Archive for the ‘careers’ Category


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


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 – 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?


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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You have heard me talk about the importance of continually learning and connecting.  This is true whether you are a business owner like me, in career transition or just seeking to enhance your life.

One great way to learn and connect is through LinkedIn Groups.  Here members can post questions, ideas and resources – and start interesting and thought provoking conversations about all different topics.  It is a fantastic way to learn what your colleagues and connections are thinking about, what works for them and what matters to them. 

You may already be a part of some of these groups but one I recently found that is a great help to those in career transition is called Career Change Central.  Here career and HR professionals share different perspectives and strageies for success.

Which groups are you are part of?

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Years ago when I began working at a university, the end of the year rolled around and I was asked to complete an annual report – an accounting of all I had achieved, including results of programs I was responsible for.  I panicked – mainly because I didn’t remember!  Yes, I finally finished that first report, but vowed to make it much easier the next time. 

So each month I started recording what I had accomplished, so by the end of the year, I had 12 smaller reports that I now had to synthesize into one.  Much easier!  Doing it this way also helped me see how far I had come each month, instead of waiting until months had passed and I had forgotten.  How quickly we forget what we have achieved – yet that ever present “to do” list is embedded in our minds.  Even with those 12 reports making it easier I always hated writing that annual report – but I always loved having written it.  Seeing in print a years worth of accomplishments was very rewarding and uplifting.

It’s your turn, as you are starting to take action toward your goals for the new year, begin by reviewing the year that just ended and take pride in your achievements!

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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.

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Growing up, my father would always say “there is no such word as can’t”.  He never let us get away with the litany of excuses we would create and would instead tell us we could do anything!   My reaction to hearing that in the early years was frustration because it often referred to chores or some task I didn’t really want to do, but now could not get out of. 

As I got older, I started hearing “I can’t” come out of my mouth when faced with a difficult math problem or uncomfortable situation.  Then hearing “there is not such word as can’t” took on a different meaning.  It forced me out of my comfort zone, to work through problems and find solutions around obstacles.  Still, at a young age I did not like hearing those words!

Fast forward to today and I realize just how much of an impact those words have had on my life.  They helped me grow and challenge myself to learn new skills, push through some very difficult times and have served as a foundation of the growth of my business. 

What if you shifted your thoughts and words from “I can’t” to “I can” – if you hear “I can” often enough, you will begin to believe it!

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This morning I arrived at the Hilton in RTP to deliver my Getting Noticed, Known and Connected seminar for the Triangle United Way’s support/education series for job seekers.    The wonderful woman who coordinated the program, Gayle Manley, greeted me and then said “NBC 17  will be covering this event, a reporter will be here soon to interview you on camera and shoot some of your seminar”.  

My first thought was “Oh, no – I can’t be on TV”!  I was terrified but it was too late.  My next thought was “OK, I’m doing this – boy am I glad I didn’t know before I got here”!

When Josh Green from NBC-17 showed up and greeted me, I immediately shared with him that this was way out of my comfort zone!   He said “focus on me, not the camera” so I did – and you know, it was OK.  Josh asked great questions and made the whole process painless – and once I was comfortable with him, I really didn’t even notice the camera in the room!

Not sure how long this link will be live, but if you want to check out my spot on NBC-17, here it is.

I would love to hear one of your Way out of your comfort zone” moments!

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Have you ever said something like “it would be great if I could create a business around….”?  It could be a hobby or passion you have, something you do exceptionally well or something you see a need for.   Depending on how far along your thoughts are about this business, there are a number of things you could do to just take one step toward creating it.  Even if you are not sure you want to dive in fully, what if you tried it, took one step in that direction – what possibilities might open up for you?  

Some first steps might be:

  • Writing a clear vision for what your business would look like if it were up and running today with you as its leader
  • Finding a business that exists that is similar to learn how they structured it
  • Trying your hand at it by finding a part time position or volunteering in the same area. 

My experience…

Before becoming a coach, I thought about professional organizing as a business for I absolutely love everything there is to do with organizing. After researching it a bit, I found two pro-bono clients to test out my skills and interest.  It worked wonderfully, as I realized this was not the business for me.  The day to day environment was not a good fit with my skills, needs and wants.  Even though this particular business was not for me, by testing it out I got the “entrepreneurial bug” and quickly found a better fit in coaching!

An easy first step: sign up for a Vocation Vacation to get first hand experience of what it looks and feels like to run a business from someone who is not only passionate about what they do, but in sharing it with you!

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Back in high school, I completed an assessment tool that indicated I was “good at” merchandising.  Now as a high school student who did not think out of the box as I do now, I dismissed that assessment thinking “I don’t like business, marking or sales”  That was my interpretation of “merchandising” from that limited perspective. 

In the last few years I have begun to look at that initial assessment from a whole different perspective and I can see how clearly it has and does continue to show up in my life.

My new definition of merchandising is “the pulling together of ideas, information or objects to create something new or different”.  Here are some examples of when that has shown up in my life:

As a Career Counselor I excelled at helping my clients craft resumes and hone their interviewing skills – pulling together their experiences so they became their markeing tool.  As an artist I have always loved building mosaics – pulling together pieces of broken china, glass and ceramics to create an art piece.  Now in my cooking I find I am drawn to pulling together whatever ingredients I have in my kitchen to come up with a delicious meal.

You see, deciding to look at this strength of mine in a diffent way, helped me find a common thread through many areas of my life that I previously thought were unrelated.  It also serves as a “compass” to help me make choices of what activities to engage in and how to approach them.

What, in your life, do you want to look at differently?  What effect do you think that would have on your life?

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