What Song Describes Your 2013?

2013 clockThink about the past 12 months. Which song title best describes how you feel about this past year?

Why? Write the title in the comments below.

If you could choose a theme song for 2014, what would it be?


Need A Burst Of Motivation?

Usually I am full of energy this time of year. The warm – sometime hot – weather and the abundant sunshine naturally get my engines revving.

Ian BrittonTypically, I’m busting with motivation to be more physically active, revitalize my social calendar, take on home improvement project, tackle a professional development project or learn something for fun.

Not this year.

It’s been unusually rainy and cold in the Twin Cities. I’m starting to wonder if spring will ever come …

Instead of waiting for an external cause to motivate me, like the weather, it’s time to stop making excuses and rev my own engine, so to speak.

Care to join me?

  • What tips do you have for boosting your energy or getting yourself out of a rut?
  • What are waiting for motivation to do?

Leave a comment below or on the DeniseMpls Facebook page.

You may never know what results come from your action. But if you do nothing, there will be no result.”
~Mahatma Gandhi

Not sure where to start?
It’s not complicated. Here’s a list of things to do when you want something from life but are not motivated or not sure where to start.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
~Mark Twain

Bonus: Because summer is coming, sunshine or not, I’m nominating Sara Bareilles’ “Brave” as our summer anthem.

Leave a comment with your suggestions for positive energy boosters.

When Your Passion Isn’t Your Paycheck

Many of the Olympic competitors are not full-time, professional athletes. In fact, until the 1970s the Olympics used to be for amateur athletes only.

This means that most of the swimmers, runners, gymnasts, and the many other athletes competing in London do not earn a living doing what they do best. Most of them are students or working in job not related to their sport.

A recent Good Morning America/Yahoo! article profiled a few competitors from the United States and other countries who work as accountants, web designers, and garbage collectors.

Like many people, the job these athletes might not feel passionate about the jobs they go to everyday. Nevertheless, they have created a life for themselves that includes making a living and living out their passions.

What Does This Mean For You?

First, what is your career identity? Who are you?

  • What skill sets, knowledge or interests do you want to use?
  • What activities or interests help you feel fulfilled?
  • What do you want to give to your community or work environment?

Before you look for a job, or start a new hobby, you have to know yourself, and what it is you want to offer and employer or your community.

Ideally, you want a job that matches your passions and your career identity. The reality is that not everyone is hired to do what he or she love most. Others might find work related to their passion, but the job doesn’t pay enough, or the job is short term or part time.

Like the Olympic athletes, you can find ways to incorporate your passions into your life, even if you don’t get paid for them.

If sports are your passion, you could:

  • Coach a youth team at a park or community center
  • Play for an intramural sports league
  • Volunteer in the athletic department of a high school

If music is your passion, you could:

  • Play in a band in the evenings and weekends
  • Offer music lessons to children or adults
  • Organize concerts at senior centers or community centers
  • Volunteer with the symphony

Are you working in a job not related to your passion or true career identity? What are some ways you can incorporate what you love into your daily life?

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Quick Tip: Tune Out To Ramp Up At Work

Don’t you love it when you are “in the zone” working on something you like? You can be at work or home, and get that buzz that only comes from being at your most creative or productive.

When I know I have to concentrate on a project in the office, I put on my headphone and crank up my neo-soul station in Pandora. There’s something magic about using music to tune out your surrounding and focus on your work.

That’s why this blog from the Time Management Ninja caught my eye: 5 Reasons You Should Use Headphones at Work.

It perfectly outlines the benefits of wearing headphones while you work. I especially like author Craig’s explanation the five reasons to wear headphones at work:

  1. Set Expectations That You Are Occupied
  2. Create Your Own Work Zone
  3. Motivate Yourself
  4. Prevent Distractions/Interruptions
  5. Choose Your Own Attitude

Read the whole article to get more tips and warnings about wearing headphones at work.

Does listening to music help you work better? How do you get in the zone at work?

How to Have a Red Carpet Job Search

We’ve all had job interviews that went well, and were shocked when we didn’t get a job offer. I bet it’s like a Grammy nominee favored to take home the music award but left empty-handed. Don’t let one (or a few) job rejections get you down.

Here are some tips to handle job interviews like you are part of the entertainment awards season:

Lean on your entourage.
Have a few friends or colleagues with which you feel comfortable talking about your job search. Ask for their perspective. Do they think there were things you could have done differently in the application process? Or were there factors out of your control that kept you from getting a job offer?

Be gracious in defeat.
There’s no TV camera focused on your reaction, but handle your disappointment with dignity. Thank the employer for considering you for the job. Ask if you can keep in touch to learn about future openings. Send a thank you note to all of your networking contacts who helped you get the job lead and interview. And move on to the next opportunity.

Attend the after party.
I said after party, not a pity party. Celebrate that you made it that far in the hiring process. Focus on what you are doing right and build on that. Take a minute to reward yourself for progressing in your job search. Look at it this way: It’s an honor just to be nominated for a Grammy. And it’s an honor and accomplishment to be called in for a job interview.

Get ready for the next event.
As soon as the Golden Globes are over, celebrities prep for the Grammies and other award shows, and then it’s on to the Oscars. Job interviews are similar. As you are mourning the loss of one opportunity, you are following up on other resumes you’ve sent, then you get a call for another job interview.

Are you ready for your spotlight?

  • Know your personal branding statement and elevator speech.
  • Practice your interview responses.
  • Keep your reference contacts up to date.

Your goal is to get a job offer. Instead of imagining you’re giving an awards acceptance speech, picture yourself getting a job offer and succeeding in your new position.

The only way to get nominated for a Grammy or an Oscar is to do good work that people notice. Likewise, if you stop sending out resumes or talking to your network about job leads you will never get a job offer.

Keep at it – and keep looking up.

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