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The Red Hair-ing

To say my daughter, Haley, is independent would be an incredible understatement. I guess that is what you get when you get inspiration for your child’s name from a comet.

In the fifth grade, Haley wanted to quit Girl Scouts because she just didn’t want to “dress like everyone else.” Besides, she had really gotten into music. First, it was piano, then the bass guitar, then the guitar and finally the bassoon.

For years she had also been obsessed with having red hair. We sprayed her hair red for Valentine’s Day, Crazy Hair Day at school and a couple of other occasions. I thought that might get it out of her system, but nope. It just confirmed what she wanted: Bright. Red. Hair.

Last summer, we dyed it with a semi-permanent color over her brown hair, making a dark henna color that was really flattering with her hazel eyes and fair skin. There is red hair in our family, after all. It definitely suited her. It even satisfied her for a while.

A few weeks later she upped the ante. She wanted brighter and bolder, as in fire engines or sports cars. She researched everything—she found the precise dye, watched the YouTube videos and learned the proper technique and care. We even discussed the dress code of her school that stated, “No un-natural hair colors such as blue, green or purple will be allowed at school.” It didn’t say red, so she wanted to go for it.

I relented, thinking, “How red can it be?”

Haley with Red HairWe dyed it a couple of weeks before school started in September. Her hair came out as red as A STOP SIGN IN THE BLAZING TEXAS SUN! This was a natural color for apples or cherries, but not for hair.

I was surprised. My husband was speechless. My son was shocked. And Haley was THRILLED BEYOND WORDS!

The first thought that came to my mind was, “We are going to hear about this when school starts.” Still, Haley said, we will deal with it when we come to it.

School started and my kids packed off to middle school. After a couple of weeks, my usually bubbly child changed. She became sullen and withdrawn. She avoided eye contact with me and with her father, often looked like she had been crying when I picked her up and went straight to her room after school. She started asking me about transferring to another school, or checking out private schools.

Haley didn’t want to tell me what was going on until finally one day, she burst as she got into the car after school. One of the administrators had given a presentation during school orientation, covering all kinds of school policies, including—you guessed it!—THE DRESS CODE!

When the subject of hair color was broached, the administrator added these words with emphasis, …and unnaturally red hair.” While doing so, the administrator stared at Haley in front of the entire assembly and paused until the kids started staring too, poking Haley in the shoulder and calling her “Ariel” and “Ariana.” The teasing continued after assembly, in the halls and in the classrooms.

Later that same week, Haley was approached by the same administrator in the cafeteria and told that she had “until Friday to do something about that hair or else face the consequences.”  Then, later in the hallway she was stopped, again.

We looked at other colors, dulling it down, but every time she ended up in tears and said that it was more important to her to keep the red hair even if she had to take a bus to another school, a school that did not have bassoon and a music program.

I called the school to check the facts. After all, I know my kid is pretty dramatic—she gets that from her father’s side. No, really! The same administrator said that she hadn’t seen Haley. She had never been in the office or had any reason to see her in class, no office reports or teacher complaints on file. Then, I reminded her that she had talked to Haley in the cafeteria and in the hallway. Nope. Never. Great kid, super student.

I said, “She has red hair.” Oh yes, her. “That needs to change.”

I realized then that the administrator didn’t really know this kid, my kid. Haley was just somebody that could easily be singled out and treated differently because of how she looked.

I sought expert advice from a parent who had been through something similar. I decided to talk to the principal. He was very understanding and calm, which is more than I could say for myself. (I may have used the “F” word a couple of times, okay three or four.) I told him that my daughter chose this school for the music program and that she was an amazing student and musician, but that the way this was handled was more like bullying than procedure. I recounted how Haley had been singled out for her appearance on at least three occasions, in front of her peers. I explained that it was distracting her from her learning and her desire to go to school each morning.

He assured me that learning was the priority at the school, that supporting kids to be the best they could be was his goal, and that he hadn’t noticed anyone with extremely red hair, but he would follow-up and get all sides of the story and get back to me. He emphasized that belittling kids, especially in front of their peers was not at all appropriate in his eyes. He later left me a message not to worry about the color of her hair and that he hoped that Haley would have a good year.

Haley did have a good year. The administrator who had singled her out, now ignored her in the hallways and in assembly, although random teachers took her out of the lunch line, or talked about her in the hallway, or interrupted her classroom instructor to ask, “When is this going to be taken care of?”
My daughter, who now was back in the groove of school and music, said it was a shame that these grown-ups weren’t willing to get to know her, but were eager to judge her.

At the beginning of this school year, the principal of my daughter’s school pulled my husband and me aside, saying that he had relaxed the dress code regarding hair color officially at the beginning of the year. He said there was some pushback from a few teachers, but he used this story to make his point:
“I attended a concert put on by our school and there was a girl with long bright red hair playing some complicated woodwind instrument. Then, she put down that instrument and went over to the keyboard for a few songs and played that. Then she went back to the woodwind section. This kid obviously has a lot of talent. So, why should I admonish her for the color of her hair? After all, aren’t we here to help these kids grow their talents and achieve their dreams?”

As he recounted what he had witnessed, I had tears in my eyes. I hugged the principal, right there at the middle school bonfire!

As we say in Texas, everything is a “blessin’ or a lesson”. It is our job to figure out which it is. In this case, my daughter taught me about the importance of being accepted for who you are, instead of being judged for who you should be or what you look like.

These are my other takeaways:

1. The heart wants what the heart wants. It doesn’t always make sense, but that is the heart for you. I find that with coaching my clients all the time. I don’t know why one person wants to sail around the world, another wants to dedicate their life to animals and yet another wants to leave medicine to become a writer….The heart wants what it wants…YEAH, FOR THE HEART!

2. Choose your battles. When you are a 13-year-old girl, hair isn’t everything, BUT IT SURE IS SOMETHING! To her it was more important to express herself this way than it was to continue at a school with the music program and instrument that she loved dearly.

3. Never take a “No” from someone who can’t give you a “Yes”. This is great advice for my career changers. I must have gotten 100 NO’S over the years about changing careers from teaching to counseling and from counseling to coaching.

4. Surround yourself with cheerleaders. Now, there are some people who you need the truth from—including your doctor and YOUR COACH. Everyone else, including your friends and family, should cheer you on for the most part. That is my opinion, you are welcome to disagree.

5. Get advice from someone who knows. Thank God for another friend who had been through something similar with her daughter and had sought great legal advice.

6. Being unkind is never the answer. Although there are certainly rules intended to keep us safe—like speed limits and stop signs—there is no room for unkindness. It solves nothing and the only answer is LOVE.

Oh, and by the way, she wants MIDNIGHT BLUE hair now.

OH MY GOODNESS!

Do you know what your heart wants? Schedule a free strategy call to discuss your heart’s desire and how to achieve it.

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The Word That Changed My Life

One morning just over a year ago, I got that call. You know the type of call I am talking about. The type of call that you never want to get: something is wrong, something is terribly wrong and you must come quick.

It was my mom. She had fallen and hit her head after a tussle with her trash can at the end of her steep driveway. She sat at the end of her driveway that night thinking that someone would pass by and she could flag them down, but no one did.

The first miracle is that she never lost consciousness. So, she walked in the house and called my brother. The second miracle is that my brother, who lives 20 minutes away from her, happened to be close by. He took her to the small hospital in the next town, where the doctor (who had gone to high school with my brother) didn’t like the initial exam and sent her on to a bigger hospital in the next town.

That is where I met her, arriving in the wee hours of the morning. She lay quietly with road rash on her face, knees and arms, a broken nose and scratched glasses. She insisted that we were making too big of a deal about it and shouldn’t have come from our various corners of the state. To be honest, she was a bit embarrassed by all the attention. You see, my mother and I are different. She is quiet. We sometimes joke that if my nickname were “Sparkle,” hers would be “Warm Glow.”

As we stood there, with Mom gently chiding us for breaking away from our lives to rush to her side, the neurologist came in and told us that the danger was not over: Mom had two deep brain bleeds. Because they were deep, there was nothing we could do but watch and wait for symptoms to develop. He described what we were to watch for immediately, 2 days from now, 5 days, 7, days, 10 days, 14 days….and outlined the procedures and medications for the best and worse case scenarios. We, of course, hoped and prayed for the best, but that is not exactly what we got.

This turned into quite a journey that took months. We could really only watch as Mom’s brain attacked the bleeding. Gradually parts of her drifted away: at different times along the way, she was unable to stand, to move her left side, to feed herself, speak or even breathe on her own… Some of her organs failed and she was in pain. She’d get better, then worse, better then worse. This went on for months. My sister and brother sat with her most of the time and myself and my aunt filled in where we could. She eventually needed surgery and we weren’t at all sure that she’d make it. It was a medical and emotional roller coaster that most people, even half her age, don’t survive. But she did.

At last she was transferred to a rehab hospital for intense physical therapy. As I stood there by her bedside, she told me that people were calling her a miracle. With some embarrassment, she admitted that people wanted to know why she survived. She must have work to be done, a message to share—did she have a sense of what that was? My mom, never one to take to the spotlight, had found a way around the attention. She said, “I have been turning the question around for them. I have been asking them, if I survived to offer you something, what would it be?” And she was amazed at what people shared–struggles, doubts and celebrations.

I stood there with tears in my eyes as mom, with her quiet warm glow, told me this and I agreed that she was indeed our little miracle and one that I was thankful for. Then she asked me, “What did I survive to give you?”   

I stood there a bit taken aback. I was embarrassed to say anything. It felt selfish and odd to ask any more from someone who had given so much and worked so hard all her life, especially in the last few months fighting to come back to life. But here we were, having this open and frank conversation and I didn’t want to miss this opportunity to go deep with my Mom.

I finally admitted that I always have a bit of a doubt about whether I am doing good at my work. She said, “That is easy, DeAnne. You are already doing it. Everyone knows it, so just accept it.”
 
In that moment, the word acceptance hung in the air over my head like one of those neon signs over an old movie theater, the letters warmly glowing. I looked at my mom and realized that it was that simple. Although I have had a couple of moments of self-doubt since that day, for the most part the word “acceptance” has become my mantra, my divine message from my mom. It has changed my life, it is my own personal miracle.

I wanted to find a way to keep that word with me, so I took a Bracelet Saying, "Acceptance"leather bracelet and a silver Sharpie and wrote the word on my bracelet. As I wore it, the word would fade after about a month and I would recommit by re-writing it on the bracelet throughout the year.

I chose a new word for my mantra—and my leather bracelet–recently. I love this practice, because it doesn’t feel like a “should” or some sort of deprivation like resolutions have always felt and this way my intention stays with me throughout each day.

Sometimes the word that can change your life isn’t dynamic or something you would read in an article on success in the Wall Street Journal. It can be something simple and quiet like the word acceptance, compassion or connection. The only thing your word must be is personally meaningful.

So, it took me until my 40’s to really get that what I do is something I am darn good at and that my talent, intuition and brilliance are more than enough to help those I serve. They say “we teach what we need to learn,” and wow is that ever true for me. Now I’m even more attuned to how my clients feel as they learn to accept their gifts and trust that they are everything they need to be in order to create the success they want.

My Mom and My Niece

As for my mom, she celebrated her 81st birthday recently. If she survived to help you with something, let it be this: a reminder that a little warm glow and acceptance can help the gifts that we so often take for granted grow into infinite possibilities. (The picture above is of my mom and niece.)

Maybe you need a life change. If you would like to schedule time with me to plan what is next for your life, career or business and haven’t had a free strategy session before, take advantage of a free strategy session with me. You can easily schedule a time using the button on the right side bar of this page!

Sometimes You’re the Windshield, Sometimes You’re the Bug

Suicide is not a fun topic, but I feel compelled to write about it nonetheless. Please consider this your warning that there are Deep Thoughts below.

When someone such as Robin Williams, who has been a part of our lives, making us laugh in our living rooms, abruptly departs from this world it can churn up all kinds of memories like a flood. In fancy psychological terms, this is called an “anniversary reaction.”  My dear friend Kate wrote about this eloquently on her blog. That post spurred us to have a great conversation about being touched by suicide and loss.

I have my own legacy of suicide. My paternal grandfather took his own life before I was born. You would think that since it was before I was even on this Earth, it wouldn’t really affect me. But really, I saw how that taboo subject took a toll on my Dad. It is still a subject that comes up at family gatherings generations later, even recently.

Beyond that, I had a brush with suicide in high school and again in college when each time, a friend opted out of this life. More recently, I had someone reach out to me for marketing help via LinkedIn. A few weeks later, I heard his name on the news.

Robin Williams’ death brought a lot of that back to me, as it did for Kate, as it did maybe for you too.

grasshopperSometimes you are the windshield and can resist, bounce back or deflect what comes at you, but sometime you feel like the bug, and you didn’t see it coming. Experiencing the anniversary effect – which can happen either by the actual anniversary of an unfortunate event, or by hearing about a similar circumstance — is kind of like walking into an old spider web: you know the spider isn’t there anymore, but the reaction brings up every spider that you have ever seen and you have an out-of-proportion reaction that probably involves flailing around like a comic ninja.

Here are my best tips for dealing with the anniversary effect.

  • The best way to be the windshield and not the bug is to stop trying to push feelings down and hold them under the surface. Notice I say “try”—you can’t submerge an emotion any more than you can hold a beach ball underwater. A beach ball is such a silly little thing, it’s light and bouncy, but have you ever tried to push one under water? The ball takes on a life of its own, pushing back, working around your hands, trying to surface with a vengeance, and the harder and more you push it down, the higher it pops up. Don’t treat your feelings like a beach ball. If you don’t have a family member or friend to chat with, journaling, creating something–even a great pot of soup–connecting with clergy, medical professionals or support groups can help you feel the feelings and help them move along. Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness, but a sign that you are human, and aren’t we all?
  • Take a break from television, news articles and other media, especially if the anniversary is around a public disaster or crisis. Often, media outlets revisit distressing imagery again and again. Be mindful of the images and messages you let into your internal environment.
  • Take care of yourself in every way possible–healthy foods, exercise habits and sleep need to be in the mix. Thank goodness during my Mom’s recent health crisis, I had a hotline to a friend that is a health coach and she reminded me to keep to the salad bar and whole foods during my weeks of sitting in the neuro ward. Thanks Beth Wilde!
  • If you find that you’re struggling with your trauma or that it is affecting your quality of life in great or lasting ways, remember that you’re not alone. Loss affects each of us differently, so don’t put a time limit on your grief. If you feel overwhelmed or like you cannot navigate successfully through your anniversary reaction, consider seeking the counsel of a mental healthcare professional.

As a coach, it may appear that I am always positive, that I always walk around with a smile on my face thinking only positive thoughts or that I have all the answers. I don’t. No one person has all the answers, for all of the world, all the time. That is why we need each other. I’m hoping these ideas will help you navigate your next anniversary reaction and that instead of it setting you back, you are able to turn it into an opportunity to reset or reach out and receive a little more compassion, peace and healing and not feel so squashed by the events in your life.

Is something bugging you? Schedule a time to work out what is bugging you about your life,  career or biz.

Freckles, Love and All

I have always had freckles. Truly, I have so many freckles you couldn’t count them all if you had two entire days! I even have one on the bottom of my left big toe! To say that I hated them as a kid would be a huge understatement.

In school, kids constantly told me I would be pretty if it weren’t for all those spots. Or I was IMAG0306asked, “What happened to you, do those hurt?” To make matters worse, school pictures came around every year after I had spent the summer outside, piling on more freckles.

So, I began to try to get rid of them. I really tried! I thought I could wash them away with soap. I made big circles of soap on my skin with my fingers and then used a washcloth…Nope.

I saw an old movie where the beautiful leading lady used buttermilk and salt to to keep her skin milky white…Nope. (And if you ever get salt and buttermilk in your eyes, you won’t forget it.)

I even used a great big glob of my grandmother’s face cream for removing “age spots.” Really, I did. Although it lightened my skin in general, it didn’t stand a chance against the millions of the freckles.

I covered them up with layers of makeup and powder from my mom’s makeup drawer in the hall bathroom, until I looked and felt like my face was covered in bondo, you know, that stuff that car repair shops use to fill in dents in fenders and doors.  Well, this kind of worked to cover them up, but it was hard to smile, or even blink, when your face felt like cracking plaster.

My efforts must have been very frustrating to my mom and dad, who always told me that I was beautiful. Certainly, they did their best to bolster my self-image. But nothing really worked…until one particular day.
My dad, seeing me try one of my many solutions, pulled me aside and said, “You know I think you are beautiful, right? Do you know why?”

I didn’t say it, but I was thinking, “It ain’t ‘cause of these freckles!”

He said, “You are the only one who has my mother’s skin, and yes, I know you don’t like the freckles, but she had them just like you and I thought she was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen until I met
your mom. Now, when I look at you, I see a bit of her.”

I had never met my grandmother. So, he went to the hall closet and got down a picture of her. At that moment, even though I had been told over and over again that I was beautiful, freckles and all, something snapped for me. I got it, in a deep soulful way, in a way that allowed me to not only accept that I had freckles, but to embrace, even celebrate them, as something that ties me to a family that I love dearly, an inheritance from a grandmother I never knew.

Now, I realize that how my dad helped me then, is a lot like how I help people now through coaching. We all have some attributes, knowledge, skills and brilliance that we accept, embrace, even celebrate, and then we have the stuff we don’t, the freckles.  When I help my clients realize that they are more than their current job, lack of technological prowess, illness or income.

What perceived liability is keeping you from accepting your own unique value?

I love helping people “embrace their freckles”—if you’d like to explore how your least favorite attribute can actually be part of your strengths, schedule a complementary 20-minute call.  I would love to support you in a change of perspective that moves you forward or help you “connect the dots”. That change in mindset could mean thousands of dollars in your pocket (when you land that new job you’ve been telling yourself you’re not qualified for)!

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Are You Leading Your Life Or Are You Failing to Launch?

I’ll admit it: I’m a chick flick fan. One of my favorite movies is Failure to Launch. It isMovie Reel funny and bittersweet—my favorite combo and it has more than a couple of stars from my beloved Lone Star state. But what really makes me love it is that it delivers some great lessons with a lot of love. (If you haven’t seen it and are a fan of ‘girly’ movies, definitely add it to your list!)

In the movie, Matthew McConaughey’s character is living at home with his parents. Well into his 30’s, he is way past his expiration date for living at home.  Desperate to get him off on his own, his parents hire Sarah Jessica Parker, a self-described “launch expert.” SJP’s well-honed strategy to encourage him out of the nest involves dating him and helping him see how ready he is for independence. Her character has already done this a million times—since she isn’t in the market for a serious relationship, she’s the perfect “transition girlfriend” and the guys she dates typically go on to move out and develop great relationships.

Movie TheatreLike Matthew’s character, we often fall into patterns that seem comfortable, but are really keeping us stuck. Since I believe that we are all here on this Earth so we can grow, being stuck is really an uncomfortable place to be. But we stay there because change and taking a chance can be scary.

Here are some of the ruts my clients and I have fallen in over the years—yes, myself included. (More on that in just a moment!)

Perfection. I am waiting for __________ to be perfect before I create the life I want. Okay, so you can fill in the blank there: timing, your relationship, your body, your idea, your house.

But here’s the thing: If X were perfect you would say it was something else. This is what I call “Dejá Doo Doo”. No matter where you are or what’s going on, you keep using the same old kind of excuses and nothing much changes.

This tendency often shows up as complicating the heck out of your plans, over-thinking or deciding that you need more certifications or degrees before you can really get started.

Guarantees.  Many of my clients have never taken a big leap or even an itsy bitsy step without a clear view that everything will turn out exactly how they have planned it.

Well, that one doesn’t exactly make sense either since we don’t really get guarantees in life, professionally or personally.

Waiting for a sign. Now, I believe in listening to your gut. Some of my best decisions certainly didn’t make sense on paper. (Ask me some time about how I applied to graduate school at 23 with no money and no job—it didn’t make sense, but it worked out brilliantly.) But most of the time waiting for a sign is about stalling and when you stall, you lose all momentum.

Approval. I often hear in my clients’ voices a longing to be approved of—by a parent, society, professors or any number of individuals. So many of us have a need to get that gold star or that pat on the back. But even if you do manage to earn the approval of others, it’s fleeting. It leaves you empty.

If you don’t want to make a move unless you know it will get you a thumbs up from others, what is really stopping you is fear.

Fear of being seen as a fool, failure, a diva, devil or even fear of success. Fear of being more successful than your parents, someone you admire or even more successful than you think you can handle will stop you in your tracks. I have seen it so many times and even experienced this myself.

Other symptoms that you are in peril of becoming a failure to launch include:

Blaming others, the economy or some other outside entity for where your life is right now
Being in the same place for 6 months or more
Constantly relying on others
Feeling emotional, jumping to conclusions or dodging in different directions all the time
Brimming with ideas, but not taking any actions based on them, or not taking actions with any consistency

I promised I’d tell you a little bit about the ruts I’ve fallen into. Here goes:  When I first went out on my own as an independent coach, I tried doing business like everyone else. I got the corporate headshots of me smiling in a suit. I put all the letters I could scrape together after my name on my business cards. However, as I have continued to peel more layers of corporate life off, I’ve become more and more myself. Now when people ask me what I do, I say “I kick butt with fuzzy slippers.” The more I own who I am and what I like, I find that I am more effective. I find just the right clients with less effort. Perhaps best of all, I enjoy my work even more as I work with people in all parts of their lives, not just careers. Many of my clients leverage, change or relaunch professionally, in doing that, some choose to start a business or a consulting service.

Anyway, the good news is that even if you do have patterns that can lead to being a failure to launch, you can change them. The way out is leadership—taking the reins of your own life and making decisions that suit you. It happens for Matthew McConaughey in the movie, it has happened for me and it can happen for you too.

Are you ready to launch?

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“By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third, by experience, which is the bitterest.” — Confucius

I love this photo of my client, Camden, and me after a coaching session Camden and meover coffee. Camden and I have been on a great journey together as coach and client creating a life she loves professionally and personally. Camden once lovingly said, “As a coach, DeAnne, your motto should be…‘GET A LIFE, JUST MAKE FOR DARN SURE IT’S THE ONE YOU WANT!’’

Perfection is Overrated, Take it From an Ogre

As I am writing this today, I have a sick kid at home. Which means it’s not exactly a perfect workday. But it has provided the perfect opportunity to talk about an ogre I and a lot of people meet everyday – perfectionism.

Normally, my daughter is way too old and entirely too cool to watch kid movies, but today she wants something animated, some chicken noodle soup, and her momma nearby.

She chose Shrek. Since I find it hard to resist the story of the green ogre, the donkey and a red-headed princess, I watched with her.  As I did, I found myself making all kinds of correlations between the movie and what stops many of us — the struggle between being ourselves versus the idea that we have to be perfect.

I did a little singing along, too, but I will spare you that part.

You probably know the movie, but in case you don’t, here is the story: The ogre is really pretty happy with his life until his swamp home is invaded. He tries to save it by making a deal with the land-grubbing prince who wants to marry a princess so that he can become king.

The diminutive prince is bent on being perfect: having the perfect kingdom and the perfect bride. Worst of all, he wants it all without effort! Clearly there’s something offensive about his point of view, because at the end he is eaten by a dragon. (Oops! Spoiler alert!)

The ogre has a goal and sees a simple solution: Find a princess, deliver her to the prince, and get the deed to his swamp, all while becoming friends with the pesky Donkey. Yet along the way, the princess and the ogre fall in love.

Here is why the ogre is the real hero, and how I see some of the same lessons in life:

  1. You don’t have to be perfect to get a great outcome. The ogre didn’t have to change to get the princess to fall in love with him. Believe me, I have messed up plenty…I believe that my mess is my message, in that what I have been through is the stuff that makes me who I am and helps me serve others.
  2. Listen to yourself first. Shrek had a trusty sidekick in Donkey, but his first allegiance was to his own vision—that of a peaceful home. I silenced my gut a long time ago when I worked in corporate, because let’s face it, the VP didn’t want to hear the woo-woo stuff and there was no column on any spreadsheet titled “gut factor.” I was miserable. That’s why now I often have clients focus on what their gut is telling them when they are comparing to companies or career paths.
  3. Let nothing stop you. It is your path–run it or walk it, you just have to keep moving forward at the pace that suits you, and pick yourself up whenever some obstacle temporarily trips you up. The ogre was willing to fight for the home he loved and later to fight for the woman he loved. He knew what his non-negotiables were and stuck with it.  (BTW, the princess kicked some butt, too.)
  4. Ask for help. At the end of the movie, the ogre enlists his friends to help rescue the princess. They weren’t perfect–one was a moody dragon and the other was a real ass.  But they were right beside him even though the risk was big. Sometimes, we take for granted those friends that have our backs. I have a friend on my mind right now that I haven’t made much time for—I’m going to go reach out to her on Facebook and set up some time for lunch as soon as I’m done writing this.
  5. Know your enemy. In the beginning of the story, a band of villagers comes after the ogre with torches and pitchforks, not realizing that he is not the real enemy. Know your actual weak points – not your perceived failings – and figure out how to manage them (working with a coach is great way to figure out what is perception and what is reality). You have to know what you are good at and what you stink at to make the splash you want personally and professionally! After all, average sucks!

You can learn a lot from an ogre about showing up just as you are, not the perfect version of someone else. I know I did.

Celebrating Mistakes

As a career coach, I spend a lot of time helping people with their “mistakes”. There are so many people that feel they have made a professional “mistake”, or have been given obstacles or problems that simply can’t be surmounted on what should be the straight and simple path to success. Realistically, there are lots of things that get in the way of that straight path to career bliss. Many people have detours, speed bumps, rocky climbs, or “long periods in the desert” as one of my clients coined, during their professional lives. Industries and markets are changing at break-neck speed and words like off-shoring, down-sizing and redundancy have become common words in corporate language. We, as individuals, are observing these trends along with our own shifting lives and priorities and finding the need to adapt, adjust and alter our priorities and our definition of success and tactics. All this leads to change and some mistakes along the way…..With that in mind and knowing that we all encounter “mistakes”, I wanted to share with you a list of 5 Reasons to Celebrate Mistakes:

5 Reasons to Celebrate Mistakes:

1. Mistakes get our attention; they give us a starting point for change.

2. Permitting mistakes allows us to take risks.

3. Noticing mistakes shows our commitment to quality, to making our life work.

4. We can use mistakes to practice. Look through the lens of your values.

5. Mistakes make powerful teachers and give us an opportunity to renew our values, learn a new value or new behaviors.

 

“Life is like a camera. Just focus on what’s important and capture the good times,

develop from the negatives and if things don’t work out, just take another shot.”

-Unknown

 

Get Your Career out of the Toilet!

People come to me every day feeling stuck and powerless, without the job they love. Every single time, I find that they are living a LIE. The TRUTH is you are trapped in your own thinking and indecision. I call this type of thinking “TOILET BOWL THINKING” because it can make your mind feel like it is spinning and spinning. It is draining and leads to crappy results…(Pun intended).

Here is how it starts…Take note if this sounds familiar. You are not happy in your current career and you have an idea, a vision for what you would like your work life to look like. GREAT! Then, you start to doubt yourself, negative thoughts creep in….You start thinking, re-thinking and over-thinking. You even share your idea and ask other people what they think…Soon your mind is noisily spinning with too many thoughts and you don’t know what to do or which direction to turn. You stop even before you get started, because of the LIE that it isn’t worth the risk or you are not worth the risk….or one hundred other LIES that your brain tells you to keep you comfortable, keep things the same and keep you in familiar, safe territory!

Here are some common “TOILET BOWL THINKING” examples:

“I want a new job, but first I need to lose weight, then I will be ready to put on my best suit and search for that job, or even start my own business. Right now I just don’t look or feel professional; maybe I should join the gym.” Joining the gym is a good idea, but not a direct and DeLiberate step towards a new job.

“If I had the perfect resume, then I could really launch my job search and get somewhere with my career, but my resume is not perfect and that is the first step of a job search. As a matter of fact, there are a couple of sections that I don’t know what to do with at all. One day I will have a perfect resume, but today is not that day.” This is more of a Default mode of operation, where you really don’t have to do anything, but then again you don’t get anything either.

“I would really like a promotion and if my boss really got how hard I worked, he would give me a raise or promotion, right? So, maybe my boss is a jerk or maybe I am not as good as I think I am. I guess there just aren’t any choices at all. I’m stuck.” This is such a great example of relying on assumptions instead of evidence to make a decision to blame someone else or yourself for your current career. Blaming is a great drain on your life and career. You can check out my thoughts about blame here….

There are lots of ways to get stuck! You have just gotten things out of order. We all have a vision and

DeAnne as a Plumber

dreams….but we start thinking backwards….As Larry Winget says, “What I see in my clients who are stuck in a career that they don’t love is ‘TOILET BOWL THINKING’“. Well, guess what?! I am the CAREER PLUMBER. There is nothing I love more than getting a person unstuck, out of their thinking, and moving forward toward TRUE CAREER HAPPINESS in a way that they stay unstuck. Is it scary? Sometimes. Is it worth it? Yes. But I have been through it myself and I will be there with you all the way.

I love helping people rethink, redefine and renew their own success.

 

GET YOUR CAREER OUT OF THE TOILET!

My Dad’s Crappy Career Advice

My dad, God love him, was stubborn, loud, often inappropriately fun and he loved attention. Yes, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree on this one. I loved that man, but he gave me the crappiest career advice ever…yep, he did. I came to my dad before my first year of college and told him that I had great career plans. I was super good at math, designing things and helping people. I could be a clothing designer or architect. My dad said, “Oh no, clothing design is brutally competitive and would take you too far away from home and most architects are real A-Holes in my book. Do something not so competitive, not so cut-throat. Something steady, where you can always have a job and stay close to home and your family…What about being a pharmacist?”

Wow, I was blown away, my dad was my rock. He was the more unconditional out of my two parents and the one I was the most like in personality and demeanor. My approach to life made sense when I was around him. I just knew he would understand and I thought I would get some support from him before I faced career decisions. You know the arduous roller coaster of applying then waiting, hoping, elation and rejection. Fun Stuff. His reaction hurt. I was devastated and it was total crap advice… 



However, my dad was stubborn, even more stubborn than me, and he loved getting the last word…You see, just after that discussion he died, dropped dead….seriously. Yep, the ultimate last word. That really sucked and hurt and I was even more devastated.

My mom was so wounded and angry over his death, she was in no shape to give me career advice and just wanted me to move home. My sister suggested I check out law school, something she had always wanted to do. I think I already mentioned that I like to talk and I am stubborn, qualities lawyers seem to have. However, the idea of going to law school held zero appeal to me, no pun intended. I sought out college advisors and career counselors who were very skilled at testing and assessment and handling the volume of students that come through.

Really, the typical college or career counselor’s methodology is based on the law of averages. The average student visits their advisor one or two times in their college career, gets the average testing, the average resume and cover letter template…and you’re out of there. Then, you get the average job, but is that what you want? My father’s death also left me with little financial support and I sought to finish college quickly. So, my first career was in teaching and school counseling. It was safe, steady, allowed me to live anywhere. I was good at it, had the respect of my peers, but it wasn’t me. I wasn’t connecting and making the difference that I wanted to make, creating the life I wanted to create… I fell victim to the two types of crappy career advice categories out there… 



#1 CRAPPY CAREER ADVICE CATEGORY: “IT IS ALL ABOUT ME” 



Typically this advice comes from someone who knows you, thinks they know you and thinks they know what you need to be happy, successful and fulfilled. This happens when someone gives you advice based on their view of the world, their agenda or their unmet needs. My dad’s advice falls under this category. See, he saw me as his youngest daughter, his baby, who seemed be born with a wanderlust, a stubborn streak, too liberal in thoughts and opinions and he wanted to keep me closer to home, safe. Not a bad agenda, just not what fit me and it hurt.

#2 CRAPPY CAREER ADVICE CATEGORY: “IT IS ABOUT EVERYONE ELSE”

This is the advice you get from college advisers, recruiters and career coaches who put you through a lot of testing or gives you a list of things to do and boxes to check off. This is the type of advice you get that is based on norms and what the average person should do if they have this degree, this skill set or this personality. It is based on averages and volumes of people, blind to the fact that no individual can be average. An individual is one person, one life, one dream, one career, one purpose, one difference…. mathematically an individual cannot be an average. Trust me, I am good at math.

That is a pretty brutal story, but the purpose of the story is to show you that that it was all perfect. Was it painful? Yes, but it prepared me to do the work of my life and I wouldn’t change a thing. You see, one day walking down the hallway in this safe, steady, Plan B Job, I had this aha moment. I got back in touch with what I wanted and I found my way out of the blame and pain to find the work I do now- career coaching.

Anyway, here I am in Austin, doing the work that makes it possible for people to choose careers from the inside out. My clients don’t have to waste as much time, energy and tears getting their professional lives together as I did and I am darn good at it too! I believe that people are talented, powerful and deserving individuals who need to be supported in their career dreams as long as what you want isn’t immoral, illegal or hurtful to others.

However, it is all perfect. You see, without the pain of being in the wrong career, I wouldn’t understand what it is like for people to struggle in a career that doesn’t fit them and that drains them more than it sustains them. No matter what it looks like from the outside or who advised them to pursue that field or even paid the tuition to get them there. All in all, it was all perfect. Without the job that made my life miserable, the job that I could do, but was doing me in, I wouldn’t be who I am today.

Are you hurting, working more and more hours without that feeling that you belong, or that you are making the difference you want? Give up the sucky advice, the hurt and that devastated feeling and get back to what you want, what would work for you and your life, then get support in creating it.

You have to love you and see that you are not average, that you are a unique combination of experiences, knowledge and talents. Even if you are one of many CPAs or MBAs, you can’t let anyone see you as average otherwise you will be stuck, hurt and devastated. What you want is important, even if you don’t know how it is all going to come together. 



That is why coaching is so cool. I am not attached to any specific outcome, other than supporting you in getting your best life, seeing your desires fulfilled. I hold space for you to get clear, plan, dream and take action….

There is an answer to all the Crappy Career Advice….

#3 The Un-Crappy Solution: “It’s All About You”

YOUR SUCCESS, YOUR CAREER AND YOUR LIFE. Yes, a great career starts with you!

Are You Letting Your Career Go Down the Blame Drain?

Are you waiting for the economy to improve? Guess what? It is time to let that one go! You can blame the economy if you want, but what a waste of breath. Think about it, the economy is for the most part out of your control. Yep, out of your control! One person, not even the President or Congress can turn the economy around in a matter of months or even a 4 year term, from puny to prosperous….Am I right?  So, are you going to wait for that? Let go of blaming the economy!! My guess is that it was just something to blame so that you don’t have to do something startlingly different in your life or professional search.

Yes, I said BLAME. Blame is the name of one of the biggest problems when it comes to getting into action and getting what you want out of your career. You blame the economy, your education, your previous employer, your lack of experience, having too much experience or even your mother. All the while, opportunities are passing by you as you sit in front of the computer uploading resume number 200 to a faceless job board or dreading the commute to work when it is still Sunday afternoon. Blaming is socially acceptable, even expected. It can become a habit, a crutch for not taking ownership for your actions. It is also a drain. Blame saps your energy, your outlook, your mood and your relationships, both personal and professional.

What if everything was perfect for what you want right now in life and work? You went to the right college, had the right family, had the right experiences and everything was perfect? That is a big mindset shift to honor your path, the bumps, the ups, the downs, the curves, the detours. So let’s start small, just one step…… if you took blame out of the equation, who would you have to be? What would you have to do? What could you say about what you want out of a job, without blame and settling? Is it scary? It could feel that way.  Without blame, you are the “R” word, yes, responsible.

Ooooh, responsible, yuck! “Responsible” and “responsibility” take a bad rap. When you hear these words, you think of “to-do” lists, one more thing to add to my already crowded schedule. You may even here a parental voice in your head asking you to be more responsible, possibly with an image of  an admonishing finger wagging at you.  Who wants that? Not me. Take the quote below into consideration.

“Responsibility begins with the willingness to be cause in the matter of one’s life. Ultimately, it is a context from which one chooses to live. Responsibility is not burden, fault, praise, blame, credit, shame or guilt. In responsibility, there is no evaluation of good or bad, right or wrong. There is simply what’s so, and your stand. Being responsible starts with the willingness to deal with a situation from the view of life that you are the generator of what you do, what you have and what you are. That is not the truth. It is a place to stand. No one can make you responsible, nor can you impose responsibility on another. It is a grace you give yourself – an empowering context that leaves you with a say in the matter of life.”

-Werner Erhard

See…. read it again with curiosity. What jumps out for you?  According to Erhard, responsibility can mean freedom, empowerment and having a say in your life and direction. And, if we get clear about who we are and are not responsible for the truth about you and what you want, it opens up a whole new world of possibilities for our lives. That is what I offer my clients– support in being true and empowered in their lives right where they are, right now, through Private Coaching For DeLiberate Success, the DeLiberate Yourself! Full-Day Workshop and my upcoming DeLiberate Success University.

I’ve got a question for you. Are you ready to take responsibility for your career in a way that makes you free, that leaves the Default lifestyle behind and DeLiberately moves you forward?

Schedule a free strategy session with me and ask me about my upcoming programs and workshops!

Don’t let your career go down the Blame Drain!

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Email: deanne@deliberatecareers.com