Category: Passion Coaching


A Simple Way to Make Big Decisions

Are you facing a big decision, unsure which direction to take or which option to choose? It could be career-related, such as the choice between two job offers. Or it could be more personal, like the choice between staying in a relationship or ending it. If only there was a simple way to make these difficult decisions! Well, maybe there is.

Notice I said “simple,” not “easy.” I’ve personally found a simple way to make some of my hardest decisions. But, it requires deep reflection and discipline to utilize it. I’ve used this same method in working with my clients to help them better face their own difficult decisions. Here’s how it ‘s worked for me, and how it can work for you.

Reflection

First, I had to come up with my own personal mission statement. I’d done a professional mission statement for my business, so why not a personal one just for me? I had to spend time reflecting on my core values, philosophy, and goals. Then I had to reflect on how I wanted to carry out those hopes and beliefs. This took some time and required me to be completely honest with myself and with God.

My personal mission statement:  To boldly pursue my passions and purpose, and to teach, encourage, and inspire others to do the same, resulting in lives overflowing with joy, peace, and fulfillment.

Discipline

Second, I had to remember to use my mission statement as a filter for all my choices. If the choice didn’t support my mission statement, it had to go. I had to be disciplined enough to make the decision my mission statement revealed to be the right one. No matter how difficult it would be.

For example, at the time I wrote my mission statement in late 2015, my friendship with my guy-friend was turning romantic. The relationship was great at first, but after nine months of dating, I noticed a pattern that had been developing for some time. This pattern wouldn’t make such a relationship sustainable if certain variables remained the same, which they did.

I wasn’t sure if I should end the relationship or give it another chance. After much prayer, I was reminded of my mission statement and why I’d written it. So, I pulled it out and started reading it. I immediately realized that the relationship didn’t support the life goals in my mission statement.

What I had to do.

Though I didn’t want to end the relationship, I had to in order to stay true and authentic to my God-given hopes. It wasn’t an easy thing to do because my heart didn’t feel like ending it. But my soul knew what was best for me in the long run. (This is why it’s dangerous to subscribe to the “just-follow-your-heart” advice of today’s culture.)

I had to be disciplined enough to push through my fickle emotions which were temporary, and focus on the decision that would make me happier and healthier down the road. Once I ended it, I received confirmation in so many forms (including red flags that weren’t previously present) and realized I had indeed made the right decision. Anytime I considered turning back, those red flags served as reminders as to why I had to stick to my decision.

What do you have to do?

Do you have a big decision in your life you soon have to make? Maybe it involves a move to a new state or a new country. Maybe it involves going back to school or ending a long-time friendship. Whatever decision you face, I encourage you to follow a similar process to see if it helps make things a little simpler. Not easier, just simpler. It may even make you stronger.

To learn how to write a mission statement that’s authentic to your true self, check out my on-demand program Personal Branding:  How to Know What Makes You YOUnique and AWEthentic. In this program I teach you how to determine your unique differentiators and how to write your own vision and mission statements.

Don’t Quit Your Daydream (Or Your Day Job)

I used to have a full-time job with benefits with a very prestigious university. I later quit to pursue my own business. However, it wasn’t so cut and dry. There were (and still are) a lot of layers to pursuing a dream of working for myself.

The process I went through looks a lot more realistic (and doable) than some of the mythical stories you hear these days about making the jump from working for a boss to becoming your own boss. This process can also spark some ideas for you to realistically make the jump too. It may even help ease some of your fears and concerns preventing you from taking the leap. Here’s my story that began about 10 years ago.

Don’t Quit Your Day Job

For the first time in my career as a college career adviser, my creativity was being stifled under new leadership. I was also experiencing a lot of micromanagement under this new leadership. I couldn’t continue to work under both conditions and had to start planning an exit strategy.

This strategy wasn’t to quit my day job. First, I started where most people start, looking for another job working for someone else doing the same thing elsewhere. Of course I wouldn’t leave my current job until I found my next job. But, I never found the right fit. Instead, I found opportunities that only served as an escape from my current situation. Not opportunities I could truly thrive in.

Ask yourself:

Are you just running to something that could possibly be worse than your current day job?

Don’t Quit Your Daydream

Next, I started listening to what my friends were telling me. They kept telling me I would be good at wardrobe styling. This was something I’d been daydreaming about for a long time. Wardrobe styling would definitely provide a creative outlet for me. But I still wanted to use the skills I’d developed as a career adviser over the previous eight to ten years. Those skills included interview coaching.

After giving it much thought and doing some research, I decided to start branding myself as an image consultant since image isn’t just about how you dress, but also how you present yourself in an interview. Specifically, I branded myself as an image consultant for up-and-coming recording artists here in Nashville. I knew there were a lot of young artists moving to town to pursue music who didn’t know how to present themselves to a label (which is basically a job interview) or in a media interview (I’d also had some past experience in media coaching too).

I went and got a business license. This is when it became real for me. But I still didn’t quit my day job. Not yet anyway.

Ask yourself:

Is there something people tell you you’re good at? Is it something you enjoy? Do you see a potential market for it?

Making the Shift

I worked on my branding efforts part-time while still working my day job as a career adviser. Following my own advice to my students, I also spent my spare hours networking with the few contacts I had in the music industry and growing my network. I attended as many industry events as I could and conducted informational interviews with several people in the music business, always asking for the names of two or three other people I should talk to.

For nine months I did this and my efforts began to pay off. I slowly began getting clients. I worked with those few clients on weekends, evenings, and any time I had off from my full-time job. Then, one of my networking contacts approached me about a part-time temporary job at his small label. This opportunity gave me somewhat of a safety net to leave my full-time job and pursue my business full-time. (This is just one example of why networking is so important!)

However, I still wasn’t hasty in my exit from my day job. Instead of giving two weeks’ notice, I gave 30 days’ notice because the policy was I could work for the university again in the future if I gave 30 days’ notice. But not if I’d only given two weeks’ notice. I wanted to keep as many options open in case things didn’t work out.

I used the three months for the temp job to increase my networking efforts in the music industry and promote myself to potential clients. This way I would have more lined up once the contract was up.

Ask yourself:

What are some small steps you can start taking toward your daydream? Are they things you can do around your day job? Who are some people you can start meeting and connecting with? Can you come up with some ideas for an eventual exit strategy from your day job? Do you have a potential safety net you hadn’t previously thought of?

Don’t Let Fear Overwhelm You

Once I was on my own, I was already getting used to working for myself and there wasn’t as much to fear as I would if I’d left my day job and then started a business. This isn’t to say I had no fear at all. A few days before giving my notice at my day job, I experienced my first (and luckily my only) panic attack.

Then, when the economy tanked in October 2008, less than two months after I’d left my day job, I started to get nervous. But, what I saw happening all around me was people being forced into becoming their own boss with no real planning or preparation. I was way ahead in that department because I’d already been preparing for nearly a year. And I already had some clients.

When I was short on image consulting clients, I supplemented my work with resume writing and career coaching services for those who’d been laid off and were looking for a new job.

Ask yourself:

Are you still having some fears about pursuing your daydream? Are these fears real or perceived? What are some ways you can calm your fears or put them into a different perspective? What would be the worst case scenario if those fears proved true? What’s the best case scenario?

Rely on Connections to Supplement Your Income

Throughout my time as an image consultant I continually made connections through networking which turned into additional ways to supplement my income with my growing business. While attending a fashion show, I met the president of a small design college who hired me to teach a class on image at the college for a semester. He also ended up publishing the 2nd edition of my first bestselling book, Advance Your Image, through the school’s small publishing company.

While attending an event at the Entrepreneur Center, I met someone who needed a contract employee with career advising experience to do outplacement counseling for his clients. I still do this work to this day because I get to make my own schedule and it’s the complete opposite of micromanaged work. I love it.

The connections I’d made through my original day job led to a part-time (10 hours/week) temporary job at another university, which unexpectedly turned into a part-time permanent position. I was hired to fill in for one semester while one of their employees was on maternity leave. But when she returned, they asked if I could stay on indefinitely. I got to make my own schedule so I could work it around my business.

Eventually they asked if I could work 20 hours a week. As much as I loved working at this university, I’d already put in so much blood, sweat and tears into my image consulting business that I couldn’t afford to take that much time away from it to work for someone else. So I decided to be fair to both myself and the university and leave so they could find someone who was able to give them the number of hours they needed.

Ask yourself:

Are there connections you have now in your current situation which could benefit you in the future? Are there connections you’d like to start making? What are some things you can fall back on when your daydream business is slow?

Be Willing to Shift Gears When Necessary

After leaving that part-time job, I realized I was burned out on seven years of image consulting and wanted to do something different. But what? I had no idea. I just knew I didn’t want to lose all the work I’d put into developing my brand.

Then a year and a half later I realized I still wanted to do career advising, but this time on my terms. (Click here for the story on how this realization came about.) I still wanted to be my own boss. And I wanted to keep the same name of my image consulting business. I was able to do both with a slight shift in my mission and an overhaul of my services.

Now, I offer unique career coaching services focusing on helping people discover and pursue their own passions. This includes helping them either find a new day job they’ve been daydreaming about, or helping them take the steps (not the leap) to becoming an independent freelancer or business owner. Whichever they’re most passionate about.

My business became more successful once I was willing to make this change. I was also able to see how the experience I gained and the tools I developed in my image consulting business fit nicely with my new mission and offerings.

Today, I don’t have to supplement my income anymore. Now, I get to do it simply for the love of the variety in my schedule and the love of the creativity it brings me. Unfortunately my time only lets me do one additional gig to my full-time daydream. But I’ve never been happier in my work.

No one is micromanaging me or stifling my creativity. I get to choose who I take on as clients and which projects I want to invest my free time into.

Ask yourself:

How can I start planning my exit strategy for my day job and my entry strategy to my daydream?

How I Did It

I started setting goals and then taking small steps toward achieving those goals. You can do this too with the on-demand program Don’t Just Set Goals, ACHIEVE Them. It’s the same plan I created for myself that can be easily adapted by anyone regardless of their own goals, passions, or daydreams. You can also get the complimentary hand out for the program when you subscribe to my newsletter at www.howtoachievemygoals.com.

I felt the need to share my path to where I am today as a Passion and Career Specialist after reading Brad Stulberg’s article on “hybrid entrepreneurship” and something called the “barbell strategy.”

Bottom Line:  You may want to pursue your daydream as your own boss but think it’s impossible. And it may be impossible for you if you simply quit your day job to follow your daydream. I want to serve as one of several examples of how doing it with an alternative strategy can now make it possible even for you. Probably more so than you ever imagined.

5 Ways to Discover New Passions in Your Life

Originally published on The Daily Positive.

Is it time for you to learn something new or try something again? Is there a place you’ve never visited? I challenge you to step out of your comfort zone, explore your surroundings, and talk to interesting people. Here’s how doing so can lead to new passions:

1. Try something new.

When we open ourselves up to new experiences, we discover passions we never imagined! If I was told three years ago I would be spending my free time stand-up paddle boarding down the river, I wouldn’t believe it. And if I was told this new passion would trigger a career change, I really wouldn’t believe it. This all came from taking a beginner paddle boarding class.

new passions

2. Try something old.

The first time I tried rock climbing I was horrible and thought I could never do it. A couple years later, I tried again, and surprisingly, I could! What was the difference? Just a little tweak in my approach. I listened to what an expert said about using my legs more than my arms. This made a huge difference!

Don’t assume because you failed at something once, you’ll fail again. Try a different approach!

3. Travel.

I know a woman who discovered a unique passion when she traveled to Italy. While there, she learned the time-honored art of bookbinding by hand. First, bookbinding became a hobby for her, and now it’s her full-time job! If she had never visited Italy, she may still be stuck in her previously miserable career.

New places or even a simple change of scenery can lead you down a path you never knew existed. You don’t have to travel far away, new passions can be discovered somewhere within driving distance too. 

4.  Pay attention to your surroundings.

When you pay attention to your surroundings, you’ll discover new opportunities for new passions to arise. Sometimes just inquiring about something that catches your eye can lead to a newly discovered passion.

Many cities and local colleges host community classes on topics within arts, languages, computers, etc. In the past, I’ve taken a photography class, an archery class, and even a fly-fishing class. I’ve also taught some classes! This year I plan to take a marketing class and a financial success class. Pay attention to the opportunities around you! 

5. Talk to people.

A few years ago a friend of mine and his girlfriend were traveling in Florida when they noticed a van with the picture of a stand-up paddle boarder on it. They inquired about it and discovered a place where they could learn to paddle board. The first day, they fell in the water several times but went back a second day to try again. They quickly became so passionate about this experience they decided to open their own paddle boarding company. They talked to everyone in the business to learn as much as they could. Nine months later, they opened their own paddle shop with much success! Their success happened just from expressing an interest and learning from the people around them.

Everyone has the opportunity to discover new passions. Find more ways to do so in the complimentary on-demand webinar 5 Ways to Pursue Your Passions in Work and Life.

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8 Simple Hacks to a More Passionate Life and Career

Life can often be mundane, causing you to feel stuck. Especially when you aren’t living and working in your purpose. So how can you become more passionate about your life and your work? How can you better enjoy both? By following these 8 simple life and career hacks:

1. Try again at a previously failed attempt.

Most people will suggest you try something new and I’m all for that. I’m a big believer in trying new things, whether it’s new food, a new hobby, or even something as simple as a new route to work.

But I also know it’s important to try something old. Especially something you once attempted and failed at before.

You may remember from my article 5 Ways to Discover New Passions, I shared how I failed at my first attempt at rock climbing and how something clicked after giving it a second chance. This gave me more confidence and a greater interest in the activity, resulting in physical improvement in my body.

What’s something you can try again? What would be the possible benefits of trying it again?

Source:  paNASH’s on-demand program, 5 Ways to Pursue Your Passions in Life and Work

2. Do one thing you can complete within 24-48 hours that will put you one step closer to achieving a long-term goal.

You can accomplish a large goal by taking a step-by-step approach. Incremental steps add up to big achievements. Simply doing one small thing each day will help you develop habits necessary to reaching your goal.

What’s one thing you can do today to get you closer to achieving your bigger goal? What’s one thing you can do tomorrow? Ask yourself these questions every day. Before you know it, you’ll have accomplished more than you thought you were capable of!

Source:  paNASH’s on-demand program, Don’t Just Set Goals, ACHIEVE Them!

3. Understand how your strengths and skills benefit others.

Knowledge of what you’re good at is power, especially when trying to win a job interview or get promoted. But knowing how your skills solve other people’s problems helps you better understand your purpose, not just in work but also in life.

Think about your strengths and skills you possess both within and outside of your job. How do they benefit others?

For example, my top spiritual gift is encouragement. I use this strength in so many aspects of my life, including my work, my interactions with friends, and when learning alongside others. I’ve been fortunate to see how this gift helps people gain the courage to pursue their passions.

Source:  paNASH’s on-demand program, Personal Branding: How to Know What Makes You YOUnique and AWEthentic!

4. Update your resume every 6 months, even when you’re not looking for a job.

Because of my background as a career coach, I’ve helped thousands of people with their resumes. I always tell them the same thing:  keep your resume updated every six months.

Why? 1) Because you never know when someone will ask for a copy of it. 2) You never know when another career opportunity or promotion will come your way. 3) It’s easier to remember what you’ve accomplished in the past six months than in the past six years if you find yourself in another job search down the road.

Source:  paNASH’s on-demand program, Resumes That Get You the Interview

5. Ask 3 people who have your dream job how they got to where they are.

These conversations can open your mind up to ideas and opportunities you never before considered! Listen carefully to their stories while asking a lot of good questions. Learn not just from their successes but also from their failures.

You may find there wasn’t a straight line to their career path. There rarely is for most people. This can give you confidence to pursue a new career path despite lack of formal education or direct experience.

Take their encouragement and advice. Put it into action to see how far you can go in the direction of your personal and professional pursuits.

Source:  paNASH’s on-demand program, The Secret to Successful Networking: How to Do It Naturally and Effectively

6. Make a list of questions you’d ask if you were interviewing the interviewer.

People often forget the job interview is a two-way street. You should always ask questions to help you make the right decision when faced with multiple offers.

Besides money, think about the things you’d need or want in your next job. They could include similar core values, a flexible schedule, a culture that promotes “family first,” healthy living, etc.

Formulate a few questions you’d need to ask to determine if your next opportunity will provide those things. Make sure to ask these questions in your next job interview, along with the other type of questions I outline in my Quora answer to “What are some interview hacks?”

Here’s what one of my clients experienced when she did this:

“One of the companies I interviewed with I decided not to accept any offers from them based on their answers to my questions so as not to get myself into the same work situation I was in previously. It is SO empowering to know what is good for me and to be able to say no! I have the tools now to spot the red flags and this has been helpful on several interviews. I am so glad to have this confidence.”

Source:  paNASH’s on-demand program, Steps to Acing the Interview

7. Start a collection of your best work.

Curate a collection of your best work both from your job and your outside projects. This can include personal things you’ve made (i.e. a book, a painting, etc.), and the projects your most proud of from your job.

Your body of work will help you see how your skills overlap. But most of all, it will reveal your own career path thus far and where it might be pointing to next.

Source:  paNASH’s on-demand program, The 3 Super Powers of Successful Job Seekers

8. List the ways you’ve impacted the bottom line in your job.

When you’re working on hack #4, always include your on-the-job accomplishments and results of your efforts. By focusing on results and not just your job duties, you’re able to easily see where you’ve had an impact, giving you a greater sense of purpose.

Also, it helps you confidently discuss your worth when it comes time to negotiate a new job offer, a promotion, or a pay raise.

When you follow these life and career hacks, you’ll start to see ways to become unstuck. Soon you’ll be living a more passionate, vibrant, and productive life!

Source:  paNASH’s on-demand program, Make More Money, Without Taking a Second Job

Lori Bumgarner is a passion and career specialist and owner of paNASH, a Nashville-based career coaching service. She helps people discover their passions, achieve their goals, and find purposeful work they love. She addresses each of the above hacks in depth in her new affordable on-demand coaching programs delivered online. To access these programs and view them at your own pace, go to:  www.yourpassionilife.com/ondemand.

How to Think Like an Entrepreneur (Even When You’re Not One)

I came across this YouTube video and thought it was the perfect follow-up to last week’s paNASH blog post How to Avoid Technological Unemployment. This guy is hilarious, but what he says in 3 minutes is so true:

As he says, of the 15 million new jobs created between 2009 and 2017, 94% were freelance jobs. You yourself may not be a freelancer or entrepreneur now. But by the year 2020, 40% of the workforce will be independent workers, according to a study conducted by Freelancers Union.

Will you know how to create your own job and be your own boss if future reality requires it? Will you welcome the opportunity as a way to finally pursue your passion?

Why You Need the Skills of an Entrepreneur (even if you’re not one)

Even if you never become an entrepreneur, you’ll still need to think like one to gain future employment. With more companies downsizing, competition will get fiercer. It’s already true you need to be a salesman of your skills. And employers are already hiring for the skills listed in the video above.

The 8 Skills Everyone Needs to Make a Living

Let’s look at each of those skills and how paNASH’s new on-demand coaching programs help you develop them:

  1. Salesmanship. In Steps to Acing the Interview and The 3 Super Powers of Successful Job Seekers, you’ll learn how to sell your skills and abilities in an authentic way that matters most to employers and potential clients.
  2. Likeability. In The Secret to Successful Networking: How to Do It Naturally and Effectively, you’ll learn how to make networking a more pleasant experience. Especially if you’re an introvert. It’ll teach you how to network more comfortably and naturally, in return making you more likeable.
  3. Negotiation. In Make More Money Without Taking a Second Job, you’ll learn how to negotiate a larger salary, a pay raise, or a promotion.
  4. Public Speaking. In Personal Branding: How to Know What Makes You YOUnique and AWEthentic, you’ll learn how to find your authentic voice and develop your message for your audience. Your audience could include employers and hiring recruiters, potential clients, and more.
  5. Communication. Also in Personal Branding, you’ll learn how to clearly communicate your “WHY” and your “HOW” of what you do.
  6. Writing. In Resumes That Get You the Interview, you’ll learn how to write a clear, concise and effective resume that will be seen and be given full consideration.
  7. Creativity. The on-demand programs like 5 Ways to Pursue Your Passions in Life and Work encourage you and provide you a safe place to explore your passions and creativity.
  8. How to come up with and how to execute ideas. The Don’t Just Set Goals, ACHIEVE Them! program teaches you how to set, execute, and achieve your goals and ideas.

If you learn these skills now, you’ll be able to pursue your passions and make your own money with your own resources. Or you’ll be able to market yourself to a job working for someone else doing something you love.

Invest in Yourself

One way to begin is to invest in yourself. Take the money you’d spend on some new clothes or the latest tech gadget and put it toward some classes. This could include some continuing ed classes or online classes.

It could also include the new on-demand programs offered by paNASH. These programs are easily accessible, affordable (some are even free!), and allow you to work at your own pace. They’re designed to teach you how to market your new skills to a new employer or as a lifestyle entrepreneur to potential clients. What are you waiting for?