Category: Career Growth & Advancement


How to Say No and Have More Time For Your Passions

In last week’s post entitled “The Best New Year’s Resolutions to Boost Your Career,” I gave you seven resolutions to try this new year. One of those resolutions was to do less so you can have more time to focus on your personal and professional goals.

This may sound impossible, especially given your current work schedule and all the other resolutions you’ve made for yourself this year.

But there are several things you can do less of  to carve out more time for your goals and passions.

Say yes less and learn how to say no more

It can be hard to say no, especially for people-pleasers. Anytime you’re faced with a task, activity, or event, ask yourself the following questions before immediately responding with “yes.”

  • Will I enjoy it?
  • Does it earn income?
  • Will it open up more quality time with my family?
  • Is it something leading me one step closer toward a goal of mine, like starting my own business?
  • Does it support my personal mission statement?

If you can’t answer yes to at least three of the above questions, say no or delay giving a commitment if you need to think about it some more. Perhaps you can say yes, but need to set some clear parameters or boundaries. For instance, you may agree to help with the task but for only a certain amount of time.

Most importantly, make sure you measure the opportunity against your personal mission statement to see if it supports it or distracts from it. If you don’t have a personal mission statement, check out my post “How to Make Your Big Decisions More Simple” to help you create one.

If you realize it’s best to say no to the request, do so politely. Simply say, “I appreciate you thinking of me, but unfortunately it’s not something I can commit to at this time.” You don’t have to give any further explanation.

If the person doesn’t respect your response and keeps pushing the issue, keep repeating the above statement without changing it or adding anything to it. He or she will eventually accept your response or move on.

Outsource what you can

If the task or activity is an obligation, determine if it can be delegated our outsourced. While you may not like the idea of paying to outsource the task, the time saved from hiring someone can open up more time for you to do work you find more enjoyable and more profitable.

For instance, housework is a necessary evil and it has to get done. Some weeks I have more clients and more billable hours than I have time to spend doing my housework. But if I can make more money in an hour or two doing a job I love than I’d spend on a visit from a housekeeper, it makes more financial sense to pay the housekeeper so I can have the time to make more money and grow my business. Plus, not having to spend the extra time cleaning frees me up to spend time with friends or family.

When considering what can be delegated or outsourced, choose to delegate or outsource the tasks you enjoy least or make you the least money yet require the most time.

Work within your skill set

Make sure you’re spending your time working within your skill set. Don’t expend time or energy trying to get better at the things you’re not good at. Instead, let those be the things you delegate or outsource.

When I do presentations on the topic of personal branding, I often ask the audience why it’s important to know your weaknesses. The usually say it’s so you can know what skills you need to learn or improve. But this is not the correct answer. Instead, it’s so you can know what to say no to.

Do the things you do best and forget the rest. Stop trying to fit a square peg into a round hole or you’ll just get frustrated and waste your time. You were created with certain gifts. You’re a good steward of those gifts when you’re using them instead of trying to take on someone else’s gifts.

Be selective in who you work with

You don’t always get to choose your boss or co-workers, but on the occasions you do, only work with those who are receptive to what you’re doing.

This is especially important if you’re starting your own business. If a potential client or partner doesn’t get your vision or mission, don’t waste your time trying to sell them on it. Save this time and energy for those who do get it.

This is why I’m selective in who I take on as clients. The ones who see the importance of career coaching and understand their return on investment make my work so much more enjoyable and less stressful.

If you do have to work with someone difficult, keep any necessary interactions with the person as short and limited as possible. During those interactions stick to facts. Don’t express your emotions to someone who can’t be trusted with them. Also, establish boundaries and repeat them if necessary. And above all else, remain professional.

Downsize

If you’re spending more time and money having to maintain your material possessions, it’s probably time to downsize.

Get rid of the stuff that costs you more to maintain than it provides you convenience. Better yet, sell those items and use the money as seed money to start your own business or side hustle.

I promise, you won’t miss those things tying you down.

Say no to time-suckage activities

While you’re at it, also eliminate any unproductive activities sucking up all your time. This includes scrolling through social media, binge watching Netflix, talking on the phone with people who only want to gossip instead of talking about more meaningful things.

At the very least, reduce the amount of time you do these things by 30%.

With all the free time you gain back, use it to learn a new skill, read a book, or write a business plan for your own company you hope to start.

Screen your calls

I have a personal rule. If I don’t recognize the number calling me, I don’t answer it.

I’m surprised how many people don’t do this. Especially given the number of robo-calls people get these days. If it’s important, the person calling will leave a message.

Manage your time better

Sometimes finding more time for your passions simply requires you to revisit some tried and true time management practices. This includes setting deadlines for the obligations you can’t delegate or outsource. Put those things on your calendar.

Speaking of calendars, once you’ve incorporated some of the above suggestions in your life, look to see how much time has been freed up on your calendar. Write in the productive things you now want to use this time for in pursuing your passions.

In addition, if you like to make a to-do list for everything, consider writing a to-don’t list too. This can also help you manage your time better.

Get over your FOMO and say no

Some of the above suggestions may make you feel like you’re missing out on some things. But consider what you’re really missing out on if you say no. It will be the things that have no real pay-off in your life.

Sometimes the joy of missing out (JOMO) can free you up for the things you should say yes to and should never miss out on.

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Here Are the Top 10 Most Popular paNASH Blog Posts of 2019

Can you believe we’ve reached not only the end of another year but also the end of another decade? I’ve been writing much of the past decade, and for the past four years I’ve been writing blog posts on topics related to pursuing your passions and finding new work and career paths that you can be more passionate about.

I’m so grateful to all you readers and listeners who loyally follow the paNASH blog from week to week. I love hearing your stories of how a particular blog post helped you succeed in your job search or your career. Your support and feedback means so much to me!

As a thank you, here’s a collection of the top 10 most popular paNASH blog posts of 2019.

Top 10 Most Popular paNASH Blog Posts of 2019

  1. How to Write Networking Emails That Will Get Responses
  2. What Is the Best Way to Describe Yourself In a Job Interview?
  3. Stop! Watch Out for These 10 Red Flags In Your New Job
  4. How to Know If Your Burnout Is Killing You?
  5. Is There Such a Thing As the Perfect Job? No (and Yes)!
  6. Why You Need to Stop Overthinking Networking
  7. How to Avoid Common Mistakes That Could Ruin Your Career
  8. 5 Things You Should Never Say In a Job Interview
  9. How to Make Your LinkedIn Profile Stand Out
  10. How to Be Patient When You’re In Between Jobs

Please share

Please share any of the above blog posts or other paNASH posts on your social media platforms and with your friends so they can also benefit from them.

Stay tuned

Stay tuned for a new year and a new decade of posts to help you create a career you can be passionate about! If there are any topics you’d like to see covered in the upcoming year, please share your requests in the comment box. Thank you!

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How to Create the Life You Want to Wake Up To Every Day

Life would be grand if you didn’t have work getting in the way of it, right? You’d wake up every morning (even Monday mornings) loving life instead of dreading your soul-sucking job. But we all have to work to make a living and to make a contribution to our world.

However, there are ways to create work opportunities which allow you to develop the life you want to wake up to every day. Work that allows you to blend your life and job harmoniously instead of it taking over your life. How do you create such a life?

Meet Dorothy

Photo of Dorothy by Lily Darragh

I just finished working with a client named Dorothy who is 58-years-old and has spent over 25 years of her career in the corporate world. Looking back on those years she was able to see how stuck she was. She wasn’t moving forward or up as she had expected to in the corporate world, and therefore also wasn’t increasing her annual salary. When she came to me, she had just left corporate for a much-needed break and not sure what her plan was next.

Because her outside hobbies include competitive body building which requires a lot of training, her friends told her she should be a personal trainer and coach others. They said it made perfect sense, especially since it’s something she’s excelled at and is passionate about. Dorothy agreed this could be a real possibility since she loves working out and has the body to prove it. But she wanted to get some guidance first to make sure. Thank goodness she did, because she made a very surprising discovery.

Photo by Lily Darragh

Wake up and make the investment

Dorothy admitted she’d never before considered spending money on herself, not even for career coaching. At least not until she found herself in need of some direction. Now having gone through paNASH’s program, she says she’s now able to see the value of it and the return on investment!

The first step in creating a career and life you want to wake up to is to decide you’re worth investing in yourself. (Because you are!) It may seem scary at first to make such an investment, especially the unknown part of it. (The unknown is always the scariest.) But, you can learn a little about what to expect by following Dorothy’s progress below.

Also, there are ways you can start with just a small investment to test the waters. This includes spending only a few dollars on a Kindle or paperback copy of my book on Personal Branding, along with the time it takes to complete the exercises in the book. Or you can get it as a free download with your purchase of the Personal Branding on-demand video course at yourpassioninlife.com/ondemand.

Dorothy was pleasantly surprised to see how such a little book was packed with so many powerful exercises that helped her in discovering her direction and her new path.

Wake up and trust the process

Whether you choose to start small with the book or decide to go big like Dorothy did with a one-on-one coaching package, you’ll need to trust the process. This is the second step in creating the life and career you can’t wait to wake up to.

After her first couple of sessions, Dorothy was wondering why she didn’t have answers to her questions about her career path yet. Since she’s a competitive body builder, she’s used to seeing almost immediate results after working out in the gym. Results like improved muscle tone are visible when she looks in the mirror. But this isn’t the case with career development.

I had to remind Dorothy this process of discovering her authentic career path is a marathon, not a sprint. However, she was on track because she was moving through the homework with as much discipline as she does when preparing for a competition. I promised her if she kept moving through the personal branding exercises at the rate she was, she’d see the results come together. But they wouldn’t be visible until she got closer to the end of the program.

Wake up and be honest with yourself

When going through the process and doing the exercises, you’ll need to follow this next step of being honest with yourself. Once Dorothy got honest about what she wanted from her next career opportunity, she realized it was something different than what she originally thought.

Dorothy knew how much she loved working out and sculpting her body for competition. But she realized from the homework I gave her she did NOT want to train other people. She was happy to let others come workout with her and to help motivate them. But she did not want to have to hold others accountable nor chase people down for payment of personal training services. She realized this when she got honest with herself.

At this time Dorothy was also getting calls about jobs doing the same work she used to do in corporate. Since she realized she didn’t want to do the personal training all her friends were telling her to do, she started wondering if going back into corporate was her only option.

Body building is just a hobby and doesn’t bring in any income. But, the body building had previously led Dorothy to a talent agency and to some paid modeling and acting gigs which served as a side hustle for her. It brings in a few big paychecks every now and then for only a few hours of work. Because she previously worked full-time in corporate, she wasn’t able to accept every gig. Therefore, Dorothy viewed this endeavor as more of a hobby too. But after leaving corporate, she was able to say yes to more modeling jobs. She also started getting some brand ambassador gigs because of her modeling work and fitness competitions. This really opened up a whole new passion for her.

Photo by Randy Dorman

Wake up and stop worrying about what everyone else thinks

Even though Dorothy was discovering her excitement about brand ambassador work and how it fit well with her experience in modeling and fitness competition, she felt societal pressure to do the practical thing and respond to those offers for work back in corporate.

But Dorothy really knew she wanted to explore the brand ambassador opportunities more. She liked it because it allowed her the flexibility in her schedule she’d been missing out on for so long. It allowed her to meet new people in various fun and exciting settings. It allowed her to move from project to project with different companies instead of being stuck at one company. She could choose which projects she wanted and turn down those she didn’t. She also didn’t have to manage other people. And she was able to see the earning potential compared to her lower-rung corporate job offers.

I asked Dorothy two questions. One, “Are you able to earn as much money in a traditional eight-hour-a-day office manager job as you are in a few hours of being a brand ambassador?” And two, “If you were back in corporate, would you be able to accept as many modeling and brand ambassador gigs as you’re starting to get right now?” Her answers to both of those questions were, “No!”

With this realization and also knowing she didn’t want to do what her friends were telling her she should do, Dorothy stopped worrying about what everyone else thought. She stopped worrying about what society considers as practical. And she stopped worrying about what her friends would think. She said to me,

“Your program revealed to me my friends’ vision was not my vision for myself.”

Do you need to stop worrying about what others think about your goals and vision?

Wake up and understand your worth

Something else Dorothy said to me about paNASH’s program is,

“I now know my worth!”

She learned how her skills and talent were worth more than what she’d been making in corporate. And she learned from our work together how to negotiate higher rates for the brand ambassador gigs she’s continuing to land. This is the next step in creating a life you want to wake up to.

“At first I didn’t believe I could do any better but now I do!” she says.

Because of this, Dorothy has turned down the low-paying corporate job offers. She says the paNASH program gave her the vision and a path for her next career move. (Which does NOT include going back to where she was stuck before.) But she stresses to anyone considering the program, you have to put in the time and energy in the homework assignments. You have to be disciplined and be honest with yourself if you want real results.

“I have finally found my path!” Dorothy says.

Let me ask you: are you worth more than what you’re currently making? Are you worth investing in yourself to discover how you should use your talents and how much you should be making?

What will your new career path look like when you wake up?

Dorothy says she now has a career path she’s excited to wake up to every day. And she didn’t use age as an excuse to not pursue new endeavors. She’s 58-years-old but she’s never let age stop her. Not in modeling. Not in body building. And certainly not now in her new career path.

While Dorothy’s path may be very different from your future path, you likely have the same goals. You both want more flexibility and work-life balance in your career. And you both want to wake up to a life and career that excites you and energizes you.

You too can discover how to achieve these goals in your own unique way through paNASH’s Personal Branding program, either through personalized and in depth one-on-one coaching, the on-demand video tutorial, or the book. Visit yourpassioninlife.com to learn more or click on the links above. It’s never too late to strive for a better life and career!

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Nobody Likes a Know-It-All. Be a Learn-It-All Instead!

How to Enrich Your Life and Career with Lifelong Learning

I’m currently learning how to land paddle. Last week one of my stand up paddle boarding friends gave me another lesson in it. Land paddling is similar to stand up paddle boarding on water, but it feels so different! It’s like being on a big skate board with a stick that has a stopper instead of a paddle at the end of it.

To me it feels very foreign compared to being on water. (Confession: I’m much more clumsy on dry land than I am on water!) I’ve never skate boarded before, so this is way outside my comfort zone! But it’s a great way to get outside and get exercise, especially after paddle boarding season ends.

learninglearning

I’m also currently teaching myself about financial investing. This is something I once had no interest in because I didn’t think I had the ability to fully comprehend it. Even though it’s never too late to learn about investing, my limiting belief kept me in my comfort zone longer than it should have. This probably cost me money in hidden fees and the additional money I could’ve already earned had I understood it better.

Luckily my father is well-versed in this area and got me started early on with a financial adviser. But now I’m becoming more educated on how it all works. And I’m starting to make my own investment decisions instead of just relying on my financial adviser.

Finally, I’ve hired a digital marketing expert to teach me how to improve my business marketing and increase the sales of my on-demand video courses. Much of what she’s teaching me are things I know I need to do, but I’m learning from her how to prioritize it all. It’s not always easy to find the time to implement her suggestions while balancing my client base, but I know it’s important to do so I can scale my business.

Importance of Being a Learn-It-All

I’m doing all of the things above because I understand how important lifelong learning is. Being a “learn-it-all” is imperative for growth, success, and fulfillment. In fact, lifelong learning is so important I’ve included “education” as one of the seven goal categories in my 8-Step Goal-Achievement Plan (free when you subscribe to my weekly newsletter).

Continual learning can increase your earnings, reduce your risk of age-related diseases, and enrich your life!

Learning Doesn’t Follow the Smooth Road

You can see from my own experiences listed above there are oftentimes obstacles involved in being a “learn-it-all”. These obstacles can include discomfort, limiting beliefs, and time constraints. But those obstacles should never be used as excuses for not being open to learning new things.

These negative feelings and risks are to be expected. Author and CEO Gary Burnison says,

“People who are curious and risk-takers are often the best learners. But learning doesn’t follow the smooth road.”

And learning opportunities are not limited to the risk-takers. Even if you’re not a natural risk-taker, you can learn how to become a better learner.

How to Become a Good “Learn-It-All”

Burnison also goes on to say,

“While learning agility, to a large degree, is inborn…it can be developed. One of the was you can become more learning agile is to develop your curiosity. People who are curious are engaged in the world. There interests are varied, and they are constantly learning. They intentionally expose themselves to the new and different, whether that means eating unfamiliar foods or listening to music that’s outside their favorite genre. They approach every day as a new opportunity to learn something, especially about themselves. That’s why the best…CEOs begin and end the day with self-reflection.”

You can be a good “learn-it-all” by increasing your curiosity in some of the simple ways Burnison listed above.

For instance, next time you go out to eat, order something on the menu you can’t pronounce or have never heard of. And don’t just take a picture of it for your Instagram! Actually taste it and savor it. I shudder when I think of all the great foods I would’ve missed out on (including camel!) had I not been curious enough to try them.

Burnison says you can also be a good learner by ending your day or week with self-reflection. Self-reflection is the very first exercise in my book and on-demand video course Personal Branding: Why You Need to Know What Makes You YOUnique and AWEthentic.

Tangible Examples

It’s this same branding program that’s helped so many paNASH clients open their minds to learning something new and enriching their careers. It’s even led several clients to some really cool side hustles and career changes.

For instance, my client Ashley discovered she has both a passion and a talent for voice-over work. Had she not taken a voice-over basics course at the local community ed program I told her about, she never would’ve discovered her new-found talent.

She’s since taken a more intensive voice-over course while also building her voice-over portfolio. She’s even landed some voice-over gigs with her current corporation she works for. Her short-term plan is to get an agent so she can get more gigs. Her long-term plan is to eventually turn it from a side hustle into a full-time thing.

Another client, Adelaide, decided to leave her job without knowing what she wanted to do next. But because she’s a saver she was financially able to do so.

Shortly after leaving her job and in the midst of our work together, she discovered the Nashville Software School. She did some research on it and decided to delve into the world of coding which is something completely different from what she went to college for or what she’d been doing in the past. Because of her savings and her creative budget management, she was able to afford the six-month program.

A week before graduation she landed a job with a highly sought-after company. This company’s interview process usually takes several months, but she had one interview and got hired a week later.

What are you learning?

So my questions to you are:

  • What do you want to learn?
  • What are you curious about?
  • Are you currently learning something new?
  • Are you making time to expand your mind on something interesting?

Education doesn’t end after graduation. So become a “learn-it-all”!

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How to Move Up in Your Career

Lately I’ve had several people contact me who’ve said, “I can’t seem to move up in my career. I keep getting stuck in the same low-level jobs and don’t know how to get out of this cycle and move up to something better. Help!”

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 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.
  • After the first year, you get passed over for promotion.
  • Then it’s two to three years later and 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.
  • However you only apply for the same level job you’ve been in because you think it’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.

Breaking the Cycle and Creating Real Career Growth

So how do you break this cycle? By going in to a job with an intentional and focused plan.

The people who have suffered through 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. But how?

Below are several actions you can take to jump start a plan for moving up in your career. I’ve also linked each action to paNASH’s various on-demand video courses that show you in more detail how to carry out each action. (Get 15% off each on-demand program from Sept. 18-25 when you enter the discount code FALL2019 at checkout.)

In addition, paNASH provides a one-on-one personalized coaching track focusing 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 on-boarding in your new job.
  • Preparation for promotion and advancement opportunities.
  • Methods for asking for a raise.
  • “Fire”-proofing yourself.
  • Maintaining joy and challenge in your career.
  • And more!

Don’t stay stuck! Move up!

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

  1. With paNASH’s on-demand programs available online (get 15% off each online program or the entire bundle from Sept. 18-25 when you enter the discount code FALL2019 at checkout).
  2. And, with the personalized, one-on-one Career Growth coaching track.

Contact paNASH today and break the cycle!

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