Tag: career coaching


Quiz: Do You Really Need to Spend Money On a Career Coach?

Or Do You Just Think You do?

Hiring a coach to help you improve your career can be very useful. But it can also be a big expense. Since I work as a career coach, I know what the cost can be.

Not everyone can afford it. Some can’t afford not to get coaching (since the services can help them increase their salaries). And for others it will be a complete waste of their money.

For this reason, I don’t take on every client.

I actually turn clients away if from our initial consultation it’s evident they’re not going to benefit from coaching.


When hiring a career coach is a waste of money

Signs that coaching will be a waste of money for someone include:

  • Their unwillingness to learn something new.
  • A negative attitude.
  • An expectation that I’m going to do the work for them (i.e. write their resume for them, find a job for them).
  • An inability to receive constructive feedback.
  • Only doing it because of pressure from someone else instead of doing it for themselves

(If any of the above describes you, don’t waste your money! If it doesn’t describe you, keep reading for the main quiz.)


Just to give you an idea of what I’m talking about, let me share a little story with you.

Early in my business I had a potential client reach out to me wanting my services. We’ll call him Steve.

I scheduled an initial consultation with Steve to discuss his needs and determine if he was a good fit for my services and vice versa.

When I met with Steve, I asked him,

“What’s brought you to the point that’s made you seek out a career coach?”

Steve’s response:

“Well, I haven’t been working for the past couple of years and my girlfriend is tired of me mooching off of her, so she made me call you.”

(Red flag #1: he’s doing it for someone else instead of for himself.)


While trying to uncover additional information about Steve to help me determine fit, he continued to push his resume in front of me trying to get me to give him a free resume critique on the spot.

The more I tried to reiterate the purpose of the meeting, the more it became obvious he just wanted me to “fix” his resume for him (at no cost to him).

(Red flag #2: he has an expectation of getting something for nothing and not having to do any work on his part.)


Once Steve realized I wasn’t going to critique his resume for free, he said (in a rather negative, cynical tone):

“Well, how important is a resume any way?”

(Red flag #3: he has a negative attitude and is showing another sign he’s not willing to take responsibility for his part of the process.)

The response I was thinking in my head: “In a job search? Pretty darn important!”

It was obvious from Steve’s attitude that not only would coaching have been a waste of his money, it would’ve also been a waste of his time and mine.


Luckily, I’ve had very few potential clients quite like Steve.

In fact, the clients I’ve ended up working with have brought me so much joy and vice versa.

I firmly believe that’s because I don’t take on every client. Instead, I have a vetting process in place that allows me the chance to determine if my coaching program is going to be a good experience for everyone involved.


Sneak Peak

Once I determine the potential client is a good candidate for my coaching programs, then I help him or her decide if coaching will be a good investment.

I do this by asking questions and often walking the candidate through a list of statements to see which ones apply to his or her current situation.

So for the sake of this post, I’m going to give you a sneak peak to part of my vetting process.

Below I’ve turned my list of statements into a little quiz. You may want to print the list out as a hard copy so you can participate in the quiz.

Once you have a hard copy of the list of statements, mark each one that applies to you right now.


The Quiz

  • You’re dissatisfied, frustrated or unhappy with your current life or work situation and feel stuck.
  • There’s a gap between where you are and where you want to be.
  • You’re not exactly sure what you want to do next in your career and need guidance.
  • You know what you want but aren’t sure where or how to start and need direction.
  • You want a job you love and enjoy at least 60% of the time.
  • You’ve tried several things, but nothing’s worked.
  • You know if you don’t do something, things won’t change or you’ll miss out on “what could’ve been.”
  • You’ve already mastered one area of expertise and you’re bored and ready for the next challenge.
  • You want to move from talking about your passion to actively pursuing it.
  • You know what you need to do, but you lack confidence.
  • You want to avoid the same mistakes other people have made.
  • You need unbiased and objective advice your friends or family can’t provide.
  • You need someone to show you your blind spots.
  • You’re committed to improving your life and/or work.
  • You’re ready to put yourself high on your priority and values list.
  • You’re willing to make an investment in your happiness.
  • You accept that a 30-day to 90-day commitment is a small investment for long-term change.
  • You know no one else can do this for you.
  • You’re open to new ideas, new routines and new mindsets.
  • You know change starts with you.
  • You’re willing to do or try something different for a new result.
  • It’s costing you more (either financially, emotionally, or physically) to stay stuck where you are, than it’ll cost you to invest in coaching services.

How do you know coaching is for you?

If you found seven or more statements that describe you or your current situation, then coaching will likely be an investment and a benefit for you instead of a waste of money.

In fact, if you even made it to the end of this post and are still reading this, I’d say your level of readiness is pretty high.

At this point, it’s just a matter of finding a coach that is a good fit for your specific career goals and your personality.

My career coaching services focus on helping infuse passion into your work.

While this often attracts a lot of creative types (especially since I’m currently based in Nashville — a very creative town in more ways than one), I work with people with diverse passions from different industries and geographic locations.

Other career coaches will have other niches that might better fit your needs.

You just need to do a little research to find the best coach for you.


3 Calls to Action (Choose One)

I know I’m breaking all the rules of blogging by listing more than one call-to-action. But first, I’m not a blogger, I’m a career coach.

And second, only one of the following actions will apply to you. So choose the one that best fits your own level of curiosity and take that small step towards action!

You’d like more information before jumping in:

If you’d like to learn more about my career coaching services, go to my web site at yourpassioninlife.com and subscribe to get a free 8-Step Goal-Achievement Plan. This resource is designed to help you get out of your current rut.

Also, my blog provides a lot of free advice and tips for you to “test-drive” for your own career.

You’d like to dip your toe in the water:

My on-demand career success videos provide an affordable option if you’re still testing the waters. You can work at your own pace and at a fraction of the cost of personalized one-on-one coaching.

You’re ready to dive in:

If you know you’re ready to take the next steps in coaching, complete the paNASH intake form and we can schedule an initial consultation to determine if you’re a candidate for my personalized coaching programs.

career coach

What You Need to Know to Ensure A Successful Career


As both a career coach and a creative thinker, I’m always brainstorming ways to help my clients be successful in their careers with unique and out-of-the-box strategies.

It’s important to be innovative and unconventional when competition for opportunities is fierce.

It’s the only way to get the attention from the right audience (those who have the opportunities to offer) and to stand out from the competition in a good way.

That’s why I’ve shared posts like:


However, there is some career advice that stands the test of time, but only when it’s put into practice.

The problem is, some people still don’t even know about this timeless advice.

And even if they do, they fail to implement it and then wonder why they’re not having the success they’d like to have in their careers.

Don’t be one of these people!


Career Advice That Never Goes Out of Style

To have a successful career, you have to always work at your career, even when you think your job is secure. (Understand that it rarely is!)

So what is the best course of action and best use of your time? Following these career success strategies that never goes out of style!


1. Keep your resume updated every 6 months, even when you’re not looking for another job.

It’s a lot easier to remember what you’ve done in the past six months than in the past six years.

By then it will be nearly impossible to remember how you impacted the company’s bottom line with each project you worked on.

So, every six months, take an inventory of your most recent on-the-job accomplishments.

Ask yourself how each of your duties, ideas, or efforts made an impact on the bottom line.

  • Did they increase profit or revenue? By how much?
  • Did they decrease spending? By what percentage?
  • Did they save man hours? How does that translate to dollars saved?
  • Did they increase customer satisfaction or decrease customer complaints? By what percentage?
  • Did they make processes more efficient? How much time did this save?
  • Did they boost staff morale? How much did productivity increase with this boost?

Add your accomplishments to your resume each time you update it.

If you do this, you’ll be prepared for three possible scenarios:

  1. When you’re up for a promotion.
  2. When you’re ready to ask for a pay raise.
  3. Or when you need to look for a new job.

There have been times when I’ve been asked for a copy of my resume when I wasn’t even looking for a job, like the times I’ve been hired for a speaking engagement.

When that happens, I’m always glad I’ve got something up-to-date to send them.

(For more details on updating your resume, see my post Why You Should Update Your Resume Every 6 Months.)


2. Find a mentor. 

You should always pinpoint someone in your industry or company you aspire to be like and get to know and learn from that person.

Also, a mentor is something you can negotiate for when you’re offered a job and are negotiating salary and perks.

Asking for a mentor makes you look good because it shows your initiative to learn. It’s a perk that doesn’t cost the company any additional money, and you’ll gain priceless lessons and advice.


3. Serve on committees that match your interests. 

Every company or organization has various committees that need people from different departments to serve on.

Find one that matches your interests and dedicate a reasonable amount of time to it (1 to 4 hours per month).

Doing this will get you out of your daily routine and your everyday surroundings, introduce you to new people in other departments, help you develop your soft skills, and build your resume.

For instance, I have an interest in both sports and international travel.

When I worked in the career center at a university back in North Carolina, I volunteered to serve on a committee that initiated the athletic department’s implementation of the NCAA’s life skills program for college athletes.

I also represented the University of North Carolina’s Exchange Program and served on the Australia Exchange Student sub-committee.

And when I worked in the career center at Vanderbilt University, I partnered with both the Study Abroad Office and the Athletics Department to provide presentations to their students on how to market their unique collegiate experiences to potential employers.

These experiences enriched my career because I got to work with others in areas that fascinated me and I got to develop skills in public speaking and program development.


4. Take advantage of professional development opportunities offered by your employer.

This can include professional association memberships, conferences, in-house professional development programs, etc.

These opportunities also help you build your knowledge, skills, resume, and network.

In fact, there’s a company here in the Nashville that’s hired me to present my program on personal branding to several of their employees.

It says a lot about a company, its culture, and its dedication to the holistic development of their staff to offer such programs to their employees on the company’s dime.

So if your company offers it, take advantage of it of the free self-improvement!


5. Always build your network and maintain professional relationships, even when you’re not looking for a job. 

You’ll benefit from professional relationships whether you stay within the same field throughout your career or if you change industries or start your own business.

And because relationship building takes time, the sooner you start building and maintaining your professional relationships, the more your connections will be willing to assist you when you find yourself in need of their help.

But you have to be realistic about networking. While I’ve had some professional relationships that resulted in immediate career benefits, most have taken years of investment and being of assistance on my part before I fully experienced the benefits.


6. Prepare for a layoff, even if you don’t think one will happen

This goes hand-in-hand with #1 and #5.

You don’t want to find yourself suddenly without a job and having to scramble to write a resume because it’s been 15 years since you’ve last had to write one.

And you don’t want to have any awkwardness when reaching out to your contacts because it’s been WAY too long since you last spoke with them.

Instead, you want to always be prepared with the tools needed to find your next opportunity when the need arises.

Other suggestions to prepare for a layoff:

  • Always have a few months worth of expenses saved up.
  • Develop your transferable skills and your soft skills (i.e. communication skills, presentation/public speaking skills, interpersonal skills, etc.).
  • Develop the skills of an entrepreneur in case you have to (or desire to) work for yourself for a while.

Yes, it’s easier to be short-sighted and just do your job, focusing on the bare minimum and most immediate items on your to-do list.

But investing time and energy into the above strategies will lead to long-term success in your career and will pay off in spades down the road!

If you need help to ensure success in your career, sign up for a complimentary initial consultation by completing the paNASH intake form.

successful career

Feeling Trapped in Your Career? Here’s How to Cope (Re-Post)


A few weeks ago I took a mini-vacation down to my favorite area of Florida, Seagrove Beach on beautiful 30A. 

I was anxious to get my paddle board out on the beautiful emerald waters of the Gulf of Mexico, but the beach’s warning flags told me I should re-think my plans. 

There was a purple flag indicating dangerous marine life, and a red flag indicating high hazards and strong currents.

So, I improvised and took my board out on Eastern Lake, a rare coastal dune lake that runs under Scenic Highway 30A and eventually feeds into the ocean after a heavy rain or other inflow. 

Because it is a coastal dune lake, Eastern Lake is rather small. And since there hadn’t been a previous heavy rainfall to create an opening to the ocean, the sandy beach served as a barrier between the lake and the ocean.

feeling trapped

Photo source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Rfq05J2yyI


Feeling Trapped

feeling trapped

Photo by Lori Bumgarner

I paddled from the beach end (the south end) of the lake where the salt water mixes with the fresh, to the marshy north end where I’m sure some alligators make their home. 

It was only about a mile and a half from the beach barrier to the marsh end of the lake. 

Needless to say, for someone who is used to paddling on rivers that run for hundreds of miles, I felt a bit trapped.

And unlike the ocean, I didn’t have a wide open space to explore, so all I could do was just keep paddling in one big circle around the perimeter of the lake. 

Despite all the beauty surrounding me and the change of scenery from my regular paddle route, the feeling of going around in circles made me frustrated.


The experience of feeling trapped is one I’ve felt more than once in my career. 

Whether it was when I was trapped in a toxic office environment, or when I was restless because I wasn’t working in my purpose.

It’s not a fun place to be, at all (I’m sure you can probably relate).

When faced with these situations, I’ve used various coping mechanisms that have led to changes in my situation for the better.

My paddle around the lake that day reminded me of all the possible ways to cope when faced with the feeling of being trapped in your career. 


7 Possible Ways to Cope — Here Are Your Options:

1. Sometimes we don’t always get what we want when we want it, so be patient. 

This is probably the most difficult option since most people aren’t naturally patient, myself included. 

But, sometimes this is what it takes when certain factors aren’t within your control. All you can do are the things within your control. 

For instance, when doing a job search you can build your network, learn how to market your skills and strengths, conduct informational interviews, apply for jobs, and prepare for interviews. 

After that, it’s out of your hands and you have to be patient while the seeds you’ve sown grow into the right opportunity.


2. Make the best of your current situation. 

Maybe you can’t change your situation right now, but you can change some things about it to make the best of it until another opportunity comes your way. 

Check out my post 8 Ways to Make Your Current Job More Bearable.


3. Just enjoy and be content with and grateful for the beauty of your current place or situation because things will soon change for the better. 

Often my clients are in a period of transition which feels uncomfortable for them. 

I too have been in that same situation. 

Instead of letting it continue to frustrate me, I chose to make the most of that time by learning some new things and doing some really fun, awesome things as well. 

I learned to relish that time because I knew it was a rare opportunity to do so. 

That’s why I encourage my clients to relish periods of transition despite the uncertainty they’re facing. 

The ones who do, are so glad they did, and the ones who don’t, often regret it.


4. Wait to make your move until conditions are more favorable. 

You might have more control than you think, but you have to make sure you’re taking action in both a timely and responsible way. 

When I first started my business, I didn’t immediately leave my full-time job with benefits. Instead, I started taking small steps toward my goal before taking a leap of faith. 

To learn how to make a career risk doable, read my post Don’t Quit Your Daydream (Or Your Day Job).


5. Pay attention to the warning flags. 

Just like I had to pay attention to the beach’s warning flags, you also have to look at the warning flags in your career. 

For example, are you hearing rumors of potential layoffs at your company? 

Is your job at risk of being replaced by the latest technology? 

To know how to best prepare for such a situation, check out my post Want More Job Security? Do This One Simple Thing and also click on the related posts for even more tips.


6. You’ll keep going in circles if you don’t step out of your comfort zone

Once you’ve done some or all of the above, there eventually comes a time when you have to step out of your comfort zone and take a leap of faith. 

How do you do that? Click here to find out.


7. Don’t wait for an opportunity to come open. Make your own opportunity. 

Sometimes you have to take the bull by the horns and make things happen for your career. 

This could mean combining some of your skills and passions to start your own business. 

Or it could mean proposing a new or different role for you at your current company that better incorporates your strengths and interests, therefore improving the company’s bottom line. A real win-win!


Which Option Is Best For You?

The trick is knowing which option to choose at which time. 

In one of my own career trappings, I waited patiently for the conditions to be right to make my exit and spent that time wisely planning my course of action.

In another situation, I took a leap of faith.

Both coping mechanisms worked for me in those particular situations. But they probably would’ve failed had I taken a leap of faith when it was too early, or had I waited around when I should’ve taken action. 

Sometimes it can be difficult to know which option to choose. And even then it can be difficult to know the best timing for your chosen option. A good career coach can help you determine both.


What’s causing you to feel trapped in your career right now? 

Which option above is speaking to you? 

I invite you to share in the comment box below.

I also invite you to start setting some goals that support the option (or options) that works best for you at this time. 

Learn how to do so by subscribing to my newsletter and receiving a complimentary download of the 8-Step Goal-Achievement Plan.

feeling trapped

What Are The Biggest Career Mistakes You Should Avoid?

The below post was originally published on Quora as a response to the question, “What are the biggest career mistakes to avoid?”

The number one career mistake to avoid is to go into a career someone else is pushing you into, whether that includes parents, spouse, friends, etc.

The number two career mistake to avoid is going into a career just because it pays a lot of money.

In either situation, you’re likely to end up hating your job, resenting those you’re trying to please, and regretting your decision.

Regret Caused by Career Mistakes

As a career coach who works with people who are in career transitions, typically in the middle of their careers, I see a lot of regret.

They come to me looking back on their decisions realizing they were climbing a ladder that was leaning against the wrong wall.

While for most it’s not too late to make a career change, it is more challenging due to more financial responsibilities at that age.

Even if they’re making really good money, they often find that having taken a job just for the money was at the expense of:

  • Doing something they enjoy.
  • Making a positive impact on the lives of others and doing something with meaning and purpose.
  • The time to enjoy the money they’ve been making.
  • Time with their family.
  • The courage to take a risk and make a change to something that fits all of the above but maybe pays a little less.

A Time to Experiment

While you don’t have to start out in your career knowing exactly what you want to do, early career is probably the easiest time to experiment with different jobs to help you discover your passion because at this stage in life you have:

  • The time to try out various jobs/careers and build your career portfolio. It’s easier to work for a place for a year or two and then switch to something else early in the game.
  • The freedom from being responsible for anyone else but yourself. Once you have a mortgage and a family, it’s a lot harder to leave a miserable but good paying job.

But It’s Never Too Late

This doesn’t mean if you made any of the two mistakes listed above in your early career you can’t go back and correct those mistakes or avoid them in mid or late career. You just might have to be a little more creative in your approach.

 You can still experiment in some (or all) of the following ways:

  • Talk to others who are doing what you now want to do and/or have made a career change of their own. Find out how they did it, what challenges they faced, what rewards they gained and what advice they have for someone like you.
  • Take some intro courses on an area that piques your interest. You can do this through local community classes or online classes.
  • Start a side-hustle in your spare time. Don’t worry yet if it will make you money or not. Just see if you enjoy working on it more than you do in your current job. If so, then start brainstorming some ways to monetize it either by offering the same service to a company in need or starting your own company.

The Bottom Line

There’s a lot more I could write about in response to the above question, but it would be a novel. The bottom line is, pay attention to:

  • Your strengths and the things others tell you you’re good at.
  • The things that energize and excite you instead of drain you.
  • The things that give you peace instead of stress you out.
  • Other people who are doing the things you’re interested in. Talk with them. Find out how they got to where they are.

If you pursue those things, they will build upon one another, leading to new opportunities that will eventually make up the whole of your career.

A career you can look back on with satisfaction and without regret.

For more tips on how to pursue your passions in your life and your career, subscribe to my newsletter at and receive a free downloadable 8-Step Goal-Achievement Plan.

career mistakes

paNASH is Celebrating Its 10-Year Anniversary!

Ten years ago today, I walked into the Davidson County Clerk’s office to get a business license for paNASH. I had no idea what I was doing since I’d never started a business before.

It was scary to say the least. But, I put one foot in front of the other, filled out the form, and paid my fee.

When I walked out I thought to myself, “Okay, this is real now. I have to do it.” My business license was more than just a little piece of paper. It was something tangible that was holding me accountable.

I started working hard on my business part-time while still working full-time. Nine months later I took a leap of faith and quit my cushy career advising job with benefits to pursue my business full-time.

paNASH’s Beginnings

paNASH originally began as an image consulting business working primarily with up-and-coming recording artists here in Nashville. I used my skills from my previous experience as a college career adviser to teach new artists how to present themselves in media interviews, to labels, and more. The additional wardrobe styling piece of the business served as a creative outlet for me at the time.

But after eight years, I started feeling restless in my business and it no longer felt right to me. I couldn’t yet put my finger on why, but I knew it was about to undergo some big changes.

I loved working for myself and knew I didn’t want that to change, but I was burned out on the original concept of the business. And, I’d become extremely frustrated with the way the music industry works. I loved my clients, but I was done with the constant frustrations.

I didn’t know it at the time, but I was being called back to what I loved most and was best at, career coaching. Only this time, it was taking on a new approach. For the full story, read From Fashionista to Passionista.

paNASH

paNASH Today

Since making the change to my business nearly two years ago, I’ve been much happier. It thrills me to see my clients gain the confidence to pursue their own passions that have been lying dormant for so many years.

Although they face a series of common challenges while going through the process of pursuing their passions, they start to sense an excitement in the transition to a new life and career. They have a light in their eyes again.

And while I’m also happier, I still face some challenges in my own transition of the focus and mission of my business. One of those is still being thought of as an image consultant. I guess I did a really good job of establishing paNASH’s brand early on. Too good of a job! When you Google paNASH, there are still some things that pop up indicating image consulting. I’ve had to turn away several people seeking image consulting services.

But, I’m using the same branding strategy now that I did then to eventually replace my former brand. And it’s working. Just like it works for my new clients whom I’m teaching how to develop their own personal brand for their career and their lives.

The Importance of a Mission Statement

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. It’s so important to have a brand and a mission statement for yourself. My personal mission statement is:

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.

This mission statement helps me to make better decisions regarding both my business and my personal life.

My business’s mission statement also aligns with my personal mission statement. When I changed the mission of paNASH nearly two years ago, it became:

To serve, educate, and encourage you by assisting you with the discovery and pursuit of your passions in a way that honors your purpose and your own vision for success, while amplifying who you are personally and advancing you professionally.

No matter what your goals are, I encourage you to also develop your own mission statement. To learn how, check out my on-demand program on personal branding (45% of proceeds go to Justice & Mercy International). You’ll be glad you did because once you’ve completed the program, you’ll be able to make better life and career decisions. Decisions that are true to your unique passions!

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