday, August 24, 2009

Monday: Preparation

I watched a great principle in practice on Saturday. My best friend got married. She spent months in preparation of the great day. More planning went into this event than I can even begin to explain. If you’ve ever planned a wedding, you know what I’m talking about. It was stressful, at times even agonizing. But on the day of the wedding, the bride-to-be was more calm and collected than I have seen her in a long time. She knew she had done all she could to have the day be all that she wanted, and now, it was no longer in her hands.

I’ve heard it referred to as “turning it over”, “letting go and letting God”, “sending it up to the ether” and “sending it out to the universe”.

Whatever you call it, however you label it, I think it’s so important to remember that there is only so much we can do to control the outcome of our events. You can plan, prepare, set goals, and even set expectations. You can research, do due diligence, practice, role play… but at the end of all it, just have faith in that whatever happens, happens for a reason. And, while we may never understand what that reason is, it is always for the best.

One of my favorite all time quotes by Douglas Adams is, “I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I intended to be.”

And, my father’s favorite quote, “Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” ~ Reinhold Niebuhr

Friday, August 21, 2009

Friday: Motivation

I am dedicating this post to my best friend. She is getting married tomorrow.

“In my experience, there is only one motivation, and that is desire. No reasons or principle contain it or stand against it.” ~Jane Smiley

When you know what it is you desire, nothing can stand between you and that goal, except you. Another oldie, but goodie… “Where there is a will, there is a way.”

I’m so happy for my friend, who had a desire, found her will, and got her way.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Thursday: Goals

“Setting a goal is not the main thing. It is deciding how you will go about achieving it and staying with that plan.” ~ Tom Landry

“Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.” ~Thomas Jefferson

The one benefit of insomnia may be that I do a lot of thinking. I have goals, some lofty, some much more easily achievable which allow me to celebrate the small successes I’ve written about. The really lofty goals, like opening a 14 room Inn on Nantucket for example, I often refer to as “Lotto Dreams”.

The thing I came up with last night (or early this morning, I’m not really sure) was while it was important to have these goals, and have a plan to achieve them, I have to stop thinking of them as “Lotto Dreams”, because I don’t typically buy tickets!

I believe that if I change the way I TALK and THINK about these goals, as well as focus on the visualization of my achievement of these goals, I will realize success.

What are you doing to help yourself achieve your goals?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Wednesday: Positive Attitude

"Everyone has his burden. What counts is how you carry it." ~Merle Miller

Enough said.

Choose to make it a great day!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Tuesday: Focus

“The first rule of focus is ''Wherever you are be there.''” ~author unknown

Being present and staying focused on the task at hand is sage advice for the job search but also for life. Think of how great you feel when someone focuses all of their attention on you. In The Celestine Prophecy, a 1993 novel by James Redfield, this is called The Interpersonal Ethic, and it is said that people actually feel uplifted when others focus on them. I’ve experienced this. It is awesome. So, imagine what happens when you actually focus all of your attention on one thing. I go back to Tony Robbins who says, “Most people have no idea of the giant capacity we can immediately command when we focus all of our resources on mastering a single area of our lives.” Today, I challenge you to pick one thing, and make it your focus for the day. Direct the focus, harness the power, be present in the moment, and enjoy!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Monday: Preparation

Tony Robbins asks this question, “How am I going to live today in order to create the tomorrow I'm committed to?”

I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately. One of my biggest challenges right now is figuring out WHAT the tomorrow that I’m committed to actually IS. It’s hard to prepare for something when you are not sure what you want that something to be. Part of my challenge is that I’m easily distracted by the “clutter”. And it is becoming increasingly difficult to get back on track, because I’m not convinced I know which track I want to be on! Sitting down and preparing long term plans and really focusing on which tomorrow I want to commit to is going to be very useful. We started that a bit this weekend. I’m looking forward to this journey.

Also over the weekend, applying some of the few principles of Feng Shui I know, I made a decision to eliminate distractions; to get rid of the clutter, literally. I figure if I can do this physically, I can do the same mentally. I started in my closet.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Friday: Motivation

“You can't cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water.” ~Rabindranath Tagore

I speak with job seekers daily. That’s my job. They don’t always stand out. But, I spoke with one this morning who really impressed me. What impressed me was his ability to stay motivated. Despite the length of time he’s been out of work, in spite of the people who are unwilling to network, regardless of the adversity he’s facing financially, he’s motivated. He gets up every day, and works his campaign. He networks, he attends training, he looks for jobs online... He does what it takes, no matter what it takes, and he’s always on top of it. I have a lot of respect for him. And, I have a lot to learn from him.

NOTE TO SELF: Don’t lose that momentum! Keep it going! Just because it’s Friday, and sunny, and warm… doesn’t mean there is not work to be done! Just because you’re distracted, and there’s “a lot going on”, doesn’t make it ok to lose focus. STAY MOTIVTED!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Thursday: Goals

“A dream collage is pictures of your goals. It is like your future photo album.” ~Bo Bennett

I have often spoken about creating a journal or scrapbook based on your goals and desires. I believe that being able to visualize your achievement of your goals is half the battle. If you write down what you want, you have the start of your plan, and the basis for your goal-setting. This can work for work! Draft your dream job description, the whole thing, responsibilities, compensation, location, all of it. Then, write your offer letter, and sign it to accept. Then start drawing or cutting out pictures of your office décor. Place yourself behind the desk, or on your customers’ locations. If there are words that inspire you, write them down. If there are affirmations or quotes, or stories, put them in. Make it yours; own it. Then make it real. Go Get ‘Em!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Wednesday: Positive Attitude

Is your tone for the day set when you get out of bed in the morning? Mine used to be. And it wasn’t always positive. Once I recognized that I could change my attitude, I invented an alter-ego, “the new me”. Now, whenever I wake up cranky, or if something happens during the day that causes me angst, I remind myself to find “the new me”, and “fake it until I make it.”

When my day is daunting, and lately that’s been happening a lot, I tend to panic. So, when I saw this quote, I actually printed it out in LARGE letters, and taped it to my computer for a constant reminder. I hope it helps you too!

“It is our attitude at the beginning of a difficult task which, more than anything else, will affect its successful outcome.” ~William James

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Tuesday: Focus

“Life is a train of moods like a string of beads; and as we pass through them they prove to be many colored lenses, which paint the world their own hue, and each shows us only what lies in its own focus.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

An affirmation might be,” My inner vision is always clear and focused.”

Seeing clearly is a discipline that many struggle with as our emotions tend to make it difficult for us to truly see. But I do believe that we know. Staying focused on that inner vision, especially when faced with adversity, can be a challenge. Yet, it is so important to stay focused and strive to achieve clarity of today’s purpose.

Another favorite quote, “If you don't think every day is a good day, just try missing one.” ~Cavett Robert

Monday, August 10, 2009

Monday: Preparation

“Four steps to achievement: Plan purposefully. Prepare prayerfully. Proceed positively. Pursue persistently.” ~William Arthur Ward

Pursue Persistently. "When all else fails try try again" (I couldn’t find the author of this quote.)

I do believe that everything happens for a reason, even when we don’t know what that reason is. If it doesn’t work the first time, it wasn’t meant to. But if you’re prepared and you proceed positively and pursue persistently, you’ll get there.

So today, I have a plan. I have prepared myself for the work that lies ahead. I have prepared my workspace, cleared my desk of all distractions, and even plan to turn off Twitter for a while! I will pursue my goal persistently. And, I will get there. I know I will.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Friday: Motivation, but slightly off topic

It’s been almost a full week since I’ve written a post. I actually feel guilty about that. All my planning and preparation (see Mondays) did not prepare me for not having reliable Internet Access, even with a wireless card. True, I got a great vacation, but the stress of not being connected actually wore me out! (No Psych evaluation needed; I know I’m type A!) I came back to 16 voice mail messages and almost 300 emails!

So, instead of my Friday Motivation post, I want to post on prioritization. We know that circumstances are what they are, and choosing our attitude about how to handle those circumstances is in our own control (see Wednesdays). But, how do you choose which priority takes priority? When all of your tasks are “Priority One”, how do you decide what to do first?

I still have not quite figured this out. I chose to answer voicemails, and then tackle emails, and put my social media tasks and blog posts off another day. I also have not taken any personal calls, or even looked at my personal email. Sorry, friends. I’ll get to you this weekend!

So my quote today: “Decide what you want, decide what you are willing to exchange for it. Establish your priorities and go to work.” ~ H. L. Hunt

Friday, July 31, 2009

Friday: Motivation

Sometimes staying motivated requires work. A conundrum?? Maybe. Working often requires motivation. I understand that. I started my vacation last night. But I made a commitment, and even though it would have been really easy to not actually work today…on my vacation… work I must.

I am grateful for this blog right now. Reminding myself to stay motivated as I remind you to stay motivated is a good thing for me. So, today, I leave you with this quote, “People often say that motivation doesn't last. Well, neither does bathing - that's why we recommend it daily.” ~Zig Ziglar

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Thursday: Goals

One of my favorite “success” authors, Og Mandino said, “The victory of success is half won when one gains the habit of setting goals and achieving them. Even the most tedious chore will become endurable as you parade through each day convinced that every task, no matter how menial or boring, brings you closer to fulfilling your dreams.”

As I get through the administrative tasks of my day, getting ready to go on a much needed vacation, I am very happy to reflect on this quote. Not only does remembering the goal help me get through the monotony of some days, but it also helps me get through the rough patches, the stress, and the disappointments. I know they are all a part of the road that I must follow to get me where I want to go…

Even better, getting into the habit of setting small, achievable goals, and achieving them, helps me to stay positive and passionate about what I do. I love celebrating the small successes, and I love helping others do the same. Accomplishments feel good, even when they’re small. So today, set a few realistic goals, and go after them!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Wednesday: Positive Attitude

“To be interested in the changing seasons is a happier state of mind than to be hopelessly in love with spring.” ~George Santayana

I had to think about think about this one for a few minutes… and then I realized how profoundly true it is for me. The only thing that is constant is change. We’ve all heard that. We all know that. But how many of us actually live accepting that? I am consistently reminded to choose a positive attitude, believe I CAN, not to underestimate myself, and roll with it. So, today I remind you to choose to be happy with the change.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Tuesday: Focus

“To think too long about doing a thing often becomes its undoing.” ~Eva Young

I live to procrastinate. I recently pondered the question, “Why can’t I procrastinate procrastinating?” I never did come up with an answer...

The one and only thing that helps me get out of this potential deadly deadline-missing spiral is FOCUS! Having a plan and focusing on the steps, however small each is, helps me to accomplish my goals. So, my goal today as I look at my TO DO list from yesterday… FOCUS! Head down, nose to the grindstone, and to quote a popular advertising campaign, JUST DO IT!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Monday: Preparation

Monday. Again. Already.

I am consistently reminded by my own “To Do” lists the importance (and the power) of being prepared. When I fail to prepare for the week ahead, I wake up Monday morning and instantly panic. “How will I have the time to get this all done? Can I really meet these deadlines? Can I really accomplish it all?” It’s not a good feeling! Much like this morning, unfortunately, I remember too late the importance of a good plan and proper preparation.

So, I leave you with this quote for the day, “Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now.” ~ Alan Lakein

And, I wish you all the power of a plan.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Friday: Motivation

Fridays can be tough. It's the "end" of the week. Maybe you're not as far along on your to do list as you would have liked to be. Maybe you *still* haven't heard from that recruiter... or any news about that job interview. Or, maybe you just want the weekend to start! Staying motivated, and letting that motivation carry you, or better yet, propel you forward is a good thing. So, Fridays I will post a quote, motivational or inspirational, to help you through, cheer you up, or help you celebrate. Remember those small successes?

“If we all did the things we are capable of, we would astound ourselves.” ~Thomas Edison

"I've always felt it was not up to anyone else to make me give my best." ~Hakeem Olajuwon

"Your greatest self has been waiting your whole life; don't make it wait any longer." ~Steve Maraboli

"When faced with a challenge, look for a way, not a way out." ~David Weatherford

And, for today: "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." ~Mark Twain

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Thursday: Goals

Goal setting can be overwhelming. Where do you start? Do you have a goal for the day? For the week? For the year? For the next ten years?

This topic reminds me of "Alice In Wonderland", when Alice is asking the Cheshire Cat for directions...
“Which road do I take?" (Alice)
"Where do you want to go?" (Cat)
"I don't know," Alice answered.
"Then, said the cat, it doesn't matter.”

I believe that goal setting, even setting small, achievable daily goals, helps us to stay on track, and maybe more importantly, gives us the opportunity to celebrate small successes. On Thursdays I will add quotes about goals.

"Most of us serve our ideals by fits and starts. The person who makes a success of living is one who sees his goal steadily and aims for it unswervingly. That's dedication." ~Cecil B. DeMille

“Goals are the fuel in the furnace of achievement.” ~Brian Tracy

"If you have a goal in life that takes a lot of energy, that requires a lot of work, that incurs a great deal of interest and that is a challenge to you, you will always look forward to waking up to see what the new day brings." ~Susan Polis Schultz

"You need a plan to build a house. To build a life, it is even more important to have a plan or goal." ~Zig Ziglar

"In life, as in football, you won't go far unless you know where the goalposts are." ~ Arnold H. Glasgow

I was speaking with a client yesterday about the fear of success. Yes, Success, not failure. It’s incredible to me how many people live in fear of actually succeeding. It’s as if they think that once they achieve their goal, there will be nothing left. So, today's quote: “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” ~Winston Churchill

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Wednesday: Positive Attitude

Wednesday, "hump day", a great day to remember that we are in control of how we look at things. My dad has always reminded me that while we can't always control our circumstances, we certainly have control over how we think about about our circumstances. So, on Wednesdays I will post a quote about staying positive, and maintaining a positive outlook on life.

"Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference." ~Winston Churchill

"What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitudes." ~William James

From a great interview coach, colleague, and friend, "If you're not continually amused by your life, you're not doing it right" ~ Melanie Szlucha

And for today, one of my all-time favorites, "It is not your aptitude, but your attitude, that determines your altitude."~ Zig Ziglar

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Tuesday: Focus

So, you're prepared... You've set up your workspace effectively and you've minimized the risk for distraction. You've planned your schedule for the week. You know what you need to do.

Now, you need to focus; stay on track. Razor sharp, laser-like focus is required, especially when you're down. Tuesdays, I will add a quote about focus.

"Visualize this thing you want. See it, feel it, believe in it. Make your mental blueprint and begin." ~Robert Collier

"If a man does not know to what port he is steering, no wind is favorable to him." ~Seneca

"The shortest way to do many things is to do only one thing at a time." ~Sydney Smiles

"No life ever grows great until it is focused, dedicated and disciplined." Unknown Author

And the new one for today: "Our thoughts create our reality. Where we put our focus is the direction we tend to go.” ~Peter McWilliams

Monday, July 20, 2009

Monday: Preparation

I believe that one can only do one's best, when properly prepared.

On Mondays, I will post quotes here that will help to encourage preparation. I hope you find them useful.

"Confidence and courage come through preparation and practice." Unknown Author

“First ask yourself: What is the worst that can happen? Then prepare to accept it. Then proceed to improve on the worst.” ~Dale Carnegie

In preparing your week, your work space, your plan... keep an open mind! My cats may hate this thought, but "there is more than one way"...

"There is a saying in Baltimore that crabs may be prepared in fifty ways and that all of them are good." ~H. L. Mencken

“Organizing is what you do before you do something, so that when you do it, it is not all mixed up.” ~A. A. Milne

And the new one for today: "A strong, positive self-image is the best possible preparation for success. " ~Joyce Brothers

My thoughts: A little confidence goes a long way...


The Reason behind the Quotes:

Quotes, and other motivational and inspirational thoughts, often help me through my day. When I first started posting quotes on Facebook, they were really for me. They helped me to set the tone for my day. When people started commenting on them, I realized that I had an opportunity to motivate and inspire others.

As a recruiter who has worked both agency-side and corporate HR, as a former job seeker who has been in transition in some very difficult times, and as an independent recruiter currently, I hope to offer motivation for job seekers, along with a few job seeking tips thrown in.

This "blog", called such only because I don't know what else to call it, will start off with some things I've previously posted in NOTES on the HireEffect Fan Page on Facebook. So, if you're a fan (THANKS!) sorry for the repetition. I will however, also post a new quote all this week, even though I'm "catching up".

I hope you find these posts useful and enjoyable!

Thanks! Happy Hunting!

Jennifer Scott