You, Inc.

Career & Life Design: Know. Do. Be. Own...You, Inc.

Ready for a change? In transition? Or maybe just ready to live more in alignment with what you truly want for you and your family? Call 404-537-2351, use the contact page on this site, or email Renea@Beyouinccoaching.com.

 

It's the Simple Things

Got these beautiful bursts of color and taste of the spring that is to come at our local farmers market this morning. They make me happy. So simple. Pretty flowers, a good read, a walk in the woods, cooking a delicious meal...find time to slow down. It's the weekend, relax. Do something simple that makes you happy.

Transient

A Common Pattern in People Who Love What They Do


Something to ponder this morning from the book, "Maximize Your Potential: Grow Your Expertise, Take Bold Risks & Build an Incredible Career" by Jocelyn Glei.

"This pattern is common in people who love what they do. Their satisfaction doesn't come from the details of their work but instead from a set of important lifestyle traits they've gained in their career. These desirable traits differ for different people - some crave respect and importance, for example, while others crave flexibility and simplicity - but the key point here is these traits are more general than any specific position. To build a career you love, the right question is not 'What job am I passionate about doing?' but instead 'What way of working and living will nurture my passion?'."

I read somewhere that what we really need to be focusing on is living on purpose, not trying to find our life purpose. That focusing on finding our purpose keeps us stuck, thinking there is something "out there" that is our purpose, we just have to find it. This is very similar to what is being said above. "Living on purpose" is the same to me as "way of working and living that will nurture my passion".

So when I'm working with clients, or on my own stuff, and I ask that we focus on the overall way we want life to be...this is why. It is not just about some specific job title or promotion. It can be, if those things are in alignment with "way of working and living that will nurture my passion". When we're able to get clear about our "desirable lifestyle traits", or what Danielle Laporte calls "Core Desired Feelings", it opens up many different avenues for us to be happy and love what we're doing on a consistent basis, day in and day out. This doesn't mean "easy" sunshine and roses all the time with no work required, it's quite the opposite really. It is just that when we are clear and living those desirable lifestyle traits, then the work becomes more effortless and efficient...getting us into that elusive place of "flow" in life that feels so amazing when we're there.

The other wonderful thing here is that it takes some of the crazy pressure off that we're always putting on ourselves, the idea that we're supposed to "be someone" or accomplish certain things. It's very important to acknowledge that my desirable lifestyle traits will most likely not be what yours are, or what our friends or co-workers are. We must respect this about one another, even honor and celebrate our differences. And most definitely NOT try to push our desirable lifestyle traits onto others. We each have to do the work to understand what our desirable lifestyle traits are. We also have to check back in with ourselves every so often because as life happens change happens. We change and what we value most can change a little with us. No judgement is allowed in this process. No thinking you "shouldn't" want respect and importance, or that craving "flexibility and simplicity" makes you a flighty slouch for not wanting more in some way. Honor what makes you - you. Honor what makes me - me. Honor what makes each of us unique.

The book goes on to talk about people who may not necessarily LOVE their jobs, but the job allows them money, time or whatever else they need to follow their passions of travel, art, etc. Some of them were able to go on to make money off of those passions, but not all. These people still report job satisfaction and happiness. It's all about finding what works for us and it starts with knowing ourselves, not relying on what forces outside of us tell us we "should" be doing or wanting.

So... What way of working and living will nurture your passion? Pay attention to what type of work makes you feel really good as your doing it. Why? What is it that is energizing you? What type of people are you with? What do you want more time for?

Transient

Yes! Wait, I Mean - No Thank You.

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I heard Danielle Laporte say this in an interview today:  "That 'no, thank you' today can lead to the right 'yes' later on".  It stopped me in my 2014 planning tracks.  I didn't even realize I was doing it, filling my year with goals and planning it all out.  This idea of leaving space for both the amazing things life can surprise us with (if we allow it to), and for focusing on the things that are most important to us this year made me take a breath and pause.  What if we only pick a few key goals (that align with our core desired feelings of course)?

Picking only a few key things to focus on requires saying no to other things.  It can be scary saying no. What if we make a mistake?  What if no one else offers us another opportunity?  What if they never ask again?  What if we upset someone?  What if we miss out?  

What if?

What if we don't cram our 2014 planning with a bunch of goals that we think we "should" want?  What if we worry less about what others think, and make feeling good and doing work we care about a priority?  What if we say "no thank you" to situations, relationships, clutter in our lives, and habits that just aren't good for us this year? What if, this year, we allow ourselves to focus....and let go of the rest?  We're not missing out on anything.  In the same interview she said something to the effect that focus is difficult, but the results are worth it.  We know we can't do a million things at once well. We just can't.  

So what if this year we pick a theme for the year, get clear on how we want to feel on a daily basis, and then pick a few big goals that are worth our focus and effort?  What if we let go of all the "shoulds", let go of worrying that we're missing out, and let go of people, situations, and the things we're saying "yes" to, but know it's time to say "no thank you".

What do you want to say, "no thank you" to this year?

I wish you the space & courage for all the right "yes's" and the very best in 2014.

Change Your Habits, Change Your Life

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This little riddle has come up in no less than three different books I have read recently…so let me ask you?

Five frogs sit on a lily pad.

One decided to jump off.

How many are left?

How many frogs are left on the lily pad?  Did you do the math and come up with four frogs left?  Unfortunately math isn’t the right tool for this problem.  The answer is five.  One frog “decided” to jump off.  He didn’t actually DO anything.

What I have seen in myself and clients is that this is where many of us get ourselves into trouble.  We read a lot, think a lot, analyze a lot, talk a lot, say we’re going to “try”, but don’t actually take the necessary action steps on a consistent basis.  Action is required for change.  We know this, but we sometimes mistake all this reading, analyzing, thinking, etc for taking action steps towards our goals.  At some point we have to actually implement and test what we've been reading about. 

Or there are the quick fix solutions that are sold to us at every turn, leaving us thinking we should be able to transform almost overnight.  So sometimes we go about overhauling our world in a grand gesture that leaves us exhausted, sets us up for failure, and ends in us going back to our comfort zones, abandoning our goals altogether. ..for now, at least until we get the courage and energy up to go at it again.

What I’m proposing today is something that has helped me and others tremendously:  changing simple daily habits, consistently over time.   All of our goals require consistent action.  Most of our lives are a reflection of our habits.  Change is all about our consistent actions, our habits.  No drama, it’s just a habit.  We have habits that empower us and others that hinder us.  You’re not a bad person, weak, undisciplined (all negative habits of thought by the way).  Your habit isn’t you, it’s just a behavior.  That's it.  There are some behaviors that you want to keep, others that you want to change by replacing them with a behavior that better serves you.  It helps to know the pay-offs we're getting from a bad habit, and then we can come up with ways to meet that need with healthier habits.  

And most of us can’t change every habit we have at once, it is just too much. 

This can’t be stressed enough:  what we do on a consistent basis determines whether we reach our goals.  Our habits can either serve us, or hinder us.  It really comes down to the small daily habits we cultivate each day.

Here is what has helped me tremendously – focusing on building a few habits at a time, until they become something I do without really thinking about it.  I and others have written a lot about setting goals and developing good habits.  So I’m not going to try to rehash all of that here.  What I want to share here is a simple, actionable approach.  Holding myself accountable, and tracking in a simple way is what has made all the difference for me.

I am using and recommend an app on my iPad called “Goal Streaks” (or find something similar that works for you).   It is a very simple, straight forward app that lets me see how I’m doing and keeps the habits I want to cultivate at the forefront of my focus.  Here are examples of habits in my Goal Streaks app:

I have a larger goal/value for me to be healthy, strong and fit so I can do all the outdoor activities I love to do, age well, feel great and look my best.  The habits I’m cultivating and tracking in Goal streaks are:

  • Be strong and fit by exercising 6 days a week for at least 30 minutes.
  • Close the kitchen at 8pm so I burn more fat at night
  • Reach my goal weight by eating Paleo and staying within my calories each day
  • Get my beauty sleep by getting 7-8 hours of sleep a night.

All I do is tap on the ones I do each day and I can see how I’m doing.  I kick ass at exercising 6 days a week for at least 30 minutes.  I think I keep it on there because it makes me feel good about having that one down!  But I totally suck at closing the kitchen at 8pm.  Haven’t gotten a decent streak going on that one yet.  It may be that I eventually reassess whether that’s right for me.  Maybe it becomes I eat only what I plan to have as a snack at night.  Or that I close the kitchen at 8pm 3 times a week and build from there, if it makes sense to.  You can use the awareness you gain through this process to tweak and tune as necessary for you.  And this is where I should point out that my "eat Paleo" habit actually started as smaller daily habits; things like cut back on dairy, limit sugar, eat real food, have a cup of hot tea a few nights a week instead of that glass (or two) of wine, etc.  It took me awhile to get to where I could just say "eat Paleo" and that not be an overwhelming number of changes at once for me.  In the past, I've had the very bad habit of all or nothing thinking.  Thinking that I had to do everything at once or not at all, and then giving up when it was all too much.  Start small!  

I have done something similar for each area of my life, habits I want to cultivate that are tied to my goals/life values.  There are small actionable items tied to my work, relationships, spiritual growth, mental growth/learning, and creativity.

The catch with all this though is that this is the turtle approach.  All of these things build on each other over time.   This isn’t a quick fix.  It’s a lasting one though.  The hare raced ahead, goofed off and was all over the place…way flashier than the consistent step by step of the turtle.  But we all know the smart, consistent turtle won in the end.

As you’re thinking about what you want in 2014, I hope you’ll keep all this in mind.  The pursuit of our goals is meant to make us feel good and live more fully on a daily basis.  The joy is in the journey.  Please keep it simple.  And PLEASE don’t be so hard on yourself…it’s just a behavior you want to change, not some kind of inherent flaw.

How do you go about changing your habits?  What tools or tips can you share?

If you would like some additional information on how I can help you reach your goals and have fun in the process, please contact me for a complimentary coaching session here.

Giving Thanks...For Work

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As we're giving thanks for our families, our faith, our health, our friends, the roof over our head, and all our many blessings, today I wanted to take time to give thanks for work.  We tend to give work a bad rap, but there is much to be grateful for.  So today I'm asking, what about your work are you thankful for?  When it is done with our whole heart, whether you're working in our out of your home, volunteering, a student still in school, or creating art – it is all a blessing and it is love made visible through your work.

 In no particular order, here are some of the things work has blessed me with:

  • I'm thankful for the people I've had the opportunity to meet and learn from. Thankful for the help so many have given me along the way.  Some are like family to me at this point.  I've been blessed to meet many, many wonderful, funny, smart, talented, amazing people along the way.  And for that I am incredibly thankful.
  •  I'm thankful for the challenges and opportunities to learn.  Through our work we become better people.  Every job I've had has taught me things that I've carried forward into other areas of my personal life and work.
  • I'm thankful for the opportunity to contribute.  Our work allows us to share our gifts.  Through our work we are able to touch the lives of others in ways we may never know.
  • I'm thankful for the compensation I've been paid for my work.  I'm thankful that it has allowed me to take care of and provide for myself and those I love.  I'm thankful for all that it has allowed me to give, see, do, and have.
  •  I'm thankful for my husband.  I first met him at work 18 years ago.
  • I'm thankful for the many laughs, fun and great memories.
  • I'm thankful for you.  Thank you for the work you do.  Thank you for showing up and giving your best, sharing your gifts with us.  

Today is the birthday of someone very special to me that I will be eternally grateful for, my grandfather.  He was one of the hardest working people I've known, and my gratitude to him for all that he did to bless me and so many others is beyond any words I'm capable of writing.  Thank you Popaw, this is dedicated to you and all that you taught me.  Louis M. Robinson - 11/27/1925-12/21/2004.

What about your work are you thankful for?

To do our best work, we must balance work, rest and play.  So don't forget to rest and play during this holiday.  I wish you and your family a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Flashback Friday: Authentic Success

Good Friday Morning!  I'll be sharing "flashbacks" to your favorite, most viewed blogs on Friday mornings.

What does Authentic Success mean to you?

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I've read the book Simple Abundance by Sahah Ban Breathnach off and on for years. I've given it as a gift many times.  I picked it up again recently and realized that the excerpt I'm sharing below are words I've aspired to since I started reading this daily meditation many years ago.  Authentic Success, as defined by you, is what I mean by True Success when I write:  Be You (Show Up) + You, Inc. (Shine) = True Success. 

I wish you much happiness and success!  Hope this excerpt from the book inspires you as much as it continues to inspire me. Enjoy! 

Authentic success is different for each of us.  No single definition fits all because we come in all sizes....

...Authentic success is having time enough to pursue personal pursuits that bring you pleasure, time enough to make the loving gestures for your family you long to do, time enough to care for your home, tend your garden, nurture your soul.  Authentic success is never having to tell yourself or those you love, "maybe next year".  Authentic success is knowing that if today were your last day on earth, you would leave without regret.  Authentic success is feeling focused and serene when you work, not fragmented.  It's knowing that you've done the best that you possibly can, no matter what the circumstances you faced; it's knowing in your soul that the best you can do is all you can do, and that the best you can do is always enough.

Authentic success is accepting your limitations, making peace with your past, and reveling in your passions so that your future may unfold according to Divine Plan.  It's discovering and calling forth your gifts and offering them to the world to help heal its ravaged heart.  It's making a difference in other lives and believing that if you can do that for just one person each day, through a smile, a shared laugh, a caress, a kind word, or a helping hand, blessed are you among women.

Authentic success is not just money in the bank but a contented heart and peace of mind.  It's earning what you feel you deserve for the work you do and knowing that you're worth it.....  Authentic success is not about accumulating but letting go, because all you have is all you truly need.  Authentic success is feeling good about who you are, appreciating where you've been, celebrating your achievements, and honoring the distance you've already come.  Authentic success is reaching the point where being is as important as doing.  It's the steady pursuit of a dream.  It's realizing that no matter how much time it takes for a dream to come true in the physical world, no day is ever wasted.  It's valuing inner, as well as outer, labor - both your own and others'.  It's elevating labor to a craft and craft to an art by bestowing Love on every task you undertake.

Authentic success is knowing how simply abundant your life is exactly as it is today.  Authentic success is being so grateful for the many blessings bestowed on you and yours that you can share your portion with others.

Authentic success is living each day with a heart overflowing.

Flashback to today, November 22, 2013.

So what does Authentic Success mean to you?  How do you cultivate it each day?  

I've recently started meditating for 15-20 minutes most days, and wow what a difference it has begun to make in my ability to stay present and connected to what is most important to me.

What is one small habit you could start today to cultivate your connection to and progress along your own authentic success journey?

Have a wonderful weekend!

Setting Boundaries This Holiday Season: When to Say "No" or "Not Now"

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The holidays are upon us and things are about to get very hectic.  As a matter of fact, for most, it's already started.  The holidays can be wonderful, but they can also be incredibly stressful.  Your social calendar and "to-do" list is much longer.  We find ourselves spending time with certain family members or around other stressed out people that can make even the saintliest among us lose it.  It's important that we set boundaries so we don't wake up January 1 sick, exhausted, broke and wondering what just happened. I found this Psychology Today article "When to Say 'No' or 'Not Now'"to capture an approach in a short, easy to apply manner.  Another great bit of advice I got for those times when you find yourself on the spot with a request to do something, attend an event, lead that committee, etc. is to say some appropriate variation of this:  "Thank you for thinking of me, let me check my calendar and I'll get back to you by Monday."  It's important to provide a commitment on when you will respond, both for yourself and the person asking.  But this gives you the time you need to take a step back and use what you'll read in this article.

What techniques or tips do you have for setting and maintaining boundaries?

I wish you and your family a very happy & healthy 2013 Holiday Season!!

http://www.psychologytoday.com/collections/201311/putting-thoughts-action/when-say-no-or-not-now

12 Valuable Questions to Ask in Your Next Interview

Image @ AnthonyBurrill.com

Image @ AnthonyBurrill.com

Any good interviewer will ask you at the end of the interview if you have any questions for them.  It is very important that you ask some great questions of your own.  You learn valuable information not just for the current interview, but knowledge that can also better prepare you for the next interview - whether the next interview is for the same job, for a different job with the same company, or for a completely different opportunity. By asking great questions you not only show interest in the company and how you can help them, but also allow yourself to get a feel for the company culture so you know whether it is a fit for you.  Remember, this isn't about finding any job, it is about finding the job that is the right fit for both you and the employer!  And then there is also the valuable insight you can gain about additional skills or experience you may need to better highlight or acquire for the role you're after.

The key here though is to ask great questions.  It is NOT about asking questions that you should know the answers to already (“What does the position entail?) or questions that make it all about you (“What is your vacation policy?”)

Here are 12 great questions you can to choose from for your next job interview. Obviously they're generic and will need to be tailored to your circumstances:

1) Who would make the ideal candidate for this position?

2) How will the work I’ll be doing contribute to the organization’s mission?

3) What did you like most about the last person who held this position?  What, if anything, do you think they could have done differently?

4) What are three ways I can contribute to the company beyond the job description?

5) How can I best contribute to the department’s goals?

6) How do you see this role contributing to the corporate culture and morale?

7) What do you see as the biggest challenges of working here and how can I overcome those challenges?

8) What are the key opportunities/challenges for you and the team right now?  

9) What are 3 things you want me to accomplish in the first 90 days?

10) What is your vision for where the company or department will be in one to two years? 

11) How can I best help you and the team succeed?

12) What do you love about working at (insert name of company)?

It is important to do your homework.  The more research you do in advance, the more specific questions can be about the company’s recent news, contracts, partnerships, blog posts, product launches, plans, etc. But here’s the bottom line:

Ask questions based on your genuine interest in the organization and how you can contribute to their success.

Are there any questions you would add?  What questions have you used in the past that have been helpful?  Or if you interview people, what are some great questions you've been asked?

Happy Job Hunting!  I know it can be brutal at times, but the right job for you is out there.  Stay positive and open to what you learn during the job search process, there's much to be gained from seeing it all as an opportunity to improve and grow.

New Beginnings

New day, new month, new beginnings.  Start.  Or start again.  Take the lessons you've learned and put the rest of the past behind you.  Start from here, today.  Whatever it is, just start today.  Have a great weekend! 

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Do You See What I See?

One of the lovely places in my neighborhood to run

One of the lovely places in my neighborhood to run

 I recently joined an online fitness group led by a beautiful, talented & motivating fitness coach (who also happens to be my super sweet cousin, @Niki Whiting Fitness check her out here).  The inspiring ladies in the group are all always sharing great ideas and fun pics, and so as I headed out for my run today I decided I would take a few pics to share with the group on this beautiful fall day.  What started out being something to give back a little of what these ladies give to me and hopefully make others smile, actually ended up being a wonderful reminder and made my run awesome today.

One of the things I like about getting out for a run, walk, or bike ride is that they are all a great way to slow down and see the world around me from a different perspective.  Still though, I can be on a run and get so caught up in what’s going on in my own mind that I don’t really see the world around me.  We all do this, heads down and so caught up in what’s going on in our heads that we miss out on wonderful real life moments happening all around us.

So the pictures I am sharing with you today are the ones I took for my group.  By slowing down and staying present to all that was going on around me, I became so much more grateful for life and all that I am blessed with.

I was seeing a lot of the same things I saw on the run I took Monday, but I was seeing it all with new eyes.  Things I realized I was taking for granted, or not seeing at all, because I was caught up in my own junk in my head.

Today I hope you’ll try this experiment and give yourself this gift.  Get off autopilot for a bit.  Slow down and really be present to what you are seeing and doing.  See “with new eyes”.  Look around like you don’t run that route every day, or make this drive to work, or see that person every day.  Don’t take it all for granted.

My favorite thing I saw today isn’t in the pics.  She was a grey haired lady sitting on a bench overlooking the field (in the pics) with her face angled up towards the sun, eyes closed, and a big grin on her face.  She made me grin too.  I would love to hear from you, what was your favorite thing you saw?  What did you appreciate or see in a whole new way by slowing down, getting out of your head and seeing “with new eyes” the world around you?

 

Pick your own blooms

Pick your own blooms

Lovely Church

Lovely Church

U-Bahn train leaving the Vaihingen Bahnhof

U-Bahn train leaving the Vaihingen Bahnhof

A Key to the Art of Packing & Life - Simplify

I pack a lot.  Over the years I’ve packed for trips to somewhere many, many times a year.  I’ve packed for long trips, short weekend trips, business trips, small town destination trips, big metropolitan city visits, snow skiing trips, mountain treks living out of a backpack, and nothing but a swimsuit, shorts & a sundress weekend at the beach kind of trips.  I like to think of myself as being near expert level at this point, but there are still times where I find myself with an enormous bag full of stuff that ends up being a pain to haul around.  

There are so many ways we can use packing as an analogy for life but today I’m focusing on what happens when I try to cram too many things into one trip. 

This past weekend we drove to the Alps to meet some friends from the US.  My girlfriend didn't want to go hiking so I was going to run on Saturday, in goes my running stuff.  I still very much wanted to be able to hike while there so I planned to do that with my husband on Sunday after our friends left in the morning, in went the hiking boots and clothes.  It was her birthday so I wanted to take them someplace nice for dinner on Saturday night...hmmm, better take those dressier clothes and shoes too.  And we're going to have a lot of just hanging out time so I need those flip-flops and casual clothes.  The weather is so unpredictable in the mountains I better take layers and my rain jacket.  And I really do hate how long it takes those hotel hair dryers to dry my hair, so what the heck, I'll throw in my full size hair dryer too.  My enormous backpack that I've lived out of for weeks (including food, shelter, water, etc.) was completely stuffed for a two night stay.  Hell, I did the entire 170 kilometers of the Tour du Mont Blanc with a backpack a third of the size of that pack.

It occurred to me as I was uncomfortably lugging my pack around (and getting grief from my husband about having to get it in our Mini Cooper with his and a friend's bags and hiking gear) that there is another bit of a life lesson in this packing business.

It’s very similar in life when I am trying to cram too many things in.  I'm trying to be too many things to too many people, cramming too many things into 24 hour periods.  I feel stretched too thin and not myself.  Yes I'll volunteer for that, run this business and partner in that one, while working on this new product offering, take these classes, sign up for this mastermind group, strive for domestic goddess like status (and let's be honest, this is just not in my DNA), work on my book, learn French, learn German, stay in touch (even with people who don't reciprocate?), travel often (and hey - I really should give travel writing a go), and I really need to do better, dig in and lose that last 10lbs! I won't go on because many of you are familiar with the insanity and even go way beyond what I can imagine with all the pressure you’re putting on yourself.

This all leads to being too busy and frazzled.  I'm out of my rhythm and things like exercise start to go by the wayside or I’m in zealot mode, overdo it and exhaust myself.  I make poor choices.  I’m tired.  Life becomes chaotic.  I start accumulating stuff I don't need to try to make myself feel better about the fact that I'm stressed and tired.  I'm late for meetings, missing time with people that are important to me.  I wake up one morning completely baffled and wondering what psycho thought this was all a good idea.  If I would just slow down, prioritize, and drop what isn't necessary life would be so much simpler.  Simplify, simplify, simplify and focus on what is truly needed and important.

It is a whole lot like the awkwardness and discomfort of lugging that overstuffed backpack around.  All of it only serves to encumber me, slow me down, make me cranky, and cause me to knock into things, or worse - people, when I turn around because I haven't gotten accustomed to how much space I take up with all this shit.  It all takes energy and space that should be freed up for more important things.  I miss out on life in the moment because I'm too busy bitching about how heavy it all is.

I bring it all on myself.  I'm the one packing the bag.  I get to choose what goes in and what stays out.  This is a truth that is hard to swallow sometimes but it is a fact.  We decide who and what we put in and keep out of our lives.  We have to be smart about what we pack for the journey we're on at the moment.  Maybe we can do it all, just not all at the same time.

I wrote the first part of this yesterday and have one more thought I would like to add.  I leave early tomorrow morning for a nine day biking trip through the Loire Valley to celebrate our 14th wedding anniversary.  Earlier this morning I was trying to figure out how best to pack.  I have a small bike bag on the back for my stuff.  We'll be having nice French dinners, biking all day and visiting beautiful chateaus.  I am super excited.  Packing for this is a challenge though.  I like to think of it as more of an art really.  I was also worrying over all I need to do before we go, getting myself good and stressed out.  And as I was sitting there worrying over it all I broke out laughing at myself.  What wonderful challenges to have!  I am so blessed.  Many of us are incredibly blessed to have several different opportunities and interests, wonderful people in our lives, our health we get to take care of and many amazing ways to learn new things and information.  I know there is a lot of bad in the world, a lot to take care of and worry about.  But there is a lot of good too.  There is so much to be grateful for when we stop, breathe and look around us.  We still need to plan and prioritize, to pack our lives appropriately according to what is most important to us right now, but what a gift and wonderful challenge to get to have.  We get to create our lives through the choices we make about what we'll do, who we'll do it with and how we'll do it.  So decide what kind of trip you want to be on right now, and pack your life accordingly.

Have a safe and wonderful Labor Day holiday!

Using P-A-R Statements: Not Just a Better Resume Writing Tool

We all want to make the most of the tools we have available to us in life, and using P-A-R statements is a handy simple one to have in your career tool box. Most of you are probably already familiar with using P-A-R statements on your resume, but just in case you haven’t heard of them or need a quick refresher let's start with an overview of what they are and how to write them.  Then we'll talk about other ways this tool can help you.

P-A-R statements are Problem-Action-Result, or sometimes called accomplishment, statements.  They reflect a situation or problem, your action and the result of those actions.  They show your qualifications and validate your experience.  By writing these types of statements in your resume, you are giving your potential employer a glimpse of the future contributions and benefits they will gain by hiring you.  It is best, if possible, to write the statement in quantifiable terms, using numbers, percentages, etc.  Here is a quick example of this from my resume when I was managing the team responsible for designing, building and delivering this project:

Delivered Small Business Internet Banking Application move from Vendor to In-House hosted solution on time and within budget. 

  • Company savings of $700,00 in first year, projected savings of $1MM in second year.
  • 100% availability with no Severity 1 incidents during the first 30 days in production.
  • Our in-house implementation reduced application downtime by 80% in the first 6 months.

  Now, to get you started on the path of using P-A-R statements, think about these questions:

  • What are you most proud of?
  • Were you requested to work on any special projects or take on additional responsibilities?
  • Did you improve any internal processes or procedures?
  • Did you design, create or implement any new programs?
  • Did you save the company money?
  • Did you win any awards or recognition?
  • Were you relied upon as an expert in any area(s) of expertise?
  • Did you exceed expectations?

 You can use this as a template for formulating your P-A-R statements:

Problem:

Your Action:

Results:

What obstacles did you overcome?

What skills and personality traits did you use?

So back to the very beginning, why did I say that this isn’t just a resume writing tool?  Because by doing this on a consistent basis you get very clear on the contributions you are making and the value you are adding.  Having this information in your “back pocket” better prepares you to ask for that promotion, negotiate the raise, get a new job, and/or request a spot on that important project.  Also, I can’t begin to tell you how much easier review time was when I had done a good job of keeping track of this type of information throughout the year.

One final thought on how to use this tool…if you are struggling with answering the questions above, it may be time to really assess your skills, career, network and professional development plan.  By doing this on a consistent basis you will gain insights into where to focus your efforts, as well as see where there are some possible gaps that need to be addressed.

What other ways can you think of that using this can help you?

Uncovering Your True Priorities

 

Want to know the secret to uncovering your priorities?  Finish this sentence:

I give most of my time to…. 

Please take a few minutes to stop and really think about this.  What did you do yesterday?  What did you give your time to this past weekend?  Last week?  Last year? 

What and who do you give most of your precious time to? 

Those things and those people are your priorities.  Are they what you want them to be?

On my “Getting to Know You” questionnaire I ask all of my new clients what they’re passionate about and what is most important to them right now.  And very often what they write down isn’t at all where they are giving most of their time.  We all get off course sometimes.  Life happens.  But when we are consistently giving our time to things that aren’t on OUR priority list we are dying a slow death on the inside.  And then we often eat, drink, say "yes" when we need to say "no", do busy work, or whatever else we can think of to distract ourselves from the fact that we’re letting our souls down.  We let the demands of others, what everyone else wants, what seems like a good idea at the moment, or what we think we should want take over our days.

Try changing your language and use "this is or isn't a priority".  How does it feel when you say "No, I'm not going to exercise and eat right, my health just isn't a priority right now."?  Or "No, I'm sorry I can't stay off my blackberry and give you my undivided attention through our dinner, what you have to say and this time together just isn't a priority."  Or "No, I'm sorry I just can't call you back or send you a quick e-mail sweetie, you're just not a priority."  It felt like a good swift kick in the stomach to me just writing those...because I've said those things before with my actions.  Versus "No, I can't take on this additional project right now, it isn't on the priority list."?  Or "No, I can't go to that event, it isn't a priority for me right now."  You get the idea...

It is time to start taking back your days if how you answer, “What are you passionate about?  What is most important to you right now?”, and “What do you give most of your time to?” doesn’t match up.  Even if you just start with carving out 30 minutes to an hour a day or a week for a priority you’ve been neglecting.

What (and who) will you give your precious, limited resource of time to?

Monday Morning Motivation

Good Morning - Happy Monday to you! 
Is there something you've been on the fence about? Something you keep saying you're going to do but keep putting off? Here's your sign (and mine), time to go get it. It's time. Take just one action today. Then another tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day. Build the habit, keep it simple, dig deep, let go of what needs to go. Honor that still, quiet voice within...it knows what you really want. You're worth it. Life is short. What are you ready to make happen?What is one small thing you can do today? 
I wish you a full (and by full I mean full of love, energy, laughter, light, creativity, contribution...), happy and wonderful week!

Monday Morning Motivation

A friendly reminder that I look at often. A little monday morning motivation. I hope all my US friends had a wonderful 4th of July holiday weekend. Maybe many of you were relaxing on the beach or are now. I hope you have taken or are planning a much deserved vacation to relax. A little time to reconnect with what is most important to you. To enjoy all the amazing beauty of this planet. Have a great week!

How Can You Inspire Someone Today?

We have the opportunity each day to inspire those we love, those we work with, and complete strangers with our actions.  We have the opportunity to be inspired by them as well.  Be on the lookout for opportunities to be inspired and to inspire this week.  Have a great week!

We Get Better At What We Practice

"So what are you practicing?

 

  • barely making deadlines
  • skeptically shooting down new ideas
  • being generous
  • doing art
  • grumbling
  • looking for opportunities
  • dreaming pipe dreams
  • giving useful feedback"

 

~From the book "The Icarus Deception:  How High Will You Fly?" by Seth Godin

I needed to read this today.  What we do on a consistent basis is what we are "practicing".  What we're practicing is what we're focusing on.  What we're focusing on expands.  I've been "practicing" these things:

 

  • running
  • complaining about the weather in Germany
  • writing
  • learning new things
  • begrudgingly doing things I don't want to and being REALLY cranky about it
  • drinking wine
  • travel
  • beating myself up because I haven't lost that last 10-15 pounds (possible cause - see wine bullet above)
  • being angry
  • cooking

 

I could go on, but as you see - it's a mixed bag.  I have some things that I am "practicing" and getting good at that I don't want to be good at.

What about you, what are you practicing?

The Art of Pushing Ourselves

"If we do not push ourselves enough, we do not grow, but if we push ourselves too much, we regress. What is enough will change, depending on where we are and what we are doing. In that sense, the present moment is always some kind of beginning."

~From the book Running with the Mind of Meditation: Lessons for Training Body and Mind by Sakyong Mipham

What I love about this quote is the reminder that we need to respect the dynamic nature of what is enough on any given day or time in our lives. Respecting ourselves enough to allow for the ebb and flow of what is possible today, accepting where we are and what the current priorities or demands are on our time.  It is a call for us to be in the present moment and honestly assess the situation so we know when to push and when to be still.  We need both.  By doing this we are ultimately always moving forward.

Where are you pushing too much?  Or not enough?  Are there any areas where you need to reset expectations given where things are today, in this moment and time?  How do you want to move forward from where you are in a specific area...is it time to push or to be still?