Tag: career


How to Make Career Choices That Won’t Destroy Your Personal Brand

In several blog posts I’ve talked about the importance of personal branding. Your brand is key to success in every area of your life. It requires consistency and self respect.

But sometimes you can put your personal brand at risk without realizing it. Especially during any vulnerable point in your career. This can include a downsize or layoff, a slow start to a new business venture, or any other unanticipated time when there’s financial instability.

There is the temptation to take just any job or client that comes along. During the slow times of the year I personally face the temptation of taking on projects or clients I know are against my better judgment. Luckily with practice I’ve gotten better at resisting such temptation.

Other examples of putting your brand at risk include:  saying “yes” to every opportunity, giving away your skills and talent for “exposure,” and taking jobs you’re overqualified for in the hopes of just getting a foot in the door with a certain company or industry.

However, you must keep in mind your career choices, just like your personal choices, reflect on you as a person. (And your business if you’re a business owner.)

Don’t Give Away Your Name

Well-known personal development and entrepreneurship blogger Tim Denning explains this in his post entitled “Don’t Put Your Name On Anything That Makes You Look Cheap“.

He shares examples of how easy it is to make this mistake, such as accepting a job or project that goes against everything you believe in. He refers to this as “giving your name away”. I’ve seen this happen with people who take a job just for the money or out of fear.

If you do any of the above (i.e. agree to do a project for free or cheap, settle for a less than ideal job, etc.), then people expect you to continue doing so. Therefore, it becomes harder down the road to ask for what you’re really worth. This includes not just money, but also time and respect.

The point Denning drives home is this:

“Stop saying yes to everything!”

This doesn’t mean you say no to everything, but just to the things putting your personal brand at risk.

How to Say “No”

Saying “no” may sound very difficult to do, especially for people-pleasers.

However there is a way to stop saying yes to everything and to learn how and when to say no. It all starts with a mission. Your mission is the foundational piece to your personal brand.

What is your mission you want to accomplish in life and why? It’s necessary to have a deep knowledge of your mission if your goal is to take responsibility for and ownership of your life’s purpose.

A personal mission statement of how you want to use your talents to accomplish your vision and goals serves as a filter in making important decisions. You use it to filter out the opportunities that don’t support your mission statement. As a result, you know which opportunities to say “no” to.

The opportunities that support your mission statement or get you one step closer to your vision are the ones you can say “yes” to.

How to Write Your Own Mission Statement

Since your mission statement helps you better discern opportunities, it’s important to put some thought into it. Writing one is more of a process than just jotting down some pithy statement in two minutes.

You should take into account all your strengths, limitations, unique differentiators, potential audience, and more. Think about the following things:

  • Who are your various audiences? I use the plural form of audience here because you’ll have more than one audience for each endeavor.
  • What is your audiences’ biggest challenge or problem they face?
  • How do your unique strengths and skills solve your audiences’ problem?
  • What are the additional benefits of your skills for your various audiences?

Protect Your Personal Brand

Having a mission statement is just one piece of your personal brand. In order to protect your personal brand from bad choices, you must have a clear understanding of what your brand is.

What do others think of when they think of you and your work ethic? Are those the things you want people to think about you? Or is there another message you want to convey through your goals and mission?

To gain control of your brand and to build one that’s strong and will take you where you want to go, check out my latest book, Personal Branding: Why You Need to Know What Makes You YOUnique and AWEthentic. It will give you all the tools you need to attract the opportunities you’ll want to say “YES!” to.

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What Happens When Your Passion Disrupts Your Career?

It was 2011 and I was working as an image consultant and media coach for recording artists. I was waiting for my new client in his publicist’s conference room. He was coming in to begin his media coaching with me to prep him for his next radio tour.

In our first session he told me his life story, how he got to where he was, and what his future looked like. He was different from most of the other recording artists I had worked with. His values and priorities were on a whole other level.

What was typical.

He told me about how he grew up poor with humble beginnings and how he’d always been passionate about music with goals to pursue it as a career. Not an uncommon story among most musicians who eventually make their way to Nashville.

He was the first person in his family to finish not just college, but also high school. This inspired him to become a high school social studies teacher, something else he was very passionate about.

After college, he pursued teaching to support his music career goals. He did both until he couldn’t any longer.

His music caught on like wildfire. In fact, he was getting so many bookings and selling out so many venues his music career completely disrupted his teaching career. He had to leave his students to fulfill his new obligations to his fans.

Again, this is not an unusual story or scenario for most recording artists as they begin their careers. Most start off doing something else to make a living until they’re able to afford to pursue music full-time.

What was different.

But here’s where it gets different with this particular artist:  he said to me,

“When this whole music thing dries up, which it probably will eventually, my plan is to go back to teaching social studies.”

I had never heard a recording artist talk like this. Most get so caught up in their rise to fame and fortune they think it will never come to an end. They don’t think long-term.

In fact, most of them believe, and are also told by numerous music industry executives, if you truly want to make it in the music business you can’t have a Plan B. Their theory is if you have a Plan B, you’ll never be fully motivated to pursue the Plan A of a music career. They believe you’ll give up too soon and default to your Plan B before Plan A gets off the ground.

This client was the only artist I knew who didn’t fall for that. He strongly disagreed with that mindset and felt it was totally irresponsible not to have a Plan B. Like everything else, he knew Plan A will eventually come to an end.

He also told me something else I’ll never forget. His first big headline show completely sold out, and acts as big as Brantley Gilbert and the Zac Brown Band were opening for him! He said to me,

“To this day, there’s not been one stage I’ve walked onto that didn’t beat the feeling I got the first day I walked into a classroom.”

Talk about a mic drop!

Whether he realizes it or not, this musician is still teaching others in his role as an artist. There are so many lessons from this interaction and his statements I almost don’t know where to begin.

But let’s try to unpack as much as we can here.

1. It can’t be all about the money.

It’s obvious he wasn’t doing any of this for the money. Everyone knows there’s very little money in education. And for someone willing to go back to education after a more lucrative career shows money isn’t a top priority.

As a career coach specializing in helping people pursue their passions, I can tell you if you’re pursuing something only for money with no passion behind it, it’s likely to fail. All the experts will tell you this. This includes business experts, successful entrepreneurs, other career coaches, and the ones who learned this lesson the hard way.

And not only is it likely to fail, you’re also likely to be miserable. If you’re not passionate about what you do and you find no meaning in it besides earning a paycheck, you’re likely to dread going to work everyday. This will wear on you over time.

2. You have to think long-term.

Nothing lasts forever. You could be laid off tomorrow from your current job. Your business idea could take off like a rocket and then just as quickly crash and burn. My former client’s bookings could easily dry up since music fans’ tastes are fickle.

So then what?

While it’s important to learn to live in the moment, there needs to be a balance between living in the moment and considering the future.

One of the things I work with my coaching clients on is establishing long-term goals and helping them figure out how their passions can evolve with those goals.

Sometimes this requires re-evaluating and altering their short-term goals. And sometimes it may require them to alter their long-term goals.

3. It’s not a bad idea to have a back-up plan.

As a result, you may need a Plan B to your Plan A, or even a Plan C to your Plan B.

These plans don’t have to be completely different from each other like they were for my former client. They could be something in the same industry but in a different role or function.

Back-up plans can be a great solution when you’re feeling stuck in your current career situation. I’ve helped many clients brainstorm and test potential back-up plans which eventually got them unstuck.

Do you see any other lessons here I missed? (If so, please comment below!)

Conclusion

My former client had two very different careers he was equally passionate about. One disrupted the other much more quickly than he expected. And it could happen again some day.

This happens to almost all of us, including myself when I went from career coaching to image consulting then back to career coaching again.

What will you do when the career you’re passionate about gets disrupted by another passion? Or if it gets disrupted by an entirely new passion you’ve discovered? What will happen if you don’t have another passion (a Plan B) to fall back on?

If you don’t have an answer to these questions, it may be time to consider the lessons outlined above, or even some career coaching for yourself. To find out if career coaching is your next best step, click here and complete the paNASH intake form. Completing the form does not obligate you in any way.

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Do You Have a Passion Project?

I hope your new year will be one lived with passion!

Pursue Your Passion Project

I encourage you in the new year to take on what I call a “passion project.” A passion project is something personal you’ve always had a desire to do or accomplish. Include it in your goals for 2017 so you can start taking steps toward it. When you do, please keep me posted on your progress!

My own passion project for 2017 is to publish a 30-day devotional based on my personal blog, SUP:  Spiritual Understanding & Prayer on a Stand Up Paddleboard. This project combines three of my passions:  my love for God, writing, and stand up paddling. 

Give Purpose to Your Passion Project

Ask yourself how you can give purpose and meaning to your passion project. For example, I plan to use money from the book sales to help fund a mission trip I’m taking to the banks of the Amazon River in Brazil. (So far I’ve raised $1,675 and have only $825 to go!) If you’d like to pre-order a copy of the book at only $12, click here.

Please let me know how I can encourage you in the pursuit of your own passions. (Click here to schedule a complimentary “Path to Purpose” meeting.) And if there’s someone you know who can benefit from my services in 2017, please send them my way!

Happy new year!
Lori B. of paNASH

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From Fashionista to Passionista: How a Year of Limbo Gave Me Clarity

Life In Limbo

I recently learned about the meaning of the word “trigger.” And no, I don’t mean the part of a gun you pull when ready to fire. Instead, in terms of life circumstances, the word “trigger” means, “a life event that forces you into limbo.

When I first saw this definition of the word “trigger,” I realized that’s exactly what I had been in for the past year and a half:  LIMBO. (Some people call it “feeling stuck.”)

What was the life event forcing me into limbo? Nothing I would describe as an “event” occurred.

I just know that during the summer of 2014, whenever I wasn’t busy with my work as an image consultant, I was packing in as many fun activities into my schedule as I could.

Parasailing, stand up paddle boarding, kayaking, hiking, biking, rock climbing and more. Heck, I even got to ride in a race car during one of the video shoots I was working on. It was absolutely exhilarating!

F to P

Looking back, I now realize that getting out and experiencing life to the fullest was probably my “trigger.”

Why? Because it opened up in me a whole new yearning for a fully-lived life. Not just for me, but also for others.

But at the time, I couldn’t see exactly what that looked like. I started feeling restless and burned out with my image consulting work I once was very passionate about. And I was lacking a vision and purpose for the future of my business.

Despite having so much fun in my free time, I was definitely in limbo. Which is not always a fun place to be.

Fear As An Obstacle

During my limbo phase, I couldn’t figure out what I wanted to do or what God wanted me to do career-wise. It was frustrating and discouraging.

All I know is, during the summer of 2014, people were coming to me with the same struggles. They were saying to me how they feel they need some kind of change in their life and work. How they wish they could have the time and the means to enjoy life discovering and pursuing their passions like I was.

Every time I heard this my heart would go out to them. I would say, “You CAN!” But, my encouragement was always met with some kind of obstacle, either real or perceived.

Their responses included reasons (or are they excuses?) such as,

“I don’t have the money.” Or, “I don’t have the time.” Or, “I don’t have the skill/education,” etc., etc., etc.

I think a lot of those examples could easily be translated to “I don’t have the courage”. This is understandable because fear can be extremely paralyzing. Whether it’s fear of the unknown, fear of failure, or fear of change.

The Vision Becomes Clear

The summer turned into fall, then winter and then summer again. I continued trying and doing new things to help me make sense of the uncertainty I was experiencing.

I went ice skating for the first time in my life, took a fly fishing class, and learned archery.

In that time I also continued my favorite activity I had picked up the previous summer, stand up paddle boarding. I have two boards now and paddle every month of the year, even in the dead of winter, because I am so very passionate about it.

Also, I did something in September 2015 I never imagined doing. I paddled 16.4 miles from downtown Nashville’s Nissan Stadium on the winding Cumberland River to Rock Harbor Marina. I thought it would take me about five or six hours to complete. But I finished in 4 hours and 15 minutes. All while going against a headwind with little to no current to help carry me downstream.

Photo by Joey Martin

Photo by Joey Martin

This experience taught me that, although I couldn’t see the finish line because of all the twists and turns in the river, it eventually would become clear as I neared it. Even if it took what seemed like forever. All I had to do was be patient and keep moving one paddle stroke at a time.

That’s exactly what I did in my time of limbo. I kept doing the little bit I knew to do at a time and waited for the answer to come.

All this, along with much prayer, led up to the moment on December 17th, 2015 when suddenly my limbo ended. The clouds parted and the sun shined brilliantly on what my purpose is at this stage in my life.

I was in the shower, where I do my best thinking. And suddenly I could see in my head the word PASSION, as if written in flashing neon lights.

The message I was getting is I am to help other people discover and pursue their passions in life and work, and help them find ways over, through, or around the obstacles and fears keeping them from their passions.

As soon as this came to my mind, I could clearly see and visualize ways of helping people do this, using my own unique strengths and passions.

The rest of that day and for the time since, I’ve received numerous confirmations this is truly my new path. And I’ve taken steps toward making it a reality.

From Fashionista To Passionista

From Fashionista to PassionistaWith this new vision for my future, I was also able to look back on the past and see how God is using my past experience to prepare me for this.

Straight out of grad school I became a college career adviser because I was passionate about helping college students discover what it was they loved and wanted to do in their life (instead of just doing what their mom or dad told them to do).

Twelve years of that experience has prepared me to coach people on how to incorporate their passions into their work and how to make money doing what they love while helping others.

My own sense of adventure and love for developing new interests outside of work has also prepared me to help others pursue passions outside of their work.

I was even able to see how the name of my image consulting business, paNASH, can still work with my new mission and purpose (God doesn’t waste anything!).

So, now, I am no longer an image consultant. While I enjoyed styling people’s wardrobes and helping them look and feel their best, I’m ready to instead help them LIVE THEIR BEST!

I now have my certifications in transformational coaching, solution-focused coaching, and life coaching to become a Passion & Career Specialist (my own little niche and twist on life and career coaching).

I guess you could say I’ve gone from somewhat of a fashionista to a passionista!

I’m excited to embark on this new journey. I don’t look at it as something I do just for a living. It’s something I live.

If you want to start living this way, then pursue your passions with paNASH! Email me to find out more on the ways I can help you put your passion into action. Or, join our newsletter and receive a complimentary 8-Step Goal Achievement Plan.

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