Archive by Author

We’re Not Going To Take It!

Welcome to our weekly Musical Musings! (formerly Music Monday) 

Got the Monday blues? Let us help you change that thinking ASAP.

Today’s music inspiration goes along with this week’s eCourse sneak-peek based on Lesson 5: Personal Power – and it’s all about Working With Others.

If you sign up for our eCourse, you’ll get access to the Tracy’s video recording where she discusses managing up, subversive leadership, and being your own PR director in the workplace. There are also a few actions steps listed to help you be on top of your game for your next opportunity  in Working With Others.

So we are here, with Twisted Sister as our backup, asking you:

What Do You Want To Do With Your Life? 

(And there’s a CONTEST in that link above because… WE WANT YOU TO ROCK!)

Also please note – our deadline for our Scholarship Contest has been extended to Labor Day which is Monday, September 3rd at midnight!

So plug in your headphones, turn up the volume, and sing aloud if you can; you know you want to!

httpv://youtu.be/4xmckWVPRaI

For our full Avoid a Cruel Summer youTube song playlist click here.

PS – Already signed up to Avoid a Cruel Summer? We’d love it if you would send us some feedback on questions you have or what you think so far, or simply help us Spread the Love!

Have a fantastic week everyone.

 

Lesson of the week: Tell Fear to FUDGE OFF

Happy Music Monday (with another eCourse sneak-peak)

We’re ready to get this week started off with a she-BANG! Part of being able to do that is recognizing what works and what doesn’t, as well as recognizing what is standing in the way.

Lesson of the Week: Tell Fear to Fudge Off

Do you sit and wonder about all those “shoulds”, “woulds”, “coulds” and “what ifs” but remain inactive because of the possibility of failure… or even better, SUCCESS?

Say hello to my dear friend, fear (another one of those four-letter words that begins with a capital “F”, if you let it have that power!). I’m personally well acquainted with this one, and we all experience this on one level or another. Tracy and I’ve discussed this before, and she stated, “Anxiety can develop as your ‘world’ increases, too.”

While I know this is true, that seems ridiculously counter productive, doesn’t it?!? In Lesson 10 of our summer eCourse, aptly named Tell Fear to Fudge Off, we are all over this one. We even include a template to help you evaluate some of your most stifling fears to get you moving toward that next step.

If you haven’t signed up to Avoid a Cruel Summer, (we don’t want to admit this but…) time is running out! It’s mid-August already, and we’ll be finishing up this eCourse as the hot, sunny beach season leaves us. So don’t wait: With both audio, and video files to guide you, we’re ready to help prepare you to Up Your Game for 2013 now. We look forward to hearing from you on our Facebook or Twitter regarding your process and your progress!

Career Coaching Scholarship Contest Continues…

We’re excited to have started receiving submissions for our  2012 Scholarship Program and the deadline is Friday, August 24th, just 11 days away.

You do realize there are FIVE opportunities to win, right?

If you (or someone you know) is in need of career coaching to bring your work to the next level, we want to help!

And now for our weekly Music Monday inspired by the frustrations this week’s topic (FEAR) can bring forth, but let’s not take this one too seriously, okay?

(Click here for the entire YouTube playlist for the Avoid a Cruel Summer eCourse.)

Have a great week!

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YgSPaXgAdzE

 

 

 

Guest Post: How to Get Your Employer to Pay for Your MBA

We’re publishing a long overdue guest post today from Erin Palmer, who works for US News University Directory. While we are not always a fan of taking on more debt and obligations to make a career change, if you are considering going back to school, there are some tangible tips in here. Enjoy!


So you’ve worked hard to earn your bachelor’s degree and you’re working your way up the company ladder, but you keep getting passed up for that big promotion. No matter what you do, someone always seems to have the advantage. If this sounds like you, then it may be time for you to consider earning a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree.

After some investigation, you know that getting an MBA can be expensive. If you don’t have the funds, you may consider a grant or scholarship to help you pay for your degree. Another option to consider is getting your employer to pay for your MBA. If this doesn’t sound easy to you, having a strategy will help your chances in getting your company to foot the bill and keep you from falling further into debt.

Will they pay?

Firstly, you’ll have to find out if your employer would even consider paying for your education. Many large companies have policies in place, so check your employee handbook. If you can’t find information on your own, check with your HR department, as they usually are the first to know about such programs. For smaller companies, you may have to go directly to your supervisor or the owner of the company. Before you do, make sure you’re ready and have your case clearly thought out ahead of time. If no policy is in place, your preparedness might be enough to set the trend in motion.

They’ll want to know your expectations for tuition. Are you asking for them to pay all of the tuition? Will you split it with them, or do you have outside sources (loans, scholarships, grants, etc.) that will cut down on the costs. If you do decide to split the costs, do the outside sources count toward your half, or are they deducted first with the balance then divided between each party. These details should be worked out prior to any arrangement or enrollment being made.

Know the company

A decision like funding education for an employee often comes down to timing and economic factors. Is now a good time to ask for assistance? If the company seems to be cutting down on expenses and is struggling during a troubled economy, the chances of your request being approved are slim. However, if the company seems to be growing and spending money toward their future, and if others before you have gotten similar requests approved, the scene may be set for a request.

Do your research and expect to answer questions

If you’re looking to work in top management at the executive level, a bachelor’s degree will most likely not be enough to get you there. According to a recent survey of top executives, 80% earned a graduate degree in business, which is important for those seeking top management positions.1 Having statistics like this to support your case will let your employer know you’ve taken the time to consider the value of an MBA.

Also, expect a lot of questions from the company. Have the basic facts down, but also generate some substance behind each fact that will heighten the value of your request.

Case for support

A good MBA program will train its students on basic business principles that will help them become a leader and an sharp business manager in the future. You can expect courses covering accounting, marketing, strategic planning, corporate finance and economics. Many specializations are available within MBA programs that you might want to consider as well. From finance and IT to marketing and management, if you have an interest in one of these areas, then you would probably want to select a specialization.

If a specialization fits within the company you’re working for, and you genuinely want to pursue that major, you’ve just found your angle. Explain how studying a specialization will benefit the company in the future, likening it to enhanced continuing education that will help the business profit down the road. Showing how spending the money now can return profits for the company in the future should always be a point for you to explain to your employer.

What can you expect?

A company isn’t usually going to invest the type of money associated with an MBA without some commitment from you, the employee. Many employers will require that you work for the company a certain period of time following your graduation date. Along with that, you’ll often be asked to sign a contract that outlines your obligations, including grade requirements, tuition terms and work periods. Should you not hold up your end of the contract, you may be required to repay all or part of the money spent by the company. So make sure you are comfortable with any contract you sign, prior to signing it.

Leave them with information

Offering up a printed outline of your case and the MBA program you’re interested in can give them some concrete information to look at when making their decision. Leaving them with some kind of report further shows your commitment and thought process behind the request. Include such items as:

  • Name of the school and the MBA program
  • The program’s curriculum
  • Costs and duration of the MBA program
  • The reasons why you need an MBA
  • Benefits of the MBA to the company
  • The reasons why you think the company should pay for it

By showing your commitment to the company and a willingness to develop yourself professionally for the benefit of the business, you will lay the foundation for a solid request of assistance. Remember that not all companies will agree to pay all or even a portion of tuition, but it shouldn’t keep you from seeking an MBA if you find it necessary. At the very least, your employer will know you have a desire to advance – which could go a long way during your time with the company.

About the author

Guest post provided by U.S. News University Directory an education portal designed to help students and working professionals locate hundreds of accredited bachelor degrees, online masters programs and certification courses from top colleges and universities, as well as, a growing collection of articles and career videos.

Nope. You Can’t Have It All.

In this week’s newsletter, I used the Secret Sessions with Tracy column to discuss success, and how you can feel safe and confident with what you already have. About a month ago, I saw my female Generation Y Facebook friends rapidly posting Anne-Marie Slaughter’s piece in The Atlantic on how she discovered through her personal journey working for Secretary Clinton and balancing her desires to be a better mom to her teenage son that women couldn’t have it all. The online dialogue about this hasn’t stopped and I decided to throw my own two cents in and would love your comments.

I had never heard of Professor Slaughter before I read her piece and it sounded like she has an amazing and intense career with crazy impressive credentials, all earned while growing a family. I admire her for that and my intent is not to bring down another woman, but she published her piece in the public domain opening it up for discussion. And when I read her article, I hate to say that I cringed over and over again. I wondered if The Atlantic was afraid of editing such a distinguished academic, but it seemed rambling at times and more importantly, I just didn’t get her point.

I know women are responding to this article because they really want to have it all. My take is that is just not possible. We have limited resources, including time, energy, emotions, and money and there are just too much in today’s world to experience it “all” at high levels. Really, for an effective life, the focus must be on enough, and you can have enough of what you want with clarity and strategy.

Here are three coaching tips for folks who are feeling unfulfilled with the current status of their lives.

Do you know what “all” is?

When I read the piece, I had no idea what “all” was for Slaughter (I’m not going to recap the article so if you haven’t read it, please visit the link above for context). Was “all” really working 18-hour days for someone else doing bureaucratic work? Because the work that she described she was doing at the state department didn’t sound fulfilling and she hinted it was a pain the ass. So was it the title, power, and access? If it was the second that she truly wanted, there are lots of different ways to achieve that with different time constructs and relationships.

Second, did Slaughter want to spend more time with her son or did she just feel guilty about the decisions she had made? It was unclear to me. I wouldn’t judge any parent for making decisions about her life balance- after all, earning a good living and taking care of your life is important to being a good caretaker. But you have to know and then act accordingly.

The “all” you almost everyone is aiming for is experienced through emotional satisfaction and flow, not a collection of achievements and experiences. We have a hard time with this because job titles are so tangible and feelings are amorphous, but it’s the path to contentment.

No one gets unlimited time so get comfortable making choices and determining priorities.

Maybe it was just clear to me, but Slaughter seemed to want to do 48 hours of activity in every day, which limited her credibility on the topic for me. Time management is not a mother or gender issue. You must make choices about your time and energy. No one gets to avoid prioritizing.

When I chose to start a company, I knew that for a specific period of time I would work monster hours, be stressed about money, and potentially strain my relationships, as well as put a temporary halt on my quest to start a family. This was a choice I made because the urge to start my company was so strong. Logically, you cannot starts something without initial sacrifices and I talked about this when I was a guest on the GTD Virtual Study Group podcast. I made a commitment to limit the period of my sacrifice as I gained more resources and understanding of strategy that worked for me. Again, make timebound choices that make you feel empowered.

Finally, You can do more things if you accept you can’t be perfect at everything. Sometimes your work won’t be as great as you want it to be, but you’ll probably be the only one who notices. And yes, daycare is essential, but your guilt is not. So ask yourself what can I delegate? What can I ask for help with? What can you say no to? This piece from Fast Company on the myth of “work life balance” has more specific tips I highly recommend.

Your story is not only about you.

The part that left me with the most discomfort after reading Slaughter’s piece is how she treated the role of her husband and son in her journey. Her marriage may be fantastic, but her choices in writing on how she recognized their role in her journey was troubling to me. You can’t tell your story without the inclusion of critical characters.

What we do has an impact on our friends, family, and others. Life is about enjoyment and sharing experiences and you can’t hole yourself on a solo path without including people. All or enough is no fun on your own. Your relationships should not be an end destiny or about is not about ownership and collection. How can you plan to be present others while pursuing your goals and not have them as part of your collateral damage.

So what do you think? And if you want to read more about it, Harvard Business Review had a great series on Slaughter’s piece. Here are three posts from that series I highly recommend reading.

Anne-Marie Slaughter Misses a Huge Opportunity by Sylvia Ann Hewlett
– how Slaughter’s focus on motherhood is a disservice when childless women face the same issues (amen, sister)

“Having It All” Is Not a Women’s Issue by Stew Friedman
– the male response

Sandberg vs Slaughter, Who Wins? Business Loses by Avivah Wittenberg-Cox
– what is our responsibility as women in creating power in the workplace?

 

Rosie the Riveter image courtesy of Wikipedia

Our Summer eCourse, Updates and Music Monday

Summer is definitely a time when “go-go-go” easily becomes the norm. With that in mind, we want you to take a moment and pause with us, as we have three very important things we’d like to share with you today.

eCourse is live!

We are very excited to let you know our eCourse is finally here, Avoid a Cruel Summer: 12 Ways to Up Your Game for 2013. With Tracy’s help, we’ll ensure you take those much needed moments to reflect and move towards your goals this summer, and it’s portable so you can have some fun while doing it (i.e. bring it poolside or to the beach)!

It’s up to each of us to make sure we take a little time to regroup in the midst of all the chaos. We just know this eCourse will help bring you that much closer to aligning your goals for the rest of 2012.

 Congrats, Lauren!

Also, today is the first day of full-time work for our graduating intern, and ‘Cuse ’12 grad Lauren Wannermeyer. For those of you who participated in The Graduation Project webinar series, you know that Lauren did some heavy thinking about risk and reward in her career search the last few months and we are so proud that she took the leap to move to DC and pursue her dream. We hope she gets the flowers we sent to her new office!

Update on Our Lost Friend Hope Reichbach

On a sadder note, our team, especially Tracy, is devastated this morning to hear about the passing of Gus Reichbach, father of Hope Reichbach, one of the first friends of The Opportunities Project and a great force of light that we lost too soon. We loved Gus because Hope did and we know that this not only a loss for her family, but all of Brooklyn and the thousands of people he helped as a judge in the court system. It’s hard to believe that Hope would have only turned 24 on July 24th. If you have some extra funds and believe in internships like we do, please consider donating to the Hope Reichbach Memorial Fund. You will not be sorry.

Take a moment and enjoy today’s Music Monday, then go check out Hope’s Fund and register for this summer’s guided journey.

We can’t wait to hear from you on your progress, so join our Facebook community today!

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5t99bpilCKw

 

7 Tools and Lifehacks: A New Anniversary Post

I’ve been busy reflecting on the fact that my next birthday is just a few days away, and only just realized that yesterday was the two year anniversary of my blog and website! I spent much of yesterday working at our co-working space at ThincSavannah, strategic planning with our executive assistant Sera Bishop and conducting a pitch for new business in California. In between meetings, a colleague and friend from the Department of Education called to tell me that she still missed me (thanks, girl) and I realized that yes, it’s been two years. Two. Freaking. Years. As much as I talk about the deliberate decision-making and planning that went into launching a successful business, it always truly felt like a leap of faith. Where I am right now is never where I imagined it would be. Luckily, it’s been much better .

Lifehacking and entrepreneurship at ThincSavannah

Last year, I wrote about 7 lessons in entrepreneurship that I learned from my first year. My biggest takeaway on the second year… where has it gone? Much of the past year has been a whirlwind of serving clients, hiring up, and travel. These days, I am more interested in getting my business to be super galactic efficient so I can stay in the present and enjoy the life changes I made in 2012.

 

Let me take a break from hacking my own life and share 7 tools I’ve used in the last year that have helped me to live the life I’m inventing for myself.

1. Stuck by Anneli Rufus. I first read this book in 2009 after my maternal grandmother passed away, and it changed my life. Full stop. I realized all the simple ways I abdicated responsibility for my path and have picked it up many times to remind myself. The book is a hell of a lot of tough love and you can see that in the Amazon reviewers who hate on it. Someday, I will write the book review it deserves, but in the meantime, if you feel like you’re always making excuses for outcomes in your life, I can’t recommend this book enough.

2. Accompl.sh. This goal management and declaration site was created by one of my favorite scrappy female entrepreneurs, Jenn Vargas. I use the site to manage my yearly SMART goals and make them public to add a further push for accountability. So far, I have completed two (including paying off my undergraduate loans!) and made significant progress on a number of others. Some that I had scheduled for April or May just have less importance for me and I need to go in and edit and adjust so I do what’s right by me and not just because it’s on a “list.” That is the ultimate life hack.

3. Audacity. A few times a year, I write out the “vision” for my life (my entire life, not just my business), record it on a happy day using Audacity, and import it into my iTunes library to listen and affirm to myself where I am going at least once a week. Not to go all The Secret and Self Help Guru on you, but this big picture reminder keeps me grounded. Audacity is super simple to use.

4. MorningCoach. One thing that can be hard when you start something new is maintaining routines and practice. Morning Coach is a daily 15 minute podcast produced by JB Glossinger that provides that for me. I’ve been subscribing for 18 months and his 15 minutes of daily talk on different aspects of life design keeps me motivated and like I’m not alone in this idea that if I am strategic, I can actually achieve what I want. Morning Coach is about $20 a month, but it’s worth the cost to keep me on the inspiration track in a left-brained way that I appreciate.

5. grateful160. This is a new tool for me but it’s making a huge impact. grateful160 sends you a daily email that asks you list one thing you’re grateful for, something you could summarize in 160 characters or less. I have talked about the importance of journaling and using the tool OhLife.com so I was reluctant to add a smilar tool, but I felt the focus on gratitude was too critical for me. I know I struggle with expressing simple gratitude in the face of difficulty and can turn negative too quickly. For example, I have a number of clients who like to email in the middle of the night and weekend and waking up to a full box often makes me overwhelmed and behind before the day starts, no matter what morning routines I have to make me feel calmer. I am hoping this singular focus on gratitude helps me hack my emotions so I can focus on what matters. For example, it’s better to have lots of client emails than none, right? Today, my gratitude will be that I made the decision to shut off my phone and email and write because I enjoy it. I need to remember the rest (returning to a full inbox) doesn’t impact the joy I get when I write.

I am not including OhLife as a tool here since I’ve already talked about it obsessively, but I can’t express how awesome that has been to my personal and professional development. I recently had my entry for May 20, 2011 come back and I had no idea what a momentous day that was for me. I don’t know how I would have otherwise. On that one day, I was featured on Mashable.com for the first time (which I didn’t know was going to bring me tons of clients for over a year), I found out I had been awarded the Teach Newark contract, and I went to see Midnight in Paris with a childhood friend where after listening to Owen Wilson whine for two hours about how he wished he could up and move out of the big city of LA, the first possibility of spending more time in Savannah first popped in my head. In retrospect, those all seem like disparate events, but OhLife showed me it was all on one life altering day and gives me daily perspective now that I know.

6. SaneBox. SaneBox has helped me manage the influx of email like no tool has, making me a nicer person (I think). Think of it as intelligent Gmail filters that don’t require as much work. Any email from someone who is not already in my contacts or sent items goes to a folder called @SaneLater, allowing me to focus on the people I already know. I can also move an email to @SaneBlackHole which then assures that senders who abuse my mailbox don’t get access to my eyeballs any longer. They also have some handy tools for sending you reminders when someone needs to get back to you. This saves me 2-3 hours a week on email, very good for $5 a month!

7. Pinterest. I was one of the first people on Pinterest, but I don’t have that many Pins because I am more of an auditory learner- that’s why Morning Coach and Audacity are such great tools for me. However, I’ve begun using Pinterest to be more playful about some goals I really want to achieve, but have conflicting emotions about. For example, I have a lot of anxiety about driving and owning my first car in my late 30s, after 15 years in NYC. I’ve been managing some of my anxiety by creating a fun Vroom, Vroom board of car pictures that appeal to me, as well as local places I want to go in with the car. My coach, the awesome Thekla Richter, put the idea in my head and it’s really helped. Definitely try it if there is something you’ve always wanted to do but is hard to think of as enjoyable.

Hope you find these tips helpful! Before you share your favorite lifehacking tools in the comments (which I really hope you do), I have two other announcements.  One, I’ll be doing some work on the website design and it will be a slow project so things will be looking weird for a bit. Second, I am doing a special offer for my birthday to my newsletter subscribers so if you’re not on the list, get on ASAP.

Share away!

Week of May 11th: Lasting Impressions

Is it Friday already? This week flew by way too fast. So it goes. We’re creeping up on graduation – and want to send a special congratulations out to intern Lauren Wannermeyer on her graduation from Syracuse University this weekend. We wish you the best of luck in all your post-graduation endeavors!

We’ve been working hard this week on quite a few projects. Join us on Facebook to discuss the changes happening in corporate culture beginning on Monday.

In my new role at The Opportunities Project, I am constantly searching for things that are news-worthy and career related, especially those things that impact women in particular. It’s hard to not take note of all the opinions regularly surfacing in the news regarding how women “should” manifest their lives.

There’s also been a lot going on in the political world this week, and there seems to be the expected explosion of differing opinions and all things related with various topics – so let’s get right to this week’s Lasting Impressions:

1.) We couldn’t help but notice Time’s magazine cover of the breastfeeding mother for “Are You Mom Enough?” The LA Times just called this print article “A shocking stroke of genius.”

Yes, things seem to be moving completely digital, but this story proved print is still relevant and actually has more impact  than any website’s new landing page.

This isn’t a new story.

This is an old story, uncovered, and has created a lot of heat.

Have you voiced your opinion on the topic of breastfeeding yet this week? What do you think of this attempt by the LA Times to recover people’s response to the impact of print? Do you think the response would be the same if the story wasn’t in print?

2.) This one may have slipped your radar. Warning: language NSFW. Actresses Kate Beckinsale, Judy Greer and Andrea Savage recorded a hilarious video in response to the common Republican stance on monitoring women’s rights when it comes to birth control, abortion, and a few other things. This was by far the funniest thing I watched all week, and was a great balance to the rather serious overtones of political conversation since Obama announced “…same-sex couples should be able to get married”  and whether he went too far… or simply not far enough.

I’m just going to go ahead and declare “should” as the word of the week.

3.) Last but certainly not least, I’m sure you’ve heard of the passing of author Maurice Sendak. Who didn’t grow up on the book “Where the Wild Things Are”? While his face may not be all that familiar, his works most certainly are.

Can you believe this book was first published in 1963? Just this January, I went to a 1st birthday party for a friend’s son that was completely themed on this book. I guess some things, like dreams, become timeless. Minus a few technological details, of course, but the premise and drivers seem to remain the same.

His books seemed more fantastical to me than scary as a child. What’s your history with Sendak’s books?

Don’t forget: Sunday is Mother’s Day, so be extra nice to all the Mom’s in your world this weekend!

 

Music Monday – May 7th

Happy Monday, all! We’re busy doing a recruitment project for a client, planning our 2012 Scholarship Launch and recording the videos to accompany The Graduation Project conference (thanks to those who came!).  This week we’re also discussing building your support network on Facebook, and we’d love for you to join us.

I’m sure you’ve heard by now about the loss of Beastie Boys rapper Adam “MCA” Yauch on Friday, May 4th, after a three-year battle with cancer. While Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston’s deaths were painful, my sadness in hearing about MCA’s passing takes mourning an artist to a whole new level. I’ve seen The Beastie Boys five times since 1994 (best show SummerStage NYC), with all types of friends and loved ones, making their albums the soundtrack to my life for the last 26 years. The Beastie Boys’ music influenced my style and my taste in ways that no other artist did, but more importantly, their work transcended race, age, and class, which few people get to do, even in this day and age.

Observation: On Sunday, none of the song from Paul’s Boutique were in the iTunes Top 100 Singles, but the album was #2. I think that’s exactly right, as you have to appreciate the entirety of that effort to understand how the BBoys changed music. That being said, Check Your Head has become my favorite over time. While I love the rhymes of Hey Ladies and Shake Your Rump, the lyrics on Check Your Head have a sense of maturity that I appreciate. What do you think?

For now, we’re going to leave you with this video to honor a man who moved mountains with his 1979 entrance into the music scene. I am not sure how I missed this video last year (um, maybe because I was running a startup), but I never saw the full 30-minute version of Fight For Your Right Revisited, directed by MCA. It is worth the half hour to view the whole thing.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=evA-R9OS-Vo

Hello, World.

Well, hello there. I know it’s been a few (5?) months since there has been a new blog post on our site. The absence has been mostly by design, but I’m happy to be back!

So let’s get up to date and reacquainted.

Where I’ve Been

My time offline has been spent accomplishing and experiencing things I set as goals when I decided to go out on my own in July 2010. Here’s a quick recap of what I’ve been doing.

1. I’ve been making money on my own terms and making an impact with clients. This is the number one reason I went out on my own- because I believed that I could make a difference in the world and be self-sufficient doing it. I just finished my 2011 financials and revenue-wise, I brought more money in the door in 2011 than any previous year in my life and 2012 looks to be on par. Of course, the expenses of a start-up cuts my personal take significantly, but it’s still a milestone and I’m proud of it. I’ve been busy driving the economy, thorough the The Opportunities Project’s recruiting work, and supporting others in making good career decisions, and am pretty damn happy about it!

Create Your Own Opportunities available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble2. Oh yeah… I wrote and published a book. In December 2011, I published my first eBook, Create Your Own Opportunities, featuring my most critical insights on how to rock your career and the professional sphere. It’s a short, 25-page eBook available for the awesome price of $3.99 and you can pick it up for the Amazon Kindle, Barnes and Noble nook, or in PDF format via our store. It will benefit anyone who is thinking about changing his/her perspective on work and make some changes in 2012.

I was grateful to work with Edward Antrobus of SEAM Publishing on this book and I can’t recommend him enough if you are thinking of publishing an eBook of your own. Check him out.

3. I’ve (we’ve) grown. A year ago, The Opportunities Project was me, a consultant who worked a few hours a week to help me with my marketing, and an intern. Today, we are a seven person team (!), working on coaching and recruitment consulting projects across the country… and I’m looking for more people (check the Team page for updates very soon). I’ve made the leap from self-employed freelancer to small business owner… and now have my sights on becoming a true entrepreneur focused on high-growth and scalability and was accepted as a Startup America Rampup firm last month to help me do that. So far, my effort to develop a technology solution around this has been an adventure in standing still, but I’m working on it.

My niece and nephew in Savannah, GA4. I’ve been making some personal changes. A major reason I decided to venture into self-employment is to create space for the things I seemed unable to do when I was beholden to an employer- focus on relationships, family, and personal health. It’s been a long-term wish to explore and expand and after 15 years in NYC, I made that leap in January, renting a beautiful Victorian apartment in Savannah, GA. I’m spending about 60% of my time here so far, with the rest in NYC and with clients nationally (2012 has seen me in MI, OH, IN and PA). Why Savannah? There are lots of reasons, but number one is my niece and nephew live here and I can’t describe the joy they bring to my life. This morning, I woke up to one sitting on my head and the other dancing on my feet and I haven’t laughed that exuberantly in forever.

St Patricks Day in SavannahWhile it’s a work in progress, I’ve been working toward slowing down, watching what I eat, exercising, and integrating my mind with my body… and becoming more playful, with my time and others. Let’s see how it goes.

Where I’m Going

While my journey has been intentional, it’s time to move it forward and focus on some areas I’ve been neglecting.

1. Creating. While a definite goal was to support myself and deliver services at a specific scale, I also started my journey so I could develop and publish my own ideas and share with others in the social space. I’ve been consuming regularly, but not producing. While it took me some time to feel comfortable with blogging, it’s something that I found I enjoy and miss. So I’ve spent the last week clearing out my notes of all the things I’ve wanted to talk about since I took a break and getting it into an editorial calendar. While I’m not ready to commit to a regular publishing schedule quite yet, look to see new content here more regularly, as well as my next book.

Just a reminder if you are someone who cares about education, career trends, and/or the economy and can tolerate the occasional pop culture post (my review on The Hunger Games is coming…), you can also follow me on my Education Rebel at Work Tumblr where I have kept up with posting.

2. Transitioning my services.  After a year of coaching individual clients, I know who I do my best work with now. I can’t help everyone create opportunities in their lives and for me to deliver good services, I need to turn down clients who I know I can’t really serve and even walk away slightly from my original mission of focusing on jobseekers and specifically those just starting out in life. Over the next two months, you’ll see more on the relaunch of my coaching services targeted toward the audience it turns out I work with the best: high-achieving women who want to command their economic game. I’ll also do more group coaching, which I’ve found I’m really, really good at through a contract I had with a private organization.

This transition will also involve a website redesign. We transitioned website support in January, experienced some big-time fails from that. I’m fully aware that we have some functional issues with speed and navigation and we’re in the process of getting the site back on track.

Stay tuned.

The Graduation Project3. New programs and initiatives. We’re starting this month with The Graduation Project, a free, three-part video conference series hosted by me and Lauren Wannermeyer, our social media intern for the last year. We’ll be discussing things new grads should be thinking about as they join the real world- job search skills, workplace etiquette, and making good decisions. We’ll be also launching our second annual scholarship contest (applications will be due May 15), and launching our new group coaching program with our partner, Tanisha Christie soon. And with summer right around the corner, we’ll be doing a new and improved version of our free Avoid a Cruel Summer eCourse again.

 

I look forward to chatting more.. and drop a comment and let me know how you’ve been!

Inspiration, Reflection and a Timeout

I’m back from DC and still catching up on emails, clients, etc. I recapped my lessons on DC Education Startup Weekend on Tumblr. I spent Monday in DC taking meetings, but the most important part of my day was the three hours I spent walking around the memorials. A kind friend let me store my luggage- and my computer- with him so I could walk around without a heavy bag. I could not remember the last time I had the luxury of three hours doing something physical and that allowed me to be completely present and thoughtful. I left DC feeling energized and inspired, but not chaotic.

I’ve seen all the monuments previously, with the exception of the MLK memorial. I could see them over and over again. Here are a few pics of quotes that touched me, especially right now.

Martin Luther King

The awe-inspiring MLK memorial.

Audacity to Believe

What do you have the audacity to believe?

Career Aspirations

A great shout-out to teachers, including those of us who work with adults.

FDR Quote on Human Potential

From the FDR memorial which is still my favorite (Lincoln is a close 2nd). Extremely timely as Occupy Wall Street enters its second month.

FDR and Faith

The tree was in the way of getting a real good shot of this quote. It’s something we need to remember every day as we go after what we want: “The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today. Let us move forward with strong and active faith.”

Freedom is not free

From the Korean War Memorial. Absolutely true on a personal scale, too. You can’t build your own freedom without risk. Don’t try to pretend you can’t.

Jefferson Disruption

This quote from Jefferson reminded me of what we were trying to do at Startup Weekend, advancing education with new ideas.

What inspires you?