Category: Personal Branding


Do You Need to Make a To-Don’t List?

Last week I wrote about how to say no and have more time for your passions. One of the things I mentioned that could help you manage your time better was creating what I call a TO-DON’T list.

Perhaps you’re one of those people who always make to-do lists and relish the feeling of checking off each item.

But to be successful and less stressed in our day-to-day lives, sometimes we need a TO-DON’T list.

I use a paper calendar called a Passion Planner which already comes with a section blocked off for each month where you can add “not-to-do” items in addition to your to-do items.

What Is a TO-DON’T List?

A TO-DON’T list has on it those things we shouldn’t waste our time and energy doing.

It’s probably the harder of the two types of lists to follow since most items are ones we have to remember time and time again not to do. We can’t just not do it once and check it off. We have to refer back to it, remember it, and develop it as a habit.

This can also take a lot of energy.

But, if you spend your energy working on your TO-DON’T list, you’ll save more energy in the long-run.

Below is an example of a TO-DON’T list. It’s my own personal TO-DON’T list for 2020.

Feel free to personalize it for yourself so you can de-stress and focus your energies on your personal and professional goals.

My TO-DON’T List:

  1. Spend time on meaningless things that distract me from my goals, like scrolling through my phone.
  2. Forget to maintain personal and professional relationships.
  3. Choose work projects which don’t support my company’s mission.
  4. Censor myself too much on my blog. I want to be more transparent so others can learn from my experiences instead of worrying they will think I’m talking too much about myself.
  5. Do anything that doesn’t support or line up with my personal mission statement.

Do you have a personal mission statement? If not, add this to your to-do list! It can serve as the basis for helping you make difficult choices when faced with different opportunities.

You can learn how to come up with your own personal mission statement in my book Personal Branding: Why You Need to Know What Makes You YOUnique and AWEthentic.

Your TO-DON’T List

What do you need to add to your own TO-DON’T list?

Perhaps you don’t need to continue feeling stuck in your current job.

Maybe you don’t need to keep putting off pursuing your passions or letting lack of confidence stand in your way.

Or, you don’t need to put off getting help in these areas any longer.

If this is the case for you, add to your to-do list, “Fill out the paNASH intake form.” It’s a simple item you can check off your list to get you started on a brighter future!

Related post:

How to Say No and Have More Time For Your Passions

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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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The Best New Year’s Resolutions To Boost Your Career

The best new year’s resolutions to boost your career aren’t just resolutions. They’re also commitments. If you commit to incorporating even just one of the following resolutions into your career for this new year and new decade, I guarantee you’ll see a return on your investment of time and energy.

Resolutions guaranteed to boost your career

1. Deepen your knowledge and become an expert

Take the favorite part of your job or know-how and deepen your current knowledge of it so you can establish yourself as an expert in this area. Doing so can open doors for you down the road.

For instance, it can lead to a promotion, or it could make you a sought-after consultant in your industry. This could allow you to become independent and set your own hours and salary.

Start by reading as many books on your subject as possible. Once you deepen your knowledge on your chosen subject, you can then start to share this knowledge along with your experience by writing articles and speaking on panels or podcasts about it.

This is a way to serve as a resource for others in your field. It also gives you credibility which can begin your journey toward career advancement and career independence.

2. Use creativity when solving problems

Does your current job allow you enough freedom to be able to solve problems in different ways? If so, don’t be afraid to try new ways of solving old problems and see what happens.

If you’re able to invent a better way from what’s always been done in the past and you’re able to share your best practices, you’re for sure on your way to becoming an expert in your field.

3. Learn a new skill

While you’re spending time becoming an expert in your field, don’t forget to also take time to learn a new skill.

For instance, if you think you eventually want to become an independent consultant in your area of expertise, take some time to learn some digital marketing skills to help you promote your service to your potential client base.

Or, learn a skill you may need in a higher-level position if you were to get promoted.

4. Adapt

In addition to learning a new skill to advance your career, don’t forget to also learn the things you need to keep up with your industry. Things change rapidly in today’s world of work. It’s important to adapt to industry trends and changes to remain relevant.

5. Always be networking

You knew I was going to say this, right? Always, always, always build and maintain your network. Networking is important throughout your career, especially if you decide to leave your job to work for yourself.

Reach out and reconnect with old contacts and create new ones. Set a goal for yourself in this new year for a specific number of people you plan to reconnect with. Then set a goal for how many new people you want to add to your network this year.

You may even want to set a goal for how many networking events you plan to attend each month or how many one-on-one conversations you plan to schedule.

6. Resolve to do less

While all of the above suggestions may sound like more things to add to your already busy to-do list, you may have to let go of some things to make room for your new commitments and resolutions. But it’s important to know which ones to let go of.

Learn to let go of and say no to anything that doesn’t support your personal mission statement (see my post entitled “How to Make Your Big Decisions More Simple“). Also, let go of and say no to anything that isn’t a building block for your personal and professional goals.

7. Update your resume and LinkedIn profile

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, update your resume every six months, even when you’re not looking for a job. You never know when you’ll be invited to serve on a panel or speak at an event (especially when you start fulfilling the above commitments and resolutions). When this happens, the coordinator of the event will likely ask you for a copy of your most recent résumé.

You’ll want to include the new skills you’re developing, the results of your new creative problem solving, and the speaking engagements you’re giving and articles you’re publishing on your area of expertise.

You’ll also want to update your LinkedIn profile and add to it your new contacts from your networking efforts.

Resolutions work if you’re committed

Making resolutions and keeping resolutions are two different things. It’s easy to make resolutions. It’s not easy to keep them. Therefore they will require commitment on your part.

To help you stay committed to your goals and resolutions, subscribe to the paNASH newsletter and receive a free download of the 8-Step Goal-Achievement Plan. This free resource is designed to get you out of your rut and get you moving toward success.

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

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

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

Meet Dorothy

Photo of Dorothy by Lily Darragh

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

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

Photo by Lily Darragh

Wake up and make the investment

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

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

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

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

Wake up and trust the process

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

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

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

Wake up and be honest with yourself

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

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

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

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

Photo by Randy Dorman

Wake up and stop worrying about what everyone else thinks

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wake up and understand your worth

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

“I now know my worth!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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