Monday, July 27, 2015

Where Do I Go From Here?

Everyone comes to that point sometimes where they just don't know what they should do next.

Maybe someone you adored died. Or they left. 

Whatever may be the case, the bottom line is you are still here. And it doesn't matter what happened. It is part of you and your past. It is time to weep for what is lost and then refocus on what there is left.

Where do you go from here? Anywhere you want!

The world is a very big place. However, as we get lost in our small lives, we often forget the raging opportunities that rest at our fingertips. Like what you ask?

  • Traveling to another country.
  • Going to another country to teach English for six months or a year just for the opportunity.
  • A return to college to either take a course you are interested in or to start a whole new degree program. 
  • Learn a new art form: pottery, photography, ceramics, painting, or some modern technique.
  • Learn a new home craft: sewing, cooking, glass making, woodworking, knitting, crocheting, baking or a hundred others. (Stop by your local art store and take a look around).
  • Start an online business selling books, toys, or other things and use the money to finance a new project or even become your main income.
  • Start a business of your dreams.
  • Take an acting class; try out for plays or even movie extras.
  • Learn to play an instrument.
  • Learn how to wild harvest plants and make your own herbal medicines.
  • Plant a garden.
  • Learn how to make homemade wine or beer.
  • Learn a new sport or take up dancing.
  • Join a community choir.
  • Start writing.
  • Read two books a week: one fiction and one nonfiction.
  • Become active in politics.
  • Volunteer for something that has your passion: animal rescue, women's shelter etc.
  • Research your ancestry at
The bottom line is you don't need permission to live your life. When something leaves our life, we must replace it with something else, not SOMEONE else. Most people make the fatal mistake of moving relationship to relationship but never truly knowing themselves or developing themselves.

Success in life is not something that is given to you. Neither will opportunity come find you. You are the designer of your own life. Many Christians falsely believe God does all the work. He fully expects you to make choices and take action to move forward. He will help you. But at the same time we are not mindless minions. We are co-creators of our lives. 

Take loss as a catalyst to propel you to evolve your mind, talents, skills, and focus.

Life is about gain and then loss. We all experience it. We all face losing our parents and standing on their graves and wondering how time could go so quickly. In fact, some of us have cried so hard and wished upon all wishes for a time machine just to go back for a day or even an hour. But that cannot happen. So cry your loss. But then get moving. Start small.


Look at the list above. Does anything there appeal to you? Add it to your list.

Get a big white poster board. This will be your vision board. This will be a reminder of what you want to do to evolve your life. Cut out pictures of the places and things you want to experience and glue them to this board. Put this board above your desk. Look at it every day. 

Next take action. If money is tight, start with the new side job or weekend job. Or the online selling idea can become the money fuel to finance your new interests or hobbies.

Never give up. Never stop. And see where your new path takes you. Stop once in a while and remember who you lost. But never let that memory choke the life out of you.

They wouldn't want that. Here is a secret. You will see that person again. But they wouldn't want you stop living your life. You must complete your life cycle here. There are so many people you will encounter on the journey. And these people need you. And you need them.

Where do I go from here?
Where do you go from here?

Where ever our dreams take us.

Let's get started.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Leave the Hooker Heels in the Closet

A client came to our first meeting wearing the strangest of shoes. In fact, I had never seen shoes like those before. They were at least five inches tall, spiked, with a combination of satin, leather, and glitter. They kind of looked like Frankenstein on LSD. Why on earth was this woman wearing shoes that were impossible to walk in and blinding to look at?

As a sensible Clark clog chic myself, I hate heels. I wore them in my twenties and just about destroyed my back in the process. I don't care what people think if I don't show up in heels and a skirt. I dress in business casual and I am comfortable. A really good client is going to look at the whole package, not just the clothes and shoes one wears.

But the rest of the world cares about shoes. Shoes are a billion dollar industry. Women horde them. Men dream of blondes in stilettos. Designers churn them out as fast as the fashion world can devour them. It is sheer insanity.

Like it or not, you are not going to be 20 forever. I think it is more sensible to buy shoes you can walk in and look good in. I highly recommend Clarks. I love their whole clog line. They are wearable, come in a variety of colors, and match just about any outfit on the planet. You don't have to wear heels if you don't want to. Hey, it is a free country. If you want to wear hooker heels and twist your ankle or rotate your lumbar vertebrae that is your business.

I think a little shine and glitter are great for parties and fancy affairs. But for business, stick with black, gray, navy blue, or some other conservative color. Professional attire reflects the person that wears it.  I simply cannot take a client seriously who wears such ridiculous shoes. In fact, when a woman wears these kinds of footwear, they are definitely sending a potential employer or client the wrong message.

If women are ever going to evolve past the stereotype of coffee fetcher and office assistant, they need to evolve their sense of fashion to functionality, comfort, and neutrality. Women don't have to look like pin up posters or Hollywood actresses. Business is about professionalism and intelligence. It is about skill sets and marketability. It is about moderation, ethics, and ability. High heels belong on the runway, not in the boardroom.

My good friend who is in California on a year assignment was telling me how all the sales women came cuddling up to him at some social affair once they figured out he was in charge of purchasing for his department These kinds of sales reach into the multiple millions. These women were beautiful, bleach blond, tight shirts, and wore hooker heels. He said he wouldn't have done business with any of them. While sex sells well, SEX, it does not make positive lasting impressions and it does nothing in leaving a business legacy. And sadly, in San Francisco, high heels and low cut shirts are commonly found on saleswomen. I think this is a great tragedy. If a product isn't good enough to sell by its own merit, why would any self respecting woman sell it by exposing herself to look cheap and sexually alluring?

Leave the sleaze at home. Put the hooker heels in the closet. Focus on your professional side and build up your skill set and personality as it comes across when you speak and present. And seriously consider updating your footwear closet to include low heels, clogs, flats, and oxfords in black, tan, brown, navy blue, and and solid, no frill styles and colors.

Frankly, I'd like to see a massive shoe burning across America. Isn't it time to grow up ladies?

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Resume Blues

When was the last time you took a close look at your own resume? Should you update it? Should you delete information such as extracurricular activities or awards? If you list too many accomplishments, does it automatically make you overqualified? And the more dates you put on it, the easier potential employers can decipher your age and then age discriminate (sure it is illegal but we all know it happens). Looking at dozens of my post 50 friends who can't find jobs in their professional fields of engineering, medicine, architecture, and education, I can attest that yes, employers openly discriminate against age. Hey, who wants age and experience when you can hire a twenty year old with a bouncing bust line and wrinkle free face for half the salary?  What a sad world we live in. We worship youth and beauty but scoff at experience and wisdom. 

Does your resume give the year you graduated from college? Delete it. Only give information for the last ten years of your professional life. Delete any information older than this including military history, hobbies, and others. The only exception is if you are a writer and you need to list your major book or article publications. Secondly, consider hiring a professional resume writer to give it a complete update. A new trend is virtual resumes where individuals start websites with their name and put up self-videos giving a five-minute account of their experience and qualifications. I have mixed feelings about these. If the person looks good on camera and has a dynamic speaking voice these are great. However, if they need to update their look as well as their speaking habits, these virtual resumes are also job killers.

Are you over 40? 50? You can't change your face or hairline but you can update your attitude and wardrobe. When was the last time you bought a new outfit for work? When you talk to people, do you smile and make positive affirmative statements? Face it: with age comes a self talk that tells us we are experts and that everyone should just listen to us and follow us. However, if you don't impart a positive energy or impression on others, you are killing your own career prospects. Age is part of it but your attitude is the real problem. 

Job interviewing or simple conversation coaching can help you reflect on how you speak and how you come across to others. This conversation coaching is a new idea I have started using with clients who technically don't need to do job interviewing but they are having difficulties connecting with other people. The idea actually came from my ex-husband. As he was brilliant, it made no sense why he had so many people problems. Then through a decade of marriage, I came to understand that it was how he talked to people and his inability to connect with them on a personal level for whatever reason that was his true handicap. Over time, I evolved a series of exercises that can help coaching clients to become aware of their own impression they make on others and how to evolve out of the negative aspects and to add more positive traits to their speaking and communication style.

Your resume is not just the piece of paper that has your work history on it. YOU are your resume. You are your own best sales agent. Update the resume. Update your communication strategy, and then you will see drastic changes in your professional life. Realize age is a positive asset regardless of what the contemporary ideas might dictate. And if all else fails, maybe it is time for you to launch your own business. Whatever you decide, make sure you constantly are adjusting your attitude and self-reflection to be the best it can be regardless of the other factors in your life.  You are one of a kind. Remember that!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Success Strategy: Persistence

Anybody working toward a goal faces similar challenges and complications. Deciding to do something is the easy first step. However, persistence is the problem that challenges us all. As I work with students and clients on a daily basis, I hear people’s dreams and objectives all the time. However, moving them from dream to action phase is the most challenging of all.
 Sure, everyone wants to be successful with their endeavors of learning a language, getting a job, or scoring high on a placement test. But wishing for it and making it happen are different things. The desire is the first step that should motivate an individual to take action toward his or her objective. However, working for it must come next. Usually this step is the time consumer, the headache producer, and the boring part of the process. The actual practice time needed to learn to write or speak better is hard to stick to. The drilling and memorization tasks that come with test prep or job interview training also seem to wear on clients. In every case that was successful, one thing rings true: the client stuck with the program at hand from start to finish. The obtainment of a goal is evidence that the working phase actually "works".

It is easy to get discouraged and stop midway through a project or course of study. One way I encourage my students to stick with it and not give up is to require prepayment for services for a set number of lessons or sessions that is nonrefundable. This strongly encourages the students to finish what they started. During my first few years working with clients, I allowed them to pay separately for each session. This proved to be sheer madness. Half of the time they never showed up for our meeting and never cancelled. Other times they would skip weeks at time and then in six months become upset as they had made no progress. I require clients/students to clearly define their goals and to commit for short durations of tutoring at a time. The same method can work for you. If you decide you want to learn to play guitar, for example, prepay for ten lessons. Make sure you finish those ten lessons and don't even think about stopping and asking for a refund. If you decide you want to start running, get a friend to be your running partner and prepay them 100 dollars for ten runs. If you fail to meet any running dates, you lose ten dollars per episode. These kinds of self-created commitment lessons reinforce the universal truth that time is money and money is time. Don't waste your time or others. If you want to do something, it is during the planning stage you consider the usefulness or validity of your desire to do it. Once you decide you want to do it, you then leave the planning stage and enter the commitment stage. This is the working stage.
Another way to help during the working phase is to keep a daily journal of your progress. It is here in your journal you voice both your positive and negative feelings and experiences. But whatever your write, make sure to always end on a positive note and answer this statement with each entry: I am doing_______________ because_____________. This will serve as a daily reminder for the need to complete your commitment.

In my private life, I am constantly amazed at the sheer lack of achievement and ambition among some of my friends. Their circumstances and financial outlook are exactly the same today as they were ten or twenty years ago. The reason for this is that they themselves have added no new variables and have made no changes to their routine or methodology. Are they happy? I measure happiness by how much someone complains about a given issue. If the same complaint resurfaces during every conversation we have, I mention it around the third time I hear it. I believe a friend should encourage an individual to improve their life and create new opportunities in which to thrive in. The lack of action enables a situation to continue. We self-create our reality by every choice and action we take (or don’t take).

If someone is looking for a job coach or educational help that means he or she is ready to explore the issue and find out the weaknesses and to find ways to improve the situation through self-evolution. Self-evolution is the process by which a person purposely chooses to improve his or her thinking, knowledge base, personality, and ultimately the skill set for a higher performance ability and more professional marketability in a job hunt.
How can you be more persistent?

a) Keep a daily record of your progress and steps taken toward the goal. (This is a listing of the action taken and the time taken to complete it).
b) Keep a daily journal of your experience, feelings, and ideas about the goal. This is self-talk through self-reflection.
c) Write, post, and say daily affirmations in front of a mirror as a positive mental reinforcement of your commitment to the goal.
d) Schedule a specific time daily to do the work necessary for the objective (to practice, do homework, read, etc.)
e) Join an online social group working toward the same goals you have.
f) Hire a coach to work with you to help you organize your plan of action and work with you throughout the whole process.

Remember that it really is possible to achieve whatever you want to. Use your planning phase to brainstorm ideas of what you want to work on. From those choose the one that leaps off the page at you. Make a plan and stick with it. Persistence is often the action that can make the difference between failure and success.

June Narber
Charlie McGillicuddy LLC~Job, Career, Academic, and Interview Coaching
(919) 247-6717