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Why There’s Always Room for Improvement in Your Career and Your Life

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This week is the opening ceremonies of the Tokyo Olympics. My favorite Olympic event has always been women’s gymnastics, with diving being a close second. This YouTube video of what women’s gymnastics looked like in 1936 always cracks me up.

What was once considered impressive, is now funny because it’s sub-par based on today’s competitive standards. But the video is also a reminder of how there’s always room for improvement in our careers and our lives.

The improvements and advancements in gymnasts’ skill levels and techniques since the 1930s didn’t happen overnight. These changes occurred incrementally over time. They evolved as athletes continued to improve and push their limits with the help of their coaches.

How can you find room for improvement in your career and your life?

Do you want to evolve in your career or your life? If so, there are things you can do to create room for improvement. And you can do so over time. In fact, sometimes it’s better to take small steps over an extended period of time. Incremental improvement prevents you from getting overwhelmed, frustrated, and discouraged. It keeps you from giving up too soon.

Therefore, I suggest inserting slightly more difficult challenges into your ordinary routine on a regular basis over time. This may require a little creativity, along with a few steps outside your comfort zone.

The challenges don’t have to be huge. You can begin with something as simple as raising the proverbial bar just a tad bit higher. Once you’ve mastered your new challenge, you can add another small but new twist to your routine.

Looking back

Think about the areas in which you excel. Looking back, can you remember when you first started out in this particular specialty or skill?

Do you now find it funny how what once seemed difficult now seems ridiculously easy? Do you find it interesting how far you’ve come?

When I first started my coaching business, I remember I knew nothing about the logistics of running a business. Now, many of those logistics have become second nature for me.

And when I first began paddle boarding, I remember how slow I was. Then, I increased my speed significantly, especially after getting some training from former canoeing Olympian and pro paddle boarder, Jim Terrell.

Looking ahead

Looking ahead, what’s something creative you can do to challenge your limits and improve your skill set?

For me, I want to do two things this summer. One, I want to read more books to improve my knowledge on the topics of economics and investing.

Two, I want to advance my current communication skills, particularly in the areas of interpersonal relationships, discourse, and even car sales negotiations. I’ve already started practicing the latter with the help of one of my clients. She’s a master at negotiating a fair price for a car. Her tips have helped me so much in shopping around for my next vehicle. I feel much more confident and in control.

Making more room for improvement

Gymnasts improve their skills with the help and motivation of their coaches. My friend who’s a gymnastics coach does this for her athletes. And I do the same for my clients, helping them challenge their limits and encouraging them.

Do you need a coach to help you make room for improvement in your life or career? If so, you can schedule a complimentary initial consultation by completing the paNASH intake form. I’d love to talk with you and see if paNASH’s coaching services are a good fit for your personal and professional goals.

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Do You Want to Keep Working Remotely Now That COVID Is Ending?

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In recent weeks, I’ve had several people contact me to begin a new job search. The reason they’re now looking is because their current company no longer needs to enforce remote work, due to the decline of COVID. Therefore, employers are now requiring employees to return to the office. For those who’ve enjoyed working remotely, they’re considering a career change to a company that embraces this type of flexibility.

Of course, some people are looking forward to getting back to the office full-time. They’re not cut out for working from home. It’s definitely not for everybody. However, even those who are looking forward to returning to the office have said they’d still like to work remotely, at least one or two days a week.

I had a feeling this would happen. I get it. Since I started working from home, I’ve never had a desire to return to an office setting.

This is why I wrote a post at the beginning of the pandemic, about how you can use a temporary remote work situation, as an opportunity to convince your company to continue offering flexible work locations, even after the pandemic.

What I didn’t anticipate, and neither did anyone else at the time, was just how long required remote work would last. Remember when the idea of being in lock down for two weeks sounded like an eternity? Who would’ve thought it would last for over a year?!

How to keep working remotely

If you’re someone who’s grown accustomed to this new way of working and don’t want it to end, you can still try some of the tips I previously shared to convince your company to continue offering remote work options.

Let’s see what this looks like in a post-COVID work-place.

Point out the obvious

Companies have no doubt seen the positive impact remote work has had on their bottom line. This includes:

  • Savings from lowered overhead, such as reduction in operating costs, rent, utilities, travel, etc.
  • Expanded talent pool, since geography no longer limits their access to good workers.
  • Better employee morale.
  • Less attrition.

Remind your employer of this! Sometimes you have to point out the obvious to be heard. And you don’t have to do so in a way that sounds like you’re being insubordinate. Instead, ask your employer what the positive impacts have been. And ask if those things outweigh the negative impacts. Getting your employer to say out loud what’s working reiterates it for him or for her.

Point out the not-so obvious

It may not be so obvious to your employer the positive impact remote work has had on an individual level. You’ll need to show how the positive impact you’ve personally experienced also impacts the company’s bottom line.

Can you show how you have:

  • Become more productive?
  • Had less distractions and therefore had less errors in your work?
  • Been less sick and therefore have reduced your absenteeism?
  • Had happier clients and customers due to a better work-life balance of your own?

If you haven’t tracked this as I previously suggested at the beginning of the pandemic, try your best to go back and look at anything quantifiable, to see if your numbers have improved since working remotely. Put this into a report to share with your higher-ups. The data will speak volumes!

Consider other companies

Even if you don’t succeed at convincing your company to continue remote work, there is some good news. Several other companies are now likely to offer remote work options, based on the benefits they’ve seen in the past year. Therefore, it may be time to look into changing companies.

However, before doing so, I suggest getting some career coaching. This will help you sell yourself in interviews with other companies. It will also teach you how to get the truth about a potential company’s culture, before you change jobs.

Click here to schedule a complimentary initial consultation.

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How to Overcome the Intimidation of Starting Your Own Business

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For my clients who’d like to start their own business, they often site intimidation as the reason why they haven’t done so yet. Specifically, the thing they say intimidates them the most is the logistics involved. Their fear is real. But the things they fear aren’t really that scary, especially once they start taking steps toward those things.

This was true for me when starting my own business. I didn’t know much about how to begin. Let’s face it, I didn’t even know the difference between an LLC and LL Bean! It all seemed very overwhelming.

But the important thing is, I started. I did a simple Google search on obtaining a business license. Then I checked out the County Clerk’s web site for instructions. Filling out the form took all of five minutes, and the fee was nominal. Done!

Next, I consulted a business coach on how to set up my business as an LLC. He showed me the steps, which weren’t too difficult. And now days, getting an employer ID number for your business is easier than ever through the IRS web site. Done!

With each step completed, my confidence grew!

It’s easy to let things like the alphabet soup of starting a business cause you to panic. LLC, P&L, and IRS can all sound very scary (especially that last one). But taking just a few minutes to research their meaning, or asking someone who knows about it to explain it to you like you’re a four-year-old, can greatly reduce your anxiety.

Tips for starting your own business

If your goal is to start your own business, you’ll also gain confidence by taking one step at a time. You’ll quickly learn you can figure things out as you keep putting one foot in front of the other.

But in addition to giving you a pep talk, I want to share some practical tips to help make the logistics smoother for you. If you already possess the necessary basic skills for starting a business, then the following advice will help you do so with less intimidation, and less headache.

1. Choose a good business name

Determine the best name for your business. Use one that doesn’t limit you from possibly expanding your products, service offerings, or location. Then check for the following:

  • Business name availability.
  • Domain availability. (Always get a dot com over a dot net or a dot info. And never use a hyphen in your domain.)
  • Platform handle availability. Make sure your business name’s handle is available on every social media platform you plan to use.

2. Select your business structure

If you already know what kind of business structure you want, get registered as such. While registering as an LLC is more expensive than registering as a sole proprietor, it’s much easier to do it upfront than to start as a sole proprietor, and then change to an LLC later.

Consult your accountant or a business coach on which structure would best suit your business.

3. Set up a bank account

Get a separate bank account for your business. You never want to mix your business income and expenses with your personal account.

4. Make it easy for customers to pay you

Set up business accounts through payment method platforms like PayPal and Venmo. This way you can receive customer payments quickly, and make it easier for them to pay you. Setting these up as business accounts under your business name, instead of as personal accounts, will make the IRS less suspicious of your transactions.

5. Keep a P&L

In the beginning you may not have the money to hire a bookkeeper, so you’ll need to keep track of your own income and expenses with a profit and loss ledger. It can be as simple as pen and paper, or an Excel sheet, with an itemized list of all your expense and income categories.

Then, you’ll want to keep a copy of every invoice and receipt to account for all the numbers you plug into your ledger. You’re required to hold onto these receipts for up to seven years in the event of an audit. (I know, the word audit sounds really frightening. But as long as you’re using your income strictly for business expenses, and you account for every penny, you shouldn’t have anything to worry about.)

Even if you don’t have the money in the beginning to hire a bookkeeper, you will want to dish out the money for an accountant to assist you with your taxes. He or she will tell you what business expenses you can write off, and which ones you can’t.

What I’ve found easiest for me is to keep an Excel P&L myself throughout the year, which gives me a first-hand picture of how my business is doing. I update my P&L monthly. Then every year, I give it to my accountant at tax time for her to have when filing my taxes on my behalf.

6. Pay your estimated taxes

As soon as financially feasible, get into the habit of setting aside 15 to 20 percent of every receivable and every revenue stream. This is the estimated amount you will owe on the income your business generates.

Use this amount to pay your taxes every quarter. Paying taxes online through the IRS web site is quick and easy.

I suggest linking a business savings account to your business checking account, so you can move your estimated taxes to it. This will help you keep it separate from your revenue. You can quickly and easily pay out of this account via ACH, through the IRS web site.

Getting into the habit of taking the taxes off the top of each receivable makes it less painful than getting hit with a large tax bill at once. Doing so can even result in a tax refund!

Take it one step at a time

While the advice above may still leave you feeling unsettled or intimidated, I promise it will reduce your chances of facing something even scarier down the road. These tips really are much easier than they sound, and they will save you a lot of headaches in the long run.

Remember, the logistics of starting a business are not obstacles. They’re simply steps. Just take one step at a time and keep moving to the next step. When in doubt, ask your accountant, your lawyer, a business coach, or someone who’s been down this road before. But don’t ever be so intimidated you become paralyzed with fear and give up on your goal.

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Summer Reading: How to Develop Healthy Habits for A Greater Purpose

I don’t think I’ve ever been more excited about my summer reading than I have this year. Why? Because I spent the last nine months reading books from a very lengthy and intensive reading list as part of the 2020-2021 Gotham Fellowship, a program I applied to for personal development. Now it’s over, so I get to read what I want to read!

While my summer reading list may not sound like a lighter read, it definitely feels lighter compared to the fellowship’s reading list. Although the fellowship was foundational and educational, no longer do I have to read 600-page books on the history of theology, or books written in old English.

So what am I reading now?

Lori’s summer reading list

Below is my summer reading list of those books I’ve either just finished or I’m mid-way through. I’d also love to know what you’re currently reading or planning to read this summer! Please provide your own list in the comment box below.

The Rhythm of Life: Living Every Day With Passion and Purpose, by Matthew Kelly

Unlike most books today, this book isn’t about “living your best life now”. Instead, it’s about becoming the best version of yourself, which benefits not just you, but also those around you and in your community. When you’re your best, you better serve others.

The Common Rule: Habits of Purpose for an Age of Distraction, by Justin Whitmel Earley

One way to become your best self for a greater purpose is to develop good habits. Author Justin Whitmel Earley shows how there is freedom in creating limits on things that cause distraction. This freedom from chaos can leave you less frazzled and make you more productive in your work, home, and community.

The daily and weekly habits he outlines are simple. And the great thing about this book is you don’t have to read the chapters in order. They’re written as stand-alone topics, so you can pick which chapter you want to start with and go in the order you prefer.

Re-think Your Self: The Power of Looking Up Before Looking In, by Trevin Wax

This book has inspired me to re-vamp my own book on personal branding. I’m currently working on a second edition under a new title, Purpose Formation. Trevin Wax’s book discusses the problem with a “follow your heart” mentality in uncovering your purpose (something I’ve written about before), and instead provides a counter-intuitive yet more fruitful approach to discovering your purpose.

The Great 8: A New Paradigm for Leadership, by J. David Harper, Jr.

I’m currently reading this book along with a group of entrepreneurs. Although it’s a quick read, it drills down to the essentials necessary for a business’s culture. While other business leaders focus more on values as part of company culture, David Harper shows instead how virtues create a more authentic and successful company culture. This book is perfect for both business owners and organizational leaders since it serves as a roadmap for becoming a leader with greater impact.

Honorable mentions and other suggestions

Some other books I’ve read since the end of my fellowship deserving honorable mention include:

  • The Coddling of The American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting Up a Generation for Failure, by Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt
  • You’re Not Enough (and That’s Okay): Escaping the Toxic Culture of Self-Love by Allie Beth Stuckey
  • Post Corona: From Crisis to Opportunity, by Scott Galloway

As I check off the above books from my list, I still have more remaining on my list to read. Some of which include:

  • Basic Economics, by Thomas Sowell
  • Off Balance: Getting Beyond the Work-Life Balance Myth to Personal and Professional Satisfaction, by Matthew Kelly (I meant to read this one last year but it got put on the back burner during the fellowship.)
  • Fault Lines, by Voddie Baucham
  • The Vision Driven Leader, by Michael Hyatt

What are you reading this summer? Please share your list or suggestions in the comment box below!

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What’s a Fun Way to Discover Your Next Career Move? Find Out Here

Along with honoring those who died for our freedom, this past weekend marked the unofficial beginning of summer. Summer is a time to enjoy many freedoms. This includes the freedom to some much-needed time off from work.

I enjoyed my time off this past week with family and friends, and then some time on the water with my latest stand up paddle board. There’s nothing that re-charges me more than the rhythmic sound of my paddle in the water while surrounded by nature. Not only is this a great workout, it’s also very relaxing. For those few hours on the water, any and all stress melts away.

The freedom to discover your next career move

This is why there have been times I’ve taken clients out for a paddle boarding lesson. When they’re so stressed out by their current work situation or job search and it’s all they can think about, paddle boarding is a great way to take a break and shift focus.

Having both the physical and mental break helps my clients gain a better perspective, and gives better clarity to their career goals. This is especially true if they’ve been overthinking their career.

If you’re looking for a career coaching experience that provides a fun and much-needed break for better clarity on your next career move, and the freedom to explore what that might look like, you’ve found it here with paNASH.

Yes, we cover all the serious stuff required for a successful career and job search, but there’s also room here for something both fun and healthy to spark new ideas for your career. Besides, if you can’t have a healthy work-life balance in your career coaching experience, how can you expect to have it in your career?

Find out more

Summer is a great time to work with paNASH and discover your next career move! For more information, click here to schedule a complimentary initial consultation. In the meantime, click here to check out some of paNASH’s free career resources.

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