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…