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There’s something incredibly exhilarating about pushing beyond our comfort zones. Whether it’s hiking solo through the rugged trails of Park City, Utah, or navigating the challenges of a new career, living on the edge offers us the chance to discover strengths we never knew we had. Recently, I experienced this firsthand. During a trip with friends, one of them fell ill with altitude sickness, prompting me to venture out on my own. After two and a half hours of hiking, I found myself not only more attuned to the natural beauty around me but also to the parallels between this adventure and our professional journeys. Here’s how living on the edge, whether on a mountain trail or in the career landscape, can lead to profound personal and professional growth.

Park City, Utah, USA downtown at dusk.

Recognizing and Overcoming Altitude Sickness: A Metaphor for Career Challenges

Altitude sickness is an excellent metaphor for the unexpected challenges we face in our careers. When my friend became ill, I realized how crucial it is to recognize the symptoms and take appropriate action. Altitude sickness manifests through headaches, dizziness, nausea, and shortness of breath—similar to how career obstacles can leave us feeling disoriented and overwhelmed.

Identifying Symptoms:

In both scenarios, acknowledging these symptoms early on and taking proactive steps can make all the difference.

Embracing Solitude: The Power of Self-Discovery

During my solo hike, I found solace in the solitude. Without the distractions of conversation, I was able to reflect deeply on my surroundings and my thoughts. This quiet time was a reminder of the importance of self-discovery and introspection in our careers.

Benefits of Solitude:

Finding Balance: Harmonizing Work and Life

Balancing the demands of a challenging hike with the need to enjoy the journey parallels the importance of work-life balance in our careers. After reaching a scenic viewpoint, I took a moment to rest, breathe, and appreciate the stunning landscape, a reminder of why finding balance is crucial.

Achieving Balance:

Conclusion: Embracing the Edge for Growth and Fulfillment

Living on the edge, whether through adventurous hikes or ambitious career moves, offers unparalleled opportunities for growth and self-discovery. Recognizing and overcoming challenges, embracing solitude, and finding balance are all vital aspects of this journey. As we navigate the rugged terrains of our careers, let’s remember that stepping out of our comfort zones and venturing into the unknown can lead to the most rewarding experiences and profound personal growth. Just as my solo hike in Park City revealed the beauty of the natural world, living on the edge of our careers can uncover our true potential and pave the way for a fulfilling and successful professional life.

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In today’s fast-paced career landscape, advancement is no longer just about how far you climb the corporate ladder; it’s about how deeply you can build meaningful relationships. Reflecting on my own journey, I remember being 18 to 20 years old, believing that each job was “it.” Every role seemed like the pinnacle of my career, and I thought I had reached the zenith of my knowledge and skills. Now, in my 60s, I find myself marveling at the incredible network of people I know, all doing fascinating and impactful things with their lives. This leads me to wonder: is my generation becoming bolder, not older?

5 Lessons I’ve Learned

As I look back, I realize that these experiences have taught me invaluable lessons about careers and relationships. Here are five key takeaways:

1. It’s Just the Beginning

Every new role or connection is a stepping stone, not a final destination. Embrace each opportunity as the start of something new and exciting.

2. Build with Intent

Focus on building genuine relationships rather than just networking. Seek to understand and support others, and meaningful connections will follow.

3. Stay Curious

Never stop learning. Curiosity keeps your mind active and opens doors to new possibilities and collaborations.

4. Adapt and Evolve

The career landscape is ever-changing. Be flexible and willing to adapt. Evolving with the times ensures longevity and relevance in your field.

5. Embrace Your Wisdom

Leverage the intelligence, wisdom, and awareness that come with age. Your experiences are a treasure trove of lessons that can guide and inspire others.

How to Make Your 60s the New 30s

Resurrecting your career in your 60s involves harnessing the qualities that come with age—intelligence, wisdom, awareness—and continuing to grow and evolve. Here are some ways to achieve this:

A Lesson in Perseverance for the Long Run

Perseverance is a key ingredient for long-term success. Here’s how you can cultivate it:

Conclusion

Career advancement today is not just about how far you can get in your career, but how far you can get in building meaningful relationships. By embracing the wisdom and experiences that come with age, you can resurrect your career and make your 60s the new 30s. Stay curious, build with intent, and keep evolving. Remember, your journey is just beginning, and with perseverance, intelligence, and awareness, the possibilities are endless.

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Imagen 1: Elnur / Canva
Imagen 2: Fotógrafo Vlada Karpovich / Pexels
Imagen 3: Fotógrafo fauxels / Pexels

In our quest for success, it’s easy to fall into the trap of self-criticism. However, this constant self-doubt can be more hindering than helpful. Embracing self-compassion means recognizing our efforts and celebrating small victories.

It’s essential to understand that everyone has limitations, and being overly harsh on ourselves only diminishes our potential. Instead of focusing on our perceived shortcomings, let’s shift our perspective to appreciate our achievements, no matter how small. By fostering a positive mindset, we can improve our well-being and productivity. So, let’s start acknowledging our worth and treating ourselves with the kindness we deserve.

Acknowledge the Uncontrollable: Recognizing What We Can’t Change

Life is full of variables beyond our control. Whether it’s the behavior of others, market fluctuations, or unexpected challenges, stressing over these elements is futile. Instead, focus on what you can influence. This perspective shift helps reduce anxiety and directs our energy toward more productive pursuits. Accepting that some things are out of our hands allows us to concentrate on our strengths and make meaningful progress in areas where we have real impact.

Leading from a Place of Ownership

True leadership starts with taking responsibility for our actions and decisions. By owning our choices, we set an example for others and build trust within our teams. This approach fosters a culture of accountability and resilience. Leaders who acknowledge their role in both successes and failures inspire their team to do the same. This mindset not only enhances personal growth but also drives collective progress. Embrace the power of ownership and watch your leadership influence soar.

Balancing Control and Acceptance

Finding the balance between what we can control and what we must accept is key to maintaining a healthy mindset.

This equilibrium helps us stay grounded, reduces stress, and enables us to lead more effectively and compassionately.

Conclusion

In our journey towards personal and professional growth, it’s crucial to cultivate self-compassion, recognize the limits of our control, and lead with accountability. By doing so, we create a more balanced and fulfilling life. Embrace the areas where you can make a difference, let go of the things you cannot change, and lead with a sense of ownership. This holistic approach not only enhances your well-being but also positively impacts those around you, paving the way for a more resilient and empowered future.

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Today, I was at the Mercer Labs in New York City, watching an immersive exhibition. So much of it was about how we are blind to our environment, and it made me think about today’s young adults’ career search process. Often times when I ask them to tell a bit about themselves, they struggle to understand and articulate who they are. It is my purpose and passion to delve deep, to excavate one’s purpose and passion, and align them with their pursuits. Magical things happen when we can see who we are and where we want to go. Here are a few images from this extraordinary Mercer Labs exhibition, and some insights on how to avoid blindness in your career search.

Recognizing Our Blind Spots

One of the main takeaways from the Mercer Labs exhibition is how often we are unaware of our surroundings and inner selves. This concept is highly relevant to one’s career journey:

Excavating Your Purpose and Passion

Understanding and articulating who you are is fundamental to finding a fulfilling career. Here’s why it matters:

Crafting Your Personal Narrative With a Compelling Story

In job interviews, the question “Tell me a little bit about yourself” can be deceptively simple. Here’s how to ensure you have a compelling response:

Seeing the Path Ahead

Knowing who you are and where you want to go is essential for successful job searching. Here’s how to gain that clarity:

By focusing on self-awareness and continuous growth, you can navigate your career path with confidence and avoid the common blind spots that many job seekers encounter.

Conclusion

The Mercer Labs exhibition highlighted how we can be blind to our environments and ourselves. This blindness can extend to our job searches and career planning. By recognizing our blind spots, excavating our purpose and passions, crafting a compelling personal narrative story, and seeing the path ahead, we can navigate our career journeys with greater clarity and confidence. Remember, knowing who you are, understanding your strengths and weaknesses, and having a clear vision for your future are crucial steps in avoiding blindness in your career search.

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If someone had told me five years ago when I started my third entrepreneurial venture, Your Career Design Lab, that I would have the honor and privilege of speaking to high schools, colleges, and universities—both undergraduate and MBA students—about telling their authentic stories as a way to find their dream career, I would have said, “No freaking way.” However, my mindset has changed drastically. My intention is to share with young adults that the purpose of their existence is not outside themselves but in the stories, they tell about themselves and to others.

I have had the privilege of speaking with over 20 institutions whose career development departments, individuals heading various business, entrepreneurial, and communications departments, who believe in the methodology and the importance of knowing WHO YOU ARE and How to tell a compelling story that is changing students across all disciplines.

A Heartfelt Thank You to the Chapman School of Business

A BIG thank you to the individuals who made my talk last week on storytelling and branding one of the most engaging conversations with some of the most intentional students and groups. This illustrious group of students in the MBA program at the Chapman School of Business at FIU grasped the methodology that we are responsible for creating our reality.

Everyone involved, including Lynette Diaz, Operations Manager, who helped me with the due diligence paperwork that I often find confusing, Marisabel Perez Trejo, the Program Coordinator for Professional MBA-online, to PJ who facilitated my presentation, Maria Sierra, Associate Director/Operations, Angel Burgos, Executive Director, Graduate Programs, who got the whole ball rolling, Diana Medina, Associate Director of Student Services, and finally, Sara Ormazas, Associate Director. What a team! Honestly, I have never met a team of individuals so dedicated to their passion for their profession.

The Power of Authentic Stories

From the moment the workshop began, I felt a rush of energy from the students who were so engaging and shared of themselves. Each individual had such a clear purpose of what they wanted to be and where they were going in the world. They were seeking their WHY. There was one woman, who told an amazing story about her interview with Aflac. She told the group that it was her story of how her grandfather got the insurance he needed after an illness that saved his life and their family. By telling her authentic story to the interviewer, she said she was hired on the spot! Her true, authentic story, her vulnerability, and her value exemplified what it is to create a connection.

The Hero’s Journey: A Workshop Highlight

During the workshop, I shared a movie that is near and dear to my heart: The Hero’s Journey. It is based on the theologian Joseph Campbell who coined the term “Follow Your Bliss.” It explains how every movie from Twilight to Dune incorporates the idea that we all are on our own hero’s journey. Doors will open for me that won’t for others; others will slay dragons and I may not. It is what every mythological being goes through. We start in a cocoon with our families and then we go out into the world of adventure. There is fear, anxiety, worthlessness, not good enough, and we get initiated and then there is a return to community. Listen to the Mel Robbins 7 Steps to the Hero’s Journey.

It is magic when your ideals align with educational institutions that see value beyond textbooks. I have enjoyed speaking with alumni and students at institutions such as the University of Pennsylvania, California State University Northridge, University of Miami, University of Florida, Molloy College, University of Delaware, Wharton School, and FIU, to name a few institutions of higher learning that understand the concept of HIGHER learning.

Embrace Your Hero’s Journey

I hope that all of you reading this understand that your Hero’s Journey is based on your failures and your successes. It is based on your background and the world at large. Keep dreaming big, keep creating your reality, and whether you are an undergrad or an MBA student with years of experience behind you, your career in life—the journey—is always yours to become your own HERO.

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The truth about creating a magical life! It is not the University you are attending or attended, the high school you went to, or the families you were born into, no matter how great your family is, it is the Universe and all its abundance and gifts when attuned to and attended to where your greatest connections live and where true, deep friendships can be fostered and life long connections are made.

Discovering a Kindred Spirit Online

Two years ago, I started following a woman named Andrea Koppel on LinkedIn. She wrote a blog every day that wasn’t about self-promotion or advice from scholars, business people, or companies. She seemed like a Lone Ranger, sharing what she cared about in the LinkedIn universe. I was instantly drawn to her narrative, which closely matched my own. Her blog became my “go-to” viewing on LinkedIn, and I slowly began commenting on her posts. Andrea responded with such positivity and energy that I thought this is somebody I could be friends with.

One October, I arrived in New York City, where I spend half of my time. I had many thoughts about how I might reach out to Andrea, imagining us having coffee and discussing our lives. Despite my attempts to pitch myself for her podcast, which focused on college-age young adults, I couldn’t find Andrea in New York City or the surrounding area.

An Unexpected Connection

The next day, I had a coffee meeting with a colleague at Bergdorf Goodman on 5th Avenue. As we spoke about our lives. My colleague friend mentioned she was struggling with connecting on LinkedIn, I mentioned that I was making great connections and went on to discuss my correspondence with Andrea Koppel. To my astonishment, my colleague friend replied, “You mean my sister-in-law?!!!” I almost fell out of my chair. The universe had connected me with Andrea’s sister-in-law!!! I asked her to write an email to Andrea, mentioning our interactions on LinkedIn. Two months later, Andrea and I set aside a 15-minute conversation, which turned into a two-hour discussion. Our lives were more connected than I had imagined, and we continued to set aside time to chat every few months.

The Blossoming of a Lifelong Friendship

Two years later, Andrea has visited me in Florida and New York City. We spent three days exploring museums, art galleries, plays, and yes, we had coffee! We are now confidantes and collaborators on many ideas and thoughts about our future endeavors. How was it possible that the universe brought me Andrea’s sister-in-law to connect us? How did everything I envisioned about our friendship come to fruition?

This kind of unexplainable science of the universe, with its abundance of gifts, is pure magic. We just have to be in a space to receive it and not be afraid of it, no matter how unconventional it may seem. Andrea and I are now soul sisters. Our mutual admiration has turned into a true friendship, and we speak once or twice a week. We are each other’s “go-to” and “ride or die.” Watching each of us grow into our potential is a true gift that can only be described as magical.

In fact, Andrea will soon launch her second podcast entitled, “This Magic Life” (for over 5 years, her first podcast, Time4Coffee, has featured interviews with 350+ professionals across dozens of industries, discussing their careers and jobs). This time she is interviewing incredible guests, including Joe Dispenza, David Asprey, Steven Kotler, and Hala Taha. Andrea created This Magic Life to inspire people to stop fearing their future and start creating a career and life they love. Her podcast features stories about how embracing serendipitous encounters, events, and experiences (both good and bad) led her guests to discover their perfect paths—and how you can too. You can’t make this shit up. Trust me, you will want to subscribe so you don’t miss an episode and learn the lessons that only come from magic.

Conclusion: Embrace Serendipity

In my own company, Your Career Design Lab, my sole purpose is to teach every client that their passion and purpose are not outside themselves but inside. By tapping into everything we already know, even if we don’t know that we know it, we can access our potential. Andrea, in her podcast, allows her guests to further explore this concept. When this inner knowledge is found, it is phenomenal.

Also, please subscribe to my YouTube channel, Your Career Design Lab, for stories about people who shared their stories and how they became passionate professionals. I love to share how professionals discover and find their passion and put it to their purpose, not in typical conventional ways but in ways that can only be described as magical.

Do you believe in magic?

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In a world bustling with opportunities and challenges, understanding ourselves deeply through our intrinsic values can transform our interactions, whether they are personal or professional. But what exactly does it mean when someone asks, “Tell me a little bit about yourself”? This inquiry is often not just a casual conversation starter but a subtle invitation to reveal the essence of who we are through the values we hold dear.

The Essence of Values in Shaping Identity

Each of us is built upon a unique set of values. When we talk about values, we’re not just referring to ethical guidelines or moral directives; we’re talking about the foundational elements that compose our identity. Values are like the pillars of a building; they uphold our life’s structure and give us the framework within which we operate. Understanding these values means tapping into a deeper sense of purpose and direction. It’s about knowing why you choose certain paths and decline others, and how these choices resonate with the very essence of your being.

Values are not just abstract concepts; they guide our decisions and shape our relationships. Whether you’re in a relationship, pursuing a career, parenting, or even dating, your values are silently at play, influencing your choices and interactions. Being conscious of these values means understanding what drives us, what we tolerate, and what we shun, enabling us to lead a life that feels more authentic and aligned.

Values in Action: Real-World Applications

Knowing your values is one thing, but putting them into practice is where the real transformation occurs. For instance, if ‘integrity’ is a top value, this might translate into being honest in your communications and transparent in your business dealings. If ‘innovation’ drives you, it might mean pursuing new ideas at work or adopting cutting-edge technology to enhance productivity. Values can thus direct your actions and decisions, ensuring they are always aligned with your true self.

Navigating Life’s Challenges with Values

Life isn’t without its challenges and crises. Here, your values are not just ideals, but tools for resilience and decision-making. During tough times, leaning back on your values can provide clarity and stability. When faced with a difficult decision or a moral dilemma, ask yourself which option best aligns with your values.

When we align our actions with our values, life becomes less chaotic and more directed. Each choice resonates more deeply with our goals and desires, whether it’s choosing a career path, selecting a partner, or even making daily decisions. This alignment not only simplifies decision-making but also enriches our relationships and career, as we engage with people and opportunities that resonate with our core principles.

Conclusion: The Lifelong Journey of Living by Values

Embarking on a life guided by personal values is a continuous journey, not a one-time task. It requires constant reassessment and realignment to ensure that your actions consistently reflect what you believe in. By doing so, you not only enrich your own life but also contribute positively to those around you, creating a ripple effect of authenticity and purpose.

As we navigate through the complexities of life, let’s strive to build and strengthen our ‘houses’ with solid values. This commitment to living a value-driven life not only shapes a clearer path forward but also ensures that every interaction and decision reinforces the very essence of who we are. So, reflect on what values hold the most meaning for you, and let them lead you to a fuller, more authentic life.

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The Entitlement Culture on Campus

Recent events on college campuses have brought to light a concerning pattern of behavior among some students—behaviors that lean heavily toward entitlement. A striking example came from a news report about a student protester who, after a brief stint in detention, complained about not being provided water or bathroom access for five hours. While basic amenities are indeed important, the undertone of the complaint seemed to underscore a deeper sentiment prevalent among many young people today: a strong sense of entitlement and a smug, know-it-all attitude.

During my twenties, self-exploration involved personal introspection and a desire to shape my world without impinging on the rights and routines of others. Unlike the disruptive confrontations seen today, my generation often sought change without casting blame, shaming, or shouting down the opposition. Today’s narrative, however, seems to pivot towards holding others accountable without a corresponding examination of personal responsibility.

A Contrast in Enlightenment

This narrative of entitlement stands in stark contrast to the enlightenment I witnessed at the University of Delaware Horn Entrepreneurship Diamond Challenge. Here, high school students from across the globe convened not to protest but to propose. Their pitches were not about what the world could do for them, but about what they could do for the world.

The difference was palpable. These young individuals displayed a passion channeled towards constructive, purpose-driven endeavors aimed at bettering our world. They were articulate, inquiring, and curious—qualities that foster understanding and growth rather than division. Their demeanor was kind, compassionate, and inclusive, embodying the potential of what our future leaders could be.

The Impact of Enlightenment

The participants of the Diamond Challenge represented more than just hope; they embodied the true spirit of enlightenment. They engaged in discussions that were not divisive but unifying, presenting ideas that sought to bridge gaps rather than widen them. This was a clear demonstration that the youth of today can and do embody the capacity to lead with empathy and intelligence.

Spending 48 hours among these inspiring young minds was a profound reminder that despite the chaos of the world, there are beacons of hope and light in the younger generation. They are not only prepared to face the challenges of our times but are eager to solve them creatively and collaboratively.

Conclusion: Embracing Enlightenment

In a world riddled with conflicts and a prevailing sense of division, it is essential to recognize and nurture these young enlightened minds. As we reflect on the attitudes of entitlement versus those of enlightenment, we must ask ourselves: How are we contributing to shaping these attitudes in our youth today?

By fostering environments that value curiosity, empathy, and collective problem-solving, we can help more young people move from entitlement to enlightenment. This shift is crucial for the future of our communities and the broader world, ensuring that the next generation of leaders is equipped not just with knowledge, but with wisdom and a deep sense of responsibility.

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American Idol isn’t just a platform for showcasing vocal talent; it’s a masterclass in storytelling. As viewers, we’re not only captivated by the contestants’ vocal prowess but also by their personal narratives—their struggles, their triumphs, and the unique paths they’ve taken to the stage. What sets each contestant apart isn’t solely their musical skill, but the compelling stories they tell. This same principle applies to the professional world, particularly during job interviews. Let’s explore how American Idol’s approach to storytelling can enhance your own career narrative.

Everyone Has a Story

On American Idol, each contestant brings more than just their voice; they bring their life experiences. Whether it’s the singer who was adopted and has embraced her identity through connecting with her birth family, the young man who survived living on the streets, or the country singer from a tiny town, their stories resonate deeply with audiences and judges alike. These narratives do more than evoke emotions; they make the contestants memorable and relatable.

In a job interview, your resume might get your foot in the door, but it’s your story that will leave a lasting impression. Like these contestants, you have a unique background and a distinct journey that has shaped who you are professionally.

Crafting Your Story

Why Your Story Matters

Your story does more than differentiate you—it provides context to your achievements and challenges, and it showcases your personality and values. In a job interview, where employers are making decisions based not only on skills but also on cultural fit, your story can tip the scales in your favor.

Employers, like American Idol judges, are looking for someone who brings something special to the team—a unique blend of skills, experiences, and personality that can enrich the workplace. Your story illustrates your potential contributions beyond what’s on your resume.

Conclusion: Making Your Story Your Superpower

Watching American Idol, it becomes clear that behind every great performance is a great story. In your career, too, your story is a powerful tool that can propel you forward. It’s about more than just where you’ve been; it’s about conveying who you are and what you bring to the table in a way that no one else can.

So, next time you prepare for an interview, remember: they’re not just hiring your skills, they’re investing in your story. Make sure it’s one they can’t forget. Why should someone vote for you? Let your story answer that question convincingly.

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In today’s rapidly evolving job market, where technical abilities and hard skills often headline job descriptions and CVs, the importance of soft skills remains undiminished. In fact, as automation and artificial intelligence reshape industries, the demand for human-centric skills like communication, teamwork, adaptability, and emotional intelligence only grows stronger. This blog explores why these soft skills are critical for career success and offers strategies to develop them, ensuring you stand out in a hard skills world

Why Soft Skills Matter

Despite their name, soft skills are anything but soft. These skills facilitate human connections, drive leadership and innovation, and are crucial for career success in every industry. Here’s why:

Developing Soft Skills

Recognizing the importance of soft skills is one thing; developing them is another. Here are actionable steps to enhance these critical skills:

Why Soft Skills Will Never Lose Their Significance

In a hard skills-oriented world, soft skills offer a competitive edge that machines and systems cannot replicate. They are the bedrock of creativity and innovation, drive human connection, and lead to more effective and empathetic leadership. As such, cultivating these skills can dramatically increase your value as an employee and leader.

In conclusion, while technical expertise and specialized skills are crucial, the human elements of working—those soft skills that cannot be automated—are equally significant. By developing strong soft skills, professionals can achieve not just career longevity and success, but also gain a fulfilling work life that thrives on meaningful interactions and continuous personal growth. Embrace the challenge of honing these soft skills to ensure you remain indispensable in the ever-changing professional landscape.

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