Category: Pursuing Your Passions


What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up?

What do you want to be when you grow up? It’s a question we all got when we were children.

My own answers to that question were all over the place and would change pretty frequently.

In trying to remember what my answers were, I’m sure I probably said any of the following on any given day: a teacher, an author, a businesswoman, an artist, etc.

But the only one I distinctly remember being the most sure about was a fashion designer. That was after my grandmother gave me some Fashion Plates for Christmas one year.

 

I loved my fashion plates and enjoyed the creativity of them. They made me want to learn how to really sketch clothing designs by hand. 

Ask yourself:

What did you want to be when you grew up? What do you still want to be?


So when I got to high school I decided to take art all four years to learn how to sketch. 

That is until I got into my first year of art where I ditched the idea of becoming a fashion designer (or an artist) after my art teacher made my life a living a hell. 

She was such a rigid woman, too rigid to be teaching anything that’s supposed to be creative. Her teaching methods and personality made me never want to take another art class again.

Ask yourself:

Has there ever been a person or an experience in your life that was so negative it turned you off from what you wanted to be when you grew up? How did that affect you?


So next I looked to the subject I was enjoying the most at the time…beginner-level Spanish. I really loved it and thought I’d like to eventually major in foreign languages once I got to college. 

But then came Spanish II, which was really difficult for me, much more than Spanish 1 where I was making all A’s.

Ask yourself:

Have you ever lacked the skill or ability to be the thing you wanted to be when you grew up? How did you shift your focus?


Finally, I discovered psychology…which changed everything for me.

I found psychology so interesting, and my understanding of it came naturally to me. It was becoming my passion.

Ask yourself:

What comes naturally to you? What are you passionate about?


But when I announced to my family I was going to study psychology as my college major, they weren’t as enthusiastic about it as I was.

I kept hearing, 

“Oh, how in the world are you going to make any money with THAT kind of degree?”

My dad said I should major in business (his passion)…because I’d make more money.

My mother said I should be a nurse…because I’d make more money.

Even my brother chimed in and said I should be an accountant because, again,… I’d make more money.

Ask yourself:

Did anyone ever try to discourage you from becoming what you wanted to grow up to be? How did you respond?


So why didn’t I listen to any of my family members? Several reasons:

  1. I can’t stand the site of blood. And I can’t stand the smell of a hospital. Hearing people talk about their surgeries or ailments literally makes my skin crawl.
  2. I’m completely bored with math and number crunching. While other people find numbers fun and fascinating, I do not.
  3. Business didn’t interest me at the time. At least not enough for me to have done well in business classes.
  4. I get good grades when I’m studying something I find interesting. If I’m the one who has to take the classes and do the homework, the material has to keep me awake.
  5. Loving what I do is more important to me than making a lot of money.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand why choosing a career path that paid well over choosing one I loved was important to my parents. 

They were both born in the late 1930s, still early enough to have felt some of the long-term effects of the Great Depression. 

Their parents drilled into them the importance of being financially secure in the event of another depression, so they were just doing what they thought was best for me by trying to encourage me into fields considered more lucrative.

My brother is a lot older than me. In fact, he’s closer in age to my dad’s generation than he is to mine. Therefore, his mentality has also been “get a job that pays well regardless of whether you like it.”

Ask yourself:

Is there something you’re passionate about even though it may not make you a lot of money? Which is more important to you?


I stood firm in my decision to major in psychology (and minor in sociology), did well in all my psychology classes, and made the dean’s list several times.

It wasn’t until the summer between my junior and senior year that I knew what I wanted to do with my degree.

That summer I had been an orientation leader at my alma mater and had also been working the previous two years in the Provost’s office as a student worker.

I loved the college atmosphere, loved working with incoming students, and had developed a strong understanding of the organizational structure of a university.

I decided to ask my Dean of Students how do I get a job like his? (This was my first time conducing an informational interview and had no idea at the time that was what it was called.)

He explained I would need a master’s degree in a field I had no previous idea existed. I started researching graduate programs in higher education administration and student personnel services. 

Ask yourself:

Have you explored a career path that was previously unknown to you? What is it? What have you learned about it? What else do you want to learn about it?

The more I found out, the more I realized my psychology degree was the best foundation for what I would study in graduate school. 

In fact, much of what I learned in grad school was just an extension from undergrad.

Unlike my fellow grad students who came from other majors like finance and business, I already had familiarity with a lot of the theories and material.


Once I had decided on higher education as a career path, I still had to narrow down what area of higher ed I wanted to go into. 

My degree was readying me for so many possibilities.

I could go into financial aid, housing/residential living, Greek life, admissions, orientation, career services, academic advising, first-year programs, student activities, study abroad, international student services, and on and on.

Ask yourself:

Do you sometimes have so many career options or career interests you find it hard to narrow down your choices? 

I narrowed my choices down into three areas based on the ones that interested me most: orientation programs, freshman year experience programs, and career services. 

I delved into those three areas by gaining practical experience through internships, volunteer work and special projects while finishing my degree.

It was while volunteering in the university’s career center I knew I wanted to help students figure out what they wanted to be “when they grew up” based on their own interests and passions instead of their parents’ wishes.

Ask yourself:

Has a previous personal experience inspired you to a career helping others facing the same experience?


After earning my masters, I went on to be a college career adviser at various universities and even held the title of director of career services at one time. 

I also got to teach some college level courses.

I loved what I did. 

My job even allowed me to use my creative side in developing career-related programs for my students.

But when my creativity began to be stifled, I decided to make a bit of a career change and started my own image consulting business (click here to read the story on how that happened).

Ask yourself:

Have you ever felt so stifled or burned out in your career you knew you were ready for a change?


For 8 years I worked independently as an image consultant but in that time I also continued to do career coaching on the side. 

The image consulting fed my childhood interest in fashion since it included some wardrobe styling work. 

And I even became an author when I released my first book, an Amazon #1 bestseller about image and style.

Then, after 8 years of image consulting, I was ready for another career change, but also a bit of a return to my roots.

I became an independent career coach with a focus on helping people discover and pursue their passions.

Ask yourself:

Have you ever had a yearning to go back to something you once did before?


It’s an interesting story how I shifted my image consulting business back to a career coaching focus (click here to read that story).

I knew I wanted to go back to career coaching but I had two requirements for myself:

  1. I still wanted to work for myself, so I avoided applying for jobs at college career centers. Instead I re-structured my business’s mission.
  2. I wanted to work with people going through mid-career transitions with a focus on helping them pursue their passions and the things they once wanted to be when they grew up.

My background and own personal experiences have served me well in accomplishing those two goals. 

Ask yourself:

What are some of your career goals? What are some of your “must haves” for your work? How has your background prepared you for your goals?


Unlike most other career coaches, I didn’t just decide to be a career coach after having worked in another industry. Career coaching has been part of my entire career.

It has evolved out of a combination of childhood interests, natural gifts and talents, and passion. 

And it has taken some exciting twists and turns along the way.

I’m thankful there’s been more than just one way to pursue my passion. 

I’m also thankful my current situation allows me to combine some of my other passions like writing and stand up paddle boarding with my work as a career coach. 

And I love helping others find unique and creative ways to pursue and combine all the passions they have, helping them become some of the things they always wanted to be when they grew up.

Ask yourself:

What are some ways you can pursue your own passions? How can you combine your passions? What steps will you take next to do so?

Subscribe to my newsletter and receive a complimentary 8-Step Goal-Achievement Plan to help you start taking the next steps to becoming what you want to be when you grow up (again)!

 grow up

How to Hack Your Way 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.

I remember what that felt like for me.

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 post 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: 5 Ways to Pursue Your Passions in Life and Work: How to Overcome Obstacles + Achieve Job Search Success


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: 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 also 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: 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: Resumes That Get You the Interview: Little Known Tips to Get Your Resume Noticed


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: 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: Steps to Acing the Interview and Reducing Your Interview Anxiety


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: The 3 Super Powers of Successful Job Seekers: Stand Out Above Your Competition


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.

Source: Make More Money, Without Taking a Second Job


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!

For more life and career hacks, subscribe to the paNASH newsletter and receive a complimentary 8-Step Goal-Achievement Plan.

career hacks

How to Know When Passion Is Knocking On Your Door

I recently responded to a Quora question asking,

“How do you know if you’ve discovered your passion?”

Sometimes you find your passion, and sometimes your passion finds you. But in either case, you’ll be able to hear it knocking by listening for these eight clues:


1. If you’re so engaged in it you lose track of time.

How many times have you been working on something and looked up and saw two hours had passed before you realized it?

What were you doing in those two hours?


2. If you’re energized by it, as opposed to being emotionally and/or physically drained by it.

Now, of course there will be times when you’re tired from working in your passion. But usually it’s a good kind of tired.

Be sure to get your rest though. While hustle is good, you need to make time to re-energize so you don’t burn out.


3. If you’re at peace with it instead of stressed out by it.

This doesn’t mean you won’t ever get stressed while working in your passion. But if there’s far more peace than stress, you’ve probably found your passion.


4. If you’re willing to do it for free.

Don’t misunderstand me. If your passion is something you’re hoping to make a career out of, you definitely need to get paid what you’re worth.

While in the beginning you may need to do some free work to build up your portfolio, you eventually need to start charging for your expertise when there becomes a demand for it.


5. If you forget to eat.

This one is an easy clue for me personally. If I find myself skipping or delaying a meal for something, I know I must really be really passionate about it!

But just like you need enough sleep to be healthy, you also need to maintain a balanced diet to keep your passion productive.


6. If you wake up in the morning looking forward to it.

Since I started working for myself in pursuit of my own passion, I no longer dread Monday mornings.

In fact, I actually look forward to them!


7. When it doesn’t feel like work.

I’m very passionate about my work, but it often doesn’t feel like work. When that happens, sometimes it’s hard for me to take a break from my work.

But again, balance and moderation in everything is what keeps me productive and helps me avoid burn out.

Being a workaholic is not healthy, nor is it necessary. We all need to stop falling for the glorification of workaholism and busyness.


8. OR, when at times it does feel like work.

Even if it does feel like work but you’re willing to persevere and push through the tough times instead of just giving up or quitting when it gets hard, you’ve probably found your passion.

There have been numerous times of challenge in pursuing my own passions, but I never had a desire to give up no matter what the challenge was.

This is the true definition of passion.


Designing Your Life

In addition to (and in overlap of) the above, the authors of Designing Your Life (Bill Burnett and Dave Evans) pose the question,

“What things in your daily routine make you feel all (or most) of the following?”
  • Complete involvement in an activity.
  • Euphoria/joy.
  • A clear idea of exactly what to do and how to do it.
  • Calmness and peace.
  • Time is gone before you know it.

Burnett and Evans refer to this as “flow,” or in other words, total engagement. Flow feels more like play than work, and it includes not being concerned about the outcomes of what you’re engaged in.

Fear of Failure

I consider a lack of concern about the outcomes to be a willingness to fail and to learn from that failure.

But there are some people who allow their fear of failure to put a damper on their passions and they never end up pursuing those passions.

Let’s cut to the chase. The fear of failure will always be there. You just have to decide if your fear of never knowing what would’ve happened is greater than your fear of failure.

I hope it is, because if you let fear of failure win, you’re not only missing out, but so are all the people who could benefit from your passion.


Need help recognizing and pursuing your own passions? Subscribe to my newsletter and receive a complimentary 8-Step Goal-Achievement Plan to help get you started!

passion

How to Overcome Negative Self-Talk Like an Olympian

Like most people, I’ve been watching the Olympics the past week and a half. It’s the best way to witness people’s pursuit of their passions in action. 

What I love most about the Olympics and sports in general is the inspiration and encouragement it provides for everyone who has a passion and a dream.


You’re Never Too Old…

The stories I’m most inspired by are the ones where the athlete has competed in numerous Olympics over the years.

In this winter Olympics, there’s 45-year-old Japanese ski jumper Noriaki Kasai who now holds the record with EIGHT STRAIGHT Olympic appearances. 

Kasai says he also plans to compete in the 2022 Olympics as he approaches age 50.


But it’s the story from the 2016 Olympics that I love most.

It’s of the Uzbekistan gymnast Oksana Chusovitina. 

At the time, Oksana was 41-years-old competing in her seventh Olympics (and she still hasn’t ruled out Tokyo!) in a sport where as young as 21 is considered “old.” 

Oksana is my “shero” because she and I are almost the same age (I’ve got a year on her), and she doesn’t let her age be an obstacle to her dreams and her passions.

Most people in her position would tell themselves they are “too old.” 

Too old for what? 

Tell that to the 85-year-old woman I met while volunteering for the Senior Olympics. 

By the time she’d made it to the event I was working, she had already competed and medaled in NINE other events over the previous three days.


…Or Too Young

On the flip side of this, I was recently working with a new client who shared with me that one of her self-talk limiting beliefs (a perceived obstacle) is she is “too young.” 

I found this surprising coming from someone who works as an actress, also a career where time and age are against you. 

My response was, “too young for what?” 

When I delved deeper into where this limiting belief came from, I discovered she suffers from the same thing I do: 

“youngest-sibling-syndrome”

I describe this phenomenon as never feeling adequate because your oldest sibling is there to remind you that in their eyes you’re still just a baby and have nothing meaningful to contribute to the world.


Age Is Just a Number

The point is though, age is just a number. 

We have the choice to let our circumstances, others’ opinions, or even our own negative self-talk control our lives. 

Or, we have the choice to be inspired and moved by the examples of those who ignore all the “you can’t because of your age” talk and say to themselves, 

“I can, even if I fail in my attempt.”


From the judges’ perspective, Oksana failed miserably in her landing of her vault. 

Upon landing so hard she ended up going into a flip on the mat. 

From my perspective though, she should’ve gotten extra points for the extra flip. For making such a failed landing look so graceful!


Change Your Limiting Beliefs and Your Negative Self-Talk

If you have a God-given desire to try something you or others may consider you to be either “too old” or “too young” for, ask yourself these questions:

  • What is this limiting belief keeping me from?
  • What would be the worst-case scenario if I keep believing this?
  • How can I turn this belief around to a more positive statement?
  • How can I benefit from believing the more positive statement?
  • What would be the best-case scenario if I start believing the positive statement?

I encourage you to be as honest as possible in your answers. As you answer each question, you’ll see how you can turn your negative self-talk to positive self-talk.


How to address your limiting beliefs is just one of eight steps in my 8-Step Goal-Achievement Plan. To get all eight steps, subscribe to the paNASH newsletter and receive a free download.

negative self-talk

Get Unstuck! How to Know When It’s Time to Invest in a Career Coach

We all eventually find ourselves at a career crossroads at one time or another. We’re either sick of our jobs and itching for something new, or we find ourselves no longer needed in a job we love.

In those times we need some clarity and vision on the next steps of our career path.

In fact, you’ve probably heard that most people change their careers (not just their jobs) SEVEN times in their lifetime. For some of my clients, that number is even higher.

fork in the road

Navigating these career crossroads usually requires the advice and assistance of a career coach. How do you know when it’s time to invest in a career coach?

#1 When you need a job.

The most obvious time is when you’re in the throes of a job search and you’re looking for work related to your experience.

There are a lot of new, unwritten rules of the job search that only career coaching can show you how to maneuver. In fact, if you just rely on the information on the internet, you’re relying on information that’s about as old as the internet itself and is highly outdated.

A career coach can help you learn the new rules of the job search and provide personalized advice specific to your unique situation that no web site can provide.

#2 When you’ve been (or might be) laid off or fired.

“Never assume you’re not at risk of losing your job. Even if your company is growing and promises to be loyal to you. Business is business and things change. If your company doesn’t provide you any outplacement services or career coaching, you may want to invest some severance money into career coaching so you can find your next opportunity quicker and learn how to negotiate a higher salary. Learning such skills will pay for any coaching expenses, and then some.” (from “Want More Job Security? Do This One Simple Thing.”)

You may not need a job, until you lose yours. I’ve written several posts before on job loss.

When you’re forced to find a new job, what I shared in #1 applies in this situation as well. However, there are additional needs when a job loss is involved.

First, there’s a more emotional element that must be tended to – the grief some experience that comes with the loss of a job.

Then, in the case of a firing, there’s need for improvement in certain areas in order to “fire-proof” yourself in the future.

Finally, there’s figuring out what skills you need to update or add to your skillset to make you more marketable in the job market. This is especially true if you’re mid- to late-career and may face potential age discrimination.

#3 When you’re contemplating a career change to another role or industry.

You may find you’re bored with what you’ve been doing and want to explore something new and different.

Career coaching can help you determine what your transferable skills are and what other industries or job functions those skills easily transfer to. It can also teach you how to market those transferable skills so you can open the eyes of recruiters and hiring managers to your potential.

#4 When you want to grow in your career but feel stuck.

“Career coaching isn’t just for leaving your company. If you like where you work, coaching services can also help you advance in your company if that’s your goal.” (from “Want More Job Security? Do This One Simple Thing.”)

You love what you do but you want to see growth. Whether that’s in the form of more responsibility, more money, a bigger title, more purpose, etc.

But what if growth isn’t coming as quickly as you’d like and you feel stuck? Career coaching can provide you an actionable plan to help you grow at a more rapid pace than before.

#5 When you’re wanting to leave your current job to work for yourself.

You’re tired of working your butt off to make someone else rich. Or, you would just like to be able to set your own schedule and have more work-life balance.

Career coaching can help you determine if you have what it takes to go out on your own. It can help you determine if freelancing, consulting, or creating a start-up is the next best step or not.

It can also give you the confidence to do so in the face of the fears you’ll experience when stepping out on your own.

#6 When you’re reentering the job market after an extended leave of absence.

Reentering to the job market can also be just as scary. And, as I mentioned in #1, the rules of the job search may have changed since you last had to find something new.

Career coaching can help you not only explain, but also market your time away as an advantage to an employer.

Are You Facing a Career Crossroads? Is It Time For You to Invest In Some Career Coaching?

“It’s better to already have some career insurance in place if and when an issue arises, than to not have it and wish you did.” (from “Want More Job Security? Do This One Simple Thing.”)

Can you relate to any of the above scenarios? Each has their own unique challenges. Challenges you don’t have to face alone.

paNASH offers a variety of resources and career coaching services to choose from, including:

  • Free 8-Step Goal-Achievement Plan when you subscribe to the paNASH newsletter.
  • Free blog posts to provide you tips for a successful job search.
  • Affordable video resources available on-demand allowing you to work at your own pace to improve your resume, interviewing skills, and more.
  • Personalized coaching services designed to help you pursue your passions and find work that gives you purpose and opportunities for growth.

To find out more about how you can benefit from career coaching, sign up for a complimentary initial consultation.

Taking this first step could mean the difference between staying stuck in your current work situation or getting unstuck and pursuing your next exciting career endeavor.

get unstuck