Be PRESENT This Holiday Season

Family having conversation homeAs the holiday season approaches, most of us busy our minds by planning for future events, like shopping trips, traveling, and meals, and we forget to be present and enjoy the little moments in between everything else. In pursuit of our own priorities, we may forget to pause, acknowledge, and show appreciation to others and ourselves. Your heart-felt presence is the best gift you can give this holiday season. Here are five ways to be mindful and fully present:

1. Pause and appreciate the positives in your life.

Take time every day to think about the things you’re thankful for, such as your health, your home, your job, and your network of caring friends, family, and coworkers. Even if things aren’t perfect in your career or your relationships, it’s always possible to find the positive embedded in the negative.

When it comes to the people in your life, let them know you’re grateful for their presence in your life through a card, a call, or even a text message. Recount a memory or story that shows them the importance of your relationship.

2. Make yourself fully present to others.

In this busy, demanding world, it’s easy to feel like you have to do a million things at once. However, multi-tasking only divides your attention and prevents you from experiencing truly meaningful interactions with others. Instead of only lending half your attention, make an effort to listen fully and keep the other person at the center of your focus. Whether you’re talking with someone face-to-face or over the phone, remove elements that might distract you and prevent you from giving that person the attention they deserve. Listen to what they’re saying, ask insightful questions, and create a meaningful dialogue.

3. Plan activities that involve togetherness.

Research events in your area that you can participate in with your family, friends, or community. Organize outdoor group activities, cook together, set up a game night, or volunteer. Snap a few photos to capture the fun, but remember to be a part of the action as well.

4. Pay attention to others’ needs.

There are probably people within your circle that are going through a hard time this year, whether they’re coping with the loss of a loved one, health concerns, or financial strife. Offer help any way that you can: cook them a meal, babysit their children, or run some errands for them. If you are the person who needs a little more help this year, pay attention to that need. Make yourself vulnerable and ask your friends or family for help when you need it.

5. Take time for yourself.

In order to look out for and help others, you must first take care of yourself. Whether it’s five minutes or an hour, set aside time for yourself every day. Go for a walk, read, meditate, call a friend, dance around your kitchen—anything that brings you joy. Practice being present for yourself and attending to your unique needs. When you practice self-care, you better equip yourself to be fully present for those around you.

 

It’s easy to lose sight of what truly matters during the holiday season. Sometimes, it feels that meals, gifts, and decorations need to be perfect in order for the holiday to be a happy one, but your presence, both physical and emotional, will be what people remember when they look back. The garlands can wait and the cards can be stamped tomorrow: participate and be present in the holiday season!

7 Steps for Navigating A Career Transition

Career Transition

 

You know it’s time. You’re not satisfied in your current job and are ready to make a significant career change. But how do you begin? What steps should you take to facilitate a smooth transition from one career to another?

In this post, I will discuss some of the strategies you can use to pursue a new career path. It piggybacks off my last blog post, which focused on how to identify when it’s time to make a significant career change. As a career coach, I am well aware that each career transition is unique (and requires varying degrees of re-education, networking, and rebranding), but there are some fundamental steps you can take, no matter the circumstances of your career change. Use the following list as a springboard to get started.

Even though your next steps may be challenging, remember that you are attempting to make a positive and healthy transformation in your life. Go boldly in pursuit of your dreams!

 

  1. Enlist help from a career coach

Seeking a new career path can be daunting, confusing, or frustrating at times. You don’t have to do it alone! A career coach can help you clearly define your direction, create a game plan for reaching your goals, and work through practical details (such as revamping your résumé or helping you with a cover letter). As a career coach, I emphasize the importance of identifying your core values and how they translate into a career. I also address the other side of the job search: What types of jobs, work environments, and management-types do you want to AVOID?

A qualified career coach will offer guidance, support, and professional assistance throughout your career transition. She will enable you to work through all of the steps listed below and empower you in your search.

 

  1. Uncover the reality behind the dream

Sometimes your dream job turns out to be a lot different than what you might have envisioned. You may think, for instance, that a naturalist gets to spend most of her time in the field, but there is actually a lot of paperwork and meticulous record-keeping that accompanies this position.

To get a clear idea of what someone in your dream job does on a day-to-day basis, start researching. Look for information online and set up informational interviews or lunch meetings with people who work in the job you’d like to pursue.

 

  1. Set goals and a timeline

When you make up your mind to go after a new career, it can be easy to lose focus or motivation after the first few weeks, especially if you feel somewhat secure in your current job. Fight complacency! Set a timeline for yourself that lays out when you’d like to make a full transition into a new career and what steps you need to take along the way. Look at your timeline every morning and ask yourself what you need to do TODAY to work toward your end goal.

 

  1. Educate yourself

Depending on the career, you don’t necessarily have to go out and invest in a whole new degree. You may already have some of the skills necessary to make the switch. Oftentimes, education can come from meeting with people, online research, free webinars, low cost community classes, conferences and seminars, or even working or volunteering part-time in your desired field.

 

  1. Talk to your support system

When you’re making a major change, it’s always a good idea to call upon your family and close friends for support. You’ll likely run into obstacles or emotional lows during your career transition, and your support system can help build your confidence or give you a shoulder to lean on during these trying times. Additionally, your support system can also act as an accountability system. Ask your friends and family to periodically check in with you about your progress. When you have someone (or multiple someones!) invested in your career change, that can motivate you to keep on going!

 

  1. Build a financial safety net

Oftentimes, there is a little lag time between leaving your old job and stepping into a new one. You’ll want to be financially prepared, in case you have to wait several weeks (or months) between paychecks.

And, what if your new job doesn’t work out? What if you find yourself in a position or company you dislike and decide to return to the job hunt? It’s best to build up your savings account so you can handle unexpected financial hurdles.

 

  1. Celebrate milestones

Although the road between one career and another can seem long and arduous, you will have victorious moments along the way. Recognizing and celebrating your achievements can give you a motivation bump and help you remember that you are making progress. Celebrate when you finish revising your résumé or when you complete your continuing education classes or when you’re asked to come in for your first interview. Remember: having a positive frame of mind is an essential component of any successful job hunt.

 

Your goals are worth pursuing! If you’re thinking about making a major career switch, contact me today and let’s start discussing your first steps toward a new future.

If You Have an Itch: 5 Signs It’s Time for a Career Transition and What to Do About It

Chimpanzee scratching itself with funny face

Are you yearning for a career change? Perhaps it’s time to scratch that itch! As Tony Robbins put it, “By changing nothing, nothing changes.” That is sage advice; you must take action because life is too short to be miserable at work. The Bureau of Labor Statistics performed an American Time Use Survey in 2014 and found that employed Americans ages 25 through 54 spend the majority of their waking hours working (8.9 hours), which is even more than time they spend sleeping (7.7 hours)! If you’re not satisfied with your job, that’s a lot of time spent in a place that makes you unhappy.

There can be many reasons to seek a change. Maybe you’re working under poor management, you’re bored, you’re not making good use of your skills, or you’d like to pursue a budding new interest. Here are a few signs it truly is time for a career shift and what you can do to make that happen.

 

  • Sign #1: Your body and mind feel worn out. All. The. Time.

Maybe you walk around stressed out to the max, day after day. Maybe you develop a chronic illness, like an autoimmune disease, which is all too common these days. You are tired, crabby, or lack stamina. You can’t recall the last time you had a headache-free week. And to top it off, your concentration is lacking at both work and home, while at the same time perhaps your temper is short. This is the point when your work is affecting your entire life. “All great changes are preceded by chaos,” says Deepak Chopra. Stop the chaos by changing your life and the rewards will be monumental.

 

  • Sign #2: You think about that dream job day and night.

Do you find yourself distracted all day by thoughts of a new job? So much so it is affecting your performance at work and your personal life? It is probably time to take action and explore the job you are actually interested in.

Think it’s too late for a career change? Think again. Julia Child worked for the CIA until she decided to try her hand at French cooking at age 37 and the famous folk artist “Grandma” Moses didn’t start painting until her 70s! You’re never too old or too established to make a major career transition.

 

  • Sign #3: You are bored.

 Oftentimes people “check out” when they are not fulfilled by their career. When you start to feel your work has no purpose it can be very difficult to stay engaged. This is a sure sign you want to be somewhere else, so take the steps to do just that!

 

  • Sign #4: You are underappreciated

If you’re putting in long hours, going above and beyond on projects, and making an extra effort to help your co-workers, you deserve to get a little recognition in return. Whether it’s a pay bump, a promotion, or just some old-fashioned praise (like a shout out at a company meeting or a thank you card from your boss), your efforts should be rewarded. If not, there are plenty of companies out there that would love to hire an over-achiever like you! It may be time to start looking.

 

  • Sign #5: Your company/industry is struggling

Our modern world is constantly changing. As new technologies and ways of living develop, outdated systems and products fall by the wayside. In the 1950s, you could easily make a living as a switchboard operator, milkman, or elevator operator, but it would be difficult to do so today! Similarly, the tech industry looks a lot different than it did in the mid-1990s. The focus is less on desktop computers and more on tablets, smart phones, 3D printing, and mobile app development.

Sometimes, it pays to take a step back and examine your industry (or company) with a critical eye. Will your company be a viable business in 10 years? 20? Look for warning signs like major budget cuts, an increase in outsourcing, or similar companies closing their doors.

So what do you do if you know in your heart it is time to move on? Take action! By making even baby steps, you will eventually reach your goal. If you take mammoth steps, you will make it all the quicker! Move toward your vision, even if you are scared. Instead of letting fear debilitate you, use it as a motivator. Embracing fear means embracing growth.

 

Need help forming your exit strategy? My next blog post will address specific steps to follow when transitioning from one career to another. Or, feel free to contact me for advice on navigating a transition.

Are You Sitting Still?

Are You Sitting Still

“Take action!” An inch of movement will bring you closer to your goals than a mile of intention.” –Dr. Steve Maraboli

 

What is your long-term plan? Would you like to make $1 million per year? Or become a leader within your organization? Or achieve the perfect work-life balance that allows you to pursue your hobbies and spend more quality time with your family?

No matter your goal, there’s one thing that’s certain: you won’t achieve it by sitting still.

I know plenty of people with great intention, but little follow-through. They wait and hope that things will happen, but lack the initiative to step forward and make it happen. Don’t let that be you!

It may be easier to sit still, settle for a less-than-perfect situation, and let life glide by, but it is far less rewarding and can wear you down over time. If I’m working with a client who has a positive dream or goal, I encourage her to pursue it—the challenges she might face pale in comparison with the rewards of seeking growth and improvement. And whether or not the original goal is reached, she will undoubtedly achieve more than if she had done nothing!

So, what’s holding you back?

Some of the common reasons I’ve heard for not pursuing a positive change include:

  • Fear of failure
  • Lack of resources
  • Lack of support
  • An unclear road map (unsure of the steps to take to make the change)
  • Lack of confidence

Fortunately, none of these growth-inhibiting excuses are insurmountable. With a little guidance and coaching, anyone with a positive, motivated attitude can overcome these obstacles and begin moving forward in their career or personal life.

Taking steps toward positive growth is all part of aligning your values with your purpose, something leadership expert Steve Farber calls “finding your frequency,” just as someone might tune a radio dial.

But, how do you get started? How can you start moving forward in a positive manner and overcome your perceived road blocks? Here are four resources to get you going:

  1. Enlist the help of a career or life coach (If you’d like to know more about the benefits of coaching, I’d be happy to answer any questions you might have).
  2. Find an accountability partner—a co-worker or close friend who will motivate you and regularly check in on your progress.
  3. Read! There are several great career books out there that give you specific actions to follow (Of course, you’ll need to follow those actions as well as read about them!). Here are some of my favorites:
    1. Daring Greatly, by Brene Brown
    2. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen R. Covey
    3. Credibility, by James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner
    4. What Color is Your Parachute? by Richard N. Bolles
    5. The 20-Minute Networking Meeting, by Marcia Ballinger and Nathan A. Perez
  1. Take the time to sit quietly and reflect on your long-term goals and values. A career or life coach can help you piece together your vision into a clear action plan.

Are you sitting still? A bright future is within your grasp, all you have to do is get up and start moving!

For additional guidance on setting your future into motion, feel free to contact me today.