Are You a Free Agent?

Are you tired of working hard for a company that lacks good leadership?

Are you disenchanted working for an organization that doesn’t share your values, but not quite ready to go it alone?  

I work with many people who are considering working for themselves to make work more fulfilling, but the solitary path is not an easy one and it is certainly not for everyone. For many workers who are feeling stuck, there is a growing movement called the Free Agent economy. Free agents are people who work in flexible environments and set up their own work rules.  They can operate within larger companies on a contract basis, or they can be self-employed. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, an estimated 40% of all U.S. workers now operate on a part-time or contract basis.

What exactly is a “free agent” and what is the advantage of being one?

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Pitfalls to Avoid on the Road Back to Work

The road back to work for many of us can feel like entering the enchanted forest from the Wizard of Oz or the Fire Swamp for all you Princess Bride fans; scary, unknown and full of pitfalls. There are numerous places to get stuck along the path to purposeful work and I am happy to share a few that I have navigated.

Here are a few pitfalls to avoid:

 “I’m not sure what I want to do.” 

Many mothers have spent so much time serving others that theydo not know what they really want anymore. If you are unclear about what your purposeful work is, think about what inspires you. Feel free to dream outside the lines here.  What did you like to do as a child? How do you love to show up for people? Focus on what is important to you and activities that ignite your passion.

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Gathering up your life: Transitioning to Fall

September is the new Summer for Moms!

It’s the first week of Fall, but for many moms with young children it feels like summer has just begun.  The kids are back in school full swing and activities have been sorted out.  Moms can take a collective exhale and breathe some new life into themselves. How about taking a few of those precious moments to gather all of the seemingly disparate parts of your life to see how they fit together?  Hint: Even if your kids are not yet school aged, Fall is a great time for gathering.

Gathering up your life

Why is gathering important?  For me being pulled in many directions is discombobulating, frustrating and exhausting. Taking time out to gather up all the activities, to do’s, schedules and desires in my life and putting them into one place is a necessary exercise to get me back on track.

Gathering also helps integrate the seemingly disparate parts of your life. It is difficult to create meaning when our days are filled with pressure and anxiety from work, kids, meal preparation, volunteer commitments, errands, chores and more kids. Spending our evenings flopped in front of a screen doesn’t help either. This constant state of inattention leaves us out of touch with our emotional life and functioning on autopilot. Gathering helps us to understand what is important and creates a framework to ensure that we focus on the important pieces.

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Turn Resolutions into Decisions

Have you already given up on your New Year’s resolutions?

It turns out that you are not alone. Only 8% of people who make resolutions at the start of the year end up successfully fulfilling them. (Source: University of Scranton. Journal of Clinical Psychology) I am among the 92% who gave up a great intention this year. The goal was for our whole family to cut out desserts and treats during the week. I admit it was bold as there are treats everywhere during the holiday season, but we went for it. The first few days were pretty easy as I had cleared the house of sweets and we were eating at home. Then came a jam-packed day,

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Taking the Hit as a Gift

The Hit

About three months ago, my husband was unexpectedly laid off.  It was a huge blow for him and our family as we were unprepared for this situation.  However, as the news started to sink in, I found myself strangely happy and relieved.  I saw his layoff as gift; it presented an opportunity for him to find a more positive environment where his skills and expertise would be utilized and he would feel challenged.

My aikido teacher, George Leonard, called this awareness, “taking the hit as a gift.”  At various times in life we all receive “hits.”  They can take the form of injury or accident, relationship struggles, career pitfalls, family crises or disappointments.  Some are more forceful than others.  When we receive the hit and label it as “bad” or “negative” we lose the opportunity to grow.  If we receive the hit and look at it as a “gift” we can open up to the possibility to change a pattern, belief, behavior or relationship in our life that is no longer serving us.  We are empowered by this wake-up-call to act in a way that improves our health and wholeness thus embracing the pain or challenge for what it is…an opportunity.

Here are a couple of ways that you can take your next “hit” as a gift:

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Setting Goals that Stick

Have you ever set a goal in the waning hours of the year that seemed doable at the time, but fizzled out around mid-January?  Something like, “this year I will smile more, spend more time with my friends and be easier on myself” or “this year I will save more money.”  These are all worthy goals, but what do they really mean? Are goals like this serving your growth?  And can you stick to them?

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A Season of Smart Service: How to Avoid Giver Burnout

Are You a Selfless Giver?

This time of year is made for givers with countless opportunities to offer time, money, ideas, skills and cheer. However, after giving thanks, giving gifts and giving toasts we can be left fatigued or burned out. Burnout looks and feels differently for many of us, but for me it typically surfaces with feelings of resentment, lack of interest and sloppy work with little follow-through. If you have a giving personality, you’ve probably felt like this from time to time.

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Reentering the Workforce on Your Terms

Picture this, you have been given a gift of two free days to spend as you would like, without your children or spouse. How would you choose to spend those days?   I would choose to work!  Yes, work is what fuels my soul and how I show up in the world outside of my family.  I, like many people, have a to-do list that is a mile long.  I also have dreams of girl’s weekends with spa treatments.  However, working gives me a place to express my ideas and have my talents validated by that other important thing…money!

Does this sound familiar?

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Testimonials Help Transitions

Fall equinox marks more than the changing of seasons for many parents.  With kids back in school and a solid routine in place, we have more time to take care of ourselves and refocus our energy on our goals. I typically welcome this time to invigorate my coaching practice.  This year, however, as I began planning workshops, speaking engagements and accepting more clients, I felt a sense of doubt that I was still a good coach.

I’ve had doubts about my effectiveness as a coach before and a few public speaking-induced panic attacks, but I can usually quiet these fears with

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Positive Procrastination

My house is never cleaner than when I have something really important to do. I am like a Tasmanian devil of de-cluttering and cleaning. I have a standing excuse that I need an uncluttered environment to think, but deep down I feel more benefits to procrastination than a clean work space. Here are a few:

  • You get to put off unpleasant tasks in favor of more enjoyable things
  • Problems may end up getting solved without any effort from you
  • You can delay challenging decisions to gather more information
  • Open space and time enhance creativity
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Making a Change? Get an Accountability Partner

About six months ago, I was faced with the challenge of how to grow my business through social media. I had just walked out of an inspiring seminar armed with information on Facebook pages, Twitter handles and LinkedIn profiles…I was ready to get to work! But a few weeks later, I had not made any progress toward my goal. I flipped back through my notes from the seminar and found a scrawled notation in the margin: “get an accountability partner!” An accountability partner is someone

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