Overview

I have always been a proponent for us to be leaders of our lives—being intentional about our career and the time in between. And while much of my business is focused on our careers, I know that the truly important things in our lives are often not when we’re at work. Consider leadership as the whole person. It is not something we can turn on and off.

 Helping others become the best they can be is what I am passionate about. I have never been shy in using my own experiences in hope to provide ideas and guidance and to let people know they are not alone in what they go through.

 And so this section of my website is devoted to personal leadership—living the best quality of life we possibly can.

 Stress

I have come to realize that stress is bigger than we give it credit for. I’m not talking about having to get a project done by Friday or even getting married. I’m talking about chronic stress that stays with you 24/7/365.  There are tons of books and information out there that address how to alleviate stress and they are valuable tools. Yoga, exercise, meditation, taking walks, finding time to do something you like doing, such as a hobby or a vacation etc.

 But although many of us know there are techniques we can utilize, we often are too low to utilize them.  Some of my favorites revolve around reframing the situation, exercising, laughing, and having the support of good friends. The simple act of talking about your problems out loud can have a tremendous benefit that keeping it locked inside your head.

  • This is an area that I will continue to write about. Check my blog for updates.

If you have watched any TV recently, I’m sure you’ve heard clips of the song, “Let it Go” from the movie, Frozen. The song and movie was often mentioned on TV, but the only part that was ever mentioned was “Let it go…let it go…” I was puzzled about why the song was so popular with children since I hadn’t seen the movie. As a life coach, I often suggested to clients to “let it go,” but it didn’t seem to be the right context for kids.

My curiosity peaked, I googled both the movie plot and the song lyrics. What I discovered is that it is not only a wonderful message for children, but a great reminder for all of us.

The movie centers around Elsa (Snow Queen), who keeps her powers hidden because she is embarrassed and fearful of her talents. Eventually, she comes to realize that her special gifts are a blessing and not a curse. I imagine the song is played when she decides to toss her fears aside and lets it go…and shows off who she really is.

I’m sure I’m not alone in struggling with the confidence to feel comfortable with who I am and to accept what makes me unique. Although I had a musical talent, I envied those high school cheerleaders with their athletic ability. When I was older, I wished I was better with math, instead of being “good with people.” We always seem to want what we don’t have.

And then, we grow up wanting to please our parents, friends, teachers…and later, bosses—and often we bury our true opinions and talents. When are we going to please ourselves? If not now, then when? Here are a few suggestions to practice or begin “letting it go…”

Ask Dumb Questions. Have you ever kept a burning question to yourself because you were afraid everyone else knew the answer except you and that the others would surely think you were stupid? Many times, I’ve kept my mouth shut at a meeting, only to hear someone ask that very question and realized many others didn’t know either.

So instead of second and third-guessing yourself, just ask the question! If this seems too difficult, you can ease into by saying, “Perhaps this is a dumb question, but…” Invariably, no one will laugh (everyone can relate to that) and most of the time, you’ll be revered by asking a question that no one else had the guts to share out loud. And who knows, your question may be so insightful, it could change the direction of the issue being discussed.

Joy Working. Did you have a parent who nudged you into a “safe” career? I remember my mother suggesting I become a teacher because I would have my summers off. Although in my case, it turned out to be something I did enjoy. But there were other possibilities I did not pursue because they were more risky and I was fearful of not succeeding.

If you took a lie-detector test and was asked if your work brought you joy, would you pass it? If not, take some time and invest in yourself to discover what would. Life is too short to be miserable most of your 24 hours/day.

Own your gifts. When someone compliments you on something, do you… a) you play it down; b) share what wasn’t so perfect about what you did; c) mention someone who does it better. I am currently reading The Confidence Code (I’m sure it’ll give me a few articles for the future.) Perhaps nothing new to most of us, but women fall short in the confidence category.

And while you may not be “there” 100%, it may be a great time to practice, “act as if.” Act as if you were confident. If you complimented someone else, act as you’d like them to receive it. And remember that there is always someone better than you at just about any talent. But on the other side of that, remember there is always someone worse than you. Be happy with what you are blessed with, who you are, and how you can share the gifts YOU have. (And I promise I’ll try and practice what I am preaching here!)
“Let It Go” excerpts from Frozen (movie)…“Let it go, let it go! Can’t hold it back any more. Let it go, let it go!… Conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them know; be the good girl you always have to be…Well, now they know!….let it go, let it go, can’t hold it back anymore…let it go, let it go…I don’t care what they say.

Can’t get to me at all, it’s time to see what I can do, to test the limits and break through. No right, no wrong, no rules for me, I’m free. Let it go, let it go, the perfect girl is gone, here I stand in the light of day, let the storm rage on, I’m never going back, the past is in the past…”

Perhaps not a day goes by when we hear a story on TV or see an article in a magazine about aging gracefully. Almost always, it’s a reference to looking good at a particular age and almost always it’s geared toward women.

I particularly love the stories about how good someone looks at (name the age). The story continues to ooh and ah about how so-and-so looks amazing, but you notice she can’t smile because of all the Botox she has had. Are we kidding anyone when we look at someone 75 or 85 who has the skin of a 40 year old? Is that what aging gracefully means?

I am not against anyone having “work done.” Matter of fact, if I had the financial resources, I would have my list ready for “tweaking.” But I believe aging gracefully is much more than skin deep. As we get older, we realize that while we may look great, if things under our hood are not working well, it’s all for nothing.

I have always been a proponent for us to be leaders of our lives—whether it is about being intentional about our career or the time in between. And while much of my business is focused on our careers, I know that the things that really count in life is the time in between.

Helping others be the best they can be is what I am passionate about. I have never been shy in using my own experiences in hope to provide ideas and guidance and to let people know they are not alone. So many times we think we are the only ones who have done this…or experienced that. We keep it a secret feeling different instead, we are just like the person sitting next to you!

And my Resilient Living of my blog and my separate FB page will be devoted to personal leadership—living the best quality of life we possibly can.

Granted, not everything is within our control. My daughters are not quiet about pointing out something they have inherited and will say, “thanks mom, for sharing that.” Ah, genes—the gift that keeps on giving. It’s true we can’t alter our DNA, but we don’t have to fall victim either. We need to identify what we can change and do those things. That’s what personal leadership means.

Sure, I wish I had a different body structure and predispositions, but wasting my time on that “train of thought” will only get me stuck at the station. I’m for making the best of the hand I was dealt. The reality is that there is a lot within our control and it is the things within our control and that I’ve learned through the years is what I want to share with you.

Sadly, how well we fare in the “afternoon tea” of our life is often impacted by how well we take care of ourselves in our early years…those years when we feel “it can’t/won’t happen to us.” While we can’t rewind our past, but we can start now.

What’s one thing you can change today that can help you live more gracefully tomorrow?

 

I went on my first diet when I was 16 and have spent the rest of my life seeking the answers to getting to that “perfect” weight. Typical of me, when I am interested in something, I research, read, and absorb enough knowledge where I feel confident and “satiated.” Frankly, I never achieved that with weight management. Just when you think you got the right answer, someone says you are doing it all wrong.

Despite doing everything I’m supposed to do, nothing seemed to work. There had to be a missing piece somewhere. There were many times I just wanted to give up my pursuit. But I decided to conjure up enough hope to try one more time to see if there was something I wasn’t doing, and went to see a PhD nutritionist.

Just as I started seeking advice from the nutritionist, I had a health issue crop up…I blacked out getting up in the middle of the night. Even in those first few hours and being in shock of what just happened, I knew I was lucky. It could’ve been much worse. It was a wake-up call because it has happened before, and I ignored it.

Fast forward 3 months … I have taken numerous tests of all sorts, some prescribed by my team of doctors and others recommended by my nutritionist. While some information is still not known, I now feel I have some of the missing pieces I have been seeking for such a long time.

The biggest ah-ha for me is the realization of how much stress has affected my health, weight, and well-being. And while we read and hear about stress, I want to shout that stress is a BIG factor for most of us. STRESS needs to be in all caps! I truly believe that my being in a chronic state of high stress for many years started a domino chain-reaction in my body.

I believe that stress has depleted my cells, making them unable to absorb the valuable nutrients from food, and thus preventing me from losing weight, but also in sleeping well, and being as energetic as I could be.

I discovered I was very deficient in magnesium. Magnesium? Who’d thought? Maybe it’s too dramatic to say that taking a magnesium supplement has changed my life, but it sure has gotten things going in the literal sense. After years of being stuck weight-wise, during the past 2 months after starting on this supplement, I not only lost weight, but more importantly, lost a significant amount of body fat. My hope has been renewed.

My personal library has quickly grown to include books on stress management, toxins in our environment, adrenal glands, cortisol, magnesium, and sleep problems. Although I was initially a skeptic, I have come to believe that the soil our foods grows in these days can no longer supply the nutrients we all need. Coupled with factors of the stressful lives we have these days, our cells and our bodies do not function as efficiently as they can and eventually this results in diseases.

Bottom line, I am on a new mission. I want to help others like me who have had health and weight struggles all their life. We are an instant gratification society and I wanted to see definite “proof” that something was working. I now see the results of not only the magnesium but of some of the other vitamins/supplements I’ve added. I see that they are helping my body at a cellular level.

And so, I have recently become a distributor for Market America (MA). I am excited about the supplements and weight loss products that have been a big difference in my life.  When I walked into the nutritionist with the few vitamins I was taking, my nutritionist basically laughed at my Sam’s Club calcium bottle. She cautioned me that if you are going to make that investment, you want to make sure it’s a quality product.

When I started writing this part of my newsletter, I realized just how passionate I am about this part of my life. As I mentioned earlier, we are not just one dimension. I will be adding a targeted article that you can read if this topic interests you. Being an adventurer and risk-taker, I have tried other non-traditional approaches to health which I also will write about.

If you want to learn more about my health journey, please contact me at jane@janefalter.com

In the meantime, here are two books I recommend…

The Magnesium Miracle by Caroline Dean

Never Be Sick Again by Raymond Francis

Wouldn’t it be great if relationships with our parents were like a Hallmark card? Speaking as a daughter and a mom of 3 daughters, I know for a fact that the family journey can be a rocky ride. We start our life with unquestioning adoration. By our teenage years, our parents often become stupid—not to mention frustrating when we feel they are out to make our lives miserable by not allowing us to do things we want to do.

But luckily, our parents get their smarts back as we become older. While we can’t appreciate their wisdom and experience when we’re younger, we eventually “get it” as we begin to experience similar challenges in our lives and hear their voice in our heads and realize just how wise they were.

Despite everyone’s good intentions and love, we all end up with baggage. There are inevitable memories that haunt us—something that was said or done–that hit us in a vulnerable spot and carries in us for many years.

Sometimes there are negative attributes or habits that we “catch” from our parents like a cold that doesn’t go away. Often we are unaware how this occurred because it happens so gradually or seems so natural—and it is—because that’s the way we have learned in it our household.

I probably shared this example before, but the one I always remember was going to the Jersey shore with a bunch of my college friends. As we started cooking, someone was looking all around for the Crisco (remember this was years ago) and couldn’t find it. After I walked in the room, I went right to the refrigerator where I had put it. I was the target of the joke—because I was the only one in the group who put Crisco in the refrigerator.

You can imagine that when I got home I asked, “Why do we put Crisco in the refrigerator, Mom?”  My mom answered that she had a problem years ago with ants in the cupboard and decided to keep the Crisco there from then on–so the ants wouldn’t get at it.

Although this is a silly example, many times that’s exactly how we create accommodations. We react to something in our life and develop a “cure” or a coping mechanism. The problem is that after the event or events are long forgotten (or buried), we continue to use our coping tools. The event can be serious, chronic, life-changing, or a simple event that no one even remembers–except you.

Forgiveness. Consider a gift of forgiveness. Writing a letter baring your soul is one way to get to that point. Put as much down on the paper. Then burn the letter or rip it in pieces. The act of writing it down is key in being able to release any pain you still have. You may have to do it more than once, as forgiveness is a process.

Acceptance. If there is a trait, habit, or value you “got” or didn’t get from your parents, get to a point where you are a peace with your past. Instead of blaming someone else or a situation, put all that energy towards making a change for the better. You are not a victim. If you’ve been reading my newsletters, you know I’m all about taking control of you. Now’s a good time to do that!

Love. It is true that some parents (and this goes for kids too) are really a mess. Their baggage is alive, well, and thriving. This I know for sure that you can’t change anyone but yourself and perhaps the only gift you can give them is simply love.

I can distinctly remember thinking during one of my own family twisty curves, “But I did the best I could.” It was at that time that I realized that if I did the best I could, surely my parents did as well.”

 

I often write blogs and articles recommending that you improve your life by suggesting some positive behaviors to incorporate into your life. In this blog, I want you to think about what you need to stop.

Do you find yourself obsessively worrying or complaining? How often do we spend our time today by rehashing what happened yesterday or worrying about what could happen tomorrow. Or perhaps you cling to a hurt that happened long ago and find yourself unable to forgive.

Negative thinking can become a habit–a way of living. When you are focusing on past issues–you aren’t able to think about positive thoughts. The possibilities of the future, what steps you could take to move forward with your goal or to reach down and continue to have a positive hope for the future.

Negativity can be contagious. When I was in human resources, I often noticed a phenomenon going on at work. At times there would be a lot of negativity and complaining from one particular department. Many times it was directed at the supervisor.

So often, when a particular malcontent person left or was transferred and I would later find there was just one person who stirred up the negativity of the rest of the team. “Did you see what he/she did?” “I can’t believe he/she did that!” People who were basically minding their own business were challenged to think about things they would have previously ignored.

Have you been in that type of situation before? Well, if we find we are doing that to ourselves, we can make a change. Harness your mind for good, positive, and hopeful. We can then turn around our view of life and our future.

So, when you discover your thoughts are not helping you today–then say, stop it! (Maybe to yourself, if you don’t want people looking strange at you!)  Picture a stop sign in your mind.

You have control of your thoughts. And just like any other bad habit–you can make a change. So, stop it! I mean, start it–the new habit that is!

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!

 

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!

 

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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!

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