Category: What Lori’s Passionate About


A Simple Way to Make Big Decisions

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.

To learn how to write a mission statement that’s authentic to your true self, check out my on-demand program Personal Branding:  How to Know What Makes You YOUnique and AWEthentic. In this program I teach you how to determine your unique differentiators and how to write your own vision and mission statements.

Note: 45% of the sales from this on-demand program go to support Justice & Mercy Amazon. Click here for more details.

Don’t Quit Your Daydream (Or Your Day Job)

I used to have a full-time job with benefits with a very prestigious university. I later quit to pursue my own business. However, it wasn’t so cut and dry. There were (and still are) a lot of layers to pursuing a dream of working for myself.

The process I went through looks a lot more realistic (and doable) than some of the mythical stories you hear these days about making the jump from working for a boss to becoming your own boss. This process can also spark some ideas for you to realistically make the jump too. It may even help ease some of your fears and concerns preventing you from taking the leap. Here’s my story that began about 10 years ago.

Don’t Quit Your Day Job

For the first time in my career as a college career adviser, my creativity was being stifled under new leadership. I was also experiencing a lot of micromanagement under this new leadership. I couldn’t continue to work under both conditions and had to start planning an exit strategy.

This strategy wasn’t to quit my day job. First, I started where most people start, looking for another job working for someone else doing the same thing elsewhere. Of course I wouldn’t leave my current job until I found my next job. But, I never found the right fit. Instead, I found opportunities that only served as an escape from my current situation. Not opportunities I could truly thrive in.

Ask yourself:

Are you just running to something that could possibly be worse than your current day job?

Don’t Quit Your Daydream

Next, I started listening to what my friends were telling me. They kept telling me I would be good at wardrobe styling. This was something I’d been daydreaming about for a long time. Wardrobe styling would definitely provide a creative outlet for me. But I still wanted to use the skills I’d developed as a career adviser over the previous eight to ten years. Those skills included interview coaching.

After giving it much thought and doing some research, I decided to start branding myself as an image consultant since image isn’t just about how you dress, but also how you present yourself in an interview. Specifically, I branded myself as an image consultant for up-and-coming recording artists here in Nashville. I knew there were a lot of young artists moving to town to pursue music who didn’t know how to present themselves to a label (which is basically a job interview) or in a media interview (I’d also had some past experience in media coaching too).

I went and got a business license. This is when it became real for me. But I still didn’t quit my day job. Not yet anyway.

Ask yourself:

Is there something people tell you you’re good at? Is it something you enjoy? Do you see a potential market for it?

Making the Shift

I worked on my branding efforts part-time while still working my day job as a career adviser. Following my own advice to my students, I also spent my spare hours networking with the few contacts I had in the music industry and growing my network. I attended as many industry events as I could and conducted informational interviews with several people in the music business, always asking for the names of two or three other people I should talk to.

For nine months I did this and my efforts began to pay off. I slowly began getting clients. I worked with those few clients on weekends, evenings, and any time I had off from my full-time job. Then, one of my networking contacts approached me about a part-time temporary job at his small label. This opportunity gave me somewhat of a safety net to leave my full-time job and pursue my business full-time. (This is just one example of why networking is so important!)

However, I still wasn’t hasty in my exit from my day job. Instead of giving two weeks’ notice, I gave 30 days’ notice because the policy was I could work for the university again in the future if I gave 30 days’ notice. But not if I’d only given two weeks’ notice. I wanted to keep as many options open in case things didn’t work out.

I used the three months for the temp job to increase my networking efforts in the music industry and promote myself to potential clients. This way I would have more lined up once the contract was up.

Ask yourself:

What are some small steps you can start taking toward your daydream? Are they things you can do around your day job? Who are some people you can start meeting and connecting with? Can you come up with some ideas for an eventual exit strategy from your day job? Do you have a potential safety net you hadn’t previously thought of?

Don’t Let Fear Overwhelm You

Once I was on my own, I was already getting used to working for myself and there wasn’t as much to fear as I would if I’d left my day job and then started a business. This isn’t to say I had no fear at all. A few days before giving my notice at my day job, I experienced my first (and luckily my only) panic attack.

Then, when the economy tanked in October 2008, less than two months after I’d left my day job, I started to get nervous. But, what I saw happening all around me was people being forced into becoming their own boss with no real planning or preparation. I was way ahead in that department because I’d already been preparing for nearly a year. And I already had some clients.

When I was short on image consulting clients, I supplemented my work with resume writing and career coaching services for those who’d been laid off and were looking for a new job.

Ask yourself:

Are you still having some fears about pursuing your daydream? Are these fears real or perceived? What are some ways you can calm your fears or put them into a different perspective? What would be the worst case scenario if those fears proved true? What’s the best case scenario?

Rely on Connections to Supplement Your Income

Throughout my time as an image consultant I continually made connections through networking which turned into additional ways to supplement my income with my growing business. While attending a fashion show, I met the president of a small design college who hired me to teach a class on image at the college for a semester. He also ended up publishing the 2nd edition of my first bestselling book, Advance Your Image, through the school’s small publishing company.

While attending an event at the Entrepreneur Center, I met someone who needed a contract employee with career advising experience to do outplacement counseling for his clients. I still do this work to this day because I get to make my own schedule and it’s the complete opposite of micromanaged work. I love it.

The connections I’d made through my original day job led to a part-time (10 hours/week) temporary job at another university, which unexpectedly turned into a part-time permanent position. I was hired to fill in for one semester while one of their employees was on maternity leave. But when she returned, they asked if I could stay on indefinitely. I got to make my own schedule so I could work it around my business.

Eventually they asked if I could work 20 hours a week. As much as I loved working at this university, I’d already put in so much blood, sweat and tears into my image consulting business that I couldn’t afford to take that much time away from it to work for someone else. So I decided to be fair to both myself and the university and leave so they could find someone who was able to give them the number of hours they needed.

Ask yourself:

Are there connections you have now in your current situation which could benefit you in the future? Are there connections you’d like to start making? What are some things you can fall back on when your daydream business is slow?

Be Willing to Shift Gears When Necessary

After leaving that part-time job, I realized I was burned out on seven years of image consulting and wanted to do something different. But what? I had no idea. I just knew I didn’t want to lose all the work I’d put into developing my brand.

Then a year and a half later I realized I still wanted to do career advising, but this time on my terms. (Click here for the story on how this realization came about.) I still wanted to be my own boss. And I wanted to keep the same name of my image consulting business. I was able to do both with a slight shift in my mission and an overhaul of my services.

Now, I offer unique career coaching services focusing on helping people discover and pursue their own passions. This includes helping them either find a new day job they’ve been daydreaming about, or helping them take the steps (not the leap) to becoming an independent freelancer or business owner. Whichever they’re most passionate about.

My business became more successful once I was willing to make this change. I was also able to see how the experience I gained and the tools I developed in my image consulting business fit nicely with my new mission and offerings.

Today, I don’t have to supplement my income anymore. Now, I get to do it simply for the love of the variety in my schedule and the love of the creativity it brings me. Unfortunately my time only lets me do one additional gig to my full-time daydream. But I’ve never been happier in my work.

No one is micromanaging me or stifling my creativity. I get to choose who I take on as clients and which projects I want to invest my free time into.

Ask yourself:

How can I start planning my exit strategy for my day job and my entry strategy to my daydream?

How I Did It

I started setting goals and then taking small steps toward achieving those goals. You can do this too with the on-demand program Don’t Just Set Goals, ACHIEVE Them. It’s the same plan I created for myself that can be easily adapted by anyone regardless of their own goals, passions, or daydreams. You can also get the complimentary hand out for the program when you subscribe to my newsletter at www.howtoachievemygoals.com.

I felt the need to share my path to where I am today as a Passion and Career Specialist after reading Brad Stulberg’s article on “hybrid entrepreneurship” and something called the “barbell strategy.”

Bottom Line:  You may want to pursue your daydream as your own boss but think it’s impossible. And it may be impossible for you if you simply quit your day job to follow your daydream. I want to serve as one of several examples of how doing it with an alternative strategy can now make it possible even for you. Probably more so than you ever imagined.

Practice For Your Victory (Re-post)

This week marks the beginning of the NCAA tournament and March Madness. I thought it was appropriate to re-post this from 2016. It’s not just for basketball fans, but for anyone who loves an inspiring story of perseverance and dreams that come true!

It’s that time of the year again! College basketball tournament time, AKA “March Madness.”

Anyone who knows me well knows how passionate I am about college basketball and the madness of the NCAA tournament. Originally from North Carolina, college basketball and March Madness is in my blood.

My dad made it clear to me at a very young age that our household pulls for Carolina. When I was little, he bought me a UNC blue and white basketball and taught me how to play HORSE using our neighbor’s basketball goal. I’ve been a Tar Heel fan ever since.

When I was 8 years old, I remember rooting for the ’82 Carolina team in the NCAA championship game against Georgetown. That team included the great Michael Jordan. I was allowed to stay up late to watch Carolina beat Georgetown and be crowned the national champions.

A year later, I got to stay up late again to watch NC State (one of Carolina’s conference rivals) play in the ’83 championship game. That night, there was a bit of a shift in our household.

Doing the unthinkable, accomplishing the impossible

While we had always pulled for Carolina, my mother loved the coaching style of NC State’s Jim Valvano. She loved his enthusiasm and excitement. She loved how he wasn’t afraid to show emotion, unlike the even-keeled (which she called “boring”) coaches Dean Smith and Mike Krzyzewski.

Jimmy V’s enthusiasm and determination led an unlikely team to a national championship. The team was off to a bad start in the regular season, losing a total of 10 games. The only way they could even get to the NCAA tournament was to win the conference tournament, which seemed nearly impossible with their record.

Practice your victory

But Jimmy V was a big dreamer and a big believer in his dreams. He would schedule a practice every so often where his team would leave the basketballs on the ball rack, and instead grab a pair of scissors and practice cutting down the nets.

(For those of you who don’t know much about basketball, cutting down the nets is a celebratory ritual the winning team does when they’ve won a championship title.)

As the season went on, the NC State Wolfpack started improving their game, and were able to get past the previous year’s national champions, the UNC Tar Heels, to win the ACC tournament and make it to the national NCAA tournament. They got their first chance to cut down the nets!

Never give up

However, when they got to the national tournament, they weren’t expected to make it past the first round because they were the “Cinderella” team. They were one of the lowest-seeded teams in the tournament. One loss and they would be out. And they were up against some big giants.

But Jimmy V never gave up hope his team could win the whole thing. And guess what? They did! No other team has gone from such a low ranking to becoming the champions. Never before, and never since. NC State was such an underdog team. But they had so much heart, so much emotion, and so much enthusiasm.

On the night of the championship game, our household became Wolfpack fans. Everybody in North Carolina was so excited to see history being made, it didn’t matter if you were also a Duke or Carolina fan. That night, if you were a North Carolinian, you were an NC State fan.

I’ll never forget those last nail-biting seconds of the final game. When the winning basket was made, I remember my dad jumping out of his chair and raising his hands to the ceiling. I’ve never seen him look so tall!

I also remember seeing the now-famous scene of Jimmy V running around the court with unbridled emotion and excitement. And the Wolfpack got to do what they had practiced. They cut down those nets!

 
NCAA Tournament
Image courtesy of Unsplash

 

An inspiring example

This past weekend, my dad was visiting me from North Carolina and together we watched the ESPN 30 for 30 documentary of Jimmy V and his team accomplishing the impossible. I’ve personally seen the Survive and Advance documentary several times, and I always smile at Jimmy V’s passion for life and his love for his players, and I always cry when it shows his inspiring “Never Give Up” ESPY speech.

It was in this documentary where I first learned of the team practicing cutting down the nets. It was also in this documentary I first learned from the interview with Jimmy’s wife how he kept note cards of his goals in the inner pockets of his sports jackets. One said, “Win a national championship,” and one said, “Beat cancer.”

We know Jimmy V accomplished the first goal. And while we all know he didn’t beat his own personal battle with cancer, he is accomplishing his second goal through his Jimmy V Foundation he set up from his hospital room to help fund research to find a cure for cancer.

Cut down your nets

I share all this to remind you that life is short. Cancer cut both Jimmy V’s life and my mother’s life short. I also share this to ask you:

Are you living a life of passion and enthusiasm?

Are you putting your goals in writing?

Are you carrying them close to your heart?

Are you practicing for your own victories?

Are you practicing what it will be like and look like when you accomplish your goals and victories?

Those are pretty inspiring and powerful practices, especially when you see such an inspiring and powerful example of how those practices work.

If you’d like to watch the story of Jim Valvano and his ’83 Wolfpack team, you can watch Survive and Advance on YouTube. Even if you’re not a sports fan, I encourage you to watch it.

Jimmy V always said every day you should do three things:

  1. Laugh.
  2. Spend time in thought.
  3. Have your emotions moved to tears.

He said:

“If you laugh, think and cry in the same day, then you’ve had one heck of a day.” (Jim Valvano)

I guarantee the documentary will make you laugh, will make you cry, and will inspire you.

And if you’d like to set big goals for your own life, goals that lead to victory, join the paNASH mailing list to receive a complimentary Goal-Achievement Plan. Your practice for victory will lead to your victory.

Title photo source: http://southerntorch.com/area-champions-crowned-sub-regionals-set/

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Where Do You Want to Be at the End of 2017?

When you look back on 2016, were you happy with your efforts in the goals you had set for yourself a year ago? If not, what happened? What circumstances caused you to hit the pause button on your goals? It’s important to look back and consider these things because the good news is, it’s a new year and you get to have a do-over with your goals!

After you’ve looked back over the last year, it’s now time to look forward. The best way to successfully achieve your new year’s resolutions and goals for 2017 is to look ahead to the end of 2017. I challenge you to think about and visualize where you want to be at the end of the year.

Try to answer the following three questions:

What are 1-3 experiences you want to have in 2017?

Personally, I want to experience tiny living. I’m obsessed with home shows about tiny houses and wonder if I could actually live in such a space. Recently I found out about a place here in Tennessee where I can go and spend a few nights in a tiny house. Not only that, while there I’ll have the opportunity to go stand up paddle boarding and hiking, two of my passions!

What’s something you’ve always wanted to try? This could be the year to do it and develop a new passion.

What are 1-3 ways you want to get out of your comfort zone in 2017?

I want to challenge myself this year by going on my very first mission trip to Brazil. We’ll be traveling down the Amazon River on a small boat and sleeping in hammocks while making stops at small communities along the river. We’ll be helping with everything from construction and home visits to ministry.

I’ve been told by my church’s missions coordinator that if there was ever a mission trip to get you out of your comfort zone, this is the one! What’s something you could do this year that would challenge you and push you out of your comfort zone?

What are 1-3 goals you want to achieve in 2017?

My goal for my passion and career coaching business is to help even more people who currently feel stuck in their life or their work. I want to help provide direction on the next steps of their life and help them find a career that’s enjoyable and is a good fit for them.

What is something you’ve always wanted to achieve? Maybe it’s a personal goal, or maybe it’s a professional goal. It could even be a passion project, something you’ve always had a desire to do that’s outside the bounds of your normal work or life routine. Something that either feeds an interest or yours or gives back to society or accomplishes both!

I’m currently working on a passion project that combines my passion for writing, stand up paddling, and my love for God. It will also serve as a source of funding for my mission trip to Brazil.

When thinking about the questions above, be creative and don’t limit yourself. This year could be the year you look back and see just how exciting life can be!

What are your plans for 2017?

So let me ask you, what experiences do you have planned for 2017? I’d love to hear about them! Please share in the comment box below!

How to Find Joy in Your Work

You may be one of those lucky people who has a job that brings tremendous joy in your life. Most likely you’re one of many struggling to find joy in your work. While you may be temporarily stuck in what feels like a dead-end situation, that doesn’t mean you can’t use your own uniqueness to add some joy to the daily grind. By finding ways to put your own thumbprint on your work with your unique quirks and skills, you can not only make your work joyful for yourself, but also for others.

How Others Find Joy

My favorite example of this is the story I recently heard of a school janitor in New Hampshire. One of his duties is to vacuum the carpet in the classrooms. Everyone is familiar with how a vacuum leaves lines and tracks in carpet. Well, this janitor uses his artistic abilities to create various designs in the carpet with his vacuum cleaner. It gives him joy in his job to have this kind of creative outlet. In turn, the school children experience joy when they come in to their classroom each morning to find a new carpet mural.

vacuum

Photo by Angie Wyand

Another example is my favorite salesman of The Contributor. Shawn sells at the corner of Music Row and the round-about. Every holiday he dresses up in costume while he sells newspapers to fund his housing and his own T-shirt company.

the-grinch

One way I do this in my own company is by occasionally taking my clients out for a stand up paddleboard lesson. It brings me joy both to be out on the water and to teach someone something new. It brings my clients joy because it gets them out of their normal routine, clears their mind, and exposes them to a potential new hobby. They always comment on how relaxing and fun it is.

emily

paNASH client Emily U.

The Possible Results

Using your uniqueness to bring joy to your work and to others can open doors to an even better opportunity for several reasons. It can:

  1. Increase your positivity.
  2. Get you noticed in a good way.
  3. Make a difference in the lives of the people you serve in your work.
  4. Indirectly impact the bottom line of the company in a positive way.

All of these things make you a valued asset for both your current company and any other company you may be interested in working for, therefore likely resulting in a promotion, a pay raise, or a new job. Or, it could just simply brighten someone’s day.

How Can You Find Joy?

What’s a way you can (or already do) add your own thumbprint to make your work joyful? I REALLY LOVE stories like this and want to hear more so please, please, please share in the comment box below your own example or others’ examples you’ve witnessed.

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