Archive for the ‘career coaching’ Category

May
04
My story of career change…
Some of you may know my story of how I transitioned my career, but may not know what went into my decision and how I made my way in my new career.When I was a Career Counselor, I played a very specific role in helping college students and recent grads figure out their career path and helped them to get their first job.  Yes, a big focus of the work I do now is still related to Career Development and Job Search – what changed in a big way is How I do that, Who I do that with and the scope of What I do with each client.

How did I discover all of that? It started with Taking Inventory
I started noticing that the tasks that gave me the most energy included the one on one connection with individuals I was helping, especially when I was able to see the same student on an ongoing basis.  At the time, as Associate Director, I was in a leadership role that took me away from the 1-1 interactions.  I wanted to bring that 1-1 focus back.I wanted to expand.  The nature of my work at the University was very specific to career and did not allow much expansion into the personal lives of those I served.  I understood that the whole person is the one seeking help, and I wanted to be able to address ALL areas of one’s life as it pertains to career and beyond.

So…I started exploring what type of work I could do that allowed a bigger picture focus while remaining engaged 1-1 with clients.  I started doing some research and having conversations with people and that is when I discovered Coaching.

Once I had a better idea of where I was going, I Took a Big Leap
When I discovered Coaching as a career choice, for me to fully dive in and be in the type of role I wanted, it meant starting my own business.  Oh Boy!  I had never even thought of myself as a business owner!  I knew nothing about business; I was terrified of “selling myself” and even being visible to the public.  I knew this was a big leap and started thinking ….. “If I Could do this, how would I” Starting from that place helped me create solutions and actions around my concerns and fears.  I also knew a strength of mine is Learning – and boy did I use that one in a big way!
To make this new idea be very real for me, it was time for my Commitment Step
I made several commitment steps throughout my transition.  The first was enrolling in a training program to become a coach; the second (at around the same time) was hiring my own coach.  Both were financial investments, something my frugal self does not take lightly. J   To make these financial commitments was really a commitment to myself – to my path, my growth.Once I committed, it allowed me to ride the ups and downs, twists and turns that are part of change and transition.  And I had many…. Some days I wondered “what am I doing, I don’t know how to…..”  then other days I was so excited by all the possibilities and positive feelings I had while doing the work.  I soon realized that there will Always be ups and downs and need to Trust.  Trust myself and my abilities and Trust the process.

In my 12 years as a coach and business owner,  I Re-evaluate constantly
I look at what is working, what is not; what I love doing, what I’m ready to let go of; what new projects I want to create and what I want to change.  Formally I do this at the end of every year. Informally I do it whenever it is needed or insight strikes.I hope my sharing some of my story helps you to take your own inventory, big leaps, commitment steps and evaluation.  We get one life and my hope is for everyone to be living his or hers to the fullest!

,

Mar
08

So many of those I work with bring up confidence at one time or another as something they want to increase or build.

What is confidence?

Confidence is a sense believing in your own judgment and decisions. Confidence is accepting who you are – your strengths as well as weaknesses. It is a feeling of positivity and empowerment. I believe we all have it within us to be incredibly confident – in fact, I’ll bet you already ARE confident in one or more areas of your life or in certain situations.

What is it about those experiences/situations or moments that brings out your confidence?

Confidence can show up on the outside (in our choices, behaviors and words we use) and on the inside (in our thoughts, beliefs, perspective, assumptions…)

Here is what others might hear: Your voice is clear and strong, you admit when you don’t know something, you ask questions to learn and share when asked to, you say thank you when complemented. Your words are positive (and not timid or self deprecating)

Here is what it may look like on the outside: you enter a room with your head held high and engage others in eye contact. You have a genuine smile on your face. You engage in conversation and connect with others.

Here is what might be going on inside: you believe in yourself and your limitless possibilities. Yes, you still have an “inner critic” judging you occasionally, but you know better and use those negative messages to fuel and challenge you instead of stopping you. You focus on your accomplishments (large or small) as evidence of what works – and you continue to build on that. You feel strong; knowing that there is nothing you can’t handle, learn or overcome.

How do you develop confidence?

Yes, it may seem that some people are born confident, but I believe that anyone can develop theirs. Here are some strategies for doing just that.

  1. Stretch out of your comfort zone as often as possible – daily if you can. This could be as simple as taking a new route to/from work or as big as trying something you have been fearful of.
  2. Know, then capitalize on your strengths – when we focus on building our strengths, it gives us a feeling of control and empowerment!
  3. Remember the moments when you are/have been confident – what were you thinking or believing about yourself?
  4. Be true to yourself and live your values – when your choices in life/career match what matters most to you, they feel “right”.
  5. Celebrate your achievements – small and large, every step of the way, instead of focusing on what you have not accomplished yet.
  6. Treat yourself as you want others to treat you – being kind to yourself shows that you value yourself. When you value who you are, confidence builds.

Aug
17

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

Mar
02

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

Example

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?

 

, , , , , , , , , , , ,

Sep
03

Do you think of networking as a “four letter word”?  

For many of my clients, especially introverts, the idea of networking brings up images of having to “work the room” at events full of people you don’t know and feelings of awkwardness among those you are “sure” are more confident, interesting or at ease than you are.

What networking truly is?  Building relationships!  I like to call it – “becoming an insider”.

Relationships start with an initial meeting – which could come from a small gathering where a friend introduces you to someone new, a learning event you attend where you meet fellow participants, a group of likeminded enthusiasts through Meetup.com – the list is endless.

They develop through repeat experiences which could look like – attending monthly events through professional or business groups, joining a committee or board of a professional association, attending the same gym classes weekly, church functions….anything or anywhere you can show up often where many of the same people congregate.

They deepen through the value you add to each other, which could look like – adding tons of value to the committees you are on, forming a mastermind (accountability) group where you support each others growth, having 1-1 “informational” meetings where you get to know each other better.

Here is one of my personal examples of how I got connected to my community as a business owner:

Though my coaching business technically was started in March 2005, I launched into it full time in August 2005 when we moved to Apex, NC from Long Island.  Here I was in a new city where I knew not a single person (except for my husband of course). Luckily I had a great coach who encouraged (well maybe challenged) me to get out in the community and start meeting people. Well, to the still relatively shy me, that was out of my comfort zone. I realized I had a choice. While my body/mind wanted me to stay nice and invisible (comfortable) in my house, in my heart and soul I new it was time to make the leap and get out into this new world (literally and figuratively)….. read full story

When you connect with others that “get you”, it adds a richness, support and strength to what you are already doing.  It can exponentially increase your confidence, understanding and resources.   I’ve been experiencing that partnering with a coaching colleageue, Noa Ronen,  as we have been creating a new program called The Coaches Lab where we bring coaches together to share, learn and grow their confidence as they build their businesses.

Where in your career or life have you felt the Power of Connection?

May
10

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?

Direction

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 – http://www.stefaniezizzo.com/workbook-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 stefaniezizzo@yahoo.com or 919-744-9722 to schedule

 

, , , , , , , ,

Jun
23

Last night I delivered a seminar called “Get noticed, known and connected” to the Raleigh Jaycees.  This topic can take many directions, we included points from my handout and specific questions and challenges of the group. Through our lively discussion, here is some of what was shared:

  • The importance of clarifying who you are known as – or how you would like to be known.
  • Learning who to reach out to in order to further your career in your current organization, recruit new members for a professional organization, search for new career opportunities
  • Defining your image, both personal style and how you present yourself through social media
  • Where to meet people to create new connections
  • How to start a conversation with someone at a networking event
  • How to approach someone for an informational interview
I love delivering seminars on topics such as these because each time it is different based on the audience’s questions and needs!

, , ,

Dec
21

When I was embarking on my career change, I had several ideas for differerent kinds of services I thought I wanted to provide.  Services that, based on my passions and values, seemed like a great fit.

After researching the basics of each, my critical early step was to test the waters by experiencing them for myself.  In one instance I found someone who had the type of business I was considering and spent a day with her helping hands-on with a client project.    In another instance I found two pro bono clients that offered to let me practice what I was learning. 

In both examples, I learned that these two areas were not a good fit… and most importantly, why they were not a good fit.   On paper, each seemed like a great fit.  Once I immersed myself in the actual day-to-day tasks, however, the misalignment became crystal clear.

If you are embarking on your own career change, I encourage you to let experience be your best teacher as well.  Whether a few hours or a few days, trying out a career you are considering can be an important step in your journey.

, , , ,

Jun
01

During breakfast with a friend recently, we began talking about career fulfillment and he described it very well when he said something like this:

“The way I see it there are four areas to focus on – Purpose, Passion, Natural Talents and Vision when seeking a great career – when these four align, we are “in the flow” of life and work.  When one is missing, often because we don’t know what or how to define it, we feel off kilter.”

I could not agree more!  To me, our Purpose includes the impact we want to have on others, Passion includes the sparks that fly and keep us engaged, Natural Talents come through us effortlessly and Vision is the direction we would like to move – our journey.

How clear are your four areas of focus?

If any are cloudy, remember I offer a free consultation for you to learn how coaching could help you not only clarify your four areas of focus, but to integrate them into a plan of action to achieve them!

, , , , ,