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Jim Carrey’s ‘waiter’ job
August 26, 2011
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Jim Carrey shares a personal story of letting go of HOW he wanted to achieve his dream. He focused on his bigger vision – to be creative. The rest is history.

Jim Carrey

I always feel the most ‘stuck’ when I have predetermined how I want something to materialize. When you let go of how you want something to occur you end up with something even better. That’s how the universe works!

10 Habits of Highly Organized People
August 2, 2011
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Here is a good article on CNN, 10 Habits of Highly Organized People

It seems to me it might be called, 10 Habits of Not-Normally Highly Organized People that Don’t Want to be Overwhelmed Anymore, because it is very good advice for those of us that aren’t naturally organized.

I find that people consistently UNDERESTIMATE how draining clutter and disorganization is for them!  Simplifying your environment and your life can have unexpected benefits to your energy and your outcomes!

101 Revolutionary Ways to Be Healthy

Ultimately, coaching is about helping people reach holistic health.

When people are at their best, they tend to perform well.

Here is a great page that summarizes 101 crucial ways to be healthy.

Some of my favs:

42. Love what you’ve got

Treat your body with respect and appreciation. Focus on what it can do, not what it can’t. Find something to celebrate, not something to criticize.

73. Embrace play

Fun, novelty, humor and joy are key sources of energy, strength and inspiration. If you’re suffering from a case of fun-deficit disorder, remedy that situation ASAP.

88. Give your best gifts

Developing and sharing them endows you with enthusiasm and energy. Neglecting or squandering them slowly kills you.

 

Proactively choosing health *is* revolutionary.  We need revolution.

Rejuvenate Your Career Goals

A well-known study of Harvard students ten years after graduation showed that those who had specific goals made three times the annual salary of average Harvard graduates. However, this number was increased exponentially by those graduates who had taken an extra step. The graduates who had specific written goals made ten times the average amount in annual salary! Although money is definitely not the sole measure of success, this study illustrates the power of planning, focus and direction.

Take a few minutes to consider the following questions.

  • How viable is your position to the success of your organization?
  • Is your industry/field expanding and experiencing increased demand in today’s market?
  • Is your job currently meeting your needs for meaningful and challenging work?
  • Are you given sufficient opportunities for advancement and professional growth?
  • Is your current work allowing enough time for family, relationship and lifestyle needs?
  • Are you receiving compensation and benefits appropriate to your financial goals?
  • Generally, are your relationships with your boss/co-workers/clients/customers positive?

If fewer than 6 of your answers were positive it is time to re-evaluate your career, develop goals, and create specific plans to meet those goals.

Using Google Alerts in Your Job Search
June 22, 2011
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Gathering information/research is a critical component of a successful job search. Yes, it can be time consuming. Setting up Google Alerts can speed up the process. Here are the steps:

First of all, be clear about your career and employer targets: what do you want to do, in what industry, and who are the employers?

Next, research and identify 15-20 employers that match your criteria (size, location, culture, product/service, etc.), along with key decision makers within each one. They are the people you will want to connect with as you implement your search.

Then, set up an account at Google Alerts with Alerts for the following:

  • Your name
  • Your blog and website names, if you have them
  • Names of your target employers and/or those you want to be informed about
  • Names of key decision makers in your target employers
  • Job title(s) you’re seeking, i.e., “CEO, Sales VP, Director of Information Systems, etc.”
  • Keyword phrases relevant to your niche
  • Names of your target employers’ relevant products or services Names of subject matter experts in your niche
  • Names of any people whose radar you want to get on.
After you set up your account, you’ll receive an email with links to the highest-ranked latest news and information published on the Web relevant to your chosen Alerts.

Not all of the Alerts you receive will be helpful. However, some of them will lead you to information and resources you never would have found otherwise. For example, Google Alerts can help you:

  • Track market trends and opportunities.
  • Provide targeted industry and employer research for due diligence and market intelligence that will position you as an informed, engaged candidate in interviews.
  • Learn what your target key decision makers are talking about, what they’re working on and other activities that could be helpful for you to know.
  • Uncover challenges facing your target industries and employers that will help you to communicate your value proposition to help them overcome those issues.

Another important point about Alerts is to use the information for blogging or tweeting (if you do blog or tweet). Act quickly on an Alert for a relevant blog post and try to be the first one who comments on it.

First-responders’ comments stay ahead of the queue, and the link you provide is much more likely to be clicked on, leading people to whatever information you need them to know about you. If it’s a blog with good link weight, your comment will land high in search results when people Google “your name,” positioning yourself as social media-savvy and a subject matter expert (if you’ve written a compelling comment).

Alerts can help you to generate ideas for your own blog posts and tweets. Alerts send you relevant tweets which you can re-tweet and help build your career brand. If you receive an Alert connected to a blog post you’ve written within an hour or two of publishing it, you’ll know Google considers it highly relevant and will be sending other searchers to the post when they Google matching keywords. Alerts can also help you to identify relevant sites where you may be able to publish an article or guest blog, building online brand visibility.

Bottom line is that Google Alerts are an essential resource in your career brand toolkit. They keep you apprised of what people are saying about you online, what others in your organization and industry are up to, and the latest trends within your niche and areas of interest.

I Just Got Fired! Now What?

If you are an employee, one of the things that is most likely going to happen to you at some point in your career is that you will unexpectedly lose your job.  In the fast changing job market, there are mergers, acquisitions, reduction in force programs, and internal politics that often lead to unexpected things happening.  So, what do you do when you are let go from your position unexpectedly? 

Understand Your Benefits Package

Usually when you are let go from your job, your company will provide some type of exit package.  Many times this includes a continuation of salary and benefits for a period of time.  Sometimes outplacement services are provided as well.  Whatever it may be, make sure that you fully understand what you are entitled to.

Make sure that you also understand how to apply for any unemployment benefits that you may be entitled to.

Don’t Panic

Why a sudden job loss can be traumatic, the worst thing to do is panic!  Feeding your fears can cause you to make poor decisions that can affect your career, as well as your future.  Take some time to catch your breath and digest what happened before you make your next move.  Oftentimes, losing a job is the best thing that can happen to you in the long run, as it provides you the opportunity to choose a new path.

Have A Plan

Before taking on a job search, it’s a good idea to put together a plan of attack.  Unless you are certain of what you want to do, you may want to consider working with a professional to assist you with your job search, updating your resume, or exploring what it is that you want to do when you grow up.  Outplacement services can be a good option, as well as a good career coach.  While money is definitely a concern here, this can be the best investment you make!  A good career coach can assist you in understanding your skills and talents, helping you figure out the best career move for yourself, as well as assist you in marketing yourself and your overall job search.  A small investment here can lead to a big return!

Put Yourself First

Any career transition can be stressful.  A forced one can be extremely stressful, so it’s really important that you take care of yourself during this transition.  Eating right, working out, and surrounding yourself with supportive people is a great way to help yourself stay positive during this stressful time.

By following these simple steps, you will start you job search off on the right foot, and be on your way to a successful career transition!

Selling Chocolate Cake

I often tell my prospective clients that trying to sell coaching is like trying to describe what chocolate cake tastes like to someone who has never had a piece. You can go on and on for hours, and you still don’t truly understand until you taste it yourself. This is not only true in the coaching business, but for all service oriented businesses. The fact is if you are in a service business, you can’t sell your service. Your prospects must experience what you do if you ever hope to make them your customer.

Here are a couple of tips to help you attract customers to your service business, instead of trying to sell them:

1. Identify your target customers.

Who are you trying to attract? What market segment has a need for your service? Figure out who your target is so that you can spend your time and energy wisely.

2. Help them uncover their need for your service.

Get to know your prospects by asking them probing questions that will help them uncover a need for your service. For example, if you are a financial planner selling financial services, you might ask a potential prospect what their biggest financial challenge is, or if they are happy with their current financial situation. The key here is not to sell them your service, but let them sell themselves. They should be doing most of the talking.

3. Provide an opportunity for the prospect to experience your service.

Allow your target customers to experience your service in some way. For example, if you are a personal trainer, you could offer a complimentary session. Doing this allows your prospect to experience how your service can benefit them, and reduces their risk in purchasing your service.

4. Have them express their experience in their terms.

Now that they have experienced your service, ask them to quantify the results in their terms. This will allow them to sell themselves in a way that has meaning to them. Once they see value in what you do, you can ask for the sale.

5. Make sure they have a great experience, and ask for referrals.

Once they are your customer, make sure that they have a great experience, and then ask them for referrals. Remember that the easiest way to generate additional customers in a service oriented business is through people that have already experienced what you do.

Keep these 5 tips in mind when “selling” your services. Once you have mastered these tips, you will find that you will attract all the customers you need.

Happy selling!

Mommy Weight Loss Series – See Coach Michele on Marilyn!

Well, the Mommy Weight Loss Series on the Marilyn Denis show is going great!

People have really responded to the coaching aspect of the show, it’s wonderful to see coaching ideas getting national play.

Tomorrow, Friday, May 13th, is the big reveal…You’ll want to see for yourself the amazing changes the women have made!

Thanks so much for joining us!  🙂

Oprah Presents Master Class: Jay-Z…A Rapper Describes Flow

I love the new series on the OWN network, Oprah Presents Master Class.  The other day I was watching the one with Jay-Z, the rap superstar.

My mouth dropped open when he began to describe flow.  Now, he was speaking in the context of creating music (or, as he says, becoming one with the music), yet his words are strikingly applicable to life in general:

“Flow is just becoming one with the music.  You find someplace inside the music that you can tuck in, and you don’t get in the way of the groove.  You insert yourself in the song as an instrument.  You’re just part of the track.  You are no different than the horn or the snare or the bass or the hi-hat.  You found the place in that track to tuck in and you just don’t disturb the groove.  It’s just smooth, and it just flows.  I love having that experience.” ~Jay-Z

Replace “music/song/track” with moment and “the horn/snare/bass/hi-hat” with the other people/environment/event and you’ll have an outstanding sensory description of  life when you are in the flow, living in the moment, fully present.  Dare I even say, replace “the groove” with the Divine/Spirit/Love/Source/Life Force/Universe/God..?…I dare!

Update:  Youtube took away the video clip…  🙁  , and they don’t have it on Oprah’s site…Guess you’ll just have to keep your eye out for the episode!  🙂

Are Your Beliefs Holding You Back?
April 19, 2011
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“Broad chain closeup” by Toni Lozano – http://www.flickr.com/photos/quiero-un-pantano/176909201. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Commons

The beliefs I hold underlie everything I do and say and how I perceive the world around us. My beliefs combine to construct a complex web of interconnected concepts that form my model of the world. It is literally how I see and experience the world around me. I have “concepts about the world and a concept is merely a belief and a belief is merely an opinion I have a particular loyalty to.* My beliefs can be very useful as a way of understanding the world around me as long as my beliefs are based on reality and I can tinker with them when they aren’t.

I have beliefs about everything. I have beliefs about who I am, my place in the world, my job, about my children, the elderly, or politicians. When I meet someone for the first time, my beliefs fill in a lot of gaps in my knowledge about them. My beliefs create assumptions based on what I know or assume about people who resemble them. This is where it gets tricky. If I don’t want to be imprisoned by my beliefs, it’s critical to be aware of the difference between what I really know about someone and what I’m assuming about them.

So what is the point of having beliefs? They give us a way of understanding the world (our model of the world, remember). Some of them are based on hard evidence, our experiences in the world and many of them are received from our parents, our culture and our peers. Beliefs do a number of other jobs. Some are designed to keep us safe, others to make us comfortable and even some to keep us from worrying too much.

Even my most positive and noble beliefs can imprison me. The way elephants are trained illustrates that having beliefs that imprison us isn’t peculiarly a human trait. When an elephant is being broken in, the trainers take a huge chain and attach it to the elephant’s leg. They attach the other end to a spike that’s driven deep into the ground. No matter how much the elephant strains against the chain, it learns that resistance is futile.

As the elephant becomes more docile, the chain is replaced with smaller and smaller chains. The elephant comes to believe there is no point in trying to escape and never tries again. You might laugh at the elephant, and you might even think that it’s being irrational to imprison itself. This is exactly how beliefs work in humans. Everyone I’ve ever met, including you, has irrational beliefs. We are particularly good at building prisons for ourselves.

In 1955, Dr. Albert Ellis identified 12 common irrational beliefs. Most of us hold some or all of these beliefs. For example: I think I am most happy when I am inert or inactive when I am in fact happiest when I am engaged. Elephants are in very good company.

I notice that my world view is also responsible for how I get stuck. When my world-view doesn’t match reality, I stop dead in my tracks. If I stop long enough and don’t change my beliefs to align with reality, I’ll get stuck. For instance if my creative abilities are called into question, challenging many beliefs I have about myself, I might slip into inaction and self doubt. Rather than questioning the person who challenged me, I might undermine my own creativity. If I’m not aware of my beliefs, it’s difficult to change them.

Pain is what happens when your model of the world doesn’t match reality. Imagine you are in love with someone and have all kinds of belief about loyalty, love, and about that person in particular. What happens if they leave you? Pain! Where do you start to rearrange your beliefs about yourself and your concepts? These are pretty fundamental beliefs and it’s painful when you realize that they might be wrong. Suffering is what happens when you are in pain, but feel powerless to change anything.

In both cases you have a set of beliefs about how the world works. What would you do if you realized the stake binding you to your world-view became untethered? I think most of us would undergo a bit of a crisis and I’m sure it would be no different for the elephant.

It’s my belief that humans are creatures that have beliefs and always will have them but they aren’t set in stone. So how can you make the most of your beliefs, make them work for you, and not be limited by them? Rick Carson,* the author of Taming Your Gremlin has a paraphrase of the Zen Theory of Change that works for me. His version goes,

I free myself not by trying to free myself, but by simply noticing how I am imprisoning myself in the very moment I am imprisoning myself.

In other words, simply notice my beliefs and how you construct little worlds with them that often imprison you.

Consider for a moment whether your beliefs guide you toward problems or toward new solutions? Do your beliefs focus on your powerlessness or on your power of choice? If you want to feel directed, you want to choose your beliefs carefully. When you focus on solutions, your ability to make choices and the things that will take you forward, you will not only be happier but more able to help others. In order to take control of your beliefs, you must be aware of them when they pop up and be open to making new choices for yourself.

An elephant never forgets, but humans have the capacity to consider choices they are making and be aware of the consequences. By simply noticing my beliefs, I can begin to make small adjustments to my model of the world that might fit with the reality I encounter.

• I owe Rick Carson a debt of gratitude for imagining this line in his Taming Your Gremlin book. Visit my website at: http://giantstepscoaching.com