Some of My Recent Favorite Career Resources

I’m a voracious reader, and I also listen to several audiobooks and podcasts, so my recent consumption has included some greats:

  • Jeff Goins’ The Art of Work: A Proven Path to Discovering What You Were Meant to Do. I am in love with this book. Some of my favorite ideas in the book:
    • Open to the idea that we don’t have just one calling.
    • Consider how to put together a portfolio career by combining parts of your life.
    • Create community around building your career. It won’t happen if you’re the Lone Ranger.
    • Instead of making a map and following it, be open to twists and turns.
  • By lucky timing, I got to review the course that Jeff built to accompany his book. He also has a podcast with 10 episodes that elaborate on the book. Plus, he has a podcast called The Portfolio Life that I like.
  • Disrupt Yourself: Putting the Power of Disruptive Innovation to Work by Whitney Johnson. The best section in the book for me was “Play to your disruptive strengths,” where she asks great questions to uncover your strengths. For example, “What exasperates you about others?” She says, “It may not be that they’re deficient, just that you’re unusually skilled.”
  • Elizabeth Gilbert wrote Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, and she produced a series of podcasts that she released around the time of her book launch. The ideas that she presents about how fear holds us back are phenomenal. She talks about having permission to pursue what matters to us, persisting in our endeavors, and yes, she also talks about enchantment and magic in an inspiring way. “Creativity is a crushing chore and a glorious mystery. The work wants to be made, and it wants to be made through you.”
  • Gregg Levoy’s Vital Signs: Discovering and Sustaining Your Passion for Life came out at the end of 2014. I got to attend one of his workshops this past year where he asked “If you could choose any mentor in history or present day to guide you in creating the kind of life you want, who would it be? What advice would they give you?” Answer that question, and you’ve got direction!
  • The Road to Character by David Brooks has some extraordinary ideas. He splits apart “resume virtues” and “eulogy virtues,” and I wonder what would happen if we pulled them together. He urges us to explore not just our superpowers but the places where we’re deeply broken to plot our paths.
  • Brene Brown’s Rising Strong: The Reckoning. The Rumble. The Revolution transformed me. She teaches us how to rise after a fall, and as we plot and navigate our careers, there are bound to be falls. “Our job is not to deny the story, but to defy the ending — to rise strong, recognize our story, and rumble with the truth until we get to a place where we think, Yes, This is what happened. This is my truth. And I will choose how the story ends.
  • I’m a faithful listener of Jonathan Fields’ Good Life Project podcast. The people he interviews inspire me and give me great insight into how to create a career.
  • I also listen every week to Brooke Castillo’s The Life Coach School Podcast. She has taught me more about how my mind works than any course or book or professor or therapist ever has. I marvel at how she dissects our thoughts and puts them into her model to make sense of how we’re inadvertently self-sabotaging ourselves. I had the wonderful privilege of taking a course with her last year, and at the beginning of the course, she said, “If you let it, this intensive will blow your mind.” And it did.
  • 2 TED recent talks captivated me: Stop Searching for Your Passion by Terri Trespicio and Why Some of Don’t Have One True Calling by Emilie Wapnick. In the first, the best quote is, “There’s a dangerously limiting idea at the heart of everything we believe about success and life in general, and it’s that you have one singular passion and your job is to find it and to pursue it to the exclusion of all else, and if you do that, then everything will fall into place, and if you don’t, you’ve failed.” Then, Emilie coins a new term: multipotentialites, people who have a range of interests and jobs over one lifetime. Thanks to these two wise women, we can reframe passion and discard perfectionist tendencies around that construct

Happy Birthday to Me

I just turned 50, and in celebration, I wanted to collect 50 lessons about that I’ve learned over the years. Alas, I couldn’t make it all the way to 50, so maybe that’s lesson #1: don’t try to force cute symmetry.I just celebrated my 50th birthday!

Most of these ideas are related to careers, but on some of them, I’m asking you to indulge me as I stray off topic. It’s my birthday month after all.

  • None of us can do it alone. On occasion, we all lose sight of who we are, and we need our community to remind us of our best selves. I remember during my coach training, one of the instructors talked about her leadership tribe (it’s really called that!), and that she sometimes would call one of the people in her tribe and say, “Remind me of who I am!” because she’d lost sight of her best self. We all do that.
  • It might look like you’ve slid backwards to the same place you always settle, but it’s not true. We travel in an upward spiral, and while we may revisit patterns and see familiar scenery, we’ve evolved and shifted, even if it’s ever so slightly, and we tackle those same scenarios with sharper skills.
  • Accountability alone won’t change behavior. Behavior is driven by underlying, usually entrenched beliefs, and if you don’t delve into those parts of yourself, you might be able to make a temporary shift, but you won’t sustain it.
  • Make friends with your gremlins and saboteurs. Thank them for their presence in your life. They’re just trying to keep you safe. Integrate them, buckle them in for the ride, but don’t let them drive.
  • It’s trite, but true: self-care is paramount. If you don’t have your own oxygen mask on, you’re useless to anyone else.
  • Bumper sticker wisdom is usually true. Except when it’s not. Embrace paradox. (That’s my quintessential bumper sticker — it covers all bases.)
  • It’s so much easier to see how others can fix their lives. I often think if we just swapped advice (and then actually followed it), we’d make massive progress.
  • The outcome isn’t as important as making sure I’m in integrity with who I want to be along the way.
  • If I can answer the question, “What do I want?” with as much specificity as possible, my biggest hurdle has been tackled.
  • I had to recognize my own value before I started making it as an entrepreneur. Kate Northrup has a practice that I call a Value Journal. It’s similar to a Gratitude Journal where you write down what you’re grateful for each day except with this daily journalling, you record where you contributed value. It solidified for me what matters most to me, where I want to put my energy, and how what I do matters.
  • You can’t isolate your work life from the rest of your life. If you’re struggling at work/at finding your work, the same issue is showing up in other parts of your life.
  • Shifting gears has more to do with mindset than tactics.
  • I heard a writer attribute a quote to Maya Angelou, “In order to find your path, you must walk.” I haven’t been able to find where she said/wrote it, but it sounds like something she’d say, and I believe it.
  • Everyone wants answers, but we all shudder at the idea of slowing down, taking risks, and opening ourselves up to discovery.
  • This one is from Brooke Castillo, a coach I’ve worked with and followed like she’s my guru: be all in. Don’t cherry pick from people ahead of you on the path. Do everything, give everything for a specified period of time, and then pause and reflect, but don’t rip it apart while you’re in progress.
  • Selling (either a product or a service as an entrepreneur or yourself in an interview) is rooted much more in listening than it is in talking.
  • Put yourself in the sweet spot outside of your comfort zone but not into torture or pain.
  • Don’t look to a job or another person to guarantee security for you. Look within.
  • Here’s another one from the bumper sticker archives: if you’re not failing regularly, you’re not living up to your potential.
  • Sprinkle people’s first names into your conversation as you’re having a discussion with them. It’s like touching them, they perk up and feel an immediate connection to you.
  • Most change happens incrementally, not in leaps. Leaps are sexy, and they make for great stories, but those folks are usually outliers.
  • Make room for both reflection and action. They’re the yin and yang of progress.
  • Go with the wisdom of crowds, especially when it comes to your resume. Someone always has an opinion about how they can make it better, but if you run around and change everything in response to every comment, you’ll drive yourself crazy.
  • I used to apologize for my devotion to thought leaders I admire, but now I honor that part of myself. I listen regularly to Jonathan Fields’ podcast, Brooke Castillo’s podcast, and I also read blog posts from Brene Brown, I watch Tara Brach‘s YouTube channel, and I read Liz Gilbert and Anne Lamott on Facebook like it’s my religion.
  • I anchor myself in some quotes that I return to over and over, including:
    • We can do hard things. ~Glennon Melton Doyle
    • You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life. ~Steve Jobs
    • Before I can tell my life what I want to do with it, I must listen to my life telling me who I am. ~Parker Palmer
    • I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. ~Maya Angelou
    • If you’re not making mistakes, then you’re not doing anything. ~John Wooden
    • Do one thing every day that scares you. ~Eleanor Roosevelt
    • This practice isn’t about trying to throw ourselves away and become something better. It’s about befriending who we are already. ~Pema Chodron
    • Tell me, what is it you plan to do / with your one wild and precious life? ~Mary Oliver

Birthday Sessions for Past and Current Clients

Hey, I’m turning 50 this month, and I’m in major celebratory mode. I’d like to do something to recognize the people I’ve worked with, so I’m offering a free coaching session to each of my past and current clients during 2016. Basically, you qualify if you’ve ever paid me money for coaching and/or resume and LinkedIn services.

How do you celebrate you?So that I don’t get overwhelmed, I’m asking people to wait until the first day of the month of their birth month before scheduling, and then get on my calendar during that month. I’ll take the first 3 people for each month.

I’m looking forward to catching up with you!

PS-If you’re sailing along, but you don’t want this offer to pass you by, you can gift it to someone else in your life. The only hitch is that it’s still attached to YOUR birthday month.

The Heart of Career Focus Has 2 Veins

The question “Who am I?” is vital to career exploration.

What's the view, both behind you and in front of you?You need to know your strengths, your limits, how you self-sabotage, what lights you up, how you unconsciously push money away, the impact you have on people. There are layers and layers to you, and it’s worth delving into them.

Most important in a career exploration process, you need to know what depletes you and what energizes you.

But there’s another, equally important question in play here. It’s got the same flavor as “Who am I?” but it’s distinct. It stands on its own, and it deserves your full spotlight of attention.

“Who do I want to be?”

Certainly, you’re shaped by your past, and it’s important to spend time on that arena. When I work with clients on a thorough career exploration process, we actually go very far back into your past to your earliest memories. What we discover there is vital to where you’ll steer in your next career chapter. In fact, the activity that’s built around your early memories is deeply soulful and intensely insightful.

As you turn in the other direction, facing forward, the massive possibilities of where you can go are mind boggling. And that can shut people down. That overwhelm can bring everything to a screeching halt.

Being armed with this understanding — that you may exceed your saturation point and withdraw or give up — is essential to this process. You know it’s coming, so you can prepare. The tool that I use with my clients is a Criteria List so that you can measure your new opportunities against something concrete. You can actually create a spreadsheet and use numbers, or if you’re more organic and you prefer a gut feel as your GPS, you can still use that Criteria list, one that’s specific to you.

On your Criteria List is what you know about who you are and where you’ve been, and there’s also content that’s constructed from the question of where you’re heading.

Who do you want to spend your time with? If you dreamed big, where would you want to spend your time? What would you be doing? What objections surface as you consider this starry-eyed vision of your ideal work day?

Bring all of these questions to your exploration and give yourself the gift of a heartfelt exploration as you design your next career chapter.


Career Spin, Reinvention, and Horror Movie Screams

I visited my neighbors’ house, and their 7-year-old asked me about my work.

“What do you do?” she asked.

“I work with people to help them discover their work and find jobs,” I said, feeling smug that I could encapsulate it that easily for a first grader to recognize its value.

“Oh…” Pause. “Is that it?”

Reality descended as I recognized I didn’t perform at the level I’d hoped. My face fell.

“Well,” I said lamely, “I also write.”

“Hmmm…,” she said as she wandered off.

So, maybe I couldn’t impress a first grader, but hopefully, my latest articles on Careerealism might hold your attention for a bit longer:





Career Change in 2 Parts

It’s simple, really, to change careers. Not easy, but simple.

Part 1: Answer some key questions

  • What energizes you?
  • What are your talents and strengths?
  • How do you hold yourself back and get in your own way?
  • Where is there demand for what you’re offering, and how can you communicate your fit for those positions?

Part 2: Specify exactly what you want:

  • What are the job titles you’re pursuing? (Get specific here. The more precise you can be, the better you’ll be able to hit your target.)
  • What industry do you want to be in? (Nonprofit, healthcare, manufacturing, renewable, transportation, IT, education, etc.)
  • Where geographically do you want to work?
  • What are 10 target companies that you want to pursue?