Self-defining

There are those days or events in life that define you. Some of those events or days are accomplishments such as graduating, getting married, accepting an important invitation, changing jobs/careers, etc. while others are negative unexpected events or bad news. A few events are self-realization moments that could normally be considered average days. Each of us have our own moments and react to them differently so they uniquely define us when we acknowledge and embrace them.

I’d like to share one of the unexpected moments & my first experience with self-realization and definition. My high school had a ski team, even though we lived outside of Kansas City. I took an ‘elective’ class called Mixed Chorus. It was simply a choice on a piece of paper that worked with the time frame I needed, I had no idea that choice would be the first that led to such a defining life moment.

The mixed chorus teacher was the leader of the ski team club. One day during class he mentioned there were still openings for the trip to Keystone, Colorado that the ski team was taking in a couple of months. As a born day dreamer I blocked out everything else that he said after that. I visualized myself there (without realizing at the age of 15 what visualization was). I saw the mountains and snowfall in my mind. But when I came back to reality I knew my parents would not have the money. My mother was a stay at home mom most of the time and my father made enough to pay the bills, most months…with some help from family now and then. And I had just been given the gift of a baby sister a few months before the trip announcement.

Despite the possibility of me going seeming impossible, I talked about the trip to my friends for a couple weeks in between classes. My excitement grew. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I finally got up the nerve to mention it to my mom while I was helping with dinner one night. I did not expect her response. She looked at me and said “let’s see what we can do.”

I was shocked that it was now even a discussion topic, but after thinking back, I’m not shocked that my mom saw how excited I was about the mere thought of the opportunity and how much it meant to me. So with a mother’s love she talked to my dad and mentioned a temporary part time job she could work at night to help make this happen. Also, since I was not going to ski, it would be cheaper for me than the other students. The teacher/ski team leader assigned me as the point person for each team member to check in with at the lodge at designated times so I wouldn’t feel like a complete outcast!

Within the next couple of weeks we had paid the deposit for the transpiration and hotel, with a balance due the week of the trip. As my mom dropped me off at the school to climb aboard the charter bus, she gave me a tight hug and said ‘enjoy yourself’. I knew this was not only a financially difficult time, but also hard for her to let me go that far from home for the first time with ‘strangers’. I climbed on the bus and had one friend to sit with, the others were older and students I barely knew with a few parents as chaperones.

The bus had three, yes three, flats on the way out. We were way behind schedule. When we finally arrived at the hotel in Keystone, we were all so exhausted! We only had a few hours before we had to be up and meet the shuttle to the lodge/slopes. I had three roommates and we all just dropped our bags and quickly fell asleep. The early morning wake up call got us all out of bed with excitement about the day! One of my roommates threw open the curtains and the four of us stood in silence for several minutes at the view of snow covered mountains.

Once at the lodge, everyone was given instructions about checking in with me, I had my little notebook and was ready to just enjoy the views! I used some of my very limited meal money to buy a cup of hot chocolate and claim a comfy chair right in front of the large windows toward the slopes. I used my little film camera to take a few photos and read the book I had brought. This was me…It was the first time in my life I was ‘on my own’, I felt so grown up, so independent, I was enjoying some me time and I loved it!

That night we went as a group to a small shopping village that had an ice rink in the middle of the various shops. I browsed a bit in one of the souvenir shops and I purchased a geode key chain, that I still have on my keys to this day. My friend was still browsing so I walked outside. There were some tables around the outside of the ice rink and a hot dog vendor nearby. I got my hot dog and chips and sat at a small table near the end of the rink. I finished my meal and simply enjoyed the setting, taking it all in, reflecting on my life, my future…everything. It was a very surreal moment for me.

My quiet reflection time was interrupted by someone asking if they could sit with me. I looked up, and saw it was a male classmate that I had only spoken to a few times in my school life. He sat down and we made small talk about the ice rink, the lodge and the mountains. It all felt like a dream. We laughed and talked like we had known each other much better than we actually did. As we finished up one topic and looked out over the rink, it began to snow. The snow made the moment feel like a fairy tale. We sat awhile longer in silence. It’s one of those moments that I think back to as a ‘happy place’. We didn’t talk much after that, but sharing that moment confirmed it not just a dream.

The next three days and nights were spent similar to day one; views from the lodge, gatherings each night, and self-reflection. I learned a lot about myself in those quiet alone time moments. When I got back home I was different, maybe it wasn’t visible to others, but I was more me than I had ever been. I knew that personal reflection time was something I wanted to keep in my life even if I didn’t have a perfect mountain view or sit in the snow with a boy near an ice rink.

That trip allowed me to realize a few things about myself, that there was more to the world than a small country town and it helped define who I am today. I can’t imagine how differently my life would have been if I had chosen another elective or never had the nerve to talk to my mom about the trip. I would have missed out on a life defining moment just by making a couple of different choices or keeping my excitement to myself.

Life leads us where we need to be professionally and personally. Faith and hope allow us to embrace life’s crossroads and provides us with the tools and resources we need to make the decisions that define our future. We have to trust ourselves and take action toward our goals. If I want something or find myself daydreaming I think back to the courage my 15 year old self had and the obstacles that were overcome because I spoke up and had an amazing circle of support.

What moments have helped define you, your path, your career, your outlook?

Thank you for reading and allowing me share.

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Self-nourishment

All of us are deserving of nourishment, but many find it difficult to discover and even more difficult to give oneself permission. Life can be so fast paced that comfort can become acceptable in chaos. At times, I find comfort in routine, even in hectic chaotic routines; projects, appointments, errands, chores, traffic, crowds, deadlines, unexpected situations…

How can we expect to keep finding solutions to those routine tasks if we are not taking time to nourish ourselves? I give myself permission to stop and focus on me once in awhile. It’s not selfish, it’s mandatory. Some days I blend my self nourishment and deadlines rather well…other days the whirlwind of chaos wraps me up and takes control. After a few consistent whirlwind days I know I have to self nourish.

I have read many articles, books, daily affirmations, and more to discover what works best for me…but I know it will always a work in progress. And I find that exciting.

I’ve been asked about my own routine and I’m happy to share it! No two people follow the same self nourishment journey. Everyone is unique with a unique daily routine. I have put together my personal top four main topics with a few suggestions; keeping it open to interpretation so you can find your own routine, goal focus or self nourishment regimen.

The topics can be part of a daily routine, focused on weekly or whatever works best for you! I feel each topic is a compliment of the next and work side by side with one another; they play well together. I will be sharing a 12-month plan suggestion for those who are interested in more details, so that will be coming soon!

Whether you have discovered a routine or new to the entire process I hope you find this helpful and encouraging!

  • Well-being: Mental and physical nourishment. Ask yourself ‘what are my health focused goals and what are my limits?‘ Suggestions – stretching, walking, exercise, yoga, meditation, nutritional supplements, healthy conscience eating, ensuring you drink enough water, get outside as often as you can. No matter what level you are at, movement and mental focus are important…there are some great online resources for various stages of exercise plans and the same for meditation and yoga. Personally, I’m still utilizing beginner videos and charts and find it very refreshing, renewing and nourishing. I linked a few above, but I’m happy to share more of my personal favs, if anyone is interested, just ask!
  • Spirit: Solitude and feeding your spirit/soul. Ask yourself ‘what do I want to do to feel more joy or how can I increase my self growth and love?’ Create, gratitude through journaling, making time for one or more hobbies, positive self-affirmations (I am…healthy, worthy, resilient, strong, enough, etc.) and reading/studying topics that bring you joy.
  • Support Circle: Mutual relationships; the balance and completeness of a circle. Ask yourself ‘who balances with me and provides a balanced mutually supportive relationship…who completes your circle and welcomes you into theirs?’ Give and receive support and encouragement, humor and care, sharing laughter and listening. This is a balance of family, friends, coworkers or other like minded groups (parenting, craft, recovery, book club, etc.). Provide positive praise, show kindness, feel safe and comfortable being yourself.
  • Productivity: Daily routine. Ask yourself ‘what is my current routine/schedule and what changes do I want for my future routine/schedule?’ This includes your career or the way you spend the majority of your days. If you are retired, focusing on your health, stay at home parent, homemaker…this could be focused on volunteering, implementing processes at home or work to ensure you find time for self nourishment and caring for yourself. Learn a new hobby or possible career change or supplemental income to help balance your budget. Focus on creating a daily routine that brings you joy, peace and steps to accomplish your personal specific goals. Setting goals helps with this process, both daily goals and long term focused ones.

One quote/affirmation I repeat to myself often is ‘I am exactly where I need to be, if not I’d be somewhere else.’ It makes me smile, it is simple…yet oh so true. It helps remind me I have control. I can focus on steps toward my bigger goal or I can re-evaluate my goals and take steps to learn something new. It’s all about what feeds me, where I find nourishment and giving myself permission to discover all of my unique interests.

We are all unique…embrace it through your self-discovery to a personalized nourishment journey.

I’d love to hear how others nourish themselves or answer any questions you have!

Thank you for reading. Have a great day!

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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Get the job!

There are so many cover letter samples out there; most of them really well organized and ideal to use. But the main question I receive is how to personalize the letter. I really enjoy finding skills and the perfect wording to personalize a cover letter for job seekers – yes BRAGGING!

I created a cover letter sample by using an actual job posting I recently found in the Kansas City area. I hope this helps answer some questions you may have, but as always please reach out to me if you have any questions at all. Have some additional tips? Please share them!

I still have a couple free career packages to give away. What is that about you ask? Please see my other post titled Free advice.

 

2017 Sample job posting and cover letter PDF

 

 

 

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Free advice!! Career, resume, and more

It was so much fun getting to know a few of you and providing this free opportunity! I want to extend my offer to another four (4) individuals that would like to receive FREE job hunting assistance with the free career package (during the month of May). More information below from my last post offering this!

As you may know, I’ve just added an exciting package deal to my list of services. I am still offering free basic resume edits! And now I’d like to provide four (4) people job hunting assistance by providing a FREE career package to each of them! Why? Because I want you to succeed and I find it fun, simple as that!

What does this mean exactly? I’d like to provide some basic edits to your current resume, discuss what type of job you are searching for and help you find a few possible options you can apply for! Let’s work together and find your next career, whether you are looking for a long or short term position.

Interested? Send me an email at successencourager@gmail.com with:

  • Why you would like to be provided this free service
  • The type of job you are looking for
  • Your current resume
  • A brief description of your past job experience
  • Up to three locations you would like to work in (city, state, etc)
  • Please note – I can only offer this to people located and searching in the United States (my skills are limited to knowledge of US job searches for now, but that may expand in the future!)

I will provide this service to four people for FREE! If you choose to purchase services in the future or share my blog with others, then wonderful, but if not, I will still enjoy this opportunity to provide my professional services! Questions? Just ask!

If you or anyone you know may be interested in any other services please see the price list or contact me and I’m always happy to answer general career questions free of charge! (Limited time only offer!)

I look forward to hearing from you!

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Find your next career – Free advice

Are you thinking of a job change, needing to find your first job or looking to change careers? Would you like FREE career consulting? Then please read on!

A career doesn’t have to be a lifetime commitment. Your next job search could end up with a career you keep until you retire or it could be a step toward your next career choice! Each employment opportunity is a chance to gain experience.

Even if you leave an office job, working primarily indoors to  begin an outdoor landscaping career, you have skills that transfer. Maybe you gained advanced customer service skills at your past job(s) or can assist with scheduling, or maybe you discovered time management skills to help you create a more efficient process to complete your new projects!

Some of my previous posts focus on resumes, discovering your strengths and weaknesses, practicing interview questions and more, so please check those out. Even with all of that information it can still be difficult to change careers or find a job in a competitive market. You may decide to start your own business, but if you need or want to find work immediately or gain more experience, I’d like to help!

I’ve just added an exciting package deal to my list of services. I am still offering free basic resume edits! And now I’d like to provide four (4) people job hunting assistance by providing a FREE career package to each of them (thru April 30th)! Why? Because I want you to succeed and I find it fun, simple as that!

What does this mean exactly? I’d like to provide some basic edits to your current resume, discuss what type of job you are searching for and help you find a few possible options you can apply for! Let’s work together and find your next career, whether you are looking for a long or short term position.

Interested? Send me an email at successencourager@gmail.com with:

  • Why you would like to be provided this free service
  • The type of job you are looking for
  • Your current resume
  • A brief description of your past job experience
  • Up to three locations you would like to work in (city, state, etc)
  • Please note – I can only offer this to people located and searching in the United States (my skills are limited to knowledge of US job searches for now, but that may expand in the future!)

I will provide this service to four people for FREE! If you choose to purchase services in the future or share my blog with others, then wonderful, but if not, I will still enjoy this opportunity to provide my professional services! Questions? Just ask!

If you or anyone you know may be interested in any other services please see the price list or contact me and I’m always happy to answer general career questions free of charge!

I look forward to hearing from you!

 

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