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Welcome to The Next Step Career Coaching Blog!

On this blog, I will share my thoughts on career and student-related topics. Please feel free to chime in on any of the posts or send questions my way! I look forward to hearing from you.

Getting Real About Career Change

Posted by on May 17, 2017 in Career | 0 comments

 

 

“Change is hard at first, messy in the middle and gorgeous at the end.”  — Robin Sharma

 

Career change can be exciting – or terrifying – or both. You feel exhilarated about new possibilities, a better fit, a new sense of purpose. But in almost the same moment, you feel frightened about the unknowns. Am I doing the right thing? Am I chasing a pipe dream? Will I actually be able to find a new and better career? Should I just settle for what I know and have? These questions plague career changers, so if you are asking them, you’re in good company.

Sometimes we are forced to change, even when we know it’s for the best. When I was just 28, I was laid off from my first job. I was devastated (even though I was unhappy with my work situation) and at loose ends about what direction to pursue. That job loss, so unexpected and SO unwanted, turned out to be a good thing, signaling me that it was time to grow again. I took stock of my situation, evaluated what I had liked and disliked about my first job, and then made a change. Sometimes a career crisis can lead to new and better things: in my case, a gratifying 20 years as a career counselor and coach.

Still, it’s good to be realistic about the career change process. It’s rarely straightforward, and knowing about the twists and turns can prepare you for the thrilling – and scary – adventure of career change. Here are some guideposts to remember if you are thinking about taking it on.

  1. Career change takes time. It’s rare that you will leap out of one career and into a completely different career in a smooth jump. Only Superman could leap from being a reporter to a superhero. For the rest of us, career change takes time. Expect to take smaller interim steps to get to your final destination. This can take months or even years, depending on the scope of your change. Do you want to transfer your skills to another industry or change your entire skillset and function in the workplace?

 

  1. Some tradeoffs will be necessary. Be honest with yourself about the ones you are willing to make. Are you ready to move away from friends and family, if necessary? Invest in needed training or education? Take a salary cut to have more fulfilling work?

 

  1. Career change depends on perseverance. When the going seems slow (and it will), persistence makes the difference. You may need to do networking and research and skill building and informational interviewing and resume writing. When calls for interviews don’t come immediately, discouragement can easily set in. Get support, define your short-term goals, and fine-tune your direction.

 

  1. Redefine forward progress. Expect that you might have to step back in responsibilities, title, and pay, especially in the early stages of your career change. Take the long view and don’t focus on short-term markers that might feel like setbacks. They are simply part of the journey.

 

  1. Make investments in your future. Know what skills and education your career change might require. Get help identifying gaps that need to be closed in order to be competitive in your job search. Develop a plan to reduce them as quickly as possible.

 

Career change isn’t for wimps! Be realistic about the cost, but think of the pay off. You could leave behind the stress of feeling unmotivated, unfulfilled, and unappreciated for a new direction that motivates and energizes you. Don’t you think that’s a change worth fighting for?

Career Change Ahead? Four Simple Steps to Prepare

Posted by on Mar 28, 2017 in Career | 0 comments

 

 

 

 “And then the day came when the risk it took to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” — Anais Nin.

I am reminded of this quote during our gorgeous spring season, when blossoms seem to appear out of nowhere. Of course, those blossoms have been in the works during the cold and stark winter months — when it seems that new growth, much less blossoms, is far-fetched or even impossible.

Career change often begins during a sort of personal winter, when a career feels dry or lifeless. Most of us sense when change is inevitable, but fear prevents us from taking action. Change, especially when it comes to our careers, can be scary and risky. Do I try something new or stay with the familiar? What if I make the wrong decision? We may debate these questions until life circumstances show up to make the decision for us: Your company suddenly reorganizes, leaving you with a job ill-suited to your talents. Technological changes in your industry leave you with no job at all. The stress of your workload creates health issues you can’t ignore.

Career change doesn’t have to be a blind leap off a steep cliff. If you’re feeling the icy coldness of a career winter, here are some things you can do to prepare for it.

  1. Create and maintain a notebook about yourself. Make the notebook a living document where you record what you like and dislike. What skills do you like using? What kind of people do you dislike working with? What kind of work environment motivates you? What are your Top Ten Must Haves in a job? What accomplishments have given you the most satisfaction? What do you love learning about?
  1. Develop a comprehensive work history. Here, you can list job titles, dates, and duties. What specific accomplishments did you achieve? What skills did you develop? Keep an ongoing list that you update quarterly. Don’t limit yourself to hard skills such as increasing a sales number or improving profitability. In what soft skills did you find yourself excelling, even if they weren’t part of your official job description? Maybe coworkers commented on your teamwork or listening ear or dependability. Write down even passing feedback from coworkers, bosses, and clients. Then consider negative feedback, too. What kernel might be accurate in that feedback? What might you learn about yourself that could be helpful?
  1. Consider short-term goals to invigorate yourself. If you’re feeling dissatisfied with your job, you may be coasting. Challenge yourself to step up your performance so you can make a change because YOU want to, not because of declining performance. What abilities could you improve in your current job that might be valuable in the next career? Be proactive about your situation now so you’re ready for what’s around the corner.
  1. Consider working with a career coach to evaluate options and create long-term career goals. A coach can help you assess risks realistically, identify other potential career fields, and develop targeted skills. Engaging a career coach before you are in crisis is not only more productive, but lots more fun!

 

These strategies will help you lay the groundwork for making an informed career change. They are also much easier to do when you are not in a career crisis. Think of them as the safety net that will appear if you do decide to take a leap.

 

7 Tips to Get Your Resume Noticed

Posted by on Jan 9, 2017 in Career | 0 comments

7 Tips to Get Your Resume Noticed

I confess that I couldn’t tell you who won the Super Bowl last year – or even most years. But the Super Bowl commercials? Some of those have stuck with me. The three frogs croaking out BUD-WISE-ER always made me laugh. The golden Lab puppy that makes friends with the Clydesdale tugged at my heartstrings. Companies know that the best commercials grab viewers quickly, make an impression, and increase sales of their products. With so much competition for a viewer’s attention, a good commercial can be tough to create.

Think of your resume as your own Super Bowl commercial. It also has to grab a reader’s attention and make a positive impression fast in an overcrowded field. But the ultimate test for a resume is to get you an interview. If your resume isn’t leading to interviews, you might need to rework it. Just like good commercials, an effective resume can be tough to create.

Here are some tips to get your resume noticed.

  1. Understand that your resume is more of a personal marketing tool than a complete job history. Its job is to get you an interview, and you have about 10 seconds to grab an employer’s attention.
  2. Put your best details up front. Use a summary or profile section to showcase your skills and value to the employer. Think of this section as a highlights reel that will persuade the employer to read more.
  3. Tailor your resume to the job you’re applying for. One size does not fit all when it comes to resumes. Emphasize specific skills and qualifications that fit what the employer is seeking.
  4. Punch up your job and activity descriptions with active verbs. Use bulleted lists that begin with active verbs, and avoid weak phrases such as “responsible for” or “in charge of.”
  5. Manage length. New graduates or students should keep the resume to one page. Seasoned professionals should keep their resumes to two pages.
  6. Sell yourself, but be truthful. Your resume doesn’t have to list every detail about your job history. Emphasize your accomplishments. But don’t embellish or get creative with the facts either.
  7. Keep it simple and professional. Use a 10 to 12 size professional font and avoid heavy graphics, colors, tables, columns or fancy typefaces. Applicant Tracking Systems can easily misread them. Make sure your grammar, spelling, and syntax are flawless. One typo or error will make you look sloppy and ruin that all-important first impression.

Just like the best Super Bowl commercials, great resumes take the product – you! – and sell its best qualities to the targeted buyer – the employer. Spend time analyzing what you have to offer and how best to sell it to a prospective employer. And if you want professional help, give us a call.

Beyond the Lab: Career Options for Science Geeks

Posted by on Nov 29, 2016 in Career, College, Uncategorized | 2 comments

scienceSixty-percent of the United States’ fastest growing occupations are scientific in nature (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Fastest Growing Occupations, 2014-2024). Yes, we need researchers to advance science and develop new products, and healthcare professionals to improve health for all people. But what if neither of those options appeals to you?

 Take a look at the many ways you can put your knowledge to work.

Science education

Share your love of science with children, college students, and the general public through teaching in schools, colleges, science museums, and professional associations.

Public health

Analyze and evaluate public health programs; collect statistics to summarize and report on public health issues for NGOs, federal and state agencies.

Scientific testing

Perform analysis for environmental and public health agencies, or forensic testing for law enforcement and intelligence agencies.

Science writing

Explain science and research to the greater public through magazines and newspapers, books, museums, television, and the Internet.

Intellectual property

Identify industry, academic or government research with potential commercial value and create strategies to profit from it. Help inventors navigate the patent application process.

Science policy

Advocate for and interpret science to create good public policy: Work for legislators drafting scientific legislation and liaise with their scientific constituents. Represent scientific nonprofits, promoting their positions to Congress.

Science and business

Identify and develop business opportunities for biotech companies; analyze biomedical and biotechnology investments for potential investors; bring your own innovative ideas to market by starting a business.

Sales and marketing of science-related products

Develop and implement strategy to promote company products to prescribers and users. Educate physicians, pharmacists, health facilities and consumers about new pharmaceutical products.

Drug and device approval and production

Ensure that companies abide by regulations, laws and guidelines in developing, producing, and selling products in regulated industries, such as food, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, energy, biotech, clinical, and health care products.

Clinical research management

Coordinate medical research studies for pharmaceutical companies, medical equipment designers and other health-related manufacturers to test the effectiveness and safety of new products.

 

So which path is right for you?

 

  • Take the time to look closely at your skills and interests, and most importantly your work values, those things of utmost importance to you in a job. Some examples of values are earning within a certain salary range, living in a specific geographic location, experiencing job security, having the opportunity for positive work/life balance. Knowing your “must haves” will help you sort through all of your options. Begin this process at myidp.sciencecareers.org, a web-based career assessment designed specifically for scientists. Then schedule an appointment with a career counselor to discuss your results and get started on your search.
  • Check out job postings online. Learn about needed qualifications and skills by searching sciencejobs.org, indeed.com, or usajobs.gov. Your career counselor can advise you on job titles to search.

 

 

Sources: Sciencecareers.org, asbmb.org, bls.gov

Don’t Waste that College Tuition: Tips for Parents to Help College Students Succeed

Posted by on Nov 7, 2016 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

file9421269543382 The weather is starting to cool off, the holidays are around the corner, and students must make some crucial choices — it’s that time of year again: college or academic major decision-making. For parents of college students, this time of year can bring new concerns: What is the right major for my student? How long will it take for my student to finish? Will she be able to find a job after graduation?

With the high cost of college tuition, these concerns by parents (and students!) are not unfounded. A May 2015 poll conducted by AfterCollege showed that just 14 percent of college seniors had career-type jobs lined up after graduation. Yikes! That statistic can strike fear into the heart of any parent with a college student.

So what’s a parent to do? Actually, there are many things you can do to set up your child for success in college and beyond. With over twenty years working as a career advisor in college career centers, I’ve talked with hundreds of employers. I know what they are looking for in students and what frustrates them as they search for new hires.

There are jobs out there, but many students have not done enough groundwork to make themselves attractive to employers. That’s where parents can have a positive influence in helping their students get prepared long before interview season starts.

Here’s the first step.

 

STEP 1: Make good decisions about the type of higher education your student pursues.

 

Many students attend college without asking:

Why am I going to college in the first place?

What kind of job do I want?

What kind of life do I want to live?

What do I want to make of myself?

 

Not many high school seniors know the answers to these questions, of course, but they should start thinking about them as they consider what kind of education fits their future plans. Sometimes these questions can steer them to a technical school or a two-year college, or point them to a graduate or professional school that will require a four-year college degree.

As a college freshman, your student can use these questions to explore possible career fields. Graduation may be four years away, but freshman year is the time to do career exploration. Your student should also evaluate his or her aptitudes, interests, values, and learning styles.

Encourage your student to identify several career fields of interest. Students who enter college with just Plan A can flounder when they find Plan A isn’t what they thought. Exploring several career fields – even those that seem impractical or risky – can motivate students to plan for and not simply drift into a career.

Then encourage your student to use holiday, spring and summer breaks to shadow or interview professionals in those fields. Offer to help them by sharing contact information for appropriate friends, family, and colleagues, with permission of course.

Step 2 involves getting work experience. In the meantime, enjoy the fall!

Why Olympians (and Job Seekers) Need Coaches

Posted by on Aug 21, 2016 in Career, Uncategorized | 0 comments

 

goldmedals

If you’re like me, you’re binge watching the Olympics. But the Summer Games only come around every four years, and I’m hooked on the drama. My favorite event is gymnastics. I’m amazed by the power, balance, and sheer guts the gymnasts display as they flip, spin, and soar. No matter the event, though, I love watching the athletes go all out for their dreams. I love watching the parents in the stands, cheering or wincing with each move. Then there are the coaches. They’re always in the background, but they’ve been guiding, inspiring, teaching, and training these athletes to get to this moment

 

That’s what career coaches do, too. Here are five basics ways career coaches can help you win.

 

  1. We help clients get where they want to go. For some people that means changing careers and going for a whole new dream. I can help you figure out what that dream is and develop a plan to get there.
  2. We help job searchers make the team. To compete, athletes first have to make the team. Likewise, job searchers need to land the job they want. I can help you find and land the job you want.
  3. We help clients achieve gold medal success. Once you land the job, a career coach can help you achieve extraordinary success. I can help you create a plan and coach you on specific skills to make that success happen.
  4. We help clients stay motivated and accountable. It’s easy to get discouraged when you are working towards a challenging goal. Just like athletes, career changers and job searchers benefit from a coach who keeps them motivated by focusing on short-term goals.
  5. We work on specific skills. Sometimes athletes need specialized coaching on a specific skill, such as making the best turns in the pool. You might need coaching in a specific area, such as resume writing or interviewing or networking. I can help you perform better with those skills.

 

So what does your career gold medal look like? Where would you like to be in your career when the 2020 Summer Games roll around? If you need a coach to help you get there, let’s talk. I love helping people define their goals and make their dreams a reality.

 

In the meantime, enjoy the Summer Games and watching these incredible athletes go for the gold.

Six Things You Can Expect From Career Coaching

Posted by on Jun 3, 2016 in Uncategorized | 2 comments

Puzzle

If you feel dissatisfied in some area of your career, educational pursuits, or life, it’s a safe bet that an unmet need is trying to get your attention. Allow the frustration to go on too long and discouragement sets in. Hiring a coach can empower you to get out of your own way and move forward. Here are some insights into the process, courtesy of my clients and me.

 

1. To invest time and money

You’ll work with your coach for a series of sessions. Help with your resume and interviewing skills typically involve two sessions each. Otherwise, the total number depends on your goal for coaching and the level of support you want. Some coaches require an initial commitment of 4 to 6 sessions, in order for you to see maximum results. After that, you can choose whether or not a periodic check-in makes sense to keep you on track toward your goals.

Yes, it’s an investment — but a pledge to your most precious asset, yourself. Career coaching can actually save you time and money. Time spent moving from job to job, looking for the right fit, will likely decrease when you know your strengths and interests and use them to point you in the right direction from the outset. Other benefits can include reductions in:

  • Time spent on unproductive job search strategies.
  • Income lost and debt acquired while you are unemployed.
  • Medical bills incurred to deal with your stressful, ill-fitting job.
  • Tuition wasted before you discovered the appropriate area of study for your child’s vocational goals.

Where education is concerned, choosing the right path can save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average college student changes his major at least three times over the course of a college career.

Compare coaching fees to the cost of the latest Samsung 58” Smart TV and it’s easy to see which is the better investment. If you don’t think it’s coaching, your priorities may need resorting.

 

2. To Work

The magic wand — the one that will make your challenges disappear – hasn’t been invented yet.   People who get the most benefit from coaching understand that they’ll be engaged in activity during and between sessions. Your coach will facilitate a process that goes something like this:

  • Recognize what you really want (a particular situational outcome? attainment of a goal? a feeling?)
  • Reveal your challenges. What is holding you back from taking action?
  • Discover your options and resources for moving past the challenges.
  • Create an action plan.
  • Prioritize and choose your action steps, repeating until you achieve your goal.

Self-reflection is a big part of the work and the starting point for you and your coach. After all, we human beings are much more effective when we’re motivated from within.

You cannot solve a problem from the same consciousness that created it. You must learn to see the world anew.

– Albert Einstein

3. To be challenged

Most of us would already have made the necessary changes in our lives and careers were it not for our mindsets, habits, and beliefs. Sometimes we simply need an outsider’s view on how we trip ourselves up.  As Albert Einstein said, “You cannot solve a problem from the same consciousness that created it.  You must learn to see the world anew.”

Of course, change always brings some discomfort, but the payoff is worth experiencing a bit of awkwardness. Remember learning to ride a bike? Your coach is there to prop you up until you find your balance.

 

4. To find support and accountability

 A coach is your partner – walking alongside as you learn to see and do things differently and make change possible for yourself. She also holds you accountable. I am more motivated to follow through on my commitments if someone else knows what they are. I’ll bet you are too. It’s a key assumption in the coaching process.

At the end of each coaching session, you’ll choose your action steps and commit to completing them by a certain time. If you don’t, sorry, you’re not off the hook; you and your coach will get to the bottom of whatever is holding you back. That’s why you hired her, right…to help you get unstuck?

 

5. To surprise yourself

 You may feel baffled by your personal or career dilemma, but it’s highly likely that the answers have been inside of you all along. A recent client, Lora, was delighted when she solved her house-buying predicament within months rather than years, after taking action steps created in her first coaching session.

 

6. To experience positive changes in all areas of your life

 We are who we are in both our personal and work lives. The two are inseparable. In other words, there are similarities in the way we show up at work and the way we show up in our personal lives. When we make positive changes in one, the other is affected. For example, learning how to set personal boundaries in her home life allowed another client to establish them at work, resulting in reduced stress and a much happier existence for her, her family, and her coworkers.

 

Are You Ready for Career Coaching?

If you want to make long-lasting productive changes in your professional life, position yourself for success, make the most of your educational investment, or simply address a niggling need, career coaching can help you accomplish these goals and more.  Contact me at thenextstepcareercoaching.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Older Job Seekers, Do You Know the New Fundamentals?

Posted by on Apr 8, 2016 in Career | 0 comments

Older Job Seekers, Do You Know the New Fundamentals?

If you’re over 40, you may be worried about your prospects in the job market. You may think that the hiring manager will be more interested in someone younger – someone who is energetic and tech-savvy.

I hate to say it, but you have reason to be concerned. You might be surprised to learn that the way you’re presenting yourself could be deterring you from getting an interview – and your dream job. Take our quiz to see if you know how to present yourself and reduce the chances of age discrimination.

True or False?

1. Age matters when looking for a job.

True. However, the best way to combat ageism in the job search is to start changing how you see yourself. I believe that what we put out, we get back. Here’s what I hear regularly:

Client moans: “They’ll think I’m too old.”

Me: “When you receive resumes from people your age, do you think they’re too old to perform the job?”

Client: “Yes!”

Me: “Do you think you are “too old” to perform the job?”

Client, indignantly: “Of course not!”

There it is, in a nutshell. If you’re of a certain age, YOU AND YOUR PEERS are likely some of the worst in practicing ageism. You are walking around with conflicting beliefs and that’s not helping you one bit. Yes, offers may be harder to come by on the other side of 40, BUT you only need one employer to offer you a job, right? Okay then, so go show them what you can do.

2. It’s okay to use any email.

False. Ditch an AOL or Hotmail email address. Get yourself a Gmail address, if only for your job search, to indicate that you’re up to date. While you’re at it, learn all you can about the additional Google productivity tools – such as Google Docs, Google Drive, and Google Hangout.

Other suggestions for your email address:

  • Don’t use your birth year in the address
  • Don’t use a cutesy moniker, like the one your grandkids gave you or your college nickname. Keep it professional.

3. You should highlight your years of work experience.

False. Don’t emphasize the fact that you have 25 years of experience – to some resume reviewers that doesn’t mean that you’ll add value; it simply means you are old! You should clearly state how you can add value to your targeted employers. Here’s how to show you are current:

  • Deal with employers’ concerns up front .Share that you can be flexible, adaptable and able to work with and for younger people. Say something like, “It will be easy for me to be part of your team, because I know about/have experience in …” Talk about how you’ve collaborated/are collaborating with coworkers from a variety of ages and stages.
  • older job seekersProve that you are up to date and eager to learn. On your resume, show recent classes you have taken. List the technology you use, that is relevant to your field. If you are looking for a white-collar job and you aren’t already using social media, create professional profiles on LinkedIn and Twitter and use them regularly. However, ensure your personal Facebook privacy settings allow access by your friends only. If the job warrants it, include your ability to use social media on your resume. List your LinkedIn address with your contact info, at the top of your resume.
  • If you’re in a knowledge-based profession, creating your own blog, posting to it regularly, and sharing the URL on your resume is helpful. Your potential employers can see what you know, as well as your sensitivity to online marketing.
  • On your cover letters and resume, display your cell number with periods only. Parentheses are no longer used after area codes; neither are dashes in the phone number. Most young people don’t have a home number, so don’t include one. Street and mailing addresses are no longer needed on a resume, only your email and cell number. Also, two spaces are no longer used after a period – a remnant from the typewriter. So don’t show your age by adding extra space.

4. I may need to look younger to get a job.

True. What’s an employer’s first impression of you? Someone who hasn’t updated their work wardrobe in ten years? This applies to men and women. If you’re a woman and still wearing matchy-matchy suits, spring for a consultation with a personal image consultant or get a younger friend to help you break out of that rut. Better yet, explore the many options for appropriate business casual attire these days. Here are some more tips:

  • Is your hairstyle adding years? Get to a hairdresser who is knowledgeable about cuts that look age appropriate and youthful at the same time. I’m happy to share the name of a good one in the Winston-Salem area.
  • Do you still wear a standard wristwatch? That’s a sure sign that you’re over 40. You’ve probably noticed that the young’uns check time on their Apple Watch or cell phone.
  • Ditch the scuffed shoes and pantyhose. Both give away your age.
  • Being in good physical shape helps you look younger and appear healthy and energetic. Now may be a good time to improve your overall well-being.

So, how’d you do? Do you need to rethink some ways you’ve been presenting yourself? Just remember older job seekers, you have the confidence and experience to get the job and with this valuable advice you’re sure to make it happen.

5 Easy Ways to Help You Get a Job Offer

Posted by on Mar 8, 2016 in Career | 0 comments

5 Easy Ways to Help You Get a Job Offer

So, you’ve been searching for a job and have the opportunity for an interview. To make sure you make the most of it, read my series: The Real Reasons You’re Not Getting a Job Offer. Reason Number 1: You think the interview is all about you.

This article focuses on Reason Number 2: Your enthusiasm is underwhelming!

To employers it’s important that candidates show genuine enthusiasm at the prospect of working at their company. After all, if you’re not really interested, you’re wasting their time. In their own words, here are some quick ways they can tell:

  • Didn’t have many questions for me.
  • Did not engage with our greeter/receptionist
  • Knew nothing about our organization
  • Appeared arrogant; silently communicated that we would be lucky to get him
  • Showed up late for the interview

You don’t want potential employers to have these thoughts about you! Here are 5 easy ways to help you get that job offer:

1. Be prepared to ask the interviewer at least three to five questions.

For that matter, prep for the possibility of conversations with many people in the organization. Help yourself decide if the job is right for you, by gathering as much information as you can from those who know – your future colleagues.

Some interviewers will want you to hold questions until they’ve concluded their own. Others will set up the interview as a conversation – a bit of give and take. Follow their lead. Focus your questions on the job at hand, instead of benefits, salary, workload, etc. An excellent question for discerning an employer’s expectations is, “What would you like me to accomplish in the first six months in this job?” For learning about company culture, “How would you describe the working environment?” For expansion on general duties try, “Could you describe a typical day in this role?”

2. Acknowledge everyone you meet.

The person who greets you at the front desk could be your prospective boss, planted there to see how you interact with strangers and front-line employees. True story, and the candidate failed miserably. He promptly asked her to make copies and get him a cup of coffee. Yikes!

Treat all with respect and friendliness; you can bet they will be asked for their opinion.

3. Conduct extensive research on your potential employer and use it to craft intelligent questions.

A basic Google search can turn up helpful info and recent news regarding its activity, new initiatives, and financial health. A review of its Linkedin page and company website will give insight on their branding to customers and future employees. Public libraries may subscribe to databases which can provide even more detail.

4. Let your body language communicate confidence AND openness to others.

This means smile, make eye contact, and lean slightly forward in your chair. If you’re often accused of seeming “aloof” in initial meetings, find out why and work to change it.

5. Do whatever it takes to arrive on time.

Multiple alarm clocks, pre-arranged wake up calls, anything that works for you. Arrive in the parking lot at least 10 minutes early. Calm your nerves, check your notes, pop a breath mint. Then, announce yourself to the receptionist five minutes prior to your appointment. Nothing screams disrespect (and disinterest) more loudly than tardiness for a job interview. Your interviewer: If this is her best foot forward, what will she be like once she’s got the job?

So, be prepared, show interest and make a great first impression. Even if you think this job may not be a perfect fit, you never know where it will lead. Good luck! And I hope you get that job offer.

Taking Action to Reach Your Goals, Dreams and Best Life

Posted by on Feb 10, 2016 in Career | 0 comments

Taking Action to Reach Your Goals, Dreams and Best Life

“Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it!”
–Goethe

Are you ready to see your dreams turn into reality? Can you let go of fear and create the life you want? Did you know that with conviction, planning, and support from others anything is possible?

Before you say, “Come on, it’s not that simple,” I can assure you that on some days I question what I just wrote. Years ago, when The Secret swept the country, I was not convinced that simply envisioning reaching my goal could make it happen. But as a life and career coach, I’ve had the opportunity to witness some pretty extraordinary accomplishments by my clients.

Taking action is the key

Here’s a bit of truth: when we begin moving toward our heartfelt goals with enthusiasm, even the slightest bit, the Universe begins moving toward us. The wheels of progress begin turning, once we show commitment to our goal. And committing is a much more powerful way of living, than waiting around and hoping.

No matter what you want to achieve, whether it’s a new house or a new job, it requires choice, action, and hard work from you (especially the hard work!). Choosing behaviors that support your dream, (as well as positive emotions and thoughts) can create amazing results. When you live your commitment, new opportunities will begin showing up, like they did with my client Lora.

True story about making it happen

For many years, Lora fantasized about finding and purchasing her dream home – a fixer-upper where she could use her talent for creating beautiful spaces. But every time she dreamed about it, she felt discouraged and overwhelmed by her financial constraints and the houseful of items that would have to be moved.

Her interest in reading and home decorating had made her current home a warehouse of books and extra furniture. No use thinking about a new house, not possible any time in the near future. When we met in 2013, I encouraged her to think about what steps, even tiny ones, she could take toward her goal.

She began selling items she didn’t want to take to a new home at a local consignment shop. Doing so gave her the opportunity to make extra money and pay off some debts, while getting rid of stuff she didn’t need. Even so, she continued to experience doubt about her ability to realize her dream.

After a year of consigning and careful financial planning, her finances improved.  Even though she still considered owning a new home as a “someday, maybe” goal, in July 2014 she was tired of waiting. Why not begin in earnest taking steps and see what happens? I’ve got nothing to lose. So Lora committed to obtaining her dream house within two years. But, how will I ever find something I can afford, in the area I want to live in?

On a hot day in July 2014, we resumed the brainstorming. Even with no affordable prospects in sight, what actions, large or small, could she take to support her desire and invite help from the Universe?

taking action

 Every step led her towards her goal

In November 2015, Lora moved into her dream home in the exact neighborhood she desired. Six months ahead of schedule! Here’s how it went down:

  • Immediately after our session, Lora reserved a self-storage unit and met with a real estate agent friend to get her current home show ready.
  • She started selling, donating or trashing items that she didn’t want to take to her new home.
  • She began reviewing real estate websites for fixer upper possibilities, requesting daily email updates on properties.
  • Twice a week, she recorded and listened to affirmations of what she wanted and how she would feel when she achieved it.
  • She connected with two friends who had recently created a house-flipping business and asked for their help in finding her fixer-upper. (Side note: John, one of the friends, had recently established some intentions of his own, to increase his business, and to establish stronger friendships.)
  • For six months, she and her friends looked at houses in all locations. They saw many that were WRONG. But Lora used her disappointment to fuel her commitment to finding the right one.
  • In October 2014, one of the house-flipper friends learned that he needed a bone marrow transplant. This news cemented his desire to keep living. So HE began to ramp up his activity on finding a home for Lora. The day before he was to go for the transplant he found Lora’s fixer-upper. It needed a few things to make it livable: to be moved 30 feet back from the busy road and a few rooms added on. But it would work. Best of all, it was located in Lora’s desired neighborhood.

Construction began on the house in February 2015, seven months after she reserved her self-storage unit. Other serendipitous events helped Lora reach her goal: a designer friend who was clearing out her inventory gifted her light fixtures. And her house-flipper friends offered her free construction materials from other houses they were refurbishing.

With commitment her vision became reality

Not long after she moved in, Lora found a vision board that she had created 15 years earlier. In the middle of the board was an image of a house on wheels, preparing to be moved. Lora had drawn an arrow to the woman standing in front of the house and written “Lora” underneath the photograph.

Your takeaways

  • Whatever you want, choose at least one action toward that dream every single day. Risk leaving the familiar to take one small step in supporting your goals, even if it takes more time than you think to achieve them.
  • To stay encouraged, use your daily planner or calendar to make daily notes about what choices you have made to support your dream. If your dream is true, this should be a pleasure and keep you motivated. Also, stay in touch with people who support you in attaining your goal.

Bottom line: start taking action. The movement will either create serendipitous events, or you will discover you really want something else and move in a different direction. Either way, it’s hard to steer a parked car, so get moving!