Three Myths about Passion that are Keeping you Stuck

As a leadership coach, passion is a word I hear often in my conversations with clients. It shows up in in all sorts of ways, but most often sounds something like “I have no idea what I want to do with my life, and I need someone to help me find my passion.” After working with dozens of young professionals in the non-profit world, I’ve found that there are three big myths that keep them from feeling fulfilled and happy in their careers.

Myth #1: Passion is something you do.

Passion has been sold to us as something we’re supposed to “do.” When that action isn’t apparent, you might get caught up in a trap and believe that until it is, you won’t be able to make your mark and find career happiness.

Let’s take a look at the definition of passion from Merriam Webster: “a strong feeling of enthusiasm or excitement for something.” So, if passion is just another word for excitement, then the truth is it’s something that you already have right now.

Myth #2: Passion is something that has to be found.

We now know that passion is a feeling and not an action we take. The most incredible thing about this is that feelings already exist in us. Perhaps passion doesn’t need to be found, just rediscovered.

Need some help? Ask yourself these questions:

  • What were you doing the last time you lost track of time?
  • What story could you tell about an event in your life that captures who you truly are?
  • If you didn’t have to tell anyone what you did or how you earned money, how would you choose to spend your time?

Myth #3: Passions are big bold, world-changing dreams.

The truth is, passion comes in all shapes and sizes. I find that many of us believe that passions have be over the top. Yes, most of us are passionate about real and raw social issues. But when we believe that our passion is only acceptable if it’s grand, then it’s easy to see how we could be overwhelmed and feel like what we care about is too insignificant or not big enough.

But since passion is just another word for excitement, then there are a million different things we can feel that way about. We are not limited to just one!  I am passionate about gender inequality. I’m passionate about helping people. I am also passionate about rescue pups, coffee, and creating vision boards on Pinterest. All of these things make me who I am, and once you know who you are, it makes what you “do” the easy part.

As Oprah once said, “Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.” How would your world change if you took Oprah’s advice and trusted that what excites you is enough and there is no greater passion to be found?

Tips to Survive Your Next Networking Event

“So, What Do You Do?”

4 Tips to Survive Your Next Networking Event

After years of coaching private clients and young professionals in my meetup group about their discomfort with networking, I’ve come to the conclusion that there are 2 types of people in this world: those who love networking events and those who loathe it. I find that most of my clients fall into the latter category. Usually it sounds something like this “Networking in D.C. is terrible. Nobody is actually interested in making a genuine connection, it’s all about what you do and who you know. I’m tired of being instantly judged.”

I get it. Networking in the way that we’ve all be taught to do it (Hi! Here’s my business card! Are you hiring? No? Ok- thanks, bye!) can feel awkward and self-serving, but it doesn’t have to. Like anything else, if you shift your belief about it, it can be an incredibly energizing and fulfilling experience.

Think of it like this – networking events are kind of like going on a big group blind date. You wouldn’t ask a person you met to marry you the same night you met them, would you? So why is it we expect people to fall in love with us at first sight and part the red sea to get us a new job or propel us forward in some way? It’s unrealistic, unfair, and sets us up for disappointment. Not to mention, it puts unnecessary stress and pressure on you to make a good impression. You know what happens when we’re trying too hard, right? We come off as disingenuous!

So what if instead of going in to a network event with the expectation you had to get something from it, you viewed it is a way to begin building relationships with future colleagues? Because creating and fueling relationships is truly what it’s all about.

Here are 4 tried and true ways to help you do that:

#1- The focus of your conversation shouldn’t be on what you or the other person does, it should be about who they are.

Often when I facilitate networking events, I ask participants to agree to one rule: do not ask the question “So, what do you do?” I find that question often stresses people out. Most of us default to it because it’s an easy and socially acceptable conversation starter. Instead, ask a question lets the other person know you’re actually interested in a way that invites them into a more powerful conversation.

A few alternatives might be:

  • I’ve been to several of {name of organization} events and the thing I enjoy most is _____, how about you?
  • How are you connected to the {cause, topic, organizer, or target market of the event}? Interesting! I’d love to hear more about that…
  • How do you enjoy spending your time when you’re not at work?
  • What topics or issues do you frequently find yourself talking about? What makes them important to you?

This will allow you to get to know the human being standing in front of you, not just the interpretation of the person you’re making up based off of their title or the company they work for.

#2-Make your intention to give value to others, and not expect it in return.

If you walk into an event with the intention that you’re only purpose is to find a few people who you easily connect with and find out how you could help them, then how could you not walk away feeling good? When you use this as your frame of reference, you’ll find that people naturally gravitate to you because they can sense your authenticity.

How do you help? There’s a variety of ways which could be anything from recommending a good book or website to offering to introduce them to someone in your network. When people help us, it’s only natural for us to want to return the favor.  So remember, you have to give (because you genuinely want to, and trust that it will come back around to you).

#3- Ditch the traditional elevator speech and instead come up with something that authentically tells people who you are and what motivated you to attend the event.

Your opening spiel doesn’t have to include anything about your job. Have a passion that you pursue outside your 9-5? Share it! Do you daydream about owning a B&B and offering yoga retreats? Tell them!

Make your elevator speech a reflection of who you are and what drives you. Who says it has to include all the info that they can read on your business card? I’m sure the conversation will take you there eventually, but it doesn’t have to be their first impression of you.

So let’s say someone asks “So, what do you do?” One way to respond might be “By day I work in a fundraising department, but my true passion is traveling and my goal is to eat a meal in all 50 states by age 35. How about you?”

#4- Carefully pick who you will invest time and energy into building a relationship with.

Chances are you are going to meet a lot of people. Pick those that you hit it off with and can see yourself enjoying future conversations and ask them if you can follow up. If they say yes, find out what platform they would prefer- email, phone call, LinkedIn request? Remember this isn’t a one-night stand, it’s a blind date and you’re hoping for a chance to take them out to dinner.

Once they tell you what they’d prefer, then go home and do it! This part is easy if there’s only 1 or 2 people you’ve chosen to invest your energy and time into instead of every person at the event.

P.S.- Want to practice your new skills? Considering joining us at Coaching & Cocktails THIS Wednesday, 3/16. Register here.

 

I’m Doing Something Really Scary I’ve Never Done Before..

I’m doing something that I’ve never done before!

And to be honest, it scares the crap out of me. I’m posting something, about my business, on Facebook. Eeeek!

I’ve been coaching for well over 2 years, so why start now? Well it all started a few months ago. My fantastic friends (who also happen to be bad-ass coaches), decided to set an intention for 2016 by using just one word. If you think that’s easy – go ahead and try it – it’s so much more complicated than you’d initially think. I should know because it took me WEEKS to identify the one thing that could perfectly sum up the journey I want 2016 to take me on. Finally, it hit me – my word is DISCOVERY.

Here’s what that means for me – discovering who I am: as a person, as a friend, a wife, and a coach. Who do I serve? What’s my message? Sure I have an understand of all of this right now, but I want to peel back the layers and have a true understanding of WHO I am; at my core.

Here’s the scary truth I’ve recently uncovered. Part of discovering who I am means I have to be discovered. I do tons of speaking gigs, but blogging, posting, social media-ing has been something I’ve resisted big time. Putting myself out there means you can see me, REALLY see me, which means you can judge me too. Yes, even coaches have self-doubt.

So, here I am taking my first step.

This post isn’t just about me, though, it’s also about you. I bet there’s some goal you’ve created that scares the bejesus out of you, too. That’s why I created this amazing event “Pressing Reset on Your New Year’s Resolution: Living with Intention in 2016” happening next weekend @ 405 Yoga in D.C.  If you’re ready to get really clear on what you want from 2016, and stop hiding behind the fear then join me for an interactive workshop event which includes an invigorating 60 minute Vinyasa Flow to help you bring those intentions to live. It’s all happening on Saturday, January 30th. Use discount code: discovery for a special price of $147.

REGISTER HERE

And, I’m curious…what’s your word?

Is This Just How it Is?

Out with the old, in with the new!

It’s the motto that most of us start every new year off with, right? The story we tell ourselves typically goes something like this: “This year is going to be different! This is the year that I’ll get that promotion, buy a house, find a job I really love, lose 20 pounds, get that certification…”{and the list goes on and on}.

But then, like clock-work, 12 months later we’re in the same pants that are two sizes bigger than we’d like, or working for the same terrible boss whose demise we plot daily.  So there we are, no closer to achieving our goals, but knee deep in guilt, regret, and shame.

Is this just the way it is?

I know it probably feels like this is just the way it is. After all, most New Year’s resolutions fail by the second week in February. But what if I told you that your 2016 isn’t doomed. Not only could your 2016 be different, but it will be different if you follow this one simple key: get clear on what you want and don’t just settle for what you’ve convinced yourself to want.

What do you really want?

For most of us, we create goals based on the things we think we “should” do. But what is it that you really want to do? What will fuel you? What goals can you actually get behind that will truly inspire you instead of making you go “ughhh.”

I bet’cha if you looked at your current list of goals most were written with the thought of “I should do this” or “I have to do that.” I’m going to let you in on a little secret (sense the sarcasm), we’re humans and as such we rebel the second we’re told what to do. Think about how you zone out every time your Mom starts to give you unsolicited advice or how resistant you feel when your boss tries to convince you to do things the way that he did.

The same rule applies with goal setting. Whenever the statements you’re telling yourself begin with “should”, “have”, or “need” you’re automatically going to resist! Remember inaction is choice that we make, so if you’re not taking steps towards what it is you say you want, it’s time to take a good hard look at why. So I’ll ask again- what is it that you really want in 2016?

Are you ready to break the cycle one and for all?

How interested are you in taking a deep dive into this topic and committing to make 2016 a year of taking purposeful, positive action to get you the results that you truly desire! if your answer is very interested than consider joining me and fellow coach Laura Hastings onSaturday, January 30th for our blended workshop & yoga event”Pressing Reset on Your New Year’s Resolutions: Living With Intention in 2016.” You can find all the information and register by clicking here.

*Don’t forget to use discount code: “NEWU” for a reduced ticket price of $147.

Join me for “Pressing Reset On Your New Year’s Resolution: Living With Intention in 2016”

Register Now!

“Pressing Reset on Your New Year’s Resolutions: Living with Intention in 2016”

Saturday, January 30, 2016
1:30 PM to 4:30 PM (EST)
Washington, DC

Pressing Reset on Your New Year's Resolutions

 

Did you know that most New Year’s resolutions fail by the 2nd week in February?

Don’t be a statistic!

Another year, another half- hearted resolution? You’re not alone. By the second week in February {and despite the best of our intentions} most resolutions fail. Leaving you farther away from your goal than ever and feeling defeated and incapable of change.

So, here are your options: 1) curl up on the couch with a bottle of wine and Netflix while throwing yourself a pity party or 2) commit to yourself to do the hard work to finally make those dreams a reality.

Did you pick 2? If so, congratulations! You’re in the right spot.

Consider joining professional coaches Laura Hastings for a one of a kind blended event that will help you:

  • Clarify what you really want (not what you’re supposed to want)
  • Set meaningful goals that you are excited about achieving
  • Identify your personal roadblocks and develop strategies to overcome them
  • Leave with the confidence to make your dreams a reality!

After the workshop, we will be led through a Vinyasa class by yogini Meghan O’Neill. This practice will help us solidify our newly created intentions and make them a reality.

 ….Because at the end of the day its not about losing 10 pounds or paying off your student loans, it’s about creating the life you’ve always dreamed of and becoming the person you’ve always known you could be…

Ready? Here’s what you need to know:

When 

Saturday, 1.30.16

Where

405 Yoga
1000 Florida Ave NE, Washington DC

Price

$229
Use discount code: newU for the special price of $147

REGISTER HERE

Go Ahead, Brag a Little!

spotlight

It’s time to stop being your biggest critic and start being your biggest fan. After all, if you won’t advocate for yourself than who will?!

It’s time to recognize and be proud of your strengths! They are the things that make you uniquely different and valuable to any organization. Take 2 or 3 minutes and write down your top 5-7 strengths. We’ll get back to them in a second.

Here is the thing about strengths- just because we are good at something it doesn’t mean that we enjoy it. For instance, you might good at Math but have absolutely no interest in being a statistician. And that’s OK! Go back to your list and for each item ask yourself “Is this something I enjoy doing”? If the answer is no, cross it off your list and replace it with something that are both good at and enjoy.

Some people will tell you that while it’s important to identify your strengths it’s also important to identify your areas of improvement. And while, I agree it’s not necessarily for the same reasons. By using the Pareto Principle (or the 80/20 rule as it’s commonly called) we know that 80% of our output is determined by 20% of our input. So imagine what your life would be like if you spent 20% of your time focusing on your strengths instead of trying to eliminate your weaknesses. How would that change the other 80%? What would your world look like? What opportunities would open up for you?

By focusing on your strengths you are allowing yourself to be powerful, creative, confident and bold. And those weaknesses? Start by realizing that no one is perfect and we will never be good at everything, so stop trying! Instead pick one or two areas of development that you actually want to improve in because they have the capability of being converted into strengths and figure out how to ditch the rest. Better yet, figure out how to use a strength to solve the problem(s) created by a weakness! Go ahead, I dare ya!

Like what you see? Consider joining me this Thursday, March 26th at 6pm EST for a one hour webinar “The 4 Little Secrets to Finding Your Niche.” We’ll not only cover this topic in more depth, but learn the 3 other secrets to figuring out who we want to be when we “grow up.” You can find more details and register here. Hope to see you there!

Think This, Not That!

Here in D.C. spring is in the air and you can’t help but feel happy! It’s that hopeful and excited kind of happy, because you know a new season is arriving and possibilities are everywhere!

You’re probably feeling renewed, energized, and optimistic in a way that you haven’t felt in a long, long time. Let’s use it to your advantage!

So today, instead of worrying about all the things you’re not, focus on all the things that you ARE! There is a confident, powerful, and amazing person in there with strengths and talents that the world needs. Stop hiding them because you think you’re not special enough, good enough, smart enough, or any other variation that keeps you down.

Today, believe that YOU ARE ENOUGH and watch what happens. You are going to be amazed, I promise!

Interested in exploring this in a bigger way? Join me for Coaching & Cocktails: Change Your Rules, Change the Game” on March 25, 2015. You can find all the info you need and register here.​

Change Your Rules, Change the Game

As a coach, I help my clients find clarity, and a sense of excitement and purpose in their work. This shows up in our work together in different ways. Sometimes it’s helping a client overcome the proverbial crisis of “who do I want to be when I grow up?” or perhaps it’s deciding if the job offer they’ve just received is the right step for them. Sometimes, though, it’s breaking down it even further, and helping clients find purpose and meaning with one single task. Regardless, at the root is one need: discovering what is going to give them that rush of exhilaration for their career that they once felt.

For example, I was talking to a client recently who has lost motivation to work on a really big, important, possibly even life changing project. He’s an entrepreneur and hands down one of the most savvy, capable, and ambitious people I’ve ever met. A few months ago this task was at the top of his to do list and he spent every waking moment working on it. Then life got in the way (as it tends to do) and it got moved to the back burner. Fast forward to present day. With a looming deadline, he seemed to have lost all motivation which of course caused frustration, uncertainty in himself and his abilities, and resulted in a whole lot of procrastination!

So we spent long time examining where this lack of inspiration was coming from. We finally got to the heart of the matter when he realized that the he was overwhelmed by all that needed to be done. He literally didn’t know what to do first.  His mind was all over the place– spewing out a laundry list of “need to’s” and “have to’s”, but none felt like they were the right first step.

And then it hit him. The reason he couldn’t proceed is because he was working off of a faulty blueprint. You see the project plan that he was using was mostly designed by his wife, not him! It wasn’t like she imposed it on him. He asked her for help, for her opinion, and she gladly showed her support by sharing her thoughts with him. The problem is that the plan she created was how SHE’D approach it.

Everything changed once he realized that the reason he didn’t know where to start is because he wasn’t working off of his blueprint, but rather hers. The shift was immediate and within seconds the spark and fire he thought he had lost for good was back. He decided his first step was to rewrite his plan. And you know what he did it in just FIVE minutes. After he had a clear map of where he wanted to be, his motivation and inspiration came back! Viola!

So, what can we learn from this?

For starters that in some way shape or form we all do this! All of my clients hired me for one reason– they know where their end destination is, but they are unsure what steps to take to get there! 9 times out of 10, the uncertainty is because they are working off of someone else’s master plan! For most of us we get these ideas of what we “should do” and “have to do” from authorities like our families, the media, society, etc. And eventually without even realizing it we even start to believe it too.

Stop and take five minutes to identify what rules you are living by that aren’t yours? What would it be like to let go of them? What new rules would you create instead?

Interested in exploring this in a bigger way? Join me for “Coaching & Cocktails: Change Your Rules, Change the Game” on March 25, 2015. You can find all the info you need and register here.

3 Ways to Overcome Your Sunday Night Blues

Does this sound familiar: You work all week just counting down the minutes until 5pm on Friday. You speed home from work in a manner that resembles the little piggy from the Geico commercials. You bask in every second of your Friday night/Saturday/Sunday morning freedom and then BAM! 4pm on Sunday hits and you’re suddenly overcome with anxiety, frustration, and a dash of despair.  You try as hard as you can, but you can’t shake the feeling that your life is doomed and that you will never. ever. ever. find a job you love. You continue on this shame spiral while lying in bed tossing and turning, unable to sleep which makes you even more aggravated. Why is work always getting in the way of the other things you want to do?!

But what if instead of dreading Monday morning like the plague you…dare I say…were excited for it?? I promise it’s not beyond the realm of possibility, and here are 3 little tips to get you started:

Define your version of success– So much of the Sunday night blues stem from feeling like a failure {because if we were successful, we’d have jobs that didn’t cause us so much anxiety, right?}. In order to beat the blues, you have to figure out what’s truly causing them. Imagine yourself in 5 years and you’re in a career that you makes you feel whole.  What does that look like? What would you be doing? Who would you be doing it with? What skills would be utilizing? What tasks would you be able to delegate to others? This is easier said than done, so give yourself the time and freedom to explore these questions without beating yourself up for not knowing the answer!

Focus on your strengths, and forget your weaknesses– We had a terrible tendency of setting the bar so high for ourselves that we can never meet our own expectations. You’re a human, yes? This means that statistically speaking there will be more things that you are not good at than things that you are.  What would happen if you stopped trying to improve your weaknesses and instead really focused on your strengths? Life would be much more enjoyable, wouldn’t it? What’s one small thing you can do tomorrow morning that will play on your biggest strength?

Advocate for yourself- Ok so now you have a crystal clear vision of how you’ll know when you’re happy at work and what that will look and feel like. You also know and are proud of your strengths because they make you the awesome person that you are! The last thing I challenge you to do is learn to advocate for yourself. All of this new found insight is pretty much useless unless you develop your plan for putting it into action.  Most likely, this plan is going to involve other people {like your boss or co-workers}. What’s your plan of attack? Remember to make the conversation focused on a win-win outcome. People want to know what’s in it for them, so tell them! But don’t compromise on what it is that you need out of the relationship.