Tag: personal branding


How to Know When It’s NOT the Right Time for Career Assessments

Let me preface this post with the fact that I believe career and personality assessments can be very useful tools when used properly and at the appropriate time.

I felt the need to state this upfront after I recently commented on a popular comedian’s spoof of the Enneagram. I thought his spoof was hilarious because I constantly hear people saying, “Oh I’m this way because I’m a 5,” (or whatever number they are on the spectrum). As if everyone knows what every # represents!

Because I’m a career coach, I received a little criticism for my support of the comedian’s post.

This criticism gave me the green light to write this blog post. It’s one I’ve been wanting to write for some time. I guess now is the right time thanks to Christian comedian John Crist.

In the same week of coming across the Enneagram spoof, I met with a potential client who’s deciding which career coach to hire. She mentioned to me how one of the other career coaches she talked with wanted to start her off with several batteries of assessments.

I explained to her how my approach is different. When I told her why I don’t use a lot of career assessments, I could see the relief in her face. Her response was, “Thank goodness!”

My personal philosophy on career assessments

My services are geared toward those who are mid-career and are looking to make a career change. They’re tired of being treated like a number in their current job or company.

The last thing I want to do is make them feel even more like a number. (Or some kind of code they can’t remember.)

Instead, I want them to feel heard.

And what many of them are saying is,

“I’ve done assessments in the past and didn’t find them helpful at all.”

Also, I’ve noticed two major issues with doing career assessments when working with my target market.

Issue #1

First, when clients who’ve been in one job or industry for a while (like most of my clients have been) and are wanting to make a career change, they’re mindset is so accustomed to and entrenched in their current role.

When this is the case, their assessment results become skewed.

They’re responding to questions based only on what they’ve been used to for several years. Therefore, their results often point toward a suggestion to pursue the same kind of work they’re trying to leave.

This can be very disappointing and frustrating for these clients. They feel like the assessments are telling them they’re limited in their value and abilities and have very few options.

This makes them feel even more stuck in their careers when their goal is to get unstuck!

Issue #2

Second, the assessments designed to suggest possible career options don’t include all the newly-created jobs available in today’s job market.

Because job creation is happening so quickly due to rapid advances in this age, these assessments can’t keep up in order to provide a full picture of one’s potential.

And they don’t include quickly growing alternatives such as gig economy roles, side hustles, “solopreneur” opportunities, and more.

Because of this, many career assessments can be very limiting.

By the time my clients come to me, they’ve felt the negative effects of the limiting beliefs they’ve already imposed upon themselves. They don’t need anything else to limit them right now.

career assessments

Nobody wants to be treated like a number

My focus is helping people pursue their passions.

Instead of bombarding my clients with a battery of assessments in the beginning, I prefer to make the client feel like a person instead of a number.

I do this by getting to know them and listening to their concerns.

I then help them discover their personal brand and develop a mission statement that’s authentic to who they are. (This process will be made available in my next book, due out in early May!)

Together we brainstorm the ideas they’ve pushed deep down because society told them their dreams were impractical.

I help my clients explore how they can incorporate their passions in their lives.

Are their limiting beliefs real or perceived? If it’s not realistic to pursue their passions as a career, can they find an outlet for them in other areas of their lives?

The point is to first let them dream big without restricting them. Then we sift through their ideas for the ones that are viable career options.

Then, and only then, will I recommend certain career assessments if necessary.

It’s about being intentional without adding another layer of limits for the client.

Things to remember

This approach isn’t for everyone. There are some people who do want or need to take a lot of assessments. I’ve just not found this to be true with the majority of my niche market.

To you who choose to start with a lot of career assessments or are working with a coach who requires them, I recommend always taking your results with a grain of salt. Remember these three things:

  • Understand your mood and stress level at the time of taking the assessment can affect your results.
  • Never allow the results to label you or limit you in any way.
  • Resist the urge to use your results as an excuse for your behavior (i.e. “Oh, I’m this way because I’m a ‘6’ and that’s just who I am.”)

Use of career assessments in the interview process

You need to also know companies shouldn’t make hiring decisions based solely on your results of any assessment.

I had a client who interviewed for a job she was highly qualified for. The company had her jump through a lot of hoops in the interview process. She excelled in each challenge.

They told her she pretty much had the job, but still needed to take a personality assessment to round out her interview process.

When they saw her results they were no longer interested in her and she didn’t get the job offer.

Of course she couldn’t prove their decision was based only on her results of the personality assessment. But it appeared to be true.

Regardless, she felt discriminated against because of a little code from one simple test.

Since it was a small start-up without a fully-developed HR department, the people conducting the interview probably had no clue it’s not kosher to make hiring decisions based solely on personality assessment results.

If you’re ever in a similar situation, ask if their HR manager has approved the use of the assessment in the interview process and ask how the results will be used in making hiring decisions. Ask these questions prior to taking the assessment.

Do you want to be treated like a person instead of a number?

Remember the potential client trying to decide which career coach to hire? She just signed a contract with me because she said my approach gives her hope since it’s not as “cookie-cutter” as the others.

Do you want to be treated like a person instead of a number? Are you more interested in real results instead of just assessment results? If you answered yes, take a moment and complete the paNASH intake form. You’ll soon be on your way to a career coaching experience that’s truly unique.

Subscribe to the paNASH newsletter to receive updates on the release of my next book, Personal Branding: Why You Need to Know What Makes You YOUnique and AWEthentic.

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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 on-demand course on personal branding. It will give you all the tools you need to attract the opportunities you’ll want to say “YES!” to.

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How to Know If You’re In the Wrong Job

“How long does it take to realize you’re in the wrong job?” 

This is a question I recently came across on Quora. I’ll share my response with you. But first, I want to ask you:

Are you also wondering the same thing?

Or is it already clear you’re in the wrong job? 

Could it be time for a new career for you? 

It’s a new year, so why not a new career?

Especially if you already realize you’re in the wrong job.

The question posed isn’t, “How do you know you’re in the wrong job?” 

Instead it’s, “How long does it take to realize it?”

My response on Quora actually answers both of these questions.

The Quick Way to Know

It doesn’t take long to know if you’re in the wrong job when you spend a few minutes taking some personal (and honest) inventory. 

Here’s an exercise that’s much more effective than a traditional pros and cons list:

First…

Take a sheet of paper and divide it into three columns. 

The first column should include the things you must have in a job (i.e. your “dealbreakers”). 

The second column should be the things you’re willing to compromise on. 

The third column should be the “icing on the cake” things. (I.e. things you would LOVE to have in a job, but don’t necessarily need to be content.)

Next…

Compare your three lists to your current job. 

Does your current job have at least 60% of the things listed on your sheet of paper? 

Or at least 60% of the things from the “must have” column?

Then…

If not, it’s time to start looking for the right job that matches the majority of those things on your 3-column list.

Need help looking for the right job? Complete the paNASH intake form to schedule a complimentary initial consultation.

The 60% Rule

I always tell my clients,

“You should love at least 60% of your job.”

Why?

Because nobody loves 100% of their job 100% of the time, but if it’s less than 60%, you’re in the wrong job or career. 

I once had a client who, when he first came to me, was so miserable in his job that there were some evenings he said he would find himself in the fetal position on his couch near tears at the thought having to go back to work the next day.

After reviewing the results of some inventories he’d done with a previous career coach, I said, 

“Do you realize you only enjoy less than 20% of your current job? No wonder you’re so miserable!” 

Another surprising thing I discovered from the results of his inventory was he has a very entrepreneurial spirit. 

This all came as a shock to him because the results had not previously been interpreted to him in such a way.

Revealing these insights to him with a new lens of “passion” instead of just “job” or “career” opened up a whole new outlook for him.

He’s now been able to make extra money on the side doing the art work he’s passionate about and very talented at, which could possibly lead to his own full-time business as an illustrator and cartoonist, or provide him the financial means to leave his current job in search of something more fitting with his foreign language skills. (The guy speaks 3 languages, including Japanese!)

https://www.instagram.com/artbyrobert/

 

Where a pros and cons list would’ve been more limiting, my client is instead more diligent in not compromising on his “must haves” and more open to opportunities that meets at least 60% of the criteria from his 3-pronged list.

I’ve personally found the 3-column list exercise to be more helpful than a pros and cons list when it comes to my own big life decisions. 

The benefits are that it helps with analysis paralysis and keeps you from overthinking or second-guessing your decisions.

It also helps you stay realistic when considering different opportunities.

The More In Depth Approach

Another thing that’s helped me personally and also helps my clients is to spend some time coming up with your own personal mission statement. 

This may take a little time to nail down, but it’s well worth it. 

Why? 

Because you can use it as a filter for your decisions.

For instance, my personal mission statement is: 

“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.”

When I’m faced with a difficult decision, I look to see if the choice in front of me supports my mission statement or not. 

If it doesn’t, I don’t select that choice. 

This helps me to live authentically and be true to my purpose.

Click here to read more about my process of writing a personal mission statement.

So where are YOU in this all-important decision?

If you know it’s time for a new career, a career coach can help you figure out your options and how to make the transition. 

Don’t wait until the end of the year where you’ll find yourself in the same situation. 

Subscribe to my newsletter and receive tips to help you get unstuck and start moving into the right career!

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The 12 Most Purposeful Things You Can Do This Christmas (Re-Post)

Two Christmases ago, I found myself coming out of a year and a half long period of limbo in my career.

I had been struggling all that time to figure out what direction I should go with my business.

Should I continue what I was doing? Should I quit and go back to working for someone else? Or should I do something altogether different?

After having done the life-changing and career-changing activities I’ve outlined below, it all became clear to me what my next move was: shift the mission of my business to support my personal mission.

Once I did this, everything started falling into place!

As a result, I created a personal branding program using the same approaches I used on my own to get unstuck in my career.

Now it’s become my most popular program among my clients and audience. I’ve had the opportunity to present it to a variety of groups including freelancers, artists, other coaches, corporations, and even pastors from remote villages in the Amazon jungle!

Here’s some very nice feedback from one of my program participants:

“Hi Lori, I met you last year when you spoke at a coaches training event and I have to admit your session was by far the best. I love how you blend your passion for adventure and helping people find passion in their work life. After you spoke I felt more confident and enthused about my own career path.”

The 12 Days of Purpose

The holidays are a great time to discover what your purpose is in this current season of your life. Especially if you are contemplating a big change for 2018, including a job or career change or promotion, a start-up business, a retirement, etc.

Because the program I’ve created has helped so many people, I’m sharing an outline of it as my gift to you this holiday season.

(NOTE: To purchase the on-demand video program in its entirety, go to Personal Branding: How to Know What Makes You YOUnique and AWEthentic. 45% of the proceeds go to support the non-profit Justice & Mercy International.)

You can work through it over the holidays in order to start your new year off right, or at any other point in the year when you need it most. Enjoy!

purpose
 

 

Phase I: Clarify Your Purpose

Day 1:

Spend some time reflecting on what kind of person you want to be and to be known for (think in terms of traits instead of accomplishments).

What do you want people to say about you at your funeral?

And most importantly, why do you do the things you do? (Recommended reading: Start With Why by Simon Sinek.)

Day 2:

Take an inventory of your strengths, limitations, accomplishments, and how your skills benefit others.

List the things you’re good at, the things you’re not good at, your biggest failures and the lessons you learned from them, and your reasons for why you like to do the things you do best.

Day 3:

Be open to constructive criticism.

Ask your friends, family, co-workers, clients, etc. what they perceive to be your strengths and weaknesses.

Note the things that show up as patterns and the things that surprise you.

Day 4:

Based on your own personal inventory and the feedback from friends, write down what you think makes you unique from other people who do what you do.

See if you can think of additional things that make you unique.

Day 5:

Determine what makes your audience unique.

Who are they (recruiters, potential clients, fans)?

What do they care about?

What’s their biggest challenge or need?

How do your skills meet their need?

How can you serve them with your abilities?

Phase II: Articulate Your Purpose

Day 6:

Once you’ve determined why you do what you do (Day 1), write out your “WHY” in the form of a vision statement.

A vision statement is your goal of what you want to accomplish with your skills and abilities.

For example, the paNASH vision statement is:

“I believe you can find the courage to discover and pursue your passions despite the obstacles you may face. I want to see you actively pursue your passions with flair (‘paNASH’) and confidence, along with responsibility to your purpose in life.”

Day 7:

Write your mission statement.

Your mission statement is HOW you plan to carry out your vision/your WHY.

For instance, the paNASH mission statement is:

“To serve, educate, and encourage you by assisting you with the discovery and pursuit of your passions in a way that honors your purpose and your own vision for success, while amplifying who you are personally and advancing you professionally.”

Day 8:

Craft your Unique Selling Point (USP).

In 140 characters or less, create a statement that summarizes the unique impact you have on your audience.

The paNASH USP is:

“Putting your passion into action!”

Phase III: Package & Present Your Purpose

Day 9:

Make sure you’re able to back up your message with a summary of your credentials and accomplishments.

This can be in the form of a resume, a LinkedIn profile, client testimonials, reviews, letters of recommendation, etc.

Day 10:

Post your message on your social media platforms, your web site, your business card, and other professional collateral.

Day 11:

Foster and maintain relationships with strategic partners and your audience.

Share your purpose and expertise in a variety of outlets, including blogs (your own and others’ where you can guest blog), article posts on LinkedIn and Medium, media interviews (print, online, radio, and TV), comments on others’ posts, etc.

Day 12:

Most of all, learn how to present your message and purpose with confidence and professionalism.

This is something that of course takes practice. Ask for feedback on your presentation with friends, close colleagues, and mentors. Then apply that feedback to improve your message.

More Details:

To purchase the on-demand video program in its entirety, go to Personal Branding: How to Know What Makes You YOUnique and AWEthentic.

45% of the proceeds go to support the non-profit Justice & Mercy International.

Subscribe to the paNASH newsletter and receive a complimentary 8-Step Goal-Achievement Plan.

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paNASH is Celebrating Its 10-Year Anniversary!

Ten years ago today, I walked into the Davidson County Clerk’s office to get a business license for paNASH. I had no idea what I was doing since I’d never started a business before.

It was scary to say the least. But, I put one foot in front of the other, filled out the form, and paid my fee.

When I walked out I thought to myself, “Okay, this is real now. I have to do it.” My business license was more than just a little piece of paper. It was something tangible that was holding me accountable.

I started working hard on my business part-time while still working full-time. Nine months later I took a leap of faith and quit my cushy career advising job with benefits to pursue my business full-time.

paNASH’s Beginnings

paNASH originally began as an image consulting business working primarily with up-and-coming recording artists here in Nashville. I used my skills from my previous experience as a college career adviser to teach new artists how to present themselves in media interviews, to labels, and more. The additional wardrobe styling piece of the business served as a creative outlet for me at the time.

But after eight years, I started feeling restless in my business and it no longer felt right to me. I couldn’t yet put my finger on why, but I knew it was about to undergo some big changes.

I loved working for myself and knew I didn’t want that to change, but I was burned out on the original concept of the business. And, I’d become extremely frustrated with the way the music industry works. I loved my clients, but I was done with the constant frustrations.

I didn’t know it at the time, but I was being called back to what I loved most and was best at, career coaching. Only this time, it was taking on a new approach. For the full story, read From Fashionista to Passionista.

paNASH

paNASH Today

Since making the change to my business nearly two years ago, I’ve been much happier. It thrills me to see my clients gain the confidence to pursue their own passions that have been lying dormant for so many years.

Although they face a series of common challenges while going through the process of pursuing their passions, they start to sense an excitement in the transition to a new life and career. They have a light in their eyes again.

And while I’m also happier, I still face some challenges in my own transition of the focus and mission of my business. One of those is still being thought of as an image consultant. I guess I did a really good job of establishing paNASH’s brand early on. Too good of a job! When you Google paNASH, there are still some things that pop up indicating image consulting. I’ve had to turn away several people seeking image consulting services.

But, I’m using the same branding strategy now that I did then to eventually replace my former brand. And it’s working. Just like it works for my new clients whom I’m teaching how to develop their own personal brand for their career and their lives.

The Importance of a Mission Statement

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. It’s so important to have a brand and a mission statement for yourself. My personal mission statement is:

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.

This mission statement helps me to make better decisions regarding both my business and my personal life.

My business’s mission statement also aligns with my personal mission statement. When I changed the mission of paNASH nearly two years ago, it became:

To serve, educate, and encourage you by assisting you with the discovery and pursuit of your passions in a way that honors your purpose and your own vision for success, while amplifying who you are personally and advancing you professionally.

No matter what your goals are, I encourage you to also develop your own mission statement. To learn how, check out my on-demand program on personal branding (45% of proceeds go to Justice & Mercy International). You’ll be glad you did because once you’ve completed the program, you’ll be able to make better life and career decisions. Decisions that are true to your unique passions!

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