reinvention


I spend a lot of time touting the importance of loving what you do for a living and creating a mutually satisfying work/life balance.  I encourage people to live for the moment and the future.  When I give speeches across the country, I often find myself referencing the cliché, “Life is no dress rehearsal”.  And it isn’t.

Our Boise VocationVacations Private Investigator mentor, Valerie Agosta, (Hanady Investigations and the Spy Moms) exemplified living life to its fullest — with zest, a sense of humor and always a big smile.  After a ten-year battle with breast cancer, Valerie died last March.  In her honor we have created the Valerie Agosta “Live Your Best Life” VocationVacation Scholarship.  (See details below)

If you or someone you know would like to explore taking the first step toward a career and life transition by taking a VocationVacation, please submit the application below.  The scholarship winner will receive their VocationVacation of choice and airfare to the location of the VocationVacation. The last day to submit an application is Friday, December 4. We will be announcing the scholarship winner on what would have been Valerie’s 57th birthday, December 15.

When Val came on board as a VocationVacations mentor in 2005, she shared with us she was in remission.  There was no doubt in our minds Val would be able to beat it.  Then a few years later we received the call – it was back.  Valerie did not let this deter her from her commitment to be a mentor. She continued to welcome vocationers, eager to share her experience and expertise.  She told us she would let us know if she ever thought she was not up to giving her usual 100%.  Again, we never really thought that day would come.  Val would beat the C-word.  We knew it.

But then I got the call in early-January of this year.  Val had a vocationer scheduled for late January.  She felt she was becoming too weak to effectively mentor and provide the quality experience she had always given her vocationers.  Even as she was preparing to head to Seattle for more aggressive treatment, Val took the time to find a solution.  She suggested her VocationVacation mentorship duties be transferred to her private investigating colleagues at Access Investigations, also in Boise.  Even as she was in her last weeks of life, Val remained on top of everything and had it all worked out.

Val died on March 14, 2009.  VocationVacations’ Melissa Townsend and I traveled to Boise for her memorial.  It was not a surprise the church was standing room only, and  there was as much laughter as there were tears.

Val, we miss you tremendously.  But wherever you are, your spirit of life, passion and reinvention goes on with the Valerie Agosta “Live Your Best Life” VocationVacation Scholarship.   Thank you for being you and for sharing several years of your life with the VocationVacations team and our vocationers.

The Valerie Agosta “Live Your Best Life” VocationVacation Scholarship

The Valerie Agosta “Live Your Best Life” VocationVacation Scholarship offers the opportunity to choose from more than 175 different VocationVacations career mentorships and the chance to spend a couple of days experiencing the real-life responsibilities, challenges and rewards of that profession. The chosen individual will also have the opportunity for both a pre- and post-coaching session with an accredited, affiliated VocationVacation career coach.

In addition, airfare, up to $500, will be arranged for the scholarship winner.

Submit Your Application For The Valerie Agosta “Live Your Best Life” VocationVacations Scholarship Here

Advertisements

So I disclosed to you all last week that I am 15 pounds overweight right now and it’s really bugging me.  I went to a “Dead Celebrity” Halloween party on Saturday night.  It was great seeing Chris Farley, Jesus, Hunter Thompson, Keiko the Killer Whale and Michael Jackson all at one party — and even Liz Taylor showed up with a “Coming Soon” sign.  Evil, I know.  Well, I went as a not-as-good-looking-and-a-bit-overweight Heath Ledger from Brokeback Mountain, sporting my favorite cowboy hat and my fave Frye boots.  I actually was good and did not indulge in the cookies and candy…but I did have a few calorie-counting beers and I am always a sucker for a big bowl of crunchy cheetos (hey, I’m from Wisconsin originally — real cheese or totally fake cheese are always winners in my book).

So, while crunching down my cheetos and throwing back a beer, I thought, “Hmmm, it’s been a long time since I’ve been to yoga.  I should try it again as a new form of workout and balance my eating habits.  Crunch.  Swig.  Crunch.”

I like yoga.  But I don’t have it “down” quite yet.  It takes time.  And my partner, The Wadester, is getting into it more and more as well.  It’s something that we should do together since we both work so much.  But there are some folks who REALLY get into yoga — and make it part of their lives.  For example, our former vocationer alum, Veronica Cruz.

For 15 years, Veronica of San Jose, California, had a successful career as an IT consultant managing projects around the world. However, the landscape of the consulting business was changing, and Veronica found she just was not inspired by her work.  She wanted to feel passionate about what she was doing.

As a child growing up in Katmandu, Nepal, Veronica had been introduced to the practice of yoga.  Years later she pursued yoga again, and her love for the practice was rekindled.  She began to think about how she could turn her passion for yoga into a career.  “However, I realized it was one thing to be passionate about something, and another thing to turn it into a business,” says Veronica.

In April 2008, Veronica signed up to take a VocationVacation with mentor Dean Mahan, owner of Vida Yoga in Austin, Texas.   “Dean shared with me the good, the bad and the hard realities of the business,” explains Veronica.  “By walking in Dean’s shoes I was able to clarify my future direction and understand whether my passion could be translated into a life’s work.”

Veronica returned to San Jose, completed the consulting project she was working on and made it her last. Dean’s parting advice to Veronica had been, “Share your light and keep your vision full of light. Journey to your heart and share from there.” And that was just what Veronica did.  She threw her heart and soul into a plan to open her own yoga studio. She developed a business and marketing plan and earned certification by the Yoga Alliance.

A little less than a year later, Veronica opened Downtown Yoga Shala (www.downtownyogashala.com) in San Jose. “It was a leap of faith, but one done with my eyes wide open,” says Veronica.  Veronica’s advice to someone looking to follow their passion? “Keep an open mind, enjoy the journey and allow your heart to guide your path.”

Great advice for anyone considering a career (and life) transition.  If you are currently laid off, I’d also encourage you to consider this time as an opportunity.  Perhaps a yoga studio (or whatever drives your passion) has YOUR name on it?

Now, I’m off to sign-up for the next yoga class at the gym here in Portland.

Please feel free to send along “nudge” blog comments, Tweets, LinkedIn notes, etc. to me to make sure I do it.  Hold me to it so I can go as a FIT Heath Ledger next year!

Cheers,
Brian

Brian Kurth + Company Career Consulting/Coaching

VocationVacations career mentorship experiences

LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/briankurth
Twitter:  http://twitter.com/BrianKurth
Test-Drive Your Dream Job:  A Step-By-Step Guide To Finding And Creating The Work You Love: www.amazon.com

So I knew I had gained a few pounds this past year but it really hit home when the October issue of Entrepreneur Magazine came out.

Entrepreneur’s article entitled the “The 40-Year Old Intern” is about VocationVacations….and there I am at 43 years old….at One Girl Cookies in Brooklyn (one of our  phenomenal baker mentors)….lookin’ a bit pudgy.  It looks like I’ve spent a bit too much time eating the delish goodies at One Girl!  But, I have to tell you, there are two things in life I’m not going to give up — cookies and red wine.  So, hence, I have reinvigorated my gym attendance.  AND, I am now bringing on at least one gym owner/personal trainer mentor for VocationVacations in coming weeks.

But I digress.  The point of the Entrepreneur Magazine article is that a significant career transition CAN occur.  Please be inspired by how Paul Holje made the switch from being an architect to owning his own bread bakery, Dakota Harvest, in Grand Forks, North Dakota….and has even opened his second bakery!

As if the great Entrepreneur Magazine article wasn’t enough this past month, the fab folks over at MORE Magazine also did a wonderful story entitled “5 Tips To Reinvent Your Career” including vocationer alum Sue Burton’s story of how she made a radical shift in her career to create a stronger work/life balance.  Sue’s VocationVacations mentor was comedian Dan Nainan in New York.  After her stellar mentorship from Dan, she went from being a marketing executive for Fidelity Investments in Boston to being a corporate humorist and stand-up comedian.  For real!  I’m so proud of Sue for grabbing a mitt and getting in the game of life and loving every minute of it.

So thanks to Entrepreneur and to More Magazine….and thanks to Self Magazine for including us in their November issue!  Check it out.

I love what I do:  Helping people make career and life change, transition and reinvention.  Really good stuff.  Now, to celebrate, I’m going to eat a cookie….and hit the gym.

What’s YOUR dream career?  Go make it happen….

Cheers!
Brian Kurth

Career Transition Expert with Brian Kurth + Company

Career Mentorship Guru with VocationVacations

Author of Test-Drive Your Dream Job:  A Step-By-Step Guide To Finding And Creating The Work You Love – Hachette, 2008

I spent the last couple of hours speaking with several VocationVacation and Brian Kurth + Company clients.  The energy with all three clients was running high….positivity was abound….and I could feel my adrenaline rushing with theirs.  All three were so excited about their progress in finding or creating a great career and balance it all with life including family, friends, hobbies, etc.  Such a great start to a Friday.

And then I asked the question to all three clients, “What will you do if/when you get to the point that you are about to collapse out of exhaustion as you approach the finish line to finding or creating your ideal career and life/work balance?”

Well, wasn’t I just Mr. Debby Downer, huh?

Not at all.  The sense of exhaustion and questioning, “Is this career transition REALLY going to happen?” is a natural step in the process for many (not all) people.  This morning’s clients are like marathon runners at mile post #21.  They’re going strong.  But three miles later, by mile post #24, they might start questioning things a bit as they can SEE the end of the marathon ahead but are starting to wonder if they’ll truly make it to mile post #26 as their lungs and legs are feeling the pain and are simply tired.  The answer is, “yes, they will make it”.  But they need to keep several things in mind.

Here are my 3 Top Tips to Making It To The Career Search Finish Line if you hit a bit of burn-out:

1.  Don’t look so far ahead.  Stop looking at the finish line.  Instead, just look at what’s immediately in front of you versus what’s ahead months or years ahead.  I’m not saying that planning ahead isn’t important.  It is.  But sometimes you simply need to recognize where you are right now and acknowledge your successful progression from where you came from versus looking at what’s still ahead.

My past client, Sandy Huddle, recently sent me an email update and she NAILED exactly what I’m talking about.  She is making a career transition from working in the insurance industry for the past 23 years to becoming a Video/TV/Film Producer after having gone back to school several years ago.  She recently felt the pain of being so close to the finish line with college and looking forward to her new career — when she hit a bit of a wall.  Her comments below are full of sage advice and inspiration:

“I started this whole journey in October of 2006 – it’s been a long, exhausting, and ABSOLUTELY incredible experience. I can’t believe how much I’ve learned, experienced, and grown…I’ll be honest, it hasn’t always been easy or without some challenges.  The challenges are mostly internal where I have to remember to be patient with myself and provide some positive self talk.  My present mantra, courtesy of actress Janet McTeer, is “Someone has to succeed. There’s no reason why it can’t be me.”  I’m still taking it one day at a time, staying very much in the present and perhaps taking a peak at tomorrow. I try not to set my sights too far in the future or ponder on how many classes I have to go.”

2.  It’s the journey, stupid (remember Bill Clinton’s sign in his office, “It’s the economy, stupid”?).  Keep in mind that the root in the word, transition, is “transit”.  Yes, a career transition IS a journey, folks.  Enjoy the path as best you can.  Sandy Huddle also added some sage advice to fellow transitioners when she said in her email to me:

“…It’s the journey not the arrival that matters.  I am so grateful for having walked through my fear and taking that first step on a new journey that has unlocked my creativity and allowed me to pursue my dream.”

We ALL need to be reminded of the journey versus the destination from time to time.

3.  Blind faith can buy you time.  OK, you got me: Blind faith does not buy much else other than time.  True enough.  But time is your friend when in a career transition.  Career change often doesn’t happen overnight.  It truly is much more of a marathon than a sprint.  Simply believing that you will SOMEHOW cross the finish line and find or create your perfect career will get you far.  You might not know exactly how it will occur or look.  Or when.  And the ideal career and life/work balance might be a bit nuanced from the point that you started your marathon.  It’s OK.  Simply be open to the possibilities.  Perhaps it’s the dream job with the dream company — but in a different city in which you end up loving to live.  Or perhaps you want to become a chocolatier but along your marathon you realized that you also want to incorporate a coffee house into your business plan.  It’s all good.  Be open to the tweaks that will come your way.  Be open to blind faith and you’ll be surprised what will land in your lap.

Those are my three top tips….but you may have more suggestions….please give your thoughts!

Keeping the dreams alive,

Brian

Please excuse some shameless self-promotion but here’s what my publicist has to say….
Brian Kurth is an innovative career transition expert, TV contributor, entrepreneur, author and a sought-after speaker.  Brian has provided career mentorship, transition and reinvention (MTR) advice on CNBC, CNN, FOX News, MSNBC, NBC’s TODAY Show and National Public Radio (NPR), and has been featured in articles in O, The Oprah Magazine; The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, BusinessWeek, Fast Company, Fortune, Men’s Journal, and Black Enterprise Magazine, just to name a few.  Brian founded VocationVacations in 2004 and Brian Kurth + Company in 2008.  He is the author of “Test-Drive Your Dream Job:  A Step-By-Step Guide to Finding And Creating The Work You Love” – Hachette, 2008.

I had an amazing time speaking to the Big Ten alumni crowd at Northwestern University in Chicago (sold-out!  Thanks, everyone, for coming…and thanks to NAA and WAA for organizing).  My topic was the 8 Steps To A Successful Career Transition — and Work/Life balance since work and life are not mutually exclusive.

What strikes me most when speaking to university alumni association groups across the US, is that the concept of SIMPLY being HAPPY and attaining a work/life balance is a universal interest.  Last night’s group was comprised of GenY, GenX and BabyBoomer alumni.  It was 50/50 Men/Women.  Being fulfilled in one’s career and being happy are goals that reach across every race.

Happy.  Yes, happiness.  When was the last time you answered in an affirmative that you were HAPPY in your work?  Believe it or not, a 2006 Harris Poll’s result indicated that a full 84% of people are NOT happy in what they do.  Now, I ask “What the ____?” over that.  How can SO many Americans be unhappy in what they do.  Life is so short.  Don’t they get it?  Are you one of them?  If so, time to pursue some happiness.

Well, as it turns out, it’s the “F” word (fear) that keeps people from pursuing happiness.  We talked a lot about fear last night.  People shared their fears of financial insecurity, loss of identity (ie, “I’ve been an attorney for 20 years.  It’s all I know.”), fear of failure and fear of what family and friends are going to think of a prospective career change.  I recommend Dr. Susan Jeffers book, “Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway” to anyone who is facing fear.

I’m happy to report that I think several hundred people are starting today with a renewed sense of change and optimism in their pursuit of happiness.  It CAN happen.  I’ve worked with thousands of people over the past six years.  I know first hand.  I’ve seen the banker become a happy dog trainer.  I’ve seen the music executive become a happy hotel manager.  I’ve seen a computer sales exec become a happy yoga instructor.  And the list goes on and on.

But the key to pursuing happiness doesn’t occur in a vacuum.  It’s all about finding a mentor in your chosen field(s) to help you make the transition.  It’s a must.  If there’s ONE thing that I wanted everyone to learn from last night’s discussion is that MENTORSHIP, MENTORSHIP AND MENTORSHIP is the key to pursuing and finding career happiness.  See steps #4 and #5 in the 8 Steps:

http://www.briankurth.com/Career_Change_in_8_Steps.html

With that being said, please join the Big Ten alums in their pursuit of happiness — on the job and in life.

Are you ready?  When are your going to start?  What would hold you back?

I was on a flight back to Portland from NYC last week and reading the NY Times and found two articles that really intrigued me.

The first was about a former NFL football player, Keith Miller, turned opera singer:

For an Ex-Fullback, Big Plays in a New Game

The second was about, Michelle Nihei, a former neuroscience researcher at Johns Hopkins who became a horse trainer (unfortunately, the article isn’t on the Times’ website).

At first you might think, “Oh, these folks had natural talents that made such huge career shifts possible.”  Not completely true when you read both of the brief articles.

Instead, in addition to their inherent strengths, Keith and Michelle also utilized three key characteristics for their successful career changes:

1.  Allow Your Passions to Lead the Path – Despite what some of their friends, family and colleagues may have said to them upon their decision to forge ahead with their drastic career changes, they followed their natural passions.  They thought with their HEARTS and GUTS versus just their brains.

2.  You Cannot Do It Alone – Keith and Michelle reached out to mentors to learn how to make the transition.  They did not make their decisions or take their first steps in a vacuum.  Instead, they reached out to experts in the field to better understand if and how they could make the switch.

3.  Stay Positive – Despite the obstacles and naysayers, Michelle and Keith were driven by their dreams — some days with blind faith.  They battled their own “chatterboxes” (the negative voice in one’s head according to author and psychologist, Susan Jeffers:  “Feel The Fear….and Do It Anyway“) pounding out the “Are you serious???” thoughts in their minds.  But they stuck to it.  Part of it is simply SHOVING negative thoughts out of one’s mind in order to stay true to the positive, passionate path.

I love Michelle and Keith’s stories.  I hope you do too.  We can all learn from their examples.

What is YOUR unfilled dream that is being held back by YOU and your chatterbox?  Time to take Michelle’s and Keith’s lead….

Cheers!
Brian 

THE 8-Steps To A Successful Career Transitionwww.briankurth.com

Test-Drive Your Dream Jobwww.vocationvacations.com

THE DIY Book On Creating Your Own Career Mentorship In Your Career Transition

Hi Friends,

One of the coolest things about what I do is that my career coaching clients and speaking engagement audiences are so diverse. This includes age diversity.  I will speak with a GenX client one hour…then give a speech to a Boomers audience….and then conduct a workshop with GenY recent university alumni.  Additionally, I get to partner with a lot of really cool experts across all three generational groups.

One of my favorite Generation Y experts is best-selling author and speaker, Lindsey Pollak.  I asked Lindsey to guest blog for me today.  She has provided us with some excellent tips on how GenY’ers can compete for jobs in this ever-challenging marketplace.  Enjoy and learn!

Cheers,
Brian 

www.briankurth.com

www.vocationvacations.com

Author of “Test-Drive Your Dream Job:  A Step-By-Step Guide To Finding And Creating The Work You Love” – Hachette, 2008.

 

It’s Not Easy Being Green:

5 Tips for Young Job Seekers in a Competitive Market

It used to be so easy: entry-level professionals applied for entry-level jobs; mid-level professionals applied for mid-level jobs and senior-level people eventually retired.

Ah, the good old days.

Today, due to the economic recession, it feels as though everyone is competing with everyone for a limited number of positions. When this happens, the lowest ones on the totem pole are particularly vulnerable. According to a survey from Qvisory and the Rockefeller Foundation, nearly 19 percent of young adults are unemployed or looking for work.

What can you do if you’re a recent grad competing with experienced professionals who are willing to take a step back? Here are some suggestions:

1.  Seek out honest feedback. Find someone you trust—a former colleague, relative, career services professional, etc.—who will be candid. Do you say “like” or “you know” too much when you talk? Should you dress less “slacker”? Are you applying for jobs you’re really not qualified for? Take this feedback seriously and address any areas where you’re getting in your own way.

2.  Become an active user of LinkedIn.com. LinkedIn is the largest and most active professional social network, but many young professionals are unaware of it. Don’t miss out on this resource! (Full disclosure: I am a global campus spokesperson for LinkedIn.) First, set up a profile that includes keywords an employer might use to find someone with your skills. Include all experience you have, including unpaid internships, volunteer gigs and extra curriculars. Next, scour other profiles to uncover potential employers and professionals who might agree to an informational interview (alums from your college are ideal). Finally, use LinkedIn to help others with suggestions, job leads and recommendations—the more people you help, the more people will offer to help you.

 3.  Network face-to-face. While online networking is very important, still the best way to make a strong impression is in person. Make sure you are networking across generations to maximize your chances of finding out about opportunities. Don’t feel intimidated if you are the youngest person at a networking event, say at a Rotary Club meeting or a college alumni gathering. Sometimes you have the best chance of making a memorable impression when you’re different from everyone else.

 4.  Play up your assets. Sure, older professionals have an advantage in the experience department. Let that go and focus on what you do bring to the table as a young person. In cover letters, networking conversations and interviews, place emphasis on characteristics and life experiences you can offer, such as enthusiasm, knowledge of the youth market and technical savvy.

 5.  Don’t ever put yourself—or your age—down. No matter what, don’t make fun of your age, joke that you’ll be working for someone as old as your grandfather or laugh about how “clueless” you are. If you’re comfortable with your experience level, others are likely to respond in kind.

Overall, be confident, be willing to learn and maintain a positive attitude. That’s appealing at any age.

Lindsey Pollak is a Generation Y Career & Workplace Expert and the author of Getting from College to Career: 90 Things to Do Before You Join the Real World. Visit her career advice blog at http://www.lindseypollak.com/blog.

« Previous PageNext Page »