Category: Goal-setting


How to Make Smart Investments in Your Life and Career

With the end of another year AND another decade nearing, it’s time to get serious about your life and your career. You don’t have to have a lot of money or even a lot of time to invest in your future. But, you do need to start somewhere. There are several little things you can do to make smart investments in your life and career. These little things will add up. And by the end of the next decade and even the next year, you’ll see a BIG payoff!

Let’s break it down by various areas of your life. We’ll use the seven major areas as outlined in my Goal-Achievement Plan, a free download when you subscribe to my newsletter at www.yourpassioninlife.com. Don’t let all the following suggestions overwhelm you. Instead, just pick one or two to start with. The results you see will motivate you to make the same kind of investment in the other areas of your life. Pretty soon you’ll see an overall improvement in your life and career.

1. Spiritual investments

Getting centered spiritually, regardless of what it looks like for you, is probably the most important investment you can make in your life. Setting aside time at the beginning of each day for small habits such as prayer or meditation, reading, and journaling can get your day started off on the right foot.

Eleven years ago I started getting up an hour early each morning to do just that. I can’t even begin to describe what this has done for me, personally and even professionally. But now I can’t imagine starting my day without it. This habit is truly my daily bread. It’s helped me to make smart decisions in all the other areas of life listed below. The return on my time and emotional investment is priceless.

I encourage you to do the same. If mornings seem impossible for you, then at least commit to this habit every night before bed. Just know though, it will be harder to stay committed once you’re already tired. This is one reason why I recommend doing it in the morning. The other reason is because you’ll have the armor you’ll need to face each day’s challenges with renewed strength.

2. Investments in family

This one is sometimes hard for me to manage since my family is located far away. You may have the same situation too. Taking the time to speak to each other on the phone or via FaceTime on a regular basis (instead of just texting) can strengthen family ties.

When together in person, resist the temptation to play on your phone or on social media, especially during a meal together. Instead, put the phone away and invest your attention in your loved ones. Be fully present with them.

If the phone does come out, let it be to share some recent photos with each other and to take some new photos together, creating new memories to look back on ten years from now. Who knows what new technology will be available in ten years to let us share these photos and take new ones?!

3. Smart investments in your health

If you haven’t heard this yet, health is the new wealth. Being able to enjoy your life ten years from now will depend on your current health habits. Your bank account will also depend on your health. Will you still be able to work ten years from now based on how you’re currently treating your body?

The past ten years I’ve developed new eating and exercise habits. While the addition of these habits to my routine has been incremental, I’ve already experienced numerous benefits. I can’t wait to see how my habits and results improve in the coming years.

In addition to investing time in regular exercise, it’s good to invest a little more money in healthier foods. Although healthier foods still cost more than unhealthy foods, think of the money you’ll save in doctor bills in the future!

You may have seen the story on Facebook about the elderly woman who was able to reverse her dementia by eating foods like blueberries and walnuts. She’s not Super Woman, but what she’s eating are super foods! Super foods are those foods found in nature containing more nutrition than any other foods.

The top ten super foods are avocados, blueberries, broccoli, eggs, garlic, honey, lentils, quinoa, spinach, and walnuts. They’re best for you when eaten with other super foods. Every morning I need 30 grams of protein so I don’t get hungry again too soon. I’m usually able to incorporate three to four super foods in my high-protein breakfast.

In addition, there are several foods that can lower your cholesterol. They include fish, olive oil, whole grains, berries, avocados, beans, nuts, spinach, red wine (in moderation), vegetables, citrus fruits, soy, green and black teas, and (my favorite) dark chocolate. I also get at least four of these in my high-protein breakfast.

Try incorporating some of your own favorite foods from the items above in your diet to go along with some fun form of exercise you enjoy most.

4. Smart investments in your career

Without making the above smart investments in your life, it will be difficult to be successful in your career. Career success also depends on your ability to sharpen and update your current skills while learning new skills. Doing so requires an investment of time, and sometimes money.

If your current employer pays for professional development or continuing education, take advantage of it! But go a step further and seek out additional educational and personal growth opportunities that can prepare you for a promotion or possible future career change. You can find these opportunities in local continuing ed programs and online, most of which are typically very affordable. Having this additional training can give you leverage when starting your own business, asking for a raise, or negotiating a salary offer for a new job.

Speaking of salary negotiations, career success also depends on how well you can negotiate a fair salary. This is something I teach my clients how to do tactfully.

Let’s assume whatever the salary offer is, you’ll get at least the average cost-of-living raise each year, which is typically 2% to 3%. Let’s say you get an initial offer of $80,000 and accept it without countering. Do you realize in five years, you will have lost out on as much as $27,340 in salary increases by not asking for just $5,000 more? (An additional $5,000 is the most you can usually ask for without the hiring manager having to seek additional approval.) Raises compound just like financial investments do!

5. Financially smart investments

If you’re able to negotiate a higher salary, then you’ll have more money to invest now which will grow over time. But financial investments don’t just include putting your money into a 401K or into the stock market. They also include learning how to be more financially responsible. This begins with investing the time to creating a budget, monitoring your spending habits, figuring out necessary spending cuts, saving for an emergency fund, taking the time to pay off debts, adding to your emergency fund, and learning more about smart investing.

This may not sound like fun and may even sound difficult depending on your current financial situation. Taken all together, it does seem overwhelming and impossible. But when you break it down into baby steps as financial expert Dave Ramsey teaches in his book The Total Money Makeover, it not only becomes easy but also motivating!

While I don’t subscribe to everything Ramsey teaches, I will say his baby step method to financial freedom does work! By following this method, I’m on track to have my car paid off a year early. And this feels good! It’s motivated me to set bigger financial goals like contributing more to my mutual fund and IRA and giving more to causes meaningful to me.

You can start small today by making payments on your smallest debt and then using the snowball approach Ramsey teaches to tackling your remaining debt. As a result your debt will be paid off faster than you think!

6. Socially smart investments

Like smart investments in your family, it’s also important to invest in others through your network and your in-real-life social connections.

I’ve written numerous blog posts on the importance of building professional relationships to grow your network. This takes a lot of investment of time and energy. It requires you to be the kind of contact you’d like to have. It also requires you to be realistic about the time it takes to build and nurture these professional relationships. As a career coach, I cannot stress enough the importance of growing your network!

In addition to creating strong ties in your professional network, you want to do the same in your social life. The best way to create and foster new social connections is by getting involved in activities and causes you’re drawn to. This includes getting involved with a group interested in the same form of exercise you enjoy, volunteering with others for a cause you find meaningful, or joining a small group in your church. These are just a few examples, but they do help you find your “tribe” so to speak.

I’ve personally made friends with people just from my passion of stand-up paddle boarding, my participation in a weekly dinner with my small group, and from volunteering alongside people I otherwise would’ve never met. What are some things you can get involved in to meet and bond with new people?

7. Investments in personal growth and education

Similar to professional development that sharpens your career skills, it’s important for your personal development to invest in some lifelong learning on topics outside your career. Investing in classes on a subject just to learn more about it or to improve your knowledge can have a great return on investment! In addition to increasing your knowledge on a new subject, it can exercise your brain and reduce your risk of age-related diseases. It can also expand your network and your social circle. It can even help you discover a side gig or another revenue stream!

I’m always trying to learn new things and improve on the things I already know. For instance, last year I took a paddle clinic from former canoeing Olympian and QuickBlade owner Jim Terrell to improve my stand-up paddling skills. I’ve also taken classes on topics like financial success, self-defense, small business marketing, and much more.

As stated earlier, many of these courses are offered through continuing education programs and are usually very affordable. I encourage you to check out the Nashville Community Education Commission to see what classes they have you might be interested or curious in. This is a really fun way to invest your time and money to better your life and your career!

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How to Go From Burned Out to Fired Up!

I have so many clients who come to me feeling burned out in their current job. For some of them it’s not from working too much. Instead it’s from working outside their gifting. For others, they love their job and company, but their employers treat them as machines instead of humans!

Burned out from working too much

For those of you who are in a company or job you enjoy but are feeling burned out from overwork, looking for a new job and sending out resumes is probably not the answer right now.

Doing so would be the same as uprooting your family and moving to a house right next door to a restaurant just because you happen to be hungry right now.

Trust me. You don’t want to trade a burnout with a company you love for a burnout with a company you’ll hate.

Have the tough conversation with your boss

Instead, I suggest having a frank conversation with your supervisor, no matter how difficult or scary it may feel.

Former Wall Street CEO (for both Smith Barney and Merrill Lynch) and now entrepreneur Sallie Krawcheck says,

“The days of the boss as ‘hard-ass’ need to be kissed good-bye. Today the business world increasingly values the kind of leaders who recognize that their employees’ lives don’t begin and end when they are at work. Many of us have families, and pets, and outside interests, and medical needs, and hobbies. Really, it’s well past time to get over requiring face time. And work as an extreme sport, complete with all-nighters and last-minute business trips-it isn’t good for employees, and it certainly doesn’t allow anyone to do their best work; and younger professionals are turning away from it in droves. Why not own the fact that we are all people and acknowledge that all of us need time for our outside lives? It’s just smart business.”

Instead of taking the angle of needing some much needed relief from your current workload, take the angle of how you want to be the best and most productive employee you can be for your boss.

Tell him or her how your current workload is negatively impacting your ability to do your best. Then focus on how you can improve your performance and productivity with just a few suggested tweaks.

Propose a win-win-win situation

Think ahead what tweaks you can suggest to be a win-win-win. (A win for your boss that will make him or her look good, a win for the company’s bottom line, and a win for you and your sanity.)

Some examples of tweaks you can suggest may include:

  • Delegating some things to your subordinates.
  • Working remotely from home one to two days a week.
  • Trading travel to in-person site visits for Skype meetings.

A trial period

Give your boss the option to try what you’re suggesting on a trial basis (typically two weeks). Offer to go back to the old way if it doesn’t work.

During those two weeks, track every single positive impact on the company’s bottom line you notice.

Examples of positive outcomes include:

  • Reduction in errors.
  • Financial savings for the company.
  • More satisfied clients/customers.
  • Increase in more qualified prospects.
  • Increase in repeat sales from current customers.
  • Time used more wisely.

Deliver results

Create a report reflecting these positive outcomes and present it to your boss at the end of the two weeks.

Then once you share your positive results, ask your boss for two additional weeks to see if you can repeat what you’ve accomplished in the first two weeks. If you can, he or she will find it hard to justify saying no to an indefinite continuation of your new approach to your workload.

Consider your next move

Only after you’ve had this conversation with your boss should you consider looking for a new job.

If your supervisor likes your work as much as you like working for him or her, you shouldn’t feel paranoid about broaching the subject. In fact, your boss will probably be glad you brought your struggle to his or her attention.

But if your proposal is immediately shot down and it’s obvious your feedback is not appreciated, then you’ll know it’s probably time to look for something new. But I strongly recommend taking some vacation time (even if you don’t go out of town) to really think about if you should leave your job. And if so, for what other kind of job?

Use this time to also figure out your personal mission and purpose in life so you’ll know what opportunities to say yes to and which ones to say no to. Make sure you’re targeting opportunities that allow you to work in your gifting. Otherwise, you’ll end up burned out all over again.

Don’t get burned out on burnout

When looking for something new, do so with a clear mind. Again, use some of your vacation time to take a step back and get some proper perspective on what exactly you want in your next job and what will be a good fit for your personal mission. It will be worth it!

If you need help determining your purpose and gifting, start with paNASH’s on-demand video course on personal branding. Do this before you update your resume and just start sending it out randomly with no real focus.

Don’t get burned out on burnout. If you follow the suggestions above, you can find a new lease on life which can really get you fired up about your 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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Is Your Comfort Zone Really All That Comfortable?

Do you think your comfort zone is really all that comfortable?

Well, let’s see. Does any of this describe your current situation?

If any of the above sounds familiar, your comfort zone is anything but comfortable.

The Line Between Your Comfort Zone and the Life You Really Desire

Instead, it’s what I call the THRIVE ZONE.

comfort zone

Are You Willing to Step Out of Your Comfort Zone?

Are you fed up enough with how uncomfortable your comfort zone is you’re willing to experience some temporary discomfort and make some changes?

Next Steps to Your Thrive Zone

First, learn how to set (and achieve) goals the right way. This involves subscribing to the paNASH newsletter to receive an 8-Step Goal-Achievement Plan. This complimentary resource will help you:

Second, if you like free resources and want more, register for my complimentary on-demand program 5 Ways to Pursue Your Passions in Life and Work. In this program you’ll learn how to:

The Results You Can Expect

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How to Make Your Big Decisions More Simple

Excerpt From Lori’s Latest Personal Branding Book

Here’s an edited excerpt from my newest personal branding book. I’m excited to share in my third book how to make better life and career decisions. Enjoy!

Are you facing a big decision, unsure which direction to take or which option to choose?

It could be career-related, such as the choice between two job offers.

Or it could be more personal, like the choice between staying in a relationship or ending it.

If only there was a simple way to make these difficult decisions! Well, maybe there is.

Notice I said “simple,” not “easy.”


I’ve personally found a simple way to make some of my hardest decisions.

But, it requires deep reflection and discipline to utilize it.

I’ve used this same method in working with my clients to help them better face their own difficult decisions.

Here’s how it’s worked for me, and how it can work for you.


Reflection

First, I had to come up with my own personal mission statement.

I’d done a professional mission statement for my business, so why not a personal one just for me?

I had to spend time reflecting on my core values, philosophy, and goals.

Then I had to reflect on how I wanted to carry out those hopes and beliefs.

This took some time and required me to be completely honest with myself and with God.

My personal mission statement:

“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.”


Discipline

Second, I had to remember to use my mission statement as a filter for all my choices.

If the choice didn’t support my mission statement, it had to go.

I had to be disciplined enough to make the decision my mission statement revealed to be the right one.

No matter how difficult it would be.


For example, at the time I wrote my mission statement in late 2015, my friendship with my guy-friend was turning romantic.

The relationship was great at first, but after nine months of dating, I noticed a pattern that had been developing for some time.

This pattern wouldn’t make such a relationship sustainable if certain variables remained the same, which they did.

I wasn’t sure if I should end the relationship or give it another chance.

After much prayer, I was reminded of my mission statement and why I’d written it.

So, I pulled it out and started reading it. I immediately realized that the relationship didn’t support the life goals in my mission statement.


What I had to do.

Though I didn’t want to end the relationship, I had to in order to stay true and authentic to my God-given hopes.

It wasn’t an easy thing to do because my heart didn’t feel like ending it.

But my soul knew what was best for me in the long run. (This is why it’s dangerous to subscribe to the “just-follow-your-heart” advice of today’s culture.)

I had to be disciplined enough to push through my fickle emotions which were temporary, and focus on the decision that would make me happier and healthier down the road.

Once I ended it, I received confirmation in so many forms (including red flags that weren’t previously present) and realized I had indeed made the right decision.

Anytime I considered turning back, those red flags served as reminders as to why I had to stick to my decision.


What do you have to do?

Do you have a big decision in your life you soon have to make?

Maybe it involves a move to a new state or a new country.

Maybe it involves going back to school or ending a long-time friendship.

Whatever decision you face, I encourage you to follow a similar process to see if it helps make things a little simpler.

Not easier, just simpler.

It may even make you stronger.

Get the Personal Branding Book!

To learn how to write your own mission statement along with discovering what makes you unique and how to articulate your uniqueness, check out my latest book:

Personal Branding: Why You Need to Know What Makes You YOUnique and AWEthentic

Copies of my personal branding book are available in paperback for $12.99 or for free with purchase of my on-demand program. To receive more info, click below:

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