Category: Inspirational/Motivational


How Your Grit Can Help You Negotiate a Better Salary

My grandmother was the hardest working person I’ve ever known (not just woman, but PERSON). She had grit. And she knew how to value her hard work. In honor of Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day, allow me to share her story.

My Grandmother’s Grit

My grandmother worked in a textile mill for a total of 54 years, well beyond the age when most people retire. At the same time, she worked her and my grandfather’s farm until age 91. Because my grandfather couldn’t walk very well, my grandmother did much of the leg-work of running the farm. She also had a side-hustle doing alterations, and raised two children while doing all of this.

My grandmother could pick 100 gallons of strawberries in 90 degree heat at record speed. She was three times faster than people half her age. She was such a hard worker that when her shoe fell off while stooped over picking green beans, she never even stopped to put it back on. A few weeks later her sister noticed the shoe tangled up in some vines. She asked whose shoe it was. My grandmother responded casually, “Oh, it’s mine. I walked out of it and just kept going.”

My grandmother was such a hard worker that on the morning she had a major stroke and was paralyzed on one side of her body, she wouldn’t let my grandfather call 911. Instead she made him hold her up while she fixed breakfast for him with one arm. He had to sneak and call 911.

Know Your Worth

My grandmother was the hardest working person I ever knew, but there was one thing she wouldn’t do. She would never work a job that didn’t pay her fairly. In fact, when she had to enter a nursing home at age 91, she still wanted to work. So, she asked the nursing home director for a job. The director told her she could help deliver mail to the rooms, but they wouldn’t be able to pay her. She responded with, “No thank you.”

Don’t get me wrong. My grandmother was a very giving and generous person. She’d make sure everyone else had food in their stomachs and shirts on their backs long before herself. She denied herself a lot of things so others could have more. But she also understood her value, and never cheapened her skills.

My grandmother’s grit serves as an example to me, and hopefully to other women, that our skills and abilities are valuable in the workplace. We should not settle for a compensation not commensurate with our experience or the services we’re providing. Instead, we should stand up for what we’re worth, or be willing to walk away.

If you know you’re a hard worker and you’re good at your job, get the confidence to ask for what’s fair. Know your worth and negotiate that new job offer or that contract with a new client. Ask for your long over-due raise or promotion. Don’t demand this kind of respect, but instead, command it. And teach your daughters and granddaughters to do the same.

Need help improving your salary negotiation skills? paNASH can help! Email me to get started.

How to Answer, “What Do You Do?” When Unemployed

It’s the question we all get when first meeting someone. “So, what do you do?” Although it’s not specified in the question, we know the person’s asking what we do for a living. But how do we answer this when unemployed, and without feeling like a failure?

A lot of people are currently unemployed due to the pandemic. They dread this question. Maybe you also dread it, even if you’re not unemployed.

Being unemployed doesn’t define you

First, we have to let go of the false idea that our worth is based in our work. Our careers and jobs don’t define us.

And while our worth also doesn’t come from our skills and talents, we can better answer this question by looking back to see which God-given skills are the common thread in our past experience, including paid work, volunteer work, and what I call “fun work.”

A personal example of “fun work” is when I filled in at the local paddle board shop when they were short-staffed. This job was fun because I got to be on my paddle board, and I got to be outside on the water. Plus, it was a nice way to add some variety to my regular career coaching schedule. But it was also fun because I got to use my gifts of teaching and encouragement when training new paddlers.

These God-given talents in encouraging and teaching others have been a common thread throughout my experience. Not only do I currently use them in my career coaching, I’ve used them in my past work in higher education while advising college students, and when working with aspiring recording artists in the Nashville music industry. I’ve also used them when volunteering in organizations like Project Connect. I’ve even seen how these talents have been used in my personal relationships to help friends and family.

I love encouraging others. It’s a natural, God-given gift and talent I can use whether I’m employed or not.

A new answer

After looking back and realizing this, I now answer the question “What do you do?” differently from my previous usual answer of, “I do career coaching.” Instead, I now say, “I encourage others.” This response  leads to more meaningful conversations.

What about you? What natural gift or talent have you used throughout your past experience and other areas of your life? You can use this to answer the question, “What do you do?”, both when your employed and unemployed.

If you need encouragement, or if you’d like to discover new and creative ways to use your own talents in helping others, let’s talk. I’d be happy to schedule a complimentary initial consultation with you. Click here to get started.

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Warning! Pursuing Your Passion Is Not for the Faint of Heart

I have a friend from my church small group who is an epidemiologist. No one becomes an epidemiologist without having at least some passion for the study of disease outbreaks.

About this time last year, he took a new job as the chief medical officer for the Tennessee Department of Health, right before the pandemic hit the United States. As you can probably imagine, my friend’s job has been extremely busy and stressful this past year. It’s definitely not for the faint of heart.

But it’s my friend’s God-given passion for his specialty and for helping people that keeps him going. God-given passion is what helps him push through the stress he’s dealing with and the overtime he’s putting in.

And when he gets a little time off, it’s his God-given passions outside of work which help restore and rejuvenate him, like spending time with family, hiking, and kayaking.

Your passion is meant to serve others

My mission is to help people discover ways to pursue their God-given passions in their careers. But pursuing a passion is not to be confused with finding the perfect job, because no such thing exists.

Also, it’s not to be confused with just finding what’s going to make you happy. You have not been given passions and skills to only serve yourself. They’ve been given to you to serve others, either directly or indirectly.

You don’t have to be an epidemiologist to make a difference in the world. Instead, you only have to learn how your own gifts and desires can be used in noble ways.

You do this by asking yourself what problem your own passions and skills help solve. Next, you determine who experiences this problem and is in need of your solution.

Once you discover who your passions and skills best serve, you’ll have to make some decisions that line up with your personal values and your family’s values. Clarifying those values is what will help you determine which sacrifices you’re willing to make when necessary, and therefore which opportunities to say yes to.

Knowing your values will also help you to persevere when the work gets difficult or stressful. Because make no mistake, it will get stressful at times.

Are you ready to pursue your passion?

No matter what your passions or skills are, you have them for a reason: to help serve others. One of the most God-honoring things you can do is to work in those skills and passions. Yes, there will be times when it becomes difficult. And when it does, it becomes a living sacrifice.

But it should not be difficult because you’re trying to do something you have no desire for, or haven’t been equipped to do. This only leads to a quick burnout.

If you need help figuring out how your passions and skills best serve others, or if you feel like you’ve been neglecting them and want to use them to make a difference, let’s talk. I’d be happy to schedule a complimentary initial consultation with you. Click here to take this brave step in your career.

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How to Find Joy in Your Work Right Now

When I do presentations on the importance of personal branding, I often ask the question, “Why is it important for us to know our weaknesses, limitations, and failures?” Most people respond with, “So we can get better at them.”

While I’m all for personal and professional development and improvement, this is not why we need to know our weaknesses. We need to know our weaknesses so we can know what to say no to (instead of saying yes to everything), and therefore free up our time for the work that positively impacts the people in need of our strengths.

Making the shift in your work

If we constantly go against the grain, trying to improve our God-given weaknesses just so we can give the appearance of being good at everything, we have no time or energy to use our God-given talents.

But, when we make a shift and focus on giving the talents we have, instead of trying to get the talents we don’t have, we discover something truly beautiful and amazing: our weaknesses become part of our assets.

The lessons we learn from our weaknesses, along with the adaptations we make for them, become our strengths. This is a true example of beauty from ashes. And this is what uniquely equips us to carry out our calling in a way that makes our work fulfilling instead of soul-sucking.

Don’t believe me? Watch this TED Talk from comedian Michael Jr., and you’ll get it.

Know your set up and deliver your punchline

Your gifts will make room for you in the place you’re supposed to be. If you don’t yet know your strengths or your calling, paNASH can help you.

We can help you weed out the things you don’t need to waste your time and energy on. And, we can help you discover not only your talents, but also who you’re called to deliver them to.

Work that’s fulfilling and purposeful

To learn more about how we do this, you can schedule a free initial consultation by filling out our intake form. The result is the fulfillment and purpose you’ve longed for in your work.

What are you waiting for? Get in the game today!

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More Coaches’ Advice For a Successful Career

Part 2

Last week, I shared with you the first five of ten rules for a successful career. These rules were garnered from the advice of some of the world’s greatest athletic coaches, as highlighted in the recent documentary series, The Playbook: A Coach’s Rules for Life.

This week I’m sharing the remaining five rules, one from professional soccer coach Jose Mourinho, and the final four from NCAA Women’s Basketball Champion coach, Dawn Staley.

5 More Rules for a Successful Career

1. “Understand your audience.”

Jose Mourinho – Professional Soccer Coach and Manager

I agree with Coach Mourinho. You must always know your audience. And, you must take the time to understand their challenges and needs so you can best serve them. Depending on your career goal, your audience may be the hiring manager at a new company, your current boss, your boss’s boss, or potential clients or customers of your own business.

This is important when marketing your experience. It’s so important, that I’ve created an entire exercise on how to better understand who your audience is. It’s available in my latest book on personal branding, and in the on-demand video course, The Three Super Powers of Successful Job Seekers.

If you don’t take time to understand your audience and their needs, you’ll likely be passed over for your competition. Don’t let this happen to you!

2. “Create a home court advantage.”

Dawn Staley – Head Coach for the Women’s Basketball Team at the University of South Carolina (my alma mater!)

Staley did a great job of creating a home court advantage out of nothing at the University of South Carolina. When she first started coaching for the Gamecocks, there was barely any attendance at the women’s basketball games.

But through her efforts, she created a buzz which drew in more crowds. And then she created buy-in from the crowds through the excellence of her and her team’s work, turning them into fans. Now, there are just as many fans in the stands for the women’s games as there are for the men’s games.

You can do this too with your career. You can create a buzz, and attract those who appreciate your work and who’ll cheer you on and support you. In turn, you’ll attract the attention of the people who want you on their team.

Create your home court advantage by building and growing authentic relationships with your network. You’ll also want to secure LinkedIn recommendations and skill endorsements. If you own your own business, you’ll want to secure positive Google reviews from satisfied clients or customers. By doing so, you’ll grow your audience as you continue your efforts to better understand them.

3. “The 24-hour rule.”

Dawn Staley

This is another good one from Coach Staley! She encourages her players to celebrate their wins and to mourn their losses, but tells them to give themselves only 24 hours to do so.

It’s always good to set healthy boundaries, and this includes expiration dates. Your career will have some wins and some losses. But you can’t rest on your wins, and you can’t wallow in your losses for too long.

Give yourself only 24 hours to celebrate or wallow in the way you choose to, and then get back to work. This is how you keep moving forward.

4. “Growth takes place outside your comfort zone.”

Dawn Staley

You can’t expect to grow or thrive in your career if you don’t step out of your comfort zone. This is along the same lines of much of the advice shared in last week’s Part 1 post. It’s risky to step out of your comfort zone, but without risk there is no opportunity.

Stepping out of your comfort zone in your career could mean different things for different people. For some, it may mean something as small as volunteering to chair a committee. For others, it could be as big as leaving their job to start their own business. And still for others, it could be something in between, like applying for a promotion or moving over to a different role or function.

In determining which step is right for you, the key is not to step so far out of your comfort zone you end up in the panic zone. Instead, the goal is to step out into the learning zone. It’s here where you experience a significant amount of challenge, without it being so much you become overwhelmed and paralyzed with fear. It’s all about striking a balance.

5. “What is delayed is not denied.”

Dawn Staley

Coach Staley had so many good rules from the documentary, which is why four out of this week’s five rules come from her. This last one is my favorite!

Sometimes you don’t always get what you want when you want it. But just because it doesn’t come to you in your own time, doesn’t mean you’ll never get it, especially if you’re working hard and ethically for it. Your career path requires your patience. This also includes patience when you find yourself between jobs.

It can be easy to get discouraged, especially when you see others advancing in their careers faster than you. But instead, be encouraged by this truth from Coach Staley.

Grow into a successful career

It’s not just athletes who can benefit from the wisdom of a good coach. Everyone needs a wise coach for a successful career. And you not only need a career coach when you’re between jobs, but also when you’re at the peak of your career.

Do you think Serena Williams quit going to a coach once she became good at tennis? Of course not! She’s been the best in her sport for years because she hired a good coach who’s stuck with her and challenged her.

Do you need someone to help you do the same in your own career? If so, click here to schedule a complimentary initial consultation. paNASH will assess what you need the most help with at this stage of your career, so you can become and stay the best in your field!

paNASH was recently voted as one of the top coaches in Nashville by Expertise.com for the fourth year in a row!

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