As a career and life clarification coach, I help people find clarity, purpose authenticity and joy in their professional lives. Although I understand the role and importance of the professional resume', writing or developing them for clients is not what I do. My marketing materials and website make that quite clear by stating “if you want to recreate yourself on paper (i.e. resumes and cover letters), I am not for you. If you want to work with someone who will push you to examine not only your core strengths and values and passion, but to also identify and overcome your limiting beliefs, let’s talk!”
Mark Franklin of OneLife tools explains that "a career is not just a job, but the full expression of who you are and how you want to be in the world...." Therefore, I firmly believe that before you ever put your pen to paper or type away on the keys of your computer, you need to tune in emotionally and vibrationally to who you truly are and who you want to be as a professional. As stated by author and career coach Laura Berman in her 2015 TEDx Talk, “Career Satisfaction doesn’t come from what you do. It comes from who you get to be while you are doing that job.”
Words hold power and can elicit emotion which inspires action. You must be sure that the words you are choosing to represent you are truly in alignment with your desires and “who” and “how” you want to be as a professional. Words should not be chosen solely because they are popular on job posting platforms. Aligning yourself with how others want you to be by using only their words and descriptions can lead to an emotional disconnect between your authentic self and your professional goals. If the words on the page don’t emotionally inspire you, your actions and how you show up as a professional to job interviews and the workplace could be detrimental.
Before beginning the process of writing your resume’, I suggest engaging in reflective work about what you truly want from your ideal career position. A great exercise for doing this is called, “Clarity through Contrast” and the “Desire Statement.” These exercises, developed by Michael J. Losier, encourage you to identify what it is that you DO NOT want in your ideal career (contrast) in order to obtain clarity about what you DO want. Here is how it is done.
On a blank piece of paper make two columns. Label the one on the left “Contrast – What I Don’t Want” and the one on the right, “Clarity – What I Do Want” (see image). Under Contrast, record all the things that you do not want in your ideal career (i.e. lack of flexibility in scheduling, no ability to use my creativity to develop new product designs). When you are done with your list, re-read each statement and re-write it so that it reflects what you do want in your ideal career (i.e. flexible hours and scheduling, ability to use creativity to develop new product designs). Be sure to convert all your contrast statements to clarity statements.
After you have become clear about what you do want in your career, you need to write out your Desire Statement. The Desire Statement is an effective tool for raising your vibration in a positive way to attract what you do want to bring into your life. On a new sheet of blank paper write the following statement at the top of the page:
I am in the process of attracting all that I need to do, know, or have to attract my ideal career.
Then, use the sentence starters below to re-write your clarity statements:
I love knowing that my ideal…
It excites me…
I love how it feels when….
I love the idea of…
I’m more excited at the thought of …
More and more…
I love seeing myself…
For example: “I love knowing that my ideal career offers flexible hours and scheduling” and “I am excited to know that my ideal career is one where I can use my innovative thinking to create new product designs.”
Re-write each of the clarity statements as a desire statement. When finished, write the following statement at the end: I am in the process of attracting all that I need to do, know, or have to attract my ideal career.
Once you have crafted your desire statements, then you can begin looking at your resume’ in a new light. Do the words and phrases you use to describe yourself, your skills, your talents and accomplishments on your resume’ create the same level of emotional excitement and enthusiasm as your desire statements? For example, if one of your desire statements is, “I am excited to know that my ideal career is one where I can use my innovative thinking to create new product designs” and nowhere on your resume’ do you enthusiastically share your ability to use innovative thinking to create new product designs, then your career desires and resume’ are not aligned.
In addition to helping you authentically create yourself on paper in the form of a resume’ and even a cover letter, the “Desire Statement” can help you create the positive energy vibration to attract your ideal career. Be sure to keep it somewhere visible and read it as often you can while embracing the positive feeling states and emotions that it elicits in your mind and body.
Want a coach conversation partner to help you craft your own Ideal Career Desire Statement and guide you through the process of manifesting your ideal career? Schedule your 20 minute FREE initial consultation session today: https://nhcoachingappt.as.me/consultation
I am thrilled to announce that I have applied and been accepted into the Quantum Success Coaching Academy. I will spend the next 11 months working directly with Christy Whitman and her QSCA mentors and facilitators to broaden my coaching knowledge and expertise regarding the Laws of Attraction. Successful completion of this program will result in a new certification that will provide me with approaches and processes to work with clients on an even deeper level to support the manifestation of what they truly want to bring into their professional and personal lives. It will also be the most amazing personal and professional journey for me to work and learn with fellow coaches and mentors.
Employee engagement has become a topic of much focus in the corporate world. Many organizational and human resource experts have invested multiple hours and dollars to create a culture of engagement in the work place. This might seem outside the realm of the small business owner (for this article we are defining a “small business” as those companies with more than 1, but less than 50 employees). In addition to understanding what employee engagement is, it is important for small business owners to understand why it is necessary for them to take steps to develop it within their business culture.
What is meant by employee engagement? I might be easier to describe what it is not. Employee engagement does not mean employee happiness or satisfaction. An employee might be happy and satisfied while at work, but that does not mean that they are engaged. Being happy or satisfied does not mean that they are working hard or productively and operating on behalf of what they know is best for the company. When an employee is truly engaged, they are emotionally committed to the company for which they work and are compelled to offer more of their capability and potential. And what is the return on investment for a small business owner to put the time and finances into developing a culture of engagement? Engaged employees provide higher quality service, which leads to, improved customer satisfaction which results in, increased sales and profits.
So how does one create a culture of engagement? Here are 5 simple entry points to get you started:
The new year offers a fresh start and an opportunity to create new dreams and aspirations for ourselves. For many, this comes in the form of “New Year’s Resolutions”. Resolutions are typically framed around areas of our life that we feel need to change. When thinking through a resolution, the language of “should’ or “must” typically comes into play; “I should try to get the gym more often…”, “I must get some control over my spending habits….” This type of language calls forth our inner disciplinarian and most of the time, fails to be inspiring or motivational. Therefore, in 2018, I would like to encourage you to forego resolutions and instead focus on a more uplifting possibility to manifest change in your life:
Positive Affirmations:The word affirmation comes from the Latin affirmare, meaning to “make steady or strengthen”. An affirmation by definition, suggests that something exists or is true. Creating affirming and positive thoughts in our life is key to manifesting the experiences and feeling states that we want. According to Dr. Carmen Harra, “Affirmations do indeed strengthen us by helping us believe in the potential of an action we desire to manifest. When we verbally affirm our dreams and ambitions, we are instantly empowered with a deep sense of reassurance that our wishful words will become reality.” To include this powerful tool into your life, identify 3-5 positive affirmations that resonate with you and incorporate them into your daily life (check out Dr. Harra’s article for 35 amazing affirmatios that you can use: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-carmen-harra/affirmations_b_3527028.html). This could include taking time each morning to say them out loud, write them on sticky notes that you place around your living and work space so that you will see them often, record them as a voice memo on your phone so that you can listen to them. What ever works for you. The key is to be sure that you fully embrace the power of the idea and words in your affirmations.
Reflection on all that Went Well in 2017:This practice embraces positive psychology ideology which encourages the belief that people want to lead meaningful and fulfilling lives to cultivate what is best within themselves. Utilizing simple prompts such as “What am I most proud of from 2017?” or “What from 2017 do I want to encourage more of in 2018?”, or “The top 7 things that made my heart sing in 2017” can create powerful feelings of happiness and accomplishment. It is from this feeling state that we can make plans to continue embracing and developing positive experiences for the year to come.
Vision Board:A Vision Board is a fun and simple way to create a physical visualization of what you want to bring into your life. Visualizing the positive feelings and experiences that what we want helps create a positive energy that supports and guides their actual manifestation. If this sounds to “woo woo”, note that athletes have been trained in the use of visualization techniques for decades in order to improve performance. As explained by the “Make a Vision Board” website, vision boards can help you to:
Perfect Day Visualization:Take some time to think about what a “perfect day” in 2018 would look like. This should be something that is actually attainable, but a couple steps outside of what you typically allow yourself to enjoy. Maybe it involves using a flex day to sleep in late and spend the day lounging in your yoga pants binging on your favorite snack food and NetFlix show. Or maybe it is using a weekend or holiday to get out into nature and take a long hike with a friend or your dog. It could be identifying a time when you will finally enroll in a cooking class that you have always thought about. Think of all the details and feeling states that your “perfect day” would include. Document all this information in some form and then, set a deadline for when you will make that “perfect day” happen. Depending on what you plan, you could create 3-4 Perfect Days for the year. Getting in touch with the positive feeling states that you will experience on these special days will be a “pick me up” on the days are not so “perfect”.Word of the Year:This activity will help if you feel the need for focus and clarity. Frequently, if you make a list or complete a very open-ended journaling activity about what you do want in your life, you will see themes and patterns emerging. Once the theme or overarching pattern can be identified, “boil it down” to the one powerful word that encapsulates it to serve as your foundation for the year. Write the word down and have it in places where you can connect with it throughout the day as needed for decision making and grounding.
Possible word choices that may emerge are:
Consider this for a moment; all emotions and feeling states are created by how we react to our thoughts. As a business owner, I know that I want to feel happy and successful as a professional. What would I be thinking if I felt happy, successful, sure of myself as a professional? This is what I need to ask myself so that I can identify the thought! For example, if I felt happy and successful as a professional, thoughts that I would be having include, “I know what I am doing”, “I am great at this,” “I have something to offer that others want and value.”
Once I identify the thought(s), I need to realize that I CANNOT wait until circumstances changes to begin thinking those in that way. If I do not recognize this, the thought patterns I will engage with can resemble the following: “When I am successful, I will be confident that I know what I am doing,” “When things start happening, then I will know that I am great at this,” “Success will be the indicator that I have something to offer that others want and value.”
When we engage with our life in this way, we are coming from a place of lack. This type of thinking comes with a negative energy. Think desperation. How do you feel when you are experiencing desperation? What are the thoughts that accompany the feeling of desperation? Note the relationship between them. Everyone will feel desperation differently in their bodies (tightness in chest, hunched shoulders, burning in stomach, rapid breath, tension in brows, etc.). The energy associated with this feeling, no matter where it occurs in the body, is negative and uncomfortable. Think about a time that you were interacting with someone who was experiencing their own sense of desperation or intense wanting. You are energetically aware of it and on some level, it can feel uncomfortable or even repulse you. You may want to retreat from this person. Or, it may cause you to try to use your own positive energy to comfort this person and diminish their negative vibe which ends up emotionally and physically exhausting you. Point being, coming from a place of lack and desperation for circumstances to change DOES NOT support the process of manifesting what you want in your life.
What if instead, you were able to identify the thought(s) and feeling state(s) that you associate with a positive change in circumstances and embraced them right now? If the positive thought you want to believe is, “I am successful,” and the feeling state that would accompany this thought is lightness, smile on my face and in my heart, calm and sturdy feeling in my torso, then why not begin thinking and feeling that way right now? “Because I don’t have a change in my circumstances that tells me I’m successful at the moment and warrants those thoughts and feelings.” you say. To which I reply, “Chasing after the positive thought(s) and feeling state(s) from a place of desperation and negative energy will only make obtaining them that more elusive and unattainable.” A proverbial dog chasing its tail.
I invite you to bring this practice into your life and see notice what you are able to manifest. I’m not promising that it will be easy. Being in tune and aware of our thoughts and feelings takes time and focus. Start by noticing the thought patters that are coming from a place of lack. How could they be re-written to reflect abundance and positive energy? How will you patiently and lovingly re-direct your non-positive thoughts and feelings to those that better serve you?
As a coach, I support my clients in this process so that they can successfully develop thoughts and feeling states that better serve them in manifesting their desired future. Want to learn more about how partnering with me can serve you? Sign-up for a free 20-minute consultation to learn more.
Thoughtfully Emotional: 3 Ways to Engage with Your Thoughts and Emotions for Positive Personal Growth
The powerful relationship between thoughts and emotions or feelings is not always clearly understood. People often think that the emotions or feelings that they experience are caused by external events, situations, or the actions of others. The truth is, it’s what we think about these things that really determines how we feel. “Cognitive fusion” is the psychological term used to describe the overidentification we have with our thoughts that tricks us into believing that they are facts. Not being present and knowingly connected with our thoughts and subsequent emotional state, can lead to behaviors of suppression or buffering. These behaviors can then lead us to drink more, eat more, spend more, judge or doubt ourselves more, look outside ourselves for how we should be feeling more, etc.
As a trained Martha Beck Institute Life Coach, I was taught the importance of the thought – emotion relationship and it served as the foundation of our coaching framework. When I am working with a client, I utilize a variety of tools and questioning techniques to help them identify and engage with thoughts and feelings to move forward in positive ways. Below are three empowering practices to intentionally connect with your thoughts and emotions and ensuing behaviors:
Understand the Mind-Body ConnectionThe first thing everyone should do is become hyper-tuned in to how their body emotionally reacts to different thoughts and emotions. This can be done using an activity known as the Body Compass. Step one, is to find a quiet place where you can sit comfortably. Step two, think of a time that was very sad and unsettling. Not all-out trauma, but deeply unpleasant. Replay the thoughts and images and relive the feelings and emotions of that time. Then, note where you are feeling it in your body. Is there a tightness? Is there a pain or an ache? Note the feeling. Then on a scale from -10 (highly unpleasant) to +10 (highly pleasant), assign it a scale number (0 = “neutral” on this scale). Step three, think of a time that was incredibly joyful; i.e. deeply pleasant. Replay the thoughts and images and relive the feelings and emotions of that time. Once again, note where in your body you are feeling it. Then assign a number from -10 to +10 for that feeling. You have now “calibrated” your Body Compass. From here on, put it into practice whenever you are having a thought that is causing an unpleasant or pleasant emotional response. Feel into your body and be fully present and connected to the thought, emotion and feeling. Neuroscientist Jill Bolte Taylor in her book, My Stroke of Insight, explains that the electric brain circuitry for a thought, an emotion or an urge lasts only 90 seconds if it’s NOT reinforced, but just watched (2007). Using the Body Compass practice will increase your level of thought and emotion awareness. This will allow for a better sense of control of the behaviors that might result from your thoughts and emotions.
Become the Curious Observer of Your Thoughts:
This practice will help break down the cognitive fusion by helping you: 1. attach to the thought less, 2. believe it less and 3. recognize it is not a fact, but a thought. As stated by Deepak Chopra, “The goal is to be the observer of your thoughts and not let your thoughts control you.” When you feel a thought seeping in, especially one that is going to rate below “0” on your calibrated Body Compass (see practice number 1), do not suppress or ignore it, but NAME it. The following statement said out loud is very helpful for this, “I am having the thought that (insert thought).” For example, a thought that I had to acknowledge and work with so that it would no longer have the power over my feelings and emotions was “my worth is determined by others’ opinion of me.” That thought was very powerful and registered at about a -7 on my Body Compass. I began with, “I am having the thought that my worth is determined by others’ opinion of me.” Saying that statement out loud and naming the thought as only a thought, took away its crushing power. The awareness statement became even more powerful when I said, “I notice I am having the thought that my worth is determined by others’ opinion of me.” Now I was the one in control due to my perceptive noticing!
Compare and Despair:Do you ever scroll through your social media feeds and think your own life does not measure up? It's called “compare and despair syndrome”, and it can cause feelings of anxiety and even depression. The first step to deal with this is to note to yourself, WITHOUT judgement, “I am in the zone of compare and despair”. The next step in the practice requires you to analyze one of the people that you are comparing yourself to – the person that you think you envy. Next, write down all the thoughts you have for why you envy them. You can be as petty as you need. Unleash your “inner brat” – just remember to tell yourself “I am choosing to behave like a brat”. For example, I did this with another established professional coach. Here were some items from my list: they have a better website, they are always creating/posting professional things 24/7, they are always busy, they have a huge following, they are in multiple leadership positions, they are sought after by many people…. The list went on. When I reviewed the list, I started to feel exhausted. “How do they do it?”, I thought, “I don’t ever want to be that busy.” The trick to this exercise when you complete and review the list is to ask yourself, “Can I really have all that?” which most of the time you can answer, “Sure.” The next question to ask is, “Do I really want all of that?”, which in my case I answered, “No thanks. I am happy with what I have got.”
Want a coach to help you lean and successfully utilize these and other thought busting practices so that you can move forward with your dreams and goals?
Contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 970-481-3528
An insight into the importance of understanding your stories and thought patterns to create the future you want.
This is my first official blog post for 2019. I personally feel that everyone is overwhelmed in January with new year content. Therefore, I decided to wait a month, until all the virtual and social media “noise” was tuned down before offering up my insights and empowering messaging. Besides, if you are like me, February is the “hump” month of winter and you need some inspiration to get you through to the promise of spring in March.
My topic for this month is gratitude. As a career and life clarification coach, I serve as a guide and support for individuals on a journey towards professional fulfillment. When I work with a client, I want to be sure that they understand that at the beginning of any journey, gratitude is a good place to start. But this is not just my personal perspective. There is a lot of focus on gratitude these days as a pathway to improve overall well-being.
Merriam-Webster defines gratitude as a “state of being grateful and expressing thankfulness.” A February 2017 blog post from the Positive Psychology Program webpage takes it one step further. “Positive psychologists contend that gratitude is more than feeling thankful for something, it is more like a deeper appreciation for someone (or something,) which produces longer lasting positivity.”1 In his book, Authentic Happiness, Martin E.P. Seligman, Ph.D. explains that “gratitude amplifies the savoring and appreciation of the good events gone by…” However you define it, having a sense of it and bringing a practice of it into your own life is important. If you want to assess where you are presently are with regards to your personal level of gratitude, you can find a copy of the best documented gratitude test developed by Michael McCullough and Robert Emmons here: http://local.psy.miami.edu/faculty/mmccullough/gratitude/GQ-6-scoring-interp.pdf
One of the most popular methods for establishing a practice of gratitude is to keep a gratitude journal. This practice requires that you document four to five things that you are grateful for in your daily life experience at least two-three times per week. You can go to Amazon and purchase journals that were specifically designed to inspire and guide you through this writing process. There are even apps for your phone to help you systematize the practice.
While gratitude journals are a good place to start (I have personally done it and have had my clients engage in it as well), there is another practice that I recently discovered that for me, took the experience to a whole new level.
When I would personally sit to document my three things/experiences that I was grateful for during my designated writing time, I would find myself really stretching and challenging myself to come up with something worthwhile, something new, something interesting, etc. Instead of being a positive and motivational experience, it became a mundane and almost dreaded task. Then one day, while listening to a podcast by the fabulous master coach, Brooke Castillo, I was introduced to a new way of writing what I was grateful for in my life and recognize the abundance that my life truly provided. The process was simple. Using the following sentence frame, “I want __ (fill in the blank) ___ and I already have that,” you create a list of 10-12 things that you want in your life and that you already have. For example, here are some of mine: “I want a healthy daughter and I already have that”, “I want to be my own boss and I already have that,” “I want a loving husband and I already have that,” etc. I was able to knock out 25 things that “I want” and that I “already have” in about 12 minutes. I am not exaggerating when I share that at the end of this writing experience there were tears of joy and gratitude for all that I had in this wonderful life that is mine. I just sat there, and in Seligman’s words, truly savored how delicious and amazing my life was. If there was an apparatus that could measure my positive energy at that moment, it would have been off the charts. And as you know, when you are a beacon of positive energy, all kinds of amazing things can be manifested in your life! But if you didn’t know that, check out my June 2019 blog post to learn more.
Till then, challenge yourself to identify ten things that you want in your life that you already have to elevate your gratitude and abundance energy levels.
Want to learn more? Contact me at email@example.com or 970-481-3528 or schedule a free 20-minute consultation
Nikki Stansfield is trained as a professional coach and loves to support anyone who wants to intentionally create something meaningful within their professional lives.