Although we often complain we don’t have enough time to get everything done, I have discovered having a limited time to get things done actually stimulates you to make the most of the time you DO have. Years ago, when I was off because of a maternity leave, I thought of all the things I was (finally) going to get done.

Instead, I discovered I was making the beds right before my husband came home. Why? Because I could do it anytime—and so I put it off.

So here are a couple of techniques I’ve learned that are helpful in accomplishing your goals.

Identify the time-frame. Identify your top 3 goals. Perhaps you want to take a certification exam. When do you want or need to complete this exam? Sometimes your goal has a specific time constraint—other times, you need to establish a target date yourself. Once you set the drop-dead date, you can work backwards to set mini-steps. I call them munchies.

What is the next step you need to take? In order to pass the exam—what do you have to do? Read/study a certain amount of pages? Come up with a do-able goal for each day or each week. Don’t set up yourself to fail. Start with a time frame you can achieve easily. Success breeds success. Then increase it!

Schedule your day and your week. By actually scheduling each of your munchies on a calendar, you are in fact, envisioning yourself complete these next steps. I like the idea of having a Sunday evening business meeting with yourself each week to plan out your week.

Set up an accountability partner and/or reward. Checking in with someone and/or giving yourself a reward is a great way to keep the motivation going. Before you think about the next week, it’s a good thing to look at the previous week and to note your progress!

 

“Keep on going and the chances are you will stumble on something, perhaps when you are least expecting it. I have never heard of anyone stumbling on something sitting down.”—Charles F. Kettering

Chellie Campbell, who wrote The Wealthy Spirit, one of my favorite resources, just wrote about The Processional Effect–in a recent post.  She shares how you start towards a goal and of course, acquire skills and experiences. Because of the insights you learn along the way, a new goal may appear to you–something that never occurred to you when you first started out. You couldn’t see your new goal or the new opportunity at the beginning, you needed that additional insight to “get it.”

I can so relate from my recent experiences starting my own coaching business. When I was first laid off from Corporate America, I decided to step away from my human resources experiences. Surely, now was the time to focus on something entirely new with my coaching career.

I began with a generic sounding company called, Best Life Consulting. After I relocated to North Carolina, I then focused my marketing towards helping other singles relocate. Eventually, I realized that none of my clients were single and none of them wanted to relocate. What they needed was help in finding what’s next for them–usually a career.

I soon realized that my prior business experiences could help others who suffered while they were working and for those who have experienced a job loss. That realization started me down the path of looking at the parts from my past that I should bring forward.

I joined WaggleForce–a national network of career clubs that was a brain-child of Tory Johnson (Workplace contributor of Good Morning America). The day I decided to become a leader with them, I felt it was the right step for me. Little did I know that it would lead me to where I am now.

Once I met with my career club members, I jumped in and helped them with their resumes–which were sorely in need of a tune-up. That led me to pursuing a a certification in resume writing and expanding my practice to focus on career coaching.

Although I wish I would have gotten to where I am sooner, I am embracing the processional effect and know that everything happens in its own time. As Chellie reminded me that the importance of a goal is that it is a path leading you in a particular direction.

Our job, then, is just start along a path and begin. Trust that it doesn’t matter what you choose, life knows what you need and will guide you to where you need to be–if you pay attention.

As you look back over your life, can you now see what lessons you were learning and where life was leading you?

What feels good to you today? What feels empowering, creative, and exciting? Those are signposts that Life is giving you. Go do that.

 

 

Right from the get-go, you should know that this is not a blog on how to survive in this difficult economic environment–or advice on how to build up your retirement portfolio.

Several years ago, I found myself loving a particular Movado watch. When I went to any department store, I would find myself cruising by the jewelry department and check to see if they carried the watch I loved. Maybe it would be cheaper here. (It never was.)

I would notice anyone wearing that particular watch and would oooh and ahh. If only I could find it on sale. I’d buy it for myself–for sure. That never happened.  For some reason, I couldn’t get beyond the asking price of $500.

This literally went on for a few years. I looked at other cheaper watches, but it was this particular watch that called my name. It never DID go on sale. This seemed to be an unmistakable luxury.

Eventually, as I was buying my daughter a college graduation gift and I bought her some diamond earrings, it came to me. Why is it that I would always find the funds to purchase for my daughter, but not something that I wanted? I bought the watch–and yes, at full price.

While this was an example of a somewhat trivial item, I see similar struggles extending to investing in ourselves–with going back to school or pursuing a career we want.

Although we think nothing of paying for whatever our kids would need for their education, but when it comes to us–whoa. Slow down. Where’s the payback? Can we afford it? Where’s the guarantee? Are we not worth it? Kind of makes you think, doesn’t it?

Sure, there are a lot of risks in life–but when we know we’d regret not “going for it” — we need to give it our all and invest in our own future happiness.

 

 

 

I didn’t realize until recently that my last years working in Corporate America–I was so unhappy that I “healed” my stress with retail therapy. I admit it–I love nice things. But working in an environment that sucked me dry–would intensify that “love.”

Perhaps you’ve been there–you come home exhausted every night and only had enough energy to turn on the TV and veg. I could probably get through a few chapters of a book–but other than my day to day commitments, there was little I was interested in.

So, on the weekend, shopping was very attractive to me. I didn’t have to think much–just whip out my money (or credit card) and take something home–which I could look at or wear…and enjoy for awhile. Easy!

The funny thing that happened after I got laid off and started my own business–now that my passion has been tapped and I love what I do–the shopping addiction automatically went away. I go to the mall when I need something, but I no longer enjoy looking at things when I don’t need anything.

I sometimes help a friend of mine who is a Move Manager. She helps older adults down-size into Assisted Living or Continuing Care type of facilities. Working with her has really changed the way I look at stuff.

I am even more aware of what an emotional connection we have with our things. Our memories are tied into our things–momentos from vacations, antiques from dead relatives, newspaper clippings about people we know.

Every time I work with my friend, I come home and get rid of more things. She shares the advice to sort things by joy, good, sad, bad. Keep the things that bring you joy and you like. If there are things that are tied closely to people you love that maybe have died–consider keeping those. Things that don’t work or are hidden away in an attic or garage–find better homes for them or put them in a trash.

The realization has been clear to me–that we keep the memories alive with our friends and family in our hearts. We really don’t need a symbol to remind us of that. Making room also provides space for new life to come in. Purging the old can be very refreshing for us! It’s love for people that really is important–isn’t it!

It’s hard to believe that it was one year ago when a work-out person asked me if I wanted a cute little dog?  I still don’t know why she picked me–although she said, “she just knew I was the right person for Josie.” I had starting thinking about getting a dog after my daughter recently had gotten a cute little chihuahua. So when this gal mentioned Josie was part chihuahua, I knew it was a “sign.”

I had a lot of fears and reservations. I was used to doing my own thing. I was now working from home, I liked my independence and loved to travel. I never considered getting a dog–because they were such high maintenance. But this seemed right. It would be my first dog since I was a kid. It was a big decision and yet, it seemed so right.

It’s hard to anticipate all the changes I would have to make. Would I regret accepting the dog? Would I hate having to take her out in the middle of winter? How much money would I have to spend on her?  There were lots of unanswered questions, it still felt oddly comfortable when I heard myself saying, “Sure” but just on trial for a week. Ha!

Well, as they say, the rest is history. And today we are celebrating our first anniversary together. Remarkably, I have had no regrets–despite my friends and family still in disbelief that I have a dog and how much it’s changed my life.

Sure Josie is more labor intensive, it is a labor of love. I could sit at my computer all day without a break, and Josie “begging” to go out gives me a welcomed breath of fresh air. She has been a reminder of what’s important in life–family and friends. She’s definitely family.

Okay, you may not be ready to get a dog, but I want to encourage you to take a chance on something that feels right. Sure, you may not know how your decision will ultimately turn out. But the recipe for a juicy life is learning to listen to your heart and taking a chance.

Josie

It’s Mother’s Day. A great day to remember my mom.

My mom died over 33 years ago–I was still in my 20’s. But even though she’s been gone a long time, hardly a day goes by where I don’t think of her in some way.

In church, there are her favorite hymns. At home, there’s the way she used to do things–and the foods she loved to cook. With my own kids, I often hear her giving me some of her wisdom–which I usually didn’t appreciate at the time, but now, I see how wise she really was.

My mom was not perfect and I have learned not to repeat her mistakes. I have learned forgiveness and to love her–warts and all.

She was one of the first women supervisors in the phone company. She was a good mentor to others and a loyal employee.

She led by example in many ways. She was fortunate to have a job during the depression. But she didn’t forget her cousins and nephews when they might not have clothes or food without her help. A generous spirit. I can only hope I have done enough to help others.

I used to hate it when little kids would come over and I watched her get “that look.” She was looking around the house to see what she could give them to take home. I worried, “not that toy” — nothing of mine was safe. It was her giving nature.

I wonder how my daughters will remember me when I’m gone. I hope they know, as I know now–that we moms do the best we can–always with unconditional love.

I hope you are remembering your mom today!

 

Have you captured your brand on your resume? What is a brand anyway?

I know when I first heard about branding, I was confused as to what it is and how it could help me. Here’s a couple of points that could help you.

We are familiar with brands when we consider products or services we buy or use. We see images the company tries to convey to us all around us. And while they may serve as an initial introduction, once we use their product or service, we develop our own image based on our personal experiences.

What do you think of when you think of Nike? ATT? Target? Walmart? All these have brand images they have spent a lot of money on their brand.

When preparing your resume, look at the overall image you want to convey to a prospective employer. While you may not have thought about it in this way, we have been building our brand by how we use our skills and strengths and the accomplishments we’ve made through the years.

Are you someone a “techie” who easily picks up new technology? Are you a leader who not only sees the big picture, but is able to implement the steps to achieve a goal? Maybe you’re always a “go-to” person in whatever organization you work in.

All of these are possible brands and are important aspects to capture on your resume.

 

I admit that while I often instruct my coaching clients to take care of themselves, I don’t always follow my own advice. But I recently had to do just that.

Last fall, I decided to get certified in resume writing. Although I’ve worked in HR for most of my career, I wanted to make sure I did the best for my clients. How tough could it be? Well, very very tough! I had no idea how challenging this program would be. Lots of new skills and intense concentration.

I tried to continue my regular schedule while trying (key word) to complete all my homework assignments. I realized how my stress level was quickly rising to new heights. When I make a commitment, I keep it. But it was my resume assignments that were being put on the back burner.

Eventually I decided to look at where I spend my time and cut back. I gave up some church meetings and groups, I stopped going to some optional business networking events, and yes, I even stopped blogging.

The interesting thing is that the world didn’t stop spinning. My church choir continued fine without me (maybe better)! The good news is I got my certification and am now able to once again readjust my calendar.

What I’ve learned is that sometimes you have to do something that disappoints people. Be selective as to how you spend your time. Pay attention to when you find yourself getting angry or resentful–perhaps it’s time to cut back and figure out what you really want or really can do. From now on, I will be more cautious about how many commitments I take on. A good lesson for everyone.

So, if you have missed my blogs, I’m back and ready to go!!

The big news today was that my NC area had the highest rise in unemployment rates in the state this past month. Not news that anyone wants to hear.

While it’s hard not to get caught up in doom and gloom when all the news seems to be negative, you have to pull yourself up and choose the path that leads to success. One road leads to giving up and the other one is focused on possibilities.

Understand what you have control over. You can’t guarantee interviews or job offers, but you can control the process and what you are doing that increases your chances for a successful outcome.

Are you organized? How do you track your progress or what you’ve done? One thing you can do is to create two spreadsheets. One for your networking contacts and the other for jobs you applied to, phone interviews and replies etc.

How does your resume serve you? I am surprised how poorly written most resumes are. Is your resume focused on your past responsibilities? Or have you taken care in identifying your position targets and have incorporated key words  so that your resume will be selected for viewing?

Are you resisting the power of social media? Do you know how to utilize social media to your advantage? If not, there are many sites on line where you can learn more about how to make them work for you!

Are you trying to do your job search alone? It can be lonely out there! Find a few trusted friends who will support you in the process and help you keep up your spirits. A career club is a great way to get guidance on your job search and also provide you regular support from people who are in the same situation as you are.

As the old cliche goes, if you keep on doing what you’re doing, you’ll keep getting what you’re getting. This is 2011–time to shake it up!

Sign up for a free critique on your resume or if you’re in the Asheville area, let me know if you are interested in my career club starting in February! (see my web site for more information)!

Searching for a job does not have to be DEBILITATING emotionally (or exasperating at best) Some people believe that jobs are even, (and I am going to whisper this so shhh, sccaarrrccceee). However, you don’t have to be a famished job seeker. Instead, be job savvy! I am passionate about empowering my clients to take exhausted and worn out resumes and turn them into resumes that scream, “I am ready to do my best for YOU!”

Why do I go the extra mile for my clients?  Well, simply…because nothing is as important as your resume. These days, without having a resume that WOWS (rather than “just works”), you probably won’t ever get that interview in the first place.

One of the first decisions you have to make is to decide what it is you are looking for. Sure, you may have more than one target, and you may need to create two (or more) differently focused resumes depending on those unique targets. But being clear on what you are looking for is critical. One of the ways I help my clients get clarity is by an in-depth interview of their background and career objectives.

Secondly, a good way to start is to look through some of the job postings and job descriptions on career sites (sometimes called job boards) and scan them for jobs you are interested in. Note the particular responsibilities potential employers list and what kind of qualifications they are looking for. Look for themes between the various postings.

Then gather up any job descriptions and performance reviews you have and if you have an old resume, that will help as well. Start picking out the accomplishments and responsibilities that in particular, match the job you are targeting. You’ll want to highlight them in your resume so your potential employer can easily pick them out.

In this tough economy, employers want people who have the skills to hit the ground running. You must demonstrate through your achievements what you can do to fill their needs. Remember, your resume is not an autobiography. It doesn’t have to include a list of everything you have ever done in your life. Be selective in what you include!

More about turning up your resume in subsequent posts. I reserve Tuesday afternoons for tweaking resumes with my clients. It you’d like to be included on that list, email me and I will let you know when I have my next availability. If you’re ready to position yourself for success in 2011, email me at jane@janefalter.com.

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Testimonials

Although I had your business card for a few weeks, I hesitated calling you until one day, I just felt inspired to contact you. Am I glad I did! After applying for literally hundreds of jobs this past year with not even one interview…after sending the résumé you created for me, not only did I get the interview, but I got the job! I feel that God inspired me to move forward and sent you into my life when I needed it the most. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
—J. Bloomfield, Asheville, NC

 

So, thought I'd brighten your day!  My new supervisor complimented my resume. She said she liked the summary at the top. She also commented that she wasn't positive that my background would've jumped out as a perfect match, but it was written in a way that highlighted my skills as a match for her needs. The resume you wrote for me did much more than any of those things, however. It changed the way I view myself.  It supported me, and gave me a confidence that I was lacking at that time. When I first saw your draft, I didn't immediately connect with it, yet I knew it was all truth. It grew on me, or I grew into it. By the time I walked into those last 2 interviews, I had a new confidence. Something deeper than just knowing I could do the job. I knew I was the right choice. That confidence, that knowing, attracted those jobs to me as surely as my credentials well presented.  It was both, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart. 
—J. Everson, Bloomfield, KY

 

I just wanted to write and let you know how much I appreciate your help with my resume. It worked!!! I have had 3 interviews, a step I did not reach before. While I have not received a job offer yet, I know it is just a matter of time before I find a position that is the right fit. Your help with the resume made all the difference!
—L. McLamb Asheville

 

I have built my business through satisfied clients so I cherish testimonials. One of the most stand-out testimonials that was given to me was shared by a client I coached to help her with an upcoming interview.

This client told me later, that she had met a woman at a community event. Jen shared about looking for a position and was telling her about the "biz coach" who prepped her for the interview. The other woman mentioned how she found this excellent person to do her resume and that the résumé itself was highly complemented on in her interview. And best yet, she got the job in the end! In a few minutes, they deducted they were both talking about the same person…ME!

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