Wednesday, December 26th, 2012 at
As the new year beckons, many of us feel comforted and excited at the promise of a fresh start. It is as if the past year’s unfulfilled goals and inefficiencies are left in the rear view mirror; our focus on our futures, full of promise.
It’s no wonder that new year’s resolutions are so popular. From eating healthier and exercising more frequently, to learning a second language or spending more time with loved ones, we set (sometimes lofty) goals to ensure that this year will be different from the last. You see, as Charles Lamb puts it so eloquently, “New Year’s Day is every man’s birthday.”
Though new year’s resolutions are a wonderful tradition that brings hope and motivation for many (myself included), I wonder why it is that we wait for big events like the new year to give ourselves permission to start living bigger, better, and more extraordinary lives. Shouldn’t that be the resolve of every day? Read the rest of this entry
Thursday, December 6th, 2012 at
What do you do when the alarm clock summons you into consciousness each morning? Do you lay there for a minute, thinking, “Noooo! Can’t I just stay here all day?” or do you jump out of bed excited about the promise that the day brings?
Sadly, not many people wake up eager for the day ahead. Life is complicated and messy, and circumstances can often leave you feeling heavy, tired, and burned out. Maybe your current job is not inspiring you, maybe the reality of your impending college graduation or retirement is debilitating, maybe you don’t have the support that you seek both personally and professionally, or maybe you don’t know how you let the life you imagined slip out of your fingers.
Everyone feels defeated and overwhelmed at some point or another. Thing is, instead of getting up and doing something about it we stand there frozen in disbelief and fear – like deer in the headlights.
I can’t tell you how many times I meet with clients who come to me desperate for answers when in truth they know exactly what they want for their lives – but are getting in their own way. They focus on obstacles, fears, and the millions of reasons why it can’t be done instead of working to overcome the odds. They spend hours following the realities of others on television instead of living their own lives to the fullest, keeping up with the happenings of their friends on Facebook instead of making meaningful real-life connections, or “pinning” things that they would like to do (travel, cook, craft, decorate, etc.), while never turning the computer off long enough to actually go do them. Read the rest of this entry
Friday, October 5th, 2012 at
Pinterest, aaaahhhh, Pinterest. Where have you been all our lives? If you haven’t yet heard of this virtual pin board, you must have been living under a rock for the last year because it has just about taken the world by storm. Not only has it been a way for us creative folks to find ideas for new DIY projects, but it has also been a place to become (p)inspired about life, love, work, travel, and just about anything else under the sun.
In fact, on Thursday nights before writing my weekly posts, I often spend a good hour or so pinning my favorite things to one of my 47 boards. (Yes, I said 47.) Pinterest is a world of endless possibilities, and for me there’s no better place – other than real life or reality TV, of course – from which to draw inspiration.
Though some might underestimate Pinterest as just another way to waste time on the internet, I disagree. Pinterest is powerful. Each and every pin has the potential to stimulate self-exploration, bring possibilities for career and life to light, and to motivate and inspire self and others. If I had my way, everyone would have a Pinterest account. Here’s why:
Using Pinterest to Explore Your Interests
Pinterest puts you behind the wheel of your self- and career-exploration in a very fun and engaging way. By creating pin boards and pinning from virtually any website, you can express yourself and collect your interests in one place. Whether it is photography, education, technology, food, or design that tickles your fancy, Pinterest allows you to develop and explore your interests (and your fire) more fully. Read the rest of this entry
Thursday, September 20th, 2012 at
You might have realized by now that I’m a sucker for reality talent shows like The Voice, X-factor, and American Idol. In truth, it’s not so much the performances that keep me glued to the television as it is the incredible stories behind the talent. What unfolds are stories of passion, vulnerability, hope, and perseverance – inspiring real life examples of people who are chasing their fire despite the odds.
Take 18-year old Trevin Hunte for example. Recently on The Voice, Trevin blew the judges away with his performance of “Listen” (by Beyonce Knowles). Within the first few seconds of his buttery voice filling the auditorium, the crowd rose to their feet as the judges’ chairs flung around to see the face behind the voice. The judges fought over Trevin, knowing that his was a rare talent. “I hit my button out of sheer respect…it absolutely blows my mind!” said Blake Shelton. CeeLo agreed, “You might be that dude to win this thing!”
Here’s the ironic part:
Trevin Hunte was told by his eighth grade teacher that he wouldn’t become anything. And what’s worse, he believed her.
“Confidence hasn’t always been the biggest thing in my life,” he told the judges as he shared his story. It took all of him to pursue his passion given the voices in the back of his mind that kept insisting that he could not do it. ”Screw your 8th grade teacher!” judge Blake cried out in disbelief. (Can I hear an Amen to that?)
Read the rest of this entry
Thursday, August 2nd, 2012 at
Like millions of Americans, I have been glued to my TV screen since the start of the 2012 London Olympic games. My usual evening programming has been diverted to DVR and replaced with swimming, diving, and, my favorite, gymnastics. There’s nothing quite like bearing witness to athletes in their prime, showing the world what they’re made of.
As you likely know (unless you’ve been living under a rock), this has been a big week for Team USA in Women’s gymnastics. The media was abuzz when world champion Jordyn Wieber failed to qualify for a shot at all-around Olympic gold. The raw emotions we saw as her dreams were crushed in front of billions of viewers was simply gut wrenching.
Somehow, though, young Jordyn was able to pick herself up within a day. ”After the biggest disappointment of her gymnastic life… Jordyn Wieber got down to business,” said Mark Sappenfield. “There were some tears,” Coach Geddert said, “about five minutes’ worth – and some loving words from her teammates. Then, it was time to get to work. Because, that is just what Jordyn Wieber does.”
Boy, what an understatement! Forever etched in my memory is the moment when the camera zoomed in on her face as she stood in the starting position of her floor routine during team finals. With determined eyes she stared right through the camera into each of our living rooms as if to say, “Don’t worry. I’ve got this.”
Jordyn’s smile during her final performance was incredible to see. She knew she had it every step of the way. She was having fun out there. Most importantly, despite crushed dreams, Jordyn continued to live her passion in front of billions of viewers. It was an incredible moment for Jordyn and all who understood her struggle. Read the rest of this entry
Thursday, July 19th, 2012 at
Things move fairly slowly in the South on the best of days, but as the muggy Mississippi heat crawls its way under your skin during the unbearable summer months, Southern life slows down even further – as if to compensate. As students leave campus to go on big summer adventures, staff members are left on ghost campuses with few immediate demands on our attention. (This is quite a contrast to having our lives seemingly revolve around student needs during the normal semester.) Despite the humidity, summer therefore brings a breath of long awaited fresh air.
With fewer appointments on my calendar I have had more time to devote to deep, meaningful conversations (DMC’s as I like to call them) with my colleagues, friends, and even the odd student. In the process, I’ve gotten to know several incredibly talented, smart and beautiful people – both inside and out. Sadly (and surprisingly) it seems that many of them have shared one thing in common: they are choosing not to show their true selves to the world.
A talented friend wants nothing more than to counsel troubled youth, but is too afraid to apply to graduate school because she doesn’t think that she could succeed. A warm, loving, tenderhearted friend finds herself in a terribly unhealthy relationship but is afraid to leave because she doesn’t think she could find love again. A brave new professional is having trouble being himself around new colleagues because he is trying so hard to impress and please everyone. A sweet girl has been burned so much by those she trusted that she refuses to let others in. Another colorful friend lives behind a gray mask to hide his homosexuality from the world and sometimes even himself.
Each one of these incredible individuals fail to acknowledge (or understand?) just how special they are in their own way. Overcome by fear of rejection and/or failure, they each lack the confidence to let their true colors show.
Read the rest of this entry
Friday, July 6th, 2012 at
“Do you want to have a career that meets your needs, complements your personality, inspires you to develop your potential, and supports your vision and purpose?”
This little gem of a question jumped out of the pages of The Career Fitness Program today as I was reviewing textbooks for the undergraduate Career and Life Planning course that I teach. As if I had written the words myself, “Don’t just settle for an average life. Liberate your best self. Be extraordinary!” seemed to be a natural call to action to follow the question.
You see, ideally, if given the choice, I believe most of us would answer yes! yes! yes! and yes! in response to that question. We would admittedly desire a purposeful and meaningful life instead of settling for what is necessary in order to make ends meet. Notice how I snuck the work “ideally” in there because in reality, despite the most sincere intentions, making the decision to start chasing your fire (as I have urged you to) isn’t always enough to actually make it happen.
You can’t just close your eyes and somehow painlessly wake up to the life you have imagined. The reality you are living now should not be ignored, as your circumstances have likely played an important part in keeping you from pursuing your passion. Maybe it is the pressure of your mortgage and bills, the lack of support from loved ones, or limited resources that have kept you from your best self. These needs will likely continue to stand in your way unless you find a way to meet them. Read the rest of this entry
Thursday, June 28th, 2012 at
What is the world’s greatest lie?” the little boy asks. The old man replies, “It’s this: that at a certain point in our lives, we lose control of what’s happening to us, and our lives become controlled by fate.”
(An excerpt from The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho)
As children, we eagerly conjured up fantasies about our future grown-up selves. We imagined what careers we would have and what we would be like. Innocently optimistic, we imagined a life for ourselves that would be exciting and fulfilling. When asked about our futures, we got a twinkle in our eyes as we told others, “When I grow up, I’m going to be… (A ballerina! A fireman! A Doctor! A Basketball Player!)”
Don’t you sometimes wish you could recapture that childlike wonder? Sadly, somewhere along the way to adulthood, dreams often get buried under the realities of daily living. We can barely make it through the day, and chasing our fire is often the furthest thing from our minds. The focus shifts from ‘living the dream’ to just ‘finding a good job that pays the bills.’ Life, as messy as it is, often teaches us that we are mere products of fate and circumstance, and that dreams can only be realized if you are one of the lucky and/or wealthy…which (let’s be honest) most of us aren’t.
Thankfully, Paulo Coelho blows a hole right through that theory. Allow him and I to assure you that fate and luck have very little to do with happiness. Life doesn’t just “happen” to us. We are not mere passive recipients of fate, living the life that has been dealt to us. Oh, no. Our lives are a culmination of choices (big and small), each breath building on another. Read the rest of this entry
Friday, April 27th, 2012 at
As a new hire, your days may feel like you’re putting out one fire after another, barely making it through the day without third degree burns. Not only are you learning about your new role, your colleagues, your company, and office politics, you are also trying very hard to seem like you know what you’re doing – at least most of the time. Despite the biggest and most sincere can-do attitude, there may be days that just zap your energy, leaving you feeling low, grouchy, exhausted, or even physically ill.
Off days are just a part of being human, so refrain from punishing yourself for not being able to always bring your A game in the way that you’d hoped. I heard this analogy recently that seemed very appropriate. Imagine you’re carrying bags of groceries from your vehicle into your house, not realizing that the bags have holes in them. As you’re walking along, you’re merrily leaving a trail of items behind unknowingly. When you reach your pantry, ready to unpack your bags, you can’t help but wonder, “Didn’t I have more than this?”
Both at work and at home, you’re constantly giving parts of yourself away. You share your energy, drive, excitement, emotions, stamina, and even your patience. I don’t need to tell you that you can’t keep giving away what you don’t have, and can’t spend energy that you’ve already spent. You owe it to yourself (and arguably also those around you, including your boss) to reinvigorate yourself so that you can be your best self. Read the rest of this entry