Who Are You And What Do You Want To Become?

Throughout the past four years of starting YourCareerDesignLab I have come to the conclusion and realization that we grow up not knowing who we are. Our “stories” are those that were taught, assimilated, coercers, convinced, and told that when we get into our 20’s, 30’s, 40’s, and up to our 60’s, the search is on. To find who the f**k we really are.

I have had the amazing opportunity to dig deep into young and old people alike, pondering that question and now asking, Who Am I and What Do I Want To Become?

Here are several stories of some of my clients who decided to excavate themselves, dig deep, and came up with epiphanies that took them on the journey now to becoming what they are meant to become. I have changed the names to protect their privacy, but their stories are all true.

Susan...

Susan came to me through her mother, who was worried that Susan, in her mid 20’s, was having an identity crisis. She had done extremely well at her college in Boston. Actually had worked for a well-known psychologist as that was her major and had planned to go on to get her Master’s and Ph.D. But after school ended, thoughts of being good enough to achieve her set goals crept in, and she found herself stuck. Stuck to the point for the past 4 months, she laid on a couch watching Netflix, unable to move really.

When we started to work together, Susan talked to me about her dreams, her aspirations, and her goals but didn’t know where to begin. I practiced NLP ( Neuro-Linguistic Programming) to help her with her limiting beliefs. From there, we dug up her passions of loving baking and cooking for family and friends. After we crafted a resume that spoke of her passion and her culinary pursuits, she landed a job in the kitchen at a well-known high-end restaurant near where she lived. She loved it, she learned, she grew. From there, she was asked to help in a bakery where she learned how to make bread that serviced all the bakeries and restaurants in NYC. Now, after two years of having experiential experiences, she NOW has decided to explore going back to garner her Ph.D. in Psychology and become a life coach for young adults like herself.

Bruce...

Bruce was a young man attending college and, as a junior, decided to become an accountant. We discovered that throughout his life, especially in middle school, when his professor said he would be good in accounting, he persuaded it. Unfortunately, he did not know the first thing about applying or what was necessary to apply for an accounting position, and so throughout his life, he had only worked as a bartender and a caddy. A far cry from accounting. But through his excavation, he found out that he did, in fact, use accounting in his bartending job by setting up outside seating when patrons were waiting long hours for their table. He was able to create a way of enhancing the bar’s income by creating a seating area where patrons would order drinks and light bites prior to being seating. This brought in additional revenue for the company. In addition, Bruce was a connector and loved talking with people, which made him a perfect candidate for becoming an accountant and working with clients. All to say, by connecting his past, he discovered that it was his football coach, who also happened to be his math teacher, that changed his trajectory.

Tisha...

When Tisha went through her excavation process, she dug up some real dirt. When she spoke about her upbringing, it brought tears to my eyes. But her grit and determination inspired me. I showed her that her background led her to look at monies as a way to freedom and independence. Her passion is to bring that same financial independence to clients should she get the job. Again through her Grit, she enrolled in an accelerated program at school, worked full time, and now was applying to accounting careers as well. But now, instead of her narrative being one of negativity, remorse, and jaded, she was able to turn her background into the fertile ground of planting the seeds that would help her to become the success she was destined to become.

All to say, your background, your upbringing, and your stories are the threads that weave your story. Without knowing your story, it is pretty difficult to walk into a career opportunity, and when the preverbal question arises, “Tell me a little about yourself,” and you start to rattle off, “ I just graduated from the University of Virginia, I have a 3.5 GPA, I worked at… You can now tell your story that actually tells volumes of who you are and from that place where you are going by what you have been working at.

Don’t be afraid to find out who you are. The good, the bad, the ugly. When woven together, it makes a beautiful tapestry that is uniquely yours and that you can blanket the potential employer or business with. Dig deep, excavate, discover and recover your past so that you can reframe it and picture yourself in the future you are meant to have.

I love a good story. Don't you?

When I was around 12 years old, my cousins Margot and Linda, and I were at the World’s Fair in Montreal.

I told them how Davey Jones, the adorable singer from The Monkey's - one of the most popular singing boy bands of its time in the 60s and 70s - wrote me a letter and wanted to date me.

I had visited our grandmother in Palm Springs and he and the rest of The Monkey's were there staying at the same hotel. Davey had seen me (I was 12 years old!) and asked what my name was.

He said I was so cute and that he would like to see me. I told them how he took me for a ride on The Monkey's mobile -A souped-up car that had the Monkee’s visual on the side of the car-.

Margot and Linda sat cross-legged on the bed with their mouths agape listening to my story.

I was so believable, that it was hard to imagine the impossibility of someone 20 years older looking at me let alone, talking to me would be a criminal offense now!

But when I was talking to my cousins they hung on every word.

That was the beginning of my storytelling career.

At 13 years old, I told everyone that our family was moving to Beverly Hills. Every friend that I knew, I would go into a whole story about how we were moving to Beverly Hills so I could attend better schools and that I would be going to school with celebrity children and that Dean Martin’s daughter and I would be besties. I crafted, told, and sold this story to everyone I knew, including my parents.

I actually ended up doing a PowerPoint presentation albeit on a poster board telling them how moving there would improve all of our lives, I guess living in the suburbs of Los Angeles wasn’t good enough for me.

LOL Within a year, my story became a reality. 

Storytelling is the social and cultural activity of sharing stories, sometimes with improvisation, theatrics, or embellishment.

Every culture has its own stories or narratives, which are shared as a means of entertainment, education, cultural preservation, or instilling moral values.

Over the past three years, I have worked with hundreds of individuals ranging from 17-67 years of age, and throughout there is a common denominator to their story-truth. 

I have a prompt on my TA DA list that asks, “What were you doing in your room or outside, where you found yourself lost in pure joy, happiness, and passion when time passed until your mom called you for dinner?".

That prompt opens up a can of stories where the individual goes back in their time machine and sees in front of them the child before life got in the way of who and what they are and perhaps in some cases what they are truly meant to be. 

When we find our stories, we find ourselves. We are able to understand what brought us to this point in our lives and define us or in many cases where I have heard some horrific stories, find the inner strength, courage and fortitude to become a warrior and go after our dreams. 

Stories define us and allow us to connect on a level many don’t get the opportunity to. This is why storytelling in an interview changes the dynamic instantly from an interview into a conversation and connects you in a way most interviewers do not expect, yet sets you apart. Makes you memorable. 

Post-Covid, connection is key to finding your place in the career space, and finding your story of who you are and being able to tell it with confidence and conviction is key to landing your dream career.

A good story, when told with details like the Who. What, Where, Why, and How, paints a picture. It brings to life your authentic self and allows others to see YOU as well. 

For example, take Sofia.

Sofia had just graduated from the University of Florida and wanted to get into sales. We began to break down all the preverbal questions every employer asks like “Tell me something about yourself?” She began with the standard, “I just graduated from U of Florida, I have a 3.8 GPA, I studied…" I stopped her there.

The wall went up and as an interviewer myself, I went blank. At that moment, I had her do the TA-DA prompt. She began again, this time I listened:

"When I was 5 years old my mom opened up my Dora Explorer backpack and out fell $20.00 bills. You see I wanted to buy food in the cafeteria, but my mom wouldn’t let me. Every day she made salami sandwiches with 5 slices of salami in the sandwich. At that moment, I would tell all my friends, it's too bad you have to buy food in the cafeteria like hot dogs and pizza. I get to eat this amazing salami from Italy and she would act out the deliciousness. They bought it, so much so that the little children, she went on to explain would line up and pay her $5.00 for each slice!!!"

This story told potential employers that sales wasn't something she learned in school, it was in her DNA!

On my website www.yourcareerdesignlab.com under case studies, you can hear the stories from clients who through theirs have found and landed their dream careers. 

There is story after story of how the thread from our childhoods weaves our background and experiences together and it is through this needling of the various threads that we become a tapestry to share with others. When we blanket people with our stories there becomes a connection, an understanding, a vulnerability that is shared, and only when shared becomes a reality.

Stories give us context, a picture, a framework to which to see through and allow others to see us. This is why we are drawn to Netflix, Hulu, movies, theatre the arts because we long to be drawn into a world of others that reflect upon our own experiences. This opens up our worlds. 

While Margot and Linda to this day, tell me how unbelievable my story was, they somehow believed it because I did. I later had the opportunity to meet Davey Jones at a theatre where he was performing in Miami and told him the story. His body language told me he could care less. Storytelling was my reality and I am sticking to it.

How To Let Go Of Limiting Beliefs

Where do limiting beliefs come from? While many therapists, psychologists, and theorists might ponder, it comes from our childhood, It comes from being compared to others, it comes from "Johnny scored a home run, why didn’t you?" It comes from "she got the lead?!!!".

Throughout my practice, when I pose the preverbal question “Tell me about yourself?” 9 out of 10 times throughout the conversation I hear the following statements:

And the narrative beats on...

When I bring up the concept that those statements are made with limiting beliefs, a light bulb goes off and my clients want to know more. 

It comes from labels that were put on us at a young age when our well-meaning parents and teachers used adjectives such as he’s shy, he’s loud, she’s mean, she’s a trouble maker which becomes our core beliefs. 

When I  use the “TA-DA” list to excavate my client's background, inevitably we begin to find the bolder that has stopped us from achieving our deepest goals and aspirations. Fear is another factor whereby only awareness is the catalyst for the recovery of the deepest wounds we all carry.

Until the bandaid is ripped off, and the sting eases can we begin to tap into who we truly are and who we are truly meant to become. 

I remember a time recently when I held a workshop at an amazing adult camp in Upstate New York. The title of the workshop was “How To Shift Your Shit” lose the Bull and Gain the Fulfillment of Your Life.”

I got a feeling that the only question of each person who attended was: "Who Are You?".

Like an onion peal one young, beautiful and accomplished young woman answered, “ I just graduated from Cornell with a degree in Bioengineering.”

Again I questioned, "Who Are You?". She again with confidence answered, "I am a girlfriend, a daughter, a great friend, a wonderful roommate…"

Again I dug deeper and asked, “ Who are you?”. This time instead of the answers of accomplishments, tears started streaming down her beautiful face to reveal, “ I don’t know who I am”.

From that moment, the Chasm to her beliefs was open and peeled back with someone who spent her whole life believing in her accomplishments but not the biggest one…Herself.

Once she understood that all true accomplishments come first from loving ourselves, parenting ourselves, and owning all the parts that make us who we are. In that sense, our limiting beliefs appear in the back mirror so that the road ahead becomes vast, open, and exciting. Upon remembering your childhood, facing your truth becomes a kaleidoscope of wonderment and beauty.

When we sit in our limiting beliefs it is like you are driving in the slow lane on 1-95 trying to get to your destination. You can see the fast lane and know that is what will get you to your destination or carer but the limiting beliefs keep you in the slow lane. 

To move over and free yourself from fear and your limiting beliefs, and move over to the lane that will get you to where you want to go, you need to go back to a time when you got lost in your room or outside where joy, passion, freedom resided and you got lost in time before your mom called you for dinner.

Who were you? What were you doing? What was bringing you joy and fulfillment before the world got hold of your thoughts and aspirations? Sit for a moment and ponder that thought or better yet download my free TA-DA list and use the prompts to dump the contents of your beautiful brain onto the list and go back to find the person, your essence your true calling before labels like 3M sticky notes were pasted all over your head. 

We begin the journey of undoing the fears of our limiting beliefs from our past so that we can claim love, peace, and freedom that abound and are with you at this present moment. Undoing is the operative word. Deep within all of us is a belief in who we are and who we are meant to become to live our best life. There is nothing “out there” that can come from fear. 

So many young adults today ponder why they cannot land their dream careers. Because unconsciously they go into job interviews with these limiting beliefs. It is my purpose to coach each and everyone to learn who they are, let go of limiting beliefs, and do the work that gives you the confidence and conviction to go into any job opportunity and land it because you brought it with you besides your resume - YOURSELF! You brought the you that has value, skillsets, and passion, you brought the you that is a team player who enjoys playing with others, and more importantly and affirm that you are who you are and there is no one better.

This process is essential and transformative. It puts into motion the guidance and freedom from your past beliefs and brings inner peace in the present. 

Are you ready to let go? Move forward and reclaim YOU!

How To Find Your True Story

“Owning our own story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy-the experiences that make us vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.”

Brene Brown

"Who Are You?" When was there a time in your life when someone cared to ask that question? Or were the ones of the messages that pertained to your achievements like “What tennis team are you on?” “What college are you going to?” “What is your GPA?”.

The list goes on for What do you do, but Who Are You? In our society that question seems to be the most important, the most pivotal, the most vulnerable and yet we never ask.

Have you ever been to a cocktail event when someone ever asked, “Who are You? or is it “What do you do for a living?” What we do is not how we live. It is one of those questions that make you ponder for what I deemed during Covid “thinkubate.” Think about who you are and what makes you the unique individual you are. 

Storytelling is essential as a pathway to come to know who we are and what and where we truly belong.

It is not the story that stems from our pain kinda of story or that gets us stuck in our story, but rather a way to understand our past and what brought us joy, happiness and a sense of belonging not to anyone, but to ourselves.

Today’s catch words and phrases like “People-pleasing, “Low self-esteem” OCD, Imposter syndrome, anxiousness have all become a badge of honor for Gen Z’s. How do we change that narrative to self acceptance at all costs?

Here are five steps to step into your true and authentic self:

1. The first course of action when seeking a career is to first identify who you are, what is best for you and then seek out mentors who can be your GPS to getting to where you need and want to go. Listening to outside voices who believe they know you better than you know yourself or people who have a belief that their way is better for you are sorrily mistaken. Check out our TA DA list that prompts you to ponder this question.

2. Failure breeds success and unless we allow for failure, the pendulum to the above catchphrases cannot diminish. You are setting yourself up for failure when you identify yourself as one part of the whole picture- which is YOU.

3. Owning your story in a way that brings you value and one that allows you to speak it with confidence and conviction are the touch stones of which to step by step reach your pinnacle whatever that might look like. It does not have to be big, grand, robust- it requires vulnerability and truth on your part to share yourself. This act of sharing allows for deep connection and rep-ore. This is how relationships are built and are fostered. This is how your boat becomes moored.

4. Share your story with communities that align with your value. According to one client from the University of Delaware stated, “we have a strong need to belong. Having a strong community is of extreme importance. In my work, helping Gen Z’s or any young person who has gone through the isolation of the pandemic to find yourself and where you belong helps in all aspects of your life from the mental, physical, and psychological state of well-being. 

5. Lead yourself into the world you want, Be the change you want to see in the world. Choose yourself, choose your light and the darkness will fade. 

Integrate your parts into a whole. We all seek connection so put out those pieces and let them shine. I want to know your story.

The Power of Pause

It is June, and in a few short days, summer is upon us. It is time for a Pause. 

Pauses may happen during natural transitions like getting in and out of your car, between meetings or calls, upon rising, or just before bed. But the pauses that restore, renew, or recharge are the ones that make us actually pause so that we can move forward, 

We are starving for stillness and silence in our culture. Doesn’t it seem like there is noise and chaos everywhere? The truth is that the world will not slow down and get less noisy simply because you want it to. You have to commit to taking time to pause. I’ve grown to appreciate that pausing truly is golden. 

I didn’t always feel this way. I used to surround myself with noise. I’d fall asleep with the television blaring, have pop music playing in my car and home, and talk, talk, talk until my throat was sore. Now I seek silence every day and encourage you to do the same.

Balance and Renewal:

The power of taking a pause is well researched. Not only does pausing promote relaxation, but a break from noise and doing also refreshes and reenergizes you for hours. Taking time just to be still and quiet gives your nervous system a chance to regain balance.

Tony Schwartz, best-selling author and CEO of The Energy Project, writes, “Human beings perform best and are most productive when they alternate between periods of intense focus and intermittent renewal.”

I have recently met with some career-minded individuals who are in burnout from sending resume after resume and being rejected. Or doing zoom interviews thinking they presented themselves in the best light only to find that they did not get the job. The constant questioning of one’s self starts to demean the inner voice, and thus the noise level becomes unbearable. What I recommend is taking the summer, playing, exploring, investigating your passion, and taking the pause to do it. You will find renewed interest, moments of joy and happiness, and above all, a great time for a restart. 

How do you renew during the day?

While it’s easy to say turn off your phone and close your office door, there’s more to pausing than you might think. In fact, there are two types of noise and two types of silence to consider. If you’re really interested in feeling your best and performing your best, you will want to understand how to best recover.

Outer Noise

Outer noise is the stuff you hear in your environment: talking, music, machines humming. There’s noise almost everywhere you go these days. Music plays in stores, restaurants, and hotel lobbies. Beeps, gongs, and whistles sound all around us. News is broadcast 24/7.

We are over-stimulated with outer noise. In fact, most of us have been conditioned to require constant music and entertainment. There is no doubt noise has become ingrained in our cultural norms.

We are over-stimulated with outer noise. In fact, most of us have been conditioned to require constant music and entertainment. There is no doubt noise has become ingrained in our cultural norms.

Inner Noise

Inner noise is the phenomenon of being in a quiet room yet feeling as though a whole crowd of people is talking to you all at once. The voices in your head continually remind you to do this or to figure out that. Inner noise is your busy thinking mind in action, continuously bouncing around from one thought to the next and filling your mind with constant chatter.

What should we do about all of this noise? The antidote to noise is… you guessed it… silence!

Outer Silence

It’s fairly easy to stop the incessant outer noise by finding pockets of outer silence. Turn off the noisemakers such as your laptop or television. Stopping or quieting down the inner noise takes more attention.

Settle your body by stabilizing your nervous system with coherent breathing, mediation, movement, and rhythm; your noisy mind will naturally settle down. You can also learn to access inner silence by taking a walk in the woods or playing the piano.

Inner Silence

How do you find inner silence? What practices or activities do you do to really settle down? One of my go-to’s is my Sunday evening bath, complete with candles and soothing music.

Practice the power pause by scheduling 1-2 minute breaks every hour. Pauses may happen during natural transitions like getting in and out of your car, in between meetings or calls, upon rising, or just before bed. Better yet, set an alarm on your phone to ring with a calm chime every hour.

Once you get to know inner silence, you’ll want nothing else but to live in that space all the time.

The power pause practice

  1. Place your feet on the floor, your hand on your thighs, and close your eyes. And if you’re driving, just keep your eyes steady.
  2. For a moment, bring your attention way down to your feet. Just notice your feet on the ground, your seat in the chair, and your hands on your legs.
  3. Now find your heart beating; find your pulse somewhere in your body. Bring your mind, your attention, into your body as quickly as possible.
  4. Now place light attention on the natural rhythm of your breath. With your mind resting on your breath, you may start to notice a sense of ease. You may start to notice, as you exhale fully, that there’s a little bit less tension. A little bit less noise.
  5. There’s not much to do when all you need to do for the next few moments is notice your feet, notice your hands, notice your heartbeat and notice your breath; landing on any one of those areas in your body is just perfect. A perfect way to take a pause.
  6. And now open your eyes if they have been closed and just notice what a few moments of pause can do. Our bodies are magnificent, brilliant, stabilizing systems when we give our body and our mind the opportunity to balance and align.

How To Empower Not Be INPower of Your Child’s College Journey

 

As a career coach and mother let me spew off all the great things I did while my daughter was going through her college journey. I am happy to share that my daughter is a junior now at Northwestern, has made tons of friends, has a boyfriend, and has had amazing experiences. It all stems from all the wonderful extracurriculars she did in high school - the clubs she started, the friendships she developed, the report she made with her teachers, the 1,000 community hours she had to get her into the college of her dreams, and now pursuing her passion in accounting with a minor in psychology. 

How many times of you heard this from your well-meaning friends? I am lying; in truth, I am a fixer, a goal-oriented, get-things-done type of woman, having owned my own public relations and marketing company in NYC and Miami. I treated my daughter and her college process like one of my clients. I was gonna get her to the top come hell or high water. But instead of getting paid to get my client recognized, I was the one that paid dearly - I lost her. 

So, why am I speaking with you today? Because over the past 4 years I have become a recovering mother, who instead of wielding her power, fixing, and being goal-oriented to achieve at all costs, I now help college-bound young adults and their mothers become empowered. I've coached hundreds of kids who have shared their journey with me and what they had hoped their parents would do or would have done as they go through the college process.

Here are my top 5 tips on staying calm, sane, in control of your own emotions, and allowing your child to be in the driver's seat while you hang back and be their GPS when they need direction. Today, I will share with you, the parent of a college-bound child, how to get involved in the college process and when to back off.

What every parent of college-bound students needs to know. 

TIP 1 - Let them own the driver's seat.

Ideally, the student should be in the driver’s seat for as much of the college process as possible, but your help and support will be needed throughout, by tread lightly, buckle up and make sure your emotions are left outside as it could be a bumpy ride. 

In addition, to the items on the timeline that are highlighted as parent responsibilities, here are a few ideas to help you identify where your help will be most beneficial and when to back off or take a break. Remember, you already went to college, you are not getting in, your child is. Be especially cognizant of the word “we” when speaking with your child or within the ear range of your child as this unconsciously takes the onus off of them.

Your child WILL get into a college. There are over 4,000 colleges. It is not about the top college so that you can brag as I did above at cocktail parties with your friends, it is about the right fit and your child’s happiness. It is important to keep that in mind as you go down this journey. In fact, it is best to stay away from social media, the social competitive milieu the conversations around what kids are going where. Take a mental health break during this time and focus only on what is important for your child. Bringing in outside noises will only enhance the stress, tension, and control that will arise and may cause you to become deregulated. Your child is already feeling deregulated, you do not need to add to it. I know we all feel like we have done so much and are almost at the finish line, but remember parenting is not a sprint it is a marathon, and going to college is just one of the markers in the race.

You know your kid better than anyone.

TIP 2 - Be involved in any part of the process that involves money.

Students are all different, both in their development and their engagement with the college process, so it is normal that some will require more parent involvement and some will need less, so the first recommendation is to adapt and adjust as needed based on your child. 

Be involved in any part of the process that involves money. Make it clear to your child which decisions will be driven by finances, and what the ground rules are for parts of the process with associated costs. This includes not only the cost of attending college and how that affects the college list, but also costs for tutoring, test prep, and testing fees, application fees, visiting colleges, travel to and from campuses once enrolled, and others.

Be your child’s prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain that is not fully developed in teens, but that is so crucial in making complex plans and decisions.

TIP 3 - Act as a sounding board and management of expectations

As you look through the items on the timeline, you will probably recognize which ones will require you to act as a sounding board or a manager.

This could include anything from encouraging them to connect with teachers and counselors and to try new activities, to helping them think out loud about their priorities as they develop their college lists, to planning travel for campus visits, to setting up spreadsheets and schedules or other structures for completing applications over time rather than at the last minute. They are likely to need your support for any high-level reflection or any process that involves careful curation whether of their own priorities or the college list itself. If you are the type of parent who will find themselves too involved especially with their emotions then hire someone who can, like a college coach that will help your child through the process without the extra baggage that comes from parental anxiety.

TIP 4 - Good Enough is Perfect

The words “Good Enough” is a mantra that all parents should adopt during this time. Not the college list, the essays, and applications, the transcript, the grades, the test scores, the activity list-none of it is a guarantee Getting into college is in part subjective. There are no hard and fast definite so don’t try and think all the criteria your child needs to guarantee him or her a spot. Colleges are looking for real students who present themselves as authentically as possible and no one was ever denied admission for a minor typo. Please RESIST the temptation to be too hands-on, especially with the essays. Admissions officers typically make a child sign that this is their own work and anyone over 40’s hands-on it will NOT help your student’s chances. Editing is OK, but writing the next great American novel is not. Remember that colleges need kids, so as long as the college list is well-balanced and fits the student, everything just has to be “good enough.”

TIP 5 - Remember, It is still the student’s journey

Do what is truly necessary to support your child, but then stand back as much as you can. At the start of the college journey, sit down with your child and ask him or her what they need from you. Hiring a college coach is extremely important at this juncture because it will keep peace in the home, give you as the mother and parent some distance from the process and be able to be the parent you want to be without getting caught up in all the minutiae coupled with the stress and tension. This can result in a disaster waiting to happen that may cause irreparable damage to the relationship. The more they are EMPOWERED in the process, the more likely they are to take ownership of the journey itself and more likely they will be invested in their success, wherever they end up.

Lastly, as a recovering goal-oriented fixer, I have learned from coaching hundreds of college-bound kids that college planning can be a joyful journey of self-discovery (check out my TA DA list on my website www.ourcareerdesignlab.com). This is your time to admire all that your child has become and will through this process of being accountable. Starting in middle 11th grade do a little of the preparation at a time. Anything you can do to support a calm, thoughtful, a little bit at a time process will increase the chances that you and your teen can appreciate the growth it can facilitate, and savor the surprising moments of joy you may discover along the way. All to say, this is your permission slip.

For more ways to support your child and yourself during this time. Check me out at www.yourcareerdesignlab.com

Lack Of Confidence, The #1 Obstacle in Getting The Way of Your Dream Career

What is your #1 obstacle getting in the way of your Dream Career? 

That was the single-question survey I sent some of you a few weeks ago.

The overwhelming response was: lack of confidence.

It didn't surprise me and you probably knew that already. What you might not know is what erodes your confidence and how to gain it back. 

The moment you lost yourself.

Lack of confidence comes from not knowing who you are. When did you lose contact with your inner energy? Let's take a dive.

Kids are naturally curious, if we let them explore, curiosity turns into Passion. That is why in my TA-DA List, I ask "What is one thing that you could do for hours when you were a kid until your mom called you in for dinner?"

Passion is great, but not sufficient, let your passion manifest and you will find purpose - that is adding meaning to your passion. To follow your purpose, you need autonomy, the freedom to put your passion into your pursuits. 

You can imagine where things begin to go wrong.

We weren't given autonomy as kids, our role models and systems discouraged us from manifesting our natural traits. Curiosity-based learning wasn't a thing in your school.

Then the big F-word came... FEAR

Fear of not making enough money. Fear of disappointing your family....

There are three AHA! moments my clients typically go through.

  1. The moment they realize they have never asked themselves "What do I want?" and start wondering.
  2. The moment they remember the things they used to love and start dreaming of possibilities.
  3. And the moment they acknowledge they are adults now and have autonomy and they start ACTING.

Gaining your confidence back

Gaining your confidence to pursue your Dream Career starts with excavating who you are, getting clarity of purpose, tackling limiting beliefs, and getting tools for career advancement. 

That is pretty much what the Dream Career Formula is all about. Think of it as a condensed cocktail with all you need to gain ownership of YOUR life. 

Throughout the 6-weeks, we work on two simultaneous axis Self-empowerment and Career Advancement, the thread that binds these two axes together is Storytelling

You can learn all about this program at this link:
https://yourcareerdesignlab.com/dream-career-formula/

IMPORTANT: Enrollment closes on Monday, May 16th at 5 pm ET or until I fill the group. 

To keep it intimate and to ensure quality, I limit these groups to 10 people. Don't miss your seat.

SAVE YOUR SEAT: https://yourcareerdesignlab.com/dream-career-formula/

 

How To Change Your Thinking To Win Everyday

Recently, I had the opportunity to talk with some of my former students and clients about their lives and what changed for them coming into Your Career Design Lab. Not to be morbid, but I felt like I was at my own funeral and people whose lives were changed came to give homage to the life they are living now due to the work we did together.

I was humbled and honored. But the truth is, getting the life YOU want comes from YOU. All you need to do is reset your mindset. 

Follow your bliss

In the movie, “Finding Joe” the story about author Joseph Campbell who coined the term “Follow Your Bliss” states that we are born golden, we are the Buddha we are all-knowing until the people we know, have other thoughts and those thoughts take over who we are at our essence. In our 20s we start to see that maybe their thoughts were not our own and the struggle begins.

How do we go back to that place when we were in our rooms or outside and got lost in our essence, joy, peace, happiness, and passion before our mom called us in for dinner?

How do we go back to that state of purity that aligned with the very essence of our soul’s purpose?

You may go, “OMG, I have been feeling lost, empty, at a crossroads but don’t know where to turn or go." Listen to former clients who were in the exact same boat as you until we were able to use some GPS skills that reset their boat and allowed them to set sail into waters that became vast and wide open.

GRIDLOCKED THINKING

It all lies in your beautiful fucked up mind.

Do we continue to believe others or do we reset and become attune to who we are at our essence and change our mindset to meet our goals and dreams? Everyone has conflicts and there are no emulated perceptions only flawed perceptions. Do you tell yourself stories that are not true? Do you tell stories that have no factual backup? If so, you are doing yourself a huge injustice and your dreams and goals for yourself seem like a mirage, in your eyes view the dream is in the far distance, but what if?

WHAT IF?

What if you were cool and comfortable in your own skin and you gave yourself daily wins and celebrated yourself every day? What if you believed in yourself, your dreams, your goals? What would that look like? How can you stop self-protecting and self-soothing and start to celebrate yourSELF?

It’s time for your 20-year-old self to come to know you now. You are not your 10-year-old self that was booed off the stage during Music Man. You are not the young girl who was not asked to the prom or wasn’t asked by the  Prom king as you had hoped. You are not your parent's wishes and hopes for your future.

The 20s and 30s are about finding out who you are and what makes you; YOU!

LIVING IN JOY TO WIN

Rest your mindset and you will begin to see a shift in how you look through the lens of your life. You will see a wider, more beautiful picture of what you can create. By understanding your model of the world you will grow and be able to see other’s worlds as well. 

UNLOCK YOURSELF

So what do you want to reset in your life? What career would be your dream career? What, if you are able to change your mindset then what would you truly be able to achieve in your life? Like all of these young people who changed their lives, you too can begin your journey today.

Download my “TA-DA” list and begin your reset mindset and WIN!

 

The Art Of The Follow Up

Almost every young adult that I coach today when inquired about how they plan to follow up says, “I don’t want to bother them.” “I don’t want to be a stalker.” “I hope they call me back.

Here is a news flash, no one will be calling you back unless you make it a point to do so.

In my 30 years as a public relations and marketing expert, the art of the follow-up was the only way to get an answer, whether my client would be on Good Morning America or The New York Times.

I remember once I had an employee who when asked ”Did you follow up?” Indicated with pride that she did. When I inquired further what did the person say? She indicated, “I left a message.” With that, I responded, “You're fired!

Now I know some of you are thinking that my response was harsh, but here is the reality no one is thinking about you when you leave a message, no one is thinking of you after they get your email, no one is thinking of you to call you back unless there is an immense value you are bringing to the table.

What is your value? That is something for you to determine. It could be the following:

• You have a tremendous background in the field.
• You have contacts that could help the potential employer or business expand.
• You know someone that knows them and you feel compelled to make that connection.
• You have worked for a similar company or competitor and are responding to their job opportunity and would love to chat further.
• You have been in a similar field and feel compelled to reach out to share your insights.

So what are the best approaches to following up? Once you have written your email, connected through LinkedIn, texted, or responded to a career opportunity, here are the 4 best ways to follow up.

Rules of an effective Follow up

  1. As I mentioned above, bring value. Make sure that every time you contact, you bring value to the conversation. It could be sharing an interesting article, or introducing someone.
  2. Timing is crucial. Most people follow up the day after, instead. I recommend following up the same day when the memory of you is fresh.
  3. Frequency. Be tenacious, don’t be afraid to bother people. Corporate America responds to emails within 24 hours, except for weekends depending on the industry. Don’t be afraid to email the day after with a note like “I just wanted to make sure I didn’t land in your SPAM folder”.
  4. Reintroduce yourself, your authority, credentials. Specify where you met or follow up with some memorable moment in the conversation.
  5. Be specific about what you want from the follow-up, make a Call To Action. “I’d love to take coffee some time. I am available X day at X time, but I’m happy to work around your schedule.”

4 Examples of amazing followings

Example 1

Hi Stan,

It was a pleasure having spoken to you today about the job opportunity and position with your company. I wanted to follow up today as we spoke, to let you know that I am interested in this position and would love the opportunity to speak further about how we can move forward.

In our conversation, you mentioned that you would like to meet Daniel at Company, I would be happy to make that introduction. I would be happy to make myself available on Tuesday, April 11th at 10:30 a.m., and Wednesday, April 12th at 4:00 p.m. however, I would be happy to work around your schedule and convenience.

I look forward to sharing this information with you that I know will help you to expand your company.

Example 2

Hi Susie,

Thank you for the amazing conversation. I truly enjoyed our talk this afternoon and look forward to speaking further about this position with your company.

What synergy! I can’t believe that you attended USC, studied abroad in Barcelona and your first job was with Real Life PR and Marketing. The exact path that I have been on even down to working at the same firm. I wish I had known you then as I am sure we would have enjoyed a drink after work together.

With that being said, I hope that I was able to convey my passion for your company and I look forward to bringing you my skill set and knowledge of the industry to you. I am happy to speak with your HR person to get the ball rolling and if in the meantime I can answer any further questions please don’t hesitate to reach out. I can make myself available on (date and time) however, I would be happy to work around your busy schedule. Again, thank you for sharing yourself with me and I look forward to having the opportunity to work with you as a junior account executive.

Example 3

Dear Mr. Hartman, 

It was such a pleasure meeting you to discuss the position of marketing director. As I mentioned in our conversation over the phone, since I was 10 years old I always had the ability to share thoughts and ideas with others and get them to buy into my concepts that will help them to enrich their lives. It is my passion to bring your clients to their rightful place and as I mentioned I have the ability to do just that with my ability to bring forth ideas and concepts and bring them to market in a unique and profitable manner. 

I look forward to continuing our vital conversation and appreciate your time in your busy schedule to meet with me. I look forward to the final word on Monday, April 11th, and look forward to the next steps. 

Thank you again,

Susan.

Example 4

Dear Hugo,

Allan, your cousin who works for your company spoke so highly of you. I appreciate you taking the time to meet with me as Allan and I have known each other for over 10 years now and in that time we have established an amazing working relationship as well as a friendship.

Allan indicated that when you were growing up you two loved to go fishing. Especially deep water fishing. I found that amazing, as for over 4 years now my family and I go deep water fishing off the coast of the Bahamas. Have you ever heard or been to Atlantis?

I am reaching out as Allan indicated that my background in the food industry might be of benefit to you as you grow your restaurant. In the past 5 years, I have worked at Casa D’Angelo, Pura Vida, and Raw Kitchen where I was responsible for managing the restaurant and growing it to over $5 million in revenue in the past two years. 

I welcome the opportunity to speak with you further as to how I can help you achieve your objectives and goals. I will reach out to Allan and perhaps we can continue to conversation at your offices next week? Thank you again for allowing me to come back in and show you the value I know I can bring to your restaurant.

Regards,

Micheal.

Never give up!

Never give up until you get a yes or a no. Follow up each and every time you pick up the phone or write an email. Bring added value, bring a new concept, bring a new idea, bring another mutual connection. Find out all about who you have just interviewed. Bring the conversation and what you gleaned out of it in your follow-up email or conversation. But above all, don’t leave a message. Be the message that will get you hired. 

The 4 Most Common Interview Questions And How To Answer Like A Pro

Going on job interviews can be extremely stressful. You won’t know what the questions are and worse how to answer them. Chances are you will be asked one of these four questions. How you answer them will make or break your interview.

What separates a typical answer from a winning answer?

Telling your story!

Each question is an opportunity to share yourself and create a strong impression. To make your interviews memorable you have to evoke emotions in others. When the interviewer can FEEL you and can picture your story, you are as good as gold in getting hired.

“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget the way you made them feel.”

Maya Angelou

Learn the difference between how people typically answer these proverbial questions and how responding in a storied way will have your listener all ears. Having a compelling story is the key that separates you from the pack and unlocks your dream career.

Here Are The 4 Most Common Job Interview Questions

Questions 1: Tell me a little bit about yourself.

Probably the most common and ‘casual’ question, typically used to get the ball rolling. I invite you to stop reading and take a moment to think about how you’d answer that question. If you are like most people, you’ll probably give some biographical data…. YAWN!

Typical Answer:

I go to University of Florida and I study hospitality. I am most recently working at the front desk at The Four Seasons which I really like. When I meet customers I try and help in any way I can and am able to upsell some the rooms if they are available. I love working with people and think I would be a good fit for this position.

Story Answer:

Thank you for asking. I guess I knew I was good at sales when I was around 5 years old. One day my mom opened my Dora Explorer backpack and out flew $20 bills.

My mom asked me how the hell did I get this money. I had to confess, that because she never let me buy food in the cafeteria and made me salami sandwiches every day, I began to sell each salami slice for $5. I convinced the kids that it was too bad they had to eat hot dogs, hamburgers, and pizza. I was eating salami from Italy and it was delicious.

I soon had kids lined up to eat my salami slices which were 5 pieces in my sandwich. Soon I had enough money to buy food in the cafeteria. I guess you could say sales is in my DNA!

Who do you think has a higher chance of getting hired? This technique is so powerful that this particular client went to 5 job interviews and she was offered all five!

Question 2: What Are Your Strengths?

Take for instance Chelsea who wanted to be a comedy writer for television and was looking for a career as an assistant to an agent at one of the large entertainment firms. 

Typical Answer:

I am really good at organization, talking to people, and team building.

Story Answer.

When babies are born and they cry it is a signal that the baby is alive. I came out laughing so my parents were concerned. My strength is laughter. It is my secret weapon and had many successes using it throughout my life. I make people laugh a lot through being myself. I have a funny disposition.

I remember being pretty young in late elementary school and I had papers to hand out. I remember when teachers licked their fingers when handing out papers so I mimicked the teacher. At that moment getting laughter from my school friends was the ultimate strength. Humor became a weapon in my young arsenal.

When I was writing for United Citizens Brigade founded by Amy Poehler and Pat Besser, I worked on “Late Night Show,” a live show in a theatre once a month with changing celebrity host every month. We would build an entire show around. When Brooke Shields was on, I did a rap, the premise was that she was sweet and then do a filthy rap in front of people.

Questions 3: What Are Your Weaknesses?

This is a question meant to measure your self-awareness. Interviewers want to know if you can see your foibles and what you have done to work on them.

Here is a story from Eric a young man who is looking to get into a hospital to continue his practice of Vascular Surgery. 

Typical Answer:

I am a perfectionist or I have imposter syndrome.

Story Answer:

I have imposter syndrome. I put quality in and I never want to lose it. I am proud of what I accomplished and it is what drives me every day to become the Vascular surgeon that I know I am and can become in a facility like yours. Having imposter syndrome drives me to show up as my authentic self-everyday at work and when I am with my patients. I want them to know that I am there for them through and through. I am there for them long after they leave the hospital. I pride myself in that my colleagues recommend me to do surgery on their family members and that is something I find so fulfilling. I have really been able to turn my weakness into a strength and wear it as a badge of honor and valor to those I serve. 

Questions 4: What Do You Know About This Industry?

Here is the case of a young woman who wanted to work in the music industry.

Typical Answer:

I know it is a 24/7 job with lots of different people.

Story Answer:

For over 5 years now, my background as a fine arts performer has translated into an experienced and highly skilled artist management, marketing, and branding specialist. Since 2017, I have worked with artists throughout various genres in both New York and Miami. From small independent artists to Billboard Top 10 artists, I have led projects to increase artists’ audience engagement, solidify artists’ image/brand, and increase artist exposure.

I strive to increase the connection between the artist and the audience through digital and social experiences. With an extensive imagination and the ability to predict which new content will become viral, I currently work in Artist Management at an Independent label in Miami where I oversee 42 artists. My knowledge is steeped in Gen-Z and Millennial pop culture which allows me to bring fresh and new ideas to the table. 

There are over 38 questions everyone in every type of business arena will ask you, without a story, you will not be remembered. Are you going to be in your head and answer in a stoic way or are you going to allow people into your world and tell them a story about you and your life that will leave an indelible impression that will leave them asking for more? I have had clients who right on the spot after telling their story were offered the job. 

If you can see and read the difference then you may want to join me on April 28th for my free 10 Steps To Finding Your Dream Career. Learn how to tell your unique story. Everyone has one, what is yours?