Podcast Replay: Tame the Advice Monster with Michael Bungay Stanier

Today I'm thrilled to re-share my podcast episode with Michael Bungay Stanier, whose book The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever is celebrating its one-year anniversary! 

If you haven't read the book yet, now's the time to grab it! From March 1 to 3 The Coaching Habit eBook will be available for purchase for just 99 cents on Amazon. 

There's also an awesome contest running from March 8 to 24. In honor of his famous haiku (mentioned below), Michael is inviting other influencers to submit their best coaching wisdom in just 17 syllables — their own coaching haiku. You can learn more about the contest and prizes here. 

And here's my own coaching haiku for some inspiration:

Listen deeply. Dig
for what's not said. Flicker of
Joy becomes fireworks.

Podcast Replay: Tame the Advice Monster with Michael Bungay Stanier

We have all had the experience of sharing something that’s on our mind with a friend, family member, partner, or co-worker — then bristling in frustration or quiet defeat as they jump straight into trying to solve our problem with their brilliant advice.

What’s the alternative? Curiosity and a few simple coaching questions. That what I dig into on this Pivot Podcast with Michael Bungay Stanier, author of The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever! Not just for managers and coaches, today’s conversation will help all of us become better black-belt listeners. Written as a haiku, Michael’s message is:

Tell less and ask more.
Your advice is not as good
As you think it is.

    More About Michael

    Michael was banned from his high school graduation for “the balloon incident,” was sued by one of his Law School lecturers for defamation, gave himself a concussion digging a hole as a laborer, was fired on his first shift as a garage attendant and has held a number of jobs where he had little or no impact.

    Luckily, there’s also been some upside. He is the author of a number of successful books including: End Malaria (which raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for Malaria No More), Do More Great WorkGet Unstuck & Get GoingGreat Work Provocationsand most recently The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever. He is also the founder and Senior Partner of Box of Crayons, and was the first Canadian Coach of the Year. His real success in becoming a Rhodes Scholar and going to Oxford was meeting and marrying a Canadian who refuses to take him too seriously. 

    Topics We Cover

    • Why coaching and today’s podcast isn’t just for “life coach-y types”
    • 7 key questions to guide a coaching conversation
    • How you can apply these questions to coach effectively in ten minutes or less
    • What pick-up lines have to do with coaching and The Kickstart Question
    • The best coaching question in the world (and it’s only three words long!)
    • Why laziness is a benefit to you and the person you are talking to
    • The importance of getting comfortable with silence; why it is challenging and the reasons silence is actually a measure of success 
    • No more fake active listening! 
    • The benefit of sticking to questions that start with   instead of why
    • The pitfalls of trying to get more data (asking questions for your sake) versus getting curious instead
    • Avoid rushing to action; even how questions aren’t as important as exploring the what 
    • Stop solving the wrong problems and get to the heart of things with The Focus Question: what’s the real challenge here for you?
    • How the Drama Triangle (Victim, Persecuter, Rescuer) can inform conversations (and relationships) that have veered off course
    • How to pull yourself out of trying to be helpful to so many people
    • Why we should stop humblebragging about being “good busy” and “working smarter, not harder”
    • Combatting those habits with The Strategic Question: if you are saying yes to this, what are you saying no to?
    • Double-loop learning and The Learning Question: what was most useful for you?

    Podcast: How to Tame the Advice Monster

    Press play on the embedded player below or listen on iTunesSoundCloud, or Overcast:

    Resources Mentioned

    As Michael says at the end of his book,

    The real secret sauce here is building a habit of curiosity. Find your own questions, find your own voice. And above all, build your own coaching habit.”

    How to Build a Business by Playing Nice (+ Book Giveaway!)

    Lisa Sugar is a pretty cool person. She has attended the Oscars, had a Hollywood-themed Bat Mitzvah, and her first concert was Michael Jackson. 

    She's also the founder of POPSUGAR, a global lifestyle media and tech company inspiring and engaging over 100 million readers. Since its beginnings in 2005, POPSUGAR has embraced a vision to "modernize the newsstand" and connect readers to all the latest trends in lifestyle and pop culture. It is now the #1 independent media company for women. 

    Of course, a successful business like POPSUGAR doesn't just appear. It takes a lot of hard work and passion, and Lisa Sugar's new book Power Your Happy details her steps to success in both life and career. 

    One of Sugar's overarching philosophies is to "work hard, play nice." She believes that you don't have to cheat or be cutthroat to get to the top—working hard and playing by the rules is rewarded just as well. Sugar notes:

    For me, nice doesn't mean saccharine or relentlessly positive. It can mean being fiercely competitive (which I'll be the first to admit I am) as long as you play by the rules. Nor does nice mean being sickly sweet or timid (I also curse like a sailor). My brand of nice comes from a place of honesty, supporting others, and being empathetic. Nice is the simple lesson you learn in preschool: do unto others as you would have them do unto you. 

    3 Ways to Build a Business While Playing Nice

    1. Make friends with your competition

    It's easy to think of your competition as the enemy—a person or entity from which you want to distance yourself and keep secrets. But Sugar recognizes that a huge part of POPSUGAR's early success is due to the support of other writers and celebrity sites:

    It felt as though these fellow bloggers were my coworkers. ... We gave one another advice—about coding, finding images, tools, and navigating legalities—and become friends in the process. We were fond of one another and knew how much hard work we all were putting into our sites. ... Rather than see one another as rivals, we figured out how to collaborate. As a result, all of us grew our sites' traffic much faster than we would have alone.

    As you build your business and navigate your career, consider doing so with a mindset of collaboration and abundance. Going it alone and feeling as though you are in a stressful state of "survival of the fittest" is not healthy. 

    2. Stay true to your values

    When it comes to building a business or career, know that you have a unique understanding of your industry—the good and the bad—and have an opportunity to consciously choose how you want to participate. 

    When Sugar started POPSUGAR, she knew she wanted to promote a positive voice that inspires women to build confidence, celebrate their diversity, and feel supported. While many other celebrity and media sites thrive on a negative voice, Sugar was sure to cultivate an online community where people were safe. For instance, a primary editorial guideline from the beginning was to never write anything about a person you would not say directly to their face. Comments and audience engagement are also well-monitored to encourage positive conversation and weed out the trolls. In the end, POPSUGAR's values-drive business practices were rewarded with a rapidly growing community. 

    3. Focus on team culture

    The success of your business depends on many people, which is why it's so important to thoughtfully grow your team and team culture. Sugar notes that by focusing on building a work atmosphere that is happy and supportive, her employees are better able to do good work, suggest new ideas, and appropriately resolve conflict. 

    More specifically, Sugar encourages transparency and an all-hands-on-deck mentality in her team:

    I want to create a safe, positive environment where I'd rather hear what the twenty-two-year-olds have to say than make them cower in fear. ... At POPSUGAR, we have the mentality that everyone should know how to do a little bit of everything. Sure, you need to start by learning the basics and train your way up to bigger tasks, but being at the top doesn't mean you are ever above doing a little dirty work. That's part of working hard and playing nice and being a team player. 

    Book Giveaway

    We're excited to announce that one awesome Life After College reader will receive a copy of Lisa Sugar's Power Your Happy!

    To enter to win, please answer the following question in the comments by Friday, March 10. We will pick a winner via random.org and let you know! Good luck!

    Comment to Be Entered to Win: 
    What does "playing nice" in your business or career mean to you? 


    Marisol Dahl graduated Yale in 2015 as a Sociology and Education Studies major. She is currently a New York-based freelancer in communications and brand strategy, and loves exploring minimalist blogging and social media practices at her site Mindful & Minimal. She can be reached on Twitter at @marisoldahl.

    How to Scale Your Impact and Make More Money

    As mentioned in a recent LAC newsletter, my word for 2017 is impact. With everything going on in the world lately, these last few months have had me really evaluating how I am making a (positive) difference—with my clients, in my community, in the environment, and more. 

    And as a full-time freelancer, you bet I've been taking a hard look at how I can connect this service-driven side to my business goals. Being quite honest here, ever since I graduated college my major focus has been on making money and figuring out how to financially support myself and my ambitions. 

    But now it's time to reconcile two things that I've always internally thought were at odds with each other: making money and doing good in the world. 

    What I'm realizing now is that how much revenue you earn is actually a pretty good indicator of your impact on the world. If we consider the basic principles of supply and demand, the more revenue you bring in reflects a certain level of demand—people who are seeking your skills, services, expertise, and specific impact on the world. 

    And I know money is certainly not the only measure of impact. There are so many people out there who are making a huge difference in the lives of others without earning large amounts of revenue. 

    But here's the thing: maybe they should be making more than what they earn currently. How might we all be playing the small game financially, and not openly valuing our impact for what it's truly worth? 

    Making money does not have to conflict with your values. In fact, it's necessary in order to act on your values. If you can't sustainably grow your business or keep yourself afloat, how can you possibly expect to amplify your impact? 

    Let's stop getting that "icky" feeling when we talk about revenue and profit. Let's celebrate it as an indicator of success and impact. 

    And if you really want to talk numbers, check out this calculator that shows exactly how you can scale your impact and influence the lives of those around you. 

    How to Scale Your Impact and Make More Money

    What if your impact reached thousands of people? Maybe even millions?

    Sounds a bit daunting, right? 

    The good news is that the digital world makes it easy to share that knowledge with all those people. Online courses in particular are an increasingly effective way to reach more and more people and scale your impact in a sustainable way. 

    If you've ever thought about creating an online course, I highly recommend Danny Iny's flagship program, the Course Builder’s Laboratory

    The Course Builder’s Laboratory is the most comprehensive program out there. Inside, you will get eight modules that will teach you the entire system for creating predictably profitable online courses.

    From zeroing in on a promising course idea, to validating it with real sales, all the way to building a course people will want, CBL will take you through a proven step-by-step process.

    In addition to that, the Course Builder’s Laboratory comes with templates and scripts to help you eliminate guesswork and unnecessary effort – including email scripts, webinar templates, and sales call scripts for reaching out to people in your existing audience or personal network.

    The really awesome thing is that you will be getting a lot more than just the core CBL material. As soon as you join the Course Builder’s Laboratory, you will be assigned a personal course-building coach. This is someone who’s been extensively trained in the CBL process, and has worked through it with dozens of entrepreneurs. Your coach will work with you for the entire duration of the program, giving you feedback and helping you if you ever get stuck.

    If you’re serious about creating an online course this year, the Course Builder's Laboratory is the best way of making sure you follow through with it and succeed. Click here to learn more! 

    We all have a skill to share or something to teach. What is yours? I'd love to hear in the comments below! 
     

     

    Motivational Mindsets Part 3: Write Your Own Permission Slip

    Written by Lisa Lewis

    If you read my previous post on motivational mindsets and thought to yourself, "Yeah, letting myself get angry is definitely NOT my issue," then this article is for you.

    Prior to becoming a career coach and getting my Pivot certification, I had a ten-year corporate communications career that I was damn good at. But I was completely frustrated with it, because it felt soul-less for me.

    When various bosses would ask me to work on Thanksgiving day or jump right back into work after I learned my grandfather died, I could feel a rage blackout coming on. Something inside of me said, "There has got to be a better way."

    I felt frustrated that I wasn't bringing my full self to work and letting that anger seep over into the rest of my life, but I hadn't yet given myself permission to truly explore what a change might look like. Because I was so busy being mad at myself for not having my perfectly crafted career plan executed with flawless perfection, I was spinning in anxious circles of frustration rather than moving forward.

    Through the disappointment of not getting it right the first time, I had painted myself into a corner where I couldn't win: I was a failure for being in a job that didn't fit me, and I was a failure for considering a change. 

    And while I knew I was desperate for forward progress, I wouldn't let myself step into the role of the hero in my own career because I wasn't done beating myself up for what felt like "failing" in my current path. 

    In order to move forward, the self-abuse had to stop. 

    I needed to forgive myself for being human — and for not being a robot who could keep doing the same tasks forever without wanting a change. 

    I needed to apologize to myself for creating an expectation that I couldn't or shouldn't make a career shift. No matter how much it cost, the price of my education and the time I'd invested in the field wasn't worth sacrificing happiness and fulfillment for the next 40 years of my career. 

    More than anything, I needed a set of empowering, loving beliefs that would let me take action and move forward, even if I kept making mistakes and getting things wrong.

    If you're experiencing an inner conflict of your own where anger or frustration is holding you back, this exercise will remind you that while you're never going to get it 100% right, not letting yourself take a chance is 100% wrong.

    Write yourself a permission slip.

    Remember when you needed a parent's signature to go on adventures in grade school? You may feel like you need permission to explore change in your life and career as well. 

    However, in a stark contrast to when you were a minor, you do not need anyone's permission to make a change in your life except your own. In fact, holding out for permission from others is often a reason why we end up in frustrating career situations in the first place. 

    If you want it, you deserve to give yourself the opportunity to go get it. So grant yourself permission to start today. 

    Click here to save your own copy of this permission slip in Google Docs!

    Dear me,

    I have been doing work that doesn't feel like it fits me or gives me the opportunity to fully use my gifts for ___ years, ___ months, ___ weeks, and ___ days now.

    I forgive myself for any negative feelings I have around this situation, because I know I made the decision to start doing this work because it made sense at the time. Back then, I wanted to honor my needs for ________ [financial security, feeling like I was advancing in my title, working for an organization that felt really cool, pleasing my parents, working in a job that matched my university degree, etc.]

    However, I've grown into an even more talented and aware person, and as part of that process, I've outgrown my current job. Because I value growth and learning, "outgrowing" a job is to be expected and welcomed because it will naturally happen throughout my life. 

    For the sake of my mental, emotional and physical health, I must make a change.

    Change can be scary, and it's easy to find reasons to avoid it. But change is incredibly renewing, restorative, and healthy, which is why I am actively seeking it out in my life right now. 

    As part of the coming transition, I hereby grant myself complete and unlimited permission:

    • For a transition to truly happen (!)
    • To let go of my belief I should completely control the outcome
    • To make mistakes on this journey, because mistakes are the best way to learn
    • To be a different person than I was last year 
    • To get to know exactly who I am right now, including the evolution of my values and needs
    • For this change to take longer than expected
    • For this to be even faster than I can imagine
    • To prioritize "not disappointing myself" over "not disappointing others"
    • To invest time, money, or energy into activities or ideas because they would be fun
    • To intentionally surround myself with supportive people
    • To create the time for this by cutting out or minimizing the activities and people that are holding me back

    Giving myself full permission and wholeheartedly committing to change in my life is critically important right now because ________ [Write down every single reason you can think of. In moments of fear, worry, doubt, anxiety, or temporary setbacks, this list is going to be your inspiration and motivational lifeboat to keep you afloat.] 

    I grant myself permission to pursue a dream and come up short. It's more satisfying to shoot for the moon and land among the stars than to fail to launch. I would never forgive myself if I don't give it a shot. 

    And, perhaps most importantly, I grant myself permission to be successful beyond my wildest dreams.

    Success requires changes both big and small, and I know that to live the life I'm called to live, I can't let a fear of change paralyze me any longer. 

    Sincerely,
    (Your name) 

    As Jenny says so brilliantly on her podcast, "If change is the only constant, let's get better at it." Giving yourself permission and freedom to navigate change is a great first step. 

    I'd love to hear from you in the comments.
    What do you need to grant yourself permission to do?  


    Workshop: Crafting Your Career Vision with Lisa Lewis

    I'm excited to share that I will be hosting a workshop on Crafting Your Career Vision on Tuesday, February 7 at 3pm ET with the Momentum Community!

    In this webinar, I'll walk participants through a sequence of exercises to help them map out the elements of their professional and personal life that are the most motivating, energizing, and inspiring – and use those data points as a springboard to craft a personalized career vision to help them map what’s next. 

    To join this workshop, sign up for Momentum! In addition to the Crafting Your Career Vision workshop, you'll also be able to access all of Jenny's courses and workshops, ask Jenny anything in bi-weekly Q&A calls, and connect with other smart, generous, creative people. I'd love for you to join us.


    P.S.: Be sure to check out part 1 of this series on motivational mindsets, and part 2 about using anger as motivation! 


    Lisa Lewis is a career coach whose strength is working 1-on-1 with ambitious people in their 20s and 30s to help them clarify and achieve their goals. She is the go-to coach for multi-passionate millennials to help them re-discover, prioritize and honor their values in both work and life. Check out Lisa's video intro and sign up for a Pivot Coaching Jumpstart with Lisa here

    Motivational Mindsets Part 2: What Is Your Anger Telling You?

    Written by Lisa Lewis

    Beyond victim mentality, there's another key difference between the people who take action and change their lives, and those who stay stuck in the same circumstances month after month.

    People who get mad take action

    Anger is one of the quickest and most powerful ways to elicit immediate change from yourself or others. While an uncomfortable and unpleasant emotion, it has an adaptive, survival-based purpose: it's a bodily signal that something needs to be changed.

    Anger is often called the emotion of justice: it tends to appear when your beliefs or values have been violated. The presence of anger also indicates a need to release outward and communicate your needs to another person in order to change a situation. 

    Anger has a physiological experience component as well. You don't just "think" you're angry, you also feel it. Bodily changes can include elevated heart rate, quickness of breath, increases in blood pressure, clenched jaw, muscle tension, furrowed brow, and more. This is your body's way of physically preparing you to take immediate action. 

    "The person who is angry at the right things and toward the right people, and also in the right way, at the right time and for the right length of time is morally praiseworthy." —Aristotle

    There are plenty of reasons that anger, instead of being viewed as a vehicle for justice and change, is seen as threatening and harmful. Displays of anger that don't reflect emotional maturity can be either rageful and destructive, or silent and manipulative. Neither of those anger manifestations are desirable or optimally effective at changing your circumstances while preserving the emotional health of those around you.
     
    Because of these risk factors, displaying any anger can be seen as a sign of "losing control" or being "overly emotional"—two shaming labels that imply we should limit our emotional spectrum and only externally express the more socially acceptable emotions of happiness, sadness, or fear.

    However, internalizing or suppressing anger has harmful negative physical, emotional and mental consequences—and staying in a bad job and angering situation can compound those consequences. 

    If you've been feeling dissatisfied in your career, let yourself get mad about it. Find a quiet space where you can be alone. If it feels safe and appropriate to do so, help yourself re-experience the feeling of anger by listening to angry music or reflecting on moments where you've been particularly pissed off.

    When you're ready, think about the things that make you really mad about your current job situation. Write down a list of every reason you are angry, frustrated, annoyed, vengeful, or defensive about work. 

    Once you have this list, ask yourself how to harness this emotional power and let it out in ways that will be healthy and helpful for you. Is looking at this list the trigger you needed to start looking for a new job? Do items on this list mean that you owe your boss a few pieces of direct feedback that you've never articulated? Are there places you need to stand up for yourself because a coworker treated you disrespectfully?

    Pair your mad list with your hero mindset, and challenge yourself to take action to address at least one item from your list today. Your happiness and satisfaction could depend on it.  

    Workshop: Crafting Your Career Vision with Lisa Lewis

    I'm excited to share that I will be hosting a workshop on Crafting Your Career Vision on Tuesday, February 7 at 3pm ET with the Momentum Community!

    In this webinar, I'll walk participants through a sequence of exercises to help them map out the elements of their professional and personal life that are the most motivating, energizing, and inspiring – and use those data points as a springboard to craft a personalized career vision to help them map what’s next. 

    To join this workshop, sign up for Momentum! In addition to the Crafting Your Career Vision workshop, you'll also be able to access all of Jenny's courses and workshops, ask Jenny anything in bi-weekly Q&A calls, and connect with other smart, generous, creative people. I'd love for you to join us.

    P.S.: See part 1 of this series on motivational mindsets here, and be on the lookout for part 3 in the coming weeks!   


    Lisa Lewis is a career coach whose strength is working 1-on-1 with ambitious people in their 20s and 30s to help them clarify and achieve their goals. She is the go-to coach for multi-passionate millennials to help them re-discover, prioritize and honor their values in both work and life. Check out Lisa's video intro and sign up for a Pivot Coaching Jumpstart with Lisa here

    Book Giveaway: The Happiness Equation by Neil Pasricha

    One of my favorite TED Talks of 2016 was Neil Pasricha's How do you maximize your tiny, short life? Entirely composed of questions, Neil likes to call it the world's first TED Listen, and it's a great thought-starter about the impact we each want to make in our lives.

    Watch: How do You Maximize Your Tiny, Short Life?

    Listen: Want Nothing, Have Everything: The Happiness Equation with Neil Pasricha

    Today I’m re-sharing my podcast episode with Neil from September, where we discuss the success trap, why advice is irrelevant, and the reason you wake up in the morning. Listen to the Pivot Podcast in the embedded player below or subscribe on iTunesSoundCloudOvercast, or Google Play Music. And be sure to check out the book giveaway at the end! 

    "Be you. Be you, and be cool with it. There is nobody else you can be better."
    —Neil Pasricha, The Happiness Equation: Want Nothing + Do Anything = Have Everything

    Neil Pasricha's writing is like a cup of hot chocolate, or as he would describe it in Awesome Thing #119, like watching butter melt on a hot piece of toast. It is comforting and delightful. His latest book is about what he learned along his own roller coaster ride of reaching smashing success with his 1,000 Awesome Things blog and books, then realizing he still wasn't happy. We break down topics like The Saturday Morning Test, the three time buckets, and many more. Enjoy!

    More About Neil Pasricha

    Neil Pasricha is the New York Times-bestselling author of The Happiness Equation and The Book of Awesome series, which has been published in ten countries, spent over five years on bestseller lists, and sold over a million copies.

    Pasricha is a Harvard MBA, one of the most popular TED speakers of all time, and after ten years heading Leadership Development at Walmart he now serves as Director of The Institute for Global Happiness. He has dedicated the past fifteen years of his life to developing leaders, creating global programs inside the world’s largest companies and speaking to hundreds of thousands of people around the globe. He lives in Toronto with his wife and sons.

    Topics We Cover

    • Feeling trapped by extrinsic motivators, ever-escalating goals
    • Achieving massive success—multiple bestsellers, TED talk—then feeling trapped by the never-ending search for more
    • Overcoming compare-and-despair
    • The Success Triangle: sales, social, self
    • The Meat Grinder of marketing, stress from emphasizing sales
    • "The goal is not to be perfect, it's to be better than before."
    • What the healthiest 100-year-olds in the world can teach us
    • Ikigai, a Japanese term for the reason you wake up in the morning
    • Retirement is an arbitrary, relatively new concept; many of the world's healthiest places to live don't even have a word for stopping work
    • The Saturday Morning Test
    • Advice is irrelevant; "When we are looking for advice we are usually looking for an accomplice."
    • How he decided when to leave his job as Director of Leadership Development at Walmart
    • Why having a side hustle for so long as an author allowed him to take big risks at work and in his writing
    • Three Bucket Model of the Week: Sleep, Work, Free/Creative/Fun (56 hours each)

    Podcast: The Happiness Equation with Neil Pasricha

    Listen below or on iTunesSoundCloudStitcher, or Overcast:

    Resources Mentioned

    Check out other episodes of the Pivot Podcast here. Be sure to subscribe via iTunesAndroid or SoundCloud, and if you enjoy the show I would be very grateful for a rating and/or review! Sign-up for my weekly #PivotList newsletter to receive curated round-ups of what I'm reading, watching, listening to, and new tools I'm geeking out on.

    Book Giveaway

    We're excited to announce that one awesome Life After College reader will receive a copy of Neil Pasricha's The Happiness Equation!

    To enter to win, please answer the following question in the comments by Friday, February 3. We will pick a winner via random.org and email to let you know! Good luck!

    Comment to Be Entered to Win: 
    As Neil asks in his TED Talk: "What story or idea of yours might survive as a tiny, flickering light millions of years into the future?"

    Motivational Mindsets Part 1: Be the Hero of Your Career

    Written by Lisa Lewis

    If you're feeling unfulfilled at work this year and are frustrated about it, you're not alone: a recent Gallup poll shows that only 30% of employees are engaged in their jobs.

    The idea that 70% of the nation's employees are not engaged is staggering, but not surprising. How often have you said or heard the following in your office?

    "My boss never listens to my ideas."
    "I'm getting micromanaged on every project I'm supposed to manage."
    "I keep getting passed over for promotions."

    "I don't see a path forward to keep growing here."

    These kinds of challenges will inevitably come up in your work life. The key is how you approach these challenges, for your mindset can greatly affect your health, wealth and happiness. Do you see these tests as a gift and opportunity for growth that's happening "for" you, or do you interpret these events as completely outside your control and react to life happening "to" you?

    The decision to be the hero or the victim is a critical one. Heroes see everything as an opportunity, take action when others sit back, and seek out personal growth opportunities hungrily. Victims complain and pay lip service to wanting things to be different, but are unwilling to take responsibility and make it happen.

    You have the ability to be radically free from a victim mentality. You can create your own reality each day, instead of reacting to it.

    What would change for you if you decided to be the Hero in your own life story?

    Imagine: our hero is sitting on the couch after a brutal day at work, having a dinner of box wine and Spaghetti-os, binge-watching season one of Quantico on Netflix...again. 

    Suddenly, the episode comes to an end and our hero has a choice: either continue to watch and become numb to how things have been going, or "flip" on the Hero switch and ask: "This situation is happening for me for a reason. This day isn't over yet. What can I do today to use these frustrating feelings as motivational fuel to make a change in my life?"

    The choice that makes for better movie drama also makes for a more fulfilling life.

    It's not that Netflix and box wine are bad—but using them as a crutch to avoid making scary and important changes in your life is not letting yourself live the life you were meant to have.

    As you're reviewing your outlook for the year ahead, ask yourself: where am I being the victim in my life right now? Is it with my boss, my significant other, or my mom? Is it with my roommates, my health, or my finances? Where have I been quick to complain, and slow to take action to improve myself or the situation?

    If you've identified an area of focus, ask: what if I were the hero of a movie and the audience is hanging on my every move, waiting to see what I do next. What would I do to keep the plot moving?

    There's a reason movies are made about people taking action instead of people paralyzed by fears, worries, and doubts. It isn't that the action-takers don't have them, but they feel the fear and do it anyway. Fear has a much harder time stopping someone who is already moving.

    What do you need to do in the movie of your life? Challenge yourself to do it right now. This day isn't over yet, and you're meant to have a life you love.

    Workshop: Crafting Your Career Vision with Lisa Lewis

    I'm excited to share that I will be hosting a workshop on Crafting Your Career Vision on Tuesday, February 7 at 3pm ET with the Momentum Community!

    In this webinar, I'll walk participants through a sequence of exercises to help them map out the elements of their professional and personal life that are the most motivating, energizing, and inspiring – and use those data points as a springboard to craft a personalized career vision to help them map what’s next. 

    To join this workshop, sign up for Momentum! In addition to the Crafting Your Career Vision workshop, you'll also be able to access all of Jenny's courses and workshops, ask Jenny anything in bi-weekly Q&A calls, and connect with other smart, generous, creative people. I'd love for you to join us.

    P.S.: Be on the lookout for parts 2 and 3 on motivational mindsets in the coming weeks! 


    IMG_2606_cropped.png

    Lisa Lewis is a career coach whose strength is working 1-on-1 with ambitious people in their 20s and 30s to help them clarify and achieve their goals. She is the go-to coach for multi-passionate millennials to help them re-discover, prioritize and honor their values in both work and life. Check out Lisa's video intro and sign up for a Pivot Coaching Jumpstart with Lisa here

    Life After College: 2016 Year In Review + 9-Year Blogiversary!

    Written by Marisol Dahl

    So much to celebrate as we close up 2016! The Life After College blog turned nine (!!) this past weekend, and in true LAC fashion we are bringing out the cupcakes. 

    It's been a crazy-wild year of business growth, new ventures, growing families, and book publishing! Let's jump in . . . 

    Our Favorite 2016 Posts

    It was a year full of wisdom from the LAC team—Jenny, Melissa, Paul, Davis and myself. So awesome taking a look back at these greatest hits. 

    Updates from the LAC Team

    Melissa: "MConnected Communications is continuing to grow and we’re about to complete our first long-term corporate consulting contract. I spoke at the Work Life Congress for Working Mother’s Magazine in October, and met some amazing people who are making strides in the work/life balance arena. We launched our course, Strategic Storytelling for HR this year – and it was a success! My biggest lesson for 2016: I was building a business and a growth path that didn’t fit the way I work best. It’s a hard lesson to learn, but it’s also been extremely freeing and satisfying since changing things up! 2017 will be filled with new things for MConnected – and some great insider things for Launch Your Job and Launch Yourself (so stay tuned). It’s going to be filled with a lot of new adventures for me and my peeps."

    Paul: "My family made a cross country move! And our third child arrived in August, this time a boy, which I was slightly excited about. I had the privilege of working with companies like Aflac, Wells Fargo, and Stewart Title on reaching, engaging, retaining, and leading Millennials. I was highlighted in various publications on the topics on marketing to Millennials and pursuing your passion on Bloombergthe Chicago Tribune, and even for AARP. I launched my new online course, Finding Your Signature Sauce, a program that helps people uncover the unique ingredients within them to create an attainable action plan where their passion, purpose, and career collide. I'm working on two new books: one similar in style to 101 Secrets For Your Twenties, and the other a fiction storyIf you're looking for something fun to do this holiday break, check out this fun new quiz I recently created at All Groan Up

    Davis: "One year since joining Bain, I've helped a biotech company develop a launch plan for a life saving drug, a tech company find more than $100M in savings, and a low-income school system build a teacher retention strategy. In 2017, I will be delivering my first TEDx talk and competing in the World Championship of Public Speaking. The Biggest lesson I've learned in 2017 is that you can't predict what you will do in one year, but you know what you can do today."

    Marisol: 2016 was a huge growth year for my career, as I expanded my freelance communications business and explored new areas of work. While the first half of the year was all about career expansion, these last few months have been about contraction—releasing some work commitments and redefining my roles as I zero in on how I want my career to grow. It's been a marathon year and a half since graduating college, but I feel like I now have more room to breathe and can focus on other passions and areas of growth: rekindling those rusty guitar skills, continuing with my new hot yoga practice, and blogging again (!). After taking a 1.5-year break from personal blogging, I've reset the clock on my digital life and start approaching it in a more minimal, and intentional, way. Excited to see how this goes!

    2016 Highlights From Jenny

    Handing the mic over to Jenny for her round-up of all the great things happening and forthcoming!  

    • PIVOT: The Only Move That Matters Is Your Next One was published in September by Portfolio/Penguin Random House! It's been a whirlwind launch season as I just wrapped up my book and speaking tour, connect with new readers and pivoters, and watch this book find its own place in the world. I am overcome with gratitude for all of you here reading, those who shared the book on social media, and everyone who has supported me along this publishing journey.

      800-CEO-Read, Refinery29, JP Morgan and Seth Godin all mentioned it among their end-of-year must read lists, and I'm blown away that PIVOT is close to reaching 100 reviews on Amazon!! If you haven't added yours yet, they are incredibly helpful for generating momentum in these early days of the launch. I read and cherish every single one! Check out the Pivot Toolkit here if you haven't already — tons of free resources and templates :) 
       
    • In early 2016, I took the Pivot Podcast "pro" by getting it into iTunes, and was surprised to find that it quickly took the top spot for activities that bring me immense joy. I got to connect with many of my author heroes, including James Altucher, Kevin Kelly, Penney Peirce, and many more. Go down the archives rabbit hole here, and search for "Pivot Podcast Jenny Blake" to subscribe wherever you listen to 'casts. 
       
    • In late summer, Marisol and I launched "Momentum 2.0"—a revamped version of my online community where I connect with my favorite pivot peeps, side-hustlers, and solopreneurs.

    More on Momentum 

    Momentum is where you can access all my courses and workshops, ask me anything in bi-weekly Q&A calls, and connect with other smart, generous, creative people. Would love for you to join us if it seems like just what you need to kick off 2017 with a bang! Here's a recent webinar on 10 Non-Sleazy Marketing Tips with Pivot Coach Melani Dizon, and here's a recent Q&A call where I talk about facing fears, surrender, and share a short meditation.  

    If you're looking to kick off 2017 with an extra boost of accountability and support, thinking about a pivot, or looking to connect with ~65 other awesome, smart side-hustlers and solopreneurs, I'd love for you to join us in Momentum! In addition to twice monthly "Ask Me Anything" Q&A calls, workshops on deck include:

    • Q&A with Jenny: Plan Your 2017 Pivot
    • Q&A with Jenny: How to Lead a PIVOT Mastermind Group
    • January Workshop: Scalable Streams of Solopreneur Income
    • February Workshop: Crafting Your Career Vision with Lisa Lewis
    • March Workshop: Soul Goals: How to Align with Your Inner Blueprint

     

    A la carte, each of these workshops is $47. But if you join Momentum (just $97 a quarter), you'll get access to all five as well as all my other courses, past workshop recordings, Q&A call archive, and private Facebook community. 

    Personalized Pivot Planning

    Be sure to also check out the 10-Week Career Pathfinder Course: an online career coaching program that guides you step-by-step to find your calling, and Pivot Jumpstart Coaching (two sessions with email in-between): One-on-one support to kickstart and accelerate your pivot-in-progress. 

    See you in 2017! 

    Above all we are most thankful for you, our incredible LAC Community! Thank you for reading, commenting, and sharing your own life after college adventures with us! 

    If you have a quick minute, we’d love for you to fill out our super-short two-question survey so that we can make Life After College insanely helpful for you in 2017. We value your feedback immensely and want to make sure we're doing everything we can to make this next year rock. And if you aren't yet subscribed to the weekly #PivotList newsletter, make sure to do that here!

    Happiest holidays and wishing you a smashing start to the New Year!! 

    Find Worth in What You Do

    Written by Davis Nguyen

    Your first job (or even first couple of jobs) won’t always excite you. In fact, you might find yourself daydreaming of doing something, anything else.

    That doesn’t mean you can’t find some reason to make the 40+ hours you spend at your job meaningful.

    When I was 14, I heard the following story that reminds me of how much power we have to shape how we view our work:

    On a foggy autumn day nearly 1000 years ago, a merchant traveling in England happened upon a group of three masons working.
    Despite already being late for an important meeting, our traveller decides to stop and inquire the trio about their work.
    He moved toward the first of the three masons and asked, "Dear fellow, what is it that you are doing?"
    The man continued his work and grumbled, "I am cutting stones."
    Realizing that the mason did not wish to be bothered, our traveler moved toward the second of the three and repeated the question, “My dear sir, what is it that you are doing?”
    To the traveler’s delight this time, the man stopped his work, and replied, “I am cutting stones. I came to London from the north to work, but as soon as my work is done and I get paid, I shall return to my wife and kids back north.”
    The traveler thanked the second mason, wished him a safe journey home, and began to head to the third and last of the masons.
    When he reached the third worker, he once again asked the original question,
    "What are you doing?"
    The third worker paused, stood up, and glanced at the traveler until they made eye contact before replying,
    "I am a mason and I am building a cathedral. I have come far to build this cathedral. I have spent many months away from my wife and kids whom I miss dearly. However, I know how important this cathedral will be one day, and I know how many people will find sanctuary and solace here.’
    Satisfied, our traveler continued on his route leaving the three masons to continue their work.

    You can’t always do what you love, but you can almost always find a way to love what you do.

    You can view tasks you don’t enjoy in your life as mundane and beneath you, or you can view them as opportunities to better things.


    Davis (@IamDavisNguyen) graduated from Yale University in 2015. He currently lives in San Francisco and works at Bain & Company. When he’s not helping CEOs transform their companies, he is helping recent graduates figure out the type of life they want for themselves and helping them get there.

     

    A Reminder: Have You Thanked Your Problems Yet?

    (Editor’s Note: This was originally posted in June 2012 and was subsequently picked up a few other places, but I thought it was fitting as a reminder for Thanksgiving here in the U.S.). 

    Let’s pause and look around us – and be grateful for everything that we do have. It’s so easy to get caught up in our own world: things that are driving us crazy, holding us back, or not turning out as we planned. But have you recently looked outside of your sphere (and your current woes), to reflect on what you have?

    I’m in the business of turning negatives, challenges, questions, into amazing positives. Don’t have a job that brings in six-figures, I’ll help you land that. Not sure if you should stay in grad school or take a promotion at work, no problem. Can’t seem to break into the corporate world with your current set of resume materials, easy breezy fix. I listen to people’s problems and help them on their path to find a solution – and I love every moment. But are our problems really that bad?

    After watching the first half of the Secret Millionaire, I was touched, inspired, and questioning my own world perspective. A little disclaimer – I love this show; I love how it highlights how different people live throughout the United States, that it attempts to show and share the reality of life for so many people that are not represented in media, that it reminds us of the impact that volunteering (and yes, money), can have to so many people. But as I was watching kids being taught how to landscape a cemetery so they can add that skill to their resume, I paused the show and literally stepped away from my TV.

    When was the last time that you stepped out of your current life woes and reflected on the things you do have? I know that it has been too long when I was worrying this morning about how to bring in new clients while sitting at Starbucks with my venti iced coffee in my hand and my laptop computer on the table (not to mention all of the other gadgets in my purse). It’s not about things – but how amazing is it, that these issues are the ones that I’m lucky enough to worry about. I have a beautiful apartment, I don’t have to worry about my next meal, clothes, things galore, and so much more.

    Our own life decisions and challenges are important – it’s not about how you compare to people who may be less or more fortunate. But at what point do we give our personal crises a break and realize that we are very lucky to be having those types of problems in the first place? When you put your decisions into the perspective of others, the problem doesn’t seem so big or overwhelming.

    So I urge all of you to take a moment and reflect on how lucky you are to be struggling YOUR struggle. Even as difficult, challenging or overwhelming it may seem, there are so many others who are struggling for things/decisions/options that you have either overcome or accomplished. Remember that: you have accomplished! Each time you pay your rent check, buy groceries, get in your car, call someone on your cell phone – your hard work, dedication, determination, and perhaps luck, have helped you do that. Be grateful for what you have and figure out how to pay it forward.


    About Melissa

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    Melissa Anzman is the creator of Launch Your Job  where she equips ambitious leaders with practical ways to grow their career. She is the author of two books: How to Land a Job and Stop Hating Your Job. Follow her @MelissaAnzman.

    CareerMelissa

    Is Hybridpreneurship for you? Fluidity and Opportunity in the New World of Work

    Hello friends! I’m popping in today with a short video hello on one of my favorite topics, how to be agile in our increasingly fluid career landscape. As many of you have heard me say: careers are no longer linear, like a ladder, but rather fully customizable, like a smart phone. It’s up to you to download apps for different skills and interests that will help you feel fulfilled.  

    One of the skills that is increasingly helpful in our project- and gig-based economy is an entrepreneurial spirit—the ability to ride out uncertainty and come up with innovative solutions that make a positive impact on others’ lives and businesses—but that doesn’t mean you have to fly totally solo either. 

    I was excited when Aflac approached me to weigh in on the subject of intrapreneurship.

    In today's video I cover:

    • An emerging trend of what I'm calling hybridpreneurship as a bridge to business-building
    • The pros and cons of the hybridpreneur model
    • The importance of a great support network, no matter which route you choose
    • How to move fluidly between both
    • How to become even more comfortable with uncertainty

    Watch: Jenny Blake on Hybridpreneurship

    I’d love to hear from you in the comments:
    What do you think about this hybrid model of entrepreneurship? Is it something you'd try?
    If you are already doing it, I would love to hear how it’s going!

    This post is brought to you by Aflac. I'm a compensated contributor, but the thoughts and ideas are my own. Aflac herein means American Family Life Assurance Company of Columbus and American Family Life Assurance Company of New York. Aflac agents are independent agents and are not employees of Aflac.
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    About Jenny

    Jenny Blake is the author of LifeAfter College and the book PivotShe is a career and business strategist and an international speaker who helps smart people organize their brain, move beyond burnout, and build sustainable, dynamic careers they love. Jenny combines her love of technology with her superpower of simplifying complexity to help clients through big transitions — often to pivot in their career or launch a book, blog or business. Today you can find her here on this blog (in its 9th year!) and at JennyBlake.me, where she explores the intersection of mind, body and business. Follow her on Twitter @jenny_blake.

    5 Tips for Mastering Post-College Finances

    By Marisol Dahl

    When you’re catapulted into the post-college world, it’s natural to feel a little ungrounded. You’re moving to new places, exploring new jobs, and facing The Future head-on.

    On top of that, we live in an age where our career paths are constantly evolving, and 40% of us will be freelancers by 2020.

    There’s a whole new level of uncertainty when it comes to “adulting.” And let’s be real here: financial uncertainty and pressures are at the top of the list.

    As someone who has been fully self-employed since graduation, money management is particularly top of mind. I don’t have a paycheck with taxes automatically deducted, or an employer offering retirement benefits. Month to month, I never know exactly what my income will be.

    There’s no doubt that there’s a whole bunch of practical benefits that come with really understanding your financial life. But I’ve also found that getting a handle on your finances is a great way to gain a sense of control when everything else seems crazy.

    5 Tips for Mastering Post-College Finances

    1. Assess your accounts

    First thing’s first. Get a bird’s-eye view of your situation by identifying three things: where your money comes from (income), where your money goes (expenses), and where it’s stored.

    Write everything down, including the credit cards and bank accounts you have open, any assets (like a car), any debts, and any stock. Mint.com is a great resource to quickly aggregate all of these aspects of your financial life and see changes in real time.

    2. Make a budget

    By creating and sticking to a budget you will be able to align your financial reality with your financial ideals. Think about your goals: are you saving for something big? Want to start putting money aside for grad school or a wedding? Want to get ahead on student loan payments? Setting a budget will help you put the systems in place to actually do these things.

    To get started, check out Jenny’s Four-step Budget template and Financial Modeling template.

    3. Start saving for retirement NOW

    I get it. Thinking about retirement seems like the last of your worries when you have student loans breathing down your neck and next month’s rent check due next week. But here’s the thing, if you don’t start saving now—even just a little bit each year—you’re robbing your future self.

    So when you land a job, make sure there are good retirement benefits and options. If you’re self-employed start saving on your own (I opened a Roth IRA, but you should investigate your options to find out what’s best for you!).  

    4. Refinance your loans

    The college debt crisis. Yeah, it’s pretty depressing.

    That’s why refinancing my loans was my first order of business when I graduated college. I bundled all my college loans into one, with a lower fixed rate and more manageable monthly payment. It will still be a long time before I’m debt free, but I have peace of mind that I’m doing everything in my power to make the best of the situation. :)

    5. Start building credit (if you haven’t started already)

    The big (financial) things in life require having good credit, like renting an apartment, buying a car, and even getting your own cell phone line.

    So the best thing to do is to start building your credit as early as possible, and understand what factors into credit score calculations. Credit Karma is a great resource to see your score for free and get a breakdown of what’s positively and negatively affecting your score.

    Bonus Tip: Call in the professionals

    Ok, a quick disclaimer: I am by no means a finance expert. The purpose of this post is to document what I did and learned after a year of diving deep into money management. And after implementing everything I mentioned above, I feel awesome. My relationship with money has never been better.

    So while I highly recommend the above tips, it’s always a good idea to have a chat with an accountant or financial advisor to get more personalized and strategic advice.


    Marisol Dahl graduated Yale University in 2015 and is now a full-time freelancer in communications, brand strategy, digital marketing, and content development. She loves exploring minimalist blogging and social media practices.

    What I Learned One Year Later: What Drives Work Happiness

    Written by Davis Nguyen

    Last week marked a full year since I started my first full-time job at Bain. Though I’ve had jobs in high school and college, I always considered myself a student first and an employee second. To celebrate my one year anniversary, I took time to reflect on the largest lessons I’ve learned the past 12 months. 

    One of those lessons was learning what drove my happiness at work. 

    And it came down to this:

    Doing work that pushes you to grow while feeling supported 

    The way Bain operates is we work on projects on average 3 to 6 months at a time for our client companies. These projects vary from figuring out which country a company should launch its products to figuring out how a company can save a billion dollars. 

    I’ve had seven different projects since starting a year ago and what I’ve learned in all these different environment is what makes the time pass and satisfaction high is having work that pushes my growth while feeling supported along the way.

    If you are doing work that pushes you to grow, you are constantly learning and feeling immersed. Time passes by quickly. Compare this to doing a task that is routine and mundane: an hour feels like an entire day. And if you are doing work while feeling supported, you enjoy being where you are and challenging yourself to grow. 

    The type of work you’re asked to do day in and out will change. Some days will make you feel so lucky to be where you are; other days will make you want to quit. But what drives happiness is feeling as though you are being challenged without being too stretched, and having people who care about you. The work can be tough, the hours can be long, but with supportive people the experience is more enjoyable.

    This lesson is one of the twelve largest learnings one year out of school. You can find the other lessons here.


    Davis (@IamDavisNguyen) graduated from Yale University in 2015. He currently lives in San Francisco and works at Bain & Company. When he’s not helping CEOs transform their companies, he is helping recent graduates figure out the type of life they want for themselves and helping them get there.

    How to Make the Most of the Last Three Months of the Year

    Written by Marisol Dahl

    The Sun is setting earlier, the days are getting chillier, and the Halloween candy that has taken up residence in your house is just a hint of all the holiday celebrations to come.

    There’s so much going on. And that means it’s really really easy to write off the next three months. Q4 is often considered a “lost quarter” in terms of work and productivity, especially if we have the promise of a shiny New Year just around the corner.

    But it doesn’t have to be that way. The key to successful quarterly planning is to not treat each quarter like all the others. It’s important to take into account the time of year, acknowledge where you are in your life/career/business, and gauge your productivity levels moving forward. You have to look at the big picture, and set realistic expectations for yourself.

    4 Ways to Make Q4 Awesome

    1. Tie up loose ends.

    What one or two things have you been resolving to do forever but just can’t seem to finish? Q4 is a great time to clear the decks and wrap up all those projects and to-dos that always seem to get pushed to the back-burner. You’ll thank yourself when the New Year rolls around :) Tying up loose ends is also a great goal for Q4 especially if you are wary of taking on completely new projects.

    2. Debrief on the past year.

    Jenny and I love having debrief sessions right after major initiatives (like a program or book launch!). It’s a great way to acknowledge accomplishments and identify areas for improvement, and we always walk away aligned on a few solid things we want to focus on for the next few months.

    In your debrief, choose an area of your life (work, family, relationships, etc.). Identify three things you did well, three things you’d do differently, and three things you’d like to celebrate. Feel free to add any questions to you debrief process, and repeat for as many “life areas” you’d like to review.

    3. Focus on relationships.

    This is a great focus for Q4, since this time of year is already very relationship-oriented. Instead of seeing the holidays as time and productivity-sucks, use them as an “excuse” to get in touch and open up opportunities for stronger connection and collaboration.

    This is a natural time to check in with your extended family, old classmates, former colleagues, and any other business contacts you’d like to keep in touch with—and it won’t be awkward since this is one of the most social seasons of the year.

    4. Do sprints.

    If you look ahead at your calendar, you might notice pockets of time that aren’t as conducive to work as others. Maybe you’re traveling, taking time off for a holiday, or have a lot of commitments clustered over a few days.

    Use your schedule as an indicator of when it’s time to hustle, and when it’s time to let it flow. Instead of trying to evenly pace your work over the next three months, identify a few periods of time where you can do “sprints”—times where you can kick focused work into high gear and make a lot of progress in a short period of time. When you’re “off-sprint,” enjoy the time to celebrate what you achieved and get much-needed rest.

    Join Us for the 5-Day #PIVOTsprint — Starts 10/10!

    We’re excited to announce the first ever #PIVOTsprint, kicking off on October 10! This is a 5-day kickstart for you to map what’s next, whether you are pivoting within your current role or business, starting a side-hustle, getting unstuck on a major project, or cookin’ up an even bigger life change.

    The week of prompts will walk you through the four-stage Pivot Method in—you guessed it!—four days, with some extra reflection at the start and end. Sign up here to join the#PIVOTsprint, and invite your friends for some added accountability!


    About Marisol Dahl

    Marisol graduated Yale in 2015 as a Sociology and Education Studies major. A longtime New Yorker, her interests include business, communications, and brand strategy. She can be reached on Twitter at @marisoldahl.

     

    Learning to Say “No”

    Written by Davis Nguyen

    I’ve always had a hard time saying “no,” until saying “no” was the only thing keeping me from ending up in the hospital this month.  

    When I first moved to San Francisco a year ago, I didn’t have much of a social base being 2,500 miles from home and 3,000 miles from where I went to college. 

    To fill the void, I started joining volunteer groups at and outside of work. The committees at work and non-profit organizations I joined started to slowly solve my want for a social community. I met people I normally wouldn’t have met, create memories that otherwise wouldn’t have existed, and slowly found my community in the city. 

    A year later, I have no problem picking up the phone and having someone come over for dinner. But last month, I started noticing the side effects of being so committed. As my social time increased, my personal time declined. 

    This month a number of my commitments ran into unexpected obstacles that needed to be solved quickly. I encountered a problem I’d never experienced in my life: there was just not enough energy in me to do everything despite staying up 7 days to the AMs. I was near exhaustion every night.  

    When it was all done and I could finally breathe, I was happy with the results but saddened by the price. I finally understood what “too much of a good thing is a bad thing” meant. Instead of being energized by volunteer work, I felt drained. When the last event concluded, I just went back home and fell on my bed. It was first time I remember such a restful sleep since the cascade of commitments came down. 

    But besides the positive communal results that came from this period, there emerged a personal result: I learned to say "no." During this intense period, the request for my time didn’t stop, but it was the first time since moving to San Francisco I just said “no” without hesitation. Not to anyone’s surprise, the world didn’t stop and the people who asked me simply asked someone else. 

    I wish this lesson didn’t have to come when my health was declining, but I am glad I learned it. Learning to say no is tough, but I remind myself that if I say yes to something, I am saying no to everything else. In the end, I want to be in control of what I say no to. 

    About Davis

    Davis (@IamDavisNguyen) graduated from Yale University in 2015. He currently lives in San Francisco and works at Bain & Company. When he’s not helping CEOs transform their companies, he is helping recent graduates figure out the type of life they want for themselves and helping them get there.

    My Passion Failed Me

    Written by Melissa Anzman

    I have a confession to make… it’s something that I’ve alluded to in the past, maybe even said it in different words, but it’s time to come clean. My “dream job,” the thing I was most passionate about, the thing I built my business around… sucked in reality.

    Let me explain a bit more.

    For ages, I kept hearing the advice: follow your passion. “When you do something you love, you’ll never work another day in your life.” And various other iterations of the passion is awesome advice.

    First I agonized over what the heck “finding my passion” meant… and how to go about doing that. I had always approached work as following opportunities and leveraging my strengths or growing my skills. I didn’t understand how passion should be incorporated into that. But I kept searching and finally “found my passion.” Or maybe, what my ideal job is.

    I spent time figuring out what my ideal day looked like, listing out all of my skills, what I did and didn’t want in my future career, and so on. And all answers pointed to me being my own boss. If you know me, that’s not a far stretch.

    So I opened a career coaching business… and felt burned out within a year. It’s not that I didn’t like what I was doing or the people I was working with it, it’s that it felt like a J-O-B again. And my default with that feeling is, “If I’m going to work in a J-O-B, I may as well go back to corporate and get a high paying job that makes me feel the same way as I do now.”

    Not the right mindset, I’ll be the first to admit. But I have this weird career-quirk, maybe it’s a personality quirk, I’m not sure. But when I feel like I’m “in a job,” I am MISERABLE. That’s not me being overly dramatic, it feels so taxing and awful and… miserable. Everything else in my life suffers to.

    And I felt lied to – I followed my passion, I created a business based around it, and within a year, that same corporate drone misery set-in. Again.

    So I followed the next shiny object – another passion of mine. Hey, follow your bliss, right? Built another company around that passion and thought the problem was solved.

    But of course, the same thing happened. I hit my burnout point or “misery level”… and was left feeling stuck and like a huge failure (even though I had officially created two successful businesses!).

    Why am I telling you this? First, to let you know that if you’re feeling the same way, you’re definitely not alone. Sometimes your passions don’t pan out as a business or career choice. It’s not you, you’re not failing in some way, you’re not defective (like how I felt). Also, to let you know that passions don’t have to be forever things. And sometimes, when you build your career around your passion, it kills it.

    Of course I keep pivoting to new paths and ideas, trying to find the intersection of my skills, my “passion,” and what people will pay me for. Or better yet, how I can build something that has a shorter shelf-life, but continues to move me forward on my path.

    Oh, and that “passion stuff”… I’ve started to look at it as things I like doing. Not what gets me out of bed. Not what is an awesome hobby. But what I wouldn’t mind doing for work.

    Maybe follow your passion was the worst advice I’ve ever gotten – but I’ve learned that passion flame outs, don’t equate to failure. And more important – for me, passion needs to stay in my side projects/hobbies. Not the center focus of my business (unless I’m ready to explore a new passion!).   

    About Melissa

    Melissa Anzman is the creator of Launch Your Job  where she equips ambitious leaders with practical ways to grow their career. She is the author of two books: How to Land a Job and Stop Hating Your Job. Follow her@MelissaAnzman.

    9 Questions You Need to Ask About Your Career

    Written by Paul Angone

    Do you have big questions about your career? (or lack thereof)

    Searching for a career is more than just finding a job, it’s about finding a place to call home where you can thrive and grow.

    I believe it should matter that you want your work to matter.

    You will spend more time working than you will anywhere else. Don’t you think it should feel like a good fit, instead of something that’s forced? 

    If you’re always trying to kill time at work, what does that say about the way you’re spending your life?

    If you’re struggling with your current career, are confused about the direction it’s heading, or just want to re-confirm you’re on the right one, here are nine questions you need to ask.

    9 Questions You Need to Ask About Your Career

    1. Are the people who have obtained success in your career path, you know, actually happy?

    When you look at the higher ups in your field of work, the people who have really made it, are they happy? Are they living a life they enjoy or are they doing just the opposite?

    As I first wrote in twentysomething problems, if the thought of doing your bosses job 15 years from now makes you throw up a little, then maybe that’s a sign you’re in the wrong job.

    2. The moment right before you enter into your day’s work, how do you feel?

    Tomorrow, right before you begin your work, pause, ask yourself this question, and see what you say. Are you excited? Anxious? Overwhelmed?

    You might be surprised that you find yourself thrilled to begin another day of work. That’s a great sign! Or maybe you notice that dread is slowly wrapping its fingers around your neck?

    How you feel the moment before you begin your day will tell you a lot about how you will feel when your day ends.

    3. What’s your Dread/ Tolerate/ Love breakdown?

    Let’s make a chart! This will be fun!

    Look at a typical work day. Break down each hour. From email, to meetings, travel, and then when you’re actually plugging away at the work you’re supposed to be doing.

    Looking at your breakdown, how many hours would you place in each category – Dread, Tolerate, and Love.

    Now take your hour breakdown and make it into a pie chart. Does this pie chart make you nauseous or happy? If your day is filled with more dread than love, is there a way you can tackle more projects in your “Love” category?

    Is there a way to spice up some of those Tolerate hours to make them fit better within your wheelhouse? Or is this career taking up permanent residence in the Land of Dread.

    Define what you love about your job and then refine your job to do more of what you love. 

    4. Or do you feel you’re full throttle-ly (that’s a word, right?) employed in a crappy job and it would take an act of God to help you enjoy it?

    A crappy job can feel like a black hole — it sucks and feels impossible to escape.

    Yes, working a crappy job is a twentysomething rite of passage. But how do we make it smell a little better?

    The key to working a crappy job, and then leveraging that job into a better one, is to find and hone your One Thing.

    Find and focus on the One Thing you like about this job.

    Then do that one thing even better than before. Grow your skill-set there. Learn from co-workers who do that One Thing well.

    Make that One Thing your crappy job trampoline, bouncing you to greater heights.

    Your twenties are about putting in the work now so that you can enjoy your work later. 

    Too many of us want to escape our crappy jobs before we’ve grown in a skill-set that we can leverage into a better opportunity. If you leave your crappy job without learning and growing, chances are another crappy job awaits.

    5. Does studying, researching, and becoming more proficient in your career give you energy or drain it?

    Does learning about your industry or craft give you life or take from it?

    If becoming a master of your craft is something you’re avoiding, it’s either time to fully dive in or it’s time to pick a new craft.

    6. Does this career path create the life you want?

    Sometimes you can have an amazing career, but the wake from it is choppy and uneasy.

    Do you love your job, but it’s pretty much a given that you’re working 70 hour weeks? And your boss works 80. Or maybe your career is filled with purpose and passion, yet it doesn’t really pay the bills? Basically, what’s most important to you? If you’re not sure, maybe start with these 11 questions every twentysomething needs to ask and then come back here.

    It’s a strange paradox when you love your job, but you don’t love the lifestyle it creates.

    Choose a healthy life, not just a successful career. 

    This might mean you have to make a difficult decision about the kind of life you want to live. But I promise it will be easier to make that choice now, than when a house, spouse, and a few kids are in the picture.

    7. Are you doing work that matters? Do you believe in it? Should you believe in it?

    Boomers and Millennials especially sometimes find themselves at a disconnect when it comes to career choices.

    And it seems whether or not you should have purpose and meaning in your career is at the heart of the debate.

    I believe it should matter that you want your work to matter. 

    For many twentysomethings, they are more focused on finding a job filled with purpose and passsion, than a healthy paycheck.

    As a recent Barna study on Millennials states: “When it comes to work and career, more than anything this generation wants to be inspired. Finding a job they are passionate about is the career priority Millennials ranked highest.”

    For me personally, doing something that makes an impact in a meaningful way was a number one priority for me. It was a non-negotiable. And it’s compelled me to make hard choices away from comfort and job security. It’s led me through seasons of unemployment and utter leanness. And it’s meant a lot of early mornings and late nights working at a dream, before I went and worked at my work.

    This path towards meaning has not been easy, but I love where it’s led me.

    8. What are the top skills that you currently using and growing at your work? Are those skills you want to be harnessing and focusing on?

    Write down the top 3-5 skills you’re using and developing at work? Or if you’re not working, the top skills you’d like to be developing.

    Are those skills you want to be developing? What deeper values are those skills tied to?

    I’ve found that many people get stuck in their jobs because they are doing something they find success in, yet they feel this undercurrent of discontent and frustration because the skills they’re using are tied into anything deeper.

    Success in your skill-set alone is not your purpose. Your skills should be infused in pursuing something purposeful, but your skills are not your purpose in and of themselves.

    Sometimes what we’re good at can become a comfortable trap from living a life away from our true purpose because we’re using skills apart from what we think is important — our “why” – our full Signature Sauce.

    9. Do you even want a career?

    Career sounds stuffy and inescapable like getting lost in the back of your Aunt Martha’s closet.

    The world is flat now with the ability to work anywhere, on anything, at anytime. I’m not sure the standard ideas and concepts behind a linear career are completely relevant any longer.

    I don’t think our generation will as readily climb the ladder. Our generation will swim from island to island, picking up necessary skills and experiences as we travel towards our Career Promised Land.

    What do these questions say about your career? If it looks like it might be time to make a change, make sure you grab Jenny Blake's new book Pivot to help you navigate the next steps. 

    About Paul Angone

    Paul Angone is the author of All Groan Up: Searching For Self, Faith, and a Freaking Job!101 Secrets for your Twenties and the creator ofAllGroanUp.com, a place for those asking “what now?” Snag his free ebook on the 10 Key Ingredients to Finding Your Signature Sauce and follow him at @PaulAngone.

    PIVOT Launches Today! Unboxing + Early Highlights

    HAPPY PIVOT LAUNCH DAY!! I can't believe it's here. After three years of preparing for this moment, now the serendipity lottery tickets truly go on sale.

    What's next? Although I have hypotheses, in other ways I have no clue which of my next pilots will pick up steam. And as I learned from writing this book, that is A-OK. 

    I can't wait to see what bubbles up next, and for all of you to read the book—or listen if Audible is more your style :). Thank you all for the love and support along the way—I am grateful beyond words. 

    The most helpful thing you can do this week in addition to social sharing: leave an Amazon review once you've read the book (and thumbs-up other reviews you find helpful). Thank you in advance!!

    Early Highlights

    I have had such a blast recording podcasts, doing interviews, writing articles, and ninjafying my own business systems (aka digital nesting) to prepare for the extra traffic 'round JBE digital HQ. 

    Some favorites:

    Here's an Unboxing video of me seeing my book in hardcover for the first time:

    Me and James jamming in the studio for our podcast double-header:

    Launch Week Momentum

    Here are some actions that will make a big difference: 

    • Spread the word via email. Do you know someone at a pivot point in their career or business? I would love for you to send an email to anyone you know who is searching for an answer to “what’s next?” and could benefit from a step-by-step guide to figure that out. If you have a newsletter, online community or other big platform you can include the blurb in, that’s a super bonus! You can find blurb copy here.

    • I have also created a fun Pivotability Self-Assessment where people can take a short 5-minute survey to determine their Pivot Profile. 

    • Amazon review on launch day. This will be a huge help!! Reviews are a huge signal to potential readers that the book is worth their time and a very strong positive momentum/social proof signal as well. Extra credit: copy and paste your review into Goodreads if you’re on that platform too :)  

    • Super Duper Bonus: Purchase more than one copy. Either buy a book for a friend, or if you work within an organization, see if there’s budget to buy a copy for everyone on your team. If you buy 10 books, you’ll get an Actionable Conversation workshop-in-a-box for free ($500 value) to facilitate a one-hour lunch-and-learn session with your group. I’ll be doing a free webinar with Actionable Conversations on 9/8 where you can learn more about this.  

    Now let's go rock this launch week!! 

    I'll report back on how it all goes soon :) 

     

    My Favorite Thing About Being Self-Employed

    Written by Marisol Dahl

    Just about a year ago I decided to stop my search for a traditional full-time job.

    I was just three months out of college, had turned down two job offers, and had spent the summer going on a handful of interviews. And I was already working with Jenny and other small businesses, helping them manage their businesses day-to-day and explore new and exciting ways to grow.

    At the time, I didn’t want to rule out that more “traditional” job route. You know, the one with the 9-5, the steady salary, and your very own desk that’s quite distinctly not in your childhood home. The type of job all my friends from college were going for.

    But the jobs that I explored that summer just didn’t feel right.

    And then in late August 2015, I finally told the truth to myself. I was doing what I already wanted to be doing. I was working with a fantastic group of entrepreneurs. I was creating my own career, and felt my learning and growth going at hyperspeed. It felt amazing, and I was certainly not going to give that up.

    As Jenny notes in her new book PIVOT, I had already been piloting self-employment for a year and a half by the time I graduated. I had tested my systems and strategies for building my business, and experimented with raising my rates and figuring things out along the way.

    It was then—in August 2015—that I knew I was ready to move from pilot mode to launch mode—to fully commit to self-employment and not look back. I became a full-time freelancer. A solopreneur. My own boss at 22 years old.

    Now, a year later, my vision is changing again. And you know what that means! Time for a pivot.

    When Your Launch Becomes a Pilot

    I spent the rest of 2015 and early 2016 building my client base and thinking about expansion. That was the whole point of running your own business, right? To add more clients, scale business services, and capital-m Monetize.

    But as I got more and more involved with working with my current clients, the last thing I wanted to do was spread myself too thin. I was also still really unsure how to define what I actually did.

    That’s when I realized my “launch” into self-employment had transformed into a “pilot” round in itself.

    I was testing out what I really wanted to do. I dove into content marketing, social media, brand strategy, business-building, website copywriting, article ghostwriting, community building, and email management. I worked side-by-side with my clients as they launched new websites, built new communities, created awesome content, and took their businesses to the next level.

    I spent months saying yes to nearly every freelance opportunity, and by spring 2016 it was time for me to refine my business, to cut loose what wasn’t serving my career development, and go all in on what truly held my interests.

    This is why I loved being self-employed. In any other scenario, I would not have been able to pilot as many job roles, to take on the level of responsibility that I did, or be in a position of constant career analysis.

    Self-employment gave me the confidence and security to try things I NEVER would have gone for.

    For instance, when I graduated college, it never crossed my mind to apply for a job at a brand and design agency (and commit myself full time!). I didn’t know the first thing about design, but when Jenny referred me to her friend Adam at ABC Design Lab, I jumped at the opportunity. I didn’t know what would come of it—for all I knew, it would be a disaster fit. But time went on, and I grew my role at ABC from a 15-hour/week gig to being a (nearly full time) Communication Strategist.

    Self-employment had helped me find work I didn’t even know I loved. And I am so, so grateful for that.

    Last Week to Pre-Order PIVOT

    It is absolutely nuts to think that the book launch is just a week away! We’re so grateful for all the excitement that has already generated around Pivot: The Only Move That Matters Is Your Next One, and I don’t want you to miss out on this awesome pre-order bonuses!

    If you pre-order by September 6, you'll get all these goodies:

    • Signed Bookplate: a sticker that goes on the inside of the book. For you and a friend if you'd like to gift a copy! Offer good until midnight September 6 (launch day); for U.S. residents only.

    • Sneak Peek: at one of Jenny's favorite chapters—an excerpt from the book on what it means to be High Net Growth, and how to assess your risk threshold.

    • Early access to the Pivot Toolkit: 30+ templates, and a list of Pivot 201 recommended reading.

    • Pivot Playlist on Spotify: Favorite songs Jenny jammed to while going through her last pivot and writing the book, that fit many of the themes she addresses in the book itself :)  

    • Private Q&A Call with Jenny during the launch week. You can submit questions in advance to ensure she covers what you're curious about!

    • Jenny's 20+ Page Behind the Book Toolkit: every tool, template and system I used at each stage of the book writing process: proposal, outline, writing, editing, marketing, and more.

    To access the bonus bundle, order your copy of Pivot here. Then grab your confirmation number and fill out the form here . We’re so excited for you to read the book!

    Even More Bonuses When You Join Momentum

    With Momentum being one of my favorite places to hangout online, I can’t not mention it here and invite you to join this private community for side-hustlers and solopreneurs! :)

    Right now, we’re offering a discount on this quarter’s membership to all members who pre-order Pivot (it’s like getting the book for half off!).

    Jenny will also be hosting a private webinar later in September called Launch Ninja (+ JB Lessons Learned), where she’ll sit down with the Momentum Crew for a debrief on the launch, best practices when launching (anything), and lessons she's learned along the way.

    Plus, you’ll have access to all of our regular Momentum membership perks and bonuses, including access to all of Jenny’s courses, templates, and checklists (over $500 value).  

    Interested in joining the fun? Click here to learn more about Momentum.


    About Marisol Dahl

    Marisol graduated Yale in 2015 as a Sociology and Education Studies major. A longtime New Yorker, her interests include business, communications, and branding. 

    She can be reached on Twitter at @marisoldahl.

    3 Things I Learned About Productivity from the Perfect Day Method (+Giveaway!)

    Written by Marisol Dahl

    As a freelancer, I often feel like I have the best of both worlds. I get to work with amazingly talented people and companies who are doing important and impactful work. But I also get a certain level of freedom in terms of how I work—how many hours I work, where I work, how I schedule my days, and when to take vacation time.

    But that’s not to say that freelancing is easy or is the “perfect” situation for everyone.

    There have been many mornings where I wake up and have a plan for the day: a few client calls, time blocked out to do certain things, some admin stuff in the afternoon. But then it all goes out the door when the emails come flooding in: new (more pressing) assignments, mini-emergencies, the occasional anxious phone call.

    Suddenly I have a million new things screaming for my attention. And I know it’s not just freelancers who deal with this work craziness! :)

    The fact is we are working in increasingly interruptive environments.

    Pierre Khawand, work and productivity expert and founder and CEO of People-OnTheGo, notes that these interruptions are invasive to our lives and our results:

    “We are overloaded with too many e-mails, too much social media, too many competing and changing priorities, too many interruptions. Worse, we are led to believe that we need to keep up, to speedup in order to succeed in the modern workplace. As a result, our minds are overwhelmed and scattered. Studies show that work in an interruptive environment, whether or not those interruptions are related to our work, increases the experience of stress, frustration, time pressure, and effort to get work done." —Pierre Khawand

    These interruptions come in all forms—from digital communications and people knocking on your office door, to random thoughts and emotional needs. I was amazed to hear Khawand and his team recently developed a new time management method that takes into account these interruptive demands of the modern working world.

    The Perfect 15-Minute Day Method

    In his new book The Perfect 15-Minute Day: Managing Your Time, Thoughts, and Emotions, Khawand walks through a time management method that requires only a journal and a timer. It’s based on doing work within 15-minute focus bursts—enough time to get a good chunk of work done, but not long enough that we get lost in a time warp!

    Check out the video below for a closer look at how it works:

     

    I took the Perfect Day Method (PDM) for a test drive in July, and I was amazed at the results. This method goes beyond just helping you get more stuff done.

    3 Things I Learned About Productivity from Using the Perfect Day Method:

    1. There is power in 15-minute increments.

    How many times do you look at the clock and see another 15 or 20 minutes have slipped by without having made progress? While it feels like such a short time block, deciding to focus on something for 15 minutes is such an easy commitment that lowers the barrier of entry into a task. There’s no pressure to complete the task—just to focus on it. You’ll be surprised how being more mindful of your short time blocks really add up in the end!

    2. It is important to have a system in place for thought overload.

    “The skill of intercepting a thought, before we act on it, needs to be learned and practiced.” —Pierre Khawand

    When we set out on a work project, we often find ourselves managing tasks, subtasks, new developments, and other related to-dos along the way. The Perfect Day Method has a designated space for all of these things that we must remember to do— so that we can free up short-term memory, never forget about all the little details, and renew our focus on the task at hand.

    3. Productivity means leaving room for the unexpected.

    When was the last time your day went exactly as planned? We can set all the intentions, goals, and appointments we want, but the fact is our days develop organically. Our work affects and is affected by the work of other people, life events, and even environmental conditions. With the Perfect Day Method, you don’t have to map out every little thing; the system is tailored to let your day grow organically.

    Book Giveaway

    We’re excited to announce that five lucky Life After College readers will receive a copy of The Perfect 15-Minute Day Journal!

    To enter to win, please answer the following question in the comments by Friday, August 19. We will pick 5 winners via random.org and email to let you know! Good luck!

    Comment to Be Entered to Win: 
    What is your best productivity tip?


    About Marisol Dahl

    Marisol graduated Yale in 2015 as a Sociology and Education Studies major. A longtime New Yorker, her interests include business, communications, and brand strategy. She can be reached on Twitter at @marisoldahl.