• Read What a piece of PIE can tell about your chances of career progression

    Career Coaching

    What a piece of PIE can tell about your chances of career progression

    In my role as a career coach, I often hear from clients and prospective clients their career is on a slow track to nowhere.  They’re putting the effort in, but they’re not seeing the results in terms of promotions or career progression. 

    March 21, 2022

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    4.8 min read

  • Read Career Transition Success Story – Part 2 – Forget the requirements, apply anyway!

    Career Coaching

    Career Transition Success Story – Part 2 – Forget the requirements, apply anyway!

    In today’s blog we are continuing the story of Nora Pirsch, who recently transitioned from a yoga instructor to a UX designer.  Nora credits her strong mental attitude in being critical in making the transition! Nora Pirsch is a User Experience designer that specializes in human connections. The desire to improve people’s day to day lives, has been a theme throughout her adult life. She has spent 15 years of her life mastering her craft as a yoga instructor and now she has begun her path to improving her skills as a UX designer. Nora has always enjoyed a challenge, from facing stage fright to showing extreme patience with her naturally fermented bread baking, she never goes down without a fight. When she is not interviewing users, you can find her baking fresh pizza and going for long walks with her dog Finch. Shelley: Let’s talk about of interviewing and as it relates to resiliency. You told me it was something like 80 jobs you applied to, and I was blown away by that and just how resilient you are. How did you keep yourself mentally strong, considering that there were probably a lot of setbacks in this process for you? Nora: I had amazing support from school from colleagues that I went to school with, even from people that my mom reached out to that were in the tech industry, and they would tutor me, and find people to help me walk along the path. That’s step number one. And then, part of the after-graduation program was applying to 10 jobs a week, that was the criteria. So that was very difficult in the beginning because I was spending too much time on writing pretty and elaborate cover letters. I really recommend getting a very basic template, and then just add two to three sentences make it a little bit more directed at that company. And that’s it because you will wipe yourself out writing those cover letters. And honestly, what is it 92% Of the companies don’t look at your cover letter until you’ve gone through the ATS. Shelley: I normally tell candidates, don’t even submit one unless they specifically asked for it. Because a lot of times they don’t even get read. Create a Process – Work Smarter Not Harder Nora: A lot of the times they don’t, but my school did encourage it. Because if there’s a candidate that if you’re side by side with, and one has a cover letter and one doesn’t, they’re going to go with the one that paid a little bit more attention. I came up with a simple template and started applying to more jobs. And then I closely shadowed a couple of the students in my class that were very big go getters, and we became quick friends. She told me what she was doing and her tactics. And I was asked, “Can I can I steal that from you?”And she said, “Oh my gosh, of course.” Forget the requirements […]

    March 16, 2022

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    9.2 min read

  • Read Career Transition Success Story – Nora Pirsch – From Yoga to UX Design! (Part 1)

    Career Coaching

    Career Transition Success Story – Nora Pirsch – From Yoga to UX Design! (Part 1)

    Nora Pirsch Nora Pirsch is a User Experience designer that specializes in human connections. The desire to improve people’s day to day lives, has been a theme throughout her adult life. She has spent 15 years of her life mastering her craft as a yoga instructor and now she has transitioned her career to UX design. Nora has always enjoyed a challenge, from facing stage fright to showing extreme patience with her naturally fermented bread baking, she never goes down without a fight. When she is not interviewing users, you can find her baking fresh pizza and going for long walks with her dog Finch. You can connect with Nora here: www.norapirsch.com Part 1 – Nora’s career transition story:  Networking and Figuring Out What You REALLY Want Shelley:  Nora, share with me a brief history of your career up to the point you made your career transition. Nora: I was a full-time yoga teacher for about 15 years, I am still yoga teacher, but very, very part time now. And I really got into that because I wanted to travel a lot. And I wanted something that helped people improve themselves and feel better. So it seemed like a really good fit for me. And I still love teaching, I’ll never stop. It’s something that’s very close to my heart and part of me now. But about 10 years into it, I knew that I It wasn’t sustainable, what I was doing, teaching 10 to 12 classes a week, and just barely making paying the bills was really taking a toll on me. And it was hard because it’s something I love to do. But it wasn’t fulfilling me in other ways. So I knew I needed something different. I didn’t know what, so I was very, very gingerly putting my feelers out there for several years. And when COVID hit, I reevaluated what was important to me where I want to focus my time that I have on this amazing Earth. I just started asking questions, I started asking people, what do they do for a living. I really think a huge part of transitioning in general is reaching out and hearing other people’s stories, how did you get to where you are now, and those connections are invaluable. When transitioning you can get a lot of support that way too. And you can get a lot of leads that way into new jobs. CAreer transition tip: the power of Networking Shelley: Absolutely. You’re kind of alluding to informational interviewing, networking. And sometimes I have clients who are grappling with a career transition that really hesitate with that.  They get nervous, they don’t want to do it, their Gremlin/Inner Saboteur gets activated by the whole thing. What if people say no? Nora: I’ve always been kind of a natural connector. I’ve always been pretty good at that naturally. But what I would say is, what have you got to lose? And what do you have to gain? Looking at those two sides, […]

    March 9, 2022

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    11.5 min read

  • Read Bummed Out Because You Messed Up? Try this…

    Motivation

    Bummed Out Because You Messed Up? Try this…

    I heard something today in yoga class.  Sweaty and out of breath, laying in savasana, the teacher reminded us to tune into our breath, and said, “ If you find your mind wandering, find your breath and focus on it.  The beautiful thing about your breath is it’s always there.  You can always go back to it.  You can always start again.” The Choice Trap And yet, we often act like we can’t. “I screwed things up with that client, I can never build it back up again.” “I didn’t major in the right thing in college, now I’m trapped.” “That acting thing didn’t work out.  And now I’m too old and don’t have the right experience, no one is ever going to hire me.” “I was doing so great with that new habit, and then I lost traction.  What’s the point, I may as well give up?  I’ll never be able to get back into it now.” That last quote was mine today, in relation to this blog.  I had set myself the task of writing 2 times a week, and this week it got away from me for no good reason.  And then I look at my watch and realize it’s Thursday afternoon and I’ve written nothing this week.  And then I told myself, “See Shelley, you knew you’d never do this.  This is why you never should have started that stupid blog again in the first place!  You don’t have what it takes to sustain this new habit.  You might as well give up.  You suck!”  And then it got even worse, and I found myself in a pit of self-induced shame.  Telling myself that I “should be” better at this by now, and I “should” practice the things I preach to my clients. The Problem with Should Until I realized I was “shoulding” all over myself – also something I warn my clients about. Dang.  I hate it when I’m right. So here I am, MacBook in hand, and I told that voice to shut up today, because I choose to remember what my teacher said.  I also choose to remember what William Glasser said, who wrote Choice Theory, one hell of a book, and coincidentally one of the best books I’ve ever read.  (He’s dead, just in case you’re wondering, but not from making bad choices.)  His premise was that every moment of every day is a choice.  I can choose to believe I’m a failure, or I can choose to believe otherwise.  I can choose to move closer to this person in this moment, or I can choose to move away from them.  Will that choice serve me or not?  In every moment there is some element of agency.  Some element where I can become the master of my own fate, even if it’s just changing what I choose to believe about what happened.  A very helpful thing indeed if I choose my own interpretation, because unfortunately I haven’t become omnipotent yet.  Otherwise the […]

    March 3, 2022

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    3.3 min read

  • Read Presentation Jitters? Remember this one simple phrase…

    Presenting Skills

    Presentation Jitters? Remember this one simple phrase…

    Quite often in my line of work, I get asked to give a presentation.  And I’m always perfectly happy to comply.  I’m one of those rare mutants of a human who actually enjoys public speaking.  Perhaps I missed my calling as a c-list celebrity actress on a soap opera or my chance to make it big yodeling on America’s got talent.  But give me a microphone, a happy audience and a deck of powerpoint slides and I’m off to the races. So the other day there I was, right in my element, with a happy audience of fifteen HR directors of the top Austin hotel chains.  I had been asked to speak about mindfulness and the link to customer service, and was super excited to have the opportunity to connect so directly with potential clients. Attack of the presentation jitters The jokes were landing, the information was resonating, I was in my happy place.  No presentation jitters here!  And then about halfway through the presentation I zeroed in on one participant, who had the look on his face. The look? You know the look. We’ve all seen the look. It’s the look that says, “You’re an idiot.  This is the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.  There is no way I am taking this seriously.  Get off the stage before I get my big hook and drag you off.” That look. I tried to focus on the other participants.  “Okay Shelley, find more friendly faces in the crowd.  Focus your attention elsewhere.  You know you could be misinterpreting this.”  But it was to no avail.  I couldn’t escape that sly smile, those narrowed eyes, the smug mouth.  And I’m sure at one point he even rolled his eyes.  The look was controlling me now.  I was no longer free. I sensed my body tensing up.  The pace of my speech grew quicker and quicker.  I was asking fewer questions, engaging the audience less and less.  I was skipping over sections of slides.  I finished early and with a sigh of relief asked my attentive audience what questions they had. Silence. At that point the HR director who had invited me threw out a token question, which I eagerly jumped on like manna from heaven to a dying soul. I was desperate for their approval.  Desperate for their validation. I told myself that maybe they were just shy and that I’m sure a few will approach me afterwards to ask for more information.  That always happens. No one did. I gathered up my belongings and left the room with my tail between my legs. Now being a trained and skilled facilitator, I’ve dealt with these things before, but they tended to affect me earlier on in my training days, when I was a newbie facilitator with a lot of passion and not a lot of practice. Was that man really giving me the look?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  Even if he was, the rest of the group was actively engaged up to the […]

    February 24, 2022

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    4 min read

  • Read What a jar of rocks and sand can tell you about your life

    Leadership, Productivity

    What a jar of rocks and sand can tell you about your life

    The other day I was teaching a leadership course, and I shared the following video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j6m9WnNdpSw Rocks and Sand In it, it depicts Charlie Chaplin attempting to fill a container first with sand, and then cram a number of large rocks in at the top.  The rocks spill over as obviously there’s not enough room.  And then he tries again.  He puts the big rocks in first, and then pours the sand in.  This time, everything fits, as the sand fills up the empty cracks around the rocks. What are the big rocks in your life? There’s an obvious metaphor to our day to day lives in this short and insightful little rocks and sand video.  The rocks represent the big things in our lives.  Things like important projects, health and wellness, our career development, our family.  And it’s important to realize that the big rocks also change over time.  The sand are the small bits like emails, phone calls, administrative tasks and recurring minor deliverables. The question I asked the group, was “Where do you tend to focus first – the rocks or the sand?  I was hoping they’d be honest and they were.  Just about every of the 28 participants owned up to wanting to focus on the sand first, and push off the big rocks in their life. Why do we focus on the sand first? We do this for a number of reasons.  Firstly, the bigger things are often the more nebulous ones.  So often we don’t even know where to start.  When we don’t know where to start, it makes it easier to avoid these things.  Secondly, the sand is easier to tackle.  These are often quick emails, phone calls, reports that need to be run.  We know what to do, and so it’s just easier to drive right in.  The third reason is rooted is physiology.  We often get a small dopamine hit from crossing something off our to do list.  So we pick the path of least resistance and higher reward, at least in the short term. Tips for getting the big rocks It’s no surprise that the big things often allude us in life.  We tell folks that we’re just too busy, and never seem to be able to find enough time to do all the things we want to do.  And that makes perfect sense when the sand comes first.  A few tips I often share with clients on this front, that help to minimize the sand and put the rocks first are: Turn off the notification on your phone and laptop that dings or pops up to let you know you have more email. The notifications will hijack your attention from the important rock you’re focused on.  And good luck getting refocused. Spend time at the end of the day or at the beginning of the day, getting clear on the 2-3 big rocks you want to make a dent in. It only takes a few minutes to remind yourself […]

    February 21, 2022

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    3.5 min read