Category: Goal-setting


Why “Keep It Simple, Stupid” Is the Best Career Advice

You may remember my blog post on the lesson of mindfulness. It was a lesson I learned when I went to the new Adventure Park Nashville ropes course.

It was all about how important it is to focus on the moment instead of always thinking and planning ahead (something I’m guilty of).

Well, when I returned to the ropes course and took a friend with me, it was obvious there was another lesson I needed to share with my readers.

This one is based on the old adage,

“KISS: keep it simple, stupid.”

Keep It Simple, Stupid

This time around I did some courses that were higher off the ground and more challenging. But what I noticed is not every element was as challenging as they first appeared.

While applying the previous lesson of focusing on only one bridge element at a time, I’d arrive at a new element and would study its configuration to figure out the best way to maneuver across it.

Upon first glance, most of them looked very complicated.

But instead of thinking too much about how to get across, I would just take the first step onto the element.

Once I did, it suddenly became clear that what looked like a real obstacle requiring a lot of thought and energy to maneuver was really very simple to get around.

We as a society, myself and my clients included, often overthink things when instead we should keep it simple.

Start by Starting

I see this especially in my clients who are thinking about changing careers or starting their own business.

They view the challenge in front of them and immediately start asking a bazillion questions about how they should start.

My response:

“You start by starting.”

I usually get a funny look from them as soon as it comes out of my mouth.

I explain to them it doesn’t matter how or where you start, as long as you take one step to start. There is no certain order you have to follow.

For someone looking to start their own business, it could be something as simple as securing a domain for your future business’s web site for less than $10.

Or it could be first reading Pat Flynn’s book Will It Fly? How to Test Your Next Business Idea So You Don’t Waste Your Time and Money.

For someone looking for a new job it could be as simple of a step as updating your LinkedIn profile.

Or it could be reaching out to one person in your network.

One Step at a Time

When a client asks,

“How do I make this big change?”

It’s just like the phrase of advice on how to eat an elephant: one bite at a time!

Of course the idea of changing careers or starting a business seems very overwhelming at first when looking at it as a whole.

But when you break it down into smaller steps, it’s not as complicated as it first appears. Each step is more simple than the process as a whole.

And once you take the first step, you gain the confidence you need to take the next step.

Before you know it, your steps have added up to a really big dent in your goal.

It’s as simple as that!

To learn more about how to break your goals and obstacles into more manageable steps so you’re not overthinking things, subscribe to my newsletter and receive a complimentary copy of the 8-Step Goal-Achievement Plan.

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How to Make Your Sucky Job More Bearable (Until You Can Leave)

Most of the places I’ve worked at in my career have been wonderful places of employment.

However, there was one college I worked for that had low staff morale campus-wide. I provided career services for the students, but oftentimes faculty and staff would come to my office seeking job search help for themselves.

One of the perks of working for a college or university is your children get to attend tuition-free. The staff members coming to me were the ones who had stuck it out until their children graduated, and were now ready to move on.

Because of the low staff morale, they lacked passion in their job. Some weren’t even sure anymore what they were passionate about.


Are You Tied to Your Current Job?

This is something I also hear today from potential clients.

People often contact me because they want to find their passion and either get a job they can feel passionate about, or start their own business related to their passions.

However, they feel tied to their current job and don’t see a way out.

At least not yet.


Have you found yourself in this situation?

If you can’t leave your current job yet, there are ways to cope until you can develop an exit strategy.

You may even be able to recapture your passion, or discover new passions by trying some of these simple suggestions.


8 Ways to Make Your Sucky Job More Bearable

1. Eat lunch away from your desk.

No matter how busy you are, be protective of your personal time, even if you only get a half-hour lunch.

If the weather’s nice outside, go eat at a picnic table or under a tree.

If you can’t get outside, eat lunch by a window.


2. Have lunch with some of your favorite co-workers.

Set a rule that you won’t discuss anything negative or anything related to work during those 30 to 60 minutes.


3. Get a little exercise.

Spend part of your lunch or your break taking a quick walk around the building or doing some stretching exercises.

This will get your blood pumping and lighten your mood.


4. Volunteer to serve on a committee.

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

Find one that matches your interests or goals 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, give you purpose, and build your resume for when you’re ready to leave.


5. Ask to represent your office at a conference.

There may be money in the budget to send you to a local, regional, or even national conference.

Not only will this provide you professional development, it will also expand your network and bring you a change of scenery from your current geographic location.

If you can’t attend a several-day conference, see if you can attend a one-day drive-in conference or luncheon.

A day away from the office while still being productive can help cure some of the doldrums.


6. Take a class.

Your company may offer some continuing education opportunities you can take advantage of.

If not, your local community will have numerous classes available to learn a new skill or hobby.

This is especially important to make time for (1 to 2 hours per week for only a few weeks) if you’re no longer sure what your interests or passions are.


7. Update your resume.

Make a list of all your accomplishments you’ve made in your current job and add them to your resume.

Taking an inventory of this builds your confidence in your skills which in turn gives you the courage to start looking for something new.

Just make sure you do this on your own time and not company time.


8. Stay focused

Stay focused on the things you like about your current job.

Look for other opportunities that have those same positives.


Take the Next Step

I encourage you to come up with some of your own ideas.

I also encourage you to not let yourself stay stuck.

Recognize when it’s time to seek something new and start working toward it now.

You want to be ready to move when the time opens up for you to do so!

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How to Overcome Your Self-Imposed Boundaries

Fall is my favorite time of year to paddle board. Here in Tennessee, both the water and the weather is still warm through September and October, but there’s less humidity. Also the water is calmer and the leaves are prettier.

self-imposed boundaries

I remember one autumn when paddling with a couple who had bought their paddle boards around the same time I bought my first board. We’d gone a short distance, not quite a mile and a half, when we were about to pass the public access boat ramp.

It was at this point the husband said,

“I guess we should turn around now.”

I looked at him a little confused and asked him why. It seemed to me we were just getting started.

His response was,

“Because my wife and I have never gone further than this point before.”

My response:

“All the more reason for us to keep going!”

Eventually the couple started moving beyond their self-imposed boundaries. In doing so they discovered new scenery, and developed more stamina and confidence.

But they’re still limiting themselves in a lot of ways. They only paddle downstream in the day time. But due to the cliffs downstream, you can’t see the glory of a full moon rising during the monthly full moon group paddles in the evening. You have to go upstream to see the big orange moon coming up from the horizon.

The wife often admits to me she has a lot of fears about a lot of things, many of which she knows are irrational. It’s this fear that creates walls and unnecessary self-imposed boundaries on her life. And it causes her to miss out on some beautiful things life has to offer.

Don’t Confuse Comfort With Contentment

I’ll always remember the husband’s statement because it made me sad. There appeared to be no reason for the limit the couple was imposing on themselves other than they’d never paddled any further before. (But was that really a “reason,” or just an “excuse” for something?)

What makes me even sadder is knowing there are a lot of people who live their entire lives this way, stopping short of their full potential and the things life has to offer them. Mainly because they confuse comfort for contentment.

Have you ever put a limit on yourself for no particular reason? Or you say the reason is because you’re content but that’s really just an excuse to remain comfortable and avoid the fear of the unknown?

The best way to know if you have (or are currently doing so) is to ask yourself this question:

“Am I more afraid of stepping out of my comfort zone or more afraid of staying stuck where I am?”

If you’re more afraid of staying stuck where you are, then it’s time to push the boundaries of your goals.

Do You Have Self-Imposed Boundaries?

But let’s break this down a bit. There may be some areas of your life where you have no fear. You plow through your goals and continually push yourself in certain areas.

But in other areas you’re stuck because of your self-imposed boundaries.

One exercise you can do is to honestly evaluate the following seven categories in terms of the ones where you limit yourself the most:

  1. Spiritual
  2. Family
  3. Health
  4. Work
  5. Financial
  6. Social
  7. Educational

Feel free to add additional categories where you know you limit yourself.

In which categories do you recognize a lot of limits? Are those limits real or imagined? Are they self-imposed?

This exercise is one of the first steps in the 8-Step Goal-Achievement Plan. The plan teaches you how to overcome your limiting beliefs in each category.

You’ll also want to check out “How to Overcome Negative Self-Talk Like an Olympian”.

negative self-talk

Only after you categorize the areas where you need improvement and address your limiting beliefs can you begin to set long-term and short-term goals.

Reaching Your Full Potential

It’s good to make sure you’re setting goals that are realistic. But it’s also important to keep pushing the boundaries of those goals so you can accomplish the things you were created to do.

Getting stuck in fear, comfort, or a particular way of doing something can prevent you from reaching your full potential. Which by the way hurts others who could benefit from your full potential. Plus it can become down right boring!

Maybe it’s time to be honest with yourself on whether you’re truly content or just comfortable. One way to do so is to start working through the 8-Step Goal-Achievement Plan. You can download the plan for free when you subscribe to the paNASH newsletter.

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How to Keep Yourself Focused on Your Goals


“Focus precedes success.” Bobb Biehl


I recently got the question, “How do you keep yourself focused on your goals?”

One of the things I do to stay focused on my own goals is to follow what I teach my clients. I help them not just set goals but achieve them so they can pursue their passions in life.

I have an 8-step method to achieving goals that’s always worked for me and also works for many of my clients. 

The method has helped me achieve several short-term objectives over the past few years that have added up to the achievement of some long-term and ongoing goals.


The goals I continually focus on include:

  • Improving my career coaching business.
  • Paying off any and all debts.
  • Saving more money.
  • Learning new things.
  • Having fun and adventurous experiences.
  • Growing spiritually.

For example, just last year I…

  • released my 2nd book,
  • raised $2,500 for my first mission trip,
  • traveled on that mission trip to the jungles of the Amazon in South America (the 4th continent I’ve had the opportunity to visit in my lifetime),
  • took a business marketing class and a financial success class,
  • increased my business’s revenue by 50%,
  • spent more time traveling to see family,
  • took a vacation to Florida,
  • went on a silent retreat,
  • and paid off my credit card debt,

…all while running a business and having to undergo two unexpected surgeries with 6 weeks of out-of-work recovery in that same year.


4 Things That Keep Me Focused on My Goals

When I look at the above list considering all I went through with the surgeries, I wonder how in the world I accomplished so much in such a short time.

But I know there were four things that helped stay focused and achieve all of the above:

#1.

Writing down my goals. 

This one simple act made it more likely for me to achieve my goals. 

I noticed most of the things I wrote down got accomplished while most of the things I didn’t write down, didn’t get accomplished.


#2.

Following the 8-Step Goal-Achievement Plan I’ve developed for my clients.

You don’t have to be a client to utilize this plan. It’s available for free when you subscribe to my newsletter.


#3.

Keeping track of my goals and the steps to achieving them in my Passion Planner. 

A Passion Planner is a wonderful calendar resource that lets you map out your goals for the year and then shows you how to prioritize the the steps to achieving those goals.

“The key to balance is scheduling your priorities a year in advance.” Bobb Biehl (executive coach and author)

The other great thing about the Passion Planner is that it has wonderful reflection questions at the end of each month, such as:

  • What were the three biggest lessons you learned this past month?
  • How are you different between this past month and the month before it?
  • What three things can you improve on this upcoming month?

#4.

Staying disciplined. 

This is the most important key to keeping myself focused on my goals!

Without those four things, I never, ever would’ve been able to achieve all that I did last year.


While other methods work better for some people, this is what works best for me in staying focused on my goals. 

I’ve also seen it work well for many of my clients. 

Perhaps it could work for you too!

goals

Related Post: How to Make Money, Stay Fit, and Be Creative: Combine Your Passions

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You Don’t Have To Be a Slave To a Paycheck

You may remember reading about my client Robert in my post entitled “How to Know If You’re In the Wrong Job”. Robert is the one who has talents and passions in both illustration and foreign languages.

But instead he had a job he dreaded going to every day.

When you first heard about Robert, he was just starting to turn his passion for illustration into a side hustle with the hopes of eventually leaving his job pursuing it full-time.

Over the weekend I received this update from Robert. It truly is inspiring, and can show how applying paNASH’s coaching techniques can be life-changing!


A Drastic Career Change

Hi Lori,

I hope things have been going well for you. I’ve finally had some drastic changes in my career take place recently I wanted to update you on.

A couple of years ago I found out there was an instructor at Lipscomb University who used to be one of the top tier animators for Disney feature films for 15 years. He animated moves like The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, and Aladdin.

Once he left Disney, he moved here to the Nashville area. Then, Lipscomb University recruited him to teach and develop an animation program.

I had heard about him and for a long time I’d always wanted to get in touch with him. He’s a real celebrity in the animation world and has numerous connections in the industry.

I thought it would be so cool to connect with a guy like him and to learn from him. It had been bugging me for two years that a resource like him lived just 20 miles away and I’d done nothing to try to make that connection.

So, in March, I finally got up the nerve to reach out to him.

I sent him an email explaining my passion for character design and told him how I’m trying to transition into the industry. I asked him if he was open for a discussion and he agreed to meet with me.

It turns out he’s a very kind, generous person willing to help aspiring artists as best he can.

I asked him if it would be possible to audit just one of his classes at Lipscomb. He said yes and after coordinating it with Lipscomb’s admission’s office, I registered for his character design class that would begin in August.

The Inevitable Obstacle

I was so excited!

However, there was one huge problem.

The class was held mid-day on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. This of course conflicted with my work hours at my job in Hendersonville.

I would have to be away from the office a few hours three days a week, just to take a class that has nothing to do with my job. I knew my company would never approve such a request for that much time away from the office.

So, my wife and I started praying about what to do.

Having a mentor is absolutely essential for an artist to fully reach his potential. I’d already been praying for two years for such a mentor who could help me grow as an artist.

It looked like God was providing an answer and an opportunity for me to learn from the best of the best, but there was the obstacle of my job. Lots of prayer and discernment ensued.

A Fork in the Road

By July God was still putting it on my heart to not let this opportunity slip by.

At this point I decided to sit down with my boss and explain my situation to see if there was anything that could be worked out with my company.

My boss is a very understanding guy and he knows art is my passion, so I knew he would get how big of an opportunity this was for me.

I asked him about the possibility of working remotely on the days I had class. I’d read the book The 4-Hour Workweek you suggested to me when I was asking you about how to pitch working remotely to my company, so I was using what I learned because it was my only chance of keeping my job and taking the class.

When I pitched my idea to my boss, he was supportive, but HR was not.

This didn’t surprise me.

It seemed clear at this point I wouldn’t be able to keep my job and take the class. I was at a fork in the road. I was going to have to choose between my job and my dream.

And I was going to have to make a decision soon because the class was starting in a few weeks.

A Paycheck Isn’t Worth the Unhappiness

My wife and I continued to pray and we talked about it until we were blue in the face.

Through all this prayer and discernment, I realized the only thing keeping me at my job was money. Everything else about my job was not worth staying on for.

I realized it was a dead-end job because if I stayed, I’d be stuck doing the exact same thing ten years from now.

Literally I was showing up every day just for a paycheck.

The most interesting thing I realized though was the paycheck wasn’t as important as I originally thought.

Yes, everyone needs money. But being constantly unhappy was not worth the money.

My wife and I discussed our finances and figured out with her income and our combined savings, we’d be fine for at least a year. She gave me her blessing and support.

She’s the most loving and supportive woman I could’ve possibly found in this world. She told me if God was calling me to pursue my talent in art and we had enough money to make due, to go ahead and leave my job for my passion.

So I gave my boss two weeks notice.

My last day of work was August 17th and my first day of class was August 20th.

It’s a Faith Journey

Now, I’m free of my soul-sucking job and I’m finally getting to do what I’ve been dreaming of for years! (In fact, I’m writing this email from a computer on Lipscomb’s campus!)

My plan is to spend the semester taking the class and practice my skills to get them to a professional level while also building my relationship with the instructor.

Then, when the semester ends in December, I’ll assess my next steps.

The instructor is known for helping connect his students with other people in the industry. I’m hoping he’ll do the same for me even though I’m only auditing his class.

Since starting the class a few weeks ago, I’ve been making the experience my new full-time job.

I arrive on campus every morning at 7:00am, whether I have class that day or not, and I stay until 4:00pm. I spend my time honing my craft, taking the class, networking with other artists, and building a professional relationship with my instructor.

It’s been great but it’s also been a challenge spiritually and emotionally.

The devil is trying to break me down every day by telling me I’m wasting my time, I’m a selfish, irresponsible husband and it’s ridiculous for me to chase my passion while my wife works.

I expected this to happen because I knew the devil would do this.

And most days it’s hard not to let it get to me. But that’s what comes with the territory of a faith journey.

And this is definitely a faith journey.

No Longer a Slave to a Paycheck

Now that I’ve settled into my new schedule, I’m going to start advertising around campus my Spanish tutoring skills. I think it would be a confidence boost to earn at least a little money while also helping others.

I find I work best when I move between two different things rather than focusing on just one thing.

This will allow me to make my own schedule and charge what I’m worth instead of working part-time waiting tables.

I’m also going to start using the Passion Planner you gave me at paNASH’s client mixer to better structure my day and maximize my time.

For so long my job was holding me back and I was just a slave to a paycheck.

Now I’m finally doing what I’m supposed to do. I’m not doing it full-time YET, but I am still receiving commissions for my artwork as a side hustle which is helping fund my dream while I learn from the best.

Thank You!

I write all this to say your help is partly what enabled me to arrive at this major career decision to pursue my passion.

The skills you’ve taught me, the encouragement you’ve given me, and the resources you’ve connected me with have all played a huge role in getting me to this point.

And you don’t know this, but your blog posts have really been an inspiration to me as well.

Specifically, the one entitled “When Is the Right Time to Leave Your Job?” was published the exact same day I had to make my final decision about quitting my job, and it helped me know for sure I was doing the right thing.

And the one you wrote the following week about the ropes course also reassured me I’d done the right thing.

Those two posts were divinely orchestrated at just the right time for me.

I really wanted to thank you for the help you’ve given me and especially for being available on occasion even after our coaching sessions were over.

I wanted to share all this with you so you could see the fruit of your diligent work with me.

Thank you!

Robert

Robert’s Art

Reading Robert’s email made my whole week!

He’s such a talented and gifted artist, and I believe in him so much last fall I commissioned him to do a drawing of me as my childhood hero, Wonder Woman. (I’d always wanted to be Wonder Woman when I grew up!).

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Illustration by Robert Hughes

And he’s also taking commissions from anyone else who’d like something similar.

In fact, he’s currently taking pre-orders for personalized holiday cards in which he’ll do cartoon characterizations of your family members! (See samples below.)

To submit your own pre-order, email Robert at rchughes2@gmail.com.

paycheck

Illustrations by Robert Hughes

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