How to find your Sweet Spot Job!

If you google, “How to find your dream job?”, you will get 11,700,000 results – 11 million ideas of how to find and get your dream job. That is a lot of opinions. Most of these articles will tell you to think about what you want to do and go after it. They don’t address the analysis paralysis which can be accompanied by having the doors wide open. They don’t address the fact that you KNOW that is the idea, you’re just trapped in analysis paralysis.

I hope you can handle one more opinion, because for March, I am bringing you a 6-week guide EVERY WEDNESDAY to help you understand your needs and wants when it comes to choosing your “dream job.”

Except we are not trying to find our “dream” job. We are trying to find our sweet spot job.  Don’t worry about what you will be 20 years from now. Worry about what you hope to be doing 2 or 3 years from now. It’s like dating: in a perfect world you find Mr. Right, but in this imperfect universe, you may just find Mr. Right NOW!

A Sweet Spot Job will suit your personal and professional goals today. It is not necessarily paying you exactly the salary you want, it is not necessarily giving you the perfect work life balance, but it is giving you mostly what you want, and that is enough to give you breathing room to truly know, through experience, what is important.

Forced choices, in particular those “rock and a hard place” choices, can make life difficult and stressful. Changing perspective to finding your Sweet Spot Job can take off the pressure and enable you to see the forest through the trees, if you will. It also allows you the freedom to admit what you want and need today may not be what you want and need in the future.

Today you may be single, living in NYC in an apartment that costs more than half your monthly income, and your top priority is a job that allows you to go into work at 10 on Friday since you enjoy going out Thursday nights. In 10 years, you may need a job that lets you work 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. because you have to be there to pick your kid up from school. Your life is constantly evolving and you need to approach your “dream” job hunt in the same way.

Over the next few weeks, we will walk through the 5 W’s of finding your Sweet Spot Job, and hopefully get some clarity on what you may want as life moves forward.

“Keep Your Options Open” – My interview with a Physical therapist

Marcy D is a full-time physical therapist and mom to two adorable little girls with one more on the way! In her “spare time”, she is building a health and wellness coaching business – basically she is super woman. Here are her thoughts on finding and defining success, how she got into her career(s), and what advice she has for you! As usual – [my commentary is in the brackets].

[What did you plan to do “when you grew up”?]

When I was 17 and faced with choosing a college, locking into a major and subsequently a career path, I knew I wanted to help people, but I didn’t have that much life experience, [because who does at 17?]. At the time, my world views were limited and I thought that a career in service meant becoming a doctor, or a nurse, or a physical therapist – the people I had experience with.  So I applied to college for nursing and physical therapy and, in the end, chose to go to the University of Miami. In the end, my choice between nursing and physical therapy came down to my desire to travel far away from home, [ RI where Marcy grew up] and the fact that UM was a top 5 physical therapy school, and I was accepted to their combined undergraduate and graduate program so it took me 6 years [rather than 7 years] to get my DPT. So at 17, I locked into my career path, based on a few fast choices and a strong desire to help people.

[What are you doing today?]

Today I am a DPT [Doctor of Physical Therapy] at a school for children with special needs, and I am growing a health and fitness business, both of which I love. Both allow me to be helping people the way I envisioned as a child, just from two very different avenues.

[Wow, you must be pretty busy how did you decide to on an entrepreneurial pursuit?]

Honestly, although I love my current job as a pediatric physical therapist, about 2 years ago I started to feel I was already burning out after only 6 years of working in the field. I was working in a large teaching hospital, in a high stress environment, that took a lot of my attention, energy and effort even outside of my work hours. I loved the children and families I was working with, but felt torn apart by the lack of work-life balance. I was missing bedtime stories and Mother’s day brunches at my daughter’s school. I was waking up on Sunday morning already consumed by the amount of paperwork and stress lying ahead of me, taking me away from my family even on my days off.  I was 8-months pregnant with my second daughter and I knew I didn’t want to go back to my job at the hospital, but I also knew that not working was not an option for me, financially or professionally. Then I saw an ad on Facebook talking about health coaching. I didn’t even know what it was, but the ad said “Do you want to have more freedom to spend time with your family?” It seems so silly, but it was my sign. I couldn’t help but think “YES” I do. So I reached out to the girl who was recruiting for her team and learned she was a pediatric nurse who had transitioned into coaching and now had built a successful business where she was able to follow her dream and serve others, but also be home with her children. She had the balance I wanted so badly, and I just knew in my heart that this was my sign. I knew taking on something additional when I was already overwhelmed and exhausted and very pregnant may have seemed crazy from the outside looking in, but I also knew I couldn’t afford not to make a change. My desire to feel happy, to be a more present and energetic mom, and to get back to doing something I loved was too strong to ignore.

[What was it like starting a new business? How did your friends and family respond to starting a business that was out of your career path?]

It was scary – I mean terrifying. I was scared of what everyone would think. I told my  sister first. She was ok with it, but I knew my family would be worried that I was doing something that didn’t make use of my degree, was unconventional and coming out of left field, and I didn’t want to let them down. After all, they had invested so much in my education, I could never say out loud to them “I hate my job”.  I feared failing. I feared embarrassing myself in front of my colleagues. I mean what would they think? And because I was launching my business via social media, if I did fail, EVERYONE would know. Because we all know, once it’s on Facebook, its official! But somehow, like I described, the fear of staying still scared me more, and was enough to keep pushing me forward. And eventually, my friends and family to took the time to see what I was doing and realized that it wasn’t all that different than what I do as a physical therapist. My purpose at the end of the day in my coaching business is never to sell a product or recruit for my team, it is to help others feel confident, healthy and strong; to educate other’s on the benefits of a healthy lifestyle and give them the support they need to reach goals they had given up on. The real turning point was when I signed my dad up for the program for his birthday, and I put him in one of my coaching groups and by the end of the program he realized I was still on track, this was all part of my plan to help people.

[Wow that is really impressive that you stood strong through that. To get back a bit to your day job, what advice do you have for someone who is in your shoes, they know they want to help people in their career but they are not sure how?]

Keep your options open. Pursue what feels right now, but also what aligns with your goals 2-5 years down the line. I am still really happy with my path, but I keep my mind open to what opportunities are available to me every day.

[What does an entry level physical therapy position pay in your area?]

I was making $28.00/hour when I first started – and I have nearly $200,000 in student loan debt.

[Many of us have been there and having debt, now, I know this is a hard question but, if you could do it all over again, with the knowledge you have now would you do it differently?]

I would still become a physical therapist, but I would give myself the same advice I gave my youngest sister who just applied to college – GO TO URI [the state school where her family lives] – you will get the same education, have the same opportunities and must less of the debt.  I have worked with many physical therapists who went to school in all different places and they are just as qualified as I am with less debt. To be clear, I am beyond grateful for the experiences I had University of Miami, and wouldn’t trade it for the world. I do feel I gained value in my time away from home and experienced culture and diversity in ways my small town in RI had never shown me, and the education I received there left me feeling prepared and excited about physical therapy. However, I have worked with many physical therapists who went to school in all different places and they are just as qualified as I am with less debt and feel as strongly about their college experience as I do.

[I am with you, I appreciate my education tremendously and I am fortunate to have paid of my debt but I definitely wouldn’t recommend anyone putting themselves into extensive debt to get an education…Tell me something – how do you define success?]

Success is a moving target, much like happiness. It’s not something that once you have it you have it forever. I see it as a series of goals that you are meeting. It changes over time with what your needs and desires are.

[I love that, can you tell me what a day in the life looks like for you?]

5-6 am : Wake up: write down three things I am grateful for while drinking a bottle of water and my pre-workout. Starting my day with gratitude is part of my workday routine. It helps me to start the day with the right mindset and perspective before diving into a crazy busy day of balancing work and mom life.  Next, I get my scheduled workout in for that day. I am always following one of the set workout programs I am coaching my clients through. Following my workout, I check into my online accountability groups, make sure that any open questions are answered etc. I then quickly check my coaching email before switching gears into mommy mode!

6-8 am: After my workout and morning “power hour” for my business, I am able to completely shift my focus to my favorite job, being a Mama. I get ready for my workday, and get the girls set up and ready. I am present with my family during this morning time and my office is closed.

8-4:  On my commute to work I get in my PD [personal development] by listening to a podcast or audiobook. Currently on my playlist: “The Charged Life” podcast. My work day as a pediatric PT involves 30-minute sessions, back to back, helping children gain physical mobility and strength that increase their ability to access their school environment, and play with peers. Unlike in a more traditional PT setting, where a therapist may tell a patient to do 10 leg lifts or squats and talk their patients through a treatment plan, working with children with autism takes a lot more patience, creativity and flexibility. I create play-based treatment plans, while running behavior plans for each child, and addressing their specific learning needs.  It is tiring mentally and physically, but, just like my coaching business, it is my passion. To help these children learn their strengths and abilities and develop a sense of competence and confidence through their physical abilities. Some days are harder than others, but all are rewarding if I can keep that perspective (hence starting my day with mindset).

4-7:30: I am sure to block out time where I am focused on my family. Dance class, helping with homework, dinner time, bath time and bedtime.

8-9:30: Back to working my health and fitness business. I use this time to reach out to new clients who may have shown interest on my posts about upcoming fitness challenges or in learning more about coaching, connect with my current clients, answer questions, create content and schedule out posts that add value, and check in with my own daily accountability. This is also the time when I will check in with my teammates! While I work for myself, I do not work by myself. The network of amazing women I have met serve as a phenomenal resource, support and sisterhood.

9:30: 9:45: I end my day by reading something positive before bed. I am currently reading “Daring Greatly” by Dr. Brene Brown. An excellent book for recovering perfectionists like myself.

[Is there anything else you want to share with my audience?]

As hard as it is, don’t let what others think you should be doing, a job title, a degree or even what you envisioned your career or life to look like at some point in the past, put limits or restrictions on your next steps. As we get older, hopefully we are growing. And with growth comes change. Which is terrifying and empowering all at the same time. Yes, you might fail, you might face resistance, and have no clue what you are doing, which can be uncomfortable. But, ask yourself, is change scarier than the idea of staying “stuck”, of not feeling happy, and fulfilled. In my mind, it is always worth it to take a risk on yourself. You deserve to be happy.

[How can people reach you?]

What are you good at?

I have been thinking a lot about my strengths and weaknesses this week as I continue to speak to clients about what their needs are and how to develop a plan. I find myself revisiting THE question : what are your strengths and weaknesses?

For me, my strengths include my ability to speak publicly, bring people together, take a perfect group selfie and teach people how to achieve their goals.

My weaknesses include my inability to keep my apartment as neat as I want it to be, my ever evolving organizational skills, and impatience for customer service agents over the phone who put you on hold for extensive periods of time – who is with me?

But does it matter what our weaknesses are? Why is this a penultimate & fearsome question in an interview?  Unfortunately, many training and continuing development programs highlight weaknesses and try to correct them rather than developing strengths. Motivationally speaking, this is the equivalent of a parent focusing their energy on a D in math for their otherwise straight-A student.

People often feel rejection or a negative comment more fiercely  than a compliment. How many times have you replayed the moment a partner rejected you as compared to remembering the moment they told you they cared?

If we foster an environment of growth and development to each other’s strengths, employees will be more apt to improve their own weaknesses AND to approach the processes far more optimistically.

What do you think? Are you more apt to work on your weaknesses when you are more confident in your strengths?

Does your place of work encourage you to pursue you strengths? Do you receive positive reinforcement, or only hear from supervisors when something has gone awry?

On Murphy’s Law

Murphy’s Law says that ‘Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.’ It was first coined at Edwards Air Force Base in 1949 at North Base, after a machine had been wired incorrectly.

There are people whose lives are virtually founded on this concept. Their negativity and expectation of Murphy’s Law reinforces their belief that the universe takes any opportunity to bring on the worst case scenario.

I was one of these people who figured the worst case scenario would happen, so why bother being hopeful.

Murphy’s Law was founded in a meaningless moment of frustration and that is when it’s most-commonly referenced – when our phone won’t connect to the internet, when we forgot our umbrella in the rain – but what if we took these moments, said “oh well”, found a solution, and moved on? Even more, what if we acknowledged that this moment was put there to challenge us to understand our limitations, to learn from and move on?

There are no failures, there are only opportunities to learn.

Are you Ready to Find a Job You Will ACTUALLY Love?

Do you ever find yourself wondering why everyone else seems to have their sh*t together, but YOU can’t even seem to find a job you like?

So many women are underpaidoverworked and constantly passed over for promotions AND not even super psyched about their personal lives!

You are not alone. 

50% of people are unhappy in their jobs and 80% of women are underpaid.

But I am here to help! I help women take the fast track to seeing the value they provide, identifying the skills they bring to the table and finding jobs they enjoy showing up for – at least MOST of the time 😉

Sound like a plan? Let’s chat and figure out if this is the right time for you to get started.

The Worst Question in the World

What do you do?” A question in the same family as, “When are you going to find a partner/get married/have a baby?” and “What are you doing after you graduate?” These are often questions which strike a nerve. They are questions which, while meant well, can be stressful to answer- at best!

So what are you to do if you don’t have a traditional answer to this type of question?

Step 1. Breathe. Like so many things in life, breathing is the answer. Consider who’s asking before feeling judged or threatened – are they asking out of genuine care for you? Are they asking because this is a handful of questions that just come easily to most of us? Do they even care about your answer? – and then embrace the reality.

Step 2.  Is this a social or professional situation? If this is a social situation, it is much easier to brush off the question – make light or a joke of the answer if it suits you. But keep in mind that if you are job hunting, every opportunity could quickly become a professional situation.

In a professional situation, turn to your mighty 60-second pitch. This is a one-minute summary of where you are at in your life. It should include a quick, relatable background story, a humble brag or explanation of what’s happening right now, a reference to how amazing you are and goal statement.

Example: I got into advertising after being mesmerized by commercials when I was a kid. I used to make my sister act out commercials for whatever product our mom had purchased that day.  I recently took the lead on a campaign for Toys R Us and they were thrilled with the results. My boss was impressed by how I managed to bring together the ideas of our clients and copywriters to have a cohesive theme. Now, I am looking to use these skills to transition into a leadership position on an in-house advertising team.

Phew! That is a mouthful, but when it is meaningful to you, having your 60-second pitch can take away the anxiety of the moment and flows as if it’s off the cuff.

Having trouble coming up with your pitch or not even sure what your goal is beyond “get me out of my current position?”Let’s figure it out together! Schedule your free consultation today!

Happiness Showdown: Time vs Money

Work-Life Balance has been a phrase associated with millennials and their desire for happiness. I still do not know how the headlines make this a bad thing.

I think the association of work-life balance to the younger generation is at least partially incorrect. I think that our generation has been forced to declare this desire because it was previously more prevalent. Due to new technology, our work can fit into our pocket, something the baby boomer generation did not have to worry about.

But does work-life balance, or time outside of work, truly make us happier? The University of British Columbia seems to think so.

They recently published a study looking at the trade-off between work and money.  They analyzed the impact of a person’s general orientation to prioritize time over money on their overall happiness. In doing so, they developed the Resource Orientation Measure to determine a person’s general orientation to prioritize money or time. People who prioritize time over money reported experiencing greater happiness. This association was small but statistically meaningful. They controlled for* materialism, material striving, current feelings of time and material affluence, and relevant demographic characteristics such as income, employment, marital status, gender, and age, and the results still held up.

So what does this mean for you?

You do you. If you are at a point in your career and life where you don’t mind long hours in exchange for pay you feel comfortable with – go for it. If you do crave personal time outside of work, now you have the scientific evidence to back up the happiness gained from prioritizing time over money!

Not sure how you feel about money vs time? Haven’t quite figured out that happiness could be your primary goal in life? Even before prestige, fame or money? – lets chat!

*To control for a variable means to reduce the effect of that variable on the outcome.

How to Stay Calm When the World Might Be Ending

This morning as I watched Morning Joe I felt the familiar stress of the uncertainty in the world right now. It seems everyone has become an expert in politics and its almost always a topic of conversation.  Personally, I try to achieve a balance between awareness (upset) and acceptance (not investing energy in anger). I believe it is our responsibility as a citizen of the country to express our feelings, however, I do not believe it is worth risking my personal happiness.

Here are my top 3 tips for staying positive and calm through uncertain and stressful times.

  1. Take Inventory. Reflect on the constants in your life and the things you have control over. For example: you have a home to go to everyday, maybe you have a class you attend after work consistently. Seek out stability and consistency in things you can control.
  2. Gratitude. There are a multitude of studies which show that gratitude is the the ultimate way to happiness. I try to make an effort to acknowledge everything that I have in the world and to appreciate those things. It is easy to get caught up int the next big thing that you don’t yet have or be (rightfully) worried about the future. However, if we can appreciate what we have now, it will only make the future brighter. Bonus points if you document this gratitude so that you can reflect on it on more difficult days!
  3. Distraction. Exercise (physical movement of the body) is often an amazing chance to distract yourself, to focus on something other than the issue at hand and I have never met someone who regretted doing to a workout.  Going to the movies, reading a book, meditating can also be excellent ways to distract yourself from your stress, and the real beauty of distraction is that it allows your brain to have new thoughts. I find that its easy to get into a cycle of negativity, but taking a break can let you see the situation with greater clarity.
  4. Action. Action may mean going to a rally, making a donation to an organization you believe in or volunteering on the weekend to show others that people are naturally good. Again, action can be good for breaking the negativity/anxiety cycle and it gives the added benefit of improving the world around you!

What do you do when the stress becomes too much? Does uncertainly worry you or do you thrive on the adventure?

I dare you to do a 30 day challenge

Years ago, a friend of mine would do fitness challenges based upon his age. If he was 27, he would run, bike or swim for 27 days straight. I have been consistently active for over 5 years now, however, I never was one for hitting the gym everyday, averaging probably 4-5 days a week.

When I started running, this would change depending on my cross training program. When I was triathlon training, I was at the gym/pool/street (to run/bike) about 6 days a week. During marathon training this fall, I ran 3-4 days per week and tried to get in yoga one extra day – SO MUCH RUNNING!
But recently, I did something crazy and canceled my gym membership. I realized a few things.
(1) It opened up money for boutique gym classes like PureBarre, etc.
(2) I can roll out the mat at home (in my little Brooklyn apartment) and get a pretty impressive workout following videos.
So after ditching the gym, I needed a way to make sure that I was doing more than running 3 days a week for half marathon training and I decided I would work out 30 consecutive days in honor of my 29th birthday. Today is Day 30 and I ran with my running group, Brooklyn Back of the Pack (come run with us if you are less speedy and in NYC!). I feel totally exhausted and super fulfilled.
I am definitely a believer in the “challenge concept”: do something for a certain number of days and then make a decision about what to do next. This can be particularly useful for things like getting up early, going to the gym or making your bed. It takes away the permanence, the feeling that if you do something now, you have to do it forever. It opens up the door for kindness and flexibility for yourself, but gives us a reason to START.
Are you good at starting new habits? Would it be helpful to try something for a set amount of time first? What habits are you trying to start (or to give up?) Let me know what you think on facebook.