Tag: pursuing your passions


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.

Related posts

say no

What Are the Best Resources for Pursuing Your Passions?

When I was a little girl I discovered the savory, salty taste of sunflower seeds. I’ve always loved eating sunflower seeds, especially the ones still in the shells.

When my dad first noticed how much I liked them, he decided to use that as an opportunity to teach me about growth and the importance of patience.

He showed me how to plant sunflower seeds in order to grow beautiful tall sunflowers. He taught me even though I couldn’t see any growth right away, that didn’t mean I should give up.

Digging up the seeds before putting in the effort of watering them and waiting for them to take root would be a mistake. I’d have to wait a reasonable amount of time to see the fruits of my labor.

After sufficient time and watering of the sown seeds, I saw results. The sunflowers began to grow. And grow they did!

They were towering over me! I don’t remember how old I was at the time. I just remember they were up to a couple feet taller than me.

Watching Seeds Grow

For the past three years I’ve focused my work on helping people discover and pursue their passions.

This includes helping them find ways to incorporate those passions into their careers. And when that’s not possible, helping them find outlets for their passions in other ways and other areas of their lives.

This work has required the planting of seeds. Seeds of confidence and seeds of encouragement.

Other times it’s included watering those seeds so clients’ dreams wouldn’t dry up and they wouldn’t give up when they didn’t see their own growth happening as quickly as they’d like.

For some clients it’s been a fairly quick growth process with a direct line to their next opportunity.

For others it’s been a longer growth process that includes just helping clients get to their first (or second or third) stepping stone that will eventually lead them to a full pursuit of their passion.

There have been small successes, set backs (many of which were blessings in disguise), and big successes (harvests).

I love watching my clients grow in their passions. It’s like watching the growth process of a beautiful tall sunflower.

Resources to Help You Pursue Your Passions

Do you want to sow the seeds of your own passions so you can grow in your career and your life? Here are several resources I’ve developed over the past three years to help you get started in pursuing your passions!

best resources

Feeling Trapped in Your Career? Here’s How to Cope (Re-Post)


A few weeks ago I took a mini-vacation down to my favorite area of Florida, Seagrove Beach on beautiful 30A. 

I was anxious to get my paddle board out on the beautiful emerald waters of the Gulf of Mexico. But, the beach’s warning flags told me I should re-think my plans. 

There was a purple flag indicating dangerous marine life, and a red flag indicating high hazards and strong currents.

So, I improvised. I took my board out on Eastern Lake, a rare coastal dune lake that runs under Scenic Highway 30A and eventually feeds into the ocean after a heavy rain or other inflow. 

Because it is a coastal dune lake, Eastern Lake is rather small. And since there hadn’t been a previous heavy rainfall to create an opening to the ocean, the sandy beach served as a barrier between the lake and the ocean.

feeling trapped

Photo source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Rfq05J2yyI


Feeling Trapped

feeling trapped

Photo by Lori Bumgarner

I paddled from the beach end (the south end) of the lake where the salt water mixes with the fresh, to the marshy north end where I’m sure some alligators make their home. 

It was only about a mile and a half from the beach barrier to the marsh end of the lake. 

Needless to say, for someone who is used to paddling on rivers that run for hundreds of miles, I felt a bit trapped.

And unlike the ocean, I didn’t have a wide open space to explore. All I could do was just keep paddling in one big circle around the perimeter of the lake. 

Despite all the beauty surrounding me and the change of scenery from my regular paddle route, the feeling of going around in circles made me frustrated.


The experience of feeling trapped is one I’ve felt more than once in my career. 

Whether it was when I was trapped in a toxic office environment, or when I was restless because I wasn’t working in my purpose.

It’s not a fun place to be, at all (I’m sure you can probably relate).

When faced with these situations, I’ve used various coping mechanisms that have led to changes in my situation for the better.

My paddle around the lake that day reminded me of all the possible ways to cope when faced with the feeling of being trapped in your career. 


7 Possible Ways to Cope With Feeling Trapped  —  Here Are Your Options:

1. Sometimes we don’t always get what we want when we want it, so be patient. 

This is probably the most difficult option since most people aren’t naturally patient, myself included. 

But, sometimes this is what it takes when certain factors aren’t within your control. All you can do are the things within your control. 

For instance, when doing a job search you can build your network, learn how to market your skills and strengths, conduct informational interviews, apply for jobs, and prepare for job interviews. 

After that, it’s out of your hands. You have to be patient while the seeds you’ve sown grow into the right opportunity.


2. Make the best of your current situation. 

Maybe you can’t change your situation right now. But you can change some things about it to make the best of it until another opportunity comes your way. 

Check out my post How to Make Your Sucky Job More Bearable (Until You Can Leave).


3. Just enjoy and be content with and grateful for the beauty of your current place or situation because things will soon change for the better. 

Often my clients are in a period of transition which feels uncomfortable for them. 

I too have been in that same situation. 

Instead of letting it continue to frustrate me, I chose to make the most of that time by learning some new things and doing some really fun, awesome things as well. 

I learned to relish that time because I knew it was a rare opportunity to do so. 

That’s why I encourage my clients to relish periods of transition despite the uncertainty they’re facing. 

The ones who do, are so glad they did, and the ones who don’t, often regret it.


4. Wait to make your move until conditions are more favorable. 

You might have more control than you think. But, you have to make sure you’re taking action in both a timely and responsible way. 

When I first started my business, I didn’t immediately leave my full-time job with benefits. Instead, I started taking small steps toward my goal before taking a leap of faith. 

To learn how to make a career risk doable, read my post How to Make the Risk of Starting Your Own Business Doable.


5. Pay attention to the warning flags. 

Just like I had to pay attention to the beach’s warning flags, you also have to look at the warning flags in your career. 

For example, are you hearing rumors of potential layoffs at your company? 

Is your job at risk of being replaced by the latest technology? 

To know how to best prepare for such a situation, check out my post Want More Job Security? Do This One Simple Thing and also click on the related posts for even more tips.


6. You’ll keep going in circles if you don’t step out of your comfort zone

Once you’ve done some or all of the above, there eventually comes a time when you have to step out of your comfort zone and take a leap of faith. 

How do you do that? Click here to find out.


7. Don’t wait for an opportunity to come open. Make your own opportunity. 

Sometimes you have to take the bull by the horns and make things happen for your career. 

This could mean combining some of your skills and passions to start your own business. 

Or it could mean proposing a new or different role for you at your current company that better incorporates your strengths and interests, therefore improving the company’s bottom line. A real win-win!


Which Option Is Best For You?

The trick is knowing which option to choose at which time. 

In one of my own career trappings, I waited patiently for the conditions to be right to make my exit and spent that time wisely planning my course of action.

In another situation, I took a leap of faith.

Both coping mechanisms worked for me in those particular situations. But they probably would’ve failed had I taken a leap of faith when it was too early, or had I waited around when I should’ve taken action. 

Sometimes it can be difficult to know which option to choose. And even then it can be difficult to know the best timing for your chosen option. A good career coach can help you determine both.


What’s causing you to feel trapped in your career right now? 

Which option above is speaking to you? 

I invite you to share in the comment box below.

I also invite you to start setting some goals that support the option (or options) that works best for you at this time. 

Learn how to do so by subscribing to my newsletter and receiving a complimentary download of the 8-Step Goal-Achievement Plan.

Related Posts:

feeling trapped

5 Ways to Discover New Passions in Your Life

Originally published on The Daily Positive.

Is it time for you to learn something new or try something again? Is there a place you’ve never visited? I challenge you to step out of your comfort zone, explore your surroundings, and talk to interesting people. Here’s how doing so can lead to new passions:

1. Try something new.

When we open ourselves up to new experiences, we discover passions we never imagined! If I was told three years ago I would be spending my free time stand-up paddle boarding down the river, I wouldn’t believe it. And if I was told this new passion would trigger a career change, I really wouldn’t believe it. This all came from taking a beginner paddle boarding class.

new passions

2. Try something old.

The first time I tried rock climbing I was horrible and thought I could never do it. A couple years later, I tried again, and surprisingly, I could! What was the difference? Just a little tweak in my approach. I listened to what an expert said about using my legs more than my arms. This made a huge difference!

Don’t assume because you failed at something once, you’ll fail again. Try a different approach!

3. Travel.

I know a woman who discovered a unique passion when she traveled to Italy. While there, she learned the time-honored art of bookbinding by hand. First, bookbinding became a hobby for her, and now it’s her full-time job! If she had never visited Italy, she may still be stuck in her previously miserable career.

New places or even a simple change of scenery can lead you down a path you never knew existed. You don’t have to travel far away, new passions can be discovered somewhere within driving distance too.

4. Pay attention to your surroundings.

When you pay attention to your surroundings, you’ll discover new opportunities for new passions to arise. Sometimes just inquiring about something that catches your eye can lead to a newly discovered passion.

Many cities and local colleges host community classes on topics within arts, languages, computers, etc. In the past, I’ve taken a photography class, an archery class, and even a fly-fishing class. I’ve also taught some classes! This year I plan to take a marketing class and a financial success class. Pay attention to the opportunities around you!

5. Talk to people.

A few years ago a friend of mine and his girlfriend were traveling in Florida when they noticed a van with the picture of a stand-up paddle boarder on it. They inquired about it and discovered a place where they could learn to paddle board. The first day, they fell in the water several times but went back a second day to try again. They quickly became so passionate about this experience they decided to open their own paddle boarding company. They talked to everyone in the business to learn as much as they could. Nine months later, they opened their own paddle shop with much success! Their success happened just from expressing an interest and learning from the people around them.

New Passions

Everyone has the opportunity to discover new passions.

Find more ways to do so in the complimentary on-demand webinar 5 Ways to Pursue Your Passions in Work and Life.

Click here for more ways to pursue new passions.

Related Posts:

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Feeling trapped? 7 Possible Ways to Cope

A few weeks ago I took a mini-vacation down to my favorite area of Florida, Seagrove Beach on beautiful 30A. I was anxious to get my paddle board out on the beautiful emerald waters of the Gulf of Mexico. But the beach’s warning flags told me I should re-think my plans. There was a purple flag indicating dangerous marine life, and a red flag indicating high hazards and strong currents. 

So, I improvised and took my board out on Eastern Lake, a rare coastal dune lake that runs under scenic highway 30A and eventually feeds into the ocean after a heavy rain or other inflow. Because it is a coastal dune lake, Eastern Lake is rather small. And since there hadn’t been a previous heavy rainfall to create an opening to the ocean, the sandy beach served as a barrier between the lake and the ocean.

2016-11-08_1227

Feeling Trappedpicture1

I paddled from the beach end (the south end) where the salt water mixes with the fresh, to the marshy north end where I’m sure some alligators make their home. It was only about a mile and a half from the beach barrier to the marsh end of the lake. Needless to say, for someone who is used to paddling on rivers with an unlimited amount of distance available, I felt a bit trapped.

Unlike the ocean, I didn’t have a wide open space to explore, so all I could do was just keep paddling in one big circle around the perimeter of the lake. Despite all the beauty surrounding me and the change of scenery from my regular paddle route, the feeling of going around in circles made me frustrated. 

7 Possible Ways to Cope With Feeling Trapped

I’ve thought about that day a lot since returning from my trip, feeling like there is some kind of lesson in it (and there probably is because there have been so many from my various paddling excursions). But what? As soon as I started writing this story, several possibilities came to mind:

  1. Sometimes we don’t always get what we want when we want it, so be patient.
  2. Make the best of your current situation.
  3. Just enjoy and be content with and grateful for the beauty of your current place/situation. Things will soon change for the better.
  4. Wait to make your move until conditions are more favorable.
  5. Pay attention to the warning flags.
  6. You’ll keep going in circles if you don’t step out of your comfort zone.
  7. Don’t wait for an opportunity to come open. Make your own opportunity.

Can You Relate?

I’m still not sure which of the above lessons I was supposed to learn that day. But the experience of feeling blocked in or trapped is one I’ve felt more than once in my career, whether it was when I was trapped in a toxic office environment, or when I was restless because I was not working in my purpose.

Can you relate?

In two instances, I waited patiently for the conditions to be right to make my exit, and spent my time wisely planning my course of action for when the appropriate time arrived. In one instance, I stopped focusing on the warning flags and took a leap of faith.

I know which approach has worked best for me, but in general I can’t say for sure that either of those approaches is better than the other. And I can’t say that there’s one approach that fits everyone experiencing the same frustrations because everyone’s journey is different. What I can do is coach my clients on the approach that works best for them, their personal situation, and their unique goals and strengths. Which lesson from the list above speaks most to your current situation?

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