Personal goals from a professional conference

This week I attended the Accelerated Assistant Conference by Office Dynamics.  The conference was created by an amazing woman, Joan Burge. I highly recommend reading more about her and the conference if you have not already! The conference was focused on the administrative professional career, I learned several tips to take back to my office. I also walked away learning so much about myself and my personal goals. I was reminded what I am passionate about; writing. As I listened to the amazing speakers, especially Peggy Vasquez and Lisa Olsen, I felt my desire to focus more on my writing stir inside me and scream at me – “Hey remember me?! Hey, I’m right here…listen to me…Acknowledge me!” 

I can’t remember a time I did not love writing. I would fill Big Chief writing pads from the time I could write. In middle school and high school I wrote story after story and even wrote a one ‘girl’ play in high school. In my early 20s I continued my fiction writing and filling notebook after notebook. As life went on, I had less and less time to focus on my fiction writing. I still fed my inner writer by creating short articles, newsletters, volunteering for non-profit programs, etc. But my professional life demanded more of my time. My mind always drifted to my writing and I would have spurts of writing energy and write in my notebooks or type up my ideas in a special folder on my computer or laptop. But, I didn’t allow it to be front and center as it once was as a child and young adult.

As I listened to Peggy and the other enthusiastic speakers I felt that excitement again. I love my day job and those I work with. I enjoy the challenges and projects I am a part of. I am grateful to have a voice and years of experience to offer my team and manager. But I also realize for my own wellbeing I must write. It’s my gift. Even if I am not the best writer, I was reminded during the ongoing sessions that I am a unique voice, as we all are. My desire grew each day, each session! I would call my husband…”Honey, this conference is amazing…I’m a writer!” His response each call would be, “of course you are I’ve always known that.” Says the man I grew up with, have dated since high school, celebrating a 20 year wedding anniversary in December with and has helped me organize those book bags filled with my writings over the past 27 years (or more!) He knows this…he has told me this for years…Why has my inner writer been hibernating?!

I had the privilege of meeting Peggy Vasquez in the hall after her key note talk and during my sprint to my hotel room to check out in time to catch my flight home. I felt like a school girl; a rambling excited school girl on a sugar/ice cream high running into my hero on the playground. I tried to calm myself, I took a deep breath…I walked up to her…introduced myself, thanked her for her inspiring talk and encouraging words. I handed her a little business card I had printed myself about me being a ‘success encourager’. I rambled by intertwining a number of thoughts running through my head that went something like, “I want to be a writer, I am a writer, my husband says so. I can’t fail with that kind of support, right? I have notebooks full of proof. You make speaking look so…easy.” As I rambled my eyes started to tear up. I apologized. She was so kind and professional…she smiled at me, was so humble…she mentioned a speaking engagement she had with thousands and mentioned her nerves, she assured me my watery eyes were no reason to apologize…she looked at me intently and said, “You are being spoken to here; listen.”

I wanted to hug her, but not frighten her. I smiled. I thanked her again, I felt like I was on a cloud, a cloud that allowed me to own and accept my passion; my passion for writing. Why can’t I excel at my job and write my career articles, finish the children’s book my nephew has inspired and (yes AND) finish my novel? Why not?

Sure I am more tired some days than I am others. Sure I have other responsibilities in life than work that keep me running a race some days. Sure my body aches some days, sure I can make excuses, sure I can….Sure I can do this.

I took “As a Man Thinketh”, by James Allen with me on my trip. This book (if you are not familiar with it) is an inspiring read and it was written in 1903! Despite being over 110 years old, it is a very relevant read, in my opinion. The reading seemed to tie in perfectly with the ongoing conference message of focus, positive thoughts, etc. A couple of my favorite quotes from the book are:

  • “When we begin to reflect upon our condition and to search diligently for the law upon which our being is established, we then will become wise masters, directing our energies with intelligence and fashioning our thoughts to fruitful issues. Such is the conscious master, and we can only thus become by discovering within ourselves the laws of thought – which discovery is totally a matter of application, self-analysis, and experience.”
  • “The human mind may be likened to a garden, which may be intelligently cultivated or allowed to run wild. But whether cultivated or neglected, it must and will bring forth.”

Not only did I learn a few new things during my trip, both at the conference and during self-reflection time, but each speaker had something to say that I related to and each reminded me of a few goals or daily tasks that I ‘use to do’. I’ve made a goal list. Some goals have been on and off lists for years. Some are new, some are even things I do ‘most or some of the time’, but this is now, not goals belonging to the grade school girl, or 20-something me, today I am renewed, I have experience and skills…I have new goals even if they are familiar…I make a commitment to my inner writer…I vow to listen to you, to embrace you, to thank you for your patience, to show gratitude for you never giving up on me, to allow your light to shine bright and become my focus, to blend our professional and personal talents into one inspired and inspirational being! And hopefully….encourage a few others along our journey.

My new goal list, that will be ever-evolving, but always writing focused:

  • Not walk pass my ‘banner’ hanging on my vision board that reminds me to wake up with a grateful heart, to be thankful, to welcome the offerings and blessings of today….Instead of walking by sleepy eyed, I will stop and read the reminder and take a moment to follow my own advice!
  • Sign up for an ongoing yoga class
  • Continue my health focused goal by eating healthy, moving more and stressing less
  • Write in my gratitude journal daily
  • Schedule time daily to write; finish and publish my children’s book; treat it like a class or scheduled event
  • Contact the local library and reserve a small room (which they offer for FREE!) and make no more excuses for not writing. Go to my ‘classroom’ at the library, focus and write!
  • Create the outline to the ‘grown up’ version of my children’s book about politeness
  • Write the entire ‘grown up’ version and share it!
  • Create my weekly schedule by breaking down each day; I have five to six hours each evening between work ending and bedtime! Utilize that time more wisely and productively. Maintain my two to three evenings a week spending time with my mom, sister and nephew! And all of the amazing adventures and daily routines with my husband!
  • Follow through and focus….FOCUS!

Thank you so much for reading this. If you have any tips or would like to share an accomplishment, please comment below or email me. Questions? Please do not hesitate to ask.

Thank you to Joan, Peggy and all of the speakers and event coordinators for making it possible for me to attend and gain so much insight!

Thank you!

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Making your life experience pay off

Recently, I have worked with some amazing job seekers by providing them with a free career counseling session, resume edits and cover letters. One question that came up a few times was how to handle career gaps.

I want to thank each of the job seekers for opportunity to travel their career seeking journey with them. It’s been such a pleasure working with them that I would like to offer two more FREE  sessions during the month of June! What’s that about? Click here to check out the details.

OK, so how to deal with career gaps? First, define the reason. Basically there are two types of career gaps:

  • Intentional gap? Did you intentionally take time off work to care for a loved one, start a business, go to school, illness, travel, volunteering, etc.?
  • Unintentional gap? Laid off, company went out of business, could not find a job after school, could not find employment in your field, etc.?

Either gap can seem positive or negative at the time. But even the unintentional lay off or other job loss can have a positive outcome; provide time to add to your skill list or provide time to mentally focus, etc. The important thing is to focus on that positivity for your own well being and when talking to potential employers.

Next explain why. Both types of gaps offer explanations that employers are open to hearing about. Why? is the big question, but can be easily answered and even provide additional experience that the employer may be looking for. For example if you had a child and wanted to take a few years off that is not only understandable, but you also gained certain skills such as time management. And possibly additional experience by joining parenting groups (PTA, coaching, managing a charity drive, etc.), taking some classes during your time off, focusing on advancing your current skills, etc.

Maybe you took time off to start your own business or help someone else start one. There are skills learned with any business start up. Even if the business was not as successful as you had hoped or you found out you didn’t like the hours or type of work, you still have valuable skills to add to your resume. Examples of skills depending on the type of business could include;  budgeting, inventory, scheduling employees, customer service, hiring, meeting deadlines, organizational skills, computer programs, writing, labor skills, and more.

Unintentional gap examples include being laid off or unable to find work in your field. Both are self explanatory and more common than you may think, but you can discuss HOW you handled this time off, how you turned a possible negative time into a positive situation. Did you learn new skills, enhance your current ones, etc.? Did you volunteer, take any classes, teach yourself a valuable skill, find a mentor, realize the career change you wanted, etc.?

A brief statement on your resume with the career goal you have now is an excellent way to highlight your gap. The cover letter will allow you to go into more detail and turn the gap into a positive opportunity to discuss your skills and experiences. Explaining the positive impact the gap had on you will help the employer focus on your skills, positive attitude and how your experiences will fit into the position you are applying for.

Whatever the reason a career gap can be presented as a valuable experience by highlighting your current skills and experiences while explaining your gap in a positive manner. Remember, the main focus of any interview is to discuss how you are the best fit for the current position you are applying for!

Questions about career gaps or other career topics? Please do not hesitate to reach out to me!

Thank you so much for reading! Please share any tips or questions you  may have below or email me at successencourager@gmail.com

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A new year…a new reason

I’m not one to make resolutions; I constantly want to improve all year through. I get distracted though, even lazy at times. Staying focused and motivated can be difficult can’t it?

I appreciate each new year and the opportunities it brings with it. Months pass quickly, but each year’s end is a new reason to focus. Something I acknowledge as a daily battle. I have so many interests, so many ideas, so many bucket list items…And they use to be just that….list items. Sometimes the lists would stay the same; nothing would be marked off. I lacked focus. After seeing year end lists that looked similar or even the same as the past year, I decided to focus on doing, not just dreaming or listing.

I personally think in categories. It’s easier for me to categorize my thoughts, my goals, my lists. Below is a sample of how I focus more and actually complete goals. I encourage you to achieve more this year, use this year ending and a new beginning as a reason to focus, a reason to conquer at least one goal you have moved from one list to another, and a reason to enhance the already amazing soul you are.

Please share your tips for staying focused below or email me! successencourager@gmail.com

  • Be real. In the past I have set goals such as read 100 books this year…. Realistically, 52 would be a better personal goal. Boundaries are meant to be pushed, but in a realistic way!
  • Set your pace. I have to limit my goal setting or I get overwhelmed. Whether setting one goal or 10 or even 100, know your own pace and what you can truly focus on
  • Say it out loud. Simple as that…say it…share it…Write it down
  • What is your passion? You need to be interested and excited about your goal
  • Define your category. Are your goals health focused, relationship focused, career focused, self-improvement focused, etc.? Do you have a goal for each category?
  • Find your tools. What tools or resources do you need to set your goal(s) in  motion?
  • Time. Do you need time daily, weekly, monthly or need to set a new schedule?
  • Milestones. Can you break the goal into smaller goals and celebrate each milestone?
  • Alone or with a tribe? Can you do this alone, with a friend or need an entire group for support?
  • Don’t be discouraged. Even baby steps toward a goal are accomplishments!

There are the basics. And here is an example of how I put those to work when goal setting.

  • My goal – As typical as it may sound, I want to lose a few pounds. A goal that has been put aside due to surgery and lack of motivation. By summer I want to lose 25 pounds. There I shared it! I will write it down and keep it on my vision board to see daily.
  • I’m being real, I have a few other goals to accomplish, but this is for my health and number one. Accomplishing this goal will allow me to accomplish others.
  • I’m passionate about feeling better and losing weight so I can do more with my young nephew, my family and of course my husband.
  • I have access to a small gym. My husband and I are focusing on diet changes as well.
  • I need to set a goal of at least 3 to 5 days a week for 30 minutes a day. I’ll start with walking and maybe the stationary bicycle
  • I will track my milestones and celebrate them!
  • My tribe is my husband who is focusing on his health as well.
  • I will not be discouraged. I can do this…

What opportunity will this new year provide you?

Happy New Year! Happy new goal setting…Happy new reason for improving you. 🙂

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Learning, bonding, self-enrichment

Learning something new or enhancing a current skill is priceless to the person learning and can cost little to nothing. Learning alone or with others builds stronger bonds and can even provide skills that can help you earn extra income.

While thinking of gifts for family I started putting together a list of date night ideas. As fun as cooking together, binge watching a favorite TV series, coffee shop hopping, day trip or movie night can be I think learning as a couple is a great bonding opportunity. So I decided to share a list of PIPs (Personal Idea Prompt)! I think this is for individuals, couples (great ideas for date nights), friends, groups, etc. Each suggestion could be a fun group night activity (for almost any age).

Today’s post is a little different than my typical BIP post (click here to read about BIP – Business Idea Prompt). PIPs focus on self-enrichment; bonding through learning and being creative. Again, a PIP can be done alone or as a couple or in a group. And as a bonus, a PIP can enhance an existing skill and become a possible income opportunity! Win-win; learn something new and interesting and find a new side job or full time self employment opportunity!

Technology makes it simple to learn a variety of skills at your own pace. A quick web search for step by step tutorials  on almost any subject produces dozens, even hundreds or thousands of results. Even if you do not have a computer or internet access at your home, you can visit some local coffee shops, libraries, friends, etc. for access or use the library to check out resource guides (or purchase instruction books at local new or used shops). This post mainly focuses on access to online videos/tutorials, but the suggestions could be read about in detailed instructional books.

Whether you try the list below with your partner, friend, sister, brother, parent or simply make time for yourself, your bond (or self-bond) will be deeper and you’ll have fun!  These suggestions are flexible and adaptive to a variety of situations; date nights, friend nights, self-enrichment or just an excuse to take a break for a few hours or an entire weekend!

The suggestions are highlighted by a topic and then some ideas for that topic, in no particular order. When searching the web, don’t get overwhelmed with all the results, look for a video tutorial  from popular posters and skim through to ensure the steps make sense to you, easy to access, read, etc.

Read through the ideas, pick one or three or ten, make a supply list (if needed), and enjoy your learning experience. These ideas can easily become a weekly or monthly (or ambitious daily) learning ritual. And of course, these are only a few topics, the possibilities really are endless.

  • Language – Learn a few key phrases in a day or weekend  or fluently speaking the other language(s) over a period of time. Learn a few words and how to write them in another language for creating mini works of word art, handwriting cards, etc. for family or for a part time creative business.
  • Craft/Hobby – Wood working, pyrography, calligraphy, knitting, painting, jewelry making card or paper making, magic tricks, card tricks, origami, paper quilling, crocheting, needle work, quilting, and so much more!
  • Cooking – Pastry baking, international recipe making, sushi rolling, candy making, crock pot basics and advanced recipes, chocolate tempering or advanced dessert making, and so much more!
  • Design – Web page, architectural projects, interior or exterior home design, fashion, furniture arrangement, painting and decorating, social media sites, blogs, site setup for art selling (Etsy, etc.), landscape, and yes, so much more!
  • Nutrition/Health – Yoga, tai chi, healthy eating habits, essential oil therapy, therapeutic massage (human and/or animal), meditation, exercise routines for specific fitness level, karate (martial art is a long list), herbs and health benefits, just to name a few ideas
  • Pampering – hair care, pedicure, manicure, facial, scrubs, foot soaks, bath salts, massage oils, face and body masks, makeup application, hair styles (braiding, buns etc.)
  • Writing – Poetry, hand writing, positive words, word art, art of writing, fictional and non fiction writing, etc.
  • Games – How to play….cards, poker, video game tips/tutorials, master monopoly scrabble crossword, solitaire, and more
  • Educational subjects – Philosophy, history, ethics, English, social behavior, science, math, biology, etc.
  • Masquerade/fantasy – Mask making, costume design, party theme planning, decoration making, part food, costume hair and makeup (face painting), accessory making (wands, crowns, gloves, etc.)
  • Mechanics/handyman(woman) – How to…change a tire, oil, brakes or headlight, etc. How to…repaint or wallpaper a room, install a new shower and/or tile flooring, light fixtures, basic plumping needs, new faucet, etc.,
  • Photography – Camera tips, programs, challenges/ideas, different topics (nature, people, pets, etc.)
  • Drink/Mixology – How to…make alcohol and non-alcohol beverages, fun drinks, punches, basic and advanced drinks, blended, etc. Smoothies, shakes, on ice, frozen, hot, etc.
  • Tea and Coffee – Learn the history of, steeping, recipes for mixing flavors/blends, how to serve and with suggested foods/desserts, etc. Loose tea options, grind your own coffee beans, and more!
  • Out and about – Gather info on local new restaurants, wineries, bed and breakfast, dance lessons, cooking classes, day trips, art classes, breweries, local tours, bakeries, etc. And plan a day trip/afternoon outing, etc. Spend a day planning together (or alone!) and then pick a date to explore.

There so may options I could keep typing until my fingers cramp. I hope this list inspires you to learn a new fun skill whether it’s to connect with others, find time for yourself or learn more for a possible income opportunity.

What have you always wanted to learn? I hope you make the time to learn it alone or with loved ones or friends or search out new like minded learners!

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Inspiration board

20160620_194640This is a photo of my small inspiration board on the wall in front of my ‘inspirational space’. I put that in quotes because it’s simply a table in our what could be a dining room in our small apartment. It’s a bit chaotic, but so are my thoughts, so it works for me!

There is an article pinned to it in the upper corner; that article inspires daily! I even wrote “do what you love” on the pencil in the picture. The article is a short blurb and interview with Caroline Weaver. Ms. Weaver has no idea who I am; she has no reason to. I have never met her, never been in her shop, I live over 1,000 miles away, and I have never owned a pencil collection. So why does Ms. Weaver (Caroline) inspire me? It’s pretty much summed up in her blog link above; she is doing what she loves, even though she had fear and concern how she would be received. I think we all feel that way, but she did it anyway…she felt the fear…she accepted it and she made her dream (her passion) her reality now. I am always inspired by others who leap…she is a leaper and certainly inspiring!

I have a few mantras and quotes from others who inspire me that I try to remind myself of on days I can’t focus on my path or I question what I’m doing or how I’m going to do it. Caroline inspires me to leap without seeing the entire future and evaluating every outcome and reminds me that ‘doing and action’ can be scary, but oh so necessary and rewarding!

I hope you are inspired to leap….I hope you follow her leap despite fear…I hope I can inspire others. It’s a nice inspiring circle that I truly feel blessed to be circling around in!

What inspires you? What do you want to leap to? What scares you?