Category: Pursuing Your Passions


The Signs for a New Career Move Are Flashing. Do You See Them?

I just finished reading the book Everybody Always by Bob Goff, who also wrote the bestseller Love Does.

In the chapter entitled “Three Green Lights,” Bob talks about how in life we often circle around a place to land until we’re given the green light or a sign it’s finally safe, much like pilots do when landing a plane.

But occasionally the signs aren’t always there, even when it’s safe to land. Sometimes not all of the lights are working. It could be because there’s a malfunction, or it could simply be just a burned out bulb.

But there may be other indicators available to go by. Either way, you have to decide to land with the information you have to go on, or you’ll run out of fuel and crash.

Bob says,

“Don’t ignore the lights you already have.”

Signs for a new career move you should never ignore

When clients first come to me, they immediately want a guarantee their decision to pursue a new career move is the right one before committing to it. They want a sign. A green light. The all-clear. Permission to land.

They’re so busy looking for one specific green light they can’t see all the other green lights they already have flashing around them.

What are these other green lights you should never ignore? Bob says they’re the things that:

  • Delight you.
  • Fire up your imagination.
  • Fill you with a deep sense of purpose.
  • Draw you closer to God.
  • Will last in your life and in the lives of others.

Those are your signs, your green light, your go-ahead.

Removing the blind spots to your new career move

But what if you have no idea what those things are? I have several clients who aren’t sure what inspires them or what they’re passionate about. This is often because they’re too close to their situation. They have to develop a bird’s eye view (or in other words, a pilot’s perspective).

They need someone to remove the blind spots for them to see and recognize those things they have to offer the world. This is my favorite thing to work on with my clients.

It’s a bit of a process, just like learning to fly a plane is. But I promise it’s not as complicated. Being patient with the process and trusting it can lead to a clearer view of more than one place to land.

I love seeing the epiphanies my clients have when we work through this process together. They come in thinking they’re going to land one place and end up landing some place even better. A place more fitting for their skills, interests, and purpose.

One client recently shared with me how through this process it suddenly came to him he might be better suited for a different role in his career. One he’d never previously considered. As he realized this, we both agreed it’s a perfect place to use his strengths and past experience.

And don’t forget the example I shared in my post, “How to Create the Life You Want to Wake Up to Every Day.”

Don’t crash and burn

Do you feel like you’re circling your career with no place to land? Do you need help reading the signs for what’s next before you run out of fuel and crash? Please allow me to help you the way I’ve helped so many others. Let’s talk!

In the meantime, feel free to check out my “flight manual” Personal Branding: Why You Need to Know What Makes You YOUnique and AWEthentic, available on Amazon.

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Interesting side note

The old landing strip in this photo has a very interesting history here in Nashville. It was part of Cornelia Fort Airpark, named after the first female pilot to die on war duty in American history. It’s also the runway Patsy Cline’s plane was supposed to land on had it not crashed the night of March 5th, 1963, 57 years ago today. The historic airpark is now part of Shelby Park for visitors to enjoy. On any given sunny day, you’ll find visitors walking and jogging on the airstrip. I’ve personally walked, biked, and land paddled this runway. Photo credit: Matt Bowden.

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How to Make the Leap From Unfinished Goals to Good Habits

It’s nearly the end of February, and by now you’ve likely slacked off on your goals or completely ditched your New Year’s resolutions. That’s okay, because this Saturday is Leap Day, a chance to start again. Every four years we get an extra day to use as a do-over. Look at it as a goal mulligan as opposed to a golf mulligan.

You can re-commit yourself to the unfinished goals and resolutions you set at the beginning of 2020. Not only that, this time around you can develop habits with staying power so you can achieve those goals.

But first let’s re-assess your unfinished goals to see why you haven’t been able to stick to them.

Re-assess your unfinished goals

Have you not forgiven yourself for failing?

If this article applies to you, then make sure you’ve forgiven yourself for the goals you’ve given up on.

You won’t be able to pick up and start again if you don’t take this first step.

Have you set too many goals?

Maybe you’re feeling overwhelmed by the sheer number of goals or resolutions you set in January. And giving up on a few has caused you to give up on all of them.

Take another look at your list and circle just one to three goals for you to focus on this year. You can choose the most feasible ones for you right now so you can start to see results quickly and therefore restore your confidence.

Have you been realistic about your unfinished goals?

Perhaps you didn’t go overboard with the number of goals you set, but you set them too high.

If this is the case, then go back and see if you can break those goals into smaller, more short-term goals. This will make them more doable.

Have you not been specific in your unfinished goals?

Maybe you weren’t specific enough with your goals. For instance, you may have said your goal for 2020 was to lose weight, but you didn’t indicate how much weight or by what deadline.

Go back and add some specific, measurable, and realistic details to your goals.

Have you set good goals but didn’t set good boundaries?

Maybe you’ve set good goals and you’ve been working at them, but the work has been slowed down by easily avoidable distractions due to a lack of boundaries.

It’s not too late to set the boundaries you need to accomplish your goals. But this time around, be firm in your boundaries by communicating them clearly to those who need help respecting them.

Have you made other people’s goals your own?

Sometimes we set goals at the expectation of others. This can happen both in our careers and in our families.

For instance, you may be looking for a new job or considering a career change, but your spouse is trying to direct you to the job they want you to have, instead of the one you want to build your career portfolio with.

Your boss may have goals already set for your job, which you must honor, but you should also set some goals for yourself within your current role, especially if you want to get promoted.

Develop good habits

To make the best use of your second chance at your goals, you’ll want to develop good habits by:

1. Making the decision to start again and being firm in this decision.

2. Not allowing exceptions in the first 30 days. This is a formative time for the habits necessary to achieve your goals.

3. Tell others so you are held accountable, they can encourage you, and you can set necessary boundaries.

4. Visualize yourself doing the things you need to do to achieve your goals.

5. Use positive affirmations if this helps you. It’s especially helpful to say them to yourself in the present tense instead of the future tense. For example, “I have started my own side hustle,” instead of “I’m going to start a side hustle.”

6. Practice the behavior until it becomes second nature for you.

7. Reaffirm and reinforce the behavior by rewarding yourself.

Don’t use your Leap Day as a day to goof off. Instead, use it as a launching pad to start again on your goals. Then imagine all you’ll have accomplished by the next leap year in 2024!

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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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How to Make This New Decade Your Most Successful One Yet!

Several years ago, I was introduced to the pageant world when I was hired to provide interview coaching for the contestants of a preliminary pageant in the Miss America system. Since I wasn’t familiar with pageant competition, I began my research, which included attending something called “Work Weekend.”

Work Weekend is the annual event held a month before the Miss North Carolina state pageant. It’s where new judges are trained and the state contestants are prepped for the upcoming week-long competition.

Each year during Work Weekend, the current Miss North Carolina gives a talk to the newest batch of state contestants. She shares her experience of winning the crown, making appearances across the state, and promoting her philanthropic platform.

While attending this talk, I observed the contestants as they listened intently to the reigning Miss North Carolina. But I noticed one contestant in particular who was writing feverishly in her notebook. She never once looked up.

Laser-sharp focus

At the following year’s Work Weekend, this same young woman stood before the latest batch of state contestants. She told them how, when she was sitting in their place, she was writing down what she wanted to say to them in her own speech.

I knew what I witnessed the previous year was someone who’d already won the crown and was preparing for her role as queen. Within the year, I watched this woman compete and win the Miss North Carolina title with laser-sharp focus, and go on to become the 2nd runner-up at Miss America.

She used a method for achieving success you too can apply to both this new year and this new decade.

Method to a Successful New Year and New Decade

1. Visualize it

Start by visualizing the success you want to have by the end of this next decade and by the end of the new year. Close your eyes and picture yourself having already achieved this success.

What do you see?

What do you hear?

And what do you feel?

Go back to your vision board I talked about in one of my previous posts and see what you might need to add to it. Look at it on a regular basis as a reminder of what you’re working toward.

Repeat this step each year of this next decade.

2. Prepare for it

Now, taking your vision, work backward to determine what steps must be taken to arrive at your goal.

Do you need to learn something new through training or additional education?

Do you need to expand your network?

Or, do you need to just gather the courage to take a calculated risk?

Use a mind map like the example in my recent post “Are You Happy With What You Accomplished This Past Decade?” to help you plot your steps for success.

Then, consider if there’s anything you can begin now that will be required of you once you’ve achieved the success you seek. Map out those steps as well on your mind map.

Update your mind map at the beginning of each new year of this new decade.

3. Trust in God

Like Amanda Foust said in “How To Find Peace About The Future,”

“We need to accept that the future is unpredictable in some ways, but what we do now does have an effect on where we will be later…Understanding our lack of control, continuing to work hard in the present, and letting God handle our future is the only sure way we will find peace.”

Once you’ve done the first two steps of visualizing your success and preparing for it, all you can do at this point is trust everything will work out the way it’s supposed to, as long as you’ve done your part.

It’s at this point you have to develop patience to see the fruits of your labor. And you must learn flexibility in case success might look slightly different than you originally envisioned. It may take the entire decade to develop patience and flexibility, so allow yourself time to be molded in this way.

Believe in your success in the new decade

The example of the young lady mentioned above is a reminder how success doesn’t just come from achieving your goals. It also comes from believing you can achieve your goals.

She was able to do what was within her control. She visualized it, prepared for it, and trusted God with the rest.

I encourage you to do what’s within your control. Learn to recognize when you still have more to do, and when you need to take a break and let God do the rest.

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How to Make This the Last Year You Say Next Year

As I sit down to write this blog post, I’m procrastinating. I don’t feel like writing it for a couple of reasons. One, it’s my birthday and I’d rather do something else, but I can’t because I have too many other things I have to get done between now and when this post is due to publish. Two, the words for this post aren’t coming to me as I’d hoped.

While I don’t usually procrastinate, there are times when I do. And this is one of them.

Another time I was reminded of this morning was when I was a junior in high school. I had an English class assignment to read a book entitled A Walk Across America and write a journal entry for each chapter of the book.

I did read the book. But I was procrastinating on the journal entries. I told myself I’d go back and do them after reading through the entire book first. This was not a good idea.

After reading the book, the journal entry portion of the assignment now seemed too daunting. I never did finish the full assignment. I only turned in three or four journal entries and therefore did not get a good grade. Twenty-nine years later I still remember this.

Better late than never

About five years ago, I decided to re-read the book and maybe even journal on some of the rest of the chapters.

In doing so, I learned the author, Peter Jenkins, now lives near me just outside of Nashville. I contacted Peter and told him the story above. He got a good laugh out of it and of course said, “Better late than never!”

I often wonder to myself, “What if Peter had procrastinated and never took his walk across America?” He surely wouldn’t have high school English instructors using his book to teach young minds about the importance of pursuing goals and adventures.

How to stop procrastinating: get to the root of the problem

Procrastination isn’t a good thing. But it’s even worse if it’s causing you to put off your dreams and your goals for your life.

How many years (or decades) have gone by where you never did what you said you wanted to do? How many more years do you want this to continue happening? Make this year, 2019, the last year you say next year. Here’s how!

You first have to get to the root of what causes you to procrastinate, especially if you’re a chronic procrastinator. So let’s first figure out your reason for procrastinating.

1. Is your goal not urgent enough?

If you don’t think your goal is urgent, then ask yourself if you’ll be disappointed again if you haven’t completed it by this time next year. If the answer is yes, then your goal has now become urgent.

Look at some of the other goals you have for yourself and ask the same question. Then choose the most urgent of those you said yes to, and commit to beginning it now.

2. Do you feel like you don’t know where to start?

Well, whether you realize it or not, you’ve already started just by reading this post and determining which of these reasons are causing you to delay your goals. And if you’ve read last week’s post (“Are You Happy With What You Accomplished This Past Decade?“), you should’ve already started with the first few steps in the complimentary 8-Step Goal-Achievement Plan. If not, go back and do so.

Now you have a place to start, so you can no longer use this as an excuse.

3. Are you afraid of failing?

You won’t be considered a failure if you at least give your goals a try. It’s when you don’t try at all that you’ll be seen as a failure.

I’ve written a lot in my blog about the fear of failure. If this is your reason for procrastinating, I suggest you type the word “failure” in the search box of this blog and read what pops up!

4. Do you work better under pressure?

This might be about the only legitimate reason to procrastinate, but be honest with yourself about it. Is this really true about you? Or are you just saying this because you don’t want to admit any of the other reasons might be the real reason?

If you know this is true for you and you honestly produce your best work having a tight deadline, then keep working this way (since it seems to work for you!). But go ahead and set your deadline for your goal.

5. Do you just not want to do the work that’s involved?

If the amount of work it takes to accomplish your goal feels overwhelming, choose some other goals you’re excited about and won’t easily get either bored or overwhelmed with. Start with those.

Once you see how you’re able to accomplish these goals, you’ll find it easier to accomplish your other goals.

How to stop procrastinating: take action

Now that you’ve figured out which reason or reasons for your procrastination, next set and prioritize your goals. Again, use the free 8-Step Goal-Achievement Plan I gave you in last week’s post.

Then, find an accountability partner. Someone who you can report to periodically on your progress (but not someone who’s going to nag you about it). Someone who wants to see you succeed but doesn’t necessarily have a personal stake in the results of your goals.

Also, write down dates in your calendar and set alarms on your phone for check-in points (either every month or every 90 days).

I recommend using a Passion Planner since it’s specifically designed to help you accomplish the goals you’re most excited and passionate about. I’ve used one every year for the past four years and just started filling out my fifth one for 2020. I honestly don’t think I would’ve accomplished as many things as I have in the past four years without my Passion Planner.

Finally, at the end of each quarter in the upcoming year, look back over what all you’ve accomplished thus far. This will give you the confidence and the momentum you need to finish out the remaining steps and tasks for your goals.

“The truth is 2020 won’t be any different than 2019 if you don’t make the choice to change.” Yasmine Cheyenne

By this time next year, instead of saying, “I’ll do it next year,” you’ll be saying, “What’s next?!”

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