Letter writing & journaling

 

I love stationary, journals and books. I love putting pen to paper and writing a heartfelt note or thank you card to a loved one. I enjoy the process of journaling story outlines, recaps of special days and even to-do lists.

I always write a personal thank you to anyone I have worked with through my freelancing (and love the opportunity to actually mail it out rather than email it).

I even provide a service for letter writing, I enjoy both business and more creative letter writing. Customers value a personalized note and I enjoy writing them! I even speak to small groups about letter writing and walk through a few exercises!

I keep a journal at work to track progress for professional development goals and to record details of new duties/tasks I take on throughout the year so I am prepared for yearly performance evaluations.

I recently started a journal for my young nephew. I record details about family gatherings and important dates, but I also write out memories of some ‘routine’ days that include reading time, walks to the park or first time foods/restaurants. I hope he enjoys reading it in a decade or two!

Do you journal? Do you enjoy the letter writing process? Do you enjoy receiving hand written notes? If so, why? Do you have a small group or club you would like me to present to or send a letter to?
Contact me! Successencourager@gmail.com

http://www.danabuchanan.com/journaling—letters.html

 

Read more about me and my services at ABOUT ME!

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Categorize your goal

Goals are easier to focus on when you can categorize them and have a ‘why’. The ‘why’ is what you envision your future being once the goal is accomplished. I have listed some categories below.

For example learning to decorate cakes could fit into the Spirit category as a hobby or creative outlet. The ‘why’ could be to personalize a celebration cake for a birthday, shower, special anniversary or as a positive outlet since you already enjoy baking and want to expand that skill. This goal could even turn into a new full-time or part-time career.

Once you have a category and a ‘why’ it is easier to prioritize and focus on the steps. Using the example above, decorating cakes, the first step might be to research cake decorating classes, estimating cost, timeframe and what supplies might be needed. Another step could be saving for the training, purchasing supplies and organizing your home so you can hone your skills after the training. A future step might be researching the requirements for starting a small business or working for a baker.

Prioritizing and accomplishing a goal can encourage you to explore more and offer endless possibilities.

Well-beingMental and physical health; stretching, walking, meditation, conscious eating, plenty of water. Ask yourself – What are my health goals, what are my limits?

SpiritSelf-care, gratitude journaling, positive affirmations, create, hobbies. Ask yourself – What brings joy and peace? What nourishes me?

Circle – Mutual relationships that allow you to give and receive support; family, friends, work friendships, recovery groups, clubs or hobby groups. Ask yourself – Who balances with me? Who supports me and invites my support?

ProductivityDaily routine; work, volunteering, care giver, budgeting, learning. Ask yourself – What is my current daily schedule (define it). What do I want my future schedule or routine to look like and consist of?

The May giveaway announcementI’m offering a FREE goal categorizing session to the first five people to contact me that are interested in creating a beginner’s goal priority. We will work through a few questions via email focusing on a goal you’d like to make a priority with suggested first steps. Email me if interested! successencourager@gmail.com 

Thank you so much for reading! What goal category is your focus right now?

 

The Goal Pitch

A goal pitch summarizes a goal you want to achieve. Typically, pitches are used for novels, movies or ideas and are just one to two sentences. A goal pitch allows you to narrow down your focus to help you commit to it and develop an action plan to make your goal a reality. Once you have a focus and commitment you can create daily or weekly or even monthly steps in your action plan.

The goal pitch puts words to the future you envision. For example, if your goal is to live a healthier lifestyle, narrow it down by asking WHY ? Maybe it’s to travel more, be active with family & friends, feel better and have more energy. Once you have those whys you have more motivation and can justify your action plan and remind yourself why your goal is so important.

Keep your action plan simple, to the point and realistic. Don’t start out saying you want to run the marathon that is next weekend. It’s not impossible, but if someone told me I had to run a marathon in a few days, I’d want more time to mentally and physically prepare! It’s a great goal, but would most likely require a few more steps to be completed first. A good first goal would be to eat healthier, maybe swap out a veggie lunch for a fast food one, or be more active by incorporating more steps into your day, morning yoga and meditation, or a beginner’s exercise routine at home or at a gym.

Incorporate your first step into your routine and keep your why motivators in mind. Once your first step feels more routine, add an additional one or two and celebrate accomplishments along the way. Set weekly or monthly status reports with yourself to acknowledge how much progress you have made and realize the healthier lifestyle you want is possible. Remind yourself that setbacks aren’t dead ends, simply breaks that can be overcome.

Whether your focus is health, career, relationships, starting a business, or anything in between, a focus and action plan can help you achieve it. Categorizing your daily routines with the nourishment categories I posted previously can help you focus even more.

In April, I’m offering a FREE goal pitch session to the first five people to contact me that are interested in creating a goal pitch and a beginner’s action plan. We will work through several questions via email and once a short goal pitch is created we will work on a basic starter action plan. Email me if interested! successencourager@gmail.com

Thank you for reading and I look forward to hearing from at least five of you that are ready to focus on at least one of your goals!

For more information about me and the professional services I offer please read my ABOUT ME page!

 

 

Professional Development Value

Professional development is key to not only successfully performing your career choice but also for enjoying the position! Continuing to learn new skills and enhance the ones you have helps you be more productive but it also brings about a sense of pride and creativity. There are several professional development opportunities available through articles, books, webinars, online courses, conferences and peer to peer communication and sharing resources.

Some resources are free or very low costs while conferences or online training can seem costly and require justification. When talking with other assistants, from a variety of industries, the cost is always a concern.

A simple justification is that the best way to find relevant resources is by attending a conference. Last year, when I attend the Accelerated Assistant conference by Office Dynamics I learned so many great tips over those four short days from the professional speakers and during the team activities. Joan Burge shared her experience and resources with the group daily. The learning did not stop there though! After returning to work, I followed up with subscribing to a few of the newsletters from the speakers and read their blog posts, which offered time-saving and organizational tips and highlighted apps and programs. I shared those sites and posts with my coworkers which offered several additional communication and learning opportunities.

So, how do you justify travel and conference fees? I did a lot of research before attending the conference including costs, speaker topics, and experience, balanced with team and networking opportunities and chose the best conference for my needs and learning expectations. I typed up a justification form to present to my manager. I highlighted several topics of interests and the speaker’s credentials and experience, relating the topics to several of my yearly performance goals.

I also detailed the costs; hotel, registration, and flight. Breaking down the total cost of an average conference which is about $2600.

  • $217 a month
  • $50 a week
  • $7.12 a day

That is a bargain for continued education that would provide resources for me to be even more productive!

Luckily, I have a professional and respected working relationship with my manager. When we met and went over the document and talked more about the conference and what was offered his only additional request was that I present my experience with coworkers after I returned. About two months after the conference I completed a presentation to about 20 of my coworkers. I shared my experience, discussed the temporary support team I had worked with daily at table 28, shared websites of the speakers, newsletter links, and books that were suggested.

Most conferences detail the agenda and speaker information while providing justification letter templates or suggested content for meeting with managers to help you through the process. Office Dynamics offers this information as well. I highly recommend attending a conference to open resource doors, to continue your education about your industry and position and to learn time-saving tips that will benefit you long after you return to work!

Almost six months after attending the conference I still utilize resources and relationships I formed during that training. I continue to share tips with my team that I receive via weekly newsletter subscriptions, blog post readings, etc. I’m also looking forward to attending this year’s conference – The Stellar Assistant. With all new speakers, additional content, learning labs and unlimited online access to the videos, participant guide, and bonus materials. I’m anxious to share even more reading suggestions, tips and speaker websites with my team!

What are some of your favorite professional development resources? What books do you suggest?

A few of my favorite reads are; Tribes by Seth Godin, just about anything from Wallace Wattles, Permission to live the Big Life by Joan Burge, As a Man Thinketh by James Allen, A Beautiful Questions by Frank Wilczek, Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, there are too many to name!

Thank you for reading and if you have any questions about a sample justification letter or how to talk with your manager about professional development opportunities please contact me and I’d be happy to share more of my experience!

 

Read more about me and the professional services I offer on the ABOUT ME Page.

Side-hustle entrepreneur

Side hustle, entrepreneur, odd job, startup, business owner…we hear these words and phrases constantly. Each one is defined slightly different, but have a lot in common. The main common thread is freedom. Freedom to work for yourself and/or have a creative outlet turning a hobby or passion into an income opportunity. So how do you do that if you never considered yourself an entrepreneur? How do you find this freedom if you don’t have a hobby or side hustle in mind that could turn into an income opportunity?

Some entrepreneurs are accidental business owners. Some side hustles or small business start-ups are created from necessity when there is a job loss or hours cut. Opportunity can certainly arise from unexpected situations! You do not need a business education or huge savings or loans to put action behind a business idea.

If you need a few ideas to kick around or general suggestions for marketing check out the details on Business Ideas – BIPS.  And even more detailed ideas here.

I will be sharing more ideas and details soon, but the first step is to realize you are an entrepreneur. If you have had a garage sale, sold some furniture when moving, provided services like mowing or social media account expert…the list goes on an on, then you are an entrepreneur! Even if you don’t have a hobby in mind that could make you some extra money, you are capable of learning one.

First, ask yourself this – Do you want to work for yourself (if yes, part-time or full-time)? If you find yourself daydreaming of the opportunity to work for yourself; while working full-time elsewhere, utilize your ‘side hustle’ as a creative outlet or you would like to put in a 40 plus hour work week for yourself, with your own schedule, etc. it’s possible!  Side hustle, odd jobs or small businesses are not get-rich-quick or less work, most of the time they are more work especially for one ‘man/woman’ shows! But you do have a new kind of freedom to set your hours, days off, and control business decisions without any major surprises (for the most part!). And hopefully you are doing something you enjoy!

So, do you? Do you want to work for yourself…what is holding you back? Please post your questions in the comments or email me at successencourager@gmail.com.

I’ve worked with small businesses, provided career advice, provided numerous resume edits, worked with hiring committees, I have my own small freelance business, my husband is a subcontractor and works for himself and I have a unique view of entrepreneurship and love encouraging others and answering questions!

Much more information to come soon! Thank you for reading.

 

 

Shine during your next interview!

You have the skills, the professional and personal experience and the passion needed to apply for the position. You’ve submitted the application, resume, references, and other documents required. You get the invitation to interview. Your palms sweat and you automatically get nervous. How can you convey that you are exactly the candidate they need to hire?

Be prepared! Simple right? Well, it can be, yes. Alleviate interview stress by being prepared and confident to answer any question the interviewee or committee may ask you!

One of the easiest ways to prepare for an interview is to study your resume. Yes, duh, you know exactly what is on your resume, most likely you created it, but it’s not just about your past positions or experiences. Study your resume along with the current job description you want to apply for by breaking down the list of responsibilities and turning them into questions (and answer those questions!).

For example

  • Position requirement – Applicant must have ability to flourish in a fast-paced environment while adapting to change as needed. Question – This statement would become the following – How have I flourished in a fast-paced environment while adapting to change?
  • Answer – Discover your answer by using the facts on your resume or the application you filled out. If you had a position as an assistant in a busy marketing department maybe you were constantly juggling tight deadlines on a daily basis with numerous projects going at one time. Define how you organized those projects and tracked deadlines, keeping your manager or team informed of progress, updates and milestone timelines as they passed. Include a particular project that changed course or the deadline was moved up due to client’s request and again state your role and how it worked out despite the challenges.

Once you turn each position requirement into a question and prepare an answer you will exude confidence and be reminded of all the hard work you have put into your professional development and why you truly are the perfect candidate!

Two more basic tips that can help you prepare for the interview:

  • Study the company. Typically, companies have informative web sites, most have mission statements, progress reports, etc. Learn about the company and talk about key points you relate to with the hiring manager or committee. Did they recently incorporate a new product or program you have experience with? Does their mission statement echo your own passion or interest?
  • Don’t forget to ask the hiring manager or committee questions. Questions such as ‘What are the top three main responsibilities or goals of the employee in this position?’, ‘What is one common company goal and what resources do employees have to help accomplish this?’, ‘What is one common personality and/or one common skill shared by past employees that held this position?’ or ‘Please briefly describe one of the team’s current projects and what role this position will play’.

Of course there are numerous articles with tips and resources about a variety of career interviews. I’m just sharing a few of the most popular that I have personally used or shared with others when editing or creating their resumes. I hope you found them beneficial!

I’d love to hear your favorite interview tip. Let me know if you have any questions about the interview process.

Thank you so much for reading!

Enthusiasm at work. Why?

What’s the point? I’ve heard this question in small groups and at a recent conference I attended. Let me boldly tell you the short answer to this – YOU, you are the point.

Of course, an employer benefits from your professionalism, enthusiasm and productivity, but your own well-being benefits much more. In a fast paced deadline driven world it’s time to view a job well done as a benefit to one’s self. Your performance is an opportunity for you to express yourself while sharing your original skills that got you the job in the first place. Be enthusiastic not just about the duties you perform, but about your own performance and amazing offerings! Once this is realized and accepted your entire work environment will change and your well-being will improve!

How so? There have been numerous studies relating mental and physical illnesses to stress. Taking care of yourself is no longer a luxury or an option, it’s a requirement. And one very important way of doing that is self-care and decreasing stress. Options include meditation and exercise, but there are also many other ways to reduce stress including positive attitude and affirmations. Bringing that positivity to your job empowers your entire being. Go ahead let your inner brightness shine blindingly. Be awesome, it benefits you no matter where you choose to shine (current position, promotion, at home, new position, volunteering, or while meeting with your trivia buddies).

Think of the last time you were stressed at work. Was it a stressful, day, week…full month? Next, break it down. Was it stressful because of another person’s view of the situation, was it work overload, maybe major changes occurring? Or possibly being too focused on the negative aspect of ‘what’s the point‘? Ask yourself how could the situation have been different if you had focused on personal care & reflection with a more positive outlook?

Aligning your goals both personally and professionally encourages you to be more confident at work, acknowledge the skills you possess and were hired to share while keeping a positive attitude that flows through your work hours and at home. I know my day flows much better when I start my mornings with meditation, self-reflection and visualization. When a stressful situation occurs at work I can focus on the actions needed to fix it while staying positive.

With a self-care routine you can…

  • Let go of the negative thoughts that creep in during a stressful day
  • Reconnect with your inner awesomeness; your personality shines through even if your position or company changes
  • Not dwell on being a good employee, but instead concentrate on bringing your unique skills to a job that craves your originality – achievement will undoubtedly come

You are not just an employee; you’re an entire being that spends a certain amount of hours providing your experiences to a work team. No matter what your title is, you contribute to a team by being yourself, sharing your skills and recognizing your offerings.

Your offerings consist of several attributes…

  • Personality
  • Experience
  • Training and/or education (institutionally or self-paced)
  • Demeanor
  • Professionalism and so on – share and embrace each one!

By carrying your offerings into your work environment you become more connected with yourself and deal with change in a more positive way by not letting it change the core of who you are. This allows you to confidently share ideas, maintain a positive reaction to negative situations and view your position as one with many opportunities that you can control, create and accept.

What offerings do you share with your team that brings joy to you professionally and personally? Do you have a morning routine that makes your day less stressful?

Thank you so much for reading. You’re awesome.

Check out more about me & the professional services I offer on my ABOUT ME page!