share your gifts


One of the toughest parts of job transition is self-promotion.  I wish I had a dollar for every candidate who told me it was difficult for them to talk about themselves and their accomplishments. Slowly but surely, I take these job seekers out of hiding and help them uncover, recognize, and share the value they bring to their jobs. To get there, we have to overcome two obstacles.

share your giftsFirst, the fear of bragging. People believe that if they are not quiet and modest, then they are brashly bragging. I help them see there is a mid-ground. Talking about what you do well is not bragging, it is stating facts. What you do, what you accomplish is not bravado but a truth. Look at your career and pull out the accomplishments and wins over the years. These are facts, evidence if you will, of your value and contribution. Use these facts to let a potential employer know what they can expect if they hire you.  If we don’t take the time to tell people what we offer, they will never know. We have a responsibility to ourselves and the future company we want to serve, to share what we bring to the table. Part of the fear of bragging, is the assumption one must put others down to raise themselves up. This is not true. You can state what you do, outside of what anyone else does. Focus on the facts of you, not a comparison to anyone else.

Second, people need help uncovering and recognizing their contributions. It astounds me how many women and men draw a blank when I ask about their accomplishments. They can not even put into words their contributions. Candidates will say they executed their position but can’t go into detail as to what that entailed. In doing so, they are not only minimizing their professional value, but their personal value as well. When I realize the candidate I am talking to is unable to answer even the most basic questions about what they did and how it benefitted their company or customers, I know there is a larger problem at play. This is no longer about self-promotion. The true issue revolves around self-awareness and self-love.

Acknowledging your true strengths and weaknesses, knowing who you are, requires self-awareness. When we take the time to uncover and own who we are, we are pulled out of the shadows. We can no longer hide our faults – or our brilliance. We become a known entity. Yet so many of us are happiest hidden in the background. We react to others, never taking proactive actions of our own. We look to others to create the framework and guidelines for life which we follow like lemmings. In doing so, we are depriving the world what we are here to offer; what only we can offer. It is not selfish to know and speak our truth. It is actually selfish not to.

Without self-awareness, there can be no self-love. Self-love gives us confidence and strength. We can not tap into this power until we acknowledge, embrace, and love who we are – warts and all. And amazing accomplishments and all! It is when we know ourselves, what we do well, what we are meant to contribute, that we are then in a position to guide our lives. If you don’t know and love what you have to offer, you flounder from job to job, relationship to relationship, city to city – or you don’t move at all, sitting in a static state never fully expressing your gifts.

Take some time, starting with your professional gifts, to write out what you do well. Uncover these gifts. Acknowledge them. Celebrate them. Then look at these gifts and see where they point you for the future.

sulking child

Look for the Lesson

Sometimes people don’t understand me because I don’t let my emotions run away with me (for the most part). A car cuts me off and I smile and wave. When someone is rude to me I only become more kind to them. In the current world where righteous indignation is prized and promoted, I don’t fit the mold.

And I’m happy.

Happy I don’t fit the mold. And happy because I don’t fit the mold.

sulking childSome of us live in a world where we feel the victim. We give others our power and then when they use that power against us, we are angry.

Some of us live in a world of competition. Attacking anything and everyone to get on top and feel safe.

Some of us live in a world of mistrust, blaming others for our problems.

Some of us see the world as a struggle, making challenges and issues where there are none.

Me? I live in a world where every interaction is an opportunity to rise above, be the best person I can be, learn, and change. Every conflict is an opportunity for growth. Every confrontation is a window into the other.

Don’t get me wrong. I am human and have my share of emotions. Emotions are important. Emotions are indicators. They let us know what is working and what is not working in our lives. Emotions wake us up to something to solve, something to change. The problem arises when we let our emotions take charge of our actions. It is powerful and necessary to feel anger when someone has wronged us so that we can fix the problem or remove ourselves from the situation. But if we allow ourselves to act with anger, we only create more issues.

What if instead of going off on a tirade about what wrong has happened to you, you look for a solution? And if there is no solution, what if you look for acceptance?

Besides emotions indicating when a situation needs to be addressed, being triggered is also a chance to learn about the other. We often see ourselves as the center of the universe, as the lead in a movie. Therefore, we see everyone’s actions in terms of us. The truth is, people act independent of us. They have their own movie and universe to contend with. When we believe that people are specifically acting to hurt or harm us, we are not seeing the real picture. We need to look for their motivation.

Recently an individual decided to slander me and attempted to destroy some of my relationships. At first my emotions – anger, fear, sadness – kicked in to let me know something was not right. Then I had two choices. I could try to defend myself against untruths and fight back with anger and malice. I took the other route. I looked deeper than this person’s external actions. I saw that they were insecure and were attacking out of a feeling of defense. It wasn’t the best idea, but it was their truth. I let the attacks linger in the air, I shared the truth with some who needed to know, and then I removed myself from the situation. If I would have allowed my anger to get the better of me, I would have lashed out with the same unjustified bitterness as this individual, just causing more issues.

What if instead of labeling the other as mean or rude, you can see the struggle they are going through and how much pain they must be feeling? How would you address conflicts differently?

This week be aware of your emotions. What are they telling you? Then look for the logical solution or if necessary, accept the situation for what it is – in either case, do what you need to feel good again. For bonus points, look at the one causing you pain. Look deep inside them and see their own pain making them act in the way they do.

customer service

Making a Human Connection

This past Easter, a fire erupted in a local parking garage. Thankfully no one was injured. Although hundreds of cars were destroyed.

We park our trailer in this garage.

After a few days wait, we were able to access the garage and remove our trailer which was thankfully unharmed in any way. We had to find alternative storage as the garage would not be reopened for over a month. We found a place to store it and waited.

While we waited, I attempted to receive a refund for the time we paid for but could not access the garage. I talked to the mall office who sent me to the garage office which was inaccessible. A security guard gave me the phone number of the woman in charge, who never answered her phone. A friend obtained and called the number for the garage management parent company in Mexico City. On the first call we were told to call back because the individual we needed to speak to was on break. Next time we called there was no answer. At this point, I was measuring the importance of how much we paid for the missed month versus the effort to receive a refund. I laid the issue to rest.

customer serviceA week or two later, after the garage opened, I happened to be in the area with some time to kill. I walked to the garage office and asked for the woman in charge. After a few minutes she, and the two little dogs that accompany her at work, appeared. I was preparing myself for what I expected to be a terse conversation, when she introduced herself, shook my hand, looked me in the eyes and said, “Mucho gusto.”

In Spanish, “Mucho gusto” means approximately “pleased to meet you.” All at once we were not manager and customer but two human beings making a human connection. I smiled. She smiled. All the tension dissipated and we had a cordial conversation. In my broken Spanish, I was able to negotiate an extra month on my contract. Problem pleasantly and easily resolved in 15 minutes.

When was the last time you had to call the cable company or return something damaged to a store? What attitude did you go in with? Did you expect to be denied? Did you feel wronged, entitled, or outraged? Did you have anger blurring your mind?  When you entered the conversation, what happened? Did you get your issue resolved? If you did, did you feel good afterwards or did you still feel painful, angry indignation?

Replay the situation in your mind. What if you started off by introducing yourself and by taking a moment to truly connect to the other person as a human being. What if the issue was now secondary to the importance of treating the person across from you as a living breathing being with feelings?

Next time you need to address an issue or when someone confronts you in an aggressive manner, stop. Breathe. Connect as two individuals. Remember that you are speaking to a person who deserves as much respect and unconditional love as you do.


Reality Check

In our fast-paced lives, we are often “doing” and not “living.” One tool to help us truly live is to hold a reality check every so often.

How much of our day goes by in a blur versus being in the moment? How much of our life is routine versus conscious choosing? How much of the time are we living by others’ expectations and “the norm” versus actively choosing our life the way we want to live it?

truthTake a few moments today to stop and hold a reality check.

Commitments: Look over the commitments in your calendar and note if you chose them or if they were chosen for you? How much of your day is being dictated by others or a sense of obligation? How many things have you committed to which do not bring you joy? What commitments can you remove and which need to be added to bring you into alignment with your truth?

Relationships: Review your relationships. Which are serving you? Where are you giving more than you receive? Where are you being taken advantage of? Where do you need to take back your power? What relationships need to end and which need more focus to bring you more joy?

Health: Our health is often the first thing to suffer when we are not taking care of ourselves. What are your eating and exercise habits? What unhealthy choices do you make when you are stressed? If your life was more in alignment, what bad habits could you release? To focus on your unique health needs, what parts of your life need to be rearranged?

Environment: Is your home, office, and physical location to your highest and greatest good? What needs to shift to make if feel more supportive and joyful? Do you need to make a few small shifts or is it time for a bigger move? What small touches can you bring to all you see and experience to make if feel better to you?

Purpose: Is what you are doing for money filling more than your pocketbook? Is the time you are spending at work worth the time you are away from the things you love? Are you giving of yourself through your paid profession and/or your hobbies? Do you feel fulfilled or drained by the work you do? Is there a deeper purpose you are meant to share which you are withholding from the world?

When you are truly living your life, your unique reality, life becomes easier and smoother. It doesn’t mean there aren’t challenges. It only means that things fall into place more easily. When you try to live someone else’s reality, life is more of a struggle – because it is not right for you. Taking the time to hold a reality check brings you back to center. A reality check focuses you on your life, dreams and ambitions. Taking the time to really review your life, to be grateful for the things you love and compassionately release the things which are not right for you, will allow your life moving forward to be more joyful, appropriate, and easy.


Is Your Glass Half Full or Empty?

Back in the 80’s I remember a song, but not the title or artist, where the musicians ponder if the glass is half full or half empty. The song purported it didn’t matter because sooner or later one would spill it. At the time of my teenage angst at an unfair world, the lyrics spoke to me.

254Recently I received this meme (sorry I can’t give credit), “People who wonder if the glass is half empty or half full, miss the point. The glass is refillable.”

How often have you debated with yourself or others the joy of optimism versus the realism of pessimism? Looking around your friends and acquaintances which ones see the glass as half full? They have a positive outlook and see the silver lining in every challenge. And which of your friends take on the role of Eeyore? No matter what good is coming their way, they view the world pessimistically. They are looking for the other shoe to drop. It is nearly impossible to help these people put on rose-colored optimistic glasses. But maybe the concept of “refilling” can help.

The key to life is not choosing between being optimistic or pessimistic. Choosing pessimism closes doors. It keeps the good from coming to your awareness. It drags down your spirit, and the energy of others. On the other hand, optimism can get out of control. Don’t get me wrong, I am an optimistic person. But I am realistically optimistic. Unfortunately, I see others who wear optimism as a safety blanket against reality. After sinking thousands into a doomed business, they dedicate a bit more because “this time it will pay off.” They stick around a relationship longer than is beneficial with the naïve hope that things will change. Optimism is an empowering tool, but it does need to be based in some semblance of reality.

That is why I liked this meme. It stops the debate around optimism and pessimism – which is just another white and black debate. Instead, it tells us our life is refillable, changeable. At any moment you can choose to have more and better. It does not matter if you see life with pie-eyed optimism or restricting pessimism. What is stronger than either is knowing, embracing, and utilizing the fact that we have the power to create. We have the power to fill our life with what we choose. We don’t have to settle for half of anything; we can fill our glass, our life to the brim.

Look at your glass, your life. How full is it? Are you afraid you are running out of time, good fortune, love? Are you hoarding what little you have left because you don’t believe there is more to come? Are you jealous of others who have more full or larger glasses? Take control of your life. Know deep in your heart that nothing in the universe runs out. There is always more. There is abundance. The only thing that keeps you in lack is your unwillingness to ask for more.

Starting today see your glass, your life as infinitely refillable. What are you going to add to it today?

groundhog day movie

Getting Unstuck

Every Monday I receive a Soul Card Reading from Saskia Roell. I often find the cards she shares to be inspirational and insightful. A recent card from the Esther and Abraham Hicks Ask and It Is Given card deck was something I felt I should share. The card reads:

Life Is Always in Motion, So It Cannot be “Stuck”:

It is not possible to stand still or be stuck, because Energy, and therefore life, is always in motion. Things are always changing . . . The reason it may feel to you as if you are stuck is because, while you are continuing to think the same thought, things are changing – but they are changing to the same things over and over.

Pow! Did that hit you between the eyes like it did me?

I can certainly remember times in my life when things felt stuck. I was in a rut. I had dreams, but what I experienced every day was the same feeling of being trapped. Life was a prison, a monotony. And, yes, I also had the same thoughts every day. I restricted what I thought I could do. I assumed I had to accept poor behavior coming my way. I was stuck in believing that what I was experiencing was all I could expect in life. I didn’t know or believe I had the power to create the life I wanted.

groundhog day movieThis reminds me of the brilliant movie Groundhog Day. In the movie based on a book, the lead character experiences the same day over and over again – for years. The same words spoken by others, the same responsibilities, the same events. At first, he feels a victim of events. He feels trapped in the drudgery of experiencing the same day again and again. And then he changes. He decides to live his life more fully. He learns new things. He practices new skills. He gives back to the community. And when he starts approaching his day differently, suddenly his whole experience shifts and changes.

What do you feel trapped by right now? What feels like repetitive drudgery? Where do you feel stuck? Where do you feel like you are sentenced to a fate you can not change?

Now, look at your thoughts. How are the expectations of this issue creating your undesired outcome? How can you change your thoughts, beliefs, and actions just a bit to create a different outcome?

Sometimes this change of thought is fairly easy. Instead of walking into work already assuming it is going to be the same unproductive, unfulfilling day as it was yesterday, you can shift your mindset to expect something new, something that will challenge and fulfill you, a day of work you can be excited and proud about.

Other times, trying to look at things differently can be challenging. When it comes to our health, violent crime around us, or a political policy we can not directly affect, we may feel stuck and trapped. But even here we have a choice. What you focus on is what you bring into your life. Is your focus on the negative, or on solutions? Are you resigned to the genetics you were born with, or are you looking for new ways to eat and move to reduce your symptoms? Are you solely drinking in the negativity of world news, or are you breathing in some of the wonders of our world?

Take a look at what is stuck in your life right now. Examine how you see the situation, and how your thoughts brought you this experience. Explore how you can change your thoughts and perspective to bring in something fresh and new. Then have the courage to take the step toward creating the life you desire.