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Forget Resolutions, Remember Gratitude, & Celebrate the Small Things.

30 Dec

What a year 2010 has been!  Aspyre Solutions flourished beautifully with  the support of all of our fantastic clients, fans, friends & colleagues. Thank you for your continued support, and I wish you all the joy, empowerment and exciting success 2011 is sure to bring!  Get there!

With the closing of 365 days and the opening of another 365 ahead of us, this is the time of year where we sit down and evaluate what we’ve accomplished, what we want to accomplish NEXT, and maybe even how we plan on doing that, once the champagne and clam dip has worn off, come January 2.  It’s a time to remember the importance of gratitude, and to honor accountability.  Who or what are you grateful for, and what were you able to bring into your life this year by keeping yourself accountable to your own personal fulfillment & success?

For me, it was building this business into a successful, exciting brand that I love.  It was completing my professional coaching certification with IPEC.  It was expanding my network with literally hundreds of fabulous new friends and colleagues, whom I respect both professionally and personally.  It was a number of personal successes in my relationships, my friendships and my overall sense of personal wellness.  I also discovered a new-found love for sour pickles, fromage d’affinois and skirt steak, and I learned to drink coffee for the first time in my life. And despite all that, when it comes to matters of the heart (he he he)…my blood pressure is still damn near perfect.  Cheers to that. Continue reading

The Friday Edition: Following A Vision, Creating A Legacy

3 Dec

I noticed I get a lot of continual readers from my Boston University Alumni group, which thrills me!  I follow BU’s Alumni updates on Facebook, and this morning they posted an intriguing story about 4 BU students who formed a rock band in 1964.  And although Barry and the Remains’ tenure on the Boston music scene lasted a mere two years, their following was so popular that they were invited to be on Ed Sullivan and open for the Beatles!  Today, fans still wonder if these guys, had they continued on, could have been the next (or first) Rolling Stones, or something of the like.  Not bad for a few college guys in Allston.  Now, out of focus for the better part of four decades, they’re being inducted into the  Boston Music Awards Hall of Fame, joining the likes of fellow Boston rockers Mission of Burma and a little known quintet called Aerosmith.

And sure, I’m probably still wearing my theoretical red and white hockey jersey and beaming with alumni pride for my alma mater, but I read this blurb and I had a thought.  What are we each doing today, socially, professionally and creatively, to build our own legacy for tomorrow? What do we want that legacy, and our impact on our community to look like?   And how can we take steps to start forming that today?

In an age of instant gratification and having the world at our fingertips, many of us tend not to look 40 years ahead in the future with real clarity, or even regard.  But at the same time we have higher goals, or vision, of what we want to create for ourselves professionally and personally, than extend beyond tomorrow.

Speaking of alma maters, last weekend I attended my 10-year high school reunion.  As I sat pondering scenarios of what everyone would be like a decade later, I said to the fiance, “Everyone’s going to ask me if I”m still

Could have been a great comic book artist.

drawing.”  Because that’s the legacy I created for myself  earlier in life, since the day I was able to hold a pencil.  I had good grades, stellar rollerblading skills and one terrible haircut circa late elementary school, but my artistic abilities were what people remembered about me, what stood out above any other  accomplishments or shortcomings.  I’m approaching 30, and the image I inadvertently created for myself at 10 still sticks like glue.  And it always will, and fortunately for me it’s a legacy I’m sincerely proud of.

At that young age, it would have been hard to fathom creating something so lasting and impactful on our idea of self, given our minimal life experience on earth as children.  Now as adults, it’s easier to understand how reputation and character are formed over time, by the actions we take and the decisions we make.

So what influences all those decisions and (re)actions?  When you think about your vision for your career, your relationship, your life, chances are the vision you have for yourself extends several decades into the future, simply because we want to build lasting, fulfilling results for ourselves that we can continue to build upon.  It’s okay to stumble along the way and find happiness & fulfillment by accident – many of us do.  But for the other many of us, we value careful consideration and planning when it comes to the direction of our personal and professional lives.  And while chance and unforeseen events will always be a part of that pathway, much as we try not to deviate, it’s important that we check in with ourselves regularly to make sure what we’re doing and creating is truly keeping us on that path toward our higher vision.

Because it’s easy to get sidetracked by both intrinsic and extrinsic factors, to make bad decisions or take impulsive actions.  But what we can do when we recognize that negative shift is remind ourselves how committed we are to that vision, how important that legacy is to us, and then get back on the road.  Whether the vision is 4 months or 40 years ahead of us, keeping it in plain view each day will allow us to keep focus and create action and decisions in accordance with attaining that.

So what is your vision for living the best possible version of yourself? When you’re living that life, what kind of legacy will that allow you to create, and what will that say about you?  Food for thought, for the weekend.  Mmmm.

The Myth of Stability, The Wrath of Complacency (And the Token 9/11 Reference)

13 Sep

A friend of mine is in job transition right now, and she’s freaking out.  10 million other people are as well.  So this is nothing new.  And much like the swapping of seasons, career transition and change is always happening somewhere, to someone, yet we react with the same disbelief that “Here it is!” But seriously…is it really almost Fall?

The fact that everyone goes through career or life transition, some of us multiple times in our lifetimes, doesn’t diminish the impact we each feel emotionally, physiologically, financially and otherwise when it happens to us.  Quite heavy is the realization that we want to make a significant change to something we’ve become comfortably adjusted to.  For those of us already employed, it’s worse. Because not only do we find ourselves contemplating how to navigate the roadmap of “what’s next”, but then we also have to shake off the complacency of already having a source of income, and finding the motivation to abandon that and welcome the several weeks (or months) of hard work in job searching that we’re likely to endure.  Even in cases where you despise your current occupation, job or employer, admit it – some fear or limiting belief has kept you there this long, whether it’s the “stability of a paycheck” or “having work friends”, or even just being mildly satisfied in having a routine every day.  But here is the truth:  STABILITY is a myth, and COMPLACENCY is dangerous.

Stability.  What is that? In an economic downshift such as the one we’ve been experiencing in the last 18-24 months, many folks are realizing that the stability they thought existed for them, was completely a myth.  “Stable jobs” were yanked out from under our friends, colleagues and loved ones like rugs, and the unsuspecting, UNPREPARED victims (I don’t like that word) were left with their hands out to their sides wondering, “Oh my god…what do I do now?”  And often times for many, job loss can be a God-send, an opportunity to reinvent themselves – a push off the cliff that they couldn’t force themselves to take on their own.  For others, even if they knew they wanted a change eventually, they were unprepared to make it in such an abrupt fashion.  It happened to them, and it can happen to you.  And I say that not to worry you, but to instead solidly prepare you, by opening you up to a wonderful idea, that the falsity of stability that has been keeping you where you are when you desperately don’t want to be there… no longer has to have that control over you.

Abandon that.  Let it go.

To truly be free, you have to make the distinction that stability isn’t necessarily linked to your paycheck, your job or your relationship, but rather it is linked to not having to depend on someone else for your well-being.  It means not having to worry that you will lose something by means that are out of your control.  For some, that means working for themselves, and for others, not being in a job where the fear of losing it or the lack of integrity makes them feel stuck, or to question their value.  No matter where you are, whether you were pushed off the cliff, you’re standing on it or you’re running open-armed toward it, if you rise above complacency, and detach from that belief that stability is at the hands of your employer/spouse/etc., you no longer risk being the victim of change, because you have become the CREATOR OF CHANGE.

And the only thing more limiting than perceived stability is its evil brain-child, Complacency.  Born from an unholy union of False Stability and Fear, Complacency continues in the family business of ruining the careers and lives of otherwise motivated, talented and passionate individuals.  We cling to perceived stability in an unhappy career for the same reasons we cling to perceived stability in an unhappy relationship or marriage – fear of being alone (or jobless) and fear that we won’t have the strength to pick ourselves up in the face of loss and move on to something better.  That fear drives us to rely on and cling to what we already have, because it’s easy, and we fool ourselves into thinking that so long as it is there, we are protected.  That idea right there is complacency- our inability to move ourselves forward toward our own goals, despite any willingness and desire we may have to change, because of the circumstances we allow to control us.  So we cling, for dear life.  But how good is that life?  What’s the worst that can happen if you loosen the grip and quit feeling the need to hold onto what you don’t really want anyway?

Yes, you can “do it tomorrow.”  You can set it as a goal for the New Year.  You can do it whenever and however you like… but you haven’t yet.  Why not?

Friday was September 11, a day in American history continually reminding us all of our own falsely perceived invincibility and which echoes the sentiment that life is indeed short.  Despite multiple subsequent threats over the years, as of today 3,289 days have passed without harm being inflicted upon New York City. As my fiancé likes to say, “It’s all the NYPD, not the government faltering those attempts…” And then he argues how New York should get pretty much all the domestic security funding, which he may be right, but that’s beside the point.  Had the NYPD (or government) relied on that faulty logic, the fact that, “3285 days have gone by without any danger, so what’s a few days off?” there’s no guarantee that life would go on uninterrupted in America’s brilliant metropolis of the East.  After all, one thing we’ve learned as Americans is that we’re not infallible, we’re not exempt from the tragedies and obstacles of life.  And the truly lucky ones are beginning to accept that.  So you have to think… even New York City does not falsely perceive its own stability, nor does it choose complacency.  And it never will… so why should YOU?

So allow me to repeat the idea above, as it’s probably the key take-away from all of this.   When you rise above complacency, and detach from that belief that stability is at the hands of your employer/spouse/etc., you no longer risk being the victim of change, because you have become the CREATOR OF CHANGE.  No-thing or person has control over you and your outcome unless you allow them that power.  That is the power of conscious choice, and that, my friends… is a story for another time.

Cheers, New York City!  To another fruitful year of disgruntled urbanites living, thriving and taking for granted the liberty and security that was never just a coincidence.   I guess in fairness, no one ever said being human was easy.

Honey, We All Have to Fetch the Coffee at SOME Point…

30 Aug

When you’re 21 years old and fresh out of college, you’re full of energy, exuberance, enthusiasm and a plethora of other anabolically-loaded words that start with “e”.  You can’t WAIT to get out into the working world and show the man what you’re made of.  “I’m going to be different – I’m going to change the [insert industry here] world as we know it!” And dammit, good for you!  It’s not the least bit realistic… but as you move through the ranks of the working world, experiencing the ups and downs of being a career-ist, you will no doubt realize just how valuable that unrealistic attitude can be for you.

Here’s a newsflash to the Class of 2010, and pretty much anyone who came before, and will follow suit – you don’t have to change the world.  Changing your own life to simultaneously fit what you want and what the world demands of you is hard enough.  Where we make the mistake is not putting enough value and acknowledgment on what we do every day, you know, the little things that don’t always garner the accolades, but end up being topics of “man, I never realized how much that would come in handy later,” conversations.  Maybe not even that.

When I was 21 years old, I was a senior in college, and slightly bitter, because alot of my friends had these fantasically lax schedules, chock full of BS classes (and that doesn’t stand for bachelor of science…) and plenty of down time to, well, “be a senior”.  My Wednesday during the spring semester of senior year started at 9am and ended at midnight, commencing with my PR internship, continuing with my liberal arts classes I’d left ’til last semester of college, climaxing with my 3-hour art studio courses, and finally dying down around 11:59pm when it was time to close up the gym in my dorm, where I worked part-time.  The next day it started all over again, with my THIRD job, which was working at a modeling agency in downtown Boston.

Some days that job was a nightmare.  I remember riding in on the train in the mornings from Brookline with nervous aches in my back because no doubt

Yours truly, at 21.

my boss would find something to scream at me about, whether it was my fault or not.    After all, I was just the intern.  And then we’d make up, joke about something stupid, he’d insult me again and I’d go out and get him his coffee and French crueller donut at Dunkin’s.  With the added benefit of graduating college at the tail-end of the dot-com bust, I didn’t really have a choice about working there.  Job prospects were scarce, and in early May of my senior year I signed onto the modeling agency full time, as the head of the men’s and runway division.  I put up with a lot from my boss, but at the end of the day, my job was to talk to, take pictures of and look at male models.  I never said I was looking for sympathy!

Nearly a decade later I’m looking back at that first job and realizing how much I’ve grown professionally, and also how much I put up with.  I look at some of the ridiculous tasks I was stuck with (putting together a giant metal filing closet, or picking up my boss’ burrito for dinner), and sure, I thought I could do better.  One day I got stuck walking my boss’ friend’s pitbull, Neno, down Newbury Street, where he decided to relieve himself in front of the upscale brunch-goers at the Armani Cafe.  Also not impressed was Jimmy Fallon, who Neno nearly attacked on the sidewalk, shortly after (and just think, without my hasty restraint, there may never have been Fever Pitch!).

But I also look at the opportunities that came from demonstrating that I wasn’t afraid to do the low-level boring tasks.   I could easily sit on my high horse and argue that I didn’t go to the best communications school in the country to answer phones and shuffle resumes.  But processing and faxing a couple of hourly timesheets each week at the agency lead to eventually managing the financials of a multi-million dollar company less than 2 years later.   Shuffling a few thousand resumes over 7 years produced the credibility to build my own company in career advising.   I’m still not afraid of the small stuff.  In fact, I love it, because there’s something bigger underneath it all!   I’m not picking up the coffee anymore, except for myself, seeing as now I only have myself to answer to.  But when you work for yourself, there is no one else to do the low-level tasks.  And I’m okay with that.  Because more than anything that I might have learned in 10+ years about recruiting, advertising, graphic design or art, I learned that entitlement gets you nowhere, and initiative opens up more doors than you can even imagine.  I’ll give partial credit for that lesson to my dad, a several-decade successful entrepreneur himself.   At 61, does he complain about still fetching the coffee every morning?  I assume not, since these days he’s the one drinking it.   Yea, you might get stuck taking on an extra PowerPoint or two, and you may hate it until the sun comes up, but someone will remember that you threw your hand up, in the end.

So you don’t have to change the world.  You just have to accept that change is the only constant, and as long as you’re willing to roll with it, you’ll undoubtedly be okay.  Not every day will be great, not every day will be tolerable.  But the next one has potential to be life-changing, if you choose to make it that way.  And it’s all about conscious choice, making choices that, while they may not be ideal, they’re still YOUR CHOICES and they’re in line with the authentic you.

Sometimes it’s the small accomplishments, even the things we don’t ask for, but we STILL GET DEALT, that make us stand out.  Don’t be afraid to embrace those things and turn them into positive experiences that open up other doors.  Don’t be afraid to stick your hand up and volunteer for the crappy job you really don’t want to do, because in the end, you’re the person who said, “Sure, why not?  It’s not below me to offer up my expertise.”  It was my conscious choice to be that person, to stand up and say, “See me?  I’m here! And I’m worth it!”  Coaching is all about shifting perspective, from the catabolic to the anabolic, but we all have the innate power within us to do it.  It just needs tapping into. There are not magical tools, and as you’ll read on my “Services” page, my practice thrives solely on people who want to believe in themselves, that they have the answers already, and who want to do the work to uncover the hidden treasure within.  That may sound a bit cheesy, but it’s true.  It is within.  I found it, and [holy deity] knows that if I can, and others before you can, well, you can as well.

So what little thing are you proud of today?  Forget the world at large – what have you done today to change YOUR world that you would have otherwise overlooked?   Think about that…while you go take a coffee break.

Life Transitions: It’s Never ‘All in the Details’

16 Aug

You know why I love coaching people through life transitions?  Because outside of simply career coaching, it’s really a limitless term that embodies the energy, the challenge, the opportunity of making a change really in any facet of our lives.  Sure, changing careers and/or jobs is certainly a large life transition, and an intensely exciting (and potentially stressful) one.  But how about the other kinds of transitions that are important in our lives, that maybe at first glance we don’t equate with being on the same level of magnitude as, say, a complete professional reinvention?  What about relocating to a new city because you just want to, or breaking up with your long-term significant other because you met someone, well, better for you, or even changing apartments to a different part of Brooklyn?  That’s a transition.  Heck, changing banks is a transition, and depending where your perspective is, it can be stressful.

Photo by Adrian Miles on Flickr

The fantastic thing about coaching someone through a transition is that no matter what the scenario at hand is, they are the protagonist in the story. And the story is an unwritten opportunity that may seem daunting, or the victim of severe writers’ block at first, but has absolute potential to be life-changing in an immensely positive and empowering way!  No matter what change is on the brink of coming into our lives… something good can come out of it, and it’s mine and my clients’ mutual journey to uncover that good and put it into motion. It’s kind of like being an archaeologist of the mind and soul, and finding a chest full of ancient scrolls that have existed since the beginning of human time, and unbeknowest initially to any of us, they hold all the answers to life.

Next month my fiance and I are moving apartments in Brooklyn, and while I’m excited by the prospect of a (slight) change of scenery, I’m less than thrilled with the typical aches and pains of the real estate process that await me on the other end of this journey.  Because 12% of $xx,xxx is a lot of money to pay some real estate agent in exchange for posting a Craig’s List ad for a two-bedroom rental, and blocking off two and half hours on a Tuesday evening to walk you around a couple of buildings.  But that’s standard fare in New York City as far as real estate brokerage goes, and I can choose to accept that… or I can choose to go elsewhere.

My fear is that I’m going to stumble upon this amazing abode on the most amazing of Brooklyner blocks, clearly within my price range, since I stated that to the agent upfront, and I’ll already be picking out my bar stool at the amazing neighborhood pub, when… BAM! He/she hits me with a massive fee that tips the scale way over budget. “Okay all I need you to do next is hand me over a check for the brokers fee, pretty much what you paid for your senior-year college tuition, because let’s face it- that’s just the “going rate” in the NYC market.”  And while I’m busy complaining how Boston is far more democratic when it comes to ripping off the little people than NYC is, some work-from-home up-and-coming Park Slope blogger who lives off their lofty severance package from their former finance job will be signing MY lease and making themselves comfortable in MY abode… and taking MY bar stool.

And alas, that could all very well happen.  But the reality is that neither myself, nor anyone else, can know that, nor can we control everything that happens in the world as we embark on these changes and transitions within our lives. Those are the details – the crown molding, the exposed brick, the perfectly southern facing exposure that lets the light in at the perfect angle… all details.  And only details, not non-negotiables.  And as we recognize the difference between the two, it’s important not to focus all of our energy on the details to the point where we are forgetting WHY we decided to make that transition, that change in our lives, in the first place.  We committed to making a change because we saw something bigger, and better, and we wanted it for ourselves enough to make it happen.

So it’s not all in the details, and in fact it rarely ever is.  Even with relationships, despite the saying.  The details help, but they aren’t the foundation.   What you truly see as your ideal version of yourself, you at your best, living your best life – that’s the foundation for making positive, lasting change.  I didn’t decide to move out of my current apartment because I was confident the parquet flooring would be better somewhere else.  I decided to move because the person I’m meant to spend the rest of my life with came into my small world, and suddenly life took a different route.  Did I expect it?  Not exactly.  Do I choose to embrace it?  Absolutely.  But I’m not changing my bank, just yet.

To Have it All…Is to Move Diagonally.

28 Jul

Yesterday I celebrated my one year anniversary with my fiance, Adam.  We hit up our favorite Indian restaurant in the East Village, followed by a trip to Whole Foods, and ending with a couple of beers at this great little old-timey tavern nestled in a corner of Boerum Hill in Brooklyn.  I love Brooklyn folks – no matter where you go, it’s always Friday for someone, and my oh my, do they appreciate their local craft beer.  Very economically-minded.

Some folks at the 12-month mark in their relationship might find themselves still contemplating whether to introduce their significant other to their crazy family.  Adam and I, on the other hand, are planning a wedding – so I supposed I did something right.  Truthfully though, things moved quickly and happily because when we met, we had hit it off so well (we both appreciate talking about HTML) and after a steady string of dating people not right for either of us (me), we just knew what we wanted, and that the other had it, hands-down.  And after nearly 30 years of filing Single-and-1 on my W4, I’m pretty satisfied with the present outcome.  Relationships are hard work!  So are jobs.  I have days where, combined with how I’ve managed to balance the other important areas of my life – career, friendships, family, money, creative endeavors- I’m very satisfied with where I am, and it’s like I’m on top of the world.  Other days though… it’s still a work in progress.  And I’m fine with that!

See, hitting this “one year” mark, while initially symbolic of the healthy lifeline of my relationship, is pretty significant for me in a lot of ways.  Because it’s really the year anniversary of many successful changes that I’ve made in my life in a short amount of time – changing cities, lifestyles, relationships, financial status and essentially careers.  And while I’m beyond satisfied and proud of my accomplishments, as I said earlier, I try to always remember that it continues to be a work in progress.  And it’s going to be…for a very…long…time.

How are we currently balancing our lives?  Are we progressing along a diagonal line of balance, or simply laterally or upwards (one or the other)?  What I mean by simply upwards, is the act of thinking just about the next step, and then the next big thing after that, and what we want after that (thinking upwards, essentially)?  When we do that, are we omitting the importance of allowing ourselves some lateral movement, the days where we’re not moving up… we’re just being… just enjoying where we are and what we have, before we attempt to make the next jump or climb the next step?  Conversely, are we overly content with moving COMPLETELY laterally, or on a straight, flat sideways line, without any plans to move upwards toward something bigger, a better self, and just accepting complacency as a way of life?  Both are extremes, but if you balance lateral movement (the everyday enjoyment and being) with upward movement (the achieving and moving forward with your goals), you have diagonal movement.  And that’s exactly what I said it was – balance between being and doing.

On the days where I’m clearly doing more upward movement than lateral being, I certainly feel it, and it comes in the form of burnout, frustration and feeling overwhelmed and under-satisfied.  But that doesn’t happen often, because I’ve learned how to identify when I’m moving too quickly on that upward road and putting myself in danger of getting to that catabolic place.  The red light goes off, and when I feel myself going that direction of upward burnout, I slow down, and go back to being… being in and around the things that I appreciate and make up the authentic individual that I am. For me, it’s art, music and enjoying the company of close friends and family in environments that offer the kind of positive, uplifting energy I thrive upon.  And then I get back to work.

So what’s your acceptable incline?  At what degree of diagonal movement do you feel balanced?  90 degrees is complete upward movement, while zero degrees is complete lateral movement.  For me, I’d say right now I’m around 60 degrees, because while I enjoy simply being the things I love and taking time to enjoy them, I also thrive on the thrill of my business, my customers and coming up with fresh new ideas to move that forward.  Some days I might feel more like 40 degrees, like on Friday, when I will be at the beach all day in New Jersey, winding down with my best friend and taking a day completely devoted to fun, sun and beachey cocktails.  Maybe I’ll even go 35.

My Visual Interpretation

It all comes down to one thing – balance.  It means balancing the different areas of your life that are all equally important, equally prioritized, and to which you are equally devoted.  Whether it’s your job/career, your relationship, your hobbies or your down time with your friends, each of those things has a uniquely important place in your life, and needs continual nurturing.  It’s an ongoing process, and we are never quite done, because so long as we are living, it is possible to throw it off balance by investing too much or too little energy in one area or another.  And we do it everyday, sometimes unknowingly.  After all, we’re only human.

So what do you do each day to make sure that you are currently in, and staying in balance?  Are you doing a check-in with yourself to make sure you’re fostering each of your important life interests?  Are you working too hard at a dead-end job, or focusing all your time on your new career venture, and unknowingly neglecting your friends or significant other in the process?  Are you, in this case, pushing yourself upward too quickly in the act of “doing, doing, doing” and not being?  Conversely, are you not doing ENOUGH to achieve your career goals, moving further and further laterally each day in sheer complacency because you feel burned out, and not reevaluating your game plan to incorporate more “doing”, more upward movement?  There’s no rule that dictates that if something in your life isn’t working for you (like your job search tactics or your dating habits), that you can’t take it upon yourself to make modifications that will lead to a better outcome.  As my former boss LOVED to say on every conference call, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, and expecting different results.”  Think about it.  And today, figure out ONE thing you can do, RIGHT NOW, to get yourself back to 45 degrees… and then grow from there.

The Real World vs The Real You

23 Jun

What comes to mind when someone sarcastically makes a remark or reference to “the real world”?  Hard work and low pay?  Settling for less than you think is out there?  The true story of seven strangers… picked to live in a house to find out what happens when people stop being polite and start getting real?  (Hint: If you picked the last one, then congratulations, because you more than anyone should be on my website right now.)

KindaSortaKiddingButNotReally…

Say it:  “The real world”.  It’s one of those awful terms that somewhere along the way got smacked with an unforgivingly negative connotation.  Because there is a real world, and you’re living, working, and in an ideal scenario, THRIVING in it.  But how about that last one – are you truly THRIVING?  So ask yourself this: You’re living in the real world.  But are you living the Real You?

Real…authenticity…not fake…in line with your true core values, drive, purpose,  passions, talents and interests for your life.  There’s a common misconception, particularly with “entering” the real world via entry-level status — i.e. “I hope you enjoyed that free burrito at the dining hall!  Here’s your building pass; you have 30 minutes for lunch.” – that you need to check your true self at the door to make a living or be successful.  The same concept presents itself even if you’ve been in the ‘real world’ for a couple years, or even a couple decades.  Are we really expected to tie the tourniquet and suppress all the desires and visions we creatively constructed from our life experiences over twenty/thirty-something years?

For everyone answering “Yes…” to that question… that’s just one more person putting me out of business.  Please reconsider.

Most of us probably have chosen to sacrifice those things at some point, and still do, and congratulations to us, as we just landed a seat next to that guy who you think works for marketing…or HR…but you really don’t even know because he never talks and is miserable all the time.  He also followed the rules.  Sounds like a great time…  You know where playing it safe got millions of people in 2009?  Still laid off.

Arguably, it’s not about fun.  Fun hopefully becomes a shining factor in the professional mecca, but the bigger picture is really about fulfillment.  Are you going to wait around in an uncomfortable, unfulfilling, unsatisfying (but arguably “safe”) position until you one day find yourself enjoying a sympathy cocktail and reaffirming yourself that the layoffs were “really a blessing in disguise”?  What a waste of valuable time!  Don’t get me wrong – sometimes it makes complete sense to hold steady and make the best of a less than perfect   situation –  if you enjoy the company and are working your way up, building valuable experience, or building your network.  There IS a such thing as career stepping stones.  But make sure what you’re stepping on is actually a rock and not a pile of….

It is important that no matter your objectives and regardless of outcome, that you understand that your every decision is a conscious choice.  If you are unhappy where you are, every day that you remain there is a conscious choice to do so.  Not settling for anything less than what you know you were meant to do in this life, and committing to doing whatever it takes to get there – that’s a choice as well.  AND A DAMN GOOD ONE, NO?

Fulfillment comes in many forms, and it’s a wonderfully tangible thing that manifests differently for every person.  That is because we all come into our lives and our adulthood with different values, different wants, different expectations, experiences and talents.  But the process of SHIFTING ourselves to a more positive and fulfilling place in our lives, no matter where we’re coming from, and no matter where we’re going, remains the same.  And what’s that?  It’s this.

So digest this food for thought again: You’re living in the real world.  But are you living the Real You?

Avoiding the Tendancy to Stray From Our Goals

31 Mar

Women in Technology International (WITI) had a great article today by Kathleen Barton on “Staying Focused on Your Priorities”.  Think of the typical scenario around New Year’s Day, where you make the vow to join a gym and [insert relevant weight loss goal here].  Day one, you’re gung ho- you map out a schedule of every day you can make it during the gym – 4 to 5 times a week, no exception- and you vow to give up drinking high-calorie beer, stop eating those after-lunch snacks, and cook a healthy dinner each night.  Great plan!  You’re completely on track to success.  Day 10 you’re feeling good – you hit the gym 5 or 6 times already, and you lost that first pound or two.  Week 3 sets in – work is getting busy, family issues are creeping up, your significant other has an event you need to attend.  Okay, you’ll only make it to the gym 3 times this week, but you’ll make up for it by going six times next week.  Week four rolls around, and so do the priorities.  You make it to the gym three times…if your lucky.  You’re grabbing pizza on the way home because you’re in a rush…again… and so on, and so forth.

Why is it so easy for us to lose our motivation and determination, when it seems we have the plans all figured out on paper?  Human nature, for one.  Non-human factors, for two.  And three… just life in general.  It’s hard to prioritize sometimes, when it seems like we’re juggling so many obligations day to day.  But the good news is that there are a few key tricks you can start implementing now to keep you on track with goals that you set in place:

1)       Visualize Success create your vision of success – the feel, the image, the surroundings, the circumstances- and imagine yourself in that setting, successfully living that vision.

2)       Review Your GoalsContinually be asking yourself if what you’re doing right now is driving your closer to your goals, and if not, what other steps you need to be taking.

3) Reward Yourself for the Small Successes choose something that motivating to you, and that you look forward to, so as to increase your productivity.

4) Work with an Accountability Coach By having someone else help you set goals and hold you accountable for them, you are far more likely to follow through.  Work with a friend, or a coach, someone to give encouragement, but who will also take your goals seriously and challenge you slightly to get move you forward.

For more information on coaching yourself toward your goals, check out Aspyre Solutions’ affordable coaching packages.  You can also read the rest of Kathleen’s article here.

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