Why Change Leaves Us Feeling Exhausted

Why Change Leaves Us Feeling Exhausted

Whether it is something as simple as the time change twice a year or something more significant like moving into a new job, there is a cost to our physical well-being.  I’m not debating the fact that people are resilient and that a person can build resilience to better cope with change.  Those are both true statements.  I am purely talking about how tired we feel as we go through these shifts. 

Imagine…you are starting a job in a new company.  You are using every ounce of mental and emotional capacity as you ramp up over those first weeks.  You are learning a new culture.  You are learning your new stakeholders.  You may be learning new platforms and processes.  At the end of the day, you are wiped out

Our bodies are constructed of complex, interrelated systems.  It is designed to funnel energy to the system in most need at any given moment.  For example, let’s say your body is digesting your lunch when an emergency situation arises.  Your body puts a hold on digestion temporarily as it pumps adrenaline through you to elicit your fight or flight response mechanism.  This is very similar to how our bodies respond to change.  Our energy reserves are concentrated on adapting to the change, leaving us feeling more tired than usual. 

I experienced this first-hand during a recent job change.  While I was (and still am) excited about the change, by the end of each day in those early weeks I came home feeling exhausted!  I have also observed this same reaction in my older kids as they transition from the school year into the routine of summer.  After the first week of camp, I could tell that they were running on fumes.

So, the next question is “What do I do about it?”.  The answer will vary to some degree according to the individual’s needs.  Yet, the common thread throughout is self-care.  That may look like a long nap over the weekend or an earlier bedtime during the week.   It may be a meal purchased or prepared by someone else.  It may look like housework being put on a temporary hold and only doing the basics in the kitchen.  It may look like asking for some additional help from family and friends for a few weeks.

Regardless of the tactic, the key point is to implement one (or more) to help you during these shifts in your seasons of life.  By accepting that you need some additional self-care during the transition, you boost your likelihood to move through the change more quickly and with more energy.

 

 

Lesley provides individualized coaching to working mothers who are seeking greater satisfaction in their careers.  She helps them uncover their God-given gifts, name their non-negotiable values, and align their career path with those gifts and values to have a greater impact on the world.  Lesley has helped professionals from many different fields, including IT, healthcare, and education.  Schedule a free introductory session with Lesley today to grow more deeply in your career or to make a shift into a role or industry.

 

 

 

 

Feeling Change and Seeing the Other Side

Feeling Change and Seeing the Other Side

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Before the transition, I was the person who knew exactly how to get things done and who to involve to make it happen.  Then, I became the new kid on the block.  I was not sure how to complete even the most mundane tasks, and I felt incredibly silly asking for help.

You may be surprised to learn that I wanted this transition.  I sought out the opportunity to be the new kid.  I recognized the career growth this change would allow for me.  What I did not calculate was how uncomfortable I would feel with being a newbie again.  Yet, after working with my coach (yes, I work with a career and life coach too!), I recognized some patterns from previous experiences to apply to this situation. 

I’m sure you moms will remember being a first-time mother.  There was no instruction manual, and after covering the basics of feeding, burping, napping, diaper changing, and playing, I was all out of ideas when my newborn continued to cry.  I was not much better when my second little one came along a couple of years later.  When I had my third, there was a several year age gap with the other two.  I was a “new” mom again and was amazed at how much baby gear had changed during that window!   

My third cried like all babies tend to do when they are trying to communicate with us, and no, I did not have all the answers.  What I did have this time though was a self-assuredness that he (and I) would be fine.  I also had a friend whose little one was just six months older than mine, and I asked her a lot of questions…a lot of “silly” questions that a mom of two older kids should probably know. 

Not only did we make it through the newborn stage, we are thriving in the three-year-old stage!  As I look back at how our family changed when I became a new mom again, there was certainly a learning curve.  But the joy and fulfillment I now have were unimaginable on the other side of the curve!

Change is uncomfortable.  Change, even good change, is hard.  But when you recognize what is waiting for you on the other side, it makes going through the change worthwhile.

Lesley provides individualized and group coaching to professional moms who are seeking greater satisfaction in their careers and balance with work and home.  Register today to join Lesley’s small, supportive group to help working moms Have Your All.  Space is limited, and the group starts June 12th!

2 Keys to Claiming What is Yours

2 Keys to Claiming What is Yours

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“I’m not a Supermom, just a mom who is trying to keep it all together.”  That’s what one brave mom shared with me this week when I asked to interview her to learn more about her individual story and what themes arise from our collective stories.  That is true for every working mother in America.  We are all simply trying to make it.  We are seeking fulfillment from our careers and satisfaction from raising our kids.  We want to live out our mission in life, so we can make the world a better place. 

What keeps working moms from boldly owning the title of Supermom?  The definition according to Webster is:  an exemplary or exceptional mother, especially one who successfully manages a home and brings up children while also having a full-time job. That may sound like a lot to live up to; yet, I cross paths with hundreds of women who are doing just this.  So what is creating the barrier in proclaiming the Supermom role and how to do move past it?  Here are two keys to boldly claim what is yours:

Embrace your worth – Supermoms are viewed like Superheroes.  Not really human.  The reality is that while Supermoms can’t possibly do everything all the time all on their own these women are quite remarkable.  They are raising amazing kids, managing a household, and progressing their careers.  Forget the pressure of putting yourself on a pedestal, and embrace the truth and worth in the work you are doing on both fronts of your life.

Gain clarity – Along with the elevation of the pedestal comes the sinking feeling of guilt when you are unable to complete every item on your to-do list.  Let’s face it – our to-do lists are ever expanding and are often filled with low impact items.  When we are clear about what is important, those are the things (and people) we spend our time on.  Then, the guilt becomes a non-issue.

Women make up 47% of the US workforce, and 70% of moms with kids under the age of 18 are working moms according to data from the US Department of Labor (2017).  These numbers have continued to climb over the past 70 years.  That means there are a lot of Supermoms out there!

While not one of us is perfect, we are all doing our best both at home and at work.  So claim the role of Supermom, even in your imperfections.  “Your imperfections are marks of authenticity…And that is the beauty of you.”  Isaac Fowler

 Lesley provides individualized and group coaching to professional moms who are seeking greater satisfaction in their careers and balance with work and home.  Register today to join Lesley’s small, supportive group to help Supermoms have their all.  Space is limited, and the group starts soon!

The Myth in “Having It All”

The Myth in “Having It All”

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The workload seemed manageable…until I realized I was pregnant with my second child. 

I had a toddler at home who needed a lot of my attention.  Let’s face it – toddlers like to think they are pretty independent, but the reality is that they require a TON of help.  It is a key age to teach them how to be a contributor to the family, and I love their innate desire to be helpful.  Yet, it takes time, patience, and perseverance to be that teacher and to ultimately see those efforts pay off. 

And to think that I was adding a newborn to this mix just made my head spin!  Don’t get me wrong – I felt very blessed to have these two beautiful souls gifted to my care.  But as a natural introvert I was struggling with how to balance my responsibilities at work managing a large team with my responsibilities at home.  It felt like too much of me was going out, too much of my energy would be spent caring for others.  I was worried that there would not be enough energy left for me.

I felt like I was at a critical point in my life and in my career.  I had to determine how to move forward.  Should I stay in this role with 19 direct reports while caring for 2 small kids at home?  How would I manage it all?  What would I have to compromise?

In this world we are told that Supermoms are capable of having it all.  Yet, I intuitively knew I could not do it ALL.  I had to define what was most important to me.  Once I clearly stated what my priorities were both at work and at home, I had a clear path forward

While I loved having a team, I realized that I could build additional skill sets as an individual contributor.  So I made a lateral move that allowed me to gain experiences that have led me to the success I have achieved today.  On the homefront I decided that my key priorities were clean clothes and food to eat. 

Setting these priorities allowed me to redefine “having it all” to “having my all.” 

Lesley provides individualized and group coaching to professional moms who are seeking greater satisfaction in their careers and balance with work and home.  Register today to join Lesley’s small, supportive group to help Supermoms have their all.  Space is limited, and the group starts soon!

Biting off too much?

Biting off too much?

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Going into the month of April I knew it would be a busy month.  My husband and I have something big happening every weekend of the month!  For the past two weekends, it has been a busy Saturday and a busy Sunday for our family.  That means no down-time for this mama. 

I don’t know about you, but I need some quiet time, especially on the weekends.  Just yesterday I was walking in my front yard when I realized that my azaleas are in full bloom.  I thought…”When did that happen?”.  It just goes to show how overfull my plate has been these last 14 days that I have missed the beautiful white blooms that fill the shade of my river birch.

I know this level of energy, effort, and stress is not sustainable.  Thankfully, I have learned to limit how frequently I put myself in this position.  As I enter into the work week, I look ahead at the amount of energy I will need for the work that is facing me.  If I do into the week already low on energy from a packed weekend, I am drained by mid-week.  Who is putting all of this stress on me?  Mostly myself.

I coach professional women who are in a similar boat. We all find ourselves trying to be Super Mom.  We have created an unrealistic vision of who we are supposed to be and how we are supposed to show up in all the facets of our lives.  We are leaders in our industries; we are volunteers in our communities; we are the moms who organize sleepovers, playdates, and the illustrious birthday parties. 

Yet, in this midst of all this busyness we often feel like we are not truly doing justice in any of these facets, much less all of them.  We strive for this perfect vision and often feel like we have fallen short of the mark.  In many instances, we have lost sight of who we are outside of our formal roles of wife, mother, and employee.  We have bitten off more than we intended. 

 

Lesley provides individualized and group coaching to professionals who are seeking greater satisfaction in their careers.  She helps them uncover their God-given gifts, name their non-negotiable values, and align their career path with those gifts and values to have a greater impact on the world.  Lesley has helped professionals from many different fields, including IT, healthcare, and education.  Register today for Lesley’s teleseminar on Thursday, April 19th on How to Let Go of Super Mom Stress by emailing lesley@providencepathway.com

A Time for New Beginnings

A Time for New Beginnings

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Happy Easter!  Easter and springtime are a favorite for so many of us.  The cold of winter is over, and we are reminded of the promise of a new beginning when we look at the budding trees and the resurrection of Jesus.

I, too, am considering this Easter a new beginning.  For almost two years I have written a weekly blog sharing insights into development and career growth.  This spring I am moving to a bi-weekly blog so I can spend more time investing in you and in programs that are important to you.

In the research I have done over the past couple of months, work life balance keeps coming up as the number one pain point for the vast majority of professionals, especially working moms.  Many of us feel conflicted in wanting to grow our careers and yet feeling that our commitments at home will suffer while doing so.  This month I am launching a group coaching program specifically on work life balance and how to have it all

In this 4 week program, we will explore common stressors that make balancing work and life difficult.   We will discover what it takes to create a new beginning, including healthy boundary and expectation setting for ourselves and those around us.  We will then begin to transform our ideal into reality!

Click here to register for this limited program.  I am so excited about this new beginning and about being able to partner with you in new ways!

 

Lesley provides individualized and group coaching to professionals who are seeking greater satisfaction in their careers.  She helps them uncover their God-given gifts, name their non-negotiable values, and align their career path with those gifts and values to have a greater impact on the world.  Lesley has helped professionals from many different fields, including IT, healthcare, and education.  Register today for Lesley’s new group coaching program, Work Life Balance:  How to Have It All

The Role Luck Plays in Our Careers

The Role Luck Plays in Our Careers

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Luck vs preparation?  I have spoken with many professionals about the role that each played in their career, and I have yet to find someone who attributes their success all to luck. 

Many professionals see a direct correlation between the actions they have taken and the progress they have had in their careers.  As they sought new knowledge or additional skills, it led them down further down their career path and opened new doors for them.  The common theme among these individuals is the effort they made to continue growing rather than becoming complacent or stagnant. 

Several professionals commented on how they don’t believe in luck.  However, they do recognize God’s providence in leading them to the right role at the right time.   One of my favorite verses is Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  It seems that many others share this sentiment.

We all want more of something from our careers, and we are all responsible for taking an active role in achieving that something.  Yet, we cannot do it by shear will.  We must quiet ourselves and listen for the nudges that come from deep within.  So often, those are the guiding signals that help us find our way.

As you think about what you want in your career in the next year, think about two things:

1.     What action will help you bring this vision to reality? 

2.     How will you quiet yourself to hear the whispered voice directing you?

 

 

Lesley provides individualized coaching to professionals who are seeking greater satisfaction in their careers.  She helps them uncover their God-given gifts, name their non-negotiable values, and align their career path with those gifts and values to have a greater impact on the world.  Lesley has helped professionals from many different fields, including IT, healthcare, and education.  Schedule a free introductory session with Lesley today to grow more deeply in your career or to make a shift into a role or industry

The Sum of the Parts

The Sum of the Parts

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The theme we have been examining this month is luck vs preparation when it comes to your career.  Last week we heard from one professional’s point of view on how preparation led him to new opportunities.  This week we look at this same concept through the lens of another professional:

“I am 36 years old and it has only been in the last 3 or 4 years that I realized the difference between a job and a calling. Not all jobs lead to your calling, but God can use these jobs to prepare you for your calling. I consider all the jobs, now and in the past, to be part of my preparation tool kit.”

She goes on to share this metaphor:

“Think of the best meal you have ever had. How it smelled, looked, tasted and made you feel. You wanted more, right?? Now, that meal did not just come to be. Rather it required preparation and ingredients. Each ingredient played a part in the final product. The same has been true for me. While not all jobs have been my favorite, they have shaped me into the woman I am today and the woman I am still becoming.

A career journey is simply that...a journey. At 34 I decided to go Graduate school. I realized a missing ingredient for my future path was education in the field of study I wanted to practice in. The past 18 months have been filled with preparation for the next part of my journey. But it is not just the end result...it is not just the degree. The degree represents months and months of preparation, studying, and growth.

So, to answer your question, I believe in preparation. And I believe preparation at times can make us feel "lucky." But the truth is, it is in the preparation that we are growing our skills to become who we want to be so we can do the things that bring us fullness and joy.”

This professional reflected back on conscious and unconscious preparation.  She believes that every experience plays a role in forming you and preparing you for your next step.  As I look back on my own career, I recognize the skills I gained in each of the roles I have had and how those collectively shaped my skillset to prepare me for a role that I was truly passionate about. 

How have the stops along your career path provided you with skills and experiences you are using today?

Lesley provides individualized coaching to professionals who are seeking greater satisfaction in their careers.  She helps them uncover their God-given gifts, name their non-negotiable values, and align their career path with those gifts and values to have a greater impact on the world.  Lesley has helped professionals from many different fields, including IT, healthcare, and education.  Schedule a free introductory session with Lesley today to grow more deeply in your career or to make a shift into a role or industry.

 

How to Pave Your Way to Career Success

How to Pave Your Way to Career Success

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With a name like O’Rourke, St. Patrick’s Day is a big hit in our house. Our family consumes way too much green food coloring on this special day as we feast on a breakfast of green pancakes, green syrup, green bagels, and even green milk.  I know…it’s too much for me too, but the kids get a kick out of the novelty of this meal. 

Given the Irish theme of March, I am examining the role that luck and preparation play in our career journeys.  I interviewed professionals to uncover how much they felt luck contributed to their success compared to preparation.

When reflecting on their career progression, many professionals shared that because they had invested in their natural skills and talents they were ready when opportunities presented themselves.  Dwayne said:

“For me, I think it’s been about 60/40. Preparation, such as education and a desire to learn, paved the way for success. That said, I have been lucky to have great bosses that were able to see potential well beyond my education and either point me towards, or create, new opportunities within the organization.

For example, I began my career at Dow as a chemist, but I was also good at math, particularly statistics. My boss noted this and provided opportunities within the department to express these talents. Then, one day the leader of the Statistical and Mathematical Modelling department set up a meeting with me and asked if I would be interested in a new opportunity within her group. She mentioned she heard good things from my current boss and reviewed my performance evaluations and decided to create a role if I was interested. The rest is history.”

Dwayne’s experience matches that of my own and countless other professionals.  Luck alone does not get you very far.  However, the effort and discipline we exert on growing and developing ourselves often leads us to the next step along our path.

How are you setting yourself up for success with your own career? What small steps can you take now to help you be prepared when your lucky number is called?

 

Lesley provides individualized coaching to professionals who are seeking greater satisfaction in their careers.  She helps them uncover their God-given gifts, name their non-negotiable values, and align their career path with those gifts and values to have a greater impact on the world.  Lesley has helped professionals from many different fields, including IT, healthcare, and education.  Schedule a free introductory session with Lesley today to grow more deeply in your career or to make a shift into a role or industry.

Luck or Preparation?

Luck or Preparation?

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In the heart of North Carolina, everyone knows that the month of March is all about March Madness and college basketball.  While we all have our favorite team, mine is my alma mater, NC State.  Even though State has had a few games that, on paper, we should have won, I have been impressed with our new coach, Kevin Keatts, and how he has built up the stamina of the players through his practices.   

I once worked with someone who said, “Chance favors the prepared.”  This quote is a spinoff from Louis Pasteur’s statement: “Chance favors the prepared mind.”  How much do you think luck vs preparation play a role in winning college basketball games?  How much so in advancing your career?

I reached out to get additional perspectives on this last question.  Over the next few weeks I will be sharing the themes that arose from this research with you along with personal stories from the participants.   

In the meantime, think back over your career journey to date.  How did luck play a role in your path?  What about preparation?  As we examine the two in retrospect, we will gain insight into actions that will set us up for success in the future.

Lesley provides individualized coaching to professionals who are seeking greater satisfaction in their careers.  She helps them uncover their God-given gifts, name their non-negotiable values, and align their career path with those gifts and values to have a greater impact on the world.  Lesley has helped professionals from many different fields, including IT, healthcare, and education.  Schedule a free introductory session with Lesley today to grow more deeply in your career or to make a shift into a role or industry.

When Your Pitch Falls Flat

When Your Pitch Falls Flat

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Imagine this…you are pitching an idea to your boss, an idea that you are passionate about, an idea that could be a game-changer in your organization.  You share your excitement about how this concept will positively benefit the business.  Your boss responds with skepticism.  She is not easily sold on this new concept.  She wants more analysis before moving forward in this direction.  You leave the meeting feeling deflated.

This scenario is probably familiar to you.  We all have had experiences where we presented a proposal only to find it halted or disregarded by the key decision maker.  How can we learn from this and change the outcome in the future? 

The key is recognizing what is important to your boss (or any key decision maker).  Once you know what drives her, what her thought process is, you can adjust your pitch to appeal to her priorities.  Think of it as learning a new language.  When you can speak in the language of your boss, she can hear the message you are sharing.

“The only way on Earth to influence other people is to talk about what they want and show them how to get it.”  Dale Carnegie

It sounds complicated – learning the language of the person you want to influence.  However, it is actually quite easy.  There are simple tools you can use to diagnose someone’s communication preferences.  Each preference has basic do’s and don’ts of how to help someone of that preference hear your message.  The hardest part is slowing down long enough to diagnose and then adjust your pitch.  But the payoff of talking in the same language as your boss is huge!

 

Lesley provides individualized coaching to professionals who are seeking greater satisfaction in their careers.  She helps them uncover their God-given gifts, name their non-negotiable values, and align their career path with those gifts and values to have a greater impact on the world.  Lesley has helped professionals from many different fields, including IT, healthcare, and education.  Schedule a free introductory session with Lesley today and learn how you can enhance your communication skills to enhance your career journey.

Are You Communicating or Getting By?

Are You Communicating or Getting By?

 I recently came across a quote by Jim Rohn that made me pause: “If you just communicate, you can get by.  But if you communicate skillfully, you can work miracles.”  All too frequently, we are simply getting by.   This past week I worked with a professional who recently moved into a new role where she is responsible for a small team of individuals.  Her company provides mentors to new leaders, which is a great asset.  Unfortunately, her mentor’s communication style is different from her own, and she is having a difficult time determining how to use the information provided in a way that is authentic to her own voice.  So, while her mentor experience is helping her, it could really be a boost to the start of her journey as a leader if the communication was more skillfully delivered in the frame of her stylistic approach.  Several months ago I had the opportunity to work with an exuberant professional, someone who was passionate and quickly able to motivate a group to move forward in a common vision.  She was challenged by the communication style of her direct manager and often felt stymied by their interactions.  She told with me, “Nothing I share with her is good enough. She always makes corrections on my work. It feels like she is nitpicking rather than providing constructive feedback.”  Through our conversations, I helped my client gain perspective on what was important for her leader and what motivated her.  My client began to align her communication style more closely to that of her leader, and I recall when she came back to me and said, “We were reviewing a presentation I had created, and my leader suggested a change in the flow of the presentation.  Then, she said, ‘No, don’t change it.  The way you have it laid out works just as well.’ “ My client had a breakthrough moment where she recognized that she had maintained her authentic voice while aligning her communication to her direct leader’s preference.  This breakthrough propelled her working relationship with her leader forward to create a winning situation for herself and for her career.  We all encounter people within our work with whom we find communication to be easy, and we all have someone who comes to mind as being more difficult to communicate.  When you apply the platinum rule of packaging your communication in a way that allows the recipient to hear it, your communication becomes much more than just getting by.  The ability to align your communication to another person’s preference is where the magic begins.  Are you ready to do more than just get by?   Lesley provides individualized coaching to professionals who are seeking greater satisfaction in their careers.  She helps them uncover their God-given gifts, name their non-negotiable values, and align their career path with those gifts and values to have a greater impact on the world.  Lesley has helped professionals from many different fields, including IT, healthcare, and education.  Schedule a    free introductory session    with Lesley today and learn how you can enhance your communication skills to enhance your career journey

I recently came across a quote by Jim Rohn that made me pause: “If you just communicate, you can get by.  But if you communicate skillfully, you can work miracles.”  All too frequently, we are simply getting by. 

This past week I worked with a professional who recently moved into a new role where she is responsible for a small team of individuals.  Her company provides mentors to new leaders, which is a great asset.  Unfortunately, her mentor’s communication style is different from her own, and she is having a difficult time determining how to use the information provided in a way that is authentic to her own voice.  So, while her mentor experience is helping her, it could really be a boost to the start of her journey as a leader if the communication was more skillfully delivered in the frame of her stylistic approach.

Several months ago I had the opportunity to work with an exuberant professional, someone who was passionate and quickly able to motivate a group to move forward in a common vision.  She was challenged by the communication style of her direct manager and often felt stymied by their interactions.  She told with me, “Nothing I share with her is good enough. She always makes corrections on my work. It feels like she is nitpicking rather than providing constructive feedback.”  Through our conversations, I helped my client gain perspective on what was important for her leader and what motivated her.  My client began to align her communication style more closely to that of her leader, and I recall when she came back to me and said, “We were reviewing a presentation I had created, and my leader suggested a change in the flow of the presentation.  Then, she said, ‘No, don’t change it.  The way you have it laid out works just as well.’ “ My client had a breakthrough moment where she recognized that she had maintained her authentic voice while aligning her communication to her direct leader’s preference.  This breakthrough propelled her working relationship with her leader forward to create a winning situation for herself and for her career.

We all encounter people within our work with whom we find communication to be easy, and we all have someone who comes to mind as being more difficult to communicate.  When you apply the platinum rule of packaging your communication in a way that allows the recipient to hear it, your communication becomes much more than just getting by.  The ability to align your communication to another person’s preference is where the magic begins.  Are you ready to do more than just get by?

Lesley provides individualized coaching to professionals who are seeking greater satisfaction in their careers.  She helps them uncover their God-given gifts, name their non-negotiable values, and align their career path with those gifts and values to have a greater impact on the world.  Lesley has helped professionals from many different fields, including IT, healthcare, and education.  Schedule a free introductory session with Lesley today and learn how you can enhance your communication skills to enhance your career journey

The Illusion of Communication

The Illusion of Communication

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I love the music from My Fair Lady, and my favorite song from it is “I Could Have Danced All Night”.  I came across an intriguing quote from George Bernard Shaw, the author of the play, where he said, “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”

So frequently we have communicated something of importance to someone; yet, they are unaware of exactly what we said.  The meaning was lost in the words that we used.  The intent was not conveyed.  The recipient was focused on another aspect of the topic.  Suddenly, what we thought was clearly stated has been lost in the wind, leaving both the sender and receiver at odds on what was really said.

For those who tuned in last week, I said I would share how a communication concept has changed the way I think and talk with others.  Prior to using this communication tool, I would approach important conversations with the golden rule:  Do unto others as you would have done unto you.  I would think through what I would want to know and how I would want the details laid out.  This method often did not yield the result for which I was hoping.

Since learning about this tool and practicing it over the past ten years, I now use the platinum rule for communication:  Do unto others as they would have done unto themselves.  It really is as simple as respecting the fact that different people appreciate different types of approaches in their communications.  I now recognize the individual who needs to talk about their weekend before we jump into deeper conversation. I also recognize those who have no desire to share their private stories but want to dive straight into the facts of our meeting. 

So, no matter whether you are presenting to a group of decision makers, articulating the value you bring in a job interview, or establishing relationships with new team members, communicating in each person’s desired method will allow your message to heard.   End the illusion of communicating by applying the platinum rule.  Package your message in a way that your recipient will be sure to hear it.

Lesley provides individualized coaching to professionals who are seeking greater satisfaction in their careers.  She helps them uncover their God-given gifts, name their non-negotiable values, and align their career path with those gifts and values to have a greater impact on the world.  Lesley has helped professionals from many different fields, including IT, healthcare, and education.  Schedule a free introductory session with Lesley today and learn how you can enhance your communication skills.

The Secret to Every Good Relationship?

The Secret to Every Good Relationship?

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The secret to every good relationship, whether at work or in your personal life, is communication.  Yet, communication is frequently a top-rated area for improvement for many companies and individuals. 

According to Avid Grossman in “The Cost of Poor Communications”, a “survey of 400 companies with 100,000 employees each cited an average loss per company of $62.4 million per year because of inadequate communication to and between employees”.  I’m sure you can relate – we have all been on both the sending and receiving end of poor communications.  While our intent is almost always good, somewhere the message gets lost between us and the recipient.

But we don’t have to accept the general trends.  There is hope for individuals and groups to learn how to share messages that are heard and interpreted as they were intended.  And the best news is that the concept is fairly easy

Stop by next week, and I will tell you more about how this concept has changed the way I think and talk with others!

Lesley provides individualized coaching to professionals who are seeking greater satisfaction in their careers.  She helps them uncover their God-given gifts, name their non-negotiable values, and align their career path with those gifts and values to have a greater impact on the world.  Lesley has helped professionals from many different fields, including IT, healthcare, and education.  Access Lesley’s free self-assessment to determine how well you recognize and use your God-given gifts!

If You Aren’t Celebrating, You Aren’t Achieving

If You Aren’t Celebrating, You Aren’t Achieving

 January is coming to a close.  I know – it’s hard to believe that 1 out of 12 months in this year have already gone by.  What have you achieved during these first 5 weeks of the year?   My goals for this year fell into 3 buckets:  spiritual, fitness, and professional.  As I reflect back on my accomplishments, I have consistently (not 100% but I am not aiming for perfection) met my spiritual goals for the month of January; I have created more structure to achieve my fitness goal and have begun implementation; and I am on pace to meet my professional goal for the first quarter of the year.  Not too shabby, especially considering the amount of inconsistent scheduling (due to snowy weather and school closures) as well as a nasty sinus cold that took me down for a little over a week.   While there is still work to be done in these 3 areas, I want to celebrate the small wins that I have gained over this month.  If I wait until I have reached my larger goal, I may never reach it.  However, through positive reinforcement, I will continue to feed my intrinsic drive to reach the goals I have set for myself.   Did you know that when you receive recognition for the good work you have done, your body releases dopamine.  According to Psychology Today, “Dopamine … helps regulate movement and emotional responses, and it enables us not only to see rewards, but to take action to move toward them.”  So, as you are working towards your goals, stopping to recognize and celebrate those small wins along the way allows your body to release dopamine, which encourages you to keep up the good work.   These celebrations do not have to be extravagant.  My examples for this month’s rewards include sharing a success story with my husband, enjoying a cup of hot chocolate with a friend, and setting up a weekly walk and chat with a colleague.  All in all, those are small, but meaningful rewards to me.   I would love to hear what rewards are meaningful to you.  How do you celebrate the milestone victories as you continue to work towards your goals?  Share your ideas in the comments below.  I would love some fresh thoughts on how I can celebrate my wins in February!   Lesley provides individualized coaching to professionals who are seeking greater satisfaction in their careers.  She helps them uncover their God-given gifts, name their non-negotiable values, and align their career path with those gifts and values to have a greater impact on the world.  Lesley has helped professionals from many different fields, including IT, healthcare, and education.  Access Lesley’s    free self-assessment    to determine how well you recognize and use your God-given gifts!

January is coming to a close.  I know – it’s hard to believe that 1 out of 12 months in this year have already gone by.  What have you achieved during these first 5 weeks of the year? 

My goals for this year fell into 3 buckets:  spiritual, fitness, and professional.  As I reflect back on my accomplishments, I have consistently (not 100% but I am not aiming for perfection) met my spiritual goals for the month of January; I have created more structure to achieve my fitness goal and have begun implementation; and I am on pace to meet my professional goal for the first quarter of the year.  Not too shabby, especially considering the amount of inconsistent scheduling (due to snowy weather and school closures) as well as a nasty sinus cold that took me down for a little over a week. 

While there is still work to be done in these 3 areas, I want to celebrate the small wins that I have gained over this month.  If I wait until I have reached my larger goal, I may never reach it.  However, through positive reinforcement, I will continue to feed my intrinsic drive to reach the goals I have set for myself. 

Did you know that when you receive recognition for the good work you have done, your body releases dopamine.  According to Psychology Today, “Dopamine … helps regulate movement and emotional responses, and it enables us not only to see rewards, but to take action to move toward them.”  So, as you are working towards your goals, stopping to recognize and celebrate those small wins along the way allows your body to release dopamine, which encourages you to keep up the good work. 

These celebrations do not have to be extravagant.  My examples for this month’s rewards include sharing a success story with my husband, enjoying a cup of hot chocolate with a friend, and setting up a weekly walk and chat with a colleague.  All in all, those are small, but meaningful rewards to me. 

I would love to hear what rewards are meaningful to you.  How do you celebrate the milestone victories as you continue to work towards your goals?  Share your ideas in the comments below.  I would love some fresh thoughts on how I can celebrate my wins in February!

Lesley provides individualized coaching to professionals who are seeking greater satisfaction in their careers.  She helps them uncover their God-given gifts, name their non-negotiable values, and align their career path with those gifts and values to have a greater impact on the world.  Lesley has helped professionals from many different fields, including IT, healthcare, and education.  Access Lesley’s free self-assessment to determine how well you recognize and use your God-given gifts!

The #1 Secret to Achieving Your Goals

The #1 Secret to Achieving Your Goals

 I am sure everyone can relate to an aspiration in your personal or professional life that would be nice to achieve. Perhaps it is something that you really  want  to achieve.  Yet, many of us have examples of times where our words and our actions do not match.  While we  say  the goal is important or will make a significant difference in our lives, we lack the focus, the follow through, or the commitment to making it a reality.  While we pride ourselves on independence, we are called to be in community with others, and when you look at successful individuals, they all point to someone along the way who contributed to their success.  When I launched my coaching business, I sought help from a business coach.  Our weekly meetings helped me stay focused and gain the results I needed to embark on my new endeavor.  Even now I work with a coach and a mentor to continue the momentum I have started.   Take a look again at your goals for 2018.  Which ones are truly important to you?  Which ones will be game changers for you once you accomplish them?  Then, reflect on who you will partner with to see the success you desire.  Ask them this week!   “No one – not rock stars, not professional athletes, not software billionaires, and not even geniuses – ever makes it alone.”  Malcolm Gladwell   Lesley provides individualized coaching to professionals who are seeking greater satisfaction in their careers.  She helps them uncover their God-given gifts, name their non-negotiable values, and align their career path with those gifts and values to have a greater impact on the world.  Lesley has helped professionals from many different fields, including IT, healthcare, pharma, and education.  Access Lesley’s    free self-assessment    to determine how well you recognize and use your God-given gifts!

I am sure everyone can relate to an aspiration in your personal or professional life that would be nice to achieve. Perhaps it is something that you really want to achieve.  Yet, many of us have examples of times where our words and our actions do not match.  While we say the goal is important or will make a significant difference in our lives, we lack the focus, the follow through, or the commitment to making it a reality.

While we pride ourselves on independence, we are called to be in community with others, and when you look at successful individuals, they all point to someone along the way who contributed to their success.  When I launched my coaching business, I sought help from a business coach.  Our weekly meetings helped me stay focused and gain the results I needed to embark on my new endeavor.  Even now I work with a coach and a mentor to continue the momentum I have started. 

Take a look again at your goals for 2018.  Which ones are truly important to you?  Which ones will be game changers for you once you accomplish them?  Then, reflect on who you will partner with to see the success you desire.  Ask them this week! 

“No one – not rock stars, not professional athletes, not software billionaires, and not even geniuses – ever makes it alone.”  Malcolm Gladwell

Lesley provides individualized coaching to professionals who are seeking greater satisfaction in their careers.  She helps them uncover their God-given gifts, name their non-negotiable values, and align their career path with those gifts and values to have a greater impact on the world.  Lesley has helped professionals from many different fields, including IT, healthcare, pharma, and education.  Access Lesley’s free self-assessment to determine how well you recognize and use your God-given gifts!

How to Tackle the Immense

How to Tackle the Immense

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We are now halfway through the month of January.  That’s right – week 3 of New Year’s resolutions!  How are you doing so far?  I made concrete goals for my spiritual life in 2018 and have done well in honoring those.  I still have some work to do in mapping out goals for other areas of my life.  Here’s how I am setting out to make them realistic and achievable!

I hate working out.  There was a point in time when I truly enjoyed it, but that time has since passed.  However, with all of the desserts I allowed myself to consume over the holidays, my pants are no longer fitting as I would like.  So, that means I must burn calories, which means I must exercise (and stop nibbling on treats!). 

I am not looking for a dramatic change in weight.  I simply want to shed a couple of pounds so I don’t need to buy a new wardrobe.  When I looked at the math, it will take 1400 minutes of walking to lose 2 pounds.  That is a large number!  However, when I break that down, it doesn’t seem as scary.  The loop around my neighborhood takes about 20 minutes to walk, which equates to a total of 70 trips around my neighborhood.  Even if I only make one trip a day, I can reach my goal in just over 2 months!  Now that seems doable!

In my professional life, I have to get cracking on my continuing education units, which will be due at the end of 2019.  I know – it seems like a long way away so I don’t need to really work on this one now.  However, with the time and cost commitment, I know I will be more successful and less stressed if I start working on them now.  I need a total of 40 units by December 2019, but my focus for 2018 is gaining 20 of these.  When I break that down into quarters, it is 5 per quarter.  My next step in this process is researching development opportunities by month for Q1 and signing up for courses.

These are two examples of how I am tackling larger goals by breaking them down into bite-size, not-so-scary goals.  That’s the secret for successful people.  Don’t become immobilized by the immensity of your desired outcome.  Tackle the baby steps that will lead to you to it instead.  As Kristi Yamaguchi said: “I always try to start out with some type of goal. Then I work backward and think of what I need to do to get there, and give myself smaller goals that are more immediate.”

Lesley provides individualized coaching to professionals who are seeking greater satisfaction in their careers.  She helps them uncover their God-given gifts, name their non-negotiable values, and align their career path with those gifts and values to have a greater impact on the world.  Lesley has helped professionals from many different fields, including IT, healthcare, pharma, and education.  Access Lesley’s free self-assessment to determine how well you recognize and use your God-given gifts!

How Specificity Boosts Your Success Rate

How Specificity Boosts Your Success Rate

 If you read last week’s blog post, you saw that Secret #1 to achieve your New Year’s resolutions is to be specific.  But you may be stuck on what that really means and how to apply it to your career goals.  Start by defining what success looks like for you or as Stephen Covey says with Habit 2 “Begin with the end in mind.”  The more clarity you have around what you are trying to accomplish will result in a more specific action plan to get you to that final outcome.  Many professionals are seeking to enhance their current job performance by gaining new knowledge or new skillsets.  McCall, Lombardo, and Eichinger state: “Development generally begins with a realization of current or future need and the motivation to do something about it. This might come from feedback, a mistake, watching other people’s reactions, failing or not being up to a task – in other words, from experience. The odds are that development will be about 70% from on-the-job experiences - working on tasks and problems; about 20% from feedback and working around good and bad examples of the need; and 10% from courses and reading.”  So, taking a class or reading a book or article will help you gain knowledge on a topic, but it is through application of that knowledge where you will reap the benefits within your career.  One example from the 20% bucket is:   Meet monthly with a mentor to learn how to use business reports to increase my/my team’s productivity by 5%.  An example from the 70% category is:  Work with a coach bi-weekly to assess the effectiveness of my communication strategy with my boss to influence decision-making within my area of expertise.  If you desire a career change, your specific goals may look more like:  Expand my network by 3 new contacts per week with individuals in the industry to which I want to move.  Or:  Manage an end-to-end project within my current role in Q1 to enhance my assessment skills and project management skills for the role in which I want to move next.  These are just a few examples of specificity in writing out your goals.  Take a look back at your own.  If they are too vague, I challenge you to re-write them.  Spending a little time now in defining how you will move forward in your career development will pay off in the end!   Lesley provides individualized coaching to professionals who are seeking greater satisfaction in their careers.  She helps them uncover their God-given gifts, name their non-negotiable values, and align their career path with those gifts and values to have a greater impact on the world.  Lesley has helped professionals from many different fields, including IT, healthcare, and education.  Access Lesley’s    free self-assessment    to determine how well you recognize and use your God-given gifts!

If you read last week’s blog post, you saw that Secret #1 to achieve your New Year’s resolutions is to be specific.  But you may be stuck on what that really means and how to apply it to your career goals.

Start by defining what success looks like for you or as Stephen Covey says with Habit 2 “Begin with the end in mind.”  The more clarity you have around what you are trying to accomplish will result in a more specific action plan to get you to that final outcome.

Many professionals are seeking to enhance their current job performance by gaining new knowledge or new skillsets.  McCall, Lombardo, and Eichinger state: “Development generally begins with a realization of current or future need and the motivation to do something about it. This might come from feedback, a mistake, watching other people’s reactions, failing or not being up to a task – in other words, from experience. The odds are that development will be about 70% from on-the-job experiences - working on tasks and problems; about 20% from feedback and working around good and bad examples of the need; and 10% from courses and reading.”

So, taking a class or reading a book or article will help you gain knowledge on a topic, but it is through application of that knowledge where you will reap the benefits within your career.  One example from the 20% bucket is: 

Meet monthly with a mentor to learn how to use business reports to increase my/my team’s productivity by 5%.

An example from the 70% category is:

Work with a coach bi-weekly to assess the effectiveness of my communication strategy with my boss to influence decision-making within my area of expertise.

If you desire a career change, your specific goals may look more like:

Expand my network by 3 new contacts per week with individuals in the industry to which I want to move.

Or:

Manage an end-to-end project within my current role in Q1 to enhance my assessment skills and project management skills for the role in which I want to move next.

These are just a few examples of specificity in writing out your goals.  Take a look back at your own.  If they are too vague, I challenge you to re-write them.  Spending a little time now in defining how you will move forward in your career development will pay off in the end!

Lesley provides individualized coaching to professionals who are seeking greater satisfaction in their careers.  She helps them uncover their God-given gifts, name their non-negotiable values, and align their career path with those gifts and values to have a greater impact on the world.  Lesley has helped professionals from many different fields, including IT, healthcare, and education.  Access Lesley’s free self-assessment to determine how well you recognize and use your God-given gifts!

3 Secrets to Successful Resolutions

3 Secrets to Successful Resolutions

 The turn of a new year always invokes the generation of New Year Resolutions.  Many of us have already determined what ours are for 2018.  Yet, only 8% of resolutions are fulfilled.  That’s right – 92% of the resolutions we have set will fail!  Let’s look at how we can set ourselves up for success:   Secret #1 - Specific   Write down your resolution.  How clear and specific is it?  Remember, resolutions are synonymous with goals.  If your goal is not specific, you have not chance to achieve it because success is not well-defined.   If you want to grow in an area of knowledge or skill for your career over this next year, you must be clear about what gap you are seeking to close and express how you will know that you have closed that gap with the actions you plan to take.   Secret #2 - Realistic and Attainable   I recall several years ago encountering an individual who had been recently hired into an entry-level position.  This individual stated that she wanted to move into role where she would be leading people.  While that is certainly a good career goal, it was not realistic in a 12-18 month time frame given this individual’s past experiences.   That same resolution can be achieved by the following series of smaller resolutions: 1) gain subject matter expertise in key company processes, 2) teach colleagues about 3 process changes and their impacts, 3) learn the mechanics and logistics of 2 reports, etc.  By breaking down the resolution into smaller bites, you are more likely to reach success and gain momentum towards your larger resolution.   Secret #3 – Accountable   One of my resolutions for 2018 involves a 7am meeting once a month on a Saturday.  Saturdays tend to be the only day that I don’t have to jump out of bed and get moving right away so I know this one will be a challenge for me.  So, rather than doing this on my own (and falling into the 92% once I hit February), I have engaged an accountability partner to help me stay on course.   Accountability partners can be mentors or coaches.  There is a huge difference in following through on your actions to reach your goal when you have committed to a relationship with another person who will ask you if you completed what you said was important for you to complete.  I encourage you to take 15 -30 minutes this week to examine your New Year’s resolutions.  Make the tweaks necessary now to set yourself up to be a part of the 8% of resolutions that are successfully meet this year.      Lesley provides individualized coaching to professionals who are seeking greater satisfaction in their careers.  She helps them uncover their God-given gifts, name their non-negotiable values, and align their career path with those gifts and values to have a greater impact on the world.  Lesley has helped professionals from many different fields, including IT, healthcare, and education.  Access Lesley’s    free self-assessment    to determine how well you recognize and use your God-given gifts

The turn of a new year always invokes the generation of New Year Resolutions.  Many of us have already determined what ours are for 2018.  Yet, only 8% of resolutions are fulfilled.  That’s right – 92% of the resolutions we have set will fail!

Let’s look at how we can set ourselves up for success:

Secret #1 - Specific

Write down your resolution.  How clear and specific is it?  Remember, resolutions are synonymous with goals.  If your goal is not specific, you have not chance to achieve it because success is not well-defined. 

If you want to grow in an area of knowledge or skill for your career over this next year, you must be clear about what gap you are seeking to close and express how you will know that you have closed that gap with the actions you plan to take.

Secret #2 - Realistic and Attainable

I recall several years ago encountering an individual who had been recently hired into an entry-level position.  This individual stated that she wanted to move into role where she would be leading people.  While that is certainly a good career goal, it was not realistic in a 12-18 month time frame given this individual’s past experiences. 

That same resolution can be achieved by the following series of smaller resolutions: 1) gain subject matter expertise in key company processes, 2) teach colleagues about 3 process changes and their impacts, 3) learn the mechanics and logistics of 2 reports, etc.  By breaking down the resolution into smaller bites, you are more likely to reach success and gain momentum towards your larger resolution.

Secret #3 – Accountable

One of my resolutions for 2018 involves a 7am meeting once a month on a Saturday.  Saturdays tend to be the only day that I don’t have to jump out of bed and get moving right away so I know this one will be a challenge for me.  So, rather than doing this on my own (and falling into the 92% once I hit February), I have engaged an accountability partner to help me stay on course. 

Accountability partners can be mentors or coaches.  There is a huge difference in following through on your actions to reach your goal when you have committed to a relationship with another person who will ask you if you completed what you said was important for you to complete.

I encourage you to take 15 -30 minutes this week to examine your New Year’s resolutions.  Make the tweaks necessary now to set yourself up to be a part of the 8% of resolutions that are successfully meet this year.

 

Lesley provides individualized coaching to professionals who are seeking greater satisfaction in their careers.  She helps them uncover their God-given gifts, name their non-negotiable values, and align their career path with those gifts and values to have a greater impact on the world.  Lesley has helped professionals from many different fields, including IT, healthcare, and education.  Access Lesley’s free self-assessment to determine how well you recognize and use your God-given gifts

3 Questions that Cannot Wait Until January

3 Questions that Cannot Wait Until January

 I often find myself in these last days of the year talking about how it is the “end of the year”. It gives a feeling of finality and a sense of winding down and wrapping things up. While I am a huge fan of taking time to wind down, I think I (along with a lot of you) have fallen into the trap of believing that the end of the year is not a good time to start something new. We always wait until January to start our New Year's resolutions to start developing a new habit or to realign ourselves with what's really important to us. Yet, December is a great time for new beginnings. Advent is the beginning of a new liturgical year for the church. It can also be the beginning of something new for you.  So, why wait for January? When you examine what you want to accomplish in early 2018, there are steps you can take  right now  to set you up for success when the new calendar year turns over.  1.    How clear are you on what you want to accomplish?  2.    What are your thoughts on how you will achieve it?  3.    The next step is to outline what you will do in order to execute on the how – the specific plans or the details.  You may have a brand new goal in mind for next year that you have never attempted before. Or you may have a goal that shows up over and over again on your wish list but never actually gets accomplished. In either situation you must be able to clearly answer the three questions listed above before you will see that goal achieved.  If you are truly committed to your goal, I encourage you to engage someone to walk along this journey with you. Research has shown that you increase your chance of achieving a goal by 85% when you establish a relationship of accountability. An accountability partner can be a friend, a colleague, or you can invest in professional help from a coach.  Recently, while working with a client on expanding her support network as she makes a career transition, she shared 5 names of individuals with whom she felt very close. Upon asking her questions about what role she hoped these five individuals would play in her career goal, she shared that she wanted them to be able to listen and ask questions like a coach. Friends and colleagues are a valuable part of your support network and can serve as accountability partners, but they do not have the training and skillset needed to serve as an unbiased ear who can ask thought-provoking questions to help you achieve your end goal.  So, give some thought to the three questions above.  Then, invest in your goal by establishing an accountability partner.  Your 2018 will receive a kick-start, and you are extremely likely to achieve what you set out to accomplish.      Lesley provides individualized coaching to professionals who are seeking greater satisfaction in their careers.  She helps them uncover their God-given gifts, name their non-negotiable values, and align their career path with those gifts and values to have a greater impact on the world.  Lesley has helped professionals from many different fields, including IT, healthcare, and education.  Access Lesley’s    free self-assessment    to determine how well you recognize and use your God-given gifts!    

I often find myself in these last days of the year talking about how it is the “end of the year”. It gives a feeling of finality and a sense of winding down and wrapping things up. While I am a huge fan of taking time to wind down, I think I (along with a lot of you) have fallen into the trap of believing that the end of the year is not a good time to start something new. We always wait until January to start our New Year's resolutions to start developing a new habit or to realign ourselves with what's really important to us. Yet, December is a great time for new beginnings. Advent is the beginning of a new liturgical year for the church. It can also be the beginning of something new for you.

So, why wait for January? When you examine what you want to accomplish in early 2018, there are steps you can take right now to set you up for success when the new calendar year turns over.

1.    How clear are you on what you want to accomplish?

2.    What are your thoughts on how you will achieve it?

3.    The next step is to outline what you will do in order to execute on the how – the specific plans or the details.

You may have a brand new goal in mind for next year that you have never attempted before. Or you may have a goal that shows up over and over again on your wish list but never actually gets accomplished. In either situation you must be able to clearly answer the three questions listed above before you will see that goal achieved.

If you are truly committed to your goal, I encourage you to engage someone to walk along this journey with you. Research has shown that you increase your chance of achieving a goal by 85% when you establish a relationship of accountability. An accountability partner can be a friend, a colleague, or you can invest in professional help from a coach.

Recently, while working with a client on expanding her support network as she makes a career transition, she shared 5 names of individuals with whom she felt very close. Upon asking her questions about what role she hoped these five individuals would play in her career goal, she shared that she wanted them to be able to listen and ask questions like a coach. Friends and colleagues are a valuable part of your support network and can serve as accountability partners, but they do not have the training and skillset needed to serve as an unbiased ear who can ask thought-provoking questions to help you achieve your end goal.

So, give some thought to the three questions above.  Then, invest in your goal by establishing an accountability partner.  Your 2018 will receive a kick-start, and you are extremely likely to achieve what you set out to accomplish.

 

Lesley provides individualized coaching to professionals who are seeking greater satisfaction in their careers.  She helps them uncover their God-given gifts, name their non-negotiable values, and align their career path with those gifts and values to have a greater impact on the world.  Lesley has helped professionals from many different fields, including IT, healthcare, and education.  Access Lesley’s free self-assessment to determine how well you recognize and use your God-given gifts!