“Not this”

“Not this.”

Most of us will arrive at a moment in our lives that hits you so powerfully in your gut that it almost feels like time stops.

It could be the day you walk into work and realize you’re in the wrong role. Or on the wrong team. Or at the wrong company. Or for the wrong cause.

It’s the moment you know that despite your best efforts to change your mindset or improve your circumstances, it’s not working.

It’s your “not this” moment.

Almost everyone will have one.

You will feel the truth in it. You’ll feel your worth and know how valuable and precious your happiness is,  and see you’re in a role that’s not giving your joy any space to grow — or maybe even exist.

And when you experience this realization, it can be really scary. It can feel oppressive or crippling or exhausting or terrifying.

Your body and heart and soul will all be crying out “please, not this!” to your brain.

But the brain, in all its analytical glory, may try to manage those fears by saying “not right now.” Or maybe, “If not this, then what? You can’t make a change without a Plan B.”

And you arrive at an emotional fork in the road: either agree with your brain and let the fears woo you into complacency and settling – or, listen to your gut and use the inspirational fire to push through the fears and take action to align your gifts with your career.

I beg you to harness this motivation and do what thousands of people before you have done to gain more fun and satisfaction out of their careers: make a Pivot.

My friend Jenny Blake literally just wrote the book on making Pivots. She would know: she dropped out of college to work at a startup, left to go work at Google, reinvented herself within Google, and then left to become an entrepreneur and career coach.

She is the queen of teaching you how to use what’s working to find what’s next. Her book is drawn from themes and tools she developed working with hundreds of private clients over the past five years as well as in the years of running the company-wide coaching practice she started at Google.

She’s created a simple framework to get through feeling uncertain and overwhelmed that you can use over and over again. First, plant yourself in your current reality and identify your strengths and skills that are hiding in plain sight. Then, scan the horizon and observe what new opportunities are most exciting and energizing to you. Next, create a pilot program or tiny experiment to validate your assumptions about what could be next. Once you’ve gone through the process and addressed the big fears getting in your way, you have everything you need to pivot and make a leap.

Plant, Scan, Pilot, Pivot. That’s it. You can almost chant them like a meditation mantra. Jenny taught me how to integrate these Pivot Method steps into my career coaching, and I use them with clients every day to take big, scary dreams and create a plan to make them into a reality.

If you’re experiencing “not this” right now, don’t waste that precious energy. Every second you focus on worries and self-doubt over what to do next is extinguishing that fire. And, worse: you’re subconsciously telling yourself that your happiness and fulfillment aren’t worth fighting for.

I’m telling you as your friend (and career coach): your joy in work is absolutely worth fighting for. You will likely spend more time awake and working than you will with your spouse, your friends, or your cat.

And your life is too precious and too short to stay in a job that’s not serving you anymore.

Learn more about Pivot today – and create the life your soul is craving.

Give Yourself Permission to Be an Expert

Dear friend,

While we’ve been creating a networking strategy for you to develop into a leader in your community and field, I’ve noticed you worrying about whether you have “real” expertise to share with your colleagues at work — or with contacts you’re meeting as you’re developing your professional path.

As your friend, it pains me to know that you have such beautiful gifts, intelligence, and passion, but aren’t aware of (or acknowledging) these talents.

By being living, breathing human beings, we are each acquiring personal observations and specific knowledge of the systems, people, environments and tasks we interact with every day. You may not realize you’re doing this, but you always have been. Based on the experiences that have shaped your life, you pay attention to the world around you in a way that is as unique as your thumbprint. Plus, knowing how ambitious you are, there’s no way you’d be happy working in a job for these past years without having opportunities to grow, learn and accomplish cool things.

Here are some thought starters to help you recognize and explore your unique point of view:

If none of those questions are sparking energy and recognition of your deep-seated wisdom, I have a hunch the issue might be not one of expertise, but one of confidence. (Hear me out here.)

I’m guessing there may be a secret subtext in your voice, one that’s asking: who am I to share my thoughts? A fear that your contributions might be judged or unworthy.

I used to have that fear permanently stamped on my forehead. I experienced environments where I was expected to show up but not express an independent opinion, so I became convinced my thoughts and ideas were actually worthless and shouldn’t be expressed.

But, playing small and trying to be invisible is not why any of us were put on this planet.

And, recognizing and stepping into your power makes work — and life — a hell of a lot more fun.

 

The only person who needs to authorize you to share your ideas is YOU. Give yourself permission to be an authority on your work. You don’t have to be the world’s best researcher, marketer, or writer to start helping and teaching those around you.

Take the higher-ups in your company (and your industry) as an example. You’re exposed to completely different information and problems than they are every single day. What are the leaders around you needing that you might be able to provide?

When it comes to a fear of contributing, Marianne Williamson says it best:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be?…There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do…It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Self Care is Self Love: an idea bank for surviving tough transitions in life

Some days you wake up and want to crawl back under the covers and hide from the world forever.

Candidly, I’ve been having a string of those days. And when I try to look for the light at the end of the tunnel (because this, too, shall pass), that light seems very, very far away.

My dad said to me, “Make sure to take care of yourself right now.”

But sometimes, when you’re lost in the depths of darkness and grief that your heart is capable of, it can be hard to remember what taking care of yourself even means or feels like.

For the past week, self-care for me has meant sleep. Sleeping all the time, getting to bed early, peeling myself out of bed 30 minutes after my alarm has gone off. Bed is my refuge where the rest of the world can’t touch me, and drifting off to dreamland has been my emotional lifeboat.

But forsaking all the rest of my needs for the sake of sleep isn’t healthy, productive or loving over the long term. And sometimes simply going through the motions of self-care can be enough to re-awaken feelings of self-worth, joy, and calm that may have gone missing.

So in case you’re having one of those weeks, here are the only three steps you need to think about:

Step One: Outline a self-care plan. Check out the list of my ideas (and real activities) below, and pick the ones that make you feel something. Commit that because you are important, these acts of love and tenderness are important. Put them on the calendar.

Step Two: Outline your obstacles and write out your plan to take care of yourself despite them. Because no good plan emerges from its first interaction with the real world completely unscathed. Traffic or kids or unexpected work projects pop up, so how do you ensure you take care of yourself despite these challenges? The challenges are probably the exact reason you need a little extra self-care, and letting them win and take priority is also inevitably letting yourself lose. So make sure that even if you lose some battles, you don’t lose the war.

Here’s my self-care Achilles’ heel — and it’s not an external event that throws a wrench into my plan: I LOVE beating myself up for taking the time to take care of myself. I have historically made a special habit out of feeling guilty for sitting still or sleeping in or spending money on things for myself besides what’s needed for survival. But I am blessed in times like this to be able to find a little extra time and a little money in the budget to show myself love. Self love and time/financial responsibility don’t need to be pitted against each other like enemies. They are, in fact, partners in crime. And loving myself is an investment that will show boundless returns over time.

Step Three: Start to execute your plan, and share your plan with others. Social support can make a crucial difference between talking the talk and walking the walk. Plus, you may end up with people wanting to join you and start their own self-care campaigns!

Ways you can integrate self-care into…

WORK:

MENTAL/EMOTIONAL:

SPIRITUAL:

FRIENDS/RELATIONSHIPS:

PHYSICAL:

If you’re seeking additional articles and inspiration about self-care and self-love, I recommend Kris Carr’s two articles and Gala Darling’s plethora of self-love lists to start. And tell me your own favorite loving behaviors so this list can keep growing!

Did you get value out of my self-care handbook? If so, I’d love to stay in touch with you:

What to do the Night Before to Have an Amazing First Day at Your New Job

I’m delighted to share the news with you that I just started a coaching role on the Career Services team at 2U. It’s the perfect next step for me to deepen my industry-specific skillset and increase my impact as a coach.

As I’ve been thinking about how I ensure I hit the ground running and become an all-star at work (because, I mean, who doesn’t want to kick serious ass in their new job?), I came up with some ideas that I wanted to share with you on how to prep the night before to have a killer first day.

Preparing the night before is actually part of the trick. Top performers don’t show up blind to anything — and your first day is a crucial time to make a good impression, start learning the landscape, and understand exactly how your work will make a difference to the company.

Figure Out Your Learning Style.

I can guarantee you that your first days at work are going to be full of learning — like, a “drinking from a firehose” spigot of non-stop information learning. And since you know you’re going to get bombarded with tons of information, you should walk in prepared to absorb and retain as much as humanly possible. So, learn your learning style. Rapid learning is the key to making an impact and a great impression in a new job.

Don’t know how you tend to process information best? Take this test (and don’t mind the slightly spammy-looking website.) Your result will be auditory (like to process via listening and hearing), visual (like to process via seeing), or kinesthetic (like to process by physical motion and “doing”).

If you’re visual, try to get your supervisor to draw things and show flowcharts to demonstrate your comprehension of processes. If you’re auditory, consider bringing a tape recorder with you to capture details to review later. And if you’re kinesthetic, write down every important note or detail you see or hear so you can recall them more quickly later.

Note: very few people are completely and only visual, audio, or kinesthetic leaners. Most people are a blend, with one being your dominant or primary processing style. So, think about how you can combine processing style to really ramp up your retention: take notes as well as repeat back key principles. Draw a mind map of a process.

Figure Out Your Impact in the Organization

The more thought you put into how you from your seat can contribute to the company’s bottom line, the better.

What’s the bottom line? Likely either social impact from services or $$ profit from sales, depending on whether you’re at a nonprofit or a for-profit.

You’ll spend lots of time learning the ins-and-outs of your tasks, but if you don’t connect them to the benefit to the organization, you will hamper your ability to grow and be promoted quickly.

Now, before you start, your ideas about your role’s impact will be hypothetical, and you’ll want to use your first few weeks to vet and confirm whether your assumptions about impact are accurate, or if there are other/different ways you’re contributing to the company’s success.

Don’t be afraid to ask direct questions about how your role ties to the bottom line. The more you ask questions about how to make an impact, the more your supervisors have to articulate the value of your (and their) work…meaning they’re verbalizing exactly how valuable and important you are to the company. Pretty sweet, right?

Wishing you luck on your first day! 

Join my free webinar on Thursday!

I’m thrilled to share some of my favorite, most effective job searching tactics with you in my Land Your Dream Job Webinar on Thursday, March 24th at 9pm.

I’ve learned these tips and tricks during the past decade as I’ve interviewed for and worked at some awesome companies…but I want you to know this:

I am not special.

(Let me explain.)

I’ve gotten opportunities to work for some of the world’s most coveted and respected brands:

But I am not unique.

All the tactics I used to get interviews and jobs with these amazing companies are all things you can do, too. Can, and should!

And especially if you are putting in hours at a job that’s not lighting you up right nowI want to share my tactics and tools with you in an free webinar on landing your dream job.

Join me on Thursday, March 24th at 9pm ET to hear about my top tactics for getting an in at companies you’re hungry to work for. (I’ll cover the exact methods I used to get jobs at Seventeen, CBS, and more!)

And if you can’t attend the webinar live on 3/24, don’t worry! I don’t want you to lose out on my top favorite job search tactics. You can watch the recorded webinar and view the PDF worksheet right here afterwards.

Are you in? Click here to watch the Land Your Dream Job webinar!

Sharing my brand-new time management tool with you

I’m excited to share one of my favorite new tools with you: my brand new Time Tracker Excel template. It’s how I focus where and how I’m spending my time day-to-day — and how I cut out the activities that aren’t serving me.


You can download the tracker and use it for free here.

I created both a blank sheet (for you to fill in, and/or make as many copies of as you need) and a sample tab using my own schedule. I’m a visual lady, so color-coding is incredibly helpful for me to see themes in my “chunks” of time.

I always find it funny how there seems to be so much more white space and free time when you plot it all out on paper. It’s like there is a temporary “mute” button for all the feelings of overwhelm that sometimes sabotage your progress on your goals.

To get full utility out of this template, I recommend starting by making a couple copies: one version that’s a more optimized view of your current schedule, and a separate copy that is your perfect, ideal, utopian life schedule. (On mine, that one includes sleeping until at least 7:30am…so glorious.)

When you start filling the tracker in with all your daily activities, both copies of your time tracker need to start with scheduling in your life’s non-negotiables: sleep, meals, etc. These are the first to go when we’re stressed, so they must be the foundational bedrock for your plan to keep yourself sane and energized.

Next, you add in spaces for the “musts” of your life: date night with your spouse/SO, working out, time with friends, book writing, empire building…whatever fits with your life’s purpose and priorities right now. Then, everything else can fall in place around it as needed.

Once you’re done, the first “current, but better” schedule template can become your reality — and, if executed properly, it also becomes your bridge to the second one. Very sneaky, eh?

Download your Time Tracker Template today — and let me know what you think!

Why am I a coach?

Why am I a career coach?

I am a career coach because I had no choice but to be.

Let me explain.

When I was a little girl, my family lived in a beautiful suburb of Denver, Colorado. Growing up, I was the most energetic, lively, passionate kid.

I was a dancer, painter, baton twirler, ice skater, and Whitney Houston impersonator. (I had whole song and dance routines made up to go with my mom’s copy of The Bodyguard soundtrack.)

My favorite thing in the world was reading and learning.

During one elementary school summer, I read over 100 books (most of them Nancy Drew) just for fun.

I was always full of movement and optimism and positivity and life.

As I got older, as happens with all of us, something changed.

I discovered playing by the rules my family and community were setting around me was how I would keep people happy.

I dove headfirst into school and classes, working to get the highest grades I could.

In a lot of ways, focusing on how to win the game at school served me well: I kept working harder and harder to do the right things to get into a “good” college.

Getting into a good school was my ticket to freedom.

(Home wasn’t always the safest place to be with a parent whose mood and anger is volatile, and college seemed like the perfect escape.)

To keep moving towards that dream, I started working towards financial independence.

I had my first part-time job in middle school, and started adding lines to my resume: babysitter, web designer, Baskin-Robbins ice cream scooper, math tutor, Panera Bread barista.

Through all this hustling, I expanded the world of opportunities and possibilities open to me. I was acquiring new skills, learning about customer service and discovering all the ways you can create value.

(And, little did I know, also becoming an expert in interviewing and how to put together a great resume.)

When college application season arrived, I got the chance to attend college in New York City. For a Colorado mountain girl, the Big Apple was the most amazing, glamorous place I could imagine, and I jumped at the opportunity.

I got to college, and immediately got a job to both help pay for school and also expand my post-college options.

In a typical semester, I would take a full courseload plus one paying part-time job and an unpaid internship.

As I picked out my major, I had desperately wanted to pursue Psychology or in Art History, but asked myself, “Will that get me a job after graduation?”

(That, instead of “What will I love learning about forever?” or “Which major would bring my joy?” was the guiding question for decisions at that point in my life. So now, part of my coaching practice is about learning how to ask yourself better questions. )

Instead of art history or psych, I took Econ classes, and did all kinds of internships as ways to supplement my classes with joyful extracurriculars.

Within four years in undergrad, I interned at my dream companies: Seventeen magazine, American Cancer Society, Teen Vogue, and CBS Sports.

I also got opportunities to get my hands dirty contributing at smaller organizations like the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship, CollegeFashion.net, and even by launching a fashion and beauty blog.

By the time graduation rolled around, I had experience doing everything: sports media, fashion journalism, blogging, event planning, social media, investigative research. (Everything except economics, that is.)

While I kept trying to play by the rules of other people’s expectations of me, I couldn’t help but follow my joy into companies and sectors I’d admired from afar.

When I arrived at life after college, I followed my heart to a job at an education nonprofit. But as the months ticked on, I noticed that some of the joy from my childhood wasn’t present anymore.

I told myself, “This is what it means to be an adult. You can’t have as much fun anymore. There are responsibilities. There’s work to be done.

And that started becoming my truth. I moved to a private sector job and started to become okay with trading my joy and optimism for the hardening of Corporate America.

I started to believe that it was normal to deliver feedback to colleagues in ways that weren’t respectful or rooted in kindness. And, that working for a company or industry I loved was a privilege reserved for other people, not for me.

“I mean, nobody loves their work, right?”

Statements like that were accepted as true among my peer group.

But believing that truth was a huge blow to my happiness.

So I sat there, facing my quarter-life crisis in a depressive funk.

“I just, I remember being happier. I don’t know what happened.”

Unpacking each decision that led me to that point with coaches and therapists allowed me to discover something fundamental and profound about myself: I am a woman driven by my values.

And some of my values — fun, respect, kindness, giving – were in direct conflict with my employer or my company’s environment.

This was a revelation for me: I need to do work in a context that aligns with my values.

Otherwise, it doesn’t matter how much money you pay me or how many days I get off or how many standing desks there are at the office: I will not be happy.

And from that moment on, my career became about finding jobs that aligned with my values and allowed me to live my truth every day.

That’s how we end up in the present. I discovered the way I could best honor my values and priorities was in working with individuals to help them discover and honor theirs.

And, nobody would (or should) trust a coach that doesn’t walk their talk…

So, I took the leap to pursue my passion full time.

—-

Seeking out balance and peace in your life is a struggle. It is a struggle for everyone.

And here’s my candid opinion: the concept of balance is bullshit.

“Balance” is a myth we’ve invented to make ourselves feel guilty for being ambitious – or to rationalize why we’ve taken a foot off the gas pedal.

Life isn’t really about balance. Life is about having priorities and making tradeoffs.

You can’t do everything, but you can have anything if you set your time, energy, money and intention toward it.

Once you know what your priorities are, making tradeoffs gets much easier.

That’s why I’m here: to serve you by creating clarity around your values, helping you turn them into priorities, and make strategic career decisions that align with your vision for how you can impact the world.

Sign up below to get started.

The Life Project Management Tool of Your Dreams

It is definitely not New Year’s Eve anymore…and I know a resolution or two has slipped through the cracks for me. I’m guessing you might be able to say the same.

That’s okay — and totally normal. Making radical change in your life isn’t easy, and definitely doesn’t always happen overnight.

For me, seeing which resolutions fell apart and which ones gained momentum is a great indicator of where my values are. The ones I talked about in “shoulds,” but never made any progress on, are totally fine to fall by the wayside for me…because clearly they weren’t as important or as aligned with my values and the life I want to be living right now.

But if those ideas and dreams for who you want to be in 2016 were important to you and yet have fallen to the side while you’re trying to make it through your crazy busy daily life, you deserve to put a system in place to help you make massive progress on those goals in the next few months.

Wouldn’t it be great to look back on 2015 and say to yourself: that’s the year I got my tush in gear? That’s the year I actually pursued my dreams instead of giving them lip service? That’s the year things changed for me?

Your peers can stay in a Netflix-induced stupor and continue to talk about what kind of life they’ll start living…once they make more money. Or…once they are far enough along in their careers. Or…when they get old.  Or…when they settle down. Or…when happy hour isn’t so fun anymore.

It’s easy to find excuses for why you aren’t living the life you want to be living. 

And it’s easy to stay exactly where you are. It’s comfortable. It’s relatively safe. But it’s not getting you out of bed in the morning full of joy and energy anymore.

Is being that excuse-maker who you want to be?

Are you tired of rationalizing why you shouldn’t or can’t pursue your dreams and honor your desire to have a life filled with happiness and energy?

Do you want your life to happen to you, or do you want to be in the driver’s seat?

This is the day to start breaking into those excuses, exposing them to the light, and saying “Let’s figure out how I can keep moving forward.

A quote from Confucious is: “You have two lives. The second one begins when you realize you only have one.”

What if you stop right now and make the commitment for that second life to start today?

You are important.

Your life is important.

Your goals are important.

And you can act on them right now.

You don’t need permission from anybody to start living the life you were meant to live.

Get started today: Download your copy of the Best Year Yet Goal Progress Tracker today — and let me know what you think via email.

Just for you: My FREE Resource Bank

I’m honored and excited to help you craft a career path that you’re proud of.

While you might catch yourself thinking that it looks so simple for other people to find their Dream Job, choosing your perfect path is never easy — particularly for ambitious, multi-passionate individuals.

That’s why I’m thrilled to share my resource library with you. It’s a free list of all of my most popular worksheets and tools to allow you to narrow down an infinite world of possibility into the right list of potential next steps for you — and make them happen:

Plan your best year yet with this free downloadable tool!

I love holding Professional Lady Badass Brunches in the DC area, because I get to be infused with the incredible energy of the ambitious, passionate, savvy women of DC.

I walked participants through the Best Year Yet workshop, an exercise to help you plan the year ahead so you don’t fall off the resolution bandwagon in February but actually make massive progress on all the things you’ve wanted in your life for years — but haven’t quite had the right tools or framework to make happen.

For those of you who weren’t able to join us in person, or for any folks who want to work through the exercises again on their own time, I have the full Best Year Yet PDF workbook here as a free downloadable for you.

Your Best Year Yet - downloadable PDF

Check it out — and let me know via email what you’re planning to make 2016 your Best Year Yet by signing up for updates below.