Archive for the ‘know what you want’ Category


It’s that time of year again, time to choose your “one word” for the year.

Your “one word” becomes your intention (what you will do), it gives you a lens to look at life through, and make choices around.  Having “one word” to remember keeps it simple and easy.  You can then create your new years goals around your word.
My “one word” for 2017?  Inspired
In full disclosure (if you may recall from my January newsletter) my word for the year started out to be Embrace, but when I sat with that word for a few days, it just did not do much for me.  So I changed it.

How will  “Inspire” show up in my life this coming year?

As I seek new opportunities to…

  • get engaged in my community
  • choose fun things to do as I celebrate turning 50 this year
  • embark on new creative projects

I will discover these opportunities through Inspiration by what I see, experience, learn, hear, etc.  I will then take Inspired action!

We continued our new yearly tradition of having a new years brunch with some friends where sitting around a big circle, together we each shared our “one word” for the year.  Here is the word cloud that resulted from that:


For You
Choose a word that evokes something positive in you, a feeling you are craving.  Your word will feel good (no “shoulds” please) and be one that is a good fit for where you are in your life right now and where you would like to be.Need some examples?Peace
Playful, Play

Would love for you to share your “one word” with me!
Happy New Year!

You can share your word, find others who have chosen the same word, and see a list of words to inspire you

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When I was a teenager, I remember having a conversation with my brother that went something like this. “I am so envious of you, you love drums so much and have found your passion, you know exactly what you want to do/be.” He said to me “You are the lucky one, you can be or do anything, I only want to play drums, and if that does not happen, I would be lost”

That experience stuck with me, for you see, I was one of those that did not have my “one-thing”. I did (and still do) enjoy several different things, some of which I liked keeping as hobbies since my interest in them ebbs and flows. I enjoy change, growth, learning, testing and researching which often leads me to new areas to explore. I have embraced this life of plenty and never felt like I needed just one thing.

What became of my brothers passion? He did play drums professionally for many years before finding a new passion – technology/design – He loves having a strong passion and even that passion continues to evolve/deepen as he learns and grows.

What about you?
Do you wish you had a burning passion – one career or life interest that is all consuming? Where you are singly focused, clear, and driven toward it?

So many of my clients come to me wanting to find such a passion. Some feel that they never really had it (in their careers especially). When I ask how they are defining passion, they use words like, “my one thing”, “what lights me up”, “what fulfills me”. When they don’t have it, they feel like something major is missing from their lives, like they are “less-than” somehow. This often leads them to forever pining/searching for that one thing they will love absolutely – and not truly enjoying where they are or what they have.

What if you don’t have one passion?
You may have heard me talk about “sparks”, what I call those moments and experiences that bring you a jolt of joy, curiosity or interest.

What if, you were to start to pay more attention to your personal “sparks” and notice what you are doing, who you are with, what you are thinking that brings about these sparks? When you do that, you then get to choose more of those experiences deliberately! You may even find that they lead you to a new career or new personal pastime – one of your many!

If you want to learn more about this idea….

Video – Listen/watch Elizabeth Gilbert’s talk – she talks about the “flight of the hummingbird” and having a “curiosity driven life.” This talk was my inspiration for this months topic
Article – Your Career Calling
Book – Refuse to Choose by Barbara Sher


Why is it important to take ownership instead of WAITING for things to change?

When you take ownership, you are in the drivers seat of your life.  There is no one better than you to determine what is right/good/best for you.

When you leave it in others hands, a few things may happen

  • You may be given opportunity you don’t want
  • You may be waiting a very long time to get what you want (if it ever comes)
  • You may be working against the very thing you want by focusing on what has not happened yet

When you take ownership, here is what could happen

  • You get more of what you want, because you determined it and are working toward it day to day
  • You go much farther in life because you are taking an active role in your life instead of a passive one
  • Your life is richer and fuller!

How do you Take Ownership?

  •  Determine what you want – not what you feel you should do/have, but what you truly want for your life – how you want to be, what you want to have and do
  • Decide what you have full control over – which of your wants can happen without anyone else having to do/be anything, without any circumstances being any different.  What can happen immediately once you put your mind to it, decide it and do it
  • Understand where you have influence – how, by changing your approach, your behavior, your interactions – you can influence those around you which can get you closer to what it is you truly want
  • Make no excuses – no blaming others or circumstances for what you don’t have
  • Set daily intentions – ways you will be, things you will do each day toward the things you want


You want to have a happier life, and you decide one of your wants is to be more connected with other people.  Where you have full control is how you interact with others (how open, friendly and social you are).  When you behave the way you want, that influences how others see you, which can change how they engage with you.  Your daily actions may include smiling at everyone you meet or asking your colleagues what they did last weekend.

How will you being taking ownership of your life?


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Reflection and Renewal

It is the joy of the holiday season, a wonderful time for reflection as the year comes to a close and renewal as the new year dawns.

Why reflect in order to renew?

How often do you rush to your next to do list item, and also into the new year without ever acknowledging what you have completed, achieved and learned?  Stopping to recognize how far you have come is a powerful motivator to keep moving forward.  Reflecting on what you accomplished, however large or small, and how you accomplished it, gives you a sense of pride and can serve as a confidence boost. Reviewing what went well helps you decide what you may want to add more of, or reduce in the new year.

How do you conduct your year in review?

To get started, grab a journal, a notebook or your computer.  You can look at your life as a whole or conduct a separate review for different areas of your life including:

Career, relationships, family, recreation, finances, personal development, etc  –asking the same questions of each.

Here are some Questions for you to get started:

  • What did you accomplish this year?
  • What are you most proud of having achieved?
  • What were some of your peak experiences?
  • Why did these things matter so much to you?
  • What worked really well?
  • Which of your strengths, skills, mindset & insight helped you accomplish all of this?
  • What did you learn most this year – about yourself and in each area of your life?
  • How have you grown this year?
  • What would you like more of in the new year?
  • What would truly give you “life” in 2016?
  • What additional skills or support will you need to accomplish what you want in 2016?
As you capture your answers to these questions, additional questions will come up.  Continue this process until you have a snapshot of this year as well as a foundation for what you would like to achieve next year.

If you find that it’s hard to remember all that you accomplished this year, begin your new year by doing your own month in review, and by the end of next year, your year in review will be much easier.

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Fear is a normal human reaction to change, even change we are choosing!  When clients come to coaching, they are excited about achieving or experiencing something new.    They may be dissatisfied with their career and want one that is more fulfilling, they may be eager to grow their business or enhance their growth opportunities.

Whatever the goal, when faced with taking that commitment step to really push forward, we often stop in our tracks.   Stopping is a normal reaction, how we move forward dispite the fear is what separates successfulness from stuckness.

When faced with fear, here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • What am I truly afraid of?
  • Why am I fearful of that?
  • What is it that I really want?
  • How will this path/solution/strategy I am fearful of get me what I want?
  • Am I really afraid or just resisting?
  • What one tiny step can I take to move forward?

These are questions that I am asking myself these days as I embark on growing my own career/life coaching business.  I have several enticing options to consider and not feeling the connection to any one of them yet.  There is also some fear coming up – for me, it sounds like “will this experience/product deliver what it is I am wanting?  What AM I really wanting for my business?  For my clients?

My next step?  To take some time to answer the main question first – what DO I truly want for my business and my clients?  How will each product/solution get me to that goal?

Feel like fear is stopping you from going for what you want?  What will be YOUR first/next step?


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It was time to change the environment of my home office.  I had an idea of what I wanted my office to feel like – warm, bright, sunny, vibrant yet peaceful at the same time and thought that lime green was just the color.  Boy was I wrong!

While the color itself was beautiful, it felt like I had placed grown up furniture into a baby’s room.  Not the feeling I was going for.  I had to live with it for a few days until I could repaint, but more than that I had to find the right color. I did and here is the result:

This process made me think about how we make all kinds of decisions, especially career decisions.  We may have an idea of what we want, yet need to try several things until we finally “feel” that it’s the right choice.  We often don’t know if something is right just by looking at it (in my case on a paint chip or even half a wall!) and instead need to dive in to test it out.

Paint is easy, we choose a color and if we don’t like it we paint another color over it – sometimes twice in the same week 🙂

With our careers it’s not as simple, but here are some ways you can try a new career on for size to see if it “feels” right:

  •  Shadowing – find someone who is in a career that you are considering and ask if you can spend a day (or half a day) with them in their environment
  • Volunteer in a new role – find an organization that needs the type of role you are considering and offer your services to them.
  • Volunteer in a new environment – Even if you are engaged in a different role than you would like, placing yourself in the new environment will allow you to assess how it feels to be there
  •  Pro bono work – if you are considering offering a service, whether on your own or through an organization, try offering it pro bono to a couple of people to see what it feels like to be delivering it.
I would love to hear from you.  What other ways have you found that have helped you know you have found the right choice for you?


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If you missed my 5 Steps to Gaining Clarity, Confidence and Direction in Your Career and Life webinar this month, here are some of the highlights:

The five main steps I reviewed were

Self Awareness

Knowing yourself – what your needs are, what makes you who you are, how you are known to others and how you define things like happiness, success and fulfillment is your first step in gaining confidence and direction.

How do you define happiness?


Choosing which direction you want your life and career to take is often a daunting process.  To get you started, first clarity your intentions.  Intentions are what you want to be, do or have that is within your control.  An example?  To be more present, to become an integral part of my community (do), to achieve greater health (have).

What are your intentions?

Exploration and Action

Thinking and reflecting are important first steps designed to help you see what you want to explore.  The strongest type of explorating is taking action.   Step into what you think you may want to do.  How?  Try a new activity, volunteer on a project, shadow a professional in your field of interest.  The idea is to immerse yourself in the experience, to test the fit.

What will you step into and explore?

Why You Stop

At some point in this process of gaining clarity and direction we may start to doubt our progress and choices or we may feel overwhelmed.   One way to overcome these obstacles and challenges is to shift your thoughts.  First pay attention to them.  Are they filled with “yeah but” and “what if” or “I can’t”?   List the thoughts you are having about this process of transformation and change that are both negative and positive.  For the negative thoughts, see if you also have a corresponding positive thought about the same issue – that is where you can keep your focus.

What is the dominant thought that stops you in your tracks? 

Momentum and Commitment

Our goals and vision are achieved with greater ease when we are able to incrementally work toward them in a consistent way.  One way to maintain momentum is to build your support network.  Learn what support you need and seek it out.  When asking for support, be sure to be specific about what you most want/need.

What support do you most need?

There is much, much more to each of these 5 Steps, this just scratched the surface.  If you would like to go deeper…

  • Purchase my self-study workbook: The Journey From Comfort to Possibility –  This takes you through all of the 5 steps in much greater detail with information, questions and action steps to keep you moving forward.
  • Schedule a coaching consultation – if you are ready for personalized one-to-one assistance around any (or all) of these 5 steps.  Contact me at or 919-744-9722 to schedule


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Thought I would share some of what was discussed in my Inspired to Action: Making Commitments and Building Momentum seminar.

Do you have a vision for your career and life?
Your vision is the big picture of what you want for your life.  It sets the framework and foundation for the creation of your goals.  You vision can be a word, a statement, a narrative or a vision board.   Choose a method that resonates for you.
Not sure what your vision is?
One strategy to gaining some clarity of your vision is to begin with your goals.  What are they?  Why are they important to you?  What is the bigger picture of what you are wanting to achieve with this goal?
What goals are aligned with your vision?
Your specific, tangible goals are what make your vision a reality.  Ideally your goals will be things you truly want to accomplish rather then feel you “should” accomplish.

What will be your first steps?


Sometimes your first steps are easy to understand, sometimes they are not. When they are unclear, a strategy is to list all of the steps you believe you need to take action on to accomplish your goal and work backward from there.  Ask yourself what would have had to come before these tasks in order to get to these tasks.


What will be your Commitment Step?

This is the one step, one action that really gets you in motion.  Not on the fringe, but plunging in.  It’s the one step (large or small) that in your mind is your total commitment, your serious move.  

How will you maintain momentum?


One way is to create accountability with a support systemBe accountable to someone (ideally more than one person) to report your progress, someone who will support you in achieving these goals.  This could be a friend, partner, colleague, or life coach, those you feel are your motivators, people in your life you trust, who cheerlead you on.


If you would like help in creating your vision and goals and maintaining your commitment and momentum, contact me for a free consultation at 919-744-9722 or


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As I step into the new year, I always evaluate where I am, who I am and what I have accomplished before I create my goals for the coming year.

Here are some of the questions I use to evaluate my life and work:

How am I different than I was this time last year?

This time last year I was very focused on business building.  I was excited about possibilities for the new year and spent many hours planning.  While I am at a similar place this year being excited about taking my business forward, I am also taking more time to be creative and social which gives me greater balance.

What lessons did I learn?

Through various events that took place this year, I learned greater balance and self care, patience and resilience.

What have I been resisting?

How much my connections, my family and friendships matter to me.  Of course I always valued my relationships but often put work (or my to do list) first since accomplishment is also what matters to me.

As an introvert, it is often very easy for me to be content by myself which is nice but not all I crave.  This past year I spent more time with family, more time with friends and our neighbors and more time with groups of women and even got my husband in the mix with some couples nights.

As you step into the new year, how would you answer these same questions for yourself?

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Great participation and conversation ensued during a recent Taking Ownership of Your Career seminar in Raleigh, NC!  Taking ownership means being strategic, proactive and committed to your  growth.  Is is not sitting idle waiting for someone to notice you or offer you more opportunity.

We talked about when and how we know we are getting too comfortable in our current careers/jobs.  Some responses included:

  • no longer challenged or inspired
  • we stop growing
  • no longer intellectually stimulated
  • it feels like a job not a career
  • we start pushing the limits, seeing how much we can get away with
I also asked the group what matters most to them in their career.  Some of their responses included words like fulfilled and challenged – so I asked them to get more specific, choosing words that better describe what really matters. Here is what some shared:
  • being engaged (in their work)
  • being creative
  • feeling accomplished
  • variety
  • service
Being more descriptive like this helps you know more clearly what you are seeking when making taking greater ownership of your current career or seeing a career transition.
We also talked about the importance of your mindset and beliefs when taking greater ownership of your career.  This includes what you believe about yourself (capabilities, potential, adaptability, etc), what you believe about the world of work (there is something I am interested in learning more about or pursuing, there are opportunities no matter what the economy, there are many people I can learn from, etc)
Taking ownership of your career requires stepping out of your comfort zone, either small steps or giant leaps.
How willing are you to step into a bit of discomfort to take your career to new heights?

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