Your failures make you interesting

Your failures make you interesting

Before you launch into any big goals or new year’s resolutions, I hope you’ll do something a bit smaller and possibly more fun: fail.

Think about something you always wanted to try, and go do that. Do it imperfectly. Make an enormous mess. Fail really big. Take pictures of that dumpster fire. And then tell your friends, because now you have a great story. Funny how that works; it’s our failures that make us interesting.

Last fall I was meeting with my client Lara, and we were discussing her career goals. She mentioned some ideas that she felt were out of her reach like opening a stand at the farmers market. During our conversation she said wistfully, “I’ve always wanted to make bread.” As if bread was some sort of impossible dream! I challenged her to bake bread over the weekend and bring it to our next career coaching group meeting.

Pictured here is Lara’s dog who wouldn’t even give her first attempt at bread a little lick. Ok, so it failed to rise, and she basically made play-doh. But the second batch was bread! She brought it to our  group meeting, and we all tried it. And it was good! Some folks even had seconds.

The best part is that it wasn’t the success that made for a great story. It was the failure, the perseverance, the trying again, and then the success.

Nobody (except maybe you) thinks you should be a huge success at something new the first time you try it. So if you want to have any hope of hitting those resolutions or big, important goals in the future, you may want to go out and get used to failing and trying again.

What’s your, “I’ve always wanted to make bread?” That thing that sounds like a lot of fun to you and is entirely do-able, if you’d just give yourself some space to make a mess? Do that! And then show pictures of your initial fail to your friends.

Be interesting!

p.s. Your comments are most welcome on this post at https://www.facebook.com/jenfrankcoaching

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Christmas Presence

Christmas Presence

On Monday I tried to cram in a couple of holiday errands between appointments, stopping at The Mail Center to drop off some Christmas cards (no, I’m still not done) and mail two boxes of presents to the West coast. When I arrived, there was an older woman in line in front of me filling out a form. I exchanged pleasantries with the Owner, Mark, and asked if he thought I could get out of there in about 15 minutes. I hadn’t really given myself enough time before my next appointment, but Mark assured me he would do his best. Then the woman in front of me told him, “you can go ahead and help her first.”

As Mark took care of my boxes, I thanked the woman and we chatted; I found out that she has four grandchildren between 2 and 8 years old. We agreed those ages were great fun at the holidays. As we talked a bit more, she revealed that her husband had recently fallen and broken his hip and would spend Christmas in a rehab facility. It was obvious that would be hard on both of them.

If I hadn’t been forced to slow down for a few minutes and get present, she wouldn’t have shared that with me. Behind people’s joy (or automatic “I’m doing great”) there are often challenges and struggles. I hope that you’ll be gentle with yourself and the people around you during this busy season. When we are compassionate and give people the gift of our presence, sometimes they will talk about things that trouble them; it may lighten their load just a bit.

Wishing you and yours warm and merry holidays – and strength and support to deal with any challenges you face.

p.s. Your comments are most welcome on this post at https://www.facebook.com/jenfrankcoaching

 

 

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An exercise in gratitude

An exercise in gratitude

Recently I saw the quote “what if you woke up tomorrow with only the things you said thank you for today?” Wow. Well, I got really busy counting my blessings – and not my typical lazy way (e.g., my closest friends and family) – but rather a pretty thorough inventory of the immense goodness in my life.

I’m sure I’m repeating myself, but gratitude really is the best way I know to let go of my worries or complaints, ground myself in the present, and shift my attitude. (What’s the big deal? Your attitude affects your mood, and your mood affects your thoughts, and your thoughts lead to your actions, and your actions create your reality!)

If you like exercises, here’s one to get you focused on gratitude this holiday season. What would you list if you were to write the alphabet and think of one or more things, beginning with each letter, for which you are grateful? Just to give you an example, the last time I did this, B was for “Beth, birds, books, blessings, bedtime, and beef!” All things essential and frivolous that you are grateful for can be on your list; in fact, the weirder it is, the more it will make you smile when you read it at a later date.

If you’d like even more thoughts on gratitude, here are my blogs from the last four years:
http://jenfrankcoaching.com/2017/11/grateful-for-the-little-things/
http://jenfrankcoaching.com/2016/11/what-are-you-grateful-for-today/
http://jenfrankcoaching.com/2015/11/grateful/
http://jenfrankcoaching.com/2014/11/gratitude/

I hope you have a lot to be grateful for today. Wishing you and yours a very happy Thanksgiving holiday!

p.s. Your comments are most welcome on this post at https://www.facebook.com/jenfrankcoaching

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Career Success Tip 4: trust

Career Success Tip 4: trust

The last three posts were all tips for career success. To review, they were:
1) Know and develop yourself
2) Get outside your comfort zone
3) Network

If you do those three things consistently, then you’ll be able to do #4 more easily: trust.

Trust that your network will help you someday. Trust that the timing of things is as it should be. Trust that you don’t get the jobs you are not supposed to have. Yes, you might be disappointed for a minute, but that’s probably just your ego talking. (And, if you’re like me and don’t get that ego job with the Girl Scouts headquarters in New York City, it’s because you are supposed to become a coach, move to Memphis, and do work that matches your values and strengths!)

No matter where you are, trust that you are being prepared for what’s next. My MBA didn’t help me to start a successful business – but my fundraising career did. Fundraising skills were just what I needed to be a success on the business side of being a coach: I knew how to call on people and have a conversation to see if there’s a fit, be politely persistent, and not take a “no” personally.

We could call #4 relax instead of trust! You are not in charge of deciding whether you will get a job or what the timing will be. You can only control your actions. But if you know and develop yourself (1), get outside your comfort zone (2), and network (3) – then you’ve done what you can do and you can relax and trust (4) the right opportunity is on its way.

Where do you need to put in some effort so you can be in that trusting place? Is it time to develop your self-awareness or some new skills? Do you need practice failing or do some networking? 

And if you’ve done all that? Relax!

p.s. Your comments are most welcome on this post at https://www.facebook.com/jenfrankcoaching

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