Category Archives: Career Mastery

Importance of Rest

Hey you!

Yeah, you! The one reading this on your phone with a coffee in the other hand running to your next pressing engagement.

Slow down.

Slow down so life can catch up.

Do you have any idea what the daily bustle may be doing to you? Aside from potential health issues, it could also be hindering you from being your best and realizing your true potential.

Arrange a day of “nothing planned,” letting your natural rhythm set the pace.

Sleep when you’re tired.

Eat when you’re hungry.

Let the dreamer in you awake from the drowsy sleep of disregard. With pen in hand, be attentive and hear what it has to offer. The chaos of life can be a rather hostile environment for dreams and ideas.

While hard work is often necessary to achieve success, quiet time is also necessary to ponder your goals and evaluate what you are doing to achieve these goals. Maybe you want to be the best parent for your kids, maybe you want to start a stay-at-home business or maybe you already have one, and you’re wondering how to take it to the next level.

Mired in reality, living within our clocks and calendars, passion and dreams can seem frivolous. But without our dreams, life becomes stagnant and mundane. Schedule an extremely overdue “dream vacation” or at least embark on a “dream day”.

Time resting is time well spent.

model someone you admire and move your dream forward

Model someone you admire.

Imitation is still the greatest form of flattery– who do you admire and why? Make a list of the qualities you admire in this person.

In what ways are you similar to them?

How do you wish you were more like them?

Remember to be admirable rather than envious. You’re likely to learn a lot about yourself and your own traits, goals, and shortcomings.

Move your dream forward.

Create a project you can easily accomplish in one month or less. Accomplishing small goals will help you build the confidence needed to achieve bigger dreams.

Think about the outcomes you want– not all the details. Tell yourself this dream is attainable. Measure your progress along the way to stay focused and on-task. Don’t forget to celebrate when you’ve succeeded. Recognizing your success will inspire you to keep forging ahead.

Take that mountain by the balls

Are you at the bottom of a mountain, looking up at the peak and trying to figure out how to climb it (literally or figuratively)?

Here are five words that can boost your motivation and confidence:

“Someone else has done it.”

These five words offer undeniable proof of your potential for success. They take away the doubt and fear that holds so many people back from achieving a dream and instill a confidence that cannot be stopped–true inspiration.

Ask any successful person what motivates her and the answer will be “goals.”

Goal setting is extremely important to motivation and success. You need to establish what your own behaviors are and work within them. If you are forgetful, use lists. If you get intimidated by the scope or size of a challenge, break it out into reasonable parts. Figure out what kind of success motivates you.

* Take one step away from an obstacle that’s holding you back.

* Take one step toward a limitation that’s been keeping you from moving forward.

Feel the shift in momentum?

You’ll go from being overwhelmed by the obstacle to taking control of the exciting challenge.

One step today gets the ball rolling.

Another step tomorrow builds on that progress.

Every action you take has a triple effect. It reduces the limitation, boosts your confidence, and increases your forward momentum.

Motivation is a like an avalanche!

The first steps are the hardest to take but once you get started keeping up with the increasing momentum can be a worthwhile challenge.

Integrity is the new black

One of the most critical attributes necessary for realizing your dreams is integrity.

By living a life of integrity, you can be proud of who you are, what you’ve accomplished, and have confidence in your ability to rise to even higher heights.

In a conversation about achieving your dreams, integrity is essential and can be summarized as simple as: say what you mean and mean what you say.

Why is this so critical? How can you truly focus your energy if you are being held down by guilt or self doubt?

Live a purpose driven life by honoring your agreements and living by your word. People will want to work with you, and that is the key achieving your dreams.

The enemy of realizing our dreams? Self doubt.

Lying to yourself can fuel self doubt and be harmful to your dream. Many people color reality, making it better or worse than it actually is. If you don’t have a clear vision of where you are, how can you make clear decisions or know where you might need help?

Report accurately on where you are and the status of your dream. Define the necessary strategy for progress and to achieve your goals and adjust accordingly. When you accomplish a milestone, take time to celebrate or at least to acknowledge your achievement.

Self doubt occurs if you only dream but never take action. It is essential that the dream move forward. Break your dream into short-term projects. If you are unwilling to turn your dreams into projects, check and see if this is what you truly want.

Maybe you’ve been focusing on the wrong thing. Maybe this dream isn’t your dream at all, but the expectations of others. Be truthful with yourself.

Having integrity is the only way to truly identify what you want.


Don’t think too hard. You’ll create a problem that wasn’t there in the first place

Seriously. Stop over-analyzing this tip.

One of the pitfalls of thinking too hard about a certain decision is amusingly referred to as analysis paralysis. This is the condition of thinking so hard about something that no action or decision is reached.

Sound silly? It’s very real. From my experience it happens most frequently when one person says to another person, “hey, what should we do for dinner tonight?”

If you live in an urban or suburban environment the choices can seem endless. First of all, do you order in or dine out? Second of all, what type of food are you in the mood for? American? Sushi? Indian? You must then choose a restaurant based on the first 2 criteria. The closest? The cheapest? The one with the nicest staff? Suddenly, the concept of picking a place can seem overwhelming and nobody is willing to make a decision.

Eventually if someone doesn’t end up overcoming the analysis paralysis, you end up getting too hungry to go anywhere and find yourselves eating cereal at home.

The above example is a trivial, albeit frustrating, example of what can be a major life problem for people. It can happen in every facet of life from choosing which college to attend to what career path to follow.

We make millions of tiny decisions every day. These decisions end up giving our lives their shape and dimension. Wherever you are in life now is based on the culmination of these decisions.

A lot of times you know you’re not happy at your job or in a relationship, but you’re not quite sure what to do about it- you think about it endlessly, weighing the pros and cons and the possible alternatives and consequences, and suddenly the problem seems SO much bigger than it is. It seems insurmountable, so you do nothing to change it.

That analysis paralysis ends up being your decision. You have actively decided to do nothing.

Nothing will change until you get out of your head and into the world.

When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the fire department usually sticks to water.

That’s right hot heads, cool your jets.

Ok so, you know when you’re in the midst of dealing with a nagging problem that just refuses to go away?

At some point, perhaps at the climax of the drama, a strange calm sweeps over you. You pause, sigh deeply and lower your head ominously between your hands.

When you look up again, with a glimmer in your eye and a morally questionable plan in your head, you proclaim (to nobody in particular) that it’s “time to fight fire… with fire.”

And then, as if it’s some great declaration of fire-extinguishing know-how, you get that mischievous, self-satisfied look on your face like when the Grinch decided to steal Christmas.

That fire on fire plan always seems like a good idea in the moment.

But answer me this- when was the last time anyone ever had an actual fire break out in their house and yelled to someone nearby to “bring more fire! We have to fight this fire with fire!”

Answer- never.

If you want to put out a fire (real or metaphoric), you need water (real or metaphoric, respectively). The only thing you’ll ever accomplish by fighting fire with fire is a larger, more destructive fire. That’s just science.

So, if you’re having a problem with someone at work, school, or in your own family who you don’t feel is playing fair, don’t stoop to their level. Once you compromise your integrity, the other person has already won.

Extinguish the problem by rising above it.

Take Care of You First

What is your limit? Have you reached yours?

Do you ever think to yourself as you are falling asleep at night. “I never seem to have time for me?” or “There has to be more to life?” or “Things have to be better than this?”

I know I used to do that, but I never stopped for long enough to consider how things could be different. Focusing on everything and everyone but myself was a great distraction.

At work, the more dedicated I was, the prouder I felt.  The more hours I worked, the more productive I felt.  In my home life, I was eager to lend a hand to family and friends.
From time to time, someone would hint that I needed to focus on me, but that seemed so selfish.

It took me a very long time to figure out that if I didn’t take care of myself first, I wouldn’t be in very good shape to offer my help to others.

Here’s how my story unfolded:

For over 25 years, I worked myself to the bone in corporate America. I cared for my family and friends in my spare time, and I worked 60-70 hours per week at my job. I was darn proud of it all!  I looked after the house, spent time with my husband and somehow squeezed time in for family and friends. I was on the gerbil wheel of insanity and didn’t know how to get off of it.

Then, about six years ago, my husband and I made the decision to welcome my 90-year-old grandmother (Gam) into our home to care for her.

Initially, Gam did not require a lot of care, but my husband and I put a lot of time and effort into making her feel loved, safe and part of the family.

As time passed, I knew I wanted to spend as much time as I could with Gam, but I was feeling pressure from work. Gam’s health began to decline after she had lived with us for about three years, and it become a challenge for me to care for her and stay on top of work – something had to give.

The guilt began to set in. I had so many demands, and I didn’t know what to do. My husband, David, and my mother-in-law were a huge help, but I felt overwhelmed.
My friends told me to put Gam in a nursing home, which was not an option for me.  Gam’s parents had left her when she was a few years old, and she lived in orphanages and foster homes until she met my grandfather.  I couldn’t have her start her life and end her life in a sterile facility with no love, especially after all that she had done for me throughout my life.

I was tearing myself apart trying to figure out how to make this all work, and seeing my inner struggle, David, encouraged me to quit my job.  At first I thought he was nuts. However, the longer I considered it, the more sense it seemed to make. I began to listen to myself and most importantly, I began listening to my heart. I realized that leaving my job was the right thing to do.

It was the hardest decision I have ever made in my life. I felt like I had gotten sucked into my job to the point that it identified me, and I was terrified of who I would be when I left.
I gave my notice six months ago, and I haven’t looked back .

Sadly, Gam passed away about a month after I left my job. I was hoping to have more time with her, however I cherished every moment that I did have with her.

Once I made the decision to take control of my life, I began focusing on me and taking better care of myself. Now I have a renewed energy that enables me to give so much more to everyone around me, and I no longer feel deprived.

So ask yourself – are you putting you first? Maybe you are a dedicated stay-at-home mom, a successful professional who dedicates his/her life to work. Maybe you have a boat-load of responsibilities that all need your attention.  Maybe you are the primary caregiver of an aging parent or grandparent, like I was.

Maybe you put your time into your kids and your job and your friends- into everyone but you. It doesn’t have to be this way.

If you’ve ever told yourself “there has to be more to life,” I challenge you to stop and consider your options. This may very well be the perfect time to take care of you first.

Contributed by Business, Executive and Life Coach, Lori Fortuna

Do not kill yourself over a deadline. Unlike actual death, it can be rescheduled.

Scheduling unrealistic deadlines leads to disappointment, and disappointment can cause you to give up or miss opportunities. When you’re overwhelmed, self doubt can undermine you.

Use your time wisely. Set up a system that works for you so that you don’t constantly feel bad that you didn’t accomplish your goal. Making progress will fuel your passion and turn you on to more opportunities.

Unrealistic deadlines do not allow you to build confidence. Setting attainable goals helps you to gain confidence each time you accomplish one of your goals. With your newfound confidence you can set and achieve more difficult goals. Conversely, if you repeatedly miss deadlines you will lose confidence and begin to doubt yourself.

If you’re beginning to have self doubt about your ability to get things done, maybe it’s because you think, “It’s easier to do it myself.” Only you have what it takes to get things done, but you don’t have the time, so nothing gets done.

That’s a poor strategy for success, so get help. Identify the resources and opportunities available and use them. The single most powerful thing you can do to make your dream come true is share your dream with someone who is on your side.

Hiring a life coach can also help you to achieve your goals. A life coach can work with you to assess your current lifestyle and make suggestions for changes that could help you achieve your goals. A life coach can work with you to formulate a strategy for achieving your goals.

Stop Procrastinating, Start Proactivating (not a real word, but it should be)

Procrastination is the avoidance of doing a task which needs to be done. This can lead to feelings of guilt, inadequacy, depression and self-doubt. Procrastination has a high potential for painful consequences. It interferes with personal success.

However, there are two types of procrastinators – the relaxed, fun-loving kind and the tense-worried ones.

Those who are relaxed while procrastinating only hurt themselves by not accomplishing the things that they need to do and hinder their own success. Those who are tense when they procrastinate not only hinder their success but also their health.

The only way to beat your old procrastination habits is by being proactive. Follow these tips to get you on the right path.

Modify Your Environment

Procrastinators may daydream and have difficulty concentrating. Procrastinators may also be unorganized and distracted by their environment. Those who procrastinate may have a cluttered desk and waste time running back and forth for equipment and supplies. Procrastination often results in frustration and anxiety.

For more success, modify your environment: Eliminate or minimize noise and distraction. Ensure adequate lighting. Have necessary equipment at hand.

Time Management

Procrastination means there’s uncertainty about priorities, goals and objectives. A procrastinator is not adept at time management and may be overwhelmed by the task. Many procrastinators put off assignments to spend a great deal of time with friends and involved in social activities.

Procrastinators worry about a project instead of completing it. To motivate yourself, dwell on your successes, not your failures. Break large projects into small tasks. Keep a reminder schedule and a checklist.

Procrastinating can have a snowball effect on your goals. Failure to meet deadlines can delay your future. Simple as that.

Procrastination station- where the only thing running is you, from reality

Procrastination- in theory- is supposed to make our lives more pleasant. In reality it almost always adds stress, disorganization and failure. Procrastination is based on fears. In varying degrees, we are all afraid of facing reality: life’s challenges, the hard work and frustrations ahead of us.

Negative reinforcement plays a major role in procrastination and hinders success. Behaviors like watching TV and rationalizations or excuses enable the procrastinator to avoid unpleasant work. Procrastination is an escape.

Procrastination comes in all shapes and forms. The emotions behind procrastination can include:

Fear (perhaps of failure or success)

Panic (not understanding what needs to be done, or not believing in one’s ability to do it)

Anger (stemming from a lack of control and/or the desire to rebel against authority)

Boredom (general malaise and dislike of the work that needs to be done)

Depression (this can lead to an ever worsening cycle because we put things off when we feel depressed, and then the negative consequences of that decision depress us even more)

Pleasure Seeking (sometimes we simply prioritize play above work)

The procrastinator must correctly identify his forms of procrastination and find solutions for his specific emotional reactions in order to kick the habit.