Archive for the ‘success’ Category

I started a Gratitude Journal a long time ago.  When I was very consistent with it, it felt very helpful to list out what I was grateful for and lifted my mood.  That practice fell away until late 2017 when I was a participant in a coaching course* where one of our assignments was to write what is GOOD, about ourselves, our lives, our days.

While similar in scope, asking the question What is Good seemed to open up something in me that asking what I am grateful for did not.  It brought to mind so many more things, the little things about each person, each day, each moment.  For me, Gratitude is a bigger picture, more of a sweeping overview.  What is Good seems simpler, more freeing, easier.

When you look for what is Good, you start to notice more of what is Good.  At first, it was challenging to list as many things as I could about what is Good about myself, much easier to list those things about others that I like/love.  Part of the assignment was to list what is Good about those in our lives that we struggle with.  That one was much more challenging!

However…when I really sat down to do that, it allowed me to see other people in their humanity, separate from their behavior that I may object to.  I also started noticing that there was really no one in my life that I truly struggled with or did not like – when I separated the behavior from the person.  So freeing to see that!

So….if you are so inclined to test this out yourself, here are some questions you can ask yourself (helpful if you journal your answers)
For each of these following three questions, your list can include personality, qualities, strengths, skills, behaviors, attitude, actions, etc  See if you can list at least 25 things for each.

1.What is Good about you?
2.What is Good about those in your life that you like/love?
3.What is Good about those you struggle with?

For the next three questions, include activities, people, places, experiences, accomplishments, etc
1.What is Good about your life as a whole?
2.What is Good about your past?
3.What was Good about today/yesterday?

If you want to learn more about this, here are two great resources.  I will be focusing my next several newsletters on topics similar to these that also came from the following resources:

Jackie Kelm – Jackie led the Appreciative Engagement Coaching model course I just completed where this practice came from – if you are not a coach, you can still benefit from her resources to help you live a more joyful life)

Rich Hanson – Hardwiring Happiness – The New Brain Science of Contentment, Calm and Confidence

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If you have ever done any home renovations (large or small) you probably have experienced some form of the following.  As you are reading this, imagine how the same process can apply to your life/career “construction”.

You have a feeling that something needs to change.  Maybe you are unhappy with how something flows, or the way your space makes you feel, or some things just feel old and outdated.

  1. You then begin to imagine what you want.  Sometimes that takes a while.  You may have an idea of what feeling you want to have but cannot put into words or pictures yet
  2. So you mull it over, seek inspiration from magazines, Pinterest, or other people
  3. Now you are beginning to create your visionand so are ready to take action
  4. You start with deconstruction, decluttering or discarding what you no longer like/want
  5. As you begin shopping for materials, you may find that your vision is beyond your budget or you can’t find what you want
  6. Some of you may stop here – though if step 5 has already occurred, you may feel stuck/concerned.  Others may forge ahead anyway thinking you’ll figure it out as you go
  7. Next comes the redesign, construction, changes and additions
  8. Often, what you actually create does not exactly match your vision, but if you are able to capture the overall feeling you were trying to achieve, you are “complete” (for now anyway…. )

Your process may include additional steps, or maybe you tackle each step in a different order.

And, at any point in your process you may think “what was I thinking, this is overwhelming!”

I share this with you to introduce the idea that any transition is a process.

  • It will be exciting and overwhelming
  • It will be confusing and clear
  • It will be messy before it is beautiful

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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.

Your 2016 Year in Review

Before rushing into the new year, what if you celebrated what you have completed, achieved and learned this year?


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, gives you a sense of pride and can serve as a confidence boost.
  • Reviewing what went well (and what didn’t) helps you decide what you may want to add more of, or reduce in the new year.
  • Your year in review can also help you clarify your 2017 goals and focus, seeing how and where they fit into the bigger picture of your life.
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:
1 – What did you accomplish, achieve or experience this year?
2 – Why did these things matter so much to you?
3 – What did you learn from this?
4 – What worked really well?  What didn’t?
5 – What would you like to do/be now because of this?
As you capture your answers to these questions, additional questions will come up.  Continue this process until you have a snapshot of 2016 as well as a foundation for what you would like to achieve in 2017.

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 almost complete!

Wishing you a 2017 filled with clarity, confidence and courage for all you want to be and do.



To me, Absolute YES is when you jump in, choose something, make a commitment with no doubt or hesitation.

This could be about a purchase you are making (as small as a new outfit or as large as a new house) to a decision you are making (as small as what you are having for lunch or as large as a new job).

How do you know something is an absolute yes?

Sometimes it is a gut feeling

You “just know” it is right from somewhere deep within

Sometimes it “checks all the boxes”

It fits the criteria you had in mind

How can you use this when making a big career choice/deciding on a new job?

Ask yourself

“what would make me say Absolutely YES to this?”

When you answer that question, it may sound something like

“I would say absolutely YES if….

  • I could have…..
  • I could do……..
  • I would be……….
  • It felt like………….

When you create this narrative/list in answering this question, it shows you, with clarity, what you truly want.

It goes beyond what is on the surface (If I was paid X or if there is flexibility) to deeper criteria that really matters. Remember, we are not talking about what would just be nice, or good – we are talking about what would make you say Absolutely YES, with no doubt, no guilt, no remorse.

Can there be fear present with an Absolute Yes?   In my option, yes, there can be.

How is that so?

Fear does not always stop.

How often does fear act as a driver for you? It may feel like excitement – “wow, I can’t believe I’m doing this but I am” or “this seems crazy but right at the same time”

Absolute Yes’s are not always logical

They do not always look perfect on paper, yet there is something there that allows your full body and mind to go for it – and that can seem scary at times.

What have been your Absolute Yes’s in your life and career?

“Success means different things to different people… and the  road to success is often paved with challenges and tests. It can be a roller-coaster ride filled with highs and lows and fruitful learnings. One thing is clear — all of us who reach for the stars and actively stretch towards our dreams emerge from our efforts transformed.”  This is quoted from an article on

This idea of success being a roller coaster ride is something I usually share with my clients as they begin their process of career (or life) transition.   When you begin entertaining another path for yourself, it can be scary.  You may be unsure of your direction or uncomfortable with some of the unknowns even when you do have an idea of your path.

Just when you begin to gain some clarity, you may feel more confused.  You feel like some momentum is building, only to be discouraged at the next turn.
Some of these highs and lows happen in a moment, an hour, a day or over several days/weeks.  You can see why it is easy to get stuck and wind up staying right where you are!
So, how do you enjoy the ride on your roller coaster?   Feel the fear and the thrill at the same time!  
When you are on a real roller coaster (no matter how tame or death-defying) you have several emotions happening at the same time – some level of terror and some level of exhilaration.  You are sometimes so scared you wish you never got on in the first place – yet you know it will be over shortly so you hold on for dear life!  When you get off, you are a bit wobbly, but often proud of yourself that you did it, even though you were terrified.  For some of you, the exhilaration of being whipped and flipped, makes you want to go on again!   No matter your tolerance for the real thing, your transition roller-coaster is controlled largely by you.
How to stay the course?
When you know that you will expect some highs, and some lows, some clarity followed by confusion, some momentum followed by feeling stuck, you will know you are “doing this right”.  That knowledge can keep you focused and committed to your process and your growth.
Your transition can take you in many different directions, and the turns and flips along the way can take you along interesting new paths that you could not have planned for but are exactly where you need to be .
Learn to enjoy your roller coaster of success!

Read the full article from to see some great quotes of what success means to some history’s greats.

A Career Transition Success Story

This month I am sharing this inspiring message I received recently… The names of companies, etc have been left generic for privacy and to help you see that this story is transferable/relatable to all fields.

“Hi Stefanie!  Remember me? I was the restless longtime employee of a great company in Raleigh with an amazing dream company on her radar. 🙂  My family and I relocated to our new city 5 months ago, and it’s been a whirlwind.  My job is intense, but good.  I have an amazing manager who is a great mentor, helping me understand “their corporate way.”  The company is humongous and there are so many things to learn, but I’m making headway, little by little.

I wanted to share some insight with you on how my dream company recruits since it’s something you talk about in your sessions.  I had a meeting with two of the HR recruiters for this company a couple of weeks ago.  They are using LinkedIn as their No. 1 social media tool to locate talent.  In addition to finding the right skill set and experience on LinkedIn, they also said they look to see what interest groups a person has joined and/or what other companies they are following.  They really like to find people who have an affinity for the brand already, so if you’re following their company on Twitter and LinkedIn, etc, that is a plus.  I remember once I had decided that is where I wanted to work, I started following a bunch of the company Twitter accounts, LinkedIn sites, etc.  I didn’t realize it would be something they took note of when they looked at my LI page, but apparently it is important.

Social media presence aside, the most important factor for me in landing this job was making connections at my dream company.  I was able to do that because I was on the board of a local professional association chapter in the Triangle and I reached out to the their President in the city where my dream company was, who happened to work at that company!  I honestly don’t think she’d have ever taken my call had I not had that association connection in common!  Once I talked to her, I was able to talk to a couple more people and get my name out there.  Then, when the right job opened up, I applied and I wasn’t an unknown name in a stack of resumes.  So the system works!  Let your clients know that even if you have NO connections to a company, if you are strategic about it, you can find a way to get your foot in the door.

It all started with an “itch” I had that my job at the time wasn’t challenging me anymore.  When I was completely honest with myself, even though I had all the perks that an employee could want while working for this great company in Raleigh, including a supportive manager and fun team,  I wasn’t growing as an individual anymore.  Once I recognized that, I started taking steps to find something that would energize me again.  I attended one of your workshops on building your resume and social media presence, then started meeting every two weeks with a friend/co-worker of mine in the same boat to hold each other accountable to making steps towards change.

So, the first step is honesty with yourself. The next step is action and driving change.  And once you set your sights on a goal and are willing to do the work to get there, there is no stopping you! :)”

I hope you found this story inspiring and that it gave you some ideas and strategies you can incorporate into your career transition!

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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?


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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So…many of you who know me, either personally or from these posts, know that dessert (or sweets) is something I place high on my list of things I love and thought I could not do without.

Nomatter what diet or eating plan I have participated in over the years, I always included sugar as something I was “never” going to give up!

Well…never say never.  Several weeks ago I decided to start a new eating plan, one that I hope I will stick with the rest of my life.  It is plant based and does not include sugar.   This is the first time in my life that I have not had sugar every day.  The most interesting part?  I am OK without it!  This is huge for me as I never thought that was possible.  Will I ever have it again?  Maybe now and then, but I now don’t feel I need it to the extent that I did before.

What in your life do you feel that strongly about?  The thing you say you will “never” give up or “never” do?

What would be the benefit to you if you did let it go or try it?

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