Going For it in 2018!

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2017 will go down on record as one of my most difficult years. In early April, my mother passed away here at home with me. The relationship I had been in ended. It’s a good thing, but still a loss and all attempts at finding a new relationship have failed. Then shortly before Christmas, my beloved gregarious gold tabby died. Now, the loss of a pet may seem like a minor loss, but this boy was special. He was everywhere I was, following me around like a puppy and always in my lap if I was sitting down. A very large presence, so his absence is palpable and painful. On top of all this loss, I had nobody to spend Christmas with. For the first time in my life, I was home alone for what should be the most special day of the year. Despite having many good friends, I didn’t share this with anyone, and they were all busy enjoying the holiday with their family. It is a family day after all. So there I was. Watching the end of a pretty horrendous year, sad, alone and feeling sorry for myself. But, those who know me, know that I don’t wallow for long.

No, with the turning of the year, I decided to take control. The first thing I did was a little woo-woo, but what the heck! Why not try it? I burned sage and walked around my home making sure some smoke emanated into every room, cleansing the bad joo-joo. After all, two of my loved ones had died here, so cleansing was a good thing!

Next, I decided to stop trying to find a man. If there is one for me, we’ll find each other organically. None of the structured means have worked, so I’m leaving it up to the universe. Not focusing on it will allow me the space to be happy and just live my life, not thinking about the absence of what I want.

The next decision I made was to focus on my business. As a coach, I work with professionals to help them have great careers and plan for a fulfilling retirement. I coach through job transitions, professional coaching on difficult situations that arise at work, and also help people as they leave the workplace figure out what they are going to do with their time, and how they will deal with the challenges retirement presents. It’s rewarding work and I’ve dedicated this year to helping as many people as I can. That means getting out and meeting people. I love to speak in front of interested audiences, sharing my story, or tips on career advice, so I’ll be out and about more. In so doing, who knows, maybe ‘that man’ will manifest himself in one of these locations.

The final thing I decided to do came about as a result of being a single woman without children, alone on Christmas day. It WILL NOT happen again! I’ve reached out and started a group for similar women. Women who through no desire or fault of their own find themselves mid-life and alone. It sucks. I’ll be honest. All I ever dreamed of was being a wife and mother to 5 children. Fate did not give me what I dreamed of since I was a little girl. I don’t know why, but I’ve stopped feeling sorry for myself. It’s time to take what life has handed and make the most of it. I have a lot to give and I’m going to do my best to spread that around.

So, 2018 is the year of my coaching business and celebrating being a single woman! No more wallowing. No more waiting for ‘it’ to happen. I’m just going to get out and enjoy everything I can!

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Posted in alone, anticipation, challenges, change, childless, coaching, dreams, failure, faith, goals, helping others, life, loss, moving on, networking, New beginnings, reaching out, reflect, restore, self improvement, single, strength, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Make 2018 Your Best Year Yet!

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It’s tempting to fall in with the masses and set New Year resolutions. I have never been one for resolutions. Instead, I prefer GOALS. Goals have a purpose behind them. And, I don’t think goals have to be BIG GOALS. Why not set smaller goals that build up and amount to something more, like filling a jar with pebbles. Eventually, you’ll fill the jar.

So, here is my list of suggestions from my years of coaching and my own self-improvement. Pick just one, two, or be bold and choose 5! This time next year, you’ll be filled with satisfaction at what you’ve achieved.

  1. Gratitude journal. You have probably heard about these recently. I love this practice. Each night, before I go to sleep, I take a moment to write down 3 things I’m grateful for. Even through extraordinarily tough times this year, I managed to be grateful for what I had. It helps you focus on the abundance in your life. Remember, what you focus on grows. If you focus on the negative, you will bring more negative to your life. Having a gratitude journal turns your attention to the positive and helps it grow.
  2. Take up a hobby that’s always intrigued you. What is that hobby that’s you’ve always thought you’d enjoy learning one day? Mine is glassblowing. Take a class. See if you like it. There is nothing like letting the creative juices flow to help you feel renewed after a tough day at the office.
  1. Take a class related to your work to enhance you knowledge and skills. Many of us want to progress in our career. Often, that requires some additional learning. As a learning junkie myself, I can’t help but find new things to learn. For others, you need to put some effort forth. And, don’t wait for your employer to offer something. It’s YOUR career. YOU own it, so make a commitment to yourself and learn something new!
  2. Plan a long weekend twice a year. So many people tell me they are too busy to take a vacation. I’ve never been that person, and not quite sure I buy that, but everyone can take a few days away from the office. And don’t take them at home. You’ll be too tempted to get all your chores done. No, plan a short trip out of town. It might just be an hour drive away, or a 2 hour plane trip, but you’ll be away from home and able to rejuvenate. And the bonus? Three days away will feel like 7! You need downtime away from all the cares of the world. If you can’t fit in a full week, do yourself, your family and your job performance a favor and invest in some serious time away.
  3. Make a vision board. This is one of my favorite things. As stated above, what you focus on grows. I keep a vision board in my office, in plain view. On it, I write goals, big audacious goals, along with statements of affirmation. Some people like to include photos. Make it your own and post it somewhere you can see it frequently.
  4. Read a book a month. Everything you want to learn in life is available in a book. Prefer audio books? Well, that’s fine. I like the feel of a real book in my hands. And, you’ve heard how people like Warren Buffett and Bill Gates devour books. Some believe it’s the secret to success. As I said, I love to learn, so I always keep a pile of books ready to work my way through. Maybe a book a month is aggressive for you. Ok, make it 6 books a year, whatever works for you. Just make it a stretch and do it.

I’m sure you can find other simple goals you can set for yourself. By making several smaller goals, you’ll be able to keep up with them, and in the end, you’ll be better off for it. And, you’ll be proud that you were able to stick with it for the entire year!

What’s your favorite goal to set? Let me know what you decided to do, and then next December, let me know how you did!

My mission is to see you live the life you desire. Through professional coaching, job search strategies and retirement planning, I guide you to develop success strategies to get you where YOU want to be. http://www.colecoach.com

Posted in achievement, career, challenges, change, coaching, colecoach, development, dreams, education, goals, gratitude, growth, job hunt, leaps of faith, Learning, life, new year, new year goals, new year resolutions, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

What it’s Like to be Single and Childless During the Holidays

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You don’t hear much about this particular segment of the population. I’m speaking particularly of middle-aged women, who through no fault of their own, find themselves single and childless. I am one of them. For as far back as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to be married with 5 children. Well, life had other plans. I am divorced and for 20 years have been looking for Mr. Right….to no avail. I fear he may not be out there. As for children, I was just never able to have any. So, here I am, past the age of that ever coming true, and single.

And what are we surrounded, even bombarded with, at this time of year? Happy couples, parents shopping for their children, house parties where nearly every one is part of a couple. We stand out like sore thumbs. I find myself alone a lot this time of year. Good meaning friends are busy with their families, their partners, their children. So, even those who may have time for you during the year, melt away during the holidays. While I’ve always wanted to truly celebrate the holidays, I find myself getting more and more depressed each year when they come around.

We are simply alone. Nobody thinks to invite us to events. Occasionally, out of what feels like pity, a couple might invite you to tag along, but that’s the last thing you need to be – a third wheel on someone else’s date! And, in truth, I’m not sure what they could do – other than not throw their happiness in our faces. I avoid Facebook as much as possible, especially this year. I lost my mother and a favorite cat this year, leaving me feeling more alone than ever. My family is small and geographically disbursed. I have just two siblings, three aunts, cousins and a niece in my life and none of them are within 500 miles of me. We don’t  get together as a family anymore.

I don’t mean this to be a pity pot. I just want to help others understand why those like me might appear to pull away, especially when what we need is companionship. I know other women like me. We’re attractive, smart, independent (but oh so open to sharing our lives!), and fun. Why we’ve been given this lot in life is a mystery to us all. I love these women. They are my tribe. But, they, like so many, are in other parts of the country. I’d love to start a single women without children’s group. A chance to be with other women who completely understand our place in life, what we’re feeling and can support one another. Not one person out there who has a partner or children can possibly understand what it’s like to be us. It’s lonely, sad, frustrating and depressing.

So, as you go about your merriment. If there is some place in your busy schedule to have tea, or go shopping or see a movie with one of these wonderful women, reach out. They’ll welcome it. Just don’t drag the partner or kids along. Make it just the two of you…or a group of women. And, don’t spend the time talking about all the wonderful things in your life. You’ll only make them hurt when they are trying to feel some happiness.

 

 

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So Fun to Be Interviewed by Ladybossblogger!

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It was so fun to be interviewed by Ladybossblogger on my work helping people find personal and professional happiness through my work!

Take a read……https://ladybossblogger.com/andrea-cole-guides-individuals-career-fulfillment-personal-happiness/

Posted in achievement, avocation, career, coaching, colecoach, development, dreams, goals, helping others, job hunt, leaps of faith, Learning, life, networking, Uncategorized, vocation, work, your calling | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Are Success and Work-Life Balance Mutually Exclusive?

 

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Success. Work-Life Balance. Two terms that are bandied about and widely discussed. Are they mutually exclusive? Is it possible to be ‘successful’ and achieve work-life balance? It’s a real problem for far too much of the working population. And many will tell you it’s not possible in today’s 50 – 70 hour a week work environment, but I beg to differ.

Let’s begin by defining each of these terms, and they are not easy terms to define because they are highly personal, meaning different things to different people.

SUCCESS: What does success mean to you? There are the trappings of corporate success. A six-figure salary. The corner office. A big title. Then there are the more intrinsic measures of success. Happiness. A life full of meaning. A simple life full of family and community. Maya Angelou defined success as “liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it”. This definition resonates with me. ‘

WORK-LIFE BALANCE: This is another definition fraught with interpretation. There are people who indeed ARE their job. Their identity is WHAT they do. And, they are happy. Most definitions I found in researching this blog, referred only to the amount of time you spent working. They all focused on ‘work’. I prefer going back to the origin of the term ‘work-life balance’ from the mid 1801s, when Paul Krassner provided his definition of happiness as “to have as little separation as possible between your work and your play”.

There was a time in my life where I recognized my life had become my career, leaving little room for anything else. Yes, I had recognition. Yes, I had financial rewards. But I had little else, and I do not define myself by my work, so I wasn’t happy. I was exhausted, emotionally drained, empty. I made the choice to leave my job in tech and pursue work in non-profit. While I took a reduction in salary, I still made a comfortable enough income, and was able to pursue personal pursuits and live a life that was fuller. To me, this meant a more ‘successful’ life, a life that allowed me to be happy. I will admit, it’s a struggle to maintain a balanced life. As an entrepreneur, I do find myself at times, working far too many hours. But, I constantly work to keep it in check. ‘Play time” and my personal life nurture a very important side of me, one that keeps me happy, content and energized to continue doing my work.

In my coaching work, I run into people all the time who are either seeking a new job to find that balanced life, or work with me to seek ways to balance their personal pursuits with the job they have. In the end, I believe Krassner had it right. The less your work is separated from who you are, the happier you will be at work. And very likely, you’ll perform your work better, and most likely with more ease, allowing you to put in fewer hours so you can attend to your personal life. This is at the core of my work. I truly believe far too many people have not found that work that ‘is’ them, that work that comes so naturally that it doesn’t feel like work. I used to be an accountant. It was PAINFUL! I was a top student and performed well, but the nature of the work completely stripped my soul. As a result, I was miserable, underperforming and scared. Only when I discovered my true calling, educating and coaching, did my work become, and I hesitate to use the word, easy. Easy because what I do now is who I am. I can’t separate helping people find happiness from the person I am. As a result, I love my work and most days, it barely feels like work. As a result, I don’t end my day mentally and physically exhausted, unable to get off the couch. No, I am energized most days and eager to engage in personal pursuits. This is what I wish for everyone.

So, no magic bullets here. It takes effort, reflection and time to discover the answer that works for you. It may be the 60 hour work week. For many, that is their happiness. But life is short and you spend more time each day at work than doing anything else, so if you’re not happy, if your life is out of sorts, do the work to make a change and discover the life that you are meant to live….happily. And that is success!

 

Want to get your life in balance? Seeking a new job or career? Contact me know to find out how I can help. Schedule a complimentary 15 minute call with me.

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Congrats! You’ve landed that new job! Now what?

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After all your hard work, applying for job after job and networking like crazy, you’ve landed that great career opportunity! Take a moment and savor this time. You’re about to enter the honeymoon phase. You know that time. It starts when you accept the offer and typically runs for 3 -6 months. During that time, you’re in heaven: learning a new job, learning a new culture and coworkers, getting comfortable with what’s expected of you. It’s both exhilarating and exhausting. You arrive home each night happy and tired from everything being so new. Enjoy this time! It’s sweet. But for many, it passes far too quickly. Sometimes, and all too quickly, some of the same things that drove you from your old job crop up, or the new environment isn’t quite what you’d hoped it would be. Worse yet, the culture isn’t how it was represented to you. So, what do you do?
After 20 years of being an employee myself, and now as a career coach, I see many different scenarios play out. The following are the three most common, and I spend much of my time coaching clients who have successfully landed a new job, but recognize there is continuing work they need to do.

  1. You fail to change those bad habits that haunted you on your last job. Each new job is an opportunity to reinvent yourself, to shed any old habits that were detrimental to your career. You know that major faux pas you committed at your last job that nobody could forget? Well, the new company doesn’t know anything about it, so you get a fresh start. I once had a client who asked me to work with him to help him ‘show up differently’ when he started a new job. He’d been at his last company for many years, had grown up there, and recognized there were things he’d like to do differently with this fresh start. Through professional coaching, he was able to take on his new role and be the person he wanted to be in his new company and position.
  2. The culture you thought you were joining was more toxic than you imagined. Yes, it happens. You arrive on your first day with what you think is your dream company. They say great things about their culture, they offer a great compensation package, and it seemed like a no-brainer to accept their offer. And, maybe things go well for a few months, during that honeymoon period. But, then it happens. It starts small. A single bad encounter, an off-putting comment from a coworker, or maybe someone goes behind your back. Ok. You take it for what it is and move on. Then it happens again, and again, and yet again. In the worst case scenario, you start to take it personally, or it may even demoralize you to the point that you lose confidence. Having been there myself, I know this is one of the most uncomfortable places to be. The best solution is typically to start your exit strategy. If this is the accepted culture, it’s not likely to change. So in order to stay and thrive, you would have to change. And really, is that what you want to do? I doubt it. The best thing to do is to start taking steps to move to a new job, being very careful to examine the real culture of the next company more carefully.
  3. You thought you were going to love the work you’ve started doing. The job sounded exciting. Maybe it’s a job with lots of travel and that was a prospect you welcomed. Then you discover that spending far too much time in airports with delayed or cancelled flights, visiting different cities, but only seeing hotels, restaurants and offices isn’t the joy you anticipated. Or maybe you landed a job in your college major only to discover that’s not the work you want to do. That happened to me. I was a happy and successful accounting major in college, but learned accounting was in no way the right career choice for me. The solution, once again, is research.

I hope you never find yourself in any of these, or other, situations, but chances are at some point you will. Don’t remain stuck. Life is too short and you will do your best work when you are making use of your skills and working with the people and company that are a fit for you. Keep your resume fresh, your LinkedIn profile active and ALWAYS be passively looking for that next job.

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Webinar Wednesdays are Back!

So pleased to announce the 2017-2018 schedule of Webinar Wednesdays! Join me on the 2nd Wednesday of each month for a 1-hour workshop on all things career and job-search related. Registration will be available later this week.  Register HERE.WW are back

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