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Tag Archives: advice from a career coach

people-314481_640It’s the thing that holds you back. It stifles growth, discourages you from trying new things, and forces you to stay in a rut, even when you know things should change. It’s the worst 4-letter word of all: FEAR.

Fear is a debilitating force. It pulls you out of the present and into the unknown territory of the future. Don’t waste your time worrying about what might happen. Instead, focus on the present. Look internally and ask yourself some tough questions:

  • How is fear limiting my hopes and dreams? What would I like to accomplish, but am afraid to attempt?
  • Why am I afraid? What’s holding me back from speaking up, making a change, or attempting something new?
  • How can I minimize fear and shift my focus to determination and action?

Acknowledging your fear is the first step to taming it. Confront your obstacles and have confidence that you can and will overcome them.

How can you brush aside your fear and start taking action?

Start small. Do one thing that scares you today–whether that’s talking to a stranger in the grocery line, presenting an idea to a co-worker or boss, or enrolling in a class at your local gym, library, or community center.

Then, as your confidence grows, grow your ambitions. Make an action plan and start mapping out how you’ll follow-through with your goals. Remember to set deadlines for yourself and find an accountability partner (click here for more on effective goal-setting).

REMEMBER: You owe it to yourself to face your fears and work at overcoming them. If you don’t, you’ll never stretch yourself or try new things. You’ll forever wonder, “What if…” Don’t let fear lay claim on your life! Start confronting it today.



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Holding on to anger

Fist image (without text) courtesy of Teerapun at

Every day we are given opportunities to forgive. Whether we’re faced with a driver that cuts us off on the freeway, a rude comment from a coworker, or our own lack of preparation for a work presentation, it is often best to let go and learn from our experiences.

It’s tempting to hold onto anger and sadness as protection—to make sure we never feel a certain way again, or to hold as collateral for an apology. But like the analogy of holding a hot coal with the intention of throwing it, we only hurt ourselves when holding onto these negative feelings.

Forgiveness is not forgetting. Practicing forgiveness does not mean you’re a pushover, and it doesn’t mean you accept negative behavior in others. There is a difference between forgiving someone, and opening yourself up to the same hurt in the future.

We can all hope that offenders realize their mistake and feel remorse, but this isn’t always the case. Some people may never apologize, and we’re left harboring ill-will. Forgiveness is for your well being.

Imagine this scenario:

You’re at the office. It’s a busy time of year, and your schedule is packed, but you decide to cut your lunch break short so you can meet with a new client for the first time. You finish your lunch and do some busywork while waiting for her to arrive. Forty-five minutes pass, and you finally see her pull into the parking lot. Right now your breathing is shallow, your fists are clenched and sweaty, your posture is hunched, and you’re angry—angry at her for not respecting your time, angry at yourself for scheduling too much in one day, and suddenly angry at your co-workers for not taking more meetings so you wouldn’t have to. This client may or may not apologize upon entering the room, but you can still practice forgiveness in order to take away a lesson from this experience, while releasing tension and stress.

Forgiveness requires intention and practice, but by lowering stress you are also lowering your chances of a high heart rate, high blood pressure, body aches, depression, and fatigue.

And don’t forget: mistakes are what make us human. Mistakes help us improve: our products, our processes, and our attitudes. Without forgiveness we would still be holding onto hurts from long ago—forgiveness helps us grow.


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This is the time of year many people start thinking about making major changes in their lives. The New Year is symbolic; it’s a marker that traditionally rings out the old and ushers in the new. For many of my clients, it is a time when they come to me for guidance, looking to overhaul their careers or embark on an entirely new journey.

If you find yourself at a similar crossroads, wondering what direction to choose or what action to take, don’t ignore your impulses. It’s good and healthy to reflect on our lives every once in a while and now is as good a time as any. But reflection is typically not enough. Many people need the right tools to help them sort out the kinks in their lives. With this in mind, I’ve created an exercise to help you think about the changes you might need to make and the steps you could take to make your visions a reality.

NOW is the time to move forward and make positive changes in your career and personal life. Not tomorrow.

Find a Quiet Place to Consider the Following:

1. When we feel dissatisfied, it’s natural to jump to the conclusion that everything needs a major overhaul. Instead of rewriting the entire book, begin by considering what is going well, what is working for you, and what don’t you want to change. List four positive aspects of your life (this could be your family, community, relationship, job, etc.) and explain why you feel they are going well.

2. Consider one area you would like to change. What does that changed area look like? What is the first step for creating this change that immediately comes to mind? Imagine your first step has been accomplished. What are the next three things that have to happen? Now you game plan is starting to take shape, bringing your vision closer to reality.

3. Do you worry you don’t have the time? Fill in your typical daily activities on the timeline below. Where could you reclaim an extra 30 minutes? Does that rerun on television or updating your Facebook page three times each day really deserve your attention?


4. Admit to yourself that none of this is easy. In fact, creating change can seem daunting, and we are tempted to abandon our efforts when faced with obstacles. Jot down at least five challenges you anticipate and a list of people you could call to help. Is there a friend who you consider an expert in developing a business plan, giving professional advice, or writing résumés? Perhaps reaching out to these people are important steps in your creation of change.

5. Throughout our day we talk to ourselves, and this voice is not always positive. Realize that negative self-talk can stall your efforts. What do you say to yourself regularly that is especially debilitating? Try to let go of two negative messages you send yourself this week. Identify your personal saboteur, give your negative feelings a name, and banish them from your space. Once you have successfully banished these two, aim to fend off two more negative thoughts next week. If you get in the habit of thinking about yourself and your capabilities in a positive light, I guarantee you’ll feel a weight lift off your shoulders and you’ll be more energized to make constructive changes in your life.

Interested in some guidance as you make your plan for the New Year? Contact UXL Today!

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