Spring Cleaning Continues

Happy Sunday and Happy Mother's Day!

When I first wrote about spring cleaning a few posts back, and how every yes to one thing is a no to something else, this was as much a reminder to myself as to all of you.

I have since put my other blog on hold; tried to be better and more consistent about my exercise, diet, and sleep (still a work in progress unfortunately); and spent more time on the things that give back, such as reading. This is what I need to do, not only to be at my best but to be able to weather this career-change journey, for however long it takes.

Due to this, I'm going to make this blog monthly instead of weekly. I'm not sure how many of you read this or if it's helping you on your journey, and the writing is no longer helping me on mine. But I will post a recap of each meetup with some food for thought so that those that can't make it get some benefit and for those that could, to have something to return to as a reminder.

I welcome contributors to this blog and ideas for how to make WCC better.

Hope to see you at the next meetup,
Karina


Daily Blessings

I wrote about facing our fears last week and even shared what mine was. Facing it had taught me I had to redefine how and where I find meaning in my life.

So when I realized how hard it was for me to remember all the good in my life and in the world, I decided to do something about it to help me and others in similar situations: I started a secret Facebook group called Daily Blessings.

It's meant to be a place to focus on the good—on our daily blessings—and to share them with each other so that we're both motivated and motivating. I invited a bunch of my friends and also asked for others to opt into this experiment, and so far people are appreciating it. I've even had friends tell me that they needed something just like this, which made me feel good and supplied some of that much needed meaning I had been looking for. 

And I've kept it "secret" on Facebook (i.e., not searchable) not to keep people out, but to make sure that the wrong people don't find it. In another group I manage, I had admitted some members I then had to kick out for inappropriate posts. I eventually made that group secret to avoid more "policing" and didn't want any of that negativity to affect Daily Blessings.

If having a positive and safe place where we can help each other remember our daily blessings would help you, just send me your email address and I'll add you to the group. And members are free to invite others, so I'm hoping we can spread some positivity and hope, which will definitely help us in our career change journey and in life.

Face Your Fears

Being in transition is hard. You don't know how long it will take or whether you'll be happy with the outcome; all you can do is keep going forward, day by day, step by step, and hope for the best.

Some days and weeks are easier; others harder.

This past week was a hard one for me since my grandmother was hospitalized. Fortunately she's coming home tomorrow, but since she's elderly and ailing, we were all really afraid of losing her.

Death is one of my worst fears. I hate talking about it or even thinking about it, but there was no escaping it last week. And this made me realize that part of why I feared death was the unknown, but the other part was that it's an end and I'm terrified of not having the opportunity to contribute, to build—to make the difference I know I can.

I fear a life without meaning so I can't wait for a job to give me that meaning. I still hope for and will keep looking for that opportunity that is a great fit and that also allows me to contribute to something meaningful, but until that happens, I have to broaden how I define "meaning" in my life.

What is it you fear most? How can you redefine what it takes to face and overcome that fear?

Spring Cleaning

Happy Sunday, ladies!

Spring has finally come and I hope you've all had a chance to enjoy the weather.

I noticed that no one has RSVP'd for the May 17 meetup as of yet, so I wanted to remind you to please do so and to as many of the future meetups as you can. This will allow me to plan better since I know how many are interested and able to attend. Also, if not enough members want to or can attend any given month, I may cancel that month's meetup and if it's one with a guest speaker, I need to give them advance notice.

In addition to lovely weather, spring makes me think of spring cleaning. It's all about throwing out the trash and giving yourself a fresh, clean start. And this kind of cleaning need not just be physical (i.e., actual trash), but can be mental, spiritual, or in any aspect of your life that needs a cleaning.

I recently ordered a book called The Stop-Doing List. I haven't received it yet so can't tell you much more about it, but the title does speak for itself. As I mentioned at the last meetup, every time you say yes to something, you're saying no to something else, so it's equally as important to decide what to stop doing.

And those decisions aren't always easy. There's generally a reason you started doing something—and probably a good one—but that doesn't mean you should keep doing it. Just like you shouldn't go along with what's "right" for someone else.

So let's use the lovely spring weather to inspire a spring routine cleaning so that you have more time to work on your career change journey. And I'd love to hear the things you decide to stop doing, so please share that here or in our Facebook group.

Until next time!

Happy Holidays and Recharging

Happy Sunday and Holidays, ladies!

I know it's hard to slow down and take a break when there's so much to do, so consider holidays a gift to yourself that forces you to slow down, reconnect with family and friends, and recharge.

Because burnout is to be avoided at all costs. Not only will recovery take much longer than you think, but the knock-on effects on your health are not to be minimized.

Also, when you're rushing from task to task, you don't have the time to process everything you're learning and trying.

So be kind to yourself, take a long walk in the glorious weather we're having, and think back and forward. What's been working? What has not? What can you try differently?

And don't forget to acknowledge and make time for the things that give back and keep you motivated, since those are critical.

So enjoy your holidays, as will I, and here's to coming back stronger, recharged, and more focused on where our career change journeys need to take us.

Until next time!

The Choices We Make

Happy Sunday, ladies.

It was so great seeing some of you last week and thanks to a new member, Christina, we have a great new location for upcoming meetups.

Our topic last week was time management since regardless of where you are in your career change journey, or how successful you are, you still only have the same 24 hours as everyone else.

One thing that came up is that every time you say yes to one thing, you're saying no to another. In other words, every choice made leads to one road rather than another, which reminds me of a favorite poem of mine, Robert Frost's "The Road Not Taken."

If you haven't read the poem, you can find it in its entirety here, but below is the last stanza and the one that speaks to this point:
I shall be telling this with a sigh/Somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.
This isn't meant to be scary; it just is. The opposite of making a choice is still a choice: you've just chosen to do nothing. And most choices are not final or even necessarily long term, so can be reversed or changed if the need arises.

Isn't that what we're all doing in our career change journey; i.e., course-correcting a previous choice made?

So let's choose to be kind to ourselves as well as brave in our decisions. And if you're stuck on a choice, post it in our Facebook group so that we can help you out.

Until next time,
Karina

Preparation for Meetup: Questions to Ask Yourself

Happy Sunday, ladies!

I look forward to seeing you Wednesday and if you haven't RSVP'd yet, it's not too late: https://www.meetup.com/Women-Career-Changers-Networking-Group/events/236318918/.

As mentioned in an earlier blog post, we'll be discussing time management at this week's meetup, in addition to your stories and progress/hurdles.

Some things to ask yourself between now and then:
  1. Do you know where you spend most of your time?
  2. Do you have enough time for what's most important to you? And if not, why not? 
  3. How do you decide what to do and when? Do you plan ahead or go with the flow?
  4. What tools do you used to stay on time and schedule (e.g., calendar, lists, etc.)?
  5. What time(s) of the day are you at your best?
  6. Looking back at the last week, how much of your time was spent as planned and/or you'd like it to and how much were things you felt you had to do and/or came up unexpectedly?
Given that regardless of who you are, you only get the same 24 hours as the rest of us, learning to better manage your time is critical to success. The first step is to be more mindful and these questions will help.

I look forward to hearing your answers on Wednesday and us all helping each other get a better handle on how to get time to be our ally, not opponent.

If you can't make Wednesday's meetup, feel free to post your answers here or in our Facebook group and I'll respond.

Until next time!

Communication Is Key

Happy Sunday, ladies,

I'll be announcing our venue for the upcoming meetup this week and hope to see you all at our April 5th meetup. It'll be a great chance to share your progress and concerns, and learn from each other.

If you recall from an earlier post, Kelly Hoey taught us that everything we do is networking. If you take that further, everything we share is communication.

Whether an email, your resume, a blog post, an interview, or even a chance encounter, they all involve communication and when you're trying to make a good impression, it's not only what you say but how you say it. There are many good books on the topic and I summarized one a while back for Actionable Books, but it also takes practice and preparation.

Do you know what you're looking for? Your strengths? Do you have an "elevator pitch" ready if someone asks what you're doing and/or looking for? If you don't know or can't articulate this clearly, people won't be able to help you.

We will be starting our April 5th meetup with everyone introducing themselves and why they're transitioning, so this will be a good opportunity to practice your story. And since practice is important and does make it easier, please join us for this safe practice opportunity.

Until next time,
Karina

Managing Your Time Well Is Critical

Happy Sunday, ladies,

I just emailed everyone asking for help finding a new venue and wanted to repeat that request here. If we can't find a good venue to host us, we'll have to meet at a quiet cafe and although that's great—and I won't have to bring food—it's not conducive to guest speakers or panels.

Since I'm juggling two part-time jobs, a few smaller jobs, and two meetups, I've been spending a lot of time organizing, prioritizing, and just thinking of the best way to manage my time. And regardless of the cliche you prefer (whether time is money, your most valuable resource, etc.), we can all agree that how we spend our time is critical not only to our success, but also to our energy and overall mood.

Instead of scrambling from task/job to the next, hoping you don't forget anything critical, it's best to list everything coming up. Whether you prefer to do it in a to-do list app, on paper, in a bullet list, or your calendar, make sure you're not keeping it in your head, since that's a huge drain on our limited mental bandwidth.

I personally am using a combination of tools. I've blocked off chunks of time on my calendar so I'm sure I have enough time for each of my clients, and then tasks associated with each go into a productivity/task management app. Currently my favorite is NirvanaHQ, which is based on David Allen's GTD (Getting Things Done) system. I've used many others both personally and professionally, but this is what's working for me now.

Another thing important to keep in mind when organizing and prioritizing is your personal energy rhythms. When are you at your sharpest? If you're a morning/evening person, that's when you should be doing the more challenging tasks and save the easier ones for when you're not so mentally alert. A great book that lists these and other productivity tips is The Daily Edge by David Horsager. (My blog post highlights some of my favorite takeaways from his book.)

For all of you job searching, working on your side hustles, or figuring out what your next career transition will be, your time is probably spread thin between whatever pays your bills currently (or finding something to pay those bills) and the other responsibilities you have. As we heard from our panelists, it's critical to give yourself time to recharge and to think and plan, so let's talk about this topic and how we can better manage our time and energy at our 4/5 meetup.

I'd love to hear what's working or not working for you, so feel free to share either here or on our Facebook group.

Until next time!

Tips from Our Expert Panel

Happy Sunday, ladies,

I hope you've all remembered to set your clocks one hour forward, although ironically our weather is feeling anything but spring-like.

And it was great seeing those of you who could make it to our Wednesday expert panel. I've messaged everyone our panelists' contact info and also posted it on the meetup page and our Facebook group.

They were kind enough to share three tips for those of you who could not join us, and I've also shared one memorable takeaway per panelist (see below).

Avery's Tips

  • Give yourself room to unplug from your previous job, get quiet, and begin to listen to what you really want.
  • Work with a coach for structure, accountability, a conclusive direction, and to accelerate your journey.
  • See this process as part of your growth and cherish it. You are moving toward the best version of yourself. Believe that what you desire is possible and take small steps every day, and you will soon see results. 

Patty's Tips

  • Fear is there to protect you. It doesn't care if you have a meaningful life. When you feel it, ask "What are you protecting me from? Are you helping me in my mission?"
  • Don't make stuff up to worry about. Life is too short to have imaginary, vicarious, outdated or irrelevant fears. Let them go.
  • Question your gut. If it sounds like my Chinese mother, it's fear talking, not your true self. Thank your fear, then put yourself in charge.

Kelly's Tips
  • Life is short. Always remember you can be, do and have whatever it is that you want in life, if you are willing to work hard, be dedicated, be patient and persistent.
  • Your mindset is powerful, every situation is not happening to you it is happening FOR you. Ask yourself what is the opportunity in this moment and/or situation? What can I learn from this?
  • If you don't ask the answer is always "NO." Always ask for what you want because there is a 50% chance you will get what you are asking for, and keep trying until you get a YES!

My Takeaways
  • From Avery: first "flare" to capture all the possibilities than focus based on your north star and values and give yourself time to decide on change.
  • From Patty: determine whether you're dealing with fear (real), anxiety (imagination of future), or stress (feeling overwhelmed). Deal with the fear, prioritize to deal with stress, and settle your imagination to deal with anxiety.
  • From Kelly: find balance with a power hour that's all about you and keep believing.


Lot's of great food for thought and for those who attended, would love to hear what resonated with you.

Until next time,
Karina