Put Me In (Career) Coach!

What comes to mind when you hear the word coach?

If you are anything like me, you might envision a man or woman standing on a sideline shouting direction, encouragement, and making in-game adjustments as they huddle up next to their players, creating a strategy for the team’s success. Or maybe you envision the person running your practices watching you repeat a skill or technique again and again, conditioning you for success in a game-time setting.

Now, what do you envision when you hear the words career coach? Probably nothing even close to the description above. However, they might not be as far off as you think. Let me explain.

What is a career coach?

Imagine being in a point in your career where it is time for a change. Maybe you are dreaming of moving up the corporate ladder, finding a more fulfilling career, or starting your own business. Or maybe change has already happened. You’ve been promoted, your position was eliminated, you started your own business but are feeling overwhelmed. Each of these situations provides a new set of challenges and many questions that usually lead off with: “Where do I start?” or “How do I __?”

Enter your career coach.

As your career coach, I am here to help you find answers and solutions that move you to the next level. Together, we can maximize your personal and professional potential by first identifying your strengths, values, and vision for the future. From there we work to clarify direction by exploring your options and making adjustments to overcome obstacles like gaps in knowledge or skills that may hinder your success. Finally, by setting goals and targets, and working toward them, you begin to see your vision for the future come to life.

Along the way, like any good coach (sports or career), my job is to support, encourage, and challenge you to put in the work that will make your dreams a reality. And just like having the right head coach helps your team advance faster and further, having the right career coach can do the exact same thing.

I’m ready to keep you focused, challenged, and accountable. Are you ready to huddle up and create a winning strategy for your success?

Four Steps to Recommitting to Your 2021 Goals

I’ll be honest. February was a bit of a rough month for me and my 2021 goals. I missed my goal of writing a blog post for February. (This was part of my larger goal to write one post a month in 2021.) I also fell and hurt my wrist early last month.  This impacted my ability to get in the two workouts a week that I needed to stay on track of my goal of reaching 100 workouts for 2021. However, rather than throw in the towel and declare that I’ll try again next year, (something that I’ve definitely done in the past), I realize that the year is far from over and that achieving these goals is important to me. Considering that around 50% of Americans start each New Year setting goals, but fewer than 10% are able to follow through for more than a few months, you may find yourself in a similar situation. If so, I invite you to join me in recommitting to your 2021 goals. Here are some steps to help us get back on track.

1) Connect to Your Why

As I mentioned above, these goals are important to me. Asking why this is so, and buying into my reasons to continue, will help feed my motivation to carry on. So, what’s my why?  I know that seeing these through will build skill, resilience, and confidence. I have long struggled to write consistently. Growing up, I would start a journal with all these wonderful aspirations of writing my deepest thoughts and feelings only to turn the page and start a new entry…three years later. I want to prove to myself that I can write and stick with it. Bonus: The more I do it, the better I will be. Similarly, I have struggled with consistency in my workouts. I’ve made numerous goals to do yoga three times a week, lose 15 pounds, or stick to the latest exercise craze. However, it wasn’t long before I would get bored, miss a day, or find the costs adding up. This time, my goal isn’t to be a particular size or lose a certain amount of weight. My goal is to simply create a habit of movement. No set method or exercise. Simply commit to moving my body twice a week because I want it to be strong, flexible, and resilient and I want movement/exercise to be a natural part of my week. What is your why?

2) Grant Grace

Right about now, you might be feeling upset or ashamed that you’ve let go of a goal you felt so strongly about just a few weeks ago. Perhaps you were not surprised. After all, this happens every year. And perhaps you’ve berated yourself for your lack of follow through and self-control. I am guilty of all three. However, none of this is helpful. None is conducive to growth. Tearing myself down has never encouraged or motivated me to do better. If anything, it sucks me into a black hole of negativity and self-dislike. The real way we move forward is to acknowledge where we fell short, and grant ourselves the grace to leave our mistakes behind us and try again. The only true failure is never trying. While we are at it, let’s take a moment to consider all the things you did accomplish in the last month. Maybe you cooked more healthy meals than usual, survived a stressful period at work, or finally caught up on some chores around the house.  Now, let’s use this grace to allow ourselves a clean slate from which to start over. 

3) Revise

In the past, I might have normally said that my goal is now impossible.  I wanted to upload one new blog post each month.  With February, in the rear-view mirror, I will not fully achieve that goal.  It also might not be reasonable anymore for me to expect to achieve 100 workouts if I need to suddenly do complete 4 a week to reach my goal. (If I wasn’t managing 2 per week, 4 seems even less likely.)  If the original goal seems a bit beyond reach, now is a great time to revise.  For example, I can no longer do one post each month, however, can I reasonably still post for the remaining 10 months?  Could I do a bonus post one month to still achieve 12 total?  As for my workouts, there are 52 weeks in a year.  If I was doing two workouts per week, that is 104 total.  I missed three weeks of workouts (6 workouts total) due to my wrist injury.  If I do 2 per week for the remainder of the year, I will achieve 98 workouts.  Am I happy with 98?  Would I like to push myself to get an extra 2 in for the year?  Would it be more reasonable to grant myself some grace and set a new goal of 90 for the year? Answering these questions will help me revise my goals to be specific, reasonable, and attainable for the timeline remaining. 

4) Keep Your Goals and Whys In Sight

I realize that I got off track in February because I did not keep my whys front a center.  I lost sight of what I would gain by sticking with my goals and instead reverted back to old habits.  My final tip is to keep your goals and more importantly, your whys, in sight.  For me, this means that I am going to write out my goals and my whys.  I am going to put them on my nightstand so I see them each day when I get up and go to sleep.  Constantly being reminded of my goals and why they are important will keep me motivated. Where will you post your goals and whys?

If you enjoyed this post, please join me on Instagram @ardent_joy where I will be posting their step and related quotes, affirmations, intentions, and actions all month long.

A Holiday Toast For Your New Year

These days, New Year’s Day is a day of relaxation.  The two of us drink mimosas in our jammies into the afternoon while the Rose Parade and various sporting events play in the background. Growing up, it was the final day of the holiday season. The final feast. . .until Easter. As we squished around my grandparent’s dining room table, the family raised their glasses.  To this day, I remember my grandmother’s voice, “Health, wealth, and happiness” and the soft clinking of glasses that followed.

Health, Wealth, and Happiness

This is still my preferred toast. Simple, sincere, and direct. Yet, these three small words cover a lot of ground and contain their own meaning to all who hear.

Health – May your health not cause you problems. May you avoid falling ill. May you make healthy choices whenever possible.  May you make time to care for your physical and mental health. May your efforts be successful. May you enhance your well-being.

Wealth – May you have the funds necessary to cover your expenses. May you be able to save for a rainy day.  May you be blessed with more than you need. May you recognize that wealth is not just money. May your wealth of gratitude for friends, family, health, work, free time continuously expand.

Happiness – May you find happiness in life’s simple pleasures. May your glass be half-full.  May life’s load be light. May you strive for a better tomorrow. May you create your own path to happiness. May your joy expand.

In 2021, let’s take these well-wishes a step further.  Let’s make these wishes a reality. To turn the old adage on its head, a wish is just a wish until there is a goal and plan. So, rather than just wish for health, wealth, and happiness, let’s plan to make them a reality.  Whether you refer to them as resolutions, goals, intentions, or something else, I challenge you to make one in each category.  Whatever it means to you, set an intention for your health in 2021. Set an intention for your wealth in the coming year. Set an intention for your happiness.  Then, create a plan. Be specific. What do you want to accomplish?  What steps will it take to achieve?  List them all!  Stick to it, by connecting to your motivation and creating accountability. Why is this important to you?  What can you do to hold yourself accountable?  Share your intentions with others! Making your plans known can keep you on track. You may even inspire someone to create some resolutions/intentions/goals of their own!

Here’s to you and your health, wealth, and happiness goals in 2021 and beyond!

If you enjoyed this post, please join me on Instagram @ardent_joy where I will be posting these tips and related quotes, affirmations, intentions, and actions all December long.

6 Tips for a Positively Successful Holiday Season

Somehow it is December and it feels as though the past eight months have simultaneously dragged along and flown. As always, we turn our attention to what is usually the busiest, merriest, and most wonderful time of the year.  And while decorating, shopping, baking, and holiday making is normally enough to find ourselves overwhelmed, exhausted, and stressed, this year’s Holiday Season: Corona Virus Edition is sure to add another log on that fire. So, how can you ensure that you aren’t sobbing next to a half decorated tree while forgotten cookies you can’t even exchange burn in the oven? Let’s explore six simple tips for a successful, less stressful holiday season.

  1. Adjust expectations – It’s been one heck of a year. We’ve done our best to create new normals, make the best of our situations, and find moments of comfort and joy. That, in itself, is a wonderful example of human resilience. And although many of us had hoped this would all be behind us come December, it is time to apply that to our holiday mindset as well.  The holidays will look different in 2020…and that is okay. Smaller gatherings, less activities, and less gifts does not need to mean less merriment/fun.  Adopt a mindset of “quality, not quantity”, utilize new and old ways of communication, relish a more intimate celebration, and continue to make the best of the season ahead.
  2. Come from gratitude – When negativity and bad news surround us everyday, it can be hard to remember or acknowledge that good and  positive things are still happening too.  Be intentional about seeking out the good. Reflect on the accomplishments of the year. Maybe you learned a new skill, perfected your sourdough, started walking more, or found a new TV series (or 20) to watch from the comfort and safety of your couch. Rather than focusing on things or experiences “lost”, express gratitude for all that you have. 
  3. Be in the moment – Many of us spend the holiday season making a list and checking it twice. Baking, decorating, shopping, wrapping, etc.  We complete a task and check it off, complete a task and check it off, etc.  In doing this, we lose sight of the spirit of the season.  We shouldn’t be doing these things just to get them done, but because they bring us (and others) joy! Baking and decorating are fun and creative experiences! Shopping and wrapping are ways we express love! Let’s be intentional in our tasks this season.
  4. Roll with the changes – If there is one thing we’ve learned in 2020, it is to expect the unexpected. From lockdowns to murder hornets, 2020 has certainly kept us on our toes. The holidays will be no different.  Numbers and guidelines will continue to change daily and that may make planning hard.  Acknowledging that all of this is beyond our control and understanding that plans may need to change at the last minute can help reduce stress and anxiety. Be firm in your plans to have a wonderful holiday season, but flexible in your methods of how to do it. 
  5. Create a new tradition – A lot of our favorite things about the holidays may not be happening in their truest form this year.  And while that is cause for disappointment, it is helpful to remember that all traditions were once something someone tried once and really enjoyed.  I challenge you to do just that. Find something that you think would be a fun thing to try and do it!  If you enjoy it, do it again next year too! Creating a new tradition promotes growth, bonding, and happiness now and in the years to come.  
  6. Don’t skip self-care – Even with a scaled back Christmas this year, between the tree, cards, meals, and changing plans, it is more important than ever to make time for yourself. Cozy up with a good book, sit down and actually watch the movie playing in the background, spend an afternoon building a snowman, journal about your hopes for the new year, or silently enjoy the stillness of a sleepy house. This season is for you too.  Be merry, mindful, and relaxed.  

I hope these tips will add a measure of peace, positivity, and perspective to your holiday celebrations this year.  With a little luck, next year’s blog will be about the profound joy of renewed large-scale celebrations and the craziness that ensues. Until then, we’ll have to muddle through somehow…together.  Blessings and joy on your holiday celebrations! 

If you enjoyed this post, please join me on Instagram @ardent_joy where I will be posting these tips and related quotes, affirmations, intentions, and actions all December long.

“Wouldn’t It Be Great to Make a Living Helping People?”

                Graduation season has come and gone.  Graduates everywhere, from Kindergarten to College, are likely still being asked the same question, “What do you want to do?” When I was little, I remember having aspirations of being a lawyer or President. I wanted to be important and helpful, like the people on TV shows my parents would watch.  (Shout out to West Wing, Law and Order, and J.A.G.)  Those characters were doing things and making a difference. I wanted to be like them.

                Fast forward 15 years to my college graduation and while the lofty aspirations of being President and the desire for a high-profile legal career may have dimmed, one constant remained. I wanted to make a difference – to help people, even if I was not quite sure how.  I faithfully held on to that desire as I navigated the career and personal decisions that come with establishing yourself as a professional in your twenties. From service industry to nonprofit to finance, I learned that I loved connecting with people, sharing the knowledge that I had gained about life or a select industry, problem solving, and making action plans. Thanks to many wonderful independent women, I also found that I had an entrepreneurial spirit.  I aspire to do things on my terms – to be my own boss and build something for myself and others. 

                So, you may be asking yourself, “where is she going with this?” and don’t worry, I haven’t decided to quit my job and open a new business in the middle of a pandemic, but I have given some serious thought to my professional future and how I can work towards my dream of making a difference in our community and build a business of my own.  By leaning into my love of connecting, problem solving, and helping people become the best (most successful) version of themselves, I have decided to pursue a Certified Life Coach designation.  This training will give me the skills and tools I need to work with people at all levels (from college students to tenured executives) one-on-one and in groups to help them create clarity, establish goals, and achieve the changes they desire to lead fulfilled, inspired, and successful lives, careers, and businesses.

I am a month into the three-month training and am feeling confident in the process as I aim to hone my skills, build a client base, and establish a professional coaching practice. With hard work, passion for the difference I can make, and the support of friends and the community, in a few years, this will be an established career, a thriving business, and a life-long dream come true.  I invite you to follow my journey by reading this weekly blog, offering encouragement and advice, reaching out with questions, and spreading the word among friends, co-workers, and family who might find coaching a valuable experience.