Tag: career coaching


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.

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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How to Be Realistic About Networking

Networking is a necessary part of the career development process. It helps you discover opportunities you never knew existed. This could include a career that is just the thing that fits nicely with your passions and strengths. Or it could include opportunities in a field you’re already passionate about. But most importantly, it helps you build long-lasting professional relationships.

Since 80% of the workforce found their opportunities (whether working for someone else or for themselves) through networking, it makes sense to spend 80% of your career development and job search on networking. But before you dive into networking, you need to check your expectations about networking, and make sure they’re realistic.

Unrealistic Networking Expectations

When I used to work as a college career adviser at a local university, I had several students wanting to go into the music industry. While most of those students understood the need to network, some would put it off until graduation. This was a huge mistake! Especially since going into the music industry where getting to know the insiders is more challenging than in other industries.

I know this from personal experience when I used to do image consulting for recording artists. It took me three times longer to develop my network with music industry professionals than it did in my previous industry. In fact, it took about three years before people started saying, “Oh, yeah, I know you!”

If one of my seniors getting ready to graduate had waited until graduation to begin his or her networking efforts, he or she was about three years behind the competition who started their networking efforts their sophomore year. Those who had already been fostering professional relationships were more likely to land a job upon graduation.

Even if your own chosen industry takes less time to get to know the insiders, it’s true the sooner you start developing relationships with appropriate contacts, the sooner you’ll see the fruits of your labor. In other words, expecting it to happen overnight is unrealistic.

Realistic Networking Expectations

That’s also not to say it can’t happen quickly. I have two examples of each scenario from my own career. First, I met the vice president of a Nashville-based company while attending an event downtown at the Entrepreneur Center. An exchange of business cards and one brief conversation a month later he hired me to do some contract work for him. And I’ve been working with him for three and a half years now. I didn’t expect this to happen so quickly. It just did.

This same gentleman introduced me to a wonderful small group of local business owners at the same time he had introduced another woman to the same group. For two and a half years I got to know these business owners in a very close-knit way, including the other woman introduced to the group. In that time we shared our celebrations and concerns on a weekly basis. After getting to know each other for two and a half years on such a level, she also hired me to do some contract work for her business. Again, I didn’t expect this to happen, but with time, it did.

The “Organic” Approach

In both situations, I never asked them if they had a job for me. Instead, after taking the time to establish a rapport with them, they approached me with the opportunity to work with them. I never entered either relationship with the expectation of getting something from them. This is what I call the “organic approach” to networking.

Anything that’s forced feels creepy! In fact, one time there was a guy who was starting his own business doing similar work to my own. He called me to introduce himself to me and actually said, “I’m calling to network with you”. Eeww! That was an immediate turn-off and I chose not to engage in his approach.

The best approach to realistic networking is an organic one. It looks like this:

  • Be genuinely curious about other people. Ask them about their own career path and passions.
  • Listen to what they say! Don’t be the one dominating the conversation.
  • Share things with them things they’ll find helpful or interesting based on what they’ve told you about themselves.
  • Lower your expectations of what they can do for you and raise your standards of how you can benefit them.

Start now. And be realistic!

For more networking tips, get the on-demand program The Secret to Successful Networking: How to Do It Naturally and Effectively.

Related Post:  7 Comfortable and Easy Networking Tips for Introverts

5 Common Fears (and Myths) of Quitting a Job You Hate

You hate your job, but because of it you don’t have the time or energy to start the overwhelming process of finding something new. And you think you can’t quit it until you find another job. But is that really a true statement, or just common myth? Let’s look at some of the common fears most people have about quitting a job with nothing else lined up. Let’s challenge the assumptions that breed those fears.

Fear/Myth #1

I won’t be able to afford my bills. Is this a true statement? Do you have a little extra money stashed away you can get by on for a little while?

Are there some unnecessary expenses you can cut to help you pay your necessary bills? For example, could you sell your car and take the bus for a while? Or just park your car and cancel your insurance for a few months while taking the bus instead? Do you really need cable or a Netfilx subscription right now? Do you need numerous music subscriptions? Or can you just listen to good old fashioned radio?

Are there some things you no longer need you could sell? What about that treadmill the only gets used as a place to throw your clothes when you don’t feel like hanging them up (you know who you are!). What about the stack of books you’ve already read (or know you’re never going to read)? If you live alone, do you really need a TV in more than one room?

Are there some other ways you can earn cash like picking up some temporary side jobs or a part-time job? In addition, can you get a roommate and charge rent to help with some of your housing costs? Do you own something else others might want to rent on a short-term basis? Do you have a skill people will pay you to perform because of their lack of that skill?

Fear/Myth #2

I’ll lose my health insurance and retirement accounts. Not necessarily. If you leave your job you can always transfer your retirement over to an IRA where it can still earn some money and you can still contribute to it yourself a little at a time until you get your next full-time opportunity. The only thing you’ll be missing out on in the short-term is your company’s matching contribution.

When it comes to health insurance, you can visit ehealthinsurance.com to find temporary health insurance, alternatives to Obamacare, and more. If you happen to do a little freelancing on the side after leaving your job, you may qualify for very affordable insurance through the Freelancers Union at freelancersunion.org (also, it’s free to join the union!). I get my dental and disability insurance through them at very little cost per month.

Fear/Myth #3

It’ll look bad on my resume. Sure, if all you do is become a couch potato after quitting, it will look bad! However, if you use your time to improve your skillset, take some affordable online classes, do some side or freelance projects, volunteer with a local non-profit, raise money to travel on a mission trip, pursue a passion project, or work a fun part-time job, it’s not going to look bad at all.

Whatever you do, do something you find interesting. I’m sure if it’s something interesting to you, it could be interesting to the people who’ll eventually be interviewing you. Show on your resume what you’ve done and the skills and lessons learned from those interesting experiences. This will make your resume stand out.

Tim Ferris, author of the bestseller The 4-Hour Work Week suggests answering the interview question, “Why did you leave your previous job?” with, “I had an once-in-a-lifetime chance to do [interesting experience] and couldn’t turn it down.” He says because most interviewers are bored in their own jobs, they’ll spend much of the interview asking how you made it happen. You can then respond with how your skills and resourcefulness you used to make it happen will make you the person they should hire.

When I started phasing out my image consulting business due to burnout to decide if I wanted to return to career coaching or not, I worked a few weekends teaching beginner stand up paddling at my local SUP shop. If I’d had to go through a job interview following that experience, I can guarantee you I would pique the interviewer’s interest if I said, “I taught people the closest thing to walking on water.” Then, I would tell them about how I used my teaching and training skills to do so.

Fear/Myth #4

I need to have a “real job” instead of trying to freelance. Freelancing IS a real job! And it’s one of the fastest growing jobs in the country. Don’t believe me? Just check out this infographic courtesy of the Upwork.com and Freelancersunion.org:

quitting a job

Even if you have no plans to become a freelancer, you still need the skills of an entrepreneur to be successful in your next job. (Click here for a list of those skills.)

Fear/Myth #5

If I don’t quit now, I’ll never find a way out and will be stuck in my job forever! Not true! You may feel like you have to quit your job right away despite the fears listed above, but you don’t have to quit YET!

You can start creating an exit strategy now and implement it later when the timing makes more sense or if you’re not financially able to quit without having something else lined up. Yes, eventually you’ll have to rip off the band-aid and quit, but there are ways to be smart about it. I outline four ways to wisely plan your escape route in my previous post, “Don’t Quit Your Daydream (or Your Day Job)”.

How to Challenge Your Assumptions

Whatever your fears are about quitting a job you hate, I encourage you to challenge those fears and assumptions. Here are a few ways to do so:

  • Learn how to deal with limiting beliefs (the annoying inner critic that tells you, “You can’t do it!”). The process for dealing with limiting beliefs is available for free in the 8-Step Goal-Achievement Plan you’ll receive when you subscribe to the paNASH newsletter.
  • Talk to others who currently work in a job or career field you think you might enjoy. Find out from them the career path they followed to get there. You’ll likely find most people didn’t had a single direct career path that led them there. This will encourage and inspire you. Also, they may provide you some tips for making the transfer to that industry.
  • Take a weekday off from your job and spend the day doing job search activities just to get a feel for what that might be like. Update your resume. Spend some time familiarizing yourself with LinkedIn. Can’t take a day off work to do this? Use one of your non-workdays.
  • Put your resume out there and see what happens. Post your resume with no expectations. You’ll be able to see what kind of opportunities your current resume is attracting so you can figure out how to tweak it with the right keywords to attract better opportunities.
  • Write your resignation letter, but don’t send it. Just write it to help you get used to the idea of what may need to happen in the near future.
  • Dip your toe in the freelance water by offering your unique skills or expertise to a few friends or on sites like Fiverr.com or Upwork.com. Determine from these small assignments if you like working for yourself or not.

Make Time to Experiment

Feel free to find other ways to experiment with the idea of making a job or career change. Short-term experiments don’t have to financially break you and don’t require a huge commitment. In fact, these little experiments might be just the thing to provide a little breath of fresh air to your current dreadful situation. They can either help you hang on a little longer until you’re able to quit your job, or give you the courage now to go ahead and rip off the band-aid.

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How to Take Responsibility for Your Career Growth

Lately I’ve had several people contact me who’ve said,

“I can’t seem to move up in my career. I keep taking on the same low-level jobs and don’t know how to get out of this cycle and move up to something better. I feel stuck!”

Oftentimes there’s a simple explanation for this phenomenon. People take a lower-level job expecting to eventually be promoted to a higher level position, but never take action on their part to ensure this will happen.

The Cycle

The cycle goes like this:

  • You take a lower-level job telling yourself it’s a good foot-in-the-door and will provide an opportunity to grow in the company.
  • You keep your nose to the grindstone and continue to work hard, hoping your boss will notice how good of a worker you are.
  • You get passed over for promotion after the first year.
  • You’re two to three years in, however nothing’s changed.
  • You wonder why you’re still stuck in the same position and aren’t advancing.
  • You begin to feel unappreciated, so you decide to look for a job with a different company.
  • You only apply for the same level job you’ve been in because you think that’s all you’re qualified to do since you haven’t been promoted.
  • You accept the same level job at another company with the same hopes of growing and moving up in the company.

And then the cycle starts all over.

career growth

Photo by Priscilla Fong on Unsplash

Breaking the Cycle and Creating Real Career Growth

So how do you break this cycle? By taking responsibility for your own career growth.

The people in these cycles are in them because they didn’t take responsibility for their own career growth. They went in with no plan of their own and instead expected the higher ups to recognize their potential and promote them.

But, just like a job doesn’t fall into your lap, opportunities for advancement don’t either. You have to do your part to grow in your career. Below are ways to start, along with links to paNASH’s online programs that show you in more detail how to carry out each action (get 15% off each online program from Oct. 12-17 with discount code FALL2017).

In addition, paNASH provides a one-on-one personalized coaching track that focuses solely on career growth. The Career Growth Track provides you an in depth plan you need to break the cycle. Also, it’s perfect for those who’ve just started a new job. It includes:

  • Successful onboarding in your new job.
  • Preparation for promotion and advancement opportunities.
  • Progression and transition planning.
  • Methods for asking for a raise.
  • “Fire”-proofing yourself.
  • Maintaining joy and challenge in your career.
  • And more!

Don’t stay stuck!

Don’t stay stuck in your career! The power is in your hands to become unstuck. You just have to learn how to wield that power by following the suggestions above. We can help you do that in two ways:

  1. With paNASH’s on-demand programs available online (get 15% off each online program from Oct. 12-17 with discount code FALL2017)
  2. And, with the personalized, one-on-one Career Growth coaching track.

Contact paNASH today and break the cycle!

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