Do you ever get distracted? I know I do! There’s a wonderful place called the internet that is filled with endless distractions. But this week, instead of falling into the internet black hole, I’ve been captivated by a children’s book I randomly grabbed off the library shelves. Initially, I got it for my kids… but I’ve read it and looked at it more than they have!

It’s called The Secret Life of Squirrels and is an entertaining story of Mr. Peanuts and his cousin, both of whom are squirrels. Every page of the book is a photo of the squirrels getting into hijinks at home and out and about. The pictures are as ridiculously cute as you would expect for a book on squirrels, but the part I’m obsessed with isn’t the adorable squirrel poses.

The author, Nancy Rose, builds every squirrel set by hand out on her deck (and each page in the book is a totally different set). Each set includes details, from tiny books (with squirrel-themed titles on the bookshelves!) to tiny furniture to tiny clothes, food props, and more! Then, she waits in her deck-adjacent kitchen to take photos of the squirrels.

She has found a way to seamlessly blend her talents AND her interests into one fascinating job! My kids were as astounded as I was that squirrel photographer is a viable career option and they were very excited to dream up all the other animals they might want to capture by camera.

It’s not all fun and games down at the tiny, hand-crafted squirrel set though. Rose shares that she might spend a whole weekend waiting and get no good pictures. However, the ones she does capture are SO worth it. Squirrels mailing letters. Squirrels grilling. Squirrels vacuuming. Squirrels on a picnic! Unbearable cuteness ensues!!!

Many of us feel stuck at work thinking there’s no way we can make a living doing something we’re interested in. This is just one very creative example that shows it can be done. You also don’t have to run out and quit your job (unless that was already on your to-do list for today!) in order to make it happen. You can start to bring your interests into your everyday work to make it more interesting and authentic. Squirrel photos optional!

#PositiveAction Do one thing today to incorporate an interest you have into your day job. It might just be the most fun you’ve had in a long while!

 

Do you need a distraction? As I said, I’ve been obsessed with the unique idea and approach, so I had to take to the internet to learn more. I apparently missed the craze that started back in 2014. Don’t worry, I’ve spent plenty of time getting caught up!!

 

Image by Alexas_Fotos from Pixabay

We all have something that lights us up inside. It’s that thing we do when we don’t have to do anything. I want to encourage you to pursue your passion.

How do I pursue my passion? For me, it’s taking action to address the climate crisis. Now, I know some will say that global warming is a political issue, but we don’t live on a Republican or Democratic or Libertarian planet. It’s simply OUR planet and the only one we’ve got! And I can’t imagine a world where I’m not doing something to make it better not just for my kids, but for everyone.

Of course, it wasn’t always this way. The planet used to be something I said I would work on someday. You know, when I had free time or when work calmed down or when my family life didn’t keep me so busy. As you can imagine, someday never arrived. I had to make a choice to prioritize my passion. 

You might be thinking that the climate crisis is a dramatically different interest than my day job, but it turns out I use the same strengths and skills in both. It’s simply a different topic.

As a coach and speaker, I share knowledge with others, encourage them on their path, and guide them toward taking small actions that make a big difference. As a volunteer educator for the Climate Reality Project, I do the exact same thing! I share knowledge with others, encourage them on their path, and guide them toward taking small actions that make a big difference.

It took me a while to realize that I could contribute in a meaningful way without needing tons of time or expertise. My enthusiasm for the topic and existing skills are more than enough.

You don’t have to wait for some time in the distant future to pursue your passion. You can use your existing skillset right now to get started! TODAY!

#PositiveAction Do one tiny thing today (using your existing skillset and schedule) to pursue your passion. There’s no better time than right now!

 

If your passion is also the environment and you want to learn more about the climate crisis, join me October 19 for a free virtual presentation! It’ll be a short 30-minute presentation with optional discussion at the end. 

And if reading is more your thing, you can learn a lot from this book. And if watching is more your thing, you can check out the documentary version.

 

Image by silviarita from Pixabay

Last week, we talked about how job searching is an awful lot (emphasis on awful!) like dating. Now, let’s explore how job searching is like a marathon.

A marathon is a running race where people voluntarily choose to run (or jog or walk) 26.2 miles consecutively. And they have to pay money for the privilege of doing so! Crazy right?

Although it’s a running race, a marathon has almost nothing to do with racing. There are very few people on the planet that have the ability and have done the intensive prep work to be in contention for winning the race. Nearly everyone who enters a marathon is doing it to test their limits, endurance, and sanity!

Pretty sure you can see how the job search is exactly like a marathon. Anyone who’s looked for work recently knows it’s not for the faint of heart. It takes more effort, energy, and emotional fortitude than you ever expect when you start. Most of us think (or more accurately hope) that we’ll hit the apply button to the first posting that catches our eye and they’ll see what a talent they have on their hands and hire us immediately.

Just like a marathon, the job search rarely goes exactly according to plan!

I’ve completed several marathons and a bunch more half marathons (you’d know I wasn’t bragging if I shared my finish times!) and not a single one of those events went off without a hitch. There was the time I forgot my running shorts and had to run in my pool cover-up bottoms (not recommended!). There was the time the start of the race was delayed due to excessive lightning and a torrential downpour on the course. There was the time I drank a glass of beer offered by a random spectator and immediately regretted that decision! The list of ailments, injuries, and idiocy is long.

But when testing your limits, endurance, and sanity whether in a marathon or in a job search, you’ve got to be ready to adjust!

It could be as simple as changing your pace to apply to more job postings. It definitely involves reaching out to people and activating your network. It could be an overhaul of your resume and LinkedIn profile to help you get the results you want (I know a great career coach that specializes in this! Spoiler alert: It me.)

The point is, you need to remember that the job search is a marathon rather than a sprint. Your search requires sustained effort over time to get where you want to go. There will be challenges and setbacks; what separates the successful people from everyone else is their willingness to adjust.

My favorite part of any running race I’ve done is the gathering of runners after it’s over. It’s the camaraderie of a group of people that all in some way pushed against or past boundaries. It’s where we share the stories of what went wrong and how we found a way to make it to the finish line in spite of the challenges.

You’re creating those same stories right now in your job search. And everyone is excited to hear the challenges you’ve overcome when you finally get that offer!!

#PositiveAction Do something this week that energizes you so you’re ready to give your full effort to your job search!

And if completing a marathon is on your bucket list, I loved The Non-Runner’s Marathon Trainer (affiliate link). 

 

Image by Th G from Pixabay

 

One of my best friends got a job offer last week. He is one of the most amazing, highly skilled, ridiculously awesome people I’ve ever met and any company would be super fortunate to have him on their team.

It took him 8 months to find this job. Eight!

If a Rockstar like him needs the better part of a year to get a new job, what hope is there for the rest of us? And why would it take that long for someone with an awesome skillset to find a job?

Well, timing. The pandemic hit only a month into his search and many companies stopped hiring in the short-term as they figured out the whole work-from-home thing. And by the time everything was figured out enough, then it was summer, a time when there are far fewer postings due to holidays/vacations.

Process plays a role too. Many (I’d argue most!) companies have outdated, burdensome, non-applicant-centric hiring processes.

But by far, the biggest factor was people, and more specifically, the ways we need to interact during the job search.

Job searching is like… dating

Job searching is basically like dating, but far more awful. It’s meeting a bunch of random strangers and hoping that you hit it off with even one. It’s engaging in polite small talk and trying to keep your problems hidden until later. It’s being charming and witty and amazing and then never hearing from them again!

With job searching you get all the awkwardness and pain, but none of the dinner and drinks reward (and let’s be honest, food is a HUGE motivator for most of us!). At least with dating, you have the possibility of someone buying you a meal!

Even with all the technology in place in the job search process, remember that people are the final decision-makers and people don’t always make rational decisions. There are politics, and management philosophies, and company culture, and team dynamics and whole lot of other things at play for Every. Single. Job. Posting. And there is no visibility or transparency into those things. Often, an “it’s-not-you-it’s-me” response has nothing to do with you, and everything to do with all those invisible forces at work.

My friend managed to slog through the dead-ends and disappointments of the job search, while keeping his sense of humor in tact (a must for dating AND job searching!) and eventually found a perfect role for his exact skillset.

So just like dating, the best approach is to keep putting yourself out there and waiting for the right one to come along. It will, and you’ll be glad you didn’t settle!

#PositiveAction Hit the apply button to one (more!) job this week. You never know when you’ll find “the one”!!

If you’re in need of a super-fast way to super-charge your job search, check out my e-book on job searching during a pandemic.

 

Image by pasja1000 from Pixabay

This year has been challenging personally, professionally, politically, socially, financially, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. And it’s only September! It feels like I’ve been running into the same brick wall over and over again.

And yet, I’m grateful for the lessons that I’m learning this year. Almost nothing has gone as planned. Almost nothing has been easy. But that doesn’t mean it hasn’t been useful or powerful or necessary.

I’ve been given the chance to re-think everything I thought I knew to be true in life, work, family, and volunteer spaces. I’ve had the opportunity to try out new approaches for my business. I’ve delivered education and presentations in new-for-me formats. I’ve slowed down in some regards and hit the accelerator in other ways. There has been uncertainty, but also possibility.

As we near the final quarter of the year that I’m leaning into one of my favorite movie quotes (Tom Hanks as Coach Jimmy Dugan in A League of Their Own) “It’s supposed to be hard. The hard is what makes it great.”

We sometimes forget that the best things in life aren’t easy, especially because we are inundated with articles that promise to fix our lives in 3 easy steps. Easy sells.

No one wants to fix their life with the most challenging, difficult steps. But that’s the space where transformation happens. That’s where we learn and grow the most. Easy doesn’t stretch your limits. Easy doesn’t show you what you’re made of. Easy doesn’t find new and better ways forward.

I’m grateful for the challenges and opportunities this year has brought. I’m grateful for the present. And I’m excited for the future.

If that sounds like something you might be interested in, check out my upcoming programs: Gratitude Adjustment and Do Better Mastermind

In a year that can best be described as an out-of-control dumpster fire, the only thing you can control is your perspective. Give thanks for the challenges as much as the wins!

#PositiveAction Look for the possibility within your challenge. Turn your obstacle into opportunity!

 

Image by Pavlofox from Pixabay

How do we change?

We already know the three biggest barriers to change since we spent the last 3 weeks talking about them.

So then, what’s stopping us? That’s right, nothing!

Except, for many of us, it’s still something.

Change is hard and tricky to navigate. We don’t always know what to do next. That’s where knowledge becomes critical. We can face our fear and stop our bodies and brains from overreacting. We can rally support around us by asking for help. But then what?

We need a practical system that is easy to follow in order to make change happen. Enter the Change Conqueror virtual workshop! It has all the tools you need to bring about any change you want to see in work or life! You’ll learn:

  1. The mindset needed for change to happen
  2. What change requires and what change creates
  3. Easy-to-use ACTION plan to start changing today!

It’s all packaged together in one 90-minute workshop that you can watch live or catch the replay when it’s convenient for you. Fall is the perfect time to usher in changes, large and small, as nature reminds us through changing leaves and changing weather. Change is happening. You can be more than in control of it. You can be a Change Conqueror!

#PositiveAction Identify one change you’d like to make at work or home and get started today!

And if you’re looking for more change resources, you may be interested in my books, You Got This and Change Authentically: A Guide to Transform Your Job and Life Through Positive Action!

 

Image by Gerd Altmann  from Pixabay

What makes change easier?

As I shared in my post on Change and Body, I’m an improver at heart. 

On the plus side, it helps me enjoy the process of change. On the minus side, it means I’m never satisfied. There’s always something else to be tweaked, updated, or tinkered with. When I harness this power for good, it helps me refine and improve; when used by the perfectionistic demon that follows me around all day perched on my shoulder, it wreaks havoc.

Yes, all our strengths can also be weaknesses if we let them.

This is where a good support system comes in. I have some people in my life that I can trust to be honest with me. They will tell me if I’m over-improving, allowing my perfectionist tendencies to interfere with progress, or if I’m just plain being an idiot! And I love them for it.

What makes change easier? Friends! We all need BFFs, whether you call them friends, buddies, pals, or even work proximity associates

Yes, friends are fun to chat with, but they are also an in-built source of accountability. When we tell other people about something we’re working toward, we are WAY less likely to bail on that plan when it gets hard, because we know our friends (at least our real ones!) will ask about it. They help us stay the course and provide support when we’re struggling. They care about how we’re doing. They’re willing to help us when we need it. Basically, involving your friends makes ANY change a whole lot easier to manage.*

We are entering the season of change as summer transforms to winter and I’ve got exactly what you need if you’re ready for a change. It’s a 90-minute Change Conqueror virtual workshop designed to help you tackle any change you want to make in work or life (whether you’ve chosen change or not!).

#PositiveAction Reach out to 1-3 friends to share something important where you could use some extra accountability. You’ll be glad you did when you hit your goal!

*If that hasn’t been your experience, you may need to find a new support group… and lucky for you, I have just the group in mind!

 

Image by Wokandapix from Pixabay

Why is change so hard?

Even when you want the change to happen, it’s challenging. Last week, we talked about how our bodies can interfere with our best intentions to change.  This week we’re talking about our brains.

I wish I could tell you that our brains are smarter than our bodies, but when we’re talking about change, I can’t. Our brain is just as likely to freak out as our body when we are faced with something new (and all change is some form of newness!!).

Rather than a physical reaction, though, our brains try to reason with us by telling us stories. Stories like: You don’t have time for this right now. You aren’t <fill in the blank> enough. Your family is counting on you and you’ll let them down. And there are plenty more stories where those came from!

Why is change so hard? Because of the brain. Basically, your brain is trying to talk you out of doing the new thing because it’s totally panicked at the thought of the new thing. Remember, this happens regardless of whether you initiate/choose the change or whether the change has been forced upon you.

So what do we do?

We need to give our brain enough familiar stuff that it gets OK with the amount of newness. You wouldn’t want to get married, move across the country, and start a new job all in the same week (although I’ve got friends who have done it and thrive despite the challenges they faced!). You want to limit the amount of newness where possible.

A quick fix: Give yourself more familiar, comfortable situations, people, and physical things to help soothe your brain and allow it to relax so it’s less resistant to the change or new thing. In the past 6 months while embracing lots of newness, I’ve used old shows, music, pictures, and books (just to name a few familiar things!) to help me. 

You’ll find that when you do, your brain will stop spinning stories for you and will get on board with the change! 

#PositiveAction Find some familiarity to stop the change-freak-out in your brain while your comfort zone expands! 

Exciting News: The Change Conqueror 90-minute virtual workshop has returned for fall! Just as the leaves begin to change, we will work through change together to accomplish your biggest goals and dreams! Learn more and register today!

 

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

I enjoy change! I know it’s something that makes me weird, but I embrace it. You see, I’m an improver at heart. I love to find ways to make systems, processes, and environments better. And I especially love helping people live into the best version of themselves through change.

Even though I love change so much I’ve literally written a book on it, change is still a challenge. It’s something that I have to work at and something my clients struggle with too. So for the next several weeks, we’re going to explore answers to the question: Why Is Change So Hard?

Our bodies are complex pieces of equipment that do a whole lot of things for us from providing a physical repository for all of our bones, muscles, and organs all the way to breathing automatically and pumping blood so that all those parts keep on functioning.

Our bodies are designed to keep us safe, which is awesome in the wilderness when a threat is nearby, but it’s a whole lot less helpful when we’re trying to make change happen and drop those 15 pounds we gained during quarantine!

Our bodies basically give us only 3 options when faced with a threat (and more often than not, doing something new is considered a threat): Fight, flight, or freeze. As you can imagine, battling against change, running away from change, and doing nothing in the face of change aren’t overly helpful responses.

Especially if you want or need to actually change!

Know that your body is going to protest the new thing, at least at first. And be prepared for that response so you can move beyond it. And if you’re looking for more guidance, I am offering a Change Conqueror virtual workshop designed to help you tackle any change you want to make in work or life (whether you’ve chosen change or not!).

#PositiveAction You can make change happen. Take a deep breath. And do it again. In fact, keep focusing on your breath until your body has stopped freaking out in the name of safety! Yes!! You got this!

 

Image by Ryan McGuire from Pixabay

Anyone else besides me feel like they’re swimming in ambiguity? There is a lot of unknown right now. As we get closer to the fall season and kick off our 6th month of hanging out at home, many things feel as uncertain as they were at the start.

We don’t know how long we’ll need to continue our physical distancing. We don’t know what the school year will look like or how it will work. We don’t even know what sports schedules will be!

Not knowing can be scary, but we don’t have to act out of fear.

We can choose to control what’s in our control. Here’s a few ways I’m approaching it. As for the distancing piece, I’m still scheduling virtual calls into the future. If instead we can meet in person and hug for a really long time, great! If not, I can control how connected I’m going to be.

As for school, I know that learning is going to happen and the most likely path includes an element of virtual learning. That was a challenge this spring, but we learned a lot and can adjust this fall as a result. I’m also working to create a little dedicated space for both my kids so that they can do their best work. I can’t wave my magic wand and build out a ton more space, but I can be smarter about where they are situated as well as how I schedule my days.

For sports… I’ve got nothing. We are instead using the time we would have spent spectating and doing other activities. We are making up our own holidays (a belated Merry Half Christmas to you all!). We are reading long books aloud as a family. We are singing and dancing to music. Basically, we’re making up our own fun.

Much as I would like to know exactly what’s next, I can’t see into the future. Both those facts were true BEFORE the pandemic started. So I’m choosing to control what little I can and let the rest go. What about you?

#PositiveAction Write down one thing that’s driving you crazy to not know. Then let it go in whatever way feels most satisfying.

Some ideas: Recycle it. Shred it. Burn it (safely!). Wrap it in duct tape. Glue it so it can never be opened again (can you tell I’ve been getting school supplies in order?!?). Bonus points for sharing what you did with me!  

 

Image by Arek Socha from Pixabay