I was saddened to hear about yet another company down-sizing. This one hit close to home—it impacts my former colleagues and friends. Most of the people I worked with will be losing their jobs when they close that particular R&D facility.

The news brought back memories when I received my own “departure notice” a few years ago. It was a meeting I’ll never forget. I was told how everyone had nothing but positive things to say about me and how my clients praised my work, (I held my breath as I waited for the other shoe to drop) but the HR role continued to evolve and I was not strategic enough to fit it.

My head knew it was just another business decision, but it felt very very personal. I’ll never forget walking out of that conference room and going back to my office. It was business-as-usual for everyone else—but in a few short minutes, my world had completely changed.

Two months later, as I swiped my employee badge for the last time, I wondered, “now what?” I had worked ever since I was 16—first in the summer months while going to school, and then full time after college. Other than a few leaves of absence due to having my three babies or having a gall bladder out—work was something I always did.

A few days later someone said hello and asked, “And how are you today?” Normally, I wouldn’t hesitate to recite the expected reply, but this time was different–I hesitated. Do I tell her–”fine”–or should I be honest and admit I lost my job and hope I don’t cry? Maybe I should wait until the next time she asks? Eventually she’ll know the truth either from me or someone else. Will she be upset that I hadn’t shared my news with her sooner?

I began dreading meeting people and being asked, “What do you do?” What should I say? “I used to work at – – – but I just got laid off from my human resources job.” Was that TMI? (too much information)? Did that sound like whining or asking for sympathy? I didn’t want people feeling sorry for me—I was already doing that quite nicely for myself.

There are lots of people who don’t work outside the home. I never think twice about it—but not me. If I’m not working, then who am I? I began to understand just how much we identify with our label du jour.

Identity, labels and titles, oh my. In addition to work designations, we can be a student, mom or dad, husband or wife, married or single (you get the picture). When we are stripped of our protective label/cape, we often struggle with the whole concept of, “Well, if I’m not a – – – – , then who am I?”

There are labels and titles we gain or shed easier than others. But then there are some that are loaded with emotional baggage. Soon after my divorce, I can remember that outsider feeling so many times listening to my married friends. I’ve heard from my childless friends that they have had moments like that as well when we chat (and complain?) about our kids. There are empty nesters and the newly retired. It’s not just the label, but the inner changes we need to make—sometimes needing more of an adjustment than initially thought.

An inside-out story. A hundred years ago, I went from being an HR Secretary on Friday to being an HR Director of a non-profit agency on Monday (literally). I remember starting my new role and feeling like a phony. “They are expecting me to know what I’m doing. Little do they know I’m clueless.” Well, I rose to the occasion. I knew more than I gave myself credit for; because I did find the right answers. But I learned first-hand how powerful “fake it ’till you make it” can be.

The reverse situation happened many years later when I first moved to Asheville. I was a part-time agency temp in an HR department doing filing, processing benefit packages, taking photos of new employees etc (you get the picture—excuse the pun). It didn’t pay much, but I appreciated earning a little money while I was building my new coaching business.

When Jennifer was at lunch, I would sit at the reception desk, answer the phone and greet visitors. When I told my daughters I was relieving the receptionist, they laughed, “Mom, do they know you could run the whole department?” The department managers who came by to ask for the HR Director, seemed to look through me–like I was invisible. As I smiled and went to get the Director, I had finally learned I was not my title.

Self inflicted titles. It’s bad enough to have all the titles and labels we have or we get from society, but have you ever listened how we label ourselves? I’ve heard people describe themselves as: lazy, stupid, fat, old, tired, shy to name a few. I confess I’ve even said a few of them to myself. Whether or not we ever utter such words out loud, those labels are there–floating around in our minds.

It’s amazing how powerful our own labels affect our actions and thinking. I’ve recently been observing on how people think about or act their age. While I occasionally think I’m a bit nuts to be starting a business now in my sixties, my passion continues to energize me and I am finally experiencing fun with my work. Who could ask for more?

Another lesson from Adele and Jack. Many of you will remember me talking about my dear friends, Adele and Jack, who were killed in a tragic car accident last September. I was honored to give a eulogy to celebrate their lives and share how much I loved them.

As I listened to everyone else’s eulogies, I was struck that despite the fact that none of us knew what we were going to say, we all seemed to repeat the same things. So much so that Pastor Dan actually made note of it.

Isn’t it interesting that people who hadn’t known them in their younger lives were able to “see” the very same qualities they lived–in their later years. It wasn’t their job or their title (although Adele and Jack’s work had been very noble and notable) that we remembered—it went much deeper than that. We experienced their true legacy.

What’s your legacy? Brad Swift, in his book Life on Purpose,says that “life purpose isn’t ever about what you do, but is instead more about who you are.” I love the reminder that we’re called human beings, not human doings.

  • How do your labels or titles serve you? Listen—really listen to what is going on inside your head and heart? Do your labels increase your motivation or hold you back? If you gave yourself another label, how would that change your beliefs and actions?

After a cancellation because of snow, my career club launched on March 9th.  But not without one more glitch–my speaker canceled because of a family emergency.   I had to  quickly come up with a presentation–  yikes. I was pleased 18 people attended. Everyone was friendly and participated actively in the session.

I talked individually with those who would wanted to take the next step and sign up for the actual program.  That first official session happened on Tuesday–8 people attended.  It is a great group–lots of interaction, ideas and supporting  each other.

What makes someone decide to make a leap of faith and take action–while others stop at thinking it’s a nice idea–but don’t want to put themselves through extra effort?  Perhaps it’s like most other things in life, success comes to those who make the commitment and take the necessary steps forward.

It’s hard to believe it’s been almost three years when I first set eyes on Asheville and let my heart lead me here. It was at the NC Center for Creative Retirement weekend about relocating in retirement (held every Memorial weekend) where I made my decision that this is where I belonged.

I remember when I was waiting for each of my children to be born. Although I was excited to be pregnant, I couldn’t imagine how this new little person would change my life.   Once the baby was born, I couldn’t imagine life without her (I had all girls).  The same happened when I was thinking of moving.  I KNEW what my life was like in Pennsylvania–but my new life–blank.  It was scary.

Now looking at the good friends I’ve made and the wonderful times I’ve had here–it’s hard to imagine what my life would have been like had I chose to stay where I was. It’s been a gradual evolution.  At first everything is new–from where to put your shoes in your new home–to finding where the grocery store–to meeting your new neighbors.  There were days when it can be exhausting. Before long, however, new routines became part of my life.

So much of it has to do with attitude.  As you approach your new life, do you think of it as an adventure or filled with fear? Are you open to exploring different experiences or are you constantly comparing what you used to have and thinking about what you have given up? In every situation, there are trade-offs. Hopefully, your new life ends up on the plus side of positives. If not, you can always make another change.  People are so afraid of making a mistake that they don’t take any risks. Life is full of lessons and by taking a step, you have learned more about what works or doesn’t work.

Ah–being my own boss! Finally, I never have to sit through through another performance review. Never again do I have to justify why some of the commitments I made at the beginning of the year, fell short–12 months later. I am learning though, that all this freedom has its liabilities.

Tory Johnson, CEO of Women to Hire and creator of WaggleForce and Michelle Pippin, www.womenwhowow, in their recent teleclass, challenged the participants to be more accountable. They can’t be talking to me! Haven’t my friends commented how hard I work and remark what a determined and driven person I am? (Note: I dismiss all suspicions that I’m a Type A personality, however.) Don’t I always keep To Do lists? And I’ll even confess to putting completed tasks on my lists–just to have the pleasure of crossing them off.

But they did get me thinking about how I spend my time…

To Do or not To Do

I decided to look back at exactly what I accomplished that week. This couldn’t be right! “Is that all there is?” Where did the rest of the time go? Wasn’t I always busy? I couldn’t remember any time I was sitting on the couch eating bon-bons, just watching TV. (Ok, except for that one nap I took!) Wasn’t my lap top my favorite fashion accessory? Hmmm?

Maybe it was a bad week. I’ll try harder next week. Well, I did see some improvement, but it just didn’t add up. I decided to fine-tune what I was doing.

Sunday Evening Business Meeting

Michelle shared that she has a weekly meeting with herself to plan out her week. I’ve tried that before (at least once a few years ago), perhaps it was time to give it a ‘go again.

Of course, I created a form (some of my co-workers used to call me “Forms Falter” in my HR days). It was nothing fancy, but it divided up the day into 5 blocks; for example, early morning, late morning, early afternoon, etc. I plotted out what I had to get done that week and put that task in a box.

Here’s some of what I discovered:


Monday was the last session in my recent tele-class. I had 6 people counting on me to have my act together and materials ready. Guess what? I did what I had to do—research, organizing, creating all the handouts. I had to get it done and I did.

The same thing happened with my in-person group coaching session in my community. Despite having other things to do in my personal life, somehow I managed to get it done and on time.

And why is it that I find the time to get the house cleaned when company is coming for dinner? What is it about deadlines that truly motivates me?

The roar of the urgent

I found I was pretty darn good at getting those short term tasks done. Schedule a meeting? No problem. Prepare a presentation for a network function? Done. Why then, did I struggle with the other things on my To Do list? I love crossing things off my bloody To Do list—but how do I make that same kind of progress with longer-term, more complex goals? What do I need to do so I focus on what’s important versus what’s easy and quick?


Writing articles for Internet directories is a good way to “get my name out there.” My goal for the past year has been to write one article a week. It always seemed like a reasonable target.

As much as I love to write, I never found enough time to write that article. “I’ll make it up next week.” No one would ever know. “I’ll write two next week.” Well, that never happened–I have never written 4 articles in a month. So, do I think this goal is important enough to do? Do I struggle with it because it’s difficult to determine whether it’s really worth my time? Is four-a month a reasonable target, given what else I want/need to do? Is this a true goal or just a wish?

Promises, promises

(Do you hear Dionne Warwick singing that old song?) Why is it that I would never disappoint a friend on a previous commitment but I don’t hesitate to put off the promises I made to myself. Why don’t I honor myself as much as I do others? Aren’t my goals just as important?

Whether you are struggling with finishing a particular project in what I call “traditional employment,” a soloprenerer who needs to create and implement their marketing plan or you’re retired, but have something that you’ve always wanted to do—here are some of the reminders from Tory and Michelle and a few suggestions from me:

  • What are you truly committed to doing? Forget “trying.” What is the most important thing you could be doing this week?
  • Are you putting your needs and wants on your list? What do you need to do to bring more joy and the feel of satisfaction to yourself?
  • It’s been proven that dieters have more success if they plan their week and their day. That’s how you take back control of your time. Visualize success—you’ll be a lot more focused.
  • Ask yourself, “Was today better than yesterday?” Then, “What will I do today better than yesterday?”
  • Enlist the aid of an accountability partner. Sure you could achieve your goals by yourself–but will you? The fact is that most of us do better when we commit to reporting our progress to a person or a group.
    • That’s why Weight Watcher groups work and is an important benefit of career clubs when you’re looking for work. Perhaps it is a friend, a co-worker, a personal trainer or a Life Coach (my favorite); but it’s helpful to have someone who understands what you’re going through rooting for you and holding you to what you have promised.

What I’ve shared here isn’t new. And although all this seems so simple, we know it’s not easy. The Japanese have a term, “Kaisen” which means constant improvement. Don’t beat yourself up—keep reaching. There’s always tomorrow or better yet, today. Celebrate the fact that you are gaining progress over the long term.

It probably started when  I lived those 30 years in Rochester, New York–my dream to move south.  I can remember back in the 70’s, one of my good friends had been talking about her former neighbors who had moved to North Carolina.  It immediately captured my imagination and interest.  For many years after that, when someone talked about that area of the country, I was all ears.  But I didn’t have the opportunity to visit there until 2000.

I would often talk about moving to a warmer climate–but never bothered to narrow it down.  I figured I would probably get a job that would take me there–maybe North Carolina, South Carolina or even Georgia. That job never materialized.   I enjoyed looking through Where to Retire magazines and trying to imagine myself in one of the featured communities. But there was still time–I had to save more before I could ever think of retiring.

Well, as the saying goes, “We plan; God laughs.”  Because in 2006, I was laid off.

One of my first decisions was to attend a Coaching certification program to become a Life Coach.  My plan (see the above paragraph) was that while I was building my business, I would get another human resources position–surely that was the most responsible alternative.  I couldn’t continue to live in my current home without my corporate salary so within a few months, I put my house up for sale.  Once it sold, I would either move to where my new job was located or move into a temporary apartment.

Despite an active job search, I never came close to being hired in human resources.  Once I received my certification, I started thinking, “Now what?”  I had a passing thought about moving south–but I quickly dismissed it.  The thought of identifying exactly where I wanted to live seemed so over-whelming.

But that thought kept reoccurring and finally I allowed myself to consider, “Well, what would it take to make that decision?”  At first I half-heartedly started going through those Where to Retire magazines that I  saved for the past 7 years.  I cut out any article or photos of communities that looked possible.  I did further research on the internet and on the phone.  Eventually, I decided to take a trip to visit a few of the areas I had narrowed down.

When I drove up and saw the Blue Ridge mountains, I knew I was home.  Three months and several leaps of faith later–I was there.

The reactions of my friends to my decisions shook me up quite a bit.  I didn’t know anyone who had been in a similar situation.  And without exception, everyone’s eyes would roll back and they would comment how they could never move to an area where they didn’t know anyone.  After hearing it so often, I started wondering what was wrong with me that I was able to make such a “drastic” move. Eventually, I learned that people were sharing  their own limitations.  Many of them defending why they couldn’t move–but wished they could.  It was about them, not me.

After I settled into my new home in Asheville, NC, I knew I wanted to help other singles relocate to the home of their dreams.  I created a coaching business called Relocating Single.  This continues to be one of my passions and I want to help others evaluate whether a move might be the right decision for them.

Does my story resonate with you?  Have you been thinking of moving to a town by the ocean? In the mountains? Or maybe you’re looking for any place where you can start a whole new life.  Perhaps you are ready to speak with someone who can help you:

  • Bring your dream into clearer focus
  • Slow down the emotional roller coaster
  • Calm the panic attacks and reduce your anxiety

You do not have to be alone at this exciting time in your life.  I can bring my own challenging and rewarding relocation experiences to our sessions and gently guide you through the process. Call for a free consultation to explore whether coaching is for you.  Or send for your complementary copy of the 7 Keys to Relocating in Mid-Life by sending an email to jane@janefalter.com

What has so many people fascinated (including myself) with Susan Boyle’s story? For me, Susan is a reminder that talents are given to all of us—not just the beautiful in-crowd. She gives us back our dream that we can still become who were meant to be.

My personal talent hunt has been similar to the Hot/Cold game we used to play as kids. That’s the game where someone hides an object and the rest of the group tries to find it. As the kids walk around the room, the only clues given by the leader are “You’re freezing (wrong way), you’re cold (getting closer)…or you’re warm, hot, boiling hot” until the object is uncovered.

Several of my talents I discovered ‘way back in childhood but like many of you, I set them aside to be more realistic, get a paying job, or spend time with my family. Other gifts were more elusive. They were right there in plain sight, but I didn’t acknowledge them or understand their importance.

Looking back the jobs I enjoyed the most was when I was able to use my talents. But one memorable “freezing cold” job was back in the 80’s–when I accepted a position as Manager of Compensation and Benefits. I was excited about finally getting out of the non-profit world and getting a 30% increase in salary. At the time, I thought it was fascinating I landed that position—because I considered it my weakest area.

While I learned a lot about compensation and benefits and got really good at analyzing job descriptions—there wasn’t enough opportunity to be creative and there was little variety or personal interaction for me. I ran from that job as quickly as I could—18 months later.

Several years later, I found myself in a (“freezing cold”) work environment that just didn’t fit. I convinced myself that if I was determined enough, I could adjust to anything. Despite my valiant attempts to just suck it up and deal with it (I was making a lot of money), my body screamed until I heard it. After bouts of depression, anxiety and some uncomfortable intestinal issues, I finally paid attention.

Fast forward to today–my life is completely different now. Today, I can hardly tell where work leaves off and spare time begins. Once I discovered what I loved, what I was most proud of and enjoyed, I was able to find a way to incorporate them in my life—some as my work; some for fun.

If you struggle to get through each day—pay attention; because passion = energy. When you find something you love to do, your face lights up, you move fast and talk even faster. If this doesn’t describe you (yet), then maybe you can learn from my experiences of how I dug up my treasures and incorporated them into my life.

Play it again. “Mom, you’re really good.” I’ll never forget my daughters shocked faces when they heard me play the piano for the first time. My daughters were in their 20’s and they had never heard me play. I hadn’t played in 25 years.

After finally buying a piano when I was in my later 50’s, I was humbled to realize just how much I had forgotten. Years ago I considered becoming a music teacher. Now I literally had to start from the beginning. After several months of lessons, my fingers found their own memory. (It’s amazing how that happens.)

Feeling frustrated, there were many times I beat myself up–thinking about all the wonderful pieces I could no longer play. Why did I let my talent sit dormant for such a long time? I snapped out of my perfectionist tendencies and considered, “Exactly what do I want from my music?”

The answer was that I wanted to play the songs that spoke to my heart. I didn’t want to be a professional musician any more; I didn’t want to practice for hours and hours. I discovered that playing the piano again eased the stress of the day and gave me a lot of joy when I mastered a new piece.

Jane, the Rock Star. I had long forgotten that I wanted to be a Rock star when I was a kid– until Lin, my coach, asked me about my childhood dreams. “Where is she headed with that?” I wondered. But there it was—a vision of me standing on the stage and looking down at the audience.

Frankly, if I measured my piano talent next to my voice, the piano would always win hands down (excuse the pun). But I find it fascinating that I never fantasized myself at a keyboard on the stage–it was always standing up at a microphone.

What could I learn from that exploration? Well, I still dream about standing on stage with a microphone–only now it’s speaking. Instead of songs, I am helping others by sharing what I’ve learned and encouraging others to follow their dreams.

When time stands still. I wrote my first book when I was twelve (I wished I saved it just for laughs). Perhaps that’s when my dream of becoming an author began. It would bubble up occasionally in my life but usually I convinced myself that it was enough to be good at writing company newsletters and business correspondence.

Once I became a Coach, I found that sharing the many lessons I had in my life helped others recognize they were not alone and was an inspiration to folks. Writing became my communication vehicle of choice. Many times I become so absorbed in my writing that I lose track of time. And, I WILL write that book !

Jane the Builder. Perhaps this one should have jumped out at me—but it was the last pieces I “got” how important it was to me. I started my career as a Kindergarten teacher. I loved the creativity, singing, art, getting so much pleasure from watching the kids learn and grow. Then, all through my human resources career while I did a bit of everything, my true passion was management and employee development. Why then, did it take me so long to realize the theme throughout my life?

The symphony. Putting my pieces together didn’t happen easily, quickly or by following a systematic process. My talents and skills have gradually been brought back into my life through a series of “ah-has and duhs.” Just as the various instruments in an orchestra blend together to make a beautiful piece, I am finally feeling I am authentic and free to be me.

So, what about you? Do you have talents that you buried because you had to go to work, felt you were too old, didn’t have enough time, weren’t good enough, or were out of shape, etc.? Which ones could put some joy back into your life and/or work? Can’t do it now? Then develop a plan for the future.

Perhaps it’s because I’m single and have complete freedom to organize my life–but I really enjoy those books with a daily reading.  I keep them on my kitchen table and read them as I eat my breakfast. I’m amazed how many times something that I read will talk right to me.  My all-time favorites have been Deep Breath of Life by Alan Cohen and Wealthy Spirit by Chellie Campbell.   I just received Alan’s new book, A Daily Dose of Sanity and after reading the former books several times, it’s nice to have a new “stories” to read.

Today I read Alan’s post about 86,400–moments in a day.  He challenges us to consider how we spend each moment of our day.  The last few weeks, I’ve been getting reminders to be more intentional about how I spend my time.  Although I feel I am self motivated and very determined, I am starting to question whether I am working on the right things and if there are ways I  could make better use of my time.  I suppose it’s like keeping a food journal when you want to lose weight.  It’s those tiny little “cheats” we don’t pay attention that keep us fat.  Time to tighten up.

How are your 86,400 moments going?  Are there ways you can make better use of them?

I recently had a lot of reminders of how important accountability can be in achieving our success. Whenever I think about accountability,  I think–report card, performance reviews and feelings of being judged quickly pop up.  Accountability = something to be avoided!

One of the joys of having my own business is that I am my own boss.  I no longer have anyone to report to. But now I truly get the importance of this thing called measurement.  I consider myself a very determined person.  I set goals for myself and have a regular To Do List.  But I can’t honestly say I know where my time goes.  How much time am I wasting? Am I doing the right things?

One of my goals is to complete my book in 2010.  I decided to align myself with my friend, Yvonne, who lives in another state.  Yvonne is also a writer and we made a commitment to get up early each morning and write on our projects.  There are many times that the only thing that gets me up early is knowing that she is waiting for my morning email–“Hey, I’m up!”  I’m convinced I have made much more progress having an accountability buddy than I would by myself.

I have started working with a new coach, Michelle Pippin.  She has turned me on to the importance of being accountable.  In one of her blogs, she made the statement of how we are good “at our word” towards other people; but we don’t honor ourselves that way.  Wow, that was powerful.  I remember times that if I said I would attend a meeting, boy, I would make sure I would be there.  But I agree with her–I often slack off on the commitments I make to myself.

As you might know, I have become a leader with WaggleForce, a national network of local career clubs.  There are many reasons that job seekers could benefit from joining a career club.  One of the important ones is being accountable to each other for our commitments and progress. Accountability works!

So, what about you? Are you ready to make a commitment to yourself for an important goal this year?  What experiences have you had with being accountable to someone?  I’ve love to hear about your stories!

Someone recommended I read the book, God Winks.  I soon discovered it is a series of books that shares fascinating stories of real people who experienced fascinating coincidences in their life.  Is it chance, is it luck or is it God communicating with you?

Like many people, I always want to get a definitive answer to my prayers.  There are times when I get a sign–but I find myself talking to myself that it is simply my imagination.  Let’s face it, none of us will truly know the answer to any of this speculation until we get to heaven.  Unfortunately, once that time comes–we can’t share the answer to that secret.

Now after reading several of the God Wink books, I am taking pleasure and comfort in remembering the God Winks I’ve already experienced. There are lots and lots of coincidences that have come and gone and I dismissed them.  Like the many times I think of someone and they call me or I get a card from that very person.  Interesting and notable, but quickly forgotten.

But then there are other situations when we realize that something different has happened.  It is what C.G. Jung called “synchroncity.”  It is when there is a sequence of events that occur in close proximity to each other and are related  through some kind of noticeable similarity.  It is totally subjective, but it is a coincidence that someone finds meaningful.

One of those types of coincidences that stands out for me occurred when I was planning to relocate from Pennsylvania to North Carolina.  I fell in love with the mountains and fell in love with the first house I walked into (it was absolutely perfect).  Although I put down a deposit for this new house, I hadn’t sold my old home.  Gulp.  I took a big leap of faith that it would all work out in the end, but there were several weeks where I was nervous about owning two homes (and no, I could not afford two homes!)

Eventually, I decided that no matter what, I was going to move to NC to attend a Leadership workshop and decided to make a reservation at an Extended Stay hotel (because my new home wouldn’t be done for another 3 weeks).  The hotel reservation was made for  September 10th.  Two days later, I got a call from my Realtor with an offer for my house.  The closing date requested by the new buyer was… September 10th.  To me, it was a definite God Wink that I was headed in the right direction.

After reading some of the stories shared by Squire Rushnell and remembering my own, I am not going to waste any future time worrying about whether it is a sign or just luck. I am simply going to smile and believe that these coincidences are indeed answers and guides for my direction.  And let it go at that.

What about you–what coincidences have you had in your life? How were these signs answers to your prayers?

Most people don’t achieve their goals because they don’t start. What they truly want–takes their breath away—too hard, too big, too overwhelming. A “fear freeze” takes over their body and mind. But not their heart–they continue to feel that tug. Does this sound like you?

I’ve been there too. All the cliches that encourage us not to die with our song still in us or to follow our hearts–didn’t help me a bit at the time. “They” didn’t know MY dream—MY finances—MY life—MY obligations.

For the last 10 years I worked in Corporate America, I had a secret desire of becoming a Life Coach. I didn’t dare tell anyone my dream because it was such a remote possibility—I didn’t want to “make a fool of myself.”

During those years whenever I wistfully thought about a coaching career, an array of fears and excuses would quickly squelch any hope.“I’m not confident enough. I don’t know how to fill in the blank. I don’t have the right skills. I don’t know anything about starting a business? How could I live without a secure paycheck? Where would I find clients? Where would I begin? I’m too old.”

Then I got the proverbial kick in the you-know-where and discovered that my secure paycheck wasn’t so secure after all. Isn’t it amazing how a push like losing your job can give you the motivation to finally go for it. Well, you didn’t have to hit me with a hammer—I went for it.

Whether you’re trying to figure out your next career or have something else that won’t let you alone, here are some lessons I learned along my own journey that could help you.

The hoop. When I was admiring the quilt my neighbor had been hand-sewing for almost 2 years, I asked how she handled such a huge “canvas.” JJ explained that her embroidery hoop not only keeps the fabric firm, but gives her a small area to concentrate on. “I don’t get overwhelmed with how much more I have to do–I just have to do one section at a time.” What a perfect analogy for goal setting.

Got people? You don’t need a huge crowd like Verizon, but having at least one person in your corner who encourages and prods you on is really important. Friends are great—but sometimes they are as intimidated as you are. You need to find someone who can give you courage. I don’t know what I would have done without my 2 coaches—Jackie Cody-Downing (wwww.spiritgems.com) and Lin Screiber (www.revolutionizeretirement). Ok, so that was a shameless plug for coaching—but I personally have experienced the benefits of coaching. It works!

Recliner lift. Let’s face it, we all get comfortable. We are creatures of habit and it’s great that we are because we’d be exhausted thinking about all the minutia in our lives. The problem is that it feels so good to remain in our recliner that it takes a major dose of motivation to get us started. Picture one of those recliner lifts to help people get out of their chairs. Or dynamite—whatever you need to find enough energy to at least figure out if you want to do this.

Shoulds. Our shoulds are alive and well giving us impossible goals to strive for. Before adding to the pile of guilt you no doubt already have, a key question to ask yourself, “Is this something I should do or I want to do?” Here’s a hint – if it keeps coming up, you should take a serious look at it.

Munchies. David Allen, in his book, Getting Things Done, suggests that putting your project on your To Do list is too vague and only keeps us overwhelmed. Instead, list the next step that will help you move forward. Example: Write a book vs write two hours every day.

Fog lights. If you can push yourself to take the first step (see above), the next one becomes more obvious. It’s like driving in a fog where you can’t see much of the road ahead of you, but as you drive a few hundred feet, you can now see that next block.

Concrete sequential. My pastor used this term in one of his sermons. People want the Map Quest directions to get where they are going. “Tell me the specific steps (concrete) I need to take and the exact order (sequential). Oh yeah, and when I will be done.” Sorry, there may be a manual to fix your TV, bu there isn’t one for achieving your dreams. You need to muster up a little bravery, faith and patience to see you through the process (but it’s worth it).

Ready. Set. Panic. So I push myself outside my comfort zone–then it invariably happens—panic sets in. My mind goes blank, all my confidence and creativity go out the window. “How could I possibly think I could do that?” This could last from a few hours to a few days. But once I calm myself down—the answers and ideas do come. It’s happened enough times now that I created an affirmation to silence that noisy gremlin inside my head. “I can do this. The answers will come.”

It’s a new year. What is it you still want to do?

I love this quote from Alan Cohen, ”Thank you, God, for the chance to begin again.” It’s true that we can start again any day, but January 1st seems to be our annual reminder of beginning again. Are you ready to make this year different?

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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!