Wednesday, November 30, 2011

When The Only One You’re Hurting is You

“We are accountable only to ourselves for what happens to us in our lives." ~~Mildred Newman~~

Accountability is a curious thing to me. It’s easy to be accountable when there is an external expectation. If a customer is waiting for something from you, you get it to them, and you get it to them on time. If a client is in need, you help them in any way that you can. You are accountable to your customers and clients, and likely to your family and your friends. But how often do you hold yourself accountable for the things that are important only to you? Do you hold yourself accountable for things that are not perceived as requirements to achieve success? I can write about completing a performance review for yourself or your business, and you can think it’s a great idea, but do you do it? Or, do you plan to? What if you forget? Things like that slip through the cracks all the time. You know it’s a good idea. You believe it can help further your success, but it’s for you, and you alone… and so maybe someday you’ll get to it…

Do you hold yourself accountable for the things you say you’re going to do when nobody really is expecting anything from you… except you?

Here are some ways that I believe will help me hold myself accountable to ME.

1. Engage an accountability partner. I have learned that when I have someone who can help nudge me along the way (who is not my spouse!) when I’m not meeting my own expectations is very helpful. I don’t like to admit failure. I don’t know anyone who does. So, if I create the person who IS expecting something form me, I get it done. I’m not talking about a daily thing, maybe not even a weekly thing, but someone who truly helps you stay accountable for your actions, whether for work or for job search, can be extremely helpful.
2. Become part of an accountability group, or create one. This can be especially useful if you work independently, or are in job search. Put together a group of people who have similar needs or desire similar outcomes, and help each other stay focused and on track. Meet as often as you need to, maybe by phone, likely better in person, and keep your meetings productive. Set guidelines, and make sure that everyone in the group understands its purpose.
3. Write down weekly goals along with daily to-dos that will help you achieve those goals. Set timelines, set deadlines, and stick to them. Maybe you can even share your list with your accountability partner or group. And, practice integrity. Do what you say you’re going to do, and create a consequence for not holding up your end of the bargain. Likewise, reward yourself when you do. Celebrate the small successes along the way. The little stuff adds up!

If you have other ideas, let me know! Accountability really is a curious thing to me. And, I need as much help with holding myself accountable as anyone else out there!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Performance Management For The Rest Of Us

“It's not what if, it's what now.” ~Author Unknown

It has been far too long since I’ve written a blog post. I went looking this morning for an old post to reference, and I was completely inspired to write! So here goes!

It’s that time of year again. There’s a chill in the air, Christmas lights are popping up everywhere, the shopping mayhem has begun… And at work, it’s likely time for performance evaluations. Performance management is a necessary practice in human resources. Making sure you have the right people doing the right jobs at the right time for the right price is critical to business success. So, why do we as people not employ the same practices? Isn’t it possible that evaluating our own performance could be critical to our own personal success? I think so. I wrote this post about goals and priorities changing over time and how giving myself a quick evaluation was an eye-opening experience. And I haven’t done another since…
It’s time. I can’t possibly set appropriate goals for next year without evaluating what I’ve achieved (or not yet achieved) this year.
So, whether you’re a job seeker, a business owner, a homemaker, or an employee, here are a few questions you can ask yourself to get started.

1. What have I accomplished so far this year? What goals have I achieved?
2. What have I been proudest of? (Or, what made me the happiest?)
3. What should I continue to do next year?
4. What should I NOT continue to do next year?
5. What goals have I not yet achieved? What stopped me? Will achieving them still take me down my intended path?
6. What goals can I set for next year? What should I start doing that I have not yet started?
7. What resources do I need that I do not yet have? Where can I get help?

Knowing (or at least pondering) the answers to these questions will most certainly get you started down the goal setting path for 2012. And there’s no time like today to get moving!

“Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. And today? Today is a gift. That's why we call it the present.” ~Babatunde Olatunji, a similar version is also attributed to Alice Morse Earle (

Friday, September 2, 2011

Create The Good

“It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.” ~~Leonardo da Vinci~~

This has been a tough year for a lot of people. Between the aftermath of Irene, the earthquake, the floods… the unemployment, the economy, the debt… it’s hard for me to sit here and tell you that everything happens for a reason.

Personally, I have to hold on to the notion that there’s a greater plan, and that I can’t possibly begin to understand that plan, but that’s not the practical advice that “you can use today” that I’ve become known for.

What if, instead, we look for ways to make something good happen from every situation?

Irene, like many of the recent weather issues, created a need for communities to come together in a way I have not witnessed in a while. Families helping one another, even those they don’t know; municipalities offering free services to entire towns in some instances; it has made room for the possibility of everyone actually working as a team moving towards a common goal.

I had a client tell me yesterday that his recent unemployment has given him the time he has not made in a while to take care of himself and get a few things off of his to-do list. He’s been to the doctor, fixed a few things, did some preventative maintenance… and in light of the recent weather, some of this may have saved his house…

I had another client tell me that her (more long-term) unemployment has given her the opportunity to volunteer. As she tries to stay busy and be useful (as well as keep the gaps off of her résumé) she has been working hard in her town to increase the amount of food in the local food pantry and raise awareness about the hunger issues very close to home.

Even in my own family, since the recent passing of my grandmother, my Dad is spending much more time with his father, and creating happiness in his life he hasn’t seen in the last few years. It’s been awesome to hear joy in my grandfather’s voice again, despite the loss of his partner and wife of 68 years!

On Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, total strangers are reaching across the globe to help others in need. From encouragement and support to resume writing and career help, to fundraising for little-known but highly valuable causes… the world is getting smaller in these times…

I’m not going to pretend that this will always be easy. It will not. I can’t tell you that I always find a silver lining the first time I look. I don’t. But I know that there is one, or at least the chance to create one.

I challenge us all to find a way to make something good happen every day, in every situation, no matter how difficult.

Today I will spread positive energy served with a smile everywhere I go. What will you do today?

Friday, August 26, 2011

On Being Committed

“There's a difference between interest and commitment. When you're interested in doing something, you do it only when it's convenient. When you're committed to something, you accept no excuses; only results." ~~Kenneth Blanchard~~

It takes a lot of will power to be committed. Will power is not something that comes easily to all. It if did, there probably wouldn’t be a name for it… I’ve written many posts about not going it alone. I often talk about the importance of networking and of getting and giving help. Being committed to being committed is a prime example of when your support system can, well, support you! Ask for encouragement. Ask to be held accountable. Ask for help in recognizing when your commitment starts to waiver. Just because it’s YOUR commitment doesn’t mean you have to do it by yourself. Rally your friends, your family, your coach, your colleagues, the twitterverse… Let people know what you’re up to.

Let’s get the world committed to your success.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Power is in the Pen

"Knowing where you're going is all you need to get there." ~~Frederick (Carl) Frieseke~~

The Power is in the Pen. Well, maybe not the pen, but definitely in writing it down… An interesting thing happened to me early this week. In preparing for the first meeting of my accountability group after summer’s hiatus, I spent some time thinking about my goals between now and the end of this year. I recognized again that goals and tasks are not the same, so I actually spelled out – wrote down – 7 different goals. One business development goal, one public speaking goal, one job seeker social media client goal, etc. I also wrote down a recurring to-do list, things like a daily blog post, daily candidate sourcing; things I need to do every day to help me achieve my goals. Literally within hours, I had a new social media referral from a boutique outplacement firm that seemed to have also taken the summer off. By the next day I also had two referrals / introductions form colleagues to potential new clients, and an inquiry about my LinkedIn Webinar. It felt great!

I was reminded again yesterday about the power of writing it down. One of the participants on my last webinar sent me an email, which I have excerpted below:

Dear Jennifer,

I want to tell you a funny (peculiar, not ha-ha) story about what happened to me after I attended your LinkedIn webinar on 28 July.

On Tuesday, 2 August, my latest newsletter was sent out. With that done, I went back to musing as to how I would implement the to-do list I created while listening to you. Top of the list – how to get recommendations. On Wednesday I received notification that someone had endorsed me.

When I asked this client why he had suddenly written the referral, he responded by saying that he had never written a LinkedIn referral before, but when he got my latest ‘newsletter’, he thought “if I ever write a referral, then it would be for this guy”. And then, he said, he suddenly thought, “Why not now?”. And he did.

So, I put it down to your lessons being in my mind sending out thought patterns to the Universe who then nudged someone to act on it. You have a better explanation?

To which I replied:

I love hearing this stuff! And, I do NOT have a better explanation. I am a huge believer of writing things down, putting thoughts out into the universe, and letting the magic happen! There’s no such thing as coincidence in my book…

My take-a-way… Write it down. Put it out there. Know your intentions. Make them real. By the way… when I was writing down my goals, I also wrote down some affirmations. I even taped them to my wall right next to my computer!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Jealous Therapist Syndrome

“Some people like my advice so much that they frame it upon the wall instead of using it.” ~~Gordon R. Dickson~~

During an Accountability Group meeting yesterday we discussed what one of my partners called the “jealous therapist syndrome”. I Googled it… I think she may have coined the phrase. Basically the point is that it’s often easier to help someone else than it is to help yourself. We have clarity of thought when we look in from the outside. We can give great advice to others, but we don’t always follow our own. We can see what can work for someone else's situation, but have trouble plotting out our own path. A colleague of mine, Ed Han, even posted about it in his blog a few weeks ago as it relates to resumes, and how hard it is to write your own, while being so easy to give opinions on others. In his post, Ed challenges us to “Imagine what more any of us could learn if we had more input from people whose views we trust?” I like the idea! It’s why there are mastermind groups, power lunches with like-minded people, job clubs, and a whole host of other networking opportunities where we can share information and get input from people we trust and respect. Research has shown that job seekers who are members of job clubs land new roles more quickly than those who do not participate in such networking events. Another colleague of mine, Donna Svei, aka Avid Careerist, a resume writer who also writes a great blog for job seekers, strongly encourages job seekers to “show up” and “get yourself out with people” in her post HERE. So – what are you waiting for? Get out there, ask for ideas and input. Seek assistance… but beware the naysayers and the doom and gloomers. Not all advice is good.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Getting Back on Track

“Even if you are on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there.” ~~Will Rogers~~

Staying focused seems to be one of my biggest challenges. And, from what I read on a regular basis, it’s clear that it’s not just me! My post yesterday (here) describes a planning tool I use to help stay organized and make good choices about how to use my time… but it doesn’t always help me stay off the web, and focused on more critical (or more lucrative) tasks. I’ve described techniques in the past; Aligned Thinking, and Celestine Prophecy-like focused energy to name two… and when I’m in total “production mode” these work and work well… but what happens when distractions get the better of you? What happens when you’re not feeling motivated and you’d rather spend some time on Zappos, Twitter, or Facebook? I want to know what works for you. How do you maintain focus and stay productive especially when you just don’t feel like it? Do you use a self-reward system? Do you listen to loud music? Do you allow yourself the distraction knowing that you’ll pick back up soon? Is it easy for you to recognize, or admit to yourself, that you’ve lost focus? And, once you’ve realized you’re not focused, how do you get back on track? Thanks in advance for your comments! Let’s help each other out!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Using Time Wisely

“Better three hours too soon, than one minute too late.” ~~William Shakespeare~~

Using my time wisely sometimes involves making tough choices. The things I want to do are not always the things I need to do in order to keep appropriate forward momentum. The things I need to do are not always the things other people want me to do. Regardless of who wants me to, or whether or not I want to, I know what I need to do to get the job done!

The best way I have found so far in making sure I get the most out of the hours in the day is simple planning. I, personally, have returned to the handwritten planner. Outlook, or some other calendar, day timer or notebook would work just fine. Here’s what I do.

1. I set up categories – sections for each activity in which I am actively involved. I have 3 different sections for work, as I wear many hats. I also have a section for the non-profit I am a board member for, a section for my SendOut Cards business, a section for a networking organization I help run, and a section for personal items.
2. I set up a system where I can identify things that need to happen within each category, and assign them a priority. High, not as high (because nothing is ever a low priority, right?), and things to keep in mind.
3. I have a section for phone calls I need to make/return and a section for non-specific follow up, as well as room to take notes.
4. At the top of the page I determine what my major goal is for the week, and then I make sure that the things I put in the high priority section will help me actually achieve that goal. When those are done, I can move on.

Since I know what my goals are, and I know the tasks and action steps required to get to closer to my goals, it’s easier to make the tough choices. It’s clear where I need to spend my time and put forth the most effort. And, the best part about it is that when I see I have achieved a goal, and am able to cross something off the priority list as an accomplishment, I have a small success to celebrate, which helps keep me motivated!

What tools do you use to be sure you use your time wisely?

Friday, August 19, 2011

Motivation: Today is Also Your Day!

Baby you’re a firework; Come on let your colors burst; Make ‘em go, oh, oh, oh; You’re gonna leave ‘em falling down. Boom, boom, boom; Even brighter than the moon, moon, moon; It’s always been inside of you, you, you; And now it’s time to let it through! ~~Lyrics From Firework by Katy Perry~~

We often feel adrift when our confidence is low. When we’re on what I called yesterday, “an inadequacy kick”, nothing we do seems good enough, or smart enough, or innovative enough… So, it’s time. Today is also your day! (see previous post here: Your moment is waiting!

Embrace your inner firework! Be proud of what you have accomplished. Only you could have done it! Only you could have taken your exact circumstances, paired them with your exact skills and timing and sense of know-how! Only you could have achieved that exact result at that exact moment! So shout your value from the roof top. Strut your stuff. Let your individuality and experience come through.

Think about your value proposition. Who are you in regard to a role? What do you bring to the table that nobody else does? What are the recurring themes of your results and achievements? What are you known for? Or, what do you want to be known for? Write it out. Re-write it. Read it out loud. Practice it. Learn it. Know it. Live it. You are a firework! Let yourself shine!

Complete Firework lyrics:

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The High of Helping

"Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success." ~~Henry Ford~~

You don’t have to do it alone. You’ve heard that “it takes a village”? I had, many times, but I’m not sure I really understood the meaning until recently. Things like Ego and Fear or Embarrassment can get in the way of asking for help or advice. So we go it alone. We try to trudge our way through what feels like uncharted territory and make it up as we go along. Well, like yesterday, today is your day! Your goals are waiting. Today is the day to empower the village to pull together. Today is the day to take action steps to overcoming the ostensible need to do it alone. If you’re feeling shy, or feeling scared, then start by helping someone else! You’ll see how good it feels to be the one to help pick someone else up off the ground. You’ll understand intrinsically why it’s human nature to assist others. You’ll feel the natural high of being able to offer something you didn’t even know you had (or didn’t think was all that special) that helps someone turn their life around. Maybe then will you see that by asking for help you’re actually doing someone else a favor!

I haven’t been out there as much lately. Sure, I’ve still been helping some. It’s what I do. Teaching job seekers how to think like a recruiter; leveraging social media; networking tactics… it’s what I do. But I haven’t really been out there lately. I miss the face-to-face networking that brings me so much joy. I miss being out there helping people connect with others who can help them even more than I can. And, I miss recognizing the proverbial light bulbs going off when someone sees a way that they can help me. Networking is a two way street, and it starts with you, and it starts today! Who can you help today? Who can you reach out to today? And who do you think may be able to help you get one step closer to your goals?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Today Is Your Day

“Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So... get on your way.” ~~Dr. Seuss~~

The best time to start is today. In fact, the best time to start is right now. It doesn’t matter why you stopped. It doesn’t matter how long of a break you took. Even the number of times you’ve stopped and restarted is irrelevant. If you want to get going again, get going now.

Life is full. You can label that fullness however you’d like. Inconveniences, setbacks, and disappointments; or surprises, opportunities, chances, and blessings… However you label them, the circumstances don’t change. You just need to change the way you think about them, and how you react to them. Whatever they are, whatever you call them, they’re there. And sometimes they’re valid, real reasons to take breaks.

Maybe you took some time off to de-stress a little. Maybe you took a much needed vacation. Maybe you had a family situation that required your full attention. Maybe you simply lost the drive and motivation to keep going. Maybe you just needed to take a break…again. And, maybe, just maybe, now you’re just finding it hard to get back in that saddle. There are still just a “few more things” that need your attention and you’ll start tomorrow… Sound familiar? It’s a little close to home for me! And I choose, right here, right now to get back on that horse.

Life is full of forgiveness. Forgive yourself for the break. But don’t forget that life is for living, and only you can make it happen.

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. You are the guy who'll decide where to go.” ~~Dr. Seuss

Monday, July 25, 2011

There’s Nothing Routine About a Job Search Routine

“The secret of your future is hidden in your daily routine.” ~Mike Murdock

There’s nothing routine about routine. Having a plan, and sticking to it, may be the secret to success. I’m not suggesting that you hide from innovation and creativity. I am all about trying new things and reaping fruits of inspiration. Yet, I have also learned that having a routine can significantly increase your chances for triumph. Now, I get that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing you have always done the way you have always done it, and expecting different results. So again, I am not suggesting that you stick to a routine that is not creating benefit. I am suggesting, however, that sticking to a routine can help you realize benefit.

I just got back from a wonderful vacation, and there was not one of the 23 of us who stuck to a routine. Vacation is the perfect time to deviate from routine, right? Well, it depends on what your goals are… There are so many tools available to us these days which we can use to keep up with our routines that I wonder if deviation is really the answer, or if it just causes more stress. For me, not sticking to my work routine, especially when I can automate things like sending tweets and posting Facebook updates, had me going through social media withdrawal and actually feeling guilty for not engaging online. Not staying on top of emails and at least spending a few minutes each morning and afternoon reading and responding to messages had me in a panic by last night. Not sleeping normally and eating normally and…well my body certainly has had more physical stress, but I totally understand the phrase, “I need a vacation to recover from my vacation”. Vacation may be an extreme example… how about in everyday living?

How about in job search? What if you created a weekly routine which ensured that you spent the right amount of time on each part of a full career campaign? It is my belief that if you followed said routine, at least most of the time, you would feel more productive and in fact actually accomplish more.

So let’s break it down. I believe that a full career campaign consists of research, communication and networking. Research includes things like identifying resources, networking opportunities, target companies, and people inside those target companies, as well as finding job postings to which you can apply. Communication includes phone, email and snail mail, and includes reaching out, responding, saying thank you, and following up. Networking includes professional industry and function specific events and conferences, job search specific networking, online networking and one-on-one meetings and conversations. Yes, that’s a lot. Yes, that’s a huge time commitment. People aren’t joking around when they say that looking for a job is a full time job. So, wouldn’t having (and following) a routine make fitting all this in a whole lot easier?

What if you committed to 10 hours a week of research, 10 hours a week of communication in various forms, and 20 hours a week networking? Do you think it’s worth giving that a try? How will you set up your weekly routine? Let me know what your plan is, and how you feel at the end of a few weeks. I look forward to your reports back. And as always, let me know how I can help.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Motivation: We all have it in us.

“They are the weakest, however strong, who have no faith in themselves or their own powers.” ~~Christian Bovee

Even when we know things work for us, we don’t always do them. Even though we know there are certain behaviors, actions, activities, rituals and practices that make us feel energized, whole, accomplished, happy… we don’t always remember or take the time to participate in them. Even when we have the tools… we don’t always use them. We’re an interesting species, us human beings.

I had a rough morning yesterday. It seems, in all honesty, that I’ve been a bit off balance for the last few weeks. I’ve been fine; happily working, feeling good about my accomplishments, enjoying my family… just a bit off. But yesterday morning I was particularly unbalanced, and frankly, it was uncharacteristic. So, I decided to take action. (Sometimes us human beings need a swift kick in the pants to take action!) I did some research (read: a quick look through an old notebook) and remembered a meditation I have had great success with in the past, so I took some steps to be prepare for the attitude adjustment I so desperately needed. Thankfully, I already had a fantastic “power breakfast” planned with two colleagues and friends, and that got me off on the right foot. I came back to my office, worked for the rest of the day knowing that it was all going to be better soon. I went to the store and bought a few things that in my past have helped me achieve the most out of the meditation I was planning – a green candle and some new Tigers Eye tumbled stones (that’s a whole other post!) – and just before dinner I found 30 minutes of quiet time. I lit the candle, meditated, did some visualization, and BOY! It was nice! I then had a relaxing evening, and went to sleep knowing that things were changing.

And, change they did! I woke up this morning 40 minutes before my alarm, and I feel great! So, instead of asking myself what took me so long (which believe me, I started to do!) I am grateful that I have the tools I need to get out of my own way and re-energize, motivate and achieve!

And, I ask you – what can you today to get back on track?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Evolution of Success

“It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.” ~~Ursula K. LeGuin~~

Success is a moving target. It keeps evolving. As I achieve a goal or reach a destination, I find there is always more that can be achieved and reached. The way I achieve said success, then, needs to evolve as well. My destination keeps changing and therefore so must my path.

I often write about enjoying the journey. So, it seems fitting that today, what would have been my “attitude” day, that I was inspired to write about this. It’s sometimes hard to keep that positive attitude when you feel overwhelmed by change. But, since I strongly believe that it is “mission critical” to stay positive and rise above the stress I work hard to maintain that attitude.

I also strongly believe that change is good. It keeps us moving, helps keep us motivated, and often drives us to be the best we can be. Change keeps me on my toes, keeps me sharp, and enables me to adapt, learn, and grow. While it can be scary, when you trust your instincts, believe in yourself, and do your best, it can also be very empowering.

So, here’s to change! Here’s to the evolution of success! Here’s to enjoying the journey!

I’ve been doing a lot of research on transformation lately. Transformational Leadership, Culture Transformation… so I thought I was going to be clever and coin the phrase “Transformational Success”. Turns out others have already done that… but I am going to adopt the phrase. I look forward to where it will take me, and I look back with pride at how far I’ve come.

I urge you to look at your path. How have you defined success for yourself in the past? Is it still the right definition for you? If it is not, how can you transform the definition to better suit you? And, how can you alter your path? I believe you’ll find the evaluation enlightening, freeing, and exciting!

Note to my readers: I haven’t written in a while. I am contemplating changes to this blog as I contemplate changes in my own journey. I will always write to motivate others. That’s my passion. That being said, if there is anything that you would like to see more of, less of, or not at all, please feel free to let me know. I value your input and thank you for the support over the last few years.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Motivation: Are you living your life?

“Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else.” ~~Judy Garland~~

Being yourself, when you’re not really sure who that is, is not an easy task. I’ve been participating in a lot of conversations around this topic lately. It seems more than worth exploring. Who are you?

Who are you in regard to a role? Who are you in regard to a job? Who are you in regard to your family? Do those things really make up who you are at all? Maybe the better question to ask is, “Who are you in regard to yourself?”

I was finally able to articulate something yesterday that has been on my mind for a while now… Who I am is evolving. Not only do we evolve as a species, but we evolve as individual people. Who I am today is not entirely who I was yesterday, and that’s a good thing. We are “continuous learners”*. We change, adapt, adjust, learn, grow, and do it again. Our dreams change. Our goals change. Our priorities change. And, as a result of all of this change, the lessons we have to share with others become greater, and more helpful.

So many people have been discussing Oprah’s last show. What stands out for me the most is that she gave her viewers a call to action. She challenged us to go do what we were put on this earth to do; to accomplish what we were born to accomplish; to share our knowledge and our passion, and fulfill our purpose; to live our lives.

Are you living yours?

*Great quote attributed to Margo Rose, founder of #HireFriday, and so much more.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Focus: Taking a Targeted Approach

“We have more ability than will power, and it is often an excuse to ourselves that we imagine that things are impossible.” ~~François de la Rochefoucauld~~

I’ve spent a great deal of time over the last few weeks talking with job seekers about the importance of being “targeted” in their search. You need to know who your target audience is and tailor your message to them. You need to be targeted in your networking efforts, targeted in your conversations and you need to target your value proposition, your cover letter, and even your resume. Of course, that got me thinking about myself and my approach to my own business and, frankly, my life in general.

I know that staying focused is critical to my success. I know that there are so many things I want to do, and it is so easy to get distracted. I can spend hours on twitter in the name of organizing my lists believing that will help me be more productive later… and while that is absolutely the truth, it is likely not the best use of my time in the middle of my work day… What if, instead, every conversation, every email, every internet search, every Facebook post, every tweet, (read: every effort) was targeted and focused on one single desired outcome?

What if you took a few minutes each morning to decide what you would like to achieve, and then focus all of your efforts for that day on achieving it? That could be really powerful! First step: figuring out what you want to achieve…

Monday, May 23, 2011

Preparation: Choices Made from Lessons Learned

“You may not be able to prepare for everything, but you can certainly be prepared for anything!” Jennifer Scott

I have a shining example of the importance of preparation as evidenced by my 5 year old yesterday morning. He decided he wanted to paint. This was a big decision and required many little decisions to be made before he could begin. First, he needed to have enough forethought about his end product to determine what kind of painting he wanted. Was it to be large, or small? Was he going to use white paper or manila? Was it going to be a gift? Was it to hang on the wall? And, perhaps most importantly, what type of paint was to be used?

You may be wondering why exactly this was all so important. Let me rewind for you… The last time my son decided he wanted to paint he did not think things through. Lessons learned were many. Number one: Poster paint and water colors do not work the same way. Water colors blend and make pretty shades. Mixing poster paint makes mud. Number two: Manila paper holds more paint than white easel paper, which when wet, rips very easily. Number three: You have to be willing to part with a gift, or at least be willing to paint a second masterpiece. Number four: Paint spills easily.

So, choices made from lessons learned, and preparation continued. Next came set up. He decided to paint at the kitchen table. He needed the paper, his paints and brushes, water, and a roll of paper towels. We set him up and off he went. Sort of. My son is very particular... (I wonder where he gets that from…) He wanted to decide what the subject matter was to be before he began (another critical step in preparing for success demonstrated…) I won’t get into the end results in case there are any child psychologists reading… but suffice to say I have a beautiful painting now hanging on my office wall.

What I was reminded of was that preparation for any task, large or small, work or play is an absolute requirement for success. If we hadn’t remembered the paper towels, for example, the blue paint which ultimately colored the river would have been the size of a lake, and on my kitchen floor instead of on the paper. Mental preparation (getting over the fear of the giant mess form last week), careful planning, and physical set up of workspace all came into play. If it’s so helpful to a 5 year old, imagine what it could do for me…

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Focus, Rest and Career Planning

“Don't dwell on what went wrong. Instead, focus on what to do next. Spend your energies on moving forward toward finding the answer.” ~~Denis Waitley~~

It’s incredible what a good night’s sleep can do for you!! Well-rested and focused, we can accomplish anything! With even the best laid plans and preparation, as we know, life happens, and it doesn’t always happen according to our plans… so as soon as you are able, pick up where you left off, and get back on track. And that’s what I’m doing today!

One plug for planning, and then I’m off to focus on today’s tasks…

If you are a job seeker in the NYC Metro area, please check out Career Planning on a Napkin! HireEffect is co-hosting (with My a spectacular day of job search strategy sessions, networking tips, stress management tools, and some of the best career advice around. I’ll be speaking about the job search / corporate marketing connection! I hope to see you Thursday!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Goals Don’t Operate in Isolation

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.” ~~Larry Elder~~

During a recent strategy session for a new business venture something wonderful occurred to me. Well, really several things were brought to my attention that made this “occurrence” sort of hit me in the head! Goals don’t operate in isolation!

Let’s assume for example’s sake that you have a desired outcome about something. You care enough about how this something is going to play out, so you write down your desired outcome. It becomes a goal. Achieving the goal should bring reward. Not achieving the goal will likely bring consequences. There likely exist some obstacles to achieving that goal, or you would have done it already. You need to identify at least those obstacles that you can see or predict. Then you need to determine several possible solutions to overcoming those obstacles. Once you actually identify both the obstacles and possible solutions, the obstacles themselves won’t seem so “obstacle-like.” Then you can take it even further. You can develop actual steps, tasks, to-do’s, whatever you want to call them that will help you reach the solutions, which will ultimately help you achieve your goals, get your desired outcomes and reap the rewards!

Goals are not the end. They are a means to an end. And, while that may seem obvious to you, breaking it down like this has really helped me to feel good about the choices I make about on what to focus and on which steps to take first in order to reach the end.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Attitude: Your Public Face

“Well we all have a face
That we hide away forever
And we take them out and
Show ourselves
When everyone has gone
Some are satin some are steel
Some are silk and some are leather
They're the faces of the stranger
But we love to try them on.”

~~Billy Joel, “The Stranger”~~

Have you thought about who you are in public? Are you different at home with your family than you are “in business”? Have you considered your online persona? Are you the same? As I talk to more people about the importance of an online presence in today’s marketplace I encounter many who don’t understand who they “should be” online. A few tips: 1. Be yourself. 2. Listen first to what’s going on around you, and then engage in conversation. 3. Add value and insight. And 4, which is the most important advice I can offer, stay positive. No.Matter.What.

It is becoming more and more apparent as online social networking tools increase in popularity that too many people still don’t understand the impact of negativity in public. Say whatever you want to at home behind closed doors, but when you’re out there, whether in person or behind a computer screen, please, I beg you, stay positive. Airing dirty laundry, complaining about your job (or lack of one), dissing the guy you just interviewed with in front of MILLIONS of people online, or otherwise being negative and whiny is just not going to help you. Not in any way.

If you really can’t think of a way to spin it so it’s positive, if you simply cannot find that silver lining, just stay off the computer. You’ll be glad later that you made that choice.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Where Priority Meets Focus

“I think in terms of the day's resolutions, not the years'.” ~~Henry Moore~~

It’s not always easy to determine priorities. Sometimes you need to make tough decisions about what you’re NOT going to do. I was part of an interesting conversation recently about planning and focus that centered on people being prepared for the wrong thing or planning for something that never ended up happening. These were being presented as negative; as people wasting time or effort. I agreed to an extent at the time, but then I started to think about when it had happened to me. I’ve certainly had times that I prepared for something diligently that never came to pass. I’ve certainly experienced focusing a lot of energy and effort on what turned out to be less important than other things on which I could have focused. But each of those things helps make up who I am, what I know, and how I go into my next action. While I certainly could have been better served doing something else, I don’t believe that time was wasted. I believe there is a reason for everything even when we don’t know or see what that reason is.

On the other hand, when you make those tough decisions, when you examine your goals carefully and plan specific action steps to achieve those goals, and then focus intently on those action steps, you are certain to succeed. When you can focus on the positive and not allow self-doubt or negativity creep in; when you can focus on the priorities and not let yourself get sidetracked; when you can focus on what you’re doing right now and not on what you need to do later, you’ve got a winning combination.

On what will you choose to focus today?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Attitude: More Lessons From My Son

“Enjoy the little things in life, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things." ~~Antonio Smith~~

Do you remember when something as simple as getting to use an electric mixer was sure to be the start of an awesome day? How about when eating pancakes for breakfast was the Best. Thing. Ever. Or, when waiting a WHOLE WEEK until your birthday seemed like an eternity, and you couldn’t think of anything more important than who was coming to your party? Was life simpler then? I don’t think so. 5 year olds struggle enormously with peer pressure (yes, even at that age!), fears, uncertainty, and setting boundaries… That sounds a lot like what most adults suffer from too… so, what’s changed? Personally, I think it’s nothing more than attitude. Sure, the pressure is about more significant things, as are the fears and uncertainty, but you would think that since our power of deduction is also more significant, and our experiences are certainly much more vast, we would be able to handle the pressure as well as the little ones do…

I want to go back to getting excited about the “small stuff”. (And, I’d go as far as arguing that these things really are NOT the “small stuff”!) So, here’s my Attitude Adjustment for today: I will rejoice in what’s REALLY important in my life! I know my day will be awesome because I made pancakes with my son this morning, and we had fun! I’m celebrating the fact that there’s a smile on my face, and one on his too.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Motivation and Celebration

Another thing I learned from my almost-five-year-old son, well, actually from Raffi*… “All I really need is a song in my heart, food in my belly, and love in my family!” (All I Really Need – Baby Beluga)

Celebrating the “simple stuff” instead of sweating the small stuff! What a Monumental Mind Shift!! A relatively easy modification, and yet so powerful and empowering!

Today, I celebrate the things that *really* matter in my life! What will you celebrate today?


Thursday, April 28, 2011

Goals: A Path to Fulfillment

“The more intensely we feel about an idea or a goal, the more assuredly the idea, buried deep in our subconscious, will direct us along the path to its fulfillment.” ~~Earl Nightingale~~

I just completed the first module of a telecoaching / training program called “Aligned Thinking” given by Dr. Jim Steffen.* It’s a multi-session, weekly call that is said to help participants align EVERY action to the things they really want from life and from work. The first module is about setting a personal mission statement, and as I’ve started my work on the module, I’ve come to realize that while I have great goals, personally and professionally, I’ve never really thought about how they complement one another. I’m interested in seeing how this all plays out and am curious about whether or not I will change my work habits as a result of my personal goals. I think I’ve done a great job of creating a work/life balance, and the exercise of writing down my personal goals, just like I have with my professional goals, should prove to be very empowering. It’s an interesting process, and as I go through it, I’m likely to share more…

Have you spent time thinking about how your personal goals affect your professional goals or your work habits? Have you taken the time to write down your personal goals, as well as your professional ones? Are all (and yes, I mean ALL) of your actions aligned with those goals? This is somewhat new for me… and I am excited about the possibilities.

*For information on Aligned Thinking or Steffen, Steffen & Associates, please visit:

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Attitude and a Smile

"Human beings, by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their lives." ~~William James~~

Enough said. I’m continuing my quest for the world’s attitude adjustment… just a little one in most cases, but who couldn’t use a good smile, even if (or especially if) you’re the one usually smiling?

My mission today: to smile and say hello to everyone I see.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Focus: A Productivity Experiment

“When walking, walk. When eating, eat.” ~~Zen Proverb~~

Have you ever read “The Celestine Prophecy” by James Redfield? There is one part that still stands out in my mind, and I haven’t actually read the book in years! Several of the characters are having a conversation, and each turns and completely focuses all of his or her attention and energy on the person speaking. The person speaking, therefore, feels empowered and engaged, and beyond that, experiences clarity of thought and his or her own sense of enchantment. I know people who do this regularly; people who listen to you so intently and seem so truly interested that you feel like the only person in the room.

Have you ever noticed how good you feel when you’re speaking with someone face-to-face and they are focusing all of their attention on you? Have you ever felt the surge of energy when they are not only looking at you while you’re speaking, but they’re intently listening and actively participating (non-verbally) in all you have to say? It’s an incredible feeling, isn’t it? Have you done the same for them in return; basically giving over your energy for the moment?

What if you can turn that focused energy and empowerment into action? What if you *truly* focused on what you were doing at this moment? What if you poured your energy over the tasks at hand? How much more could you get done? How much more fulfilling could it be? The importance of being “present” is something many discuss when it comes to conversation… I’m wondering how much it can impact my productivity. Here’s my experiment: Today I will focus on one thing at a time. Today I will pour all the energy I would direct to a live person standing in front of me to every task I start. I’ll let you know how it goes tomorrow…

Monday, April 25, 2011

Preparation: Doing Nothing

“We are always getting ready to live but never living.” ~~Ralph Waldo Emerson~~

Sometimes the best preparation is to do nothing. Well, maybe “doing nothing” isn’t exactly what I mean. Taking a break; resting, relaxing, recharging, taking care of yourself. Not worrying about when or how things are going to get done, but trusting that they will when you’re in a better place to take care of them…

I took a semi-long weekend. I recharged. I started to think about the workload in front of me, and then I reminded myself that in order to be at my best, I needed to feel my best, and what I needed was a break in order to have that happen. And, here’s the thing… I gave myself permission to take a break and not feel guilty about it! Well, ok, I’m still working on the not feeling guilty part a little, but I am ready to face the week ahead with renewed energy, renewed vigor, and a renewed sense of empowerment. Taking my cues from the buds popping up on every tree, from the dandelions poking through the bright green grass, from the birds and even the bumblebee I saw yesterday, all who “took the winter off”, I am revitalized and ready to go! And, all it took to prepare for that was “nothing”.

Are you prepared for the wondrous week ahead?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Attitude: Life is Abundant

“All our knowledge has its origins in our perceptions.” ~~Leonardo da Vinci~~

I’ve been working a lot lately on changing my perception. Using tools being taught to me by so many people now that I am open to learning them, I am changing how I look at the world. (E.F.T., short meditations I can do anywhere, pressing “pause”, breathing exercises, and so much more!) I recently wrote about how I was changing my perception on the work load I have. I simply decided that it was time to shift the way I viewed my calendar. I have moved from saying that I’m overcommitted and that I have too much to do, to saying that “life is abundant”. (Full credit on that statement is given to a colleague of mine with whom I was having this conversation!) I have just stopped focusing on the negative stress and focusing on how lucky I am that I have so much influence. It’s all in our attitude. It’s possible to change how we feel about anything just by making our minds up to do so. It’s all about altering our perception about our reality and our circumstances. It’s all in our own control if we would only learn how to shift our mind set. I know most will say that it’s not that easy. I get it. I used to be one of those people. It does sound crazy. If it was so easy to change how you felt about something then everyone would do it. The world would be a happier place. Hmmmm… We may be on to something here…

Monday, April 18, 2011

Preparation: Contemplating Brussels Sprouts

“April prepares her green traffic light and the world thinks ‘Go!’” ~~Christopher Morley, John Mistletoe~~

As I prepped Brussels Sprouts, and peeled off the wilted outer leaves revealing the tender, fresh leaves underneath, I was somehow moved. I thought about two sets of friends who were off this past weekend “Spring Cleaning”, preparing for the seasons ahead. I thought about our lawn, just a few days ago brown and sort of sad looking, all of a sudden green and even lush in places. I looked around at the daffodils, magnolia trees, and buds, and noticed all the birds back around the yard. It’s an amazing time of year, and I am inspired to prepare for my own “spring awakening”; my own growth that lay ahead of me. I am excited to peel off the things that hide the true magnificence that I know in is there. Look out Spring; here I come!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Motivation: Synchronicity

“Life just seems so full of connections. Most of the time we don't even pay attention to the depth of life; we only see flat surfaces.” ~~Author Unknown~~

Coincidence -


1. chance happening: something that happens by chance in a surprising or remarkable way
2. happening without planning: the fact of happening by chance
3. having identical features: the fact or condition of happening at the same time or place or being identical

Or, as someone pointed out to me recently, co - prefix.

1. Together; joint; jointly; mutually

AND, Incident


1. event: something that happens, especially a single event
2. violent occurrence: a public occurrence, especially a violent one
2. "an incident outside a nightclub"
3. event with potentially serious consequences:


1. related to something: accompanying something or occurring as a consequence of it ( formal )
2. touching or striking: coming into contact with a surface

In other words – coincidence – an event with consequences that happens together with another event with consequences…



1. coincidence of events that seem related: the coincidence of events that seem related, but are not obviously caused one by the other.

OK. I may be over-thinking this, but since I’m committed to being over-committed, why not over-think?

There have so many incidents of coincidence, so many oddly related, yet totally unrelated events showing up for me over the last two weeks or so… I’m really beginning to pay attention to them more closely. It started with something coming up in various completely separate conversations with people who didn’t even know one another. I’ve even written about a few of them here. It’s grown to things that have been so bizarre that they’re intriguing… And, oddly motivating…

I am fascinated by the lessons I don’t even yet know I need to learn… I am driven to find out what’s out there for me. And, I’m committed to paying more attention.

Content above provided by
Encarta® World English Dictionary [North American Edition] © & (P) 2009 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved. Developed for Microsoft by Bloomsbury Publishing Plc.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Goals: On Being Overcommitted

“If you’re going to overcommit, you best at least be committed to it.” ~~Jennifer Scott~~

If you know me well, you, I’m sure, will agree that I have a tendency to take on a lot all at once. I believe that I can do anything, and was recently reminded that while that’s very true, I can’t do *everything*. Yet, in the honor of Stress Awareness Month, I am committing to being overcommitted.

I am committed to taking on however much I take on and just getting it done.
I am committed to not being “stressed out” about the amount I take on.
I am committed to doing as much as I can, in the best way I can, and knowing that it is exactly as it’s supposed to be.
I am committed to achieving my goals, accomplishing my to-do’s, and being the greatest “me” I can be, in all my overcommitted glory.

I hope that I can inspire you to be as much as you can and want to be for yourself and everyone around you. And, just remember to breathe!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Motivation: The Power of Frustration

“Consult not your fears but your hopes and your dreams. Think not about your frustrations, but about your unfulfilled potential. Concern yourself not with what you tried and failed in, but with what it is still possible for you to do.” ~~ Pope John XXIII~~

Negative motivation… I’m wondering if there’s a better word for that. Typically when I talk about motivation, I talk about inspirational, positive things. I write words that make us feel good, things that make us smile. I communicate excitement, share passion… It’s certainly how I prefer to be motivated. But I’m beginning to recognize a flip side to motivation. It’s frustration, feeling “fed up”, feeling overwhelmed (before or after the point of paralysis), and while not nearly as much fun, it might be just as effective for getting things done.

Then I remember that life’s far too important to take seriously, as my Dad would say.

Personally, as mentioned, I much prefer positive motivation, so here’s to the “new me”… again. And, I wish you all the joy in rediscovering the “new you” whenever you need to!

“I would not waste my life in friction when it could be turned into momentum.” ~~Frances Willard~~

Happy Friday Everyone!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Goals: Doing the Math

“When you aim for perfection, you discover it's a moving target.” ~~George Fisher~~

The first quarter of this year is coming to a close today. I spent some time last night reviewing my goals for the year. I’m on track for most of them, but certainly not all. In fact, in an odd turn of events, most of the goals I set up for the first quarter itself have not been achieved, but I’m much further along on my mid-year goals than I thought I would be… And, some of the things I thought would happen by year-end are not even on my radar any longer. It’s time to adjust! My weekly to-do’s have been coming along nicely, and I’m certainly getting things done, so I really have to examine if my to-do’s are in fact in line with my goals. It’s an interesting exercise. If I do A, B and C, will they really help get me closer to where I want to be in a year? Or, should I try A, D, and F instead? Do things actually need to add up to what I had originally expected? Or, are my daily activities leading me down a different path? And, is that a path I could pursue?

I’m giving myself a performance evaluation. It’s been eye-opening so far, and also somewhat cathartic. I highly recommend you give it a try. There’s no better time than today.

“The human story does not always unfold like a mathematical calculation on the principle that two and two make four. Sometimes in life they make five or minus three; and sometimes the blackboard topples down in the middle of the sum and leaves the class in disorder and the pedagogue with a black eye.” ~~Winston Churchill~~

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Attitude: A Reflection in the Mirror

“Could we change our attitude, we should not only see life differently, but life itself would come to be different.” ~~Katherine Mansfield~~

I attended a fantastic networking event last night, and spoke with some incredible people. Some I had “known” for several years, even spoken with by phone, but had never actually met, and others I wished I’d met earlier and am grateful to have met now. I also had the opportunity to catch up with people I know quite well, and that’s always a great thing. As a connector* I really enjoy meeting people in general, but there was something in the air last night. Everybody was happy to be there! Everybody had a great, positive attitude. Everybody was asking how they could help someone else and not at all thinking about who was going to help them (at least not outwardly!) The energy in the room was nothing short of spectacular. More than one person said something about the importance of having fun. More than one person believed that anything was possible if you just put your mind to it. More than one person commented on the effects of maintaining a positive attitude. More than one person talked about how critical they felt it was to align your passion with your work. More than one person talked about feeling good about what you do so you can look yourself in the eye in the morning and know you’re going to have a great day. I was reminded how empowering it is to surround yourself with positive people. I felt invigorated; like I was on top of the world. And, I know my own positive energy and focus just added to the mix.

I pass that on to you today. Stay positive. Surround yourself with positive people and positive influences. Believe that anything is possible. Believe that you can do it.

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

*A quick note to say that this event was the same event, now held monthly, where I discovered that I was a connector, referenced here:

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Focus: The Courage to Change

"Focus your energy on greatness." ~~David DeNotaris~~

“The power to change comes from your courage within.” ~~Karen Hinds~~

More from the Women in Business Summit as inspired by Karen Hinds*

Karen, when talking about having the courage to change, shared an interesting perspective. When you’re young, you find that risks are easy to take. Your focus is all on what the benefits are in taking that risk. You think about how good it’s going to feel or how much fun you’re going to have. You don’t think about the consequences. You’re only focused on what you’re going to get; not at all focused on what you might lose…

Then the thing we call sensibility sets in. Call it maturity. Call it “growing up”. We find that we’re only focused on the responsibilities we have, and the consequences we might face if we take that risk. We become almost solely focused on what we might lose. The risk might be the same, but we choose to focus on losing. According to Karen, “It’s all in how you frame it.”

Today, I choose to focus on what I’m going to get. I have the courage to change. I have the will to sustain the change. I have a plan. I’m committed to executing that plan. And, I’m putting that negative focus on ICE! (Reference to yesterday’s post:

Affirmations from Karen: I am not going back. I’m moving ahead. Change is good.

*The WIB Summit is organized by Kisha Samuels, the founder of Events of Joy ( and you can find more information about WIB here: Keynote speaker: Karen Hinds, Founder and CEO of Workplace Success Group, LLC.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Preparation: The Power to Change

“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” ~~Victor Frankl~~

“It is not necessary to change. Survival is not mandatory.” ~~W. Edwards Deming~~

I attended the 6th annual Women in Business Summit* this weekend. It was an incredible gathering of professional women, some entrepreneurs and some corporate, and a great opportunity to network and learn. The keynote speaker, in a rather synchronistic turn of events, was not the scheduled speaker, but instead Karen Hinds, Founder and CEO of Workplace Success Group, LLC.

The theme for the event, and therefore the topic of the keynote was The Power to Change. I found Karen’s presentation exhilarating, and want to share with you some of the take-a-ways from my perspective.

You need a plan. If you’re going to change you need to actually prepare for that change. You don’t (can’t) change until you’re ready to adopt that change, internalize it, and make it your new reality. Change isn’t real unless it’s sustained. And, you can’t sustain a change until you are ready and prepared to do so…

Karen gave us an acronym, which as the mother of an almost 5 year old boy, I thought was nothing less than brilliant. You need to ICE it.

1. Identify the thing that you want to change
2. Commit to actually changing it
3. Execute the change

We know, and see it all the time, that life’s lessons are repeated until they’re learned. (You may recall my balance issue or my clearing the clutter episodes…)

What lesson are you still trying to learn? And are you prepared to sustain the change?

*The WIB Summit is organized by Kisha Samuels, the founder of Events of Joy ( and you can find more information about WIB here:

You can follow Kisha on Twitter @WIBSummit and Karen Hinds @worksuccess. Tell them @HireEffect sent you…

Friday, March 25, 2011

Motivation: Finding Your Balance

“Just as your car runs more smoothly and requires less energy to go faster and farther when the wheels are in perfect alignment, you perform better when your thoughts, feelings, emotions, goals, and values are in balance." ~~Brian Tracy~~

It makes sense; when you feel balanced, you feel in control. When you lose your balance, you feel out of control. I watched my almost 5 year old on a balance beam last night when I picked him up from daycare. It was cute. He was so proud to be able to walk the beam, arms outstretched, without falling. One of his friends was even able to walk backwards on the beam without as much as a wobble. That balance is hard to find. There are certainly external activities that can help you gain that balance when you feel off center… E.F.T., yoga, meditation, relaxation, affirmations… all things I write about a lot, but sometimes forget to practice. I am looking for balance again. I’ve been feeling overwhelmed and a little out of control this week. I discovered yesterday, with the help of my accountability group, that it was really time to regain balance and control. Watching my son on that balance beam helped me see how important that balance really is. I don’t want to fall. I don’t even want to wobble. So today I practice what I preach. E.F.T. (tapping) this morning, music on now, blogging before working to put that balance out to the world, and affirmations coming soon.

What will you practice today to help you find your balance?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Attitude: Lessons From My Kitten

“I am not judged by the number of times I fail, but by the number of times I succeed: and the number of times I succeed is in direct proportion to the number of times I fail and keep trying.” ~~Tom Hopkins~~

Do you have pets? How about children? I think we could all learn something from them… Have you ever noticed how many times they will attempt something before giving up? It’s almost unbelievable.

We got kittens in January. The scenario goes something like this: He jumps up on the counter. I put him down. He jumps up on the counter. I put him down. He jumps up on the counter. I put him down. He follows me in to my office. He jumps up on my desk. I put him down. He jumps up on my desk. I put him down. He jumps up on my desk. I put him down. He goes to lie down on his cat bed next to my desk. It’s comical, but think about it. If we all had the perseverance of a kitten, we’d all be exactly where we want to be in our lives. Because believe me… as soon as I walk out of the room, that kitten is on my desk! Determination, persistence, and a positive attitude… a winning combination! Know you can, and you will.

Another thing I think we could all learn from our pets and/or our kids: it’s all about playing; everything’s a game, so you may as well have some fun.

“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

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Focus: Acting As If

“He who finds Fortune on his side should go briskly ahead, for she is wont to favor the bold.” ~~Baltasar Gracian~~

Boldness, I’ve been told recently, is actually a rare trait. I was also told that it typically disguises insecurity. That may be true, but even if it is, does it matter? If being bold helps you succeed, then I say, fake it ‘til you make it if you must. If to find your fortune you must focus your thoughts and efforts on “acting as if”, then do so. If you need to perform a little more like a confident, successful business person, then I think that’s great. Practice makes perfect. Isn’t that what we tell our kids? Perform away… nobody knows but you that you’re out of your comfort zone.

“There is no strong performance without a little fanaticism in the performer.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Friday, March 18, 2011

Motivation: Know You Can! (many quotes today!)

"The barrier between success is not something which exists in the real world; it is composed purely and simply of doubts about ability." ~~Franklin D. Roosevelt~~

“I am not a has-been. I’m a will-be.” ~~Lauren Bacall~~

“The will to do springs from the knowledge that we can do.” ~~James Allen~~

When you believe you can, you can. When you think you can, maybe you can. Know you can… and you will! You are what you believe you are, and it doesn’t much matter what anyone else thinks.

“When you have decided what you believe, what you feel must be done, have the courage to stand alone and be counted.” ~~Eleanor Roosevelt

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Goals: Maybe you should dread success

“I dread success. To have succeeded is to have finished one's business on earth, like the male spider, who is killed by the female the moment he has succeeded in his courtship. I like a state of continual becoming with a goal in front and not behind” ~~George Bernard Shaw~~

Things that make you go, “hmmmmm”…. I don’t think I’d say I dread success, but I certainly agree that success is not the end, and in fact, only the beginning of the rest of the journey. Goals get adjusted. Sights get set even higher. Dreams get dreamier. The more you achieve the more you know you can achieve. It’s a fantastic adventure and one that doesn’t end until, well, until you end. And, since I’m definitely NOT a male spider, I’m continuing my path to success… however I define that today.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Attitude: Time to shout from the rooftop!

“To have a thing is little, if you're not allowed to show it, to know a thing, is nothing unless others know you know it.” ~~Charles Neaves~~

My next quote should be “everything in moderation”, but the point is that it’s OK, and in fact often necessary for you to put yourself out there and strut your stuff. If nobody knows you can do it, nobody will ask you to…

I’m not suggesting that you go around bragging about every accomplishment, and I still think that often it’s more important to listen than it is to speak, but sometimes it’s time to let others know what you know.

I was at a networking event last night and I observed some great conversation. I also observed (and participated in) some missed opportunity. While some (me included) had a tendency to talk too much… others said nothing at all, even when given the chance to shine. I think, at least in some cases it was a function of a lack of confidence. If you want to get noticed, recognized for the things you have done and therefore the things you can do, you have to make a conscious decision to be proud of yourself. You have to choose to be comfortable in your own skin. You have to choose to have a positive attitude and a firm belief that you are capable of so much more. And you have to let people know about it.

Sometimes it’s OK to shout from the rooftop!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Focus: A Path of Discovery

“To the question of your life you are the answer, and to the problems of your life you are the solution.” ~~Joe Cordare~~

Focusing on the negative in our lives is not useful. We know that. Focusing on the solutions to the challenges in our lives is not always easy, especially when we’re not sure what the solutions are. And, discovering the solutions may be a long process…

I was inspired by someone along that path of discovery yesterday… He’s looking for a new opportunity, but hasn’t had to look in a very long time. Knowing the landscape is a bit different than the last time he was looking, he felt lost. Taking the adage that you can’t know how to get there if you don’t know where you’re going into account, he felt even more confused. What he told me he started doing and the reason for his call to me is more than worth sharing.

Intuitively, he did a sort of self-assessment. He took some quiet time and really thought about the things that he was good at. Then he took some more time and thought about the things that he enjoyed doing. And then he looked at where those two lists “met” on the paper. He took the short list and talked about it with his wife and a few friends, and got some external validation about his new proposed path. Then he reached out to me to help him turn that path into an action plan.

I, of course, asked him if he had read Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi the book I wrote about on Monday 3/7, and he had not. I suggested it to him, and told him about the internal review; a self-assessment to figure out where your passion and abilities intersect. I told him that he should be very proud of himself for taking that step, and told him I would happily help him gain focus around the solutions he had just created for himself.

It was so great to have a conversation with someone who, without complaining about his lot in life, was taking action. I found this inspirational. I hope you do too.

“Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves.” ~Henry David Thoreau

Monday, March 14, 2011

Preparation: Making Room

The Lorax: "They say I'm old-fashioned, and live in the past, but sometimes I think progress progresses too fast!"

Do you have multiple, uncompleted projects? Do you have a list of “to-do’s” that are
half-way-there; a bunch of stuff you’ve started, but not actually finished? I do right now, and I don’t like it. I feel a bit “all over the map” when I get too many of these going. I man multi-tasking is one thing, but really? I feel like I’m out of control!

I know for me, that when I recognize something in my work life, I can also typically find it showing up in my personal life. This was true here as well. So, in preparation for completing much of the “almost done” in my business, I decided yesterday to get stuff done at home. What a day! I did laundry, mailed a few cards to people (just because) that I had bought kind of a long time ago and always *meant* to send, finished some work for the Brookfield Education Foundation*, spent some time prepping the yard for Spring, and finished up some other household tasks that just never made it to the *high-priority* list. It felt great! All the while, mostly because I chose not to make this a “chore” so we were all in really great moods, we also had a ton of fun. We had our son outside doing yard work with us, and pretended that we were working with the Lorax** and speaking for the trees as we cut strangling vines down. It was a great day! And, although I spent my Sunday “working”, by the time I sat down and really was able to fully relax, I realized I *was* relaxed… due in part, I’m sure, to getting so much done!

I know that by getting things done on the personal side, I have made room for completion everywhere else, and I am so looking forward to reaping the results! What can you make room for?

*The mission of the Brookfield Education Foundation (BEF) is to marshal and provide resources for lifelong learning by Brookfield residents of all ages. For more information or to offer your support, please visit

** Per Wikipedia: The Lorax is a children's book, written by Dr. Seuss and first published in 1971. It chronicles the plight of the environment and the Lorax, who speaks for the trees against the greedy Once-ler.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Motivation: Today is the day

“You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you'll discover will be wonderful. What you'll discover is yourself.” ~~Alan Alda~~

Be proud of who you are, and honor who you believe you will become. Trust your instincts and let them guide you down the path of discovery. Do what you do with all your heart, and know that anything is possible. Rely on your network, get input from your friends and family, build your support system, and let them help you. Believe in yourself. Today is the day.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Goals: Taking a Detour

“Establishing goals is all right if you don't let them deprive you of interesting detours.” ~~Doug Larson~~

I obviously believe in the power and necessity of goal setting. That’s not news. But I also have recently (read: yesterday - Thanks to Stephanie Dalfonzo!) agreed to free myself of the guilt associated with not accomplishing everything on my list.

Here’s the general scenario: I’d set a goal, something unplanned came up, and I’d feel guilty for not achieving the goal. Sound familiar? Apparently, I’m not alone in this scenario. Life happens. But it didn’t seem to matter if the unplanned thing was really, really positive and helped me to be successful in some other way; I still felt like I failed in some way. Now, I am specifically referring to shorter term goals here, not my 10-year plan, but that actually made it even harder, because it was happening a lot… I’d plan to get something done, would have to take a detour which often actually led to an even better place, and while I was thrilled about it, I’d still feel overwhelmed and sometimes downright rotten for not getting everything accomplished. Today, I continue my quest for personal freedom from guilt and will allow room for interesting detours. Are you in?

For more information on Stephanie Dalfonzo, visit or

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Attitude: An Invincible Summer

“In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.” ~Albert Camus, Lyrical and Critical Essays~

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

Affirmations help. Believing what you say is a huge step. I know I can. I know I’m capable. I know it’s possible. I know I will. I’m off to find my summer. Are you coming with me?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Focus: The Organization Correlation

“Whenever your mind is totally absorbed in whatever activities you are performing, your mind will remain calm and content.” ~~Chin-Ning Chu~~

Being able to focus, actually minimizing or ignoring distractions, and seeing something through to completion, is a valuable ability. Whether you’re researching, writing, or even talking with someone, that ability to be present and be fully engrossed by the task at hand is a skill. Is there a direct correlation between that kind of intentional focus and being organized?

When presenting social media tools to be used for job search, the number one complaint I hear is that there is too much noise online. People state that they get too many emails, there’s too much activity on LinkedIn and it takes too long to read through it all to determine what is valuable. There are too many people on Twitter still telling the world that they’re eating breakfast or walking their dog. And, don’t even get them started on Facebook. They’re so surprised when I show them how to turn off the email that floods their “real” inbox from LinkedIn, how to manage the content that shows up on their homepage, how to create Twitter lists and use an application like Hootsuite** to manage what they see… It’s pretty eye-opening. They CAN actually focus on what’s important to them by simply getting organized.

If I take that a step further and I think about the “clearing the clutter” phase I just went through, I realize that I too can stay more focused when I am organized. There are fewer physical distractions, fewer “other” things to do, when my workspace is clear and things are put away. This may seem like “common sense” to you, but it’s not something I’ve ever really thought about… What is the correlation between organization and focus? Does it work that way for you too?

**To sign up for Hootsuite (FREE!!!!) click here:

Monday, March 7, 2011

Preparation: It's just necessary!

"People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don't believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and, if they can't find them, make them." ~G.B. Shaw, Mrs. Warren's Profession, 1893~~

I’m re-reading Never Eat Alone: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time by Keith Ferrazzi (with Tahl Raz). It’s a fantastic book in which tips and tactics on building a great network abound. I’m at the part in Chapter Three about conducting an internal review; a self-assessment to figure out where your passion and abilities intersect. It’s an exciting preparation for goal setting and I’m really looking forward to the journey.

Preparation comes in many forms…It’s not always pleasant, and it’s not always easy, but it’s always helpful. In fact, I’ll go as far as saying that it’s always necessary. We may not understand it. We may not like it. We may not want to do it. But when we do, and we’re prepared for anything and everything, there’s no stopping us!

What are some ways you prepare?

Friday, March 4, 2011

Motivation: Are you an egg?

“Remember, people will judge you by your actions, not your intentions. You may have a heart of gold - but so does a hard-boiled egg.” ~~Author Unknown~~

What do I intend to do today? That’s a very different question, I think, than what *will* I do today? Intentions are important, and they certainly guide me through planning, but what really matters is the action I take. Intending to take action doesn’t cut it. Get up! Get moving! Get Going! Get It Done! The energy I get from taking action is incredibly motivating and drives me to do even more. So, yes, I am motivated by my intentions, but they can also be de-motivating… One of the things I’m learning through participation in my accountability group is that I over-plan my day. I *intend* to do too much, and when I don’t get it done, I feel like I’ve let myself down. My new intention then, is to be more realistic in knowing what I can accomplish in a day, or in a week. We’ll see how that works out… Either way, I am taking action, both in getting things done today, and in adjusting my behavior! Do your actions match your intentions?

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Goals: Beyond the Vision

“We are limited, not by our abilities, but by our vision.” ~~Author Unknown~~

Vision; it’s an interesting concept. I had a great conversation yesterday about the importance of corporate vision and I began to ponder the definition of the word. Vision can refer to sight, as in what you actually see. It can refer to perception, another topic that was discussed in depth yesterday. It can refer to something more metaphysical or spiritual, as in “I had a vision.” It can refer to something amazing, as in “What a vision!” And of course, it can refer to a corporate vision which is a statement about what an organization intends to become. (Intention just may be the topic of my next post!)

What I was pondering was the common thread, or really my bizarre train of thought, in all of these definitions of vision. I “see” things based on my experience and my perception. I may not even notice things that are outside my frame of reference. My perceptions define my reality. My perceptions will also undoubtedly be the framework for any visions of the future I may have, and I would certainly hope that these visions would be of something amazing. And wouldn’t I want my corporate vision and intention of the future of my business to be equally as amazing? Of course I would! But following the above logic (if you can call it that), my visions for my business would be limited by my previous experience and any preconceived perceptions… Hmmmm…

How can I stretch beyond my experience? How can I create a vision for myself that is not limited to what I already know? And then it came to me! Goals! When I set my long term goals high enough, I am destined to stretch beyond my comfort zone to achieve them. My vision, my experience, my perceptions and my intentions, mixed with excellent follow up, focus and determination will absolutely get me there!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Attitude: It's All in the Salt

“The positive thinker sees the invisible, feels the intangible, and achieves the impossible.” ~~Author Unknown~~

Have you heard about Himalayan rock salt lamps? When seeking out the perfect birthday present for my cousin recently, I encountered them for the first time. Upon looking them up online, here’s what I read:

“Science offers a solid basis for the unanimous claims by lamp owners around the world about the positive effects which salt lamps and salt crystal bring to us through soothing light and color, the cleansing effect it provides for indoor air, and with powerful negative ions which have been studied enough to be known as beneficial, in a myriad of ways.” (

Of course, the pitch goes on and describes all the benefits, which are not exactly the point of this, so I won’t write them all here – feel free to check the link to a vendor selling these lamps, above. What the point IS, is the conversation that ensued… and I shall leave with whom I had the conversation out to protect the innocent…

Her: “Does it work?”
Me: “I choose to believe that it works. Does it matter?”
Her: “Yes.”
Me: “Why? If you believe that it works, isn’t that enough? If you believe that you will feel better, that the negative energy around you will be absorbed; if you trust in the renowned therapeutic effects, won’t you feel better? Is ‘psychosomatic’ really a ‘bad’ thing?”


From Wikipedia:

Psychosomatic medicine is an interdisciplinary medical field studying the relationships of social, psychological, and behavioral factors on bodily processes and well-being in humans and animals. The influence that the mind has over physical processes — including (and I choose to read, “but not limited to”) the manifestations of physical disabilities that are based on intellectual infirmities, rather than actual injuries or physical limitations — is manifested in treatment by phrases such as the power of suggestion, the use of "positive thinking" and concepts like "mind over matter".


I think I’m going to buy a few lamps…

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Focus: Clarity and Direction

"Clarity affords focus." ~~Thomas Leonard ~~

Have you ever noticed that when you’re introduced to something you had never noticed before, that you notice it all the time? (If not, you will now! ) In all seriousness… it happens to me a lot. I’ll not have ever heard of something, and then I’ll hear it referenced five or six times in relatively rapid succession. Or, I’ll never have seen something, and then all of a sudden it’s all around me… I feel like it’s a message. I choose to believe that when this happens, it’s happening for a reason, and it’s something I need to pay attention to. Well, the thing that has been coming up a lot for me lately is “clarity”. I wrote recently about clearing the clutter. A number of people told me I was making room for new things (figuratively speaking, of course… who needs more clutter???) And a surprisingly large number of people told me that I was “clearing” to get ready for “clarity”; to be completely clear on where I was going, why I was going there, and possibly even more importantly, on how I was going to get there. “Clarity”, as a term, was not one I had used often, and was not one I frankly had heard often until recently. Very shortly after my clearing clutter conversations, a colleague was talking to me about how they really needed clarity, and how they needed to understand on which direction they should focus. That felt familiar to me. I’ve been saying for no less than two years that I really needed to understand more about who my target audience was and how to market to them. The very next day a client was asking me about how to get clarity (and used the word!) in their job search and again, figure out who to target as a prospective employer. I found myself coaching around clarity. And I found I was pretty right on… It was kind of ironic... I was right back to my “physician, heal thyself” post. So I did. Thanks in part to my amazing accountability group, and thanks in part to a few other great listeners and advisors, I feel like I really got clarity. I have a renewed focus. I even redrafted my LinkedIn profile! (Check it out here: It was quite the accomplishment, and I feel really good about it! Then yesterday I had yet another conversation on getting clear on direction. This time it was with another entrepreneur who was working on choosing a line of business on which to direct her focus first… It could have been me talking. This time I could really give some great, step-by-step tips on getting clarity. And, I am so happy that I chose to focus on that! I am committed to listening to what the Universe is telling me. When these things come up, I will pay attention to them. I know I have lessons to learn, and I am once again excited by the possibilities!

Monday, February 28, 2011

Preparation: Are you prepared for success?

**prep•a•ra•tion [ prèppə ráysh'n ]

1. preparing something or somebody: the work or planning involved in making something or somebody ready or in putting something together in advance (often used before a noun) "a preparation time of about 45 minutes"
2. readiness: a state of readiness "Twenty place settings lay carefully arranged in preparation for the guests."
3. preparatory measure: something done in advance in order to be ready for a future event ( often pl ) "Preparations for the next Olympic Games are already under way."

The work or planning involved in making myself ready for success…putting something together in advance of success… preparing for success… experiencing success… these were the thoughts on my mind last night while laying in a relaxation yoga pose for about 30 minutes. Yes, I know I’m supposed to clear my mind and concentrate on my breathing, but it seemed much more productive (and proactive) to contemplate my success. I “saw myself” successful, stress-free, and exactly where I wanted to be. Call it the belief in the power of positive thinking, call it affirmation, call it “calling on the universe”, call it what you will. I’m calling it “awesome!” It was invigorating as well as relaxing. I felt focused, confident and powerful, and because I was also extremely relaxed, I slept really well. I even dreamt of coaching someone through the attitude adjustment process and readying them for success. I kept asking them, “How good are you willing to have it?” It was a wonderful dream! I woke up feeling well-rested and eager to start my day! I am re-energized, ready for anything, and prepared to take in all the great things coming my way! What a great way to prepare for my own success! How will you prepare for success?

**Content above provided by Encarta® World English Dictionary [North American Edition] © & (P) 2009 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved. Developed for Microsoft by Bloomsbury Publishing Plc.

Friday, February 25, 2011


“Really great people make you feel that you, too, can become great.” ~~Mark Twain~~

I guess it’s kind of obvious that different people are motivated in different ways, by different things. While deadlines may motivate one person, they may completely overwhelm someone else. While some find affirmations helpful, others believe they’re nonsense. People spend a lot of time figuring out what motivates them, or, at least I hope they do… One thing seems to be true, however, across the board. Momentum breeds motivation. For even the most negative, unmotivated person, staying motivated in the heat of the moment is easy. I find that once I get going, and those proverbial juices start flowing, there’s no stopping me! When you can multiply that energy it becomes even more powerful. When you bring likeminded people together to work towards a common goal, it’s virtually impossible NOT to be motivated. Brainstorming becomes fun. Planning becomes exciting. Things get done! Whether it’s in a networking group or a one-on-one meeting with someone inside your sphere of influence, find and tap into that energy. Surround yourself with great people and take action!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Goals: Something to think about...

“Pooh went into a corner and tried saying 'Aha!' in that sort of voice. Sometimes it seemed to him that it did mean what Rabbit said, and sometimes it seemed to him that it didn't. "I suppose it's just practice," he thought. "I wonder if Kanga will have to practice too so as to understand it." A.A. Milne - The House at Pooh Corner

While reading this Bedtime Story to my son last night, this passage really got me thinking… It’s about Rabbit’s elaborate plan to “steal” Baby Roo from Kanga. In Rabbit’s plan the exclamation “Aha!” is supposed to mean a whole lot more than “Aha!” And, Pooh, even though described as a “Bear of Very Little Brain”, wonders while he’s practicing his “Ahas”, If Kanga will also need to practice.

So, I wonder… when you have a goal in mind, do you communicate it to others in such a way that it becomes possible? Interestingly, I had this very conversation with my Dad yesterday, which is likely why this passage struck me so… Communication is key to just about everything from a healthy relationship to a happy workplace, and communicating clearly and effectively is a skill. Listening (and understanding) is also a skill, so it stands to reason that both sides need practice as relationships are cultivated.

Are you a good communicator? Are you able to articulate what you want, and what your value is to others in a clear and concise manner? Do you make your goals known such that others can help you achieve them, or at least help you to stay on track? Or, do you have (unrealistic) expectations that people will just know what you mean and therefore assume things will go your way? Just something else to think about…

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Focus: To multitask, or not to multitask, that is the question.

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

I’ve noticed a lot of buzz recently around the topic of multitasking. The thought used to be that if you could multitask, you were ahead of the game. The ability to focus on more than one thing at a time was seen as a great quality. If you could actually work on multiple things simultaneously, you were a tremendous asset. It seems ironic to me that the tide seems to be turning.

In this electronic age where it is so copiously possible to do so many things at one time (tweet while watching TV; comment on social media posts while sitting in a classroom; play on your laptop or tablet while doing just about anything; texting while also sitting and socializing with live people…) the buzz now is about focusing on a single task and not multitasking at all. Research is being done, and to some extent it is actually showing that people who work on one thing at a time complete more than the people who multitask. Studies are suggesting that the level of multitasking does matter, but at a certain point it actually becomes counter-productive. I find it ironic, but not surprising. Isn’t over-multi-tasking synonymous with a lack of focus? It seems to me that I should be able to switch gears quickly, be flexible, and be willing to change direction… but that I should focus on one thing at a time and see it through to fruition. I know that like the sun, when I put all my energy towards one thing, I burn through it with ease.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Preparation + Taking Responsibility

“Change your thoughts and you change your world.” ~~Norman Vincent Peale ~~

I could have worked all weekend. That’s a powerful statement for me, because a week ago, I might have said, “I *should* have worked all weekend.”

I could be entirely stressed out right now… and I’m not. I am prepared to tackle the challenge of fitting a week’s worth of work into two days since I have chosen to go on vacation.

I started to stress last night as I was preparing for my week. I started to feel “overcommitted” and was wondering how I would get it all done. But, I stopped. (Kudos to me!) And, I took a deep breath. And, I remembered that I myself set these deadlines. I myself set the priorities. I not only *can* get it all done, I will get it all done. I am prepared. I am focused and efficient. (Yes, that one is still going strong!) And, I have help! There will be no slacking off. There is no need to stress out. Being overwhelmed doesn’t help the situation. I am motivated to achieve, thanks in part to my awesome new accountability group, and thanks in part to some new acquaintances I made (soon to be friends I am sure!) But even more, thanks to me! I am happy that I remembered to stop and breathe. I am grateful that I took the time last night to prepare for today. And I am proud that I believe that I can and WILL get it done. My thoughts do affect my actions, and I am in control of my thoughts!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Motivation: On being held accountable

“Sometimes the only way you can take a really good look at yourself is through somebody else's eyes.” ~From the television show Scrubs

Can someone please tell me if Mercury is in retrograde? Seriously! I’ve spoken to 4 people in the last two days who are just so sad and feeling so alone. Stress takes its toll! It affects your health, your family, your life. Whether you’re in a job you can’t stand, or you don’t have one at all; the feelings you’re experiencing can be overwhelming. I remember those feelings all too well. And if there is one pearl of wisdom that I can share from that experience, it is this: You are not alone. There are people around you who can and will help you. We will listen, we will advise, we will motivate, and we will hold you accountable. (And, yes, that’s a GOOD thing!) If you could only see yourself through someone else’s eyes! You would see that you are capable; you do have the power inside you that you need to succeed. You can change your circumstances, and with some support and guidance, you will make things better for yourself. And, you don’t have to do it alone!

I went to my first new accountability group meeting yesterday. Three of us who are in similar places in our careers met to share our goals and “to-do” lists. We discussed some strategies which may help us get to where we want to be. We will talk (or meet) weekly and hold one another accountable. We will make sure that each of us does what they say they were going to do. We will offer suggestions, provide support and direction, and keep one another focused on the “right” stuff. I already feel more productive!

I’ve written in the past about the importance of this kind of support, and I think for a career campaign, it really makes sense! When you’re looking for a job, you are basically self-employed. You set your own rules and you set your own timeline. The only person you hurt when you don’t do what you said you were going to is you! When your self-imposed deadlines go whooshing by, the only person who suffers the consequences is you! So, you continue to spiral down. You continue to feel guilty. You may even begin to even feel sorry for yourself… and the only person who can make it better???? You guessed it. YOU!

What if instead you had people holding you to those deadlines? What if you had a group of people relying on you to get things accomplished? What if those people held you accountable? Wouldn’t you be more likely to take action and get things done? And imagine how much better you will feel when those people are actually helping you pull yourself up, offering words of encouragement, and giving you ideas that you may not have come up with on your own! It’s always easier to give someone else good advice, isn’t it? And, the very act of helping someone else might just help you help yourself!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Goals: An Epiphany

“The road leading to a goal does not separate you from the destination; it is essentially a part of it.” ~~Charles DeLint~~

I had a bit of an epiphany last night. I seem to be clearing out the clutter (literally and figuratively, hence the closet thing yesterday) and making room for clarity. I love that. It seems, that even though I have always thought of my “to –do” list as sort of a short term goal… I may have been missing an important connection. “To-Dos” may be the tactical components of getting us TO our goals! OK. I know that sounds like “common sense”, but bear with me…

I am entering into a very exciting new stage in my career. I am, as stated, gaining some clarity around questions I have had for a long time. Things are really coming together. So, I was writing down some goals last night; goals to hit before 3 months, and goals to hit by the end of 2011; and then started making a “to-do” list beneath where I listed each set of goals! In other words, I asked myself what it would take to hit each of those goals, and I wrote myself a little step-by-step guide on how to get there! It was a thrilling realization for me. I have a plan forming. I have small, achievable tasks that are not overwhelming when you take them one by one. And I have some lofty (although attainable) goals set that I am really excited about hitting!

Have you thought about HOW you will achieve your goals today?