Interviewing Nightmares!

When you think you've heard or seen it all!

What was your most memorable interviewing moment? Was it scary, awkward or funny, outrageous, eye-opening, ridiculous, or revolting?  What words would you use to describe how you felt? 

Do you have any interviewing nightmares?

I do!

My staff would try to convince me that I had to write a book on my crazier interviewing stories. I couldn’t do it. Whenever I thought I heard it all, every story, every excuse, every tactic on getting the job, and almost every example of how clueless we all are during the interview process, until I realized I hadn’t. There was always another story to top my top story.  

Interviewing can be a nightmare. Especially when you are desperate to find a job and can’t seem to crack the code.

Interviewing can be a nightmare! Especially when you’ve been burnt by too many liar – liar pants on fire applicants.

Interviewing for most is akin to a colonoscopy without the anesthesia. The probing, prodding and uncomfortable positions. And then the anxiety and stress as you wait for the results.  

How do both sides come together and make this painful process as painless as possible, without anesthesia? How do we stop the interviewing madness? 

By getting real!

That’s it?

Yep get real! 

For the interviewee – be yourself, not some weird caricature of yourself that is immediately detected. Don’t suppress yourself so only part of you shows up. 

For recruiters and hiring managers – get real when defining your ideal candidate. 

I’ve written hundreds of job descriptions, some of my best works of fiction. The ideal candidates I was describing resembled Harlequin romances with Fabio on the cover – all airbrushed and fluffed up to fit my fantasy of a perfect hire.  Right until I realized that my ideal candidate Fabio, isn’t as fabulous on the job as he was in the interview. My eyes were too focused on what I wanted, not what was right in front of me. 

So I got real!

Let’s get back to my first question what was your most memorable interviewing moment? I had mine this week, and it was a doozy! 

You’ve probably been there before. DJ walked into the room with elegance, sophistication, and beauty that spoke power!  She had something going on that was very attractive and exciting! Her magnetic energy was moving through the air. 

But an obvious, and confusing, shift occurred when DJ descended into my mock interview chair. She sighed so deeply her dilemma filled the room. The DJ, who walked in, had somehow lost her power, her energy, her magnetism! 

Which one is the real woman I wondered, the delightful or deflated one? 

DJ struggled as if the first question had snapped and trapped her into a straight jack!

But it wasn’t me, nor the question that strapped her in; it was all the so called experts that had coached DJ from the time she was interviewing for her first high school job.

Their advice: Do not bring that “thing” into any job interview. Don’t even talk about it!

Too many people advised or recommended to DJ that she should not let the best part of her, the singer/entertainer part, emerge during interviews for her day job.

So 10% of DJ shows up to her interviews leaving this superstar underemployed, but the other 90% of DJ was begging to be heard.

Her sigh got deeper, as she sunk and slumped down into the chair.

“This is so hard to do. It feels fake. I don’t know what to say.”

And this was after spending time with her earlier in the day establishing her strengths and providing her direction on how to structure her response when answering these tough questions.

I wanted the superstar DJ to shine, so I asked her, “How would you respond if you could sing your answer?”  

This time, DJ released a different sigh, one of relief.  DJ sat up, opened up, and belted out her perfect answer. By singing her strengths, DJ shined as brightly in that chair as she did when she walked into the room. 

Where that question came from, I will never know, but it was the perfect question, and I got a perfect answer because I really want DJ to succeed. 

What made it such a doozy? 

After conducting over 10,000 interviews, this was the first time I cried!  

  • I cried because it was beautiful!
  • I cried because my client had the guts to get real!
  • I cried because DJ has a beautiful, jaw-dropping voice!
  • I cried because DJ created a song that perfectly depicted her strengths!  
  • I cried tears of joy as DJ’s joy shined through; she was magnificent!

I cried because DJ was set free to succeed wherever she worked! 

DJ knew in her work as an entertainer that: 

  • real sells
  • real resonates 
  • real relaxes the mind 
  • real energizes the soul 
  • real speaks clearly and powerfully
  • real connects you to your audience

Yet she forgot that real works in any workplace. The same skills, talents, and strengths that DJ has successfully used on stage are the same skills, talents, and strengths that DJ used in her day jobs. Her energy, her creativity, her boldness, her ability to think on her feet, her ability to tinker with an idea and make it her own, and her innate gift to read her audience worked where ever DJ worked! 

DJ could now see the connection and correlation between her day jobs and her singing career. And for the first time, she felt free to show up 100% herself, no longer bound by bad advice.  

So the next time you see a candidate struggling to articulate their value, don’t judge them, get real with them. Take a risk and ask them to draw their answers, dance their answers, write out their answers, build or belt out their answers. Let them solve a problem, write code, fix your computer, or find that missing penny. Give them permission to be real and release them to answer your question in their language. 

By doing so, you could finally find the “real” ideal candidate that you’ve been searching to hire. Rather than continued to be fooled by the blowhard frauds that know how to speak their answers but make for nightmarish hires when they can’t walk their talk. 

Let’s get real by sharing your story, either as the interviewer or interviewee, a time when you were real that led to you finding the dream candidate or landing your dream job. 

Have You Lost that Lovin’ Feeling?

Re-Ignite Your Career and Fall Back in Love

If you had 89,440 hours to spend in your lifetime, would you rather be spending it doing something you love, like, or hate to do?

My hope is that you said love.  

Did she have to ask such an obvious question? 

YES!

It’s really not that obvious and the proof is in the numbers, it always is, and the numbers I’m using is Gallup’s poll numbers regarding engagement, “good jobs”, and the real unemployment numbers. If you love your work, or at least engaged, and have a good job, you are in the minority!  Screenshot 2016-02-22 19.52.08

This information is updated everyday Gallup Daily!  How depressing, how degrading and how I so want to help those: 

  • Who want to love the work that they do
  • Who have lost that lovin’ feeling
  • Who have not yet found work that they love
  • Who like, but want to love, their career

How can I help?

Maybe I’m a hopeless romantic, an optimist, or someone who has been all of the above, at one time or another in my career.  I’ve been there, and found my way back to that lovin’ feeling for my work by uncovering, discovering and developing a path forward to work that I now love to do. And like any good discoverer I want to share what worked for me – with you!  

If you are ready for a re-ignited, re-energized, re-vitalized relationship with work, I’ve got a little somethin’, somethin’ for you.  

What that somethin’ is:

  • 12 blogs on discovering a loving RELATIONSHIP with your work
  • Daily worksheets to guide you back to that lovin’ feeling
  • Private Facebook Group – coming soon! 
  • Abundant Encouragement
  • Surprises!!! 

Cost: Nothing, but your time.  

This is my love offering to you. My gift so that you can find that lovin’ feeling and keep feeling it everyday forever and always!  

Sign up below! 

 

Happy Schnappy – Give Me MORE Joy!

And you don't have to wait in line!

It’s Christmas Carol time.  And I love them.  All of them, or most of them. Now being a grandmother that “Grandma Got Runover by a Reindeer” is just evidence of the pure commercialization of Christmas and the destruction of truly wonderful things – like grandmothers.

The Little Drummer Boy is one of my favorites.  It makes me cry, for it proves the simplicity in which God asks us to give ourselves to Him. Giving to Him with praise and glory what He has already given to us – our talent to pa rum pum pum pum on that drum.

The perfect gift – isn’t that what this season is all about.  As a young parent I would seek to find the perfect Christmas present for my children, well the perfect present that did not bust our small budget or include standing in line for hours out in the cold winter night. I loved my children but not enough to stand in line with a maddening crowd to get that last Cabbage Patch doll.

Why did I not care enough to stand in line – history?

What they thought they wanted, and needed desperately to be happy, would be tossed aside for some cheap, easy to find and cost nothing to buy toy or game that they already had and forgot about it!

I’m the same way with the gifts God has given me. I think I want once again the big job, the fancy title, but I don’t really want or need that.

History tells me so. The pain in my neck and clench in my stomach also tells me. My soul speaks “don’t do it”!

Do you do that to? Want something because you believe it will give to you what is so elusive to you right now?

When I had money I wanted time and less stress.

Now I have time and less stress I want, no need, money. My “If Only” mentality that ensures I will never be happy.

Happy shnappy!

Happy is like chasing a butterfly or this crazy big, last fly of the season that is in my house right now. Guess you don’t get to that size unless you’ve learned a few tricks!

Happy is the fuel for marketers everywhere. If only you had —, which is always their product, you will be happy!

Liar, liar pants on fire.

Lean in real close because I have a secret, not “the secret”, but a pretty good one, only you can make yourself happy!

Yep there it is!

But who really wants happiness when joy is also available to you?

Happiness is a boxed cake or drug store candy bar. Joy is the bliss of a bakery cake with fresh, thick, buttercream frosting that melts in your mouth and makes your toes curl. Add some chocolate and your other favorite poison and you have 10 seconds of total sugar high, fat induced happiness.

Did I tell you I’ve been off sugar for 10 months and 19 days?

Happy, shnappy!

No marketer is selling you joy! They know they’d get there pants sued off for false advertising!

Happy can come and go like that stupid big fat fly that just flew in the room while I am thumb typing.

One place sells the concept of joy – the Bible!  Yep that big fat book which we forget has all the “secrets” about life, and love and joy.  Happy 30 times in the Bible, Joy/Rejoice 300 times.  I like those odds. Again the link will always be at the bottom of the page, so argue with them not me if you don’t like what I am about to say.

Joy is one of God’s promises, inexplicable joy! And even though no one has tried to sue Him yet, or I don’t think so, should I google that or just keep typing. Anyway God can’t lie and He won’t lie! He will never tell you that that ugly sweater that is made of really itchy nylon looks good on you. He invented the mirror – remember!

Joy is filled with giggles that erupt up for the simplest reason – I can type with my thumbs faster and better than with the other eight combined.

Happy, shnappy – I want MORE Joy!

Joy allows you to wonder, why that fly made it this far and not get up to smash and kill it!  Wonder how did it get so fat. Could it, I mean she, be pregnant? I guess she will be here until spring.

See how joy lets you run free! My guess that fat fly has some joy in her – a baby! I guess I will have to google that too because I have know idea, nor do I want to know how flies pro-create. I am too joyful to really care.

Joy lets life fly by you without being in a constant tailspin.

Car cuts you off – Thank You Jesus no one was killed.

Joy lets you put things into a proper perspective and fills you with gratitude.

Can’t pay your bills – I still have my health!

Which is good since one of the bills I can’t pay is the 2 million dollar health insurance bill with the 10 trillion dollar co-pay. Oops need to stop talking about that I’m back to happy.

Joy allows you to joke during funerals and to start to laugh right in the middle of crying for the one you lost that you really loved. Because joy in heaven makes this earthly joy look like a fly infested pile of dung.

Or at least I think it should.

I wish their was Google heaven. That all the angles and saints are typing into Heavenipedia! Did I spell that right? Telling you how wonderful it is and giving away all their heavenly secrets!

And my sweet daughter gets to be there, in heaven, and I would never ask or want her to come back to this house that is now infested with flies because her mother is nuts and will not kill the giant pregnant fly!

Joy is just so much more fun, or my preferred funner, than happy!

Happy shnappy – I think that was the name of my husband’s dentist when he was a kid, but spelled with a C.

Joy is something in you that you can turn back up, or on, if for whatever crazy reason you turned if off. Which you sometimes do because it annoys those grumpy people who are waiting in those long lines at the store trying to buy happiness for their friends and family.  Feeling down, go to what my beloved sister and I call it – “The Joy Channel”. The channel in your brain, the place in your heart, that space in your soul or that station on the radio that allows joy to flow right back in and take over those dark places.

How can that happen?  Joy is in you and through you.  No one, and I mean no one, can take it away!

Joy allows you to snort and laugh when you remember the crazy things your dearly departed husband did right in the middle of crying about how much you miss him. Just spend time with my beloved sister who lost her husband 3 months ago!

Joy is priceless and costs you not a dime! No waiting in line, no regrets, no calories – none of the bad stuff and all of the good stuff.

Joy is a way of life that swells your heart, eases your fears, and you can face this thing called life with gusto!

If joy is so awesome why isn’t everyone running to get it?  Who said that?

Did you just slam on your reading breaks? We were having fun and then screech need to make a left turn from laughter to reality.

I’m no expert in everyone, but I am an expert in me.

So from my stubborn perspective I wanted to do whatever I wanted whenever I wanted and to hell with rules, and rulers (not the one that helps you measure or try to draw a straight line with kind of ruler or the grammar geeks) the bosses of the world, or universe, kind of rulers. Especially the biggest boss of all, God, telling me what to do – the ruler of rules!

My way!  I want it my way!  MINE!!!!

Yep, just like my two year old granddaughter as she grabs to eat the hot pepper growing my my garden. Why do we have to learn these lessons the hard, and hot way?

Not, and trust me, not a day sooner, until the day when I crashed to the ground under the weight of my self imposed unhappiness in my costly quest for happiness did I look up. And in my desperation cried out a prayer to the Big Boss in the Sky (funny how non-believers like to call Him that) Who in a miraculous flash of love, grace and forgiveness saved a wretch like me. In a instant, HE left the joy in and took the anger, resentment, pain and regrets like a giant bad emotion sucker in the sky.

Joy shone so brightly through me that night that my son proclaimed, “The same woman who went up the stairs, is not the same woman who went up!”

And the rest is history or shestory of me saying yes to joy, to Jesus and no to the elusive fly of happiness. and doing my things my way, not HIS WAY!

Happy Schnappy!

I say instead Joy to the World, all of you, even the skeptical ones!

http://www.gotquestions.org/joy-happiness.html

Create MORE Something

I need to create. Not sure why, but I need it. Sometimes I need to make up silly songs, or take hours creating connection of words strung together. Creation brings a rise in my posture, a joy in my heart and these wonderful tingles that run down my arm.

Sofie's Art

We are all creators, and when we create is when, I believe, we are closest to the image of who God – our Creator, wants us to be. He has instilled in us a desire to take nothing and make something. Whether it is a drawing, a house, a process, a customer happy, an emoji, a kick butt exercise program or something to clip our socks together – just do what we are here to do, create MORE something.

Watch children they are always creating, most times they look like messes to our underdeveloped eyes – look again!

My granddaughter Sofie, who just turned two, likes to culla, culla, culla. Why she says thing in threes, I don’t know, but I do know what she’s wants – to color.

Give her a pen, paper, some crayons and let her go! She might just make one marking on a GIANT sheet of paper, or take days squiggling lines in various colors. She proclaims I am done, and grabs another piece of gigantic paper. That little drawing or circle or dot on the page is complete, finished, a job well done – in her uncorrupted mind.

What do you see from Sofie’s picture?
– a waste of paper
– another tree being slayed for Sofie’s insatiable creativity
– trash
– inspiration

I see a masterpiece that is a riot to watch as she creates. When she is done, it is finished, and a new work of art must begin! No one can question her creativity for it is perfect, in her little head and in my heart – because it is her creation. “Mine” she will shout out for all to hear as she shares her creation.

Yes mine!

Kids are unencumbered with judgment when they do their creative thing. And what a beautiful sight it is to behold. Last week I attended daily Mass and this young boy was going to town signing Alleluia while doing this sign language thing that they do. The excitement on his face was breathtaking and heartbreaking. For this moment now and the moment only a few days later where I saw him again – still.

Someone had taken the dance out of him and it hurt for me to watch. I wept and I believe God wept as well. He gives a beautiful gift to us and some well intention somebody crushes it. We are devastated and that gift might never again see the light of day. It wants to, we won’t let it – we want to protect it.

One of the aspects I love about the work I do is to create a safe place where people can reveal that hidden gift. They think I am relentless as I ask them to share success stories, after success stories, to go deeper, go further back and I am not satisfied until I see their truth.

Their truth can surface subtlety at first, and then I see a spark flash across their face, their eyes light up or the eyebrows lift. Or I hear the shift in their voice, sometimes it rises or a lilt is lifted. That gift cautiously ventures out into the light, sometimes to be pulled back in, when I have to coax it back out – with a question.

What about “highlighter”, “safety”, “fixer” is important to you?

My favorite way of seeing that gift expressed is when a giggle erupts and spills out of them. Some word, an unimportant or by no means funny word to me, brings out delight. I ask for a rewind, say highlighter again, their face lights up, the giggle erupts and this time the tone in their voice is childlike – yep that is me!

Mine!

To see grown men who are rough and tough on the outside utter a word that softens their whole persona is breathtaking. Nothing is more beautiful for me to watch them regain power that they once had, and was safely hidden away for way too long.

What I AM seeing is the face of freedom! And then my heartbreaks because someone will tell them again to tone it down, don’t bring that back here, we don’t want that kind of stuff here. We don’t want your best stuff, we want that other stuff. And they stuff it back down, they hide that beautiful light of freedom and creativity – their gift.

Don’t go shining so brightly, we might make other folks feel bad.

But it doesn’t! Make them feel bad. It makes them feel good to watch our giftedness, to be part of our creation, to snatch it up and stand in awe of it, we want MORE of it!

Why? The face of creative freedom is beautiful!

How do I know?

Because we pay so much for it.

We pay to be awed – watch an artist on stage, watch a player on the field, pay millions for a brilliant piece of art, or buy millions of records of an artist.  Watching anyone working with excellence – draws us in and we want MORE, we won’t settle for anything less.  That is why we watch a sunset, or the moon rise. Why we love to laugh, love to cry, because we love to feel the connection of creation.

And when we are willing to pour MORE out, to give ourselves by shining that precious gift that was bestowed at our creation by our Creator we get MORE back. MORE peace, MORE joy, MORE love and MORE of everything that is good.

And when we just say yes, and let go of our creation, the Lord again weeps, but this time He weeps for joy, watching His precious child use HIS precious gift, given for our good and HIS glory.

Creation!

Turn to Gratitude

Do you have those days where you are stuck in a rut of routine, indecision or feeling empty. Empty of the light that I know still glows within me. These last few days I feel off my game, not even sure what game I am playing.

I can either try to figure it all out, the cause, the effect, the failures, the fruitless efforts or I can forego all of that to go to a place of gratitude.

Today especially I have so much to be grateful for, a most precious gift was given to me by my son and his wife. The gift of a new life, both my granddaughter Isabella, who turns eight today, and my new life as a grandmother.

Grandmother felt such an old title for such a young woman. It had so many negative emotions attached to it – and I was not prepared.

Prepared for the instant love I would have for this child. From the time I knew she existed, looking at her through weird ultrasound pictures and one 3-d image that had her looking like a Cyclops. I told her that day no matter what she looked like I would love her. And love her I do.

She is an old soul. A child with deep thoughts and deeper wisdom. Some of our best conversations are in the car. With me alone in the front and her alone in the back it sometimes feels like Driving Miss Izzie as she recounts her day. Izzie has been a great teacher during our car rides, maybe even one of the best.

From the time she began to talk Izzie had a depth of perception that I continue to be in awe of its power. One Friday, our typical shared day, I picked her up from school.

She asked how I was and I said good.

“Well that’s not what your face is saying!”

A quick check in the mirror and there it was – my face was covered with concern and Izzie read it perfectly.

With Izzie you need to be honest, present and on full alert because she will challenge you, remind you, and convince you to never underestimate the wisdom of a child.

Izzie insights on life, and death, something she easily understands, even though she reluctantly accepts, are beyond what her years should know.

Izzie has known my daughter, Aunt Jess, her whole life. She has never met her, but visits her each year – at the cemetery. Reverence for the ceremony of visiting, and for this place is always evident by demanding we visit, demanding we clean the gravesite and demanding we appropriately decorate Aunt Jess’s place with pine cones and flowers.

When my mother passed away Izzie was the only great grandchild present at her funeral. She sat quietly and reverently. My Father was amazed at the respect and graciousness this four year old had through the long viewing and Mass.

Izzie was also my inspiration not to lose it as I gave my Mom’s eulogy. I never want to disappoint this child, I always want her to know I am trying my best.

When I want to talk about the deeper things in life, why are we here, about our giftedness, about truth and inspiration – Izzie is my go to person; she gets it!

Izzie struggles at times in school.  Being too smart and too well behaved can cause some negative attention from her classmates. So to be normal, is my guess anyway, she started a pattern of forgetting one homework assignment each week. She didn’t know why she was doing it, and that I believe is not a lie. Her mother was feeling frustrated. I knew the best way to convince Izzie there was a better way to face her challenge was with both logic and faith.

“Izzie how would you feel if you gave me a beautiful, precious gift and I didn’t use it?”

“Not good!”

“God gave you this beautiful gift of intelligence. He has a great plan for you to use the smarts He gave you. You decided that being smart is not good enough or cool enough. When you do your homework and do not hand it in, your throwing that gift away.”

She nods in agreement.

“Your whole life people will be trying to make you less you. Don’t let them! You might be called on to solve one of the biggest problems that the world is facing. And you can’t let others’ motives distract you.”

Izzie informed me she is handing in her homework now. She even wanted to make sure her teachers talk to her parents about it. Seems that the school has the students do self reviews, and she was honest.

Love that girl!

Izzie has taught me how important a mentor can be in shaping your life, in seeing your potential through another’s eyes.  And for that I will be forever grateful.

I just wish my mentor would have arrived sooner than eight years ago.

What Did You Accomplish Today?

And Whose Rating Scale Are You Using?

Did you ever have one of those days where you felt like you accomplished nothing?

Congratulations – you deserve a break.

That’s what I had to tell myself today, and well too many days to count.

I am either a workaholic or a slug, and rarely anything in between.

When I haven’t accomplished anything tangible, I have to remind myself that I might have accomplished more doing nothing than anything else I would have attempted to do.

Whose standards am I measuring myself against anyway?

And if it is only me, maybe I need a new rating scale. One that is slug free, such a slimy, slithery word anyway.

Today I accomplished nothing. I spent time having a leisurely lunch with friends that I love to share my life with. Friends that know my struggles, and have prayed for me diligently. Friends that make me laugh, make me think and make me better.

Today I accomplished nothing. I went to dinner and a play with my sister and four of our seven granddaughters.

Eating dinner,  drinking in their differences. The serious, the silly, the studious and the starlet all shining brightly in who they are and who they will become. As a grandmother I get to watch God’s masterfulness in each one of their giftedness.

My mother would say she had six kids and they are all different, I wouldn’t want six of anyone of them. That is how I feel about these girls.  

Today I accomplished nothing. Rediscovering my mother’s truth through these four awesome girls, isn’t that work enough for one day!

Maybe I need to take a hint from each one of these girls and rename my days.

Today was silly – singing songs that I make up to entertain my granddaughter and irritate my great niece.

Today was also a serious day – listening to the pain in my son’s and sister’s voices as they courageously walk through heartbreaking losses.

Today I was studious as I attempted to problem solving why I could not log into my blog. Thankfully I figured out how to get in, but not what blocked me.

Today I am a starlet, starting to push myself out there through this blog challenge. Trying to be both light, and laughter, shining for those who need a glimmer of hope for a life that could be more than they dreamed possible.

Today was a day when I accomplished nothing that was really something!

Today Will You Make Someone’s Day Great?

Lessons from my Father and Granddaughter

Visits with my Dad can bring in so many different emotions.

what-we-do

Heartbreak – when his anxiety is in overdrive from dementia.

Heartbreak when he has no idea where he is, who I am or what to do next.

He is a lost child waiting for parental guidance.

I had that blest childhood without want or worry. So when I see him I am heartbroken, an emotion I rarely feel.

Dad made me feel safe, and I want him to feel safe, free from anxiety, and I can’t.

The only thing I know to do is to call on our shared parent – Father God.

Resting my hands on my Dad’s shoulders I ask The One who can, to lift Dad’s anxiety.

My Dad will ask me, “What are you doing?”

“I’m praying.”

“Good” is his reply.

When Dad remembers nothing those days, why does he remember that prayer is good?

Some days visiting with Dad is a shit storm – literally.

And if I am not prepared for his anxiety, I am less prepared for these storms – and I feel sad.

Bodily fluids and me have never had a great relationship, especially those that create a storm.

A storm all over his room and a storm of helplessness in me.

I don’t know where to start or, if I even want to.

This is not my storm to fight.

So reluctantly and sadly I find a helper, a helper for me in the storm, and a helper to clean up my Dad.

These storms make me feel sad.

Sad for this strong man and sad for this weak daughter.

Visits with Dad can be enlightening.

Learning he was on the high school debate team or that he enjoyed drag racing down Route 70 with his best friend, Uncle Bud.

And during these visits I feel proud.  Proud of a man who lived life to its fullest.  Who is more often content, than confused with that beautiful smile, and handsome face.

Visits with Dad can make me feel adventurous as he takes us to foreign lands.

Just this summer, right after his birthday, we were in France together. My sister Marie, Dad and I sat outside, sipping coffee at a French cafe. He was surprised at the smallness of the trees, he remembered them as taller when he visited France during the war.

He was so delighted that we were there visiting with him in France.

When I returned home to recall my visit with Dad, my husband says, “I’m so sorry honey.”

I’m not!

Even though France was the front portico of Dad’s assisted living; he knew us and called us each by name – he remembered. And I felt blessed that day.

Visits with my Dad make me feel confused when he is full of questions, and answers.

Yesterday I took Izzie, my granddaughter to see Pops, her name for my Dad.

At times I am reluctant to bring Izzie, because I feel afraid.

Afraid of a shit storm right before her young and impressionable eyes.

Afraid for her to see heightened anxiety that can go into a mad rant.

Afraid for what she sometimes hears as my lies, as I comfort him, and reassure him that my mother is just shopping.

And afraid that she will see me, not at my best.

Yesterday was a good visit. Good to be sitting with him in New Jersey, sipping coffee, as he shares a donut with Izzie.

This day was not just good, it was great.

“Why”, I asked him?

“Because she is here” – pointing to Izzie.

This day when he had no idea who I was, what day it was, what year it was, was still great.

A day when he asked too many times how old Izzie was, where her brother was and who she was.

Too many questions and always the same answers.

“I’m eight.”
” I don’t have a brother, I have a sister Sofie, and she is two.”

But none of it mattered for this day, was a great day for me too!

It was great day because it was filled with:

Love between a Father and Daughter.
Love between a granddaughter and her Gan-ma.

Because when I ask my Dad, and always reluctantly, how he knows me, he offers just one word.

Love!

Yesterday was a great visit with my Dad because I felt love – the greatest emotion of all!

I AM Thankful

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I am thankful that each morning I can sit in my prayer chair, read Jesus Calling and the Bible, meditate and pray. This ritual has brought me a life that is MORE because each morning starts in thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving for both my successes and struggles, for my days of plenty and my days of wanting more, for the days I wake up to see the sun, and those I have learned to love, like today, when I awoke to darkness.

For too many years of my life getting out of bed was drudgery. My heart acted as if each day would be full of hard labor, problems and challenging people – nothing to be thankful, or worth getting out of bed for.

Living in thanksgiving I now awake to possibilities of what ifs that are shimmery with potential and promise.

Living in thanksgiving pulls me into the present, the gift of now, something to get up for – to spend quiet moments with the Lord believing, remembering, praying, yet no longer pleading, for MORE, as I have done in the past.

Living in thanksgiving has brought peace and contentment that is often inexplicable because the same challenges, the same people, and even more problems face me every day.

Living in thanksgiving reminds me that this day is the Lord’s day, that He is in control, that each problem or task, when faced in thanksgiving, makes me thankful.

Thankful for what lesson will unfold for me, what more I can become because I said yes to it, and not run or hide from it , like I have done in the past.

Thanksgiving Day is every day and for that – I AM thankful.

Stop It!

But I want MORE!

Stop It!

This is what I have to tell myself when those tiny little videos or messages pop up making everything look simple from baking, to decorating, to cutting your own hair, to starting a business.

They pop up to encourage, or entice, me to do something that looks so easy – for them anyway, and is absolutely painful or impossible for me.

Beautiful apple pie rosettes that were made in a short little video drew me in. When beauty is that easy I went against my better judgement and took the plunge. I cut, rolled, sprinkled and then prayed as I popped those little beauties into the oven.

Looking longingly through the oven door glass hoping to see those rosettes blossoming only to see my creation wilting right before my eyes.

Another hour of my life wasted on wilted apple rosettes that looked too easy, and maybe too good to be true – for me.

I need to stop it!

Whatever that “it” might be, because – I am a sucker, or as I lovingly call myself, easy to sell to.

I get excited when others are excited. I believe and trust and hope in what is presented to me as life changing for others will change my life as well.

Why? I want MORE!

And because I love to watch transformations. To watch raw material transform into something wonderful, apples and flour to beautiful cinnamon kissed rosettes.

From hard to simple, from bland to beautiful, from homeless to hopeful. And that love of transformation, and the possibilities and promises that come with it, has costed me dearly.

In wasted time, wasted dollars, wasted dreams.

After spending thousands of dollars and hours trying to be just like so many someone elses I deemed more successful or knowledgable than myself, I decided to stop it, and sell myself on being myself.

To sell myself that who I am, how I work, what I look like, what my perception of the world and how it works is MORE than enough for me. That me being MORE will be great for me, it will change my life.

And it did!

When I started to be MORE me, living life my way, not selfishly, but vividly and honestly, life has been MORE than I ever dreamed possible. It is who I am and most importantly, it is who I should be – me just MORE.  The transformed me! 

And now I can’t stop it!

What If?

What is iffing you today?

Copyright: frankwolffnl / 123RF Stock Photo

What If…

Can be such a hopeful phrase: what if there was peace on earth.

What if can also bring in an element of doubt or concern; what if this is cancer?

What ifs can stop us, start us, cause us to pause and ponder – what if?

Today my what ifs are:

* What if no one ever reads my blogs?

* What if what I believed I could achieve from writing never happened?

* What if my words offended?

* What if my stories are too long?

* What if I can’t find the missing comma?

* What if those I am called to teach are never reached?

* What if the world now knows that I am a fraud?

* What if the only one ever impacted by my writing was me?

What ifs … The lonely, worrisome world of a fake future never allows me to enjoy the what now of the present.

What if I stopped what iffing and just started doing?

Doing what excites and energizes me!

Doing what my heart and soul call me to do!

What if the only thing stopping me from living my MORE was – what if!

What if?

Best Day Ever

And Then It Wasn't

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Have you ever woke up and proclaimed this is the best day ever?

I did.  

It was just a regular day 17 years ago that I jumped out of bed and declared “this is the best day ever”!

Jumping out of bed should have made me suspicious. Unless this was a day that I was starting a vacation on a tropical island where I could wiggle my toes in the warm Caribbean sand, I wasn’t the jumping out of bed type. The snooze alarm is a top ten invention for me.  

Hate going to bed, hate getting out even more. 

My BDE was not my wedding day, which was a wonderful day. Nor was my BDE the day that I gave birth to any of my three children . All good days, but none of them, not any day in my entire life had I felt the way I did this beautiful best day ever.

This day was just an ordinary day, a Wednesday. The only exception – it was the first day of fall.  Fall is my favorite season, the season I fell in love with Joe, my husband. The season of my first child Jessica’s birth. The season when the air is crisp and clean. The season my soul seeks. 

Yet this day was different. I’d been through 41 fall seasons, but none of them had started off with this level of elation and excitement. My heart was light and filled with joy. Something special was going to happen today – I just knew it!

If I was suspicious about the jumping out of bed – the rest of the world was suspicious of my incessant proclamations about the superiority of this day.  

Going to lunch with co-workers I noticed an amazing sky that was a deep shade of blue with not a cloud to be found.  “Isn’t this the best day ever?” I said as we ate lunch and went to do a little shopping.  My kind of day!

Jessie Blue Sky

No matter what the reason for this feeling of elation – I’m still not sure. All that I know is that this was the best day ever.

Until it wasn’t.  

Around 2:00pm I heard a page from the receptionist.  “Call for Diane Belz.”  

Picking up the phone all that I heard was a voice crying on the other end.  Dread filled my heart. The wrenching sound of this cry only comes from tragedy. Sobs were so loud, so unconsolable, so gut wrenching that I could not detect what the caller was saying to me. For whatever reason, I asked him, “Who died?”  

“Jessica”, was the unexpected answer.  

My parents, my in laws, even my husband, who works construction, would have made more sense.  But my 22 year old daughter.  

What happened?  My brother, the caller, did not have the answer.  

When shock sets in we are never sure what we will do next?

Not a tear was shed, not a cry of unbelief, because I knew deep in my soul that this news was true.  My daughter, though not “ill”, had predicated her early death. She would not even allow us to say she was 23.  

Jessica suffered from bi-polar disease, diabetes and struggled with eating disorders, throw in an asthma attack every once in awhile to keep her life, and ours, interesting.  Jess had moved to California one month prior. What I thought was another manic decision, she thought was a brilliant idea. She quit her job and went with a friend to sunny California the land of peace and promise, or at least that was what she was hoping for.  

As she was sitting in her friends car, packed and ready to go, I asked her, “Have you checked with the Lord on this decision?”  

“Yep”, she replied, “I believe I’ll find peace in California”.

In some strange way I felt grateful that she told me this. These were words that provided a calming salve to me even 16 years later. Jessica had finally found the peace she had sought for so long. Peace was her prayer, my prayer, the prayers of so many who had seen her struggle.

Our prayers were answered – just not the way we had wanted. 

For most of us the beauty of the change of seasons brings promise and possibilities, for Jess it was different, very different. Especially the change from summer to fall; darkness would set in and depression took control of her days. Fall almost became literal as we would watch the elation of Jessica’s summer’s mania, crash down around her. 

Ironic, maybe not, that she would leave the earth on this day, the first day of fall. Her predication was correct, she would die young and she never made it to 23. Dying 45 days before her dreaded 23rd birthday. It all made perfect sense, well to me anyway.  

What do I do next?

Something, or Someone took over me. The only thing I knew – I had to get out of my office and get to my husband ASAP.  Joe was working two towns over.  I knew the construction site where he was working because I had dropped off donuts to him and his crew two weeks ago. That random act of kindness helped me find him when I needed him most. Nothing or no one was going to stop me from getting there. 

Why I kept a decorum of professionalism I again will never know.  Grabbing my hand bag I walked out of my office, told my co-workers what had happened and told them where I was going. They wanted to help but I couldn’t or wouldn’t let them.  I had to do this myself. My husband and sons would not hear this news over the phone, it had to be face to face and they had to hear it from me – calmly, rationally and with a level of acceptance.  

When I reached the construction site, again I noticed this outstandingly beautiful sky. Amazingly the color of the sky did not change for an entire week! Like Noah with his rainbow, my family has our “Jessie blue sky” as a reminder of Jessica and that God’s promises are true.

I’d lost one of the most important people who had ever lived that day? How would I go on?

Jessica and I grew up together, we were only 19 years apart.  I knew I was in for the fight of my life and I needed to take at least one step forward into my new life, my life without Jessica.

My best day ever was not going to define me. My daughter’s death would not hold my identity, but I would allow it to refine me.

What her life and death would do was make me better than before, because that is how Jess would have wanted it. 

How do I know that?  Because she told me so in the book, Where Would I Be Without You, Mom?, Jess gave me for Mother’s Day that year. 

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This book, with her highlights and notations, I picked up and read to all the mourners who filled our house that night.  Each line provided guidance, a lesson and a roadmap of how she wanted us to proceed.  Not tearfully, not full of regrets, but with hope and a promise. 

Through the words my daughter left behind she was ensuring me that I would learn the lessons she alone was meant to teach me.  Especially that any day can be your best day ever. You just have to hold on to the promise that one day that best day will last – through eternity.  

And now I realize:

  • My joy was her joy
  • My peace was her peace
  • My awe at such a beautiful day, was her awe of the heavenly realm

Today 16 years later I finally realized.  This was the best day ever – for Jess.  She just wanted to share with me what heaven felt like.  

Love you sweetie, MORE than sugar cane!

Jess Wisdom

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Put It in PARK!

Why I Learn the Hard Way!

I do. Not parallel parking, well maybe a little, I’m talking about parking my emotions, reactions and impatience when something doesn’t go my way. 

No Parking

One beautiful summer day, after dropping my granddaughter off from a sleepover, I learned an interesting parking lesson.  I was cruising along enjoying the ride home right up until I turned around a curve and was forced to slow down, really slow down. The car in front of me, in the left lane, the passing lane, the get out of my way lane, was driving 10 miles BELOW the speed limit. 

There is something about an open road on a sunny day and the ability to drive with speed that makes me feel powerful, in control and like I own a piece of the road. So my impatience reared up and I quickly glanced in the side view mirror and proceeded to move into the right hand lane – until the honking of a horn stopped me. 

Ooops.   I hate that. 

What do I hate? 

I hate making mistakes and I hate knowing what will come next. 

Okay I live in Jersey to some, New Jersey to me.

Why does it matter where I live?

Because in New Jersey driving is a competitive sport, and the horn is usually the first step in the conversation.  Which is then followed by both verbal and non-verbal communication.  

Bad Diane, you should have fixed your mirror, why do you have to turn it down when your grandkids are in the car?  Bad Diane, why do you want to drive so fast.

What I needed to do was stop beating myself up. Okay the day had quickly gone from good to bad, but I wasn’t expecting total ruination of this beautiful Sunday. Yet that is what happened as the traffic light in front of me moved quickly from green to yellow to red.

And who was in the lane next to me – the BIG RED Suburban I almost took out. That’s right – me and Big Red side by side.  Keeping my eyes glued to the traffic light hoping to make a quick exit the second before it turned green.  Also to ensure that I did not make eye contact with the horn honking Suburban driver.

But as usual curiosity got the best of me and I shifted my eyes to take a quick glance, just a small peek. And as I predicted the nonverbal communication started. Another should of popped into my head as I saw a hand come out the Suburban’s window with that wonderful finger gesture directed at me.  

No not that one, the pointer finger moving in a circular motion instructing me to roll down my window.

So they want a fight do they? 

My first instinct was to run the red light.  Thankfully I remembered the cost to that decision – $95. I know from experience.    

Plan B – put on my big girl pants and face my accuser. As I turned to my right I was surprised to the point of speechlessness at my accusers face. Squeezing my eyes shut and screaming would have been defensible because to make matters even worse my accuser was the most beautiful woman I have ever seen.  Long tendrils of beautiful red hair, the type of hair that every romance novel heroine seems to have.

Her words were even more shocking than her appearance. Big Red was making this day memorable that’s for sure. For I believe that these words have never, ever been uttered by anyone in the history of driving in NJ.  

Big Red had the audacity to say to me “I hope I didn’t upset you.”  

What? What did she just say to me? Is she crazy?  It only got better.

“I wanted to apologize for honking my horn.”  

Okay now I know there is something truly wrong with this lady. But she goes on as I continue to stare at her in complete shock.

“I didn’t know how else to get your attention.  I know you probably didn’t see me. That’s why I honked my horn. I’m glad the light turned red. I wanted to get your attention so I could apologize.”

Get my attention – she had me at “I’m sorry”! What was going on here? The honker apologized. 

Yep she apologized. What did I say to her?  

Nothing!  

I tried, but my reply came in the form of guppy language.  You know when your mouth opens and closes with a popping noise as your brain tries desperately to make sense of the situation and utter an appropriate retort.  

Amazing I was prepared for vengeance, a litany of curses and comments about my bad driving skills, but not the kindness Big Red displayed. She even motioned that I move ahead of her me as the light finally turned green.

What was wrong with her?  

I said these words in my head with a level of sarcasm that she did not deserve.

Well life most be easy for her was the first excuse I could come up with for her nice behavior. That’s it! When you’re that beautiful, your hair is that perfect, your teeth that white and you can afford to fill up that Big Red Suburban with a tank of gas life must be good.  

Or she found a miracle drug that causes patience, forgiveness and apologetic side effects. Whatever it was that caused her to behave so calmly, so nicely, so angelic I wanted some.  

Or did she just have a liquid lunch and did not want to cause an issue if I started to go ballistic about how dare she honk her horn at me. Remember we’re in Jersey.  

Or should I follow her to find the answer to the mystery of her gracious behavior. This could be my ureaka moment – I could make a fortune if I could only figure out her kindness formula.  

Then a wave of conviction comes over me and slams me back into my pompous driver’s seat.  Then that still small voice of God informs me, “It’s a choice Diane. She chose kindness.”  

It’s one thing to know that I am a reckless, arrogant and an impatient driver; it is another whole deal when God lets you know HE knows it too. Okay – then help me Lord, give me a clue, a sign, how do I change my reactionary behavior?  Give me what you gave to her – please!. 

Stopping at the next red light on the road home I placed my hand on the gearshift knob, looked down and saw the letter P.  Somehow I knew that this was the clue, this P would be my answer – the true magic formula to kindness.

P stands for PARK and what could it mean in this situation? Then it hit me. Big Red put her mouth and emotions into PARK. That’s how she did it.This revelation came as such a shock to me. Big Red was in control of her emotions, she was powerful in her kindness and convicting in her compassion. She did not take my mistake as an assault, a personal affront to her rights, but as a simple human error.  

What a concept!

So now when the beast of impatience rises up in me and desires to be fed or when some human makes a mistake, I put it into PARK.

Yes PARK – because that is one of the things when I am about to make that wrong turn, take the detour that could lead to no return or when I am about to make a critically bad decision I PARK. 

If you’ve read previous blogs you know that I like acronyms.  I can even make them out of license plates!  So that day was no different, and this acronym is a powerful process! 

P – Pause, take a breath and gather my composure

A – Acknowledge how I am feeling and Affirm who I am, as well as affirm who the person is that might have stepped on my toes, or butted in front of me, or cut me off, or any other minor infraction. 

R – Reflect on the ending I want this story to have before Responding with Respect and

K – Kindness

By putting her words, actions and emotions into PARK Big Red was able to:

  • Make a better choice, kindness over cursing, compassion over conflict.
  • Brighten my day with her smile, her positive attitude and her kind words.
  • Show MORE living is possible even in the many near collisions we face in life.
  • Take bold action. Big Red boldly stopped. She boldly asked how I was doing. She boldly took a risk when I could have reacted anywhere from negative to violently – remember Jersey drivers!  
  • Change my life!

Lessons on how to live MORE are everywhere. BIG RED on this bright and sunny Sunday changed my life.  The sad part, she doesn’t know it.

I only saw her for a few minutes, their were a few words shared between us, but she taught me a valuable lesson – life is a series of choices. We can choose to be brave, smile and apologize. When we do, it changes how we feel, how we feel about others, and how others feel about themselves.

Big Red is a hero of mine – I just wish she knew the impact she has had on my life. A stranger, during a very strange encounter who taught me a skill that I will forever be grateful because I finally know how to PARK.  

Has anyone changed your life in a chance meeting?  

Is Your Career Crushing You!

5 Steps to Crush it!

My new client Shelley loved her job, loved it!  And she crushed it!  The results she shared with me are fabulous, her energy infectious, and the relationships with her clients – life changing.  The challenge Shelley is facing – finding another role that will ensure she does what she loves every day.  Even though she loved her job, Shelley’s company did a re-org and took this free spirit and chained her to a desk.  A year after having her wings clipped Shelley flew out the door desperate to reclaim her freedom. 

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Shelley lost the career that she loved, and her company lost an employee that one year prior Executives gave her this compliment about her performance.  “We wish we could clone you!”  

Shelley chose the uncertainty of finding a new job, in a less than ideal job market, to the chains of doing work that she didn’t love to do.  What Shelley did was “Crush Her Career” rather than allowing it to crush her. 

Five steps Shelley has taken to crush her career: 

  1. Knowing her strengths of relationship building, setting goals and performing (her description of sales presentations) to inspire, influence and change perceptions and committing to using all of them every day
  2. Clearly defining every aspect of her “ideal” job description  
  3. Say no to taking any job that clips her free spirit wings 
  4. Committing to doing only work that she loves 
  5. Trusting that her strengths are stronger than any job market 

Shelley has a distinct advantage; she knows what loving her job feels like, and will not settle for anything less than love.  

If you are not in love with your job, if you dread going to work every day, if you come home exhaust, cranky and frustrated, it might be time to start “Crushing Your Career”, before your career crushes your heart, your soul, body, and mind.  

What aspect of your career is crushing you? 

Transformations

Are you in need of one?

What a difference a week makes, or should I say my weakness makes.

Daisy Transformation

Easter came and went like a blur.

Dealing with Dad’s short hospital stay, how horrible does that sound, took a lot out of me. Dementia has transformed him into a shadow of himself; some days I want my strong, smart and smiling Daddy back.

Ever since Easter, I have been feeling out of sorts. Exhausted, stressed and far from the spiritual renewal I had hoped this Easter would have on my life. My head felt like it belonged on some else’s body – woozy is the best word to describe my transformed state.

My out of sorts feeling now has a deadly diagnosis, high blood pressure. There are few bigger whiners and weenies than me when it comes to physical discomfort. And for me, the great denier and hater of all things pharmaceutical, I relented and am now taking a pill! A tough blow to this tough old broad, or at least that’s what I want to be – tough, never weak.

My reaction to this little blip on my screen of life, please don’t laugh, God had abandoned me!

Yep, when I feel physically bad, I feel spiritually empty. Not a good combination, because I get too close to the cusp of crazy. Me of so little faith, and rational thought!

This past week on another good Friday, I was back in church sitting quietly before a beautiful life-sized crucifix of my Savior. During this respite, I took some much needed time to chat with Jesus and He gently reminded me that:

* My most anxious times have led to transforming revelations.
* The best day of my life ended in tragedy.
* His ways are not the ways of the world.
* That I can trust Him in all things, and always.

What I learned in this quiet, contemplative moment was that, He is still with me, yet I doubted that truth all week.

  • Doubted that the Lord loved me.
  • Doubted that the Lord had a plan for my current struggles.
  • Doubted that peace was still possible.

How crazy does that sound – over wooziness?

What a difference a week makes on this, boy I hate to admit it or feel it, weak soul like me.

The beauty of Jesus, He knew I would be right there in a Church that I had been in only twice before, this place of adoration and contemplation, where I would receive more of Him. Not just a quick daily Mass, I needed more time, more of His presence, and more of His infinite love.

And here in this place with the overwhelming smell of Easter flowers that would usually crush me, I am soaking in the heavenly smell of Easter; the Resurrection part of Easter where Jesus turned doubters and transformed them into true believers. Before this cross, I remembered that He can take what little faith I have left and transform me as well.

Transform me as He did Thomas, the great doubter. As He transformed Mary, who knew the crush of demonic spirits. As He transformed Peter, the denier who had the courage to enter the empty tomb. They all knew fear, abandonment and doubt and were transformed by Jesus’ powerful presence and His precious blood.

And with this realization, His peace covered and caressed me, all because of that first Good Friday. Amazing what spending time in the presence of Jesus did for my very weak, weary and doubting soul. He was able to take the little faith I had left and transformed me back into a believer.

Boy, what a difference a week makes!

Pay Inequality – The True Winners and Losers

Evaluate - Nikola Tesla

There is a contentious debate surrounding both raising the minimum wage and gender pay inequality. Too often I believe these debates are waged with good intentions yet bad motives – politics. And from my perspective political motives can create Winners and Losers.

My goal – everyone wins and we are all being paid what we are worth! 

Let me share an example of true pay inequality:

Amy and Sally are two co-workers hired to do the same job. Each makes $15 per hour. Ambitious Amy can process 50 files, the minimum requirement per day, in 6 hours. Since she is scheduled for an 8 hours day her supervisor gives her additional work. For the extra two hours, she has now processed 67 files. At $15 per hour, Amy is paid $1.79 per file.

Her co-worker slow Sally produces 40 files in 8 hours. Since the minimum requirement for the day is 50 files, Sally is required to work overtime. Sally works an additional 2 hours and is paid time and a half pay. At $15 per hour for the first 40 files, and $22.50 for the remaining 10 files the cost to complete the required work for Sally that day is $165 or $3.30 per file.

  • Amy is making $31,200 a year and produces 16,750 units per year, considering a two-week vacation.
  • Sally earns $41,250 per year producing 12,500 units, considering the same two-week vacation. 
  • Sally earns $10,000 more per year to produce 4,250 fewer units.

Who are the winner and loser in this story?

Sally is rewarded for her slowness.  Is she the winner?

While Amy is paid less for more results. Is she the loser?

Is the company winning by having this type of pay disparity? 

Why Does This Matter? Everyone loses!

This is what real pay disparity looks like in most organizations. I’ve seen it up close since this is a real example.  Amy, my niece, who was hired as a summer intern for a company I worked at, blew the door off of every other long-term, full-time employee in the department.  She was out performing in a matter of days! 

This type of pay inequality is pervasive and burns out the best performers. 

Those not working in their gifted, talented and strengths zones can receive more pay due to the length of service or experience, yet are less satisfied. Years of working outside their strengths zones leave these employees weak, struggling and hating the work that they do.  What a tremendous loss! 

Who do you think wins?

My vote – Amy!  Since she was doing the work that she was, and still is, gifted and talented in – processing and getting things done, within the deadline. by saying yes to her strengths her career continues to be successful. 

In this situation, both Sally and the organization lose.  The cost can be far greater to allow this pay disparity to continue then helping Sally to discover, develop and, on a daily basis, use her strengths. 

When all employees are using their strengths every day, everyone wins.  The Company by increased productivity, engagement and quality. The employees by being energized, involved and using their God-given gifts and talents and empowered at work. 

How do we solve this problem?

Let’s change the conversation by: 

  • Ensuring that all individuals can become successful, productive and powerful through strength-based education, job selection and promotions. 
  • Focusing our attention on raising workers strengths to their highest level, not of fixing their weaknesses. 
  • Eliminating divisive talk that creates winners and losers.  
  • Encouraging career ownership – where employees are creating value for themselves, their clients and employers. 

What are your thoughts?

Seven Simple Questions to Move from Getting Just a Job to Getting an Ideal Job

And Why It Matters!

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If we are spending 20, 30, 40, 50 or 100 hours a week doing something, shouldn’t we love that something that we are doing?

One of my clients, Manny, had a great mind, great talent, great personality, yet a horrible work history. He kept on looking for jobs – not an ideal work relationship.

Most of the time when Manny was hired, he was underutilized, dissatisfied, and the job was short lived. He was always settling for less when he was capable of so much more.

When I worked with Manny to define and describe his ideal job, he started to feel excited, that love could be possible. Manny finally realized that there was a better place for him. A place where his gifts, talents, and passions would be appreciated and utilized, and he was eager to go find it!

Manny is now in a place that he loves, doing work that he loves because he knew exactly what he wanted.

By taking the time to define his ideal job Manny went from under and unemployed, to loving and excelling in what he is doing.  

Manny’s report back to me after a couple of weeks on the job, “I didn’t know work could feel like this!”

His employer reached out to me to see if I know anyone else like Manny.  “He really has a great personality and we are glad to have him on our team.”  

I love happy endings, or should I say happy new beginnings!

Simple – really simple questions I asked Manny to help him find his ideal:

  1. What would your ideal work day be like?
  2. What tasks would you be doing?
  3. What responsibilities would you have?
  4. Where would you work?
  5. Who would you be working with?
  6. What would your boss be like?
  7. What results would you be achieving?

I know a whole lot of questions, and each one is critical to answer, so you can get back that loving feeling back, or finally find a work relationship that you love.

Just wanting a job change isn’t enough, because you could end up right back where you started, in a loveless relationship.

In your desire to get out of the place you hate, that place, that role, that career that drains your energy every day, zaps your confidence, and makes you feel broken and beaten down, you might see something that looks just a little better, and take it!

I don’t want a little better for you. I want what is ideal for you, and you should too.

Why?

You’re worth it and the world needs your gifts, talents and passions.

The best way to get out of a bad place is to know where you are and with a clear picture of where you want to go.

What will you need?

A career relationship picture that is so vivid that when you see it, you’ll know you’ve found it! That ideal work relationship is a career, and a place, that you love and it loves you right back!

 

Time to Tell the Truth!

Are you ready?

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Blame Game! Have you played it?

I have, for too many years and it kept me stuck, and struggling to get that loving feeling back for my career.

I could blame all the people around me. I could blame the economy. I could blame my lack of, or too much, experience. I could blame my age, the times, my past decisions and my present obstacles. If I put my mind to it, I could probably find a good reason to blame you as well.

Thankfully the truth set me free. 

What was that truth – it’s all me!

Always has been, always will be.

Neesha Find’s Her Truth!

I have always loved to work.

So for me when I hear someone say that they hate to work, not just their job, but work itself, I am very curious.

During a career class for high school kids, who weren’t aspiring to much more than staying on welfare – that’s the truth, I wanted to engage them in the love of work.

Neesha, a brave, smart and sweet young lady, stood up to recount how much she hated work.

“Why”, I asked?

“All the people are nasty, all the time, everyday.”

I love superlatives and have slung a few myself. I also know that always and never, well -never happens.

So I asked her, since she worked at that place that gives out happy meals, “Even when the customers are getting happy meals – they’re still not happy?

“Yep”

“Even when the sun is shining, the world is bright, free stuff is being given away, they’re still nasty?”

” Yep, always nasty, never happy!”

“Always – are you sure?”

“Well, every once in a while the day isn’t that bad.”

I asked that truth seeking missile of a question, “What makes those days different.”

Neesha paused, gave me that rolled eye look. Not the “are you for real” eye roll. The eye roll when you try to read the inside of your forehead hoping to find an answer. The eye roll that says, “Let me think about that.” The eye roll with possibilities.

She must have found it, because the look of finding truth showed up all over her face. That eureka moment!

“Me!”

“The days when my attitude stinks, when I don’t want to work, when my son is sick, when life is tough, when life is nasty – my customers are all nasty.

When I’m good – their good. When I’m nasty – their nasty.”

Then a little miracle happened, and as I said at the start, the truth set her free!

Neesha exclaimed with excitement, “I have control of my job! I can make it a good day or a bad day. It’s me!’

Out of the mouth of babes! Now that’s truth telling.

What truth do you need to start telling yourself?

Awareness is a Super Power!

Are you ready to put your cape on?

Awareness can take you to places you’ve never been before. See things you’ve never seen before. Hear things you’ve never heard before. Perceive and receive things you’ve never – well you get the drift.

Awareness Quote

Awareness – we all have it, we just might not see it as a super power. Let’s test your awareness. Have you ever bought a new car and then you see your brand new car everywhere. Your first shopping trip you can’t find your car, because all the cars in the lot looks exactly like yours.

Or you pick a name for your child, attempting to be unique, or at least not trendy, only to realize you’ve picked the #1 name for that year. It happened when we picked our daughter’s name – Jessica, which was the top girls name for 1975.

Awareness doesn’t change your circumstances, per se, it changes how you view your circumstances. We start to see that new car. We start to hear that baby girl’s name.

Why – because we’ve become aware.  

The same will happen for your career. You are now paying attention, focusing on what is working and not working, when you are in love, and when you loathe your job. 

The power of awareness has made a huge impact in my life. I almost quit teaching/facilitating. Some days were great, some days not so great. 

Thankfully, through awareness, I discovered the differences between great, and not so great. I realized that I love teaching what the industry calls – “soft skills”. I stopped delivering any other type of program.  I have culled it down even more, to teaching/coaching mostly career development classes.  

My love for teaching/facilitating has definitely been re-ignited.  

I’ve also seen first hand how awareness dramatically changed how my clients feel about themselves and their career.  

And that brings joy to my job!!

During a group coaching session, Jennifer commented how she use to love her job, but had slowly grown resentful and disengaged. She went in every day feeling positive but that quickly changed.

The coaching session that week focused on – awareness. The assignment was to pay attention to what was going on each day when you loved your job, and when you wanted to leave it.

The following week Jennifer arrived back to the group with a heightened awareness about her job. She was paying attention, becoming aware of when she started to lose that loving feeling. Jennifer loved her job from 8:20am until 8:35am. Interesting she loved it for 15 minutes, hated it the rest of the day.

Jennifer was always early. Her co-workers would drift in late. Her co-workers had nothing to do with her work flow. She did not have to wait for them to start her day. She did not manage them. She had nothing to do with them, but be annoyed by them.

“By becoming more aware I realized I was giving away my joy each day. I took it back. I don’t care what time my co-workers come in anymore, and I like them more. The best part, now I love my job all 8 hours.”

Awareness became a super power in Jennifer’s life.  Nothing had changed her life, her career, her perspective as powerfully as awareness did. 

  • Awareness in our super power that helps us to discover both the good and bad in our work.
  • Awareness is our super power that lets us know when things are working, or not.
  • Awareness is so powerful it forces us to move towards the things that we love, and away from those less than lovely parts of our job.
  • Awareness is a super power and our best diagnostic tool. Whether you are trying to fix your career, your health, your computer or buy a car.  

Be Aware, or Beware! ​

What are you most aware of today?

Are You Listening?

It makes all the difference, in any relationship.

Listening to Your Heart

What is the one of the most important part of any relationship – listening?

How can you even know what is going on within a relationship if you aren’t listening. I don’t mean hearing, I mean truly, really and deeply listening.

Have I scared you away?

Don’t be scared – you only have to listen to yourself.

For some that would be a good thing. For others they would prefer that I give them another assignment.

I actually teach listening classes as part of a leadership program.

What a hoot!

Part of the training involves me reading a list of nonsensical questions. I let them know I will only ask the question once, that they need to listen, and provide answers. 

What happens?

They prove to themselves, and me, they aren’t listening. They often ask, “What did you say?”  Only one person, out of hundreds that I’ve had in my classes, has answered all the questions correctly.  

Listening is hard, especially when there is so much activity and noise competing for our attention.

My mother would always say to me, “love is blind, but the neighbors ain’t”!

What the heck does blindness have to do with listening?

A whole lot – when we aren’t listening, “neighbors” are paying attention. They start to see changes in you, in your work, in all your relationships. They’ve heard you talk about your career, your problems or progress, and whether there is an abundance, or absence, of both.

You’re talking, or maybe not talking, and they see, and hear, you loud and clear. They know you’ve lost that loving feeling for your work, maybe even before you do.

When I got to the top I just assumed my life would be a blast, everything would align into perfect synergy and bliss. I was on top of the world and I wanted it all.

After all I sacrificed and strove for, well, didn’t I deserve it all?

Until I started to listen, really listen, did I realize my heart and soul were empty. They were talking to me, I just chose not to listen!

What have you been saying about your job/career/position?

A friend of mine wanted me to meet her husband. She told me he was a great guy and she hated to watch him struggle with his current job layoff. Interviews were happening, but no offers. I’ve been there, and I truly want to help those stuck and struggling in their career.

I met Mike at a local Starbucks. Took some time to chat, got to know him and see who he was in a social, no pressure, it’s not an interview, conversation.

Mike was a great guy – lucky friend. He was engaging, dynamic, and he listened really well – to me anyway.

Now it was time to do a little diagnostic. I asked him one question, one pretty simple question for someone with a career in sales.

What are you most proud of achieving at your last job?

I didn’t listen to a word he said.  It was all Charlie Brown, adults talking, babble to me.

Instead I was listening to his face. I was looking for that little glimmer of hope, of love, some spark, some delight, some clue that his last job was something worth talking about, or listening too.

He went on for what could have been a minute or 10. Time stood still as I watched this painful conversation about his career that he was having with himself.

“So, was that as painful for you to talk about as it was for me to listen to?”

Mike’s shocked response, “Was it that obvious? I hated my last job!”

“Yep – it was obvious, very obvious.”

Told you love was blind but the neighbors ain’t.

Mike wanted to love his job, who doesn’t. He wanted to love his career, but he couldn’t. The job that Mike had started wasn’t what he hoped, or dreamed, or wanted it to be. It had changed him!

Mike wanted the old Mike back, and so did his wife!

Until Mike started to listen, that wasn’t going to be possible.

Mike needed to:

  • Remember who he was
  • Evaluate what had changed him
  • Listen for additional clues

Here was a BIG clue!

Mike provide this amazing insight. “Everyday when I came into work I felt my manager was shaving off another piece of me. I was a square peg that he wanted to put into this round hole of a job.”

One word for that – OUCH!

Do you feel ouchy at work? Is someone trying to shave you down to their size? Is your boss, leader, or team trying to fit you into a place that’s good for them, yet painful for you?

Listen!!

Everyday we are speaking, through our words, our actions, and definitely our faces, how we feel about our career. Listen to that pain in your neck, that pounding of your chest, that clenching of your teeth, that pit in your stomach – listen to every part of your body. What is your body telling you about your career relationship?

Make a decision that today is the day that you will take the time to listen.

What should you be listening to?

Do you have that little niggle (aka little voice) telling you something isn’t right?

My niggle kept on saying, “Is that all there is?”

I kept on responding, “SHUT UP!”

I should have listened, but I didn’t.

That’s why I want you to listen, before it’s too late. Because I want you to get that loving feeling back for the work that you do.

Are you ready to listen?

Keep remembering, keep evaluating and now start to listen, really listen!  

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Your Career is a Relationship!

How would you measure yours?

Your career relationship, like all relationships, comes with good and bad aspects. Aspects that attracted you into the career. Aspects that you found exciting, stimulating, rewarding and fulfilling. You entered the relationship with hope and believed, “This could be a forever relationship”! You shared common values and interests. You shared passions, dreams and goals.

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And then reality set in!

When you actually started living the relationship, day in and day out, year in and year out, you discovered aspects of your career relationship that are now driving you crazy!!!

It might be the commute, your co-workers, your boss, your pay or position. It could be anything, and maybe even everything. And like all relationships, that start to lose that loving feeling, you might wonder how did I get here, and how do I get that lovin feeling back?

But before you leave it, remember why you started it!

Maybe your career relationship just needs to be re-ignited. Maybe you drifted away from what first attracted you and kept you interested and engaged. So before you leave it, lets first remember.

Why is remembering important?

When I was having problems with another relationship – my marriage, I read an article from a marriage counselor about the possibility of success after a marriage struggle.

The possibility of relationship success was greater if, when remembering how the couple first met, both of the partners would recall this incident with a spark of love in their eyes!

How did you and your career first meet?

  • Were you attracted to the career from a lusty perspective – boy that looks good, pays good, sounds good!
  • Did someone set you up?
  • Did you gradually fall in love with what you were doing?
  • Did you develop a list of all the things you wanted from a career relationship and then purposefully pursued the career you are now in?
  • Did the career pursue you?
  • Were you desperate and this was the only job/career available?

My career was based on lust!

Yes it was, and I am proud to admit it; because I am now over it!

My goal was to get to the top and prove to the world my worthiness. It was the power, prestige, promotion, perks and pay that drove me.

Until it drove me – crazy!

Too much impersonal decisions when I wanted to connect with the people I was called to serve, lead and mentor!

And along the way I got further and further from what I really loved and cared about most in my career – helping people be successful!

What I found out, and of course the hard way, that finding work you love was a lot harder than just working.

But I was looking for career love in all the wrong places!

When the lust had lost its luster, I knew I wanted more because I’m the jealous type!

Watching people love the work that they did, I would covet what they had. I wanted to be one of them! The were full of joy, hope, excitement – rarely complaining, and always desiring to deepen their career relationship.  

Career love is very different than career lust!

  • Career love lasts
  • Career love can be re-ignited
  • Career love makes your want to learn more
  • Career love makes you want to give more
  • Career love makes you want to do more
  • Career love makes you want to be more
  • Career love makes a difference in your life
  • Career love makes a difference in the life of those that you love working with and for

Love matters in the sustainability of all relationships! Do you remember what you loved about your career when you started?

What drew you into this career?

Give yourself a moment to remember.

What happens, what thoughts and feelings come up?

Do you get a smile on your face, a little twinkle in your eye, a little quickening of your pulse?

Good – then lets continue!  

Keep remembering, jot your memories down, record what you remember, and how you feel remembering.  Clues back to that lovin’ feeling are in your memories. 

Maybe you were in love with your career from the start, or grew to love your career. You even believed that you found the true career love of your life. Unfortunately, that love has now diminished.  

I want you to get that lovin’ feeling back.  To receive a free workbook “12 Ways in 12 Days to Find That Lovin’ Feeling”, click on the link in the sidebar.