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Navigating the Road To Success

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“The road to success is always under construction.” ~ Lily Tomlin

Not too long ago I was invited to give a talk to the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) at Boise State University. The group wanted me to speak about how I got started in my career in public relations, the ups and downs, what I’ve learned and how I got to where I am now, which is the owner of a PR company, a freelance writer and author.

Like most people, my career hasn’t been pristine and perfect, so I decided to base my talk on the flops, fiascoes and failures and how these disappointments all played a role in where I am today.

“Opportunities to find deeper powers within ourselves come when life seems most challenging.”

As the old proverb says, “A diamond is merely a lump of coal that did well under pressure.”

Bumps in the road
My background includes dropping out of college, being rejected numerous times for positions I really wanted, working as a grunt, being overworked and underpaid, being stuck in jobs I detested, feeling utterly incompetent and being mercilessly fired. The last point was the best thing to happen to me because it forced me to put on my Big Girl Panties and start my own business. Continue Reading…

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5 meditations to soothe the unemployed

 

Losing a job can be a grief-filled experience, rating high on the list of stress producers. The emotions you feel may be crazy as you pick you way through each unemployed moment of each jobless day, wondering what you could or should have done differently to keep your job, and why this is all happening to you.

Ugh. I’ve been there.

The simple answer is that life is not static and sometimes, in spite of everything we try to do to control our days, things just happen. Often, after the fact, we discover that it was the best thing to happen.

So, here are 5 meditations to help soothe you if you’ve lost your job.

 

1. “You will either step forward into growth or you will step back into safety.” ~ Abraham Maslow

Many of us don’t do change very well.  We thrive on consistency. We like our comfort zones.  We seek out routines that are reliable and steady because they give us a sense of security.

But, change is inherent to all living creatures. Consider the lowly lobster, which each year sheds its shell, the very thing that provides it with protection, security and comfort.

 

Continue Reading…

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Are you following your bliss?

I just had a birthday, and let’s just say I’m closer to entering retirement than I am to entering college. For readers who may be way younger than me, you might not “feel” what I’m going to write about (although one day you will).

I used to think I had all the time in the world to accomplish my goals. But this year it dawned on me that all those trite, old sayings are really true – time goes by quickly, it doesn’t last forever and at some point we all need to follow the Nike admonition to “Just Do It.”

Aren’t we all busy? Don’t we all sort of complain about what we “wish” we could do if we could just find the time (or the energy or the money or the courage). I know I do.

Life’s little wakeup calls 

It wasn’t just the birthday that caused these thoughts to bubble to the top of my head. I also lost my 82-year-old dad this past year, and when I started doing the math, I realized that his ripe old age is only about 25 years away for me, give or take a few.

Twenty five years. Sounds like a good chunk of time, but is it really? Anyone over 40 knows how quickly the years zoom by, all in little bite-sized increments — one year here, five years there, then suddenly 20 years or so have passed. Continue Reading…

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A job loss doesn’t mean a loss of identity

“All the world is a stage,
And all the men and women merely players.
They have their exits and entrances;
Each man in his time plays many parts.”

 ~ William Shakespeare
(photo source)

 

Often we see ourselves through the filter of our job titles. Our work becomes such a large part of our identities. And why shouldn’t it? We spend so much time working, making a living, getting ahead, and thinking about how we fit into our workplace that sometimes its difficult to separate who we are from what we do.

When we meet new people, one of the first things we ask each other, right after names, is “What do you do? Where do you work?” Continue Reading…

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Have you stayed too long at your job?

career-transition

“Job security is gone. The driving force of a career must come from the individual.” ~ Homa Bahrami, UC Berkeley, Haas School of Business

 

I will never forget the time I left a job I truly loved to accept another one that paid me a bit more money. By the time I finally quit that second job two years later, I was literally crying every day on my way to work.

I learned a few lessons that year: First, there is more to life than chasing money. Second, making decisions based solely on income will not make me happy. Third, at the two year mark – and probably even at the 6 month mark — I had completely overstayed my time at a job that paid me far more in dread and anxiety than money.

In the months before I quit, I remember thinking, “If today was my last day on this earth, why am I wasting it in such misery?’

A few years ago, a smart, professional and hard-working friend of mine went through a very torturous period at her job. At first, she noticed her formerly friendly boss was acting cool to her. Soon, she wasn’t getting invited to the usual meetings. Then, her boss started changing the deadlines for her assignments without notice, causing her to have to work overtime or plead with her boss for extensions. Finally, when my friend missed a deadline that had arbitrarily been changed twice, her boss placed her on unpaid administrative leave.  Continue Reading…

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Thoughts on losing a job

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“Getting fired is nature’s way to telling you that you had the wrong job in the first place.” ~ Hal Lancaster, in The Wall Street Journal

I want to talk about job loss. These days, way too many people are losing their jobs. No matter what you call it — getting fired, laid off, let go, downsized or furloughed — the end result is still the same. The loss of income, security and a sense of identity. You no longer have that familiar place to go each day where you can contribute to a team. You miss your friends and co-workers.

Have you ever been let go? I have, and believe me, it can be frightening. You talk about a major emotional stressor…the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale says job loss is the 8th most stressful event in our lives, following a family death, divorce, jail time and illness. Sort of explains why we’ve got so many stressed out folks in our communities.

Perhaps losing your job wasn’t your fault. Maybe you were a victim of cost cutting and there was nothing you could do to prevent it. Or, maybe you were terminated because you didn’t get along with your boss, or you messed up a big project, or you were late one too many times. You can bang your head against the wall trying to figure it out, and feel guilty and regretful wondering what you could have or should have done differently. But, the simple answer is that life is not static or predictable and sometimes, in spite of everything we try to do to control our days, things just happen. We are not the CEOs of the universe and the sooner we understand that the better off we are. Continue Reading…

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The meaning of success

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“Success means having the courage, the determination, and the will be become the person you believe you were meant to be.” George Sheehan

Success… Is it a place we arrive at, or is it made up of all the things we learn during our journey?

Is it a hard race to the finish line, or is it being able to smell the flowers along the way?

Does it mean working to acquire a lot of money and things, or does it mean having more leisure time to enjoy life?

I thought about that question the other day after someone asked me if I felt like I had “arrived” in my work and creative endeavors. I wondered…were they referring to monetary income, or professional satisfaction, or simply a sense of personal happiness in knowing I’m doing what I enjoy?

Success is one of those hard-to-pinpoint concepts, differing ever so slightly from person to person. All you need to do is Google “success” and you’ll find quotes that vary as wildly as the authors themselves. Continue Reading…

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