Thursday, July 30, 2009

IDEAS FOR FINDING A NON-PROFIT CAREER


Many people have been dreaming about pursuing a career in the non-profit world. They imagined rewiring into an encore career that would be truly "meaningful." Then the economy collapsed and they "tabled" their dreams! Dreams may need to be altered or slowed down but they don't have to be discarded!


Life has always been complex and there are few absolutley perfect times to make a career move. We believe that this is a good time to start doing your due diligence on your dream: start exploring your self and some actual encore career opportunities.


Michael Watson, Senior Vice President of the Girl Scouts, and a former corporate executive who rewired into the nonprofit world, and I believe so strongly in this topic and in your future that we wrote an article for encore.org entitled: "Finding A Nonprofit Career During Tough Times."

Our goal in writing the article was to be both practical and inspirational and offer tips to jump start your thinking and acting.


Don't be put off by the economy. The challenge for all of us is to figure out what The New Normal will be like; your New Normal could include an encore career, and it might be right around the corner so start exploring!

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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

STAYING MOTIVATED TAKES EFFORT


I was recently with a group of friends who asked if every now and then I could do a blog offering a few motivational tips. I agreed but also reminded them about a great line from Ecclesiastes that I have paraphrased here--"there is really nothing new under the sun..." People keep waiting, wishing and hoping for that silver bullet... but there is no silver bullet and Wishin' and Hopin' is a song by Dusty Springfield, not a way to live your life! What would be new and different is if everyone chose to try something new!" so here are a few VERY obvious ideas!


1. Write down what's on your mind. In other words get a piece of paper and let it rip...even stream of consciousness writing...goals, obstacles, dreams, whatever. I know, I know--you're readng this and thinking you've got to be kidding--- it sounds so basic, so boring. Take it from me,I know that getting the ideas out of your head and onto paper---or the computer, allows you the chance to reflect on them in a whole new way.


2.Get out of your usual "space." A friend who is in transition and trying to figure out her next act has been sitting in her apartment, day after day, trying to figure out her future.Looking at those same old walls is not going to get her to her next..and might even be pretty depressing. I told her..."go to Starbucks," be around people. Her comment was "too distracting." Ok, I said then go to the public libray." "Too quiet," she said. Which led me to say, "Then I guess you really don't want another opportunity, if you're finding an excuse for everything I've suggested!" Remember, friends care but they have their limits!But I felt good when she said," I went to sit in the park with a Starbucks and that felt right." The point is, find what s right for you but often we have to change our lens to get recharged and motivated.

3. Get off your behind. Exercise. Increasing your heart rate ups your energy level to tackle goals, and new thinking. When people say, "I'm too tired to exercise," that's when you need to get out there. But be wise and don't overdue if this is a new idea for you.

4. Focus on the Finish. When undertaking a lengthy and difficult project , especially something you don’t want to do, imagine what you would like to be doing when finished—and make the task a priority. This applies at work, at play,or working around the house. Focus on the finale!


5. Keep your “WHY” in front of you. Know WHY you are doing something...or not doing something. It might sound silly but put a picture of your goal as your screen saver; on your desk, or if you're a magnet person on your refrigerator! I want you to be able to see it often.

I told you they were pretty basic tips, just spiced up with a few new twists and angles! A little bit of rewiring goes along way!

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NEW INSIGHTS FROM OLD MATERIAL

I had lunch lunch yesterday with a retired 82 year old friend who happens to be a psychiatrist. We covered a lot of topics and I wasn't surprised to hear him say how stress was at the highest level he had ever seen. In fact he told me that old clients were calling him just to "check in."

I often say that the work I do is rather like therapy but without the couch so to that point today's blog is a list of practical things we can all think about in these evolving times.
People will often ask me "what can we do to get through this?"

I know that the "this" they refer to runs the gamut from work, family, financial, to emotional challenges, based on their circumstances so here is a list of thoughts and ideas that I have been compiling. MOST OF THESE IDEAS ARE NOT NEW! What makes them new for you-- is is you use them!


So as the world is looking to create The New Normal so should you be! So here goes...
1. If you will change, everything will change for you.

2. Spend time and money to do things that count.

3. Don’t spend too much time or money on things that don’t count.

4. Instead of getting through the day, think of what you get from the day.

5. There is no such thing as "perfect."


6. Repetition, repetition, repetition. Practice makes permanent.


7. Get yourself on some type of an activity or fitness plan.

8. Clean up your neglect--of your body, your spirit, your skills.

9. Spend money on the inside of your head if you need it.

10.Get out of your own way.
Short sentences can carry a lot of "punch."

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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Watching Three Generations Slug It Out on the Tennis Court

As Senior Advisor at The Conference Board much of my work focuses on generational challenges, or as I like to say, opportunties, especially those targeted to the mature worker--remember that is anyone over the age of 40! (as designated by the Age Discrimination Employment Act of 1967. ) So I was thrilled to be invited to attend the ADVANTA WORLD TEAM TENNIS PRO LEAGUE to see the stars of tomorrow, the top players of today, and the legends of the game competing hard and fast, together.

I loved watching all of the players and was blown away by John McEnroe (50) and Martina Navratilova (52). What really struck me is that yes, they are older players but it goes to show that you can stay in the game by sharing the court with new talent! And just look at this picture of Martina just completing a great serve!

These "older legends" are brilliant tennis players and winners of too many major titles to list here. McEnroe and Navratilova are fit, attractive and using all of their skills. I am always looking at the world through my rewiring lens and what I saw is two outstanding players who have realized that new and younger talent are in the pipeline, and rather than say " my days are over" these guys have gotten into a new game with this young talent.

Is it a type of mentoring? Knowledge transfer? Coaching? Call it what you will; I see a correlation with today's maturing workforce and workplace. Rather than focus on our generational differences let's all find a way to stay in the game, learn from and respect each other and win!

It's all about rewiring our mindsets!



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Thursday, July 2, 2009

DISCOVERING MY INTEREST IN JAZZ

I've been telling people that we all need to "rewire early and to rewire often." What I mean is that we constantly need to be looking at our life and adding and deleting activities, interests, even relationships. We need to learn how to discard and how to add. Many people across the country have told me that they don't have a hobby, or even an interest. They've become too family and work -oriented, or just tired, and they've lost their fun.

I don't remember how, where or why but a few years ago I developed a low level interest in jazz. I stress the word, low level, because I want everyone to realize that passions don't just happen...they build. I wasn't just listening to jazz, I found myself at Jazz At Lincoln Center ; I watched the Ken Burns video on JAZZ. I'm someone who needs to know the background on a topic..how did jazz get birthed? What makes jazz, jazz? Where does Miles or "Bird" or Dizzy fit in? Why were they considered great?

One of my personal drivers in life is to constantly be learning. To give me a jumpstart, Michael Bomwell, a New York-based jazz saxaphonist, lent me The Smithsonian Collection of Classical Jazz. It is great! I am really understanding Jazz, the Blues, Ragtime and Ferdinand "Jelly Roll" Morton!

I'm also reading the VERY colorful autobiography of MILES DAVIS and can say that there appears to be a lot of regret, recovery and fulfillment in the world of jazz artists. As my interest has been growing, I have been doing more exploring, and just discovered that a colleague from my days at WORKING WOMAN magazine, Marc Myers, writes one of the web's most popular daily blogs, JazzWax.com. Marc's writing has also been exciting and his love and knowledge of jazz makes reading his blog a joy and an overall experience! So my rewiring has allowed me to reconnect with a friend and get great jazz insights on a daily basis!

Yes, life is still challenging; unemployment is up and the Dow is down (at least today it is!) but the erraticness of life seems to be a bit more managable now that I have a new interest to explore and "cool" jazz constanly playing in the background. So how about it... are you ready to rewire and find your new fun?

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