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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!





A Reverb Entry: Everything’s Okay

I’ve been thinking about this prompt from the Reverb campaign that I never tackled and I thought today (July 12) would be a great day to post it as it’s the official first birthday of The Opportunities Project, LLC. (Yay!)

December 24 Prompt – Everything’s OK. What was the best moment that could serve as proof that everything is going to be alright? And how will you incorporate that discovery into the year ahead? (Author: Kate Inglis)

Recently, I was open about my personal struggles with getting my business launched on a blog post by Rich DeMatteo of Corn on the Job.  Right now, money is flooding through the door, I have more emails than I can answer and my goal is to keep it that way (knock on wood). But one time this March, I was completely despondent about my finances and the state of my personal life because of my inability to get my business where I needed it to be to survive. Also, someone I’d been loyal to professionally for over ten years had screwed me over without a second thought. I went to a friend’s apartment and just cried for hours in her arms. I’m not a super emotional chick, but I felt like I had nothing left.


When I went to my friend’s apartment, I brought a bottle of wine that I’d received as a thank you for sitting on an education panel a year before in March 2010. The education panel wasn’t just any event, but one where I was asked my opinions about President Obama’s education policies and hosted at the prestigious Yale Club in New York City. On my way to the room where the panel was held, I bumped into George Pataki (literally almost sent him flying) and saw tables of well-known New Yorkers and others dining and making things happen. I’d finally felt like I’d arrived.

I’m not sure why I decided that my friend and I needed to drink that bottle of wine that night- I’d been saving it for something celebratory. But I did and the next day everything picked up.  No, that wine did not have a magic serum. But it reminded me that everything will be okay- no, not perfect, but okay, because I have it into me to change things. Things will be okay because…

– I have loved ones.

– I know valuable stuff and can do valuable things.

– I keep up relationships.

– I put myself out there.

I remembered all those things the next week and I was hired for three major jobs and speaking engagements based on a combination of those four principles.

It’s important to remind ourselves that we can make choices to bring things closer to okay. Another time when I was wondering what was next for me, I attended a wine tasting class that I bought dirt cheap through Groupon one afternoon. I planned to make it a solo pity party, but when I got there, I decided to start conversations with every person at my table. One of those conversations led to my first four figure client. I put myself out there. I know valuable stuff and can do valuable things. Everything will be okay.

What do you do to remind yourself that things will be okay?

Photo courtesy of Mr T in DC on Flickr

Posted via email from The Opportunities Project Blog

Team Rebecca: Three Career Lessons from Ms. Black

The Opportunities Project is on Team Rebecca Black.

This past Friday (how appropriate), I finally made a point to find out who Rebecca Black is and why everyone is talking about her on Twitter, Gawker and Jezebel. For those of you who haven’t heard about Rebecca, she’s the 13-year-old California girl who recorded a song and video called “Friday.” It was a vanity project that her parents paid for, though they say much of the cost was associated with retaining the rights to the song because Rebecca co-wrote it. Rebecca and the production company, The Ark Factory, uploaded the video to You Tube and Facebook, mostly to share it with friends and family. The video went viral and in a week, the video had 17 million views and is now ranked 32 on the ITunes Singles Chart. She sold more singles this week than Justin Bieber and Simon Cowell is her new biggest fan.

On the hateful side, people have left negative comments on her video and are tweeting what what an awful singer and dancer she is and even her appearance (“I hope you cut yourself and I hope you get an eating disorder so you’ll look pretty.”). We know that the internet just has sucky people, but there are also relatively sane people contributing to the fire. People feel so personally offended that this girl is usurping some construct they’ve developed about the music industry’s rightful pecking order and outraged that a song that’s not pure “art” is becoming successful. Hmmm. Here is what I know and don’t know about Rebecca Black and “Friday.”

  • I know that the song is completely ridiculous, especially that part in the middle where she recites the days of the week. But most party anthems are ridiculous- Party in the USA anyone?
  • I know that “Friday” is extremely catchy- it has not left my head since I first heard it.
  • I know that she had a lot of fun filming the video- her smile is addictive. For people who thought the video was an elaborate joke, remember that this is a song and a video about a 13-year-old girl.
  • I don’t know if Rebecca is talented because the producers at Ark Factory Music overused auto-tune. She sounds a lot like Kesha and that is not a compliment.
  • I know that in 2011, Rebecca will likely make a lot of money because she did a project that she liked and “shipped.

Not liking the song and video seems fair, but attacking Rebecca Black doesn’t. I read some of the media interviews with Rebecca and I think there are lessons that the adults can learn and apply to their personal and career development.

Lesson One: If you want it, take a calculated risk- invest in yourself and put yourself out there.

In addition to questions about her talent, many people seem upset that Rebecca’s family paid the studio to produce the video because they’re uncomfortable with the notion that she may have bought her way to fame. Her family’s take is that they paid the studio for work they did on the video and people don’t work for free. The price for the song and video was in their budget, and there was potential for it make money, so they felt that it was worth the investment for them and Rebecca’s dream. Seems logical to me.

What are you doing to investing in yourself? I’m a huge fan of Dan Miller and his podcast. He constantly receives emails from people who want to become writers, but say they can’t afford to spend a few hundred dollars for writing classes. He tells them if you don’t want it enough to save, invest, and even *gasp* take out a small amount of short-term debt to do that, he can’t help them. His point is that your beliefs and how you spend your money are entwined and you must see that.

It’s estimated that Rebecca’s family spent $2,000 on the video. That may be a lot of money for you- it would be for me right now as an entrepreneur. But what can you do that is in your price range this week to invest in yourself? Buy a $15 book on goal setting? Take a $25 workshop on marketing that you found on Eventbrite?

I also agree with this Chicago blogger’s thoughts: In America, we are so quick to jump to the defense of young people who are victimized, but we go out of our way to take down the ones who show strength and put themselves out there to win. What does that say about us?

Lesson Two: Stay in your own life.

“At first, when I first saw all these nasty comments, I did cry. I felt like this was my fault. And I shouldn’t have done this, and this is all because of me. And now I don’t feel that way.” After an hour of self-doubt and sorrow, Rebecca wiped away her tears and went to find her mom. “I said, ‘No, I’m not going to give them the satisfaction of making me take it down.’ ‘No, this is going to work out. I just want to let it go. Let it do its thing.'”

Too often, we spend our mental energy concerned with how other people are going to judge us. I’ve been working on a future blog post on the ego and how it gets in the way of success for 90% of job seekers I meet. It makes them go to great lengths to protect themselves so they don’t pursue opportunities, or when they hear something they don’t like, they spend all of their emotional energy defending themselves to confirm their place in the world. You can’t control how the outside world is going to perceive you. The only thing you can do is let that go and focus on what you can control- your own desires and how you develop yourself to achieve them

Also, self-doubt and sorrow are important emotions. Make a commitment to feel them when they approach. The important part is to shed them quickly the way Rebecca did.

Lesson Three: Practice resilience.

“This is my time to show them how strong I am,” Rebecca says. “That I’m a lot stronger than them. So say what you want, it’s not going to stop me. You’re entitled to your opinion. But I believe in myself.”

I’m working with clients who are setting long-term goals and my favorite book on this topic is Stephen Covey’s The Seven Habits of Highly Successful People. It’s a powerful book and I just re-read parts to find ways I can better serve these clients. I came up with many insights during my re-read, but one that seems applicable here is remembering that being positive and proactive are different things. It takes great courage to face the kind of public criticism that Rebecca faced. Some of us can do that, and even let it go. Real resilience is when you do those two steps and then continue on your path because it’s yours and you want it.

And for all the people who are claiming that “Friday” is the worst music video ever made, you’re wrong. This is the absolute worst music video ever made and I get great joy from watching it over and over. Steve Perry, if they gave Oscars for music videos, you’d be a contender.


Posted via email from The Opportunities Project Blog


Quick Updates and Intern Superstar Daniel Hernandez

Happy new year! You may have noticed that after a big push for the #Reverb10 writing campaign, blog posts were very light (yes, an understatement) last week. I am working on some updates to my website (both content and design) and am committing to giving this project all my focus. In fact, if you send me an email, you’ll read that in my autoresponder!

In a few of my #Reverb10 posts, I wrote that I am working with a time management coach. While I actually coach other people on time management systems, I needed help getting clarity on scaffolding my work to better impact the bottom line of my business. One immediate win that came from working with my coach was identifying four projects (one being my website) with tasks that are stuck because they were dependent upon each other. I realized if I cleared these tasks out in a certain order, so much other good stuff would begin to flow. Sometimes even if you feel you have the expertise, the time comes to hire a professional thought partner when you’re not moving forward on your own. It’s the same role I play with my clients who are working on career and job-search concerns or figuring out how to carry out exactly what they want in their lives.

Before I go dark, I wanted to comment on Daniel Hernandez, the 20-year old intern who likely saved Congresswoman Gabrielle Gifford’s life on his fifth day on the job during the shooting attack on Saturday. The tragedy in Arizona has been heavy on my mind the last few days as I am sure it has been for you. It seems cheap to find career lessons for interns in this horrific event, though there are many. I immediately thought of when I was recruiting teachers and how the high-achieving and dynamic Latino man who worked his way through school, wanted to dedicate himself to public service, and didn’t mind working weekends was our dream candidate and our purple squirrel. Wow, has this young man set the standard! And I’d be lying if hearing Daniel’s story didn’t make me reflect on all the interviews I had in 2010 with young professionals for my own internship or commission-based positions who told me about all their constraints and what they couldn’t do. I don’t expect an intern to save my life, but I’d love to meet my version of Daniel Hernandez the student leader to work for The Opportunities Project!

Intern lessons aside, whether we’re young or old or in-between, or seeking a new career or satisfied with the jobs we have, I do think all of us can take a lesson from Daniel Hernandez’s story. This is a young man who lives openly and with conviction in a tumultuous state dealing with issues of ethnicity and sexuality in public ways. All the evidence points to someone who lives his life with courage every day, so it was not a surprise that he made the decisions and took the actions he did in a crisis. How often are we faced with situations where we could take a courageous course but choose the easy one? How is that impacting our long-term path to achievement and satisfaction? It’s food for thought for all of us, no?

Be back soon…

Posted via email from The Opportunities Project Blog

A month old…

Wow, it’s hard to believe that The Opportunities Project has been more than a month old.

Things I’m excited about

– Launching a back to school campaign in NYC

– Getting our website finalized- for REAL

– Finishing up some interesting pieces on the NYTimes article on 20somethings and student debt that I have worked on

– Meeting more amazing clients who are ready to take on the world

Things I am not so excited about

– Managing space rentals

– Dealing with my technology problems (How can Gmail, Twitter, and Feedburner all fail at the same time?)

– Uncertainty- as much as I try to embrace it, it still is scary

Onward, and upward… new adventures await in month two.