November 21st, 2014

10 Strategies for Holiday Happiness With Less Stress

holiday stress image


Are you crazy yet? As Thanksgiving and the end of year holidays approach, I hear friends and clients talk about holiday stress.
On the flip side, I’m ready to exchange heart-felt thanks and joyful greetings with many clients in celebration of their best year yet!

Your Attitude Makes a Difference

The difference seems to be in the attitude you take and if you took the time to think and plan ahead. When you say “Yes” to thinking and planning ahead and, “No” to the non-productive energy sucking things that weigh you down, you’ll have the holiday shopping done and time to enjoy decorating cookies with your kids.
Yes, it can be that simple! It’s not just an attitude; it’s your perspective, your choice, and ultimately your way of looking at things.
Take this year for example. For some of you it was your best and for others your worst. If it was a bad year, you can choose to focus on the negative. But how about this? Try looking ahead and start to plan how you and your family will enjoy the holidays. You can even think about good things you want to happen in 2015 and plan how you’ll get started on at least one of those goals.
Don’t wait until you get to a breaking point. Instead, plan now with these 10 strategies for holiday happiness with less stress!

  1. Create more happiness with less by letting go of overblown expectations. We are all perfectly imperfect. What do you need to let go of? Write it down and throw it away.
  2. Make a list of what you are tolerating about the holidays. Try for 10 or more things.
  3. Review the list and make decisions – let it go, figure out a way to enjoy it, address it.
  4. Imagine things simplified. What if you didn’t have to buy a million gifts? How could you recognize folks without getting frustrated? Is there a charity you or they would appreciate giving to? What if you meet for coffee or give a gift certificate good for a movie in January instead of buying gifts? A friend I know gave her 96-year-old Grandmother six handwritten “get out of exercise class free” certificates. Her Grandmother doesn’t like hanging out with all those old people lifting their arms in the air, so my friend arranges to visit at exercise time to give her a break. How simple!
  5. Give yourself a gift, of time or pampering or whatever you need. This includes asking for what you want! If you see a drop dead something you’ve been wanting – just buy it and enjoy it! Or, call your mother and ask her to get it for you. She will be thrilled that you actually like what she gives you!
  6. Get over “that’s the way it is”. You are always at choice to continue or change things. Make the suggestion to change and see what happens.
  7. Get over your stuff. If it truly is the way it is, change your perspective. If Aunt Susie truly loves to make ‘that horrid dish’ or give outlandish gifts, join her in the joy of the experience and see where it takes you!
  8. Find joy and breath! Choose to wake up and be positive. Find or write a quote that brings you happiness and read it each morning.
  9. Connect. Call someone you care about and haven’t visited with. Create a Skype date if you can’t get together and spend 10 or 60 minutes enjoying your relationship.
  10. Relax and know. The holidays will come and go. You choose to be crazy or say no to those things that won’t feed you. Know you are a magnificent, brilliant being who has the power and radiance to connect where it is most important – heart to heart with those around you.

Wishing you peace and ease for the upcoming holiday season!

August 21st, 2014

Eat That Frog!!! Reminders to Stop Procrastinating and Get Things Done

Eat That FrogWhen does reality cease to be the point and procrastination take over to keep you from simply taking action on the mundane or complex tasks that bore or scare you? What are you making up about how awful they are going to be anyway? Whether it’s making the bed or making the sales calls, we all spend more time each day avoiding the action than it would take to complete the task. Humans are funny that way, aren’t we?

There are lots of ways to approach this issue of procrastination. Daily, awareness is the first step. Become aware of that voice pops into your head as you think about your “to do” list. What is it saying? Is it a “friend” telling you to relax, that the client report will surely wait until after you finish reviewing your email, or is the bully saying “You’re never going to get what you want anyway, so why bother making the call?” Whoever it is, politely or impolitely tell her thanks for the information, but you need to get moving. Call up that Nike adage and “Just do it!”

The top reasons for procrastination are:

  • Fear of the unknown
  • Inertia
  • And a sense that its not important

Which excuse are you using? I’m pretty good at all three, and sometimes in unison. The reality is that what we resist persists. If something is truly unimportant, then cross it off the list and stop feeling guilty about it. Making the bed may fall into this category. If, however, if you like getting into a freshly made bed, then as you turn to leave the room in the morning, ask yourself “What is the cost or reward to me if I spend two minutes getting this straightened up right now?” It may be marital peace, which has its own benefits. As Brian Tracy says in his book “Eat That Frog, 21 Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time”, choose the thing that is most difficult or most dreaded and do it first.

Here are a few simple tips to stop procrastinating:

  1. If it isn’t important, decide what to do next. Drop it, delegate it, farm it out, and most important, stop wasting time worrying about it.
  2. If it is important, write it down. Whether you use the back of an envelope, a palm pilot or some other system, make a list of what you need to do, refer to it and cross things off as you do them.
  3. Link the task to the big picture, whether that is a larger goal and/or something you value. For instance, cleaning the kitchen leads to a nice living environment. Finalizing a new client contract leads to increased business and financial success. Creating your business budget gives you a road map for achieving your vision of success.
  4. Envision what it will be like when you’re done. Say to yourself how it will feel. For example, when I send those client notes, I’ll be free of the guilt and my clients will be happy to hear from me.
  5. Find a friend to support you. We often get this done more easily if we feel accountable for our actions. Make the commitment to someone and see what that does for you.
  6. Give yourself a break. Don’t always beat yourself up for not getting something done. Just accept it, decide if you really want the benefits of the action. If not, see tip #1, if yes, then schedule it, take a deep breath and just do it!

The title of this column plays off a great little book by Brian Tracy entitled “Eat That Frog, 21 Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time”. Two tips stand out. For immediate impact in your life, determine the thing on your ‘to do’ list that is most difficult or you most dread and do it first. Second, know where you are going. Create the vision and then the priorities to support them.

In the words of James Baldwin, “People ought to do what they want to do, what else are they alive for?” So, create your plans and remember to include time to savor the moments. Even frog legs are a delicacy in some cultures.

August 4th, 2014

Yin Success Practices

Yin success practicesMany of us believe that in order to be successful, we have to work a zillion hours a week, sacrifice the things that give us pleasure, and generally become work machines.
For a very few people, this sort of driving energy is natural. For most of us, it’s a short road to mental and physical exhaustion.
In my article Baby Steps, I talked about the yin/yang balance represented by the feet. In the same way that we need both feet on the ground to be steady, we need to incorporate yin success practices into our daily routines to complement the yang of our work ethic.

Read the rest of this entry »

May 29th, 2014

How to Ensure Your Hiring Practices are Safe AND Legal

Failure to properly screen out potentially dangerous applicants can lead to a negligent security lawsuit, or even a workplace violent incident. On the other hand, there’s EEOC Guidelines.


This week’s article is a guest post from David C. Sawyer, CPP, President of Safer Places. which offers security and screening services for employers, non-profits, and landlords. It originally appeared in the March 2014 issues of Security Management.


Target Corporation has announced plans to stop asking potential employees about their criminal histories on job applications at all of its stores next month. The discount retailer, which operates 1,778 stores in the United States and employs

Job application image361,000 people, stopped asking applicants about past crimes in its home state of Minnesota in October last year. This move seems drastic, but it is the culmination of both regulatory and social pressure that has been building for years.

Those who advocate for ex-offenders have long pushed “ban the box” initiatives, claiming that employers reject those who have admitted to a criminal past before those applicants have a chance to explain their circumstances. Over the past two years, the federal government has also intervened: the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) now strongly urges companies to make decisions based on the qualifications of individual applicants rather than immediately disregarding those with a criminal background.

This shifting landscape can leave employers in a difficult position. Failure to properly screen out potentially dangerous applicants can lead to a negligent security lawsuit, or even a workplace violence incident. And now, failure to comply with the EEOC guidelines can lead to a lawsuit filed by the agency. Following is an update on the latest from the EEOC as well as discussions of relevant lawsuits that can provide employers with some guidance on how to proceed.

Changes made to the EEOC’s guidelines on hiring practices, which took effect in April 2012, have raised numerous questions about their effect on discrimination laws. U.S. law prohibits employers from treating job applicants with the same criminal records differently on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. The new guidance issued by the EEOC served to update and clarify the agency’s policy concerning the use of arrest and conviction records in employment as they relate to discrimination.

The guidance consolidates and supersedes previous policy statements on the issues. However, it is important to note that the EEOC has not changed its fundamental position and has long held that a blanket “we don’t hire convicted criminals” policy is ill-advised.  Even a limited “do not hire” policy regarding convicted felons has been a red flag with the EEOC in many cases. Moreover, the EEOC has consistently examined the impact of an employer’s seemingly neutral policy to determine whether it disproportionately screens out protected individuals. The EEOC has also reliably looked at the issue through the lens of discrimination- for example, watching for an employer who hires Caucasian applicants with criminal records but does not hire black, Hispanic, or Asian candidates with similar records.

What is new under the recent enforcement guidelines is the EEOC’s explanation as to how employers may meet the “job-related and consistent with business necessity” standard. This standard allows companies to screen out those with a criminal record if the screening is important for a specific job and necessary for a business reason . The major change requires the employer to develop a screening policy that considers the nature of the crime, the time elapsed since the crime was perpetrated, and the nature of the job. The employer’s policy then provides an opportunity for an individualized assessment to determine whether the policy as applied is job -related and consistent with business necessity.

Individualized assessments are being encouraged by the EEOC to allow job applicants the opportunity to provide additional information to a prospective employer prior to the hiring decision. Information that might be considered includes rehabilitation efforts taken, such as continued education, training, or specific industry certifications; length and consistency of employment history both before and after the offense; and evidence of having performed work similar to the available position before and following the offense. Also under consideration would be the age of the applicant at the time of the offense; specific facts or circumstances surrounding the offense or conduct; number of convictions; employment or character references; and evidence as to whether the applicant is bonded under a federal, state, or local program.

A letter issued by the EEOC in August further clarified that , while individual assessments are optimal, employers can use a two-step process for screening employees. Employers may initially use a targeted screening process that excludes applicants based on “at least the nature of the crime, the time elapsed, and the nature of the job. ” Then, the EEOC noted, the employer can individually assess those applicants that were screened out. This process would, according to the agency, allow employers to ensure that they were not “mistakenly screening out qualified applicants or employees based on incorrect , incomplete, or irrelevant information .” Conducting screening in this manner would also allow applicants to correct errors in their records.

A federal law barring a convicted felon from being hired for a specific position is the only exception carved out by EEOC guidelines. This, of course, leaves employers licensed by a state agency that imposes a similar restriction in a tough predicament. Employers either risk the ire of the EEOC or take a chance on being in violation of state law and potentially having their credentials revoked. Contract security officer firms perfectly illustrate this scenario. A condition of their license to operate often requires that they screen out convicted felons; however, the EEOC could argue that such justification is insufficient and that there may be some officer positions suitable for an individual who was convicted many years ago.

Other salient best practices include identifying essential job requirements and the circumstances under which they are performed, such as unsupervised access to children. It is also imperative to determine specific offenses that may demonstrate unfitness for particular positions. Under the EEOC enforcement guidelines, when making an employment decision, the employer is allowed to consider whether conduct in question suggests unfitness for a particular position. As an example, an applicant who has a history of embezzlement would not be a candidate for a position of financial authority.

Employers should also establish a time period for exclusions for criminal conduct based on all available evidence. Moreover, if an employer aims to ask applicants about criminal records, it should be done on or after the first interview with inquiries limited to job-relatedness and business necessity. While due diligence is imperative on the part of employers, they don’t have to go it alone. Software programs exist that help to determine job-relatedness when comparing the past crime for which the applicant was convicted to the risks inherent in the job applied for. The software asks specific questions about each job description such as: Will the applicant work with minors, the elderly, or other potentially vulnerable individuals? Is the job considered to be a position of public trust? Next , the software asks about criminal charges. Was there an arrest only, or did the charge result in a conviction? How long ago did the charge occur, and have there been repeat or multiple offenses?

A calculation is then made based on the data input, providing an initial assessment as to how likely the charges are to be considered job-related and consistent with business necessity. The employer is then able to record his or her own thoughts as well as any information gleaned from conducting an individualized assessment with the applicant. Special circumstances as well as a final hiring decision can then be entered. All this recorded data is available to help provide consistency in all hiring decisions and to defend against a possible lawsuit.

Background screening companies can conduct individualized assessments and provide a written report, thereby assisting the employer in difficult hiring decisions. Employers who decide to tackle this task on their own should be aware that nothing in the EEOC guidelines requires a face-to-face interview.

In an effort to save time, applicants found to have a criminal record could be provided a standard form that asks the same questions that would be posed during an interview. Even if applicants failed to return the questionnaire, the employer would be able to show that a viable procedure was in place and that the company was willing to listen.

An understanding of the definitions of disparate treatment and disparate impact is of paramount importance. The former refers to intentional discrimination, while the latter denotes unintentional discrimination. Disparate impact occurs when a policy does not have the appearance of being discriminatory, but ultimately has an adverse impact on certain groups. In this case, should a discrimination claim occur, an employer would have to prove that its background -screening policy is justified based on business necessity and job-relatedness and that there is no alternative.

Though disparate impact is a focus of EEOC enforcement, the agency has recently had some trouble proving disparate impact in court. For example, in EEOC v. Freeman (U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, 2013), a company specializing in convention and meeting management implemented a background -screening program. The company, which employed more than 3,500 full-time employees and 25,000 seasonal workers, had faced issues of embezzlement, theft , drug use, and workplace violence. To try to thwart these behaviors, the company designed a background -screening program.

The screening varied depending on the type of job being sought by the applicant. For example, only those who dealt with money received a credit history check. Executives and supervisors underwent comprehensive screening not required of seasonal workers. Those employees who did have past convictions were given the opportunity to explain or refute those charges. The only situations meriting automatic disqualification were failing to disclose a conviction, seriously misrepresenting the circumstances of a criminal offense, or making a materially dishonest statement.

The EEOC did not challenge any of the specifics of the screening program. Instead the agency claimed that conducting background checks and credit history screening had a disparate impac on protected classes, such as African Americans. The EEOC argued that, because of a higher rate of incarceration, African Americans would be excluded at a higher rate by such background screening.

The court disagreed. It found that background screening by employers is a necessary part of doing business. The court wrote that “Careful and appropriate use of criminal history information is an important, and in many cases essential, part of the employment process.”

The court also noted that proof of disparate impact “requires reliable and accurate statistical analysis performed by a qualified expert.” This analysis was not provided by the EEOC in this case, ruled the court.

In another case, the EEOC launched an aggressive investigation on a disparate impact case that turned out to be unfounded. The company filed suit against the EEOC and was awarded $752,000 in damages. The case, EEOC v. Peoplemark Inc. (U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, 2013), involved a temp agency that refused to hire an applicant. The applicant notified the EEOC, claiming that the company failed to hire her based on the fact that she had a felony conviction.

The EEOC’s own investigation showed that the company frequently hired ex-offenders, according to the court, but the agency pursued the case anyway. The company’s policy of individual assessment meant that those with felony convictions were hired at a rate greater than market averages.

As these cases illustrate, companies should be prepared for questions about their background screening programs by understanding the EEOC’s guidelines. Companies should craft a screening program based on the company’s safety and security needs and then ensure that the program is implemented fairly.



April 29th, 2014

The Voice of Knowledge Cards by Don Miguel Ruiz

A dear friend gave me a 48 card deck inspired by Don Miguel Ruiz’s book, “The Four Agreements” the cards are called “The Voice of Knowledge” and I wanted to share with you the one I picked today.


The force that moves the stars is the same force that moves the atoms in my body.  This force is always present and obvious for me to see, buy I cannot see it when my attention is focused on lies.

April 14th, 2014

The Follow-Up


Follow-UpOne of the biggest challenges that entrepreneurs and job applicants face is how and when to follow-up.


Unfortunately, there are really no set rules that govern the follow-up, but persistence is always rewarded—so long as it doesn’t cross into the realm of being a pain in the butt. Jeffrey Gitomer wrote in The Little Red Book of Selling that 45% of business is lost because people don’t follow up for the fifth time. Selling—whether you’re selling a product or yourself as a prospective employee—is all about relationship building, and the more you are able to speak, on the phone or in person, to your prospect, the more they will feel they know you on a personal level, and the more inclined they will be to consider you when the time is right for them to buy.


You will need to establish your own guidelines for the follow-up based on what you’re seeking, and who you’re seeking it from.  Here are some tips.


  • When you send a resume, include a note in the cover letter that indicates you will be following up.  The hiring manager will then know to expect your call. The same goes for any marketing materials you’re delivering via e-mail or snail mail.
  • If you’re an entrepreneur cold-calling prospects, only leave a message the first (and perhaps the second) time you call. After that, try to get the person live on the phone.
  • After sending your resume, follow up with one or two phone messages; after that, try to get your contact live. Give the hiring manager a reasonable span of time to respond before calling back: she’s probably buried in resumes, and you don’t want to come across as insensitive to her tight schedule.
  • Listen to your gut. You’ll know when you’ve hit a dead end, and you’ll only feel discouraged if you continue once you know it’s futile. Also, if you’re selling your product or service, you’ll want to avoid gaining a reputation for harassment.
  • Build relationships through social media and networking. Once you and your prospect have something in common, it’s easier to strike up a conversation. If you have a company or are starting one, using these vehicles can help to familiarize prospects with your product before you even say a word. If you’re looking for a job, using your networking contacts can gain you an ear where you might not otherwise have found one.
  • Pay attention to how the conversation is going. If the dialogue is still dynamic, there’s nothing wrong with following up fifteen or twenty times.
  • Don’t take it personally. If a hiring manager or client doesn’t get back to you, or doesn’t respond well to your offer(s), it can feel like a real blow. But keep in mind that they have their own concerns, which may not be apparent from an outsider’s prospective. Maintain a professional demeanor at all times, and even if you don’t get the job or make the sale, you’ll make a great impression.


If you’re searching for a job, or starting to sell a product or service of your own, you’ll need to become a master at the art of the follow-up.  It takes time and practice, but it’s a skill that will never fail to serve you.

March 27th, 2014

PUT THE BALL IN THEIR COURT – Effective job interview techniques for your sales staff


By Attorney Helene Horn Figman



In light of March madness, it seems appropriate to think about your job interview techniques in terms of effective offensive and defensive moves. Best way to start? Put the ball in the job applicant’s court.


Start with the job description. Present a copy to the applicant and have one in front of you. Go through the description, discussing the requirements of the position. During this review, ask open ended questions, allowing the prospective employee to share information about his or her work style as it relates to the job functions. Using the job description ensures that you are asking all applicants the same questions and having each prospective employee review the functions of the open position. Do not ask personal questions; questions should all directly relate to the requirements of the job.


You can, for example, point to the hours set forth in the description and ask if the individual can work those hours. You can also state a requirement, such as, “Our sales managers often hold team meetings on Thursdays at 4:30 p.m. and that is a requirement of this job.” However, there are questions that will clearly get you in “foul trouble,” such as whether someone has childcare issues in the afternoon or has difficulty getting up in the morning (which might indicate a health issue). You can ask, “In previous jobs, do you find that you called upon your customers in the afternoon? Were morning appointments more successful for you? In what way?” List this advice under playing good defense against discrimination claims.


On the other hand, don’t be afraid to play a little offense either. For example, if you only ask questions with a yes or no answer it is not going to be very useful. If you ask a question like, “Did you meet your sales goals at your last position?” most candidates will say yes. Okay. Yes, he met his goals. But what did you really learn? In the alternative, ask him about the types of sales goals that were in effect at his two most recent employers. Then follow with a three-point shot: ask whether those goals were related to company numbers, individual sales or team efforts. Then engage the applicant in a discussion as to whether he or she would have revised the calculation of those goals and what suggestions he would have in making the goals tied to his own sales, and why.


In this age of neutral referencing, it is unlikely that you will learn much from your “scouting report,” i.e., an applicant’s references from prior employers. You will receive a confirmation of the title of the position held, the duration of employment, and sometimes the salary. The applicant is usually under some confidentiality or proprietary agreement and cannot discuss specifics of accounts and sales. However, you can ask the applicant if she has any e-mails or letters from her former supervisor praising her for exceeding her last year’s sales goals. Just make sure that ALL other information (names of accounts; amount of commission, etc.) is redacted to avoid any issue of impropriety (more foul territory).


Be creative and know the rules. Play the interview game like a winner and you may end up with another star on your team.



March 7th, 2014

How to Get Paid Like a Top Performer Part 3 – SMARTY GOALS


Week 3 – SMARTY Goals


Welcome back!



You’ve listed your accomplishments.


You know where you were three years ago, where you are today, and where you want to be a year from now.


Now let’s focus on your career.


Look back at last week’s One Year From Now chart.


What’s your vision for your career?


Now, what the first goal in making that happen?


Let’s chunk it down:




Start with the basics and make S.M.A.R.T.Y. Goals

A successful goal must be Specific, Measurable, have Attainable action steps, be Relevant and realistic, have a Time-bound component, and offer a compelling reason why it’s important for You to achieve this goal.


Prepare to achieve your goal by defining your goal using the SMARTY Goal formula.

Specific ~ Specifically state your goal.

Measure ~ Write down how will you measure or track your success.

Action Step ~ What attainable action steps can you take toward achieving your goal?

Realistic ~ Is your goal realistic?

Time-Bound ~ By when will you achieve this goal? Give it a specific date.

Your ~ Purpose. A step designed for cross-checking the formula to ensure it’s a properly set goal. Ask yourself “Does someone else have to change in order for me to achieve this goal?” Is it a You goal? Y for “Why” is it important for you to achieve this goal? What is the relevance?




Specific ~ Specifically state your goal.



Measure ~ How will you measure or track your success? (Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Yearly)



Action Step ~ What attainable action steps you can take toward achieving your goal?



Realistic ~ Is your goal realistic?



Time-Bound ~ By when will you achieve this goal? Give it a specific date.



Your ~ Purpose.




You stated your goal in simple terms using the SMARTY Goal setting formula. Now take 1 minute to clearly visualize achieving your goal, and then write your vision. Be descriptive, have fun with it. How are you visualizing yourself achieving this goal?





You’re almost there!


You have enough background to go to the next step in preparing for your annual review.


Is your annual review coming up soon? Check out my Ace Your Annual Review coaching program.


Next week: Annual Review Prep Strategy Session


February 14th, 2014

How to Advance Your Career 50% Faster


Week 2: Past Present and Future


Calvin-Coolidge-quoteLast week we did an exercise called Positive Assessment in preparation for your performance review.


This is also a great exercise to help you manage your career and stay committed to your goals.


I recommend keeping all the exercises we’re going to cover in a folder or journal so you have your progress documented. Then you can use it as a motivational guide as you advance in your career.


As you may remember from last week, using positive reflection forces you to self acknowledge your accomplishments.


You did do last week’s exercise, didn’t you?


If it’s not in your folder or journal, please go back and do it now. You can download the worksheet here.


You do want to get paid like a Top Performer don’t you?


This won’t work if you’re not doing the exercises.


Ready for the next step?


Go get your journal or notebook. It’s time to get personal.


What do your personal goals have to do with getting paid like a Top Performer?




Your life affects your career, and your career affects your life.


Three years ago I was going through a challenging time and ranked my emotional category as an 8. It also affected me physically, so I ranked that as a 6. Here’s my chart from that time.

3 Years Ago Rank 1-10
(1 being low 10 being high)
Sentence or reminder
of that time
 Physical 6 Lack of sleep caring for a 5-month-old foster baby with a broken bone
 Mindset 7  Hired a coach
 Emotional Energy 8  Happy to have a baby in the house


Today those numbers have gone up dramatically, so you see that life can affect your career and vice versa.


But enough about me. Let’s talk about you.


Let’s chunk it down.


Think back to where you were three years ago.


On a scale of 1 to 10 – 10 being high one being low. Rate yourself in the following areas.

 3 Years Ago Rank 1-10
(1 being low 10 being high)
 Sentence or reminder
of that time
Emotional Energy 
Self Concept 
Home Space 




Pencils down.


Shake out your hand.


Now think about where you are today.


Again, on a scale of 1 to 10 – 10 being high one being low. Rate yourself in the following areas.

 Today Rank 1-10
(1 being low 10 being high)
 Sentence or reminder
of that time
Emotional Energy 
Self Concept 
Home Space 


You’ve got it!


Now the best part.


Let’s think about where you want to be 3 years from now.


And once again, on a scale of 1 to 10 – 10 being high one being low. Rate where you’d like to be in the following areas. Most importantly, put in a sentence that describes your ideal in that area.

 Today Rank 1-10
(1 being low 10 being high)
 Sentence or reminder
of that time
Emotional Energy 
Self Concept 
Home Space 




Pencils down.


Shake out your hand.


Now think about where you are today.


Again, on a scale of 1 to 10 – 10 being high one being low. Rate yourself in the following areas.

 1 Year from Now Rank 1-10
(1 being low 10 being high)
 Sentence or reminder
of that time
Emotional Energy 
Self Concept 
Home Space 




Next week we’ll talk about the next step – SMARTY goals.


Special Offer!
Put together your best annual review ever! I have a special coaching package just for Annual Reviews – click here for more info.

February 7th, 2014

This Simple Step Can Help You Get Paid Like a Top Performer


Annual review time. annual review


Just the words make many of my clients groan. Sometimes it seems to rate just above a root canal in terms of things they enjoy doing!


You may feel overwhelmed by the thought of summing up an entire year of professional accomplishments in one document. Or maybe you feel like you’re bragging about what you’ve done.


It doesn’t have to be this hard.


Step by step


The key is breaking your review into manageable steps. This week, we’re going to focus on positive self-reflection.


Why do we start here? Earl Nightingale says it best:

The mind is like a farmer’s field.
It doesn’t care what we plant, success or failure,
a concrete, worthwhile goal or confusion…
But what we plant, it will return to us.

A positive assessment will build momentum towards that promotion or raise. That’s right. I am talking to you. Your promotion or raise.  So we start off with some positive self-acknowledgement.


Why not? Using positive reflection forces you to self acknowledge your recent accomplishments. By taking the time for positive reflection, you create momentum from place of positive energy.


Let’s Get Started


Open your favorite writing software, get out a piece of paper, or download the worksheet here. Now list your accomplishments from this past quarter. For each accomplishment, note why it was an accomplishment, your goals for making further progress, and one specific action you’ll take to move it forward.

Great job!


That’s the first step.


Next week we’ll show you how to use this information to prepare a strategy for your next performance review.



December 20th, 2013

“Know When to Say No”

It’s a law of time management that you’ll almost always underestimate the time you’ll need to perform work of any sort; this, more than anything else, is what creates a serious time crunch.

I’ll be the first to tell you that when opportunity knocks, to grab it by the horns and ride. But there’s an art to recognizing opportunity: sometimes, what looks like Your Big Chance is really just a headache in disguise. On a smaller scale, a job or a project you think will be great for your career (or your wallet) turns out to be a great big hassle. In order to tell the difference between real opportunity and plain old extra work, exercise your “NO” muscle.

When something new crosses your professional path, ask yourself these questions:

· Do I really have time for this? Generally, it’s much better to beat your deadlines with a smile on your face than to show up ten minutes late and exhausted. The best way to stay ahead of the game is through good time estimation. Estimate the number of hours you’ll need to complete this project, based on your current schedule. Then, double that number. If you’ll be working with a new client or team, especially in a larger corporation, you know how time consuming cutting through red tape can be, so you might start by tripling that number. You can’t plan for unforeseen consequences, but you can block hours out for them—and chances are, you’ll be glad to have that extra time.

· What can I reasonably expect to gain? I’ve seen it time and time again: opportunities which are supposed to lead to bigger and better things, but which end up leading straight to a dead end. Beware of inflated promises, and always trust your intuition. Also, if payment for this project is based on that project’s success, be sure that you’re acquainted with the marketing plan, and that you do your own research before signing on.

· What, if anything, am I willing to sacrifice in order to make time for this? Sometimes, big opportunity demands big sacrifice. If you really believe this is Your Big Chance, determine what you can cut away in order to make the time you need. If you can compress your schedule enough to make it work, great—but if you’re cutting into sleep time, family time, or self-care time, take a step back and reconsider. Are you really willing to drive yourself to the point of exhaustion?

If this opportunity still seems like a good one after you’ve answered all these questions honestly, go for it! But if your logical mind foresees this new project putting a serious crimp in your personal life—or if it will interfere with other important professional obligations—consider letting it go by. That way, when something even better comes along, you’ll have the energy to take it on. It’s a balance.

September 27th, 2013

Avoid the Brain Drain!

I’ve been fascinated and learning more about the brain, brain types, patterns, and brain function. Dr. Knott, one of my Professors would be proud that I am finally using what I learned from him.

As a left brainer, I love finding facts and research about the topics I am covering. This article is not your usual DQ tone but very interesting none the less.

So…How do you avoid the Brain Drain?


How you feed your body not only impacts how you feel, but how you think. Brain function is as susceptible to a poor diet as your waistline. If you want to stay focused, alert, and calm, you need to make sure your brain has the food it needs to function properly.

Sugar is a big factor in how your brain functions throughout the course of the day. Excessive sugar consumption can create serious brain fog, and create a “crash” effect once the high wears off. This can create or exacerbate feelings of depression and anxiety. Over time, continuously elevated blood sugar levels can weaken and even kill your pericyte cells, the cells that make up your capillary walls. This leads to conditions like diabetic retinopathy, in which blood leaks onto the retina through ruptured capillaries; and to other bleeding disorders, most commonly in the feet. What you may not know is that hyperglycemia (a.k.a. elevated blood sugar) can also impact the pericyte cells in the blood-brain barrier, causing loss of cognition, confusion, and memory issues. This in turn can affect your productivity at work and your relationships with your clients.

“What does sugar have to do with your success?”

The bottom line is, too much sugar isn’t good for you, or your business. But before you go replacing your sugar with substitutes like Sweet & Low, Equal, or Splenda, do some serious research. These sugar substitutes have been linked to all kinds of nasty diseases, including Lupus, cancers, and fibromyalgia. Instead, exercise your right to choose, and lay off all the sweet stuff for two weeks. If you must have your sugar fix, try stevia, which is totally natural and side-effect free. You’ll be amazed how much clearer and happier you feel once you’re off the blood sugar roller coaster.

Our household diet has changed dramatically since my husband was diagnosed with Celiac disease. Now that we’re replacing all the white flour and wheat products we used to use, I’m noticing a huge difference in my mental clarity. After all, wheat, white flour, pasta, and other processed grain foods are nearly as high on the glycemic index as sugar or fruit juice, and have just as big an impact on the brain. Don’t believe me? Try writing your next blog article or reading a trade magazine right after you’ve eaten a croissant! Although I’m not Celiac myself, a mostly gluten-free diet has literally changed my mind about sugar!

Just like you exercise your body on the treadmill, you need to feed and care for your brain lovingly and properly. Think of it as preventive maintenance—like changing the oil on your car, or cleaning the lint out of your dryer. No matter what business you’re in, your mind is your most powerful tool, and your greatest asset. Knowing how to feed your brain can help you keep things running smoothly!

Dr. Daniel G. Amen, author of Change Your Brain, Change Your Life, and Change Your Brain, Change Your Body, notes that most people don’t eat anywhere near the 5+ recommended servings of fruit and veggies every day. He also recommends that everyone take Omega-3 fish oil supplements in order to enhance brain function. Again, do your research. Spend some time keeping a food journal, and ask yourself where you can cut back on foods that aren’t good for your brain.

K.Willeumier headshot (black & white) We recently interviewed, the Director of Research for the Amen Clinic on the subject. {Click to download and listen now} Dr. Kristen Willeumier, Ph.D., is the Director of Research for the Amen Clinics, Inc. She leads the research on all clinical studies performed at the Amen Clinics across a variety of topics including SPECT imaging in clinical practice, traumatic brain injury, suicide, obesity, gender differences in brain function and brain rehabilitation. BrainTalk Radio airs the 1st Wednesday of the month at 12pm ET, you can download and listen anytime to past shows.

September 10th, 2013

The Art of Persistence: 6 Tips for Following Up


One of the biggest challenges entrepreneurs and job applicants face is how and when to follow up.


persistence image

Unfortunately, there are really no set rules that govern the follow-up, but persistence is always rewarded—so long as it doesn’t cross into the realm of being a pain in the butt. Jeffrey Gitomer wrote in The Little Red Book of Selling that 45% of business is lost because people don’t follow up for the fifth time. Selling—whether you’re selling a product or yourself as a prospective employee—is all about relationship building, and the more you are able to speak, on the phone or in person, to your prospect, the more they will feel they know you on a personal level, and the more inclined they will be to consider you when the time is right for them to buy.


You will need to establish your own guidelines for the follow-up based on what you’re seeking, and who you’re seeking it from. Here are some tips.


The Cover Letter As Warm-Up
When you send a resume, include a note in the cover letter that indicates you will be following up. The hiring manager will then know to expect your call. The same goes for any marketing materials you’re delivering via e-mail or snail mail.


Catch Them In Person
If you’re an entrepreneur cold-calling prospects, only leave a message the first (and perhaps the second) time you call. After that, try to get the person live on the phone.

After sending your resume, follow up with one or two phone messages; after that, try to get your contact live. Give the hiring manager a reasonable span of time to respond before calling back: she’s probably buried in resumes, and you don’t want to come across as insensitive to her tight schedule.


Don’t Be a Stalker
Listen to your gut. You’ll know when you’ve hit a dead end, and you’ll only feel discouraged if you continue once you know it’s futile. Also, if you’re selling your product or service, you’ll want to avoid gaining a reputation for harassment.


It’s All About Relationships
Build relationships through social media and networking. Once you and your prospect have something in common, it’s easier to strike up a conversation. If you have a company or are starting one, using these vehicles can help to familiarize prospects with your product before you even say a word. If you’re looking for a job, using your networking contacts can gain you an ear where you might not otherwise have found one.


Keep Your Eyes and Ears Open for Cues
Pay attention to how the conversation is going. If the dialogue is still dynamic, there’s nothing wrong with following up fifteen or twenty times.


It’s Just Business
Don’t take it personally. If a hiring manager or client doesn’t get back to you, or doesn’t respond well to your offer(s), it can feel like a real blow. But keep in mind that they have their own concerns, which may not be apparent from an outsider’s prospective. Maintain a professional demeanor at all times, and even if you don’t get the job or make the sale, you’ll make a great impression.


Still Need Help?
If you’re searching for a job, or starting to sell a product or service of your own, you’ll need to become a master at the art of the follow-up. It takes time and practice, but it’s a skill that will never fail to serve you. If you’re stuck, feeling awkward about cold-calling, or just need a push in the right direction, give me a call!

My Job Search BRIDGE Course is now underway, but it’s not too late to join in on the action. You’ll learn how to create a stellar resume, how to approach your job search in new and innovative ways, and how to integrate the new social media tools into your job search. For more information, click here!   (See page 3, Course #423- Job Search Strategies”. To register, call or email Tri-County directly. 508-528-5400 x126 or

August 21st, 2013

How to Combine Your Creative Passions with Your Career

Creativity image
As human beings, we need to feel creative in some way to feel fulfilled. Most of us have a creative passion of some kind, even if it’s known only to ourselves. You may feel that your professional life leaves you little time to spend on your creative side—but it doesn’t have to be that way.
Sometimes, with a little inventive thought, you can find ways to integrate your creative passion into your existing career. For example, an advertising copywriter might find a creative outlet as an editor of children’s books. I have managed to integrate a new creative facet into my career by helping other coaches develop, produce, and edit their own radio shows. If your passion and your career can complement each other, you’ll feel more fulfilled both in and out of the office.

The Portfolio Career

If your passion and your current career seem mutually exclusive — or example, if you’re an IT manager with a penchant for fine French cooking — you might feel a little stuck. Enter the concept of the “portfolio career,” where several revenue streams come together to form a single “job.”
People with portfolio careers do a lot of different things simultaneously; they may seem to have several part-time jobs, which may or may not be related to each other. For example, I know a non-fiction writer who’s also a yoga teacher, a web designer, and a bookkeeper. Doing several things at once allows her to attract a diverse clientele, some of whom end up using her other services. It also keeps her on her creative track, because there are constantly new influences coming into her life.
Other people work a number of jobs within the same general field; for example, a graphic designer might work two days a week at an advertising firm, another two days on freelance projects, and one day at a non-profit. Even though graphic design is the sole focus, it’s still a portfolio career.
Another advantage to portfolio careers is that they can help prevent burnout. Many people succeed in making a career out of their passion, only to find that when they’re at it all day, every day, they lose their zeal for the process. There’s a big difference between cooking for friends and family on weekends, and doing it all day, every day. With a portfolio career, you can limit the duration of each activity to the equivalent of a part-time job, sparing yourself from “overexposure”.
Finally, developing a portfolio career can give you a chance to test your creative passion in the business world, without taking the plunge completely. You still maintain diverse revenue streams, but you have the time and energy to devote to making your passion into a career.



Career Strategy Session

Career Life Balance Image
I’m offering a one-time career strategy session to new clients or with no future commitment during the month of September. If you feel you need to take steps in a new direction, or if you want to learn more about how you can begin to build your own portfolio career, email me at or complete the form below.
Make it a great one!

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July 22nd, 2013

“You Take Two Steps Forward, You Take Two Steps Back”

Today’s post is a short exercise I modified from a book called “Sarah, Book 1″ by Esther and Jerry Hicks

I believe sometimes your career affects your life and your life can sometimes affect your career, finding a balance isn’t always easy, it’s a CHOICE!  Support yourself by taking two steps forward and create a little more of your own Career Life Balance.  Choose to take action.  Read and fill in the blanks below.  Isn’t having just a little more career life balance in your life worth 10 minutes to walk through the process?  Let me know what you discover.

First Step is knowing what you DON’T want!

“I can’t work here anymore, I am afraid, I’m not challenged, don’t want to make are wrong move, I know I don’t want, fill in the blank “_____”

Second Step is knowing what you DO want!

I want to find the right company culture, I want to work with people who are innovative, on the cutting edge of their profession? I want to feel FULFILLED with my work, I want to stand in my true potential, I want to create a better life for myself and others, fill in the blank ” _______”

Third Step is finding the feeling place of what you DO want. Talking about it and visualize it until you feel like you are already there.

Practice sitting in the present moment, focusing on your body, put your hand on your heart and just tune into your breathing, allow your body and mind to become centered and grounded. Write, type, or record yourself speaking and flushing out the details of what you want to create for yourself? Imagine the greatest of all possibilities and keep imagining it until you feel it.

Fourth Step is when you get what you want, the physical manifestation of your desire. Have fun, don’t try too hard to remember all this. Practice Appreciation. That’s the key.

Step out in faith. When you are done, take two steps back and set up a time the next day and do it again, say out loud what you want to create, and trust that you will make it a reality. Act AS IF and let the rest happen.

Make it a great one!

Hugs to you!
Coach DQ

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July 11th, 2013

The Key to a Successful Coaching Relationship


It’s funny how the perception of things can change over time. Remember when being a geek was a bad thing? Now if you’re a geek you’re one of the most sought after employees on the planet!


image of a career coachThe same is true for coaching; especially executive coaching. There was a time when it would be considered an admission of weakness to hire a coach as a top professional in your field or company. Not any longer. Executive coaching has become a symbol of a desire for nothing less than excellence. And it makes sense.

Assemble the Right Team for Your Needs

Let’s look at the well established coaching model in sports and how it has expanded and evolved.


Where once a coaching staff might have included only 3 or 4 individuals, it is now common to have a full team of coaches specializing in every conceivable area of the game; pitching coaches, batting coaches, weight training coaches, offensive and defensive coaches, head coaches, assistant coaches, nutrition coaches, quarterback coaches, tennis coaches, pole vault coaches, diving coaches. And that’s just a short list!


Winning in the business arena is no different than winning in the sports arena. It takes a team effort, whether you’re the CEO of a Fortune 500 or a solopreneur engaging a team of subcontracted professionals to support your growth.


Find the Right Coach For You

The secret to successful coaching is the pairing of a motivated client and a well-qualified coach. Here are some things to consider when shopping for a coach.


A good coach for you will be someone:

  • whom you can relate to with ease and comfort
  • who specializes in or has had experience with others whose needs and desires are similar to yours
  • who respects privacy and exhibits professionalism
  • who is not afraid to push and challenge you
  • who is goal-focused and results-oriented


The bottom line – the most successful players have personal coaches to help them maximize their strengths and neutralize their weaknesses. You are the key player in your life, and hiring a good coach will set you apart in your field.


A Real-Life Example of Coaching at Work

Elizabeth was working as a senior business analyst when a friend told her about Coach DQ.


“I felt that my work was being undervalued, and that I was being undervalued,” Elizabeth says. “I was a senior manager doing director-level work, and I didn’t know how to go about getting recognized, or how to ask for the authority and compensation I deserved.”


Having been with her current company since 1997, Elizabeth was unsure about how to navigate the world of online job searches, social media, and personal branding. When her friend mentioned DQ’s services, Elizabeth saw the value a coach could bring to her current situation.


“Dawn helped to focus me,” she says. “I learned about internet job search strategies, how to brand myself, and tailor my CV for different keywords. I also whittled down the list of jobs I really want. I’m equally comfortable in business and technology; I’m equally right-brained and left-brained, with a foot in both worlds. Dawn gave me really good strategies for how to manage that balance, and utilize my skills as a creative problem solver.”


While Elizabeth was starting her work with Dawn, her division underwent a reorganization, and a number of promotions and shifts in position were occurring. “I was mad! Here were these people who hadn’t been doing anything—they weren’t delivering. And yet they were getting promoted. Dawn said I had to start advocating for myself, and gave me strategies for doing just that. ‘They’re not going to promote you just because you’re doing your job well,”‘she told me. And she was right! I had to let my bosses know in a professional manner that I was unhappy.”


Using Dawn’s strategies, Elizabeth approached her bosses. “I said to my boss, ‘It’s very unfortunate that there are no career opportunities for the top performers in this organization. It’s not good for the organization.’ I already had a job description for the work I wanted to do. My boss made a couple of changes, then showed it to his boss.”


Within a week, Elizabeth had negotiated a promotion which included an 8% raise.


“Through it all, Dawn kept me right on task,” Elizabeth says. “She gives me forms, cheat sheets, and strategies to guide my process. The questionnaires I received prior to our first session really helped me crystallize what areas I wanted to focus on during our time together.”


While she is happy with her new position, Elizabeth is still actively searching for another job. Now, she’s working with Dawn to address gaps in her resume, and “other things that would ding me in the job market.” In addition to developing tools to manage potential employers’ questions or objections to weak points in her resume, Dawn has been helping Elizabeth find new tools to cope with her fairly significant visual impairment.


“I’ve done very well with it thus far,” Elizabeth says. “In terms of the day-to-day, I have no problems: all I need is a 17-inch monitor. However, I didn’t know how to bring it up comfortably in a business or networking setting, where I’m meeting people for the first time. I also do a lot of presentations. Dawn has helped me find ways to address the issue in social settings, and ways in which I can bring it into the conversation without awkwardness.”


When asked what has been the most helpful part of working with Dawn, Elizabeth says with a laugh, “Strategizing. I’m smart enough to recognize what I need to do to move forward, but I don’t always know how to go about it!”


Give Coaching a Try

If you’re interested in learning more about coaching with Coach DQ, contact me to schedule a complimentary consulting session.


June 13th, 2013

Does What We Do Matter?


Daniel Pink the author of the book DRIVE: The Surprising Truth about What Motivates Us, is a marketing expert and a bit of a futurist. In a recent interview, he talked about how many people in America today feel deprived of context in their work. In fact, 75% of people interviewed don’t feel that what they do matters, or that they’re making a measurable contribution to their company or to the world. Depressing, huh?

human cog in a wheel

Photo credit: Renjith Rishnan


There are several reasons that this feeling occurs. Maybe the corporate culture discourages being part of a team.  Maybe the company doesn’t involve their employees in the organization’s success (or lack thereof). Maybe the employee simply isn’t getting any feedback as to whether their work is integral to the success of the business.


If you find yourself in a position where you’re feeling deprived of context in your work, ask yourself why. Do you feel a driving need to make a difference in the world and in people’s lives? Do you want to be recognized for your contribution to your company? Do you feel isolated, as though you’re working in a void? Once you have an honest answer, you can begin to work toward solving the issues around your problem.
Here are some ideas for creating context in your work life.


  • If you’re not getting feedback from your boss or co-workers, create your own “annual review” form. (You can base it on the form I’ve provided here.  Take an inventory of your skills; then, ask yourself where you feel your progress should be measured and what you could be doing better. You might even create a copy of this form to present to your boss or peers.
  • If you’re lacking a team structure, create your own team. Ask your co-workers to meet on a regular basis to discuss projects, smooth over trouble spots, and create working plans for the future. You can even offer each other unofficial “annual reviews” to help bring communications issues to light.
  • Ask for feedback. As Dan Pink points out, without feedback you’ll never achieve mastery. If you want to grow within your field and perfect your skill set, you need objective, honest information. If your boss won’t (or can’t) provide this, ask your peers, or seek out a mentor or coach.
  • If you can’t come up with a way to feel satisfied and fulfilled in your current job, it’s probably time to leave. You might look for a new job with a company that stresses employee enrollment and accountability (i.e., the Toyota Management style). Research proves that when team members are actively enrolled in the performance of a company, it has a profound effect on morale and productivity. Or, if you’re active in a particular cause, look for a company whose values align with that cause, and in whose mission you can believe.


When we feel that what we do makes a difference in the world, it can change the way we view the daily grind. If you’re having trouble identifying what you need to feel valued at work, give me a call. We can work together to assess what you need from your boss and your career, and help you find a place where you can continue to grow.


To learn more about how I can help you facilitate this process, read my recent case study here.

June 5th, 2013

BrainTalk Radio Welcomes Idea 360

Click on this link to see a sample of the Story Book produced by Janine Underhill and Michelle Auerbach from Idea 360 FOG Meeting first 10 page samples.  FOG 4 Book Draft all pages

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May 21st, 2013

Finding Your Balance Point

work life balance sm image
No one ever lamented on his deathbed that he wished he’d spent more time at the office.
Everyone’s career-life scale gets out of balance sometimes. I’d like to show you what you can do about it. Finding balance between your personal and professional lives is one of the best ways to alleviate the stress, guilt, and burnout that comes with a high-powered career and a crazy schedule.
Families Pay the Price
Finding career life balance would be easy if our careers were as understanding and forgiving as our families. But in many cases, if you can’t finish your work in a 40- to 50-hour work week, and you don’t put in the extra time to get the job done, you’ll be fired — while your family is (probably) not going to fire you for leaving dirty dishes in the sink, or working too late to read a bedtime story. The unbending demands of work often push the more flexible family time aside, resulting in those unbalanced scales, and a lot of stress.
Be Honest With Yourself
There are a lot of very successful people who manage to do their entire job in the span of a normal day, and get home in time for the family dinner. This isn’t because they’re superhuman; it’s because they plan carefully, schedule intelligently, and roll with the punches. They know what their strengths and weaknesses are, and they know what they can and cannot control. Most importantly, they utilize good time management skills.
If you want to become the type of person described above, you need to ask yourself some hard questions, and answer them honestly.
Questions for Finding Balance

    1. What would happen if you performed only the action steps required to complete your tasks?
    2. What choices are you making with your time and your controllable decisions?
    3. Are your choices in harmony with your core values—like family, personal development, and your long-term career path—or are they simply made in reaction to day-to-day situations?
    4. What uncontrollable factors are you allowing to create stress and extra work?
    5. What can you stop doing (or start doing) that will allow you to complete your tasks in less time?
    6. What are your biggest time killers? How can you reduce or eliminate them?
    7. How will shifting your priorities and/or routines affect your work life?
    8. How is your attitude about your career life balance affecting that balance?

Use these questions, and your answers, to develop a clearer picture of how you control your tasks, your time, and your world. Like the successful people mentioned above, you can begin to make decisions that support a healthier career life balance. Take small steps to start, and stick with your changes until they become habit.

April 30th, 2013

How Top Performers Make Decisions

Business owners and top performers in executive positions might make ten times more decisions in a day than most people make in a week. That’s a lot of choices, and each one potentially vital to the growth and success of the company.

How do they do it?

Strategic, sound decision-making comes from a clear vision of how you want to create and control your world. It also comes from a sound knowledge of what you can’t control, and an acceptance of that fact.

Every micro-decision made by a top performer is dispatched based on an organized plan that they’ve devised based on their knowledge of the situation and their short- and long-term goals. Every action they take during a given day is seen as part of this decision process: phone calls, e-mails, business meetings, and individual line items on extensive to-do lists.
Of course, no top performer can handle everything that crosses his or her desk alone. That’s why delegation is a crucial part of the decision-making process for successful people. Sometimes, delegating can be hard — especially when you’re operating on a very specific plan — but delegated tasks don’t have to fall under the heading of “what I can’t control” if you’re delegating effectively.

Action Step: Delegation Decisions
If you’re not sure where and what to delegate, ask yourself these questions.
• Does this task utilize my most valuable skill set?
• Is there someone on my team (or in my contacts list) who can perform this task as well as I can?
• If I delegate this task, can I use my newly freed-up time to generate more revenue, or perform the tasks only I can do?

If you decide to delegate, use the following pointers to make sure that you’re giving your associate the right tools to get the job done according to your plan:

• Explain the nature of the task clearly. If you want exact results, give exact directions.
• Share your goals for the project, and your goals for the big picture. When your associates can see the long view, they’re more likely to understand the “why” of your directions.
• Set up an accountability plan.
• Share the results of the project or goal with everyone who worked on it with you.
Finally, top performers know that when variables arise, the plan might have to change — and they’re okay with that. Flexibility allows them to always make their decisions based on the way things really are, not on the way they want them to be.
If you want to learn more about effective delegation, check out my workshop on the C.A.R.E. Method for Effective Delegation.

April 23rd, 2013

The Greatest Advancement Tool You’ll Ever Have

traitsWhen you look in the mirror, the reflection looking back at you is the greatest advancement tool you’ll ever have at your disposal. Yourself!

Each of our inherent strengths make us exceptionally qualified for everything we do. They are always unique to our individual selves and this makes each of us a unique commodity. The qualities that come naturally to us are our best resources, they are already there just waiting to be accessed and put to use. Imagine you; “IN THE FLOW”, “A TOP PERFORMER”, “AT YOUR BEST”, “OPERATING AT YOUR FULLEST POTENTIAL”, whatever you call that centered core and true to you kind of a place? You’ll find it will be these resources and unique attributes that have the greatest potential of excelling with. Even the skills that you feel couldn’t possibly help your performance, if applied properly and creatively, may actually help you capitalize on opportunities all around you. It’s time to starting thinking of yourself as a brand! What can you create to enhance your visibility?
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March 20th, 2013

Bring Back Bragging!

“You cannot dream up confidence.  You cannot fabricate it.  You cannot wish it.  You have to accomplish it.  I think that genuine confidence is what you really seek.  That only comes from demonstrated ability.” – Bill Parcells, Professional Football Coach

In our competitive world, there’s no substitute for confidence.

However, most of us don’t feel particularly comfortable talking about our accomplishments—probably because we heard so many times as children that “bragging is bad.” Some of us don’t even feel comfortable thinking about our successes—as if desiring to bask in that happy glow could somehow make us selfish, or prevent us from moving to the next level.

I’m not saying that you have to go around telling everyone how awesome you are all day long. But most of us could benefit from bringing back bragging – at least when we’re talking to ourselves. In fact, positive self-talk is one of the most powerful tools employed by top earners!

When you focus on what you don’t have or haven’t accomplished, you lose power and momentum. There’s always going to be something bigger and better ahead of you—but if that’s all you see, things can start to feel hopeless pretty quickly. In order to approach your tasks with strength and confidence, you need to have a positive foundation—and that means building on your prior successes.

If you have a hard time seeing your accomplishments clearly, start tracking them on a monthly or quarterly basis. I call this “positive reflection.” Whether you’re working for someone, running your own business, or currently in a job search, this tool will highlight knowledge about your strengths and help you approach your career from a more strategic place.

Action Step: Positive Reflection

List the items you worked on in the last month/quarter.  Include all of the goals you’ve accomplished, skills you’ve developed, and projects you’ve completed.  Then, chunk each item down with the following questions

  • Why is this an accomplishment?
  • What were the results?
  • What new skills, techniques, or strategies did I learn from it?
  • What skills, techniques, or strategies can I develop further?
  • What is my next course of action?

Using this exercise on a regular basis will help you gain a solid perspective about where you are, versus where you want to be (or worse, don’t want to be). As you address each item, let yourself brag for a minute or two about the great work you’ve done. For an even greater sense of empowerment, share your accomplishments with your spouse, friend, or coach!

‘It’s fine to celebrate success, but it’s more important to heed the lessons of failure.’ Bill Gates

March 3rd, 2013

Tips for Top Performers

Notice what is happening. 

This is one of the easiest ways to avoid getting into toleration mode.  Try this test – spend the next 24 hours separating yourself from what is happening.  Take your daily commute, which involved circumstances that are wholly separate from you, like traffic volume and the actions of other drivers. These are circumstances – not you!  You are a complete being unto yourself.  You get to decide how you want to handle the drive.  You choose whether to take a deep breath and not get stressed out, whether to gun it when someone moves into your lane, or ease up on the gas and let them in.  Be crazy – smile at everyone you pass on the way to work one day.  Play with noticing how you are choosing to be and how it works for you.

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February 13th, 2013

Protecting Your Time

Time is a always a precious commodity, but some time is more valuable than the rest—for example, the time you devote to your family, your creative pursuits, or the most important aspects of your job.

When you block out time to do something you value, you don’t want anything to interfere—but when you’re really busy, mundane activities can start to creep up on you. You start trying to answer e-mails while playing with your kids, or return phone calls while catching up on emails. Resentment or anxiousness starts to build—and that negativity can sap your energy all too quickly.

I’m a big believer in multitasking: I do it whenever possible. However, notice what tasks you’re multitasking that may demand your full attention and how that might be affecting your overall output? For example, I often return phone calls while driving (using my hands-free, of course!). The calls I make are to friends and colleagues, not to new clients or potential partners. A conversation that requires deep thought and attention, or which might become emotional, should never be conducted in the car. I also love to read Entrepreneur Magazine while I’m on the treadmill or catch up on the news. Not only do I get ahead, it makes the workout go by faster.

More than simply saving time, mindful multitasking allows me to be work toward being fully present when it’s time to do something I value. It’s always a work in progress and a conscious habit I am continuing to practice. For example, if I have plans with my husband, I don’t want to ignore him in favor of laptop or be on the phone while my daughter is home and I know my mother in law hates it when I am doing dishes when I am on the phone. This week we are working on being mindful of knowing when you are mastering multitasking and when you are not.

Your Action Step this week is to make one list of things you do every day that need to be done without interruption, and another of activities which don’t necessarily require your full attention. For example, your train ride to work doesn’t demand that you be fully present; it doesn’t even demand that you be awake. Is there a way you can use your time on the train creatively? If family game night is on the “no interruptions” list, how can you multitask earlier in the day to ensure that your cell phone stays off through an entire game of Monopoly?

Want to learn more about creative multitasking and how to better manage your time? If you are in a service business all you have is your time. Take the time management assessment (click on time management assessment to see a sample) and find out where you are leaving time and in many cases money on the table.

Do you feel like you say YES too often and then later regret it because there is no time left for you? Are on over drive and always trying to catch up? I will share with you my formula that helps to bring a little more balance back into your career and life. Click here for more details.

January 22nd, 2013

Life’s Too Short! Love Your Career or Change It!


  •  Are you underemployed and looking to make a career change?

  • Feeling uninspired by your current job search and/or long to follow your passion but think you can’t afford  to make the change or don’t know where to start?

If you don’t love waking up and going to work every morning, maybe it’s time you made some changes. After all, life is too short to not love your job.


  • You want to transition into a new career
  • You want to change the direction of your current career
  • You are laid off or underemployed
  • You are unemployed
  • You need to diversify your job search techniques
  • You want to learn new ways to use social media to find a job
  • You need more job search resources
  • You want to reduce the amount of time you’re in a job search


  • A clear understanding of your core strengths, transferrable skills and motivators
  • A proven step by step method to support keeping your new career on track
  • A new tool for breaking through fears or doubts that hold you back
  • Techniques and exercises that create experiential learning and interaction
  • New connections, partnerships and options for support 

Sign up now change your career and change your life!

Join Professional Certified Career & Life Coach, Dawn Quesnel, “DQ”

in this 2 part interactive IN PERSON workshop.

 Where:  The Healing MoonWellnessCenter, 34 School Street, Foxboro, MA02035

When:   Tuesdays: January 29th and February 5th

Time: 6:30pm-9pm (2 classes 2.5 hrs each)

Instructor: DQ ~ Dawn Quesnel, CPCC, PCC

Phone: 508-520-9933

Cost: $97(registration is required by Monday, January 28, 2013 space is limited)


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January 4th, 2013

Top performers not only keep their word to others, they keep their promises to themselves.
And what are those promises?
They do what needs to be done to get that raise or that promotion. Or get out of dodge!
Yup. Sometimes top performers make that decision that they can’t get what they want where they are. And if that sounds scary to you, then maybe 2013 is your year.
A goal is a dream with a deadline. When you set a goal, you say to yourself,

  • “This is what I want, and this is what I’m going to do.”
  • When you make a plan around that goal, you’re adding, “This is how I’m going to do it.”

Pretty simple, eh? The tricky part, though, isn’t saying it. It’s meaning it.
If you’re tired of paying lip service to your career, now is the time to get on track once and for all. 2013 can be your best year ever, the year you take that next big bold step in your career.

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December 26th, 2012

Inventory Your Skills


Self-Evaluation can be difficult and even painful sometimes, however, it can be one of the most valuable tools available in preparing for a career change or advancing in a job search.

Sometimes the hardest part of reaching your goals isn’t figuring out what needs to be done, but rather deciding how to do what needs to be done. There are usually several ways of tackling a problem, and all of them can be valid if they’re executed correctly. The trick is to know what works for you. 

Every one of us has skills that add value to what we do. Every one of us has had experiences which, whether they were good or bad at the time, helped us to learn and grow within our professions. Every one of us wishes we were better at certain things. The question is: can you put your finger on what all of these things are?  

This is where the objective self-inventory comes in very handy. Your action step is to take an inventory of your skills and experiences.  Include everything you’re good at, not just the things you see as directly related to your profession. Are you super-organized? Are you highly empathetic?  Do you have a knack for making people see things your way? Did you learn more about leadership from your fifth grade camping trip than you’ve ever been taught in a classroom?  Did your weekend of base-jumping in Colorado last summer really teach you the value of taking a risk? Write whatever comes to mind. Don’t hold back, and don’t sell yourself short. Your brain is like a warehouse where your whole life is stored; dust off the back shelves and bring out the experiences that really impacted you.

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December 4th, 2012

How to Handle the Salary Question?

For most people, money talk is one of the most uncomfortable parts of any interview.  It’s hard to put a price on your professional worth, and harder still when you feel you have to justify that worth to a near-stranger who holds your future in their hands. For many, the mere thought of it is enough to make their palms sweat.
The salary question doesn’t have to be a big uncomfortable ordeal. Remember, you deserve to be fairly compensated for your time and your skills. The trick is to go into the interview not only knowing what you’re worth—but knowing as well what kind of money other people in your position are making.

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September 26th, 2012

Spotlight on Top Performers ~ Sr. Business Analysts

Coach DQ Case Study: Elizabeth
Elizabeth was working as a senior business analyst when a friend told her about Coach DQ.
“I felt that my work was being undervalued, and that I was being undervalued,” Elizabeth says. “I was a senior level manager doing director-level work, and I didn’t know how to go about getting recognized, or how to ask for the authority and compensation I deserved.”
Having been with her current company since 1997, Elizabeth was unsure about how to navigate the world of online job searches, social media, and personal branding. When her friend mentioned DQ’s services, Elizabeth saw the value a coach could bring to her current situation.

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September 19th, 2012

You create your opportunities by asking for them.” Shakti Gawain”

When you’re ready to move forward in your career and life, you need to formulate and execute a game plan. That might sound a little intimidating, but quite simply, it all starts with intention.
What many people think of as intent is really wishing. Intention isn’t about ‘I want’, but rather ‘I will’. When you make up your mind to accomplish something, you’re setting an intention. And when you plan out a way to get yourself from where you are to where you want to be, you’re formulating a game plan.
So how do you set an intention?

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August 10th, 2012

Are you building a web site for your business? Read this!

If you have started a business recently, chances are you have also considered the necessity of launching a web site. These days, having a beautiful, functional web page is just as important if not more so than having a great business card.
Unless you’re already talented in that department, you’ll probably need to hire an independent consultant to build and maintain the site for you. But before you sign that first check, there are some things you ought to know.

Read the rest of this entry »

July 9th, 2012

Incompetent Company Leadership?

“When you can’t change the direction of the wind, adjust your sails.” – H. Jackson Brown, Contemporary American Writer and Author
There’s nothing worse than being subordinate to someone you find challenging to respect. Professionally, that’s putting it lightly!
I hear it all the time.
“They Just Don’t Get it!”
My boss is….SAY IT (email me right now and get it off your chest)

Read the rest of this entry »

June 26th, 2012

Top Performer Lawyer on the Cutting Edge of Renewable Energy

Spotlight on Top Performers
Meet Andrew O. Kaplan

Andrew O. Kaplan, an energy and environmental law partner for the Boston-based firm Brown Rudnick, has over 20 years of private and public energy law experience. He assists renewable energy and cleantech clients from initial development through business operations. Andrew counsels his clients on issues such as project financing; obtaining federal, state and local permits; sitting; and grid interconnection. He represents companies before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), Independent System Operators and Regional Transmission Operators (NYISO, ISO-NE, PJM, Midwest ISO California ISO and ERCOT), and state public utility commissions. On behalf of energy storage clients, Andrew has won numerous significant rulings before the FERC to pave the way for the growth among leaders in the cleantech industry.

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June 23rd, 2012

Overwhelmed with Your Job Search?

It’s possible that job search-related tasks have stacked up so high that you want to just run and hide. But burying your head in the sand will not help in the long run — and it might not even alleviate the pressure in the present moment.

Rather than trying to handle all your obligations at once, set priorities early in the day. Once you have a sensible plan, work steadily toward achieving your goals. If necessary, you can always pick up the slack tomorrow.

April 17th, 2012

Are You Feeding Your Business Brain?

A good way to stay excited and upbeat about growing your business is to read books by people who have “been there, done that”. Also, there are a couple of classics that every business person should have under their literary belt.
Here is a quick reading list for anyone who’s looking for some brain food. Links will bring you to the book’s page on

Read the rest of this entry »

March 16th, 2012

Spotlight on Top Performers


A spontaneous publication by DQ

“An optimist is someone who goes after Moby Dick in a rowboat and takes the tartar sauce with him.” Zig Ziglar
The same is true for many “Top Performers”!  I very excited to share with you a client who has been using the B.R.I.D.G.E Method and the success she’s gaining as a Top Performer in the making!
Meet Julia in our new feature “Spotlight on Top Performers!
A former chef, pilot and adjunct Professor of Accounting at Babson, Julia Shanks is now a Restaurant Consultant and cookbook author on the cutting edge efficiency and sustainability!
Julia ShanksJulia Shanks been very involved with Slow Money over the past few years…, the perfect intersection of her two passions: Entrepreneurship and Sustainable Food Systems.
Slow Money is bringing people together around a shared vision about what it means to be an investor in the 21st Century.
In the last year, she has become the regional leader of the Boston chapter. As part of her work with Slow Money, she organizes two Entrepreneur Showcases a year. They will be bringing together investors, sustainable food entrepreneurs and leaders working together to rebuild our local food system. The next one is scheduled for Tuesday, April 24th.

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March 3rd, 2012

8th Annual Southern New England Women’s Expo

Think about all the time you spend at the office, on the phone, working with colleagues, attending meetings, etc, etc.

Do you love it?

Join Dawn Quesnel, CPCC, PCC on April 1st at the 8th Annual Southern New England Women’s Expo at the Twin River Event Center for:

Life’s Too Short – Love Your Career or Change It

jobIf you don’t love waking up and going to work every morning, maybe it’s time you made some changes. After all, life is too short to not love your job. Now you may be thinking that having a great job and loving what you do is more like a dream for those ‘lucky’ people. But loving your job can be more than just a dream, it can be a reality. Putting all your time and energy into something that doesn’t bring you some sort of happiness is grueling and more damaging than you think. After all, chances are you spend more time at work than with your friends and family or working on hobbies. So if you’re stuck in a job that you don’t enjoy, chances are you’re not the happiest you could be. You don’t have to be stuck in a career that doesn’t suit you. You can be happy in your profession too! The road to loving your job starts with …

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December 12th, 2011

You Want More Meaning from Your Work

You want Altruism

work life balanceAltruistic, self-sacrificial, and humanistic. They all mean the same thing but can you truly relate to any of these words?
No doubt, these words can seem daunting for most people. It is hard to self-describe yourself as altruistic and you probably think of people, so-called humanitarians, saints, or an eleemosynary who spend all of their time trying to make the world a better place. Don’t worry, you can still be an altruist without staging protests, buying organic or volunteering. What you actually need to do is make the conscious decision to align your personal values and ideals with your actions. Do not say you believe in something and then turn your back on that belief when action is necessary. One area this can take place is by creating a balance between your work and personal life. When this happens, you will be able to find a deeper sense of personal fulfillment and accomplishment in every area of your life.

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November 8th, 2011

The Greatest Advancement Tool You’ll Ever Have

traitsWhen you look in the mirror, the reflection looking back at you is the greatest advancement tool you’ll ever have at your disposal. Yourself!
Each of our inherent strengths make us exceptionally qualified for everything we do. They are always unique to our individual selves and this makes each of us a wanted commodity. The qualities that come naturally to us are our best resources, they are already there just waiting to be accessed and put to use. Once we are able to do this, which may take some help, it will be these resources that we will have the greatest potential of excelling with.

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October 25th, 2011

Do you have a Life Purpose?

life purposeHave you ever had a dream where you are lost wandering down an endless road? The road seems to have neither a beginning nor end? You are stuck walking and walking but are going nowhere, you are disconnected from both ends. Now, when you wake, do you realize that you can parallel this dream with your life? Do you feel like there is an endless road, a disconnect between what you do for a living and what you want to do because it makes you feel good; your life purpose.

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September 19th, 2011

Helpful Hints for Job Seekers

job seekers
If you’re in a job search right now, you may feel like your resume is getting stuck in the pipeline, and that you’re not getting the attention you deserve. Here are some key points to help you get noticed in this crowded market.


  • Create a Profile Resume. Otherwise known as a Networking Resume, this is an overview of who you are and what you do. It lists your accomplishments, awards and accolades, and education, and gives a generalized summary of your previous work experience. When you meet contacts at networking events or online, this is what you should be giving them.

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August 11th, 2011

The Power of Positive Thinking

power of positive thinkingHave you ever noticed that it’s a lot easier to say something negative about someone than it is to say something positive? We all want the people around us to do their jobs and do them well—but if you’ve ever been on the receiving end of criticism, you know that it isn’t always the best motivator.
People are more likely to work hard and give energy to a project if they feel as though they are a part of it, and as though their efforts make a difference in the grander scheme of things. Whether you’re a team leader, manager, or business owner, it’s important to hone your compliment-giving skills and practice employee recognition.
Here are some ways to make your positive feedback go even further:

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July 19th, 2011

What Are Your Hot Buttons? Issues, people, or situations that get under your skin!

hot buttonsHot buttons are issues, people, or situations that really get you worked up. They’re triggers, and if they’re pushed hard enough, they can make you explode. They’re different for everyone, but we all have them.
So, what really gets under your skin?

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June 17th, 2011

4 Ways to Boost The Value of Your Public Relations

A good public relations strategy is really important whether your work for yourself or for a company. After all, you are your own brand, and you create your own security more than you know. You can have the best product or service out there—but if no one knows about it, it’s hard to get things off the ground. You can be the top expert in your chosen field, but if you’re not sharing what you know, you’re probably not getting the recognition—or the paycheck—you deserve.
Public relations is—you guessed it—the way in which you relate to the public at large, and more importantly, how the public at large relates to you. Getting noticed in the media, finding ways to communicate with as many potential clients or customers as possible, and creating a public dialogue about your product or service (or yourself as an expert) are all goals of a good PR strategy.

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June 13th, 2011

Are You an Innovator?

It’s been said before: some people can sell anything! Whatever your passion, I bet you can find someone who has turned it into a business. All it takes is a little planning, and a heaping scoop of innovation. May these examples inspire you to take the next step in perusing your passion.
Here are some examples of business innovation from Text is excerpted from the site. Click on the links to read the full articles.

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June 11th, 2011

Who’s the Doormat and Who’s The Door?

In this post we take a look at how tolerations and boundaries impact our lives.  So, what are you tolerating?  Where do you and where don’t you set boundaries?  When do you feel that you lie down and get walked on?  When do you step fully through the doorways that are important to you?  If you live for career life balance, then it is easier to define what is important and how to get more of it.
That’s the good news; the other news is that life is a journey.  The other day I finished up a meeting and got into my car with a sigh.  This sigh was a mix of frustration, anger and relief.  Isn’t it amazing that one breath can contain so much?  And then, as I began to think, the frustration and anger parts began to take over.  I had just left a situation where I was definitely the doormat, and I didn’t like it.  I didn’t say what I wanted, I didn’t articulate how I saw the situation, and worst of all, I committed to doing some things that I didn’t want to do, on a timeline that didn’t suit my schedule and for a fee that didn’t honor the value I brought to the situation or had committed to making.  What was going on?

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May 16th, 2011

3 Toxic Work Situations That Could Be Affecting You In Your Job


I recently gave a seminar for MBA alumni at Simmons College. When we started the talk, I asked the attendees, How many of you are currently in a job search?. A smattering of them raised their hands. How many of you own your own businesses? Again, a few hands went up.

Then, I asked, How many of you work, or have worked, in what you feel is a toxic environment? Nearly everyone in the room raised their hands.  When I asked, How many of you have been in that situation twice or more? the response was almost the same.

My immediate feeling was one of shock. But then, when I thought about how many of my clients struggle to free themselves from negative professional patterning, it began to make sense. Over and over, people end up in the same situations, with the same issues. It’s like that song by The Who: Meet the new boss, same as the old boss….

So, what makes us gravitate toward unhealthy work environments? Do we like being used and abused? Read the rest of this entry »

May 10th, 2011

Getting Your To-Dos in Order

Every Sunday, I write out a to-do list for the coming week. I plan out my activities on each day, and make notes as to tasks I want to complete within each 24-hour period. I have list of people to follow up with and a list for house stuff. I also have a note book of items to brainstorm about. I get pretty nit-picky about my lists—but if I don’t write it down, it doesn’t get done and I only focus on one list at a time.

When you make generalized lists, with big bullet items like “Networking,” “Cold Calls,” and “Business Plan”, you can become frustrated when you are not able to cross these things off your lists. To help you be more productive, break down your projects and tasks into specific bite-sized pieces, they will be a little less overwhelming and you’ll find you’ll get more done. Also, big-ticket items require big chunks of time, which aren’t always possible to set aside in the midst of a busy week and tend to get put on the back burner.

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May 2nd, 2011

7 Steps to Minimizing The Time & Energy You Spend on Business Communications

Have you ever opened your inbox to find dozens, even hundreds of new e-mails stacked one on top of the other? Every time we sit down at our computers, it seems we’re bombarded by images and stimuli. That can be really overwhelming, and can cause us to miss important communications.

Creating effective e-mail communications can minimize the time and energy you spend on business communications, and make all of your virtual interactions more effective.

Here are some simple suggestions to help you maximize your e-mail communications.

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April 7th, 2011

Potholes – Tolerations Part 2

What Are You Tolerating?

Continuing our discussion of tolerations…

Below are some common tolerations cited by my clients and colleagues. Maybe some of these potholes are also in your road.

What people are tolerating at home:

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March 29th, 2011

Potholes – Tolerations Part 1

We all have stuff we don’t like to do. And when it comes to work, there are definitely some tasks that are more pleasant than others.

I call the things we don’t like to do “tolerations.” If you don’t stay on top of them, these things can puncture your success bubble as surely as a monster Massachusetts pothole can pop your front tire.

Potholes like tolerations can be deceiving. Metaphorically speaking, when they sit on your desk, your tolerations crumble away at your energy every time your mind drives over it, making your day less efficient. Instead of smooth sailing down a nicely paved highway, your daily route suddenly looks like an obstacle course. You’re constantly swerving around unfinished tasks, trying to avoid the potholes and bumps. The more tolerations (potholes) in your road, the slower and more challenging your progress becomes, plus, the longer it takes to get there. Or worse, you’re driving too fast and miss or get hit by a big one!

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March 22nd, 2011

The Robins Are Doing the Deal


Spring in New England is a wonderful, busy time. When I look at my yard, all of nature seems to be networking, planting seeds and making new contacts. Everything is focused on renewal and reconnection.

“Spring Fever” isn’t just for lovers: there’s a real surge of energy in the air at this time of year, and that makes April the perfect month to jump-start your business. Everyone’s coming out of their winter hibernation, anxious to be part of the world again, and that makes this a prime time for networking.

Here are some steps to take to help you take advantage of Spring’s buoyant energy:

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March 15th, 2011

Using Your Business Intuition

On February 2, Tara and I did an interview on BrainTalk Radio with Carrie Hart, author of A Call to Greatness. It was a great exploration into how intuitive thinking can serve the businessperson in very practical and tangible ways.

Carrie says that the expansion of her business began with getting in touch with her intuition. This didn’t mean denying her practical nature; rather, it meant incorporating her “right-brained” self into her left-brained business.

One of Carrie’s primary gifts is intuitive hearing: she quiets her mind, asks a question, and listens for the answer. She started with a “word of the day,” which she would write down without allowing her mind to ask any questions. While the word might not make sense immediately, she would understand it clearly by the end of the day. Every morning, she put herself “in the pocket,” until she was able to slip into that receptive state comfortably and easily. Then, she moved on to asking bigger, more complicated questions. Always, the answers she received guided her in the right direction.

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March 8th, 2011

Working On Vs. Working In Your Business

What’s the difference between working ON your business and working IN your business?

When you’re working IN your business, you’re involved in generating the product or service your business provides. If you’re a salesperson, you’re selling. If you’re a consultant, you’re consulting. If you’re a manufacturer, you’re manufacturing. When we say, “I’m running my business,” this is what we generally think of.

When you’re working ON your business, you’re maintaining your pipeline: networking, researching new markets, preparing sales strategies, updating your marketing materials and web site. Basically, you’re ensuring that, in the future, you’ll be able to keep working IN your business, because you’ll have enough business to keep your business running.

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March 1st, 2011

What’s Coming Down Your Career Pipeline?

I always ask my clients what’s in your pipeline. Keeping your pipeline full and flowing is essential, whether you’re a business owner, a job seeker, or looking to advance in your field.

Basically, your “pipeline” is the channel through which new opportunities, contacts, and information flow to you. Ideally, it is full of new contacts from whom you’re awaiting replies, opportunities you’re following up on, and leads you’re following up on. It’s said that only 20% of positions are filled through advertising, while the remaining 80% are filled through referrals and networking. The percentages are slightly different for business owners generating new clients, but they still lean in favor of referrals and networking versus traditional advertising.

In other words, if there’s nothing in your pipeline, you’re far less likely to find the next job you’re looking for.
If you’re stagnated in your job search, or looking to drum up new business, here are some tips for getting your pipeline flowing:

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February 22nd, 2011

Are You Distracted?

Did you know that the average person only works about 2-3 hours per day?

I know. You get up early, take your place behind your desk, and spend your day dealing with whatever comes up. By the time five o’clock comes, you’re exhausted. But how much of your workday is actually devoted to work—and how much is spent dealing with distraction?

This is a common theme among my job search clients. “I want to meet my goals for networking/phone calls/prospecting/working on my resume,” they tell me, “but all these other things keep coming up!” It’s easy to see how this can happen. We don’t live in bubbles (well, most of us don’t, anyway) and so there is always the chance that distractions will come into our space and break our focus.

Here are some common distractions:

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February 15th, 2011

Your First 90 Days (Part 2)

Phase 2: Clearing a Path
During days 45-60, it’s helpful to step back a bit and observe the interpersonal dynamics of your new company and workplace. No matter how autonomous you are in your job position, no one works in a vacuum. And if you’re part of an office or corporate team, your success is even more dependent on how you relate to the people around you.

When you enter a new work environment, it’s worth it to take the time to get to know the people who work around you: your boss, your colleagues, your team, and the people under your direction. Learn how they work, and make note of their communication styles. Make it clear that you want to be part of the team, and ask questions about work flow and communication within your direct group of influence. Identify potential trouble spots— like, “Well, Judy likes to hide those project files on her personal desktop, so no one else can mess them up,” or, “John never copies anyone on those e-mails. He just replies directly to the clients.” Consult with other staff members to learn more about personal and company priorities, ongoing projects, and any workplace dynamics which might impact how you get your own job done.

Here are some questions to ask yourself in this phase:

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February 9th, 2011

Your First 90 Days (Part 1)

During your first 90 days in a new position, there are a lot of positive steps you can take to ensure both your confidence and competency in the position, and your potential longevity in that position. Taking steps to ensure that your communication is clear, your role is defined, your boundaries are firmly established, and your objectives are identified is vital to success in this competitive job market.

Phase 1: Mapping the Territory
The first 30 days at any new job, no matter what field or specialty, are going to be all about settling in and establishing boundaries. This is the time to get clear about what exactly is expected of you—and if you’re in a management position, what you expect of your team.

This sounds easy, but sometimes it’s harder than it seems. Make a concerted effort to pin down your job description in writing. Get confirmation from your boss about what exactly is expected of you on a daily basis. What are the standard procedures you’ll be expected to adhere to? Do different rules apply to different projects? What items or issues are recurring, and which are project-related?

Establishing well-defined boundaries about what are (and are not) your responsibilities can help you delegate more effectively, streamline communications, and establish a clear chain of command. When questions or issues arise during this critical “introductory” period, be sure to adhere to the protocols you’ve established, and when appropriate, make it clear that your staff are expected to do the same. There’s no time like the present to build good habits!

Here are some questions to ask yourself during your first 30 days on the job.

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February 1st, 2011

Franchise Business Owner Transitions to a Career in…

Coach DQ Client Case Study

What was happening in your life when you called Coach DQ?

I owned a few fitness franchises and was working as a regional developer the corporate headquarters and was considering a career change. I was referred to Coach DQ by someone I look up to. My friend had recently made a big career transition, and said, “I didn’t make my choices alone. I had the help of a coach.”

At that point, I didn’t even know what a coach did, but coaching had worked for my friend, so I decided to give it a try.

I loved my job, but the company had lost sight of its mission statement, and I felt that its values no longer aligned with my own. The problem was, I wasn’t sure what my own values were, let alone how to use them to construct a plan for shaping a new career. Using her Bridge mapping techniques and other tools, Coach DQ helped me find my core values, articulate my vision, develop a game plan, and much more. Everything suddenly became much clearer.

What was most helpful about the process?

To me, the best part of the process was the accountability. It was a soft accountability, though. Coach DQ wasn’t an enforcer; rather, she was pleasantly persistent. She knew what I needed to do to get where I wanted to go, but also respected the fact that my schedule can be very hectic at times. Instead of pushing me, and trying to establish concrete goals and deadlines for my progress, she just put ideas out there and let me run with them. In this way, she was able to keep me on track and moving forward at what felt like a natural, rather than a regimented, pace.

What have you accomplished since working with Coach DQ? What was the “end result” of your coaching experience?

Well, the “results” are still in the works. But I’ve been able to establish a clear vision for my future, and I feel good about the direction in which I’m moving. Currently, I’m in the negotiating process working feverishly to bring things to a close. I also have two exciting new opportunities in the fire. Although the loose ends have yet to be wrapped up, I know my results are right there, waiting for me.

I feel that Coach DQ’s methods and assistance allowed me to create positive shifts in my professional life in a much more organized, systematic, and effective way than I would have been able to implement on my own.


WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE, BLOG OR WEBSITE? Please do, as long as you include this complete blurb with it: Dawn Quesnel, CPCC, PCC, known as Coach DQ, is a professional coach, radio show host and workshop leader. Through the use of her B.R.I.D.G.E. programs she helps marketing, advertising, and creative entrepreneurs navigate career or business transition while maintaining a healthy career-life balance. Her core belief that you can accomplish anything you set your mind to, consistently leads clients to uncover hidden resources and strengths. B.R.I.D.G.E. the gap and accelerate your career so you can love your life now! Visit or today or for more information email me.

January 26th, 2011

Effective Networking Strategies, Part 2

Last week, we looked at how to categorize your networking contacts in a way that works for you. Now, let’s talk about how you can follow up effectively with your new contacts.  I’ll use my system as an example, since it works well for me, and you can use these ideas to develop your own system.

Meeting people at networking functions is the easy part, since everyone is there for the same purpose; it’s staying in touch with them after that can be challenging. This is where many people get nervous, unsure what the boundaries are and how to be assertive without being a pain in the neck.

  • The initial contact. After I categorize my new contacts into Contact Sphere, Joint Venture, Friendly Competition, and Potential Clients, I take the time to follow up with everyone via e-mail within one week. I have a form e-mail that I’ve created specifically for this, with blank fields I can fill in with personalized details. I’ll mention where and when I met the person, recall details of our conversation, and remind them of who I am.

In this e-mail, I clearly invite the person to sign up for my newsletter, connect with me on LinkedIn, or respond via e-mail (or all three). Some people take the liberty of adding new contacts to their e-mail lists right away; often, they’ll send the new contact an e-mail with a note explaining that “I’ve added you to my newsletter/mailing list/blog, but I won’t be offended if you unsubscribe.”

  • Getting to know you. Once you have a reply, you might consider scheduling a phone call or face-to-face meeting with your new contact to chat about possibilities for this connection. Or, you might simply connect with them on LinkedIn. However, before you take the easy way out, remember that people are 10 times more likely to remember a face-to-face conversation than they are a virtual one, and 5 times more likely to remember a phone conversation than an e-mail. In other words, it’s not just connecting, but how you connect that matters.

When I meet someone face to face for coffee or lunch, I always take the time to send a handwritten thank you note I had made with my logo on it.

  • Connect on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a great resource because it allows to you see, at a glance, your new connection’s contact sphere. If there’s someone in that sphere who you think would be helpful to you, you can ask your new contact for an introduction. Now that we’re doing things virtually, asking for this favor isn’t as much of an imposition as it once was. However, I’ve had more success calling the contact first and ask them how well they know the contact and let them know you will be sending an introduction request via linkedin. If you are doing this and you are not getting responses, it’s either because your contact doesn’t know the person well enough to refer you, or your contact is not really active on linkedin. Or people are just plain busy and it’s not a priority, don’t take it personal, it’s not about you. Pick up the phone and follow up. I believe it was Jeffrey Gitomer, who said 75% of sales happen after the 6th call.

    • Stay in touch. People have to see something 21 times before it sticks in their mind. This is why television advertising is so effective. The same principle applies here: the more times your new contact sees your name in print or on screen, the more likely they are to think of you when something in your field comes their way.

    One question that often arises is that of persistence. How many times should you try to reach out to a contact before you give them up for lost? The answer is… It depends.

    Networking doesn’t have to be hard work, make if fun. Out of ten people I reached out to last week, only one replied directly to me via e-mail. I followed up with the group again and ended up meeting four others in person, which led to three more introductions.

    As a recruiter, I pursued Fidelity Investments for a year and a half before I won the contract able to place my people in their in-house advertising department.  They kept having turnover and everytime I had a new contact, three months later, someone else was in charge. I ended up placing their highest-paid Creative Director at the time. A few years later, my contact who use to work at Fidelity, searched my name on line and called me looking for help and complimenting on what I did job I did back then.

    How many times you follow up is a matter of personal choice. I usually send two or three e-mails and/or phone calls to potential contacts after I meet them. If I don’t hear something from them—an invitation to connect on LinkedIn, an e-mail, a note on Facebook—I tear up their business card. After all, there’s persistence, and then there’s wasting your time.

    If you need help sorting through the networking process, feel free to give me a call. After all, I’ve been there. You might even drop me into your contact sphere!

    WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE, BLOG OR WEBSITE? Please do, as long as you include this complete blurb with it: Dawn Quesnel, CPCC, PCC, known as Coach DQ, is a professional coach, radio show host and workshop leader. Through the use of her B.R.I.D.G.E. programs she helps marketing, advertising, and creative entrepreneurs navigate career or business transition while maintaining a healthy career-life balance. Her core belief that you can accomplish anything you set your mind to, consistently leads clients to uncover hidden resources and strengths. B.R.I.D.G.E. the gap and accelerate your career so you can love your life now! Visit or today or for more information email me.

January 18th, 2011

Are You Maximizing Your Networking Efforts

One of the more common questions my clients ask me these days is, “How can I become a more effective networker?”

Often, people go to networking meeting and functions, pass out and collect dozens of business cards, and then aren’t sure where to go from there. Some of the issues I’ve heard are:

  • “I feel funny about following up; I don’t want to feel like I’m bugging this person.”
  •  “I can’t remember where I met this person, but their services and web site look really interesting, and I want to connect.”
  • “I want to connect with this person on LinkedIn but I don’t think they’ll remember me.”
  •  “I don’t want to waste my time and theirs if our connection doesn’t go anywhere.”
  • “How can I become a better networker?” 

If you’re feeling stuck around how to handle your networking contacts, I invite you to try the sorting process I use. You can modify this system to make it work for you and your business or job search. The first thing you’ll need to do is to develop a sorting system. If your office drawer is full of business cards you have no idea how you came by, sorting will be very important to you. Sorting also allows you to hone in on the contacts that will benefit you the most, while weeding out those that you have less interest in pursuing.

When I go to a networking event and someone hands me a business card, I immediately hand-write on the back of the card the date I met this person, the function we met at, and something about the person that struck me. That way, whenever I look at the card I have a clear recollection of receiving it. When I get back to my desk, I sort the cards and contact information into several categories.

  •  Contact Sphere (also called Center of Influence): These are people to whom I can envision myself referring clients in the future, or people whose businesses might potentially generate clients for me. For example, I recently added a business evaluator to my contact sphere; he’ll be a great resource for my entrepreneurial clients. Another example: if you’re a chiropractor, your contact sphere might include massage therapists, personal injury lawyers, contractors, or officers in local trades unions.
  • Joint Venture: These are people with whom I can see myself potentially creating a joint venture; people whose services and values complement my own. They might be potential guests on the radio show, or help me with cross-promotion.
  • Friendly competition: These are people in the same field or similar fields to you, with whom you might be interested in connecting. If they’re willing, these people make good resources, and can lend an objective ear when you need one.
  • Potential Clients: These are people who have expressed interest in my services and/or who might potentially benefit from my services.

When you get back from a networking meeting, take the time to sort the cards you’ve acquired into these four categories (or the categories you’ve developed to suit your targets). You might create a separate binder or file for each list, or make a spreadsheet. Then, decide which contacts to prioritize, and which you’re less interested in cultivating or adding to your database. (I learned this the hard way and just put everyone in my database, years later I am still cleaning it up.) Then, you’ll be ready to move on to the next step, following up—which we’ll explore next week. Stay tuned.

WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE, BLOG OR WEBSITE? Please do, as long as you include this complete blurb with it: Dawn Quesnel, CPCC, PCC, known as Coach DQ, is a professional coach, radio show host and workshop leader. Through the use of her B.R.I.D.G.E. programs she helps marketing, advertising, and creative entrepreneurs navigate career or business transition while maintaining a healthy career-life balance. Her core belief that you can accomplish anything you set your mind to, consistently leads clients to uncover hidden resources and strengths. B.R.I.D.G.E. the gap and accelerate your career so you can love your life now! Visit or today or for more information email me.

January 5th, 2011


The other day, I was at a networking group meeting, and one of the officers asked me if I’d like to take on an ambassadorship. “You’ve got a great background in recruiting, and we could really use your help to generate new membership,” she said. “You’re exactly what we need.”
And she was right. I was a perfect fit for the job. But I didn’t want it, and I told her so.

The next day, the President of the group called me personally, to ask again if I’d take the ambassadorship. I told him no, too. “Thanks for the opportunity,” I said, “But it’s my time, and I need to spend it on other things right now.” Don’t get me wrong – my networking group is important to me. I value the relationships I’ve built there, and we really could use a boost in membership. But is it more important than my time with my daughter and husband? Or my time with my clients? Or the time I spend exercising and taking care of myself? Because hours in one of these areas would have to be sacrificed in order to make time for the ambassadorship—or, I could allot a very small number of hours to the networking group, do a half-assed job, and leave everyone dissatisfied. So as much as I would have liked to say yes, I had to say no.
I can’t tell you how many years it’s taken me to learn this lesson.

If you’re the type of person who likes to say yes, you are probably also the type of person who wakes up in the middle of the night, thinking, “How the heck am I going to get all of this done?”  “Why did I commit to doing this?” Time is one thing that we can’t make more of, and if yours is already scheduled to the hilt, you may be suffering from a serious case of over-performing.

Here’s a perfect example: One of my clients recently took a new job, in part because there was so much pressure at her old job. She took a pay cut in her new position, and was determined to find more balance. She’s a self-admitted perfectionist, and now, after only 90 days in the job, she’s coming close to the point of burnout. Turns out, she can’t do her best every day in the number of hours she’d scheduled for work, because she over committed to too many initiatives, so she’s pulling hours from home, family, and herself. The fact that she wants to do her best is commendable, but she’s back in the same position she was in at her last job, and working for a lot less money.

Why do we do this to ourselves? Call it self-competition. Once we’ve established ourselves as performers at a certain level, we believe we always need to perform at that level.  Worse, we feel that we need to continually get better, and do more. We never want to be at a level with the bar—even if we set the bar ourselves. What’s more, we don’t take time to revel in our achievements. Once we finish a project, rather than sitting back and basking in the warm glow of pride, we immediately move on to the next thing, and the bar is raised yet again. I know this because I did it for years and now it’s easy for me to recognize in my clients.

If you’re in search of balance, ask yourself a few questions. Listen carefully to the answers that arise. You might even make this a journaling exercise. (If you automatically replied, “I don’t have time for that!” ask yourself what could possibly be a more important use of your time than YOU.)

  • Why do you feel you need to say yes to every project that comes your way?
  • What do you feel that you’ll lose or jeopardize by saying no?
  • Who are you competing with?
  • What goal is being served by your over-achievement? Is there a light at the end of this tunnel?
  • Does having free time make you uncomfortable? Why?

Answer these five questions honestly, and the answers might change your life.
After offering my apologies to the president of my networking group, I hung up the phone with a smile. Any guilt I felt was immediately erased when I looked at the picture of my daughter I keep on my desk. She’s the biggest reason for balance in my life, and my best insurance against over-performing.
WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE, BLOG OR WEBSITE? Please do, as long as you include this complete blurb with it: Dawn Quesnel, CPCC, PCC, known as Coach DQ, is a professional coach, radio show host and workshop leader. Through the use of her B.R.I.D.G.E. programs she helps marketing, advertising, and creative entrepreneurs navigate career or business transition while maintaining a healthy career-life balance. Her core belief that you can accomplish anything you set your mind to, consistently leads clients to uncover hidden resources and strengths. B.R.I.D.G.E. the gap and accelerate your career so you can love your life now! Visit or today or for more information email me.

January 4th, 2011

Update!!!! BrainTalk Welcomes Ann Herrmann-Nehdi, CEO, Herrmann International, the company that originated the Whole Brain® Thinking approach with the development of the Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument® (HBDI®)

BrainTalk with Tara Crawford Roth, and Coach DQ will broadcast this interview live on Wednesday, January 5th at 12pm EST on (click link to set a reminder)

Based on extensive research on thinking and the brain, Whole Brain® Thinking solutions are used by nine out of ten of the Fortune 100 to help them achieve better results through better thinking. As CEO of Herrmann International, Ann seeks to apply the principles of Whole Brain® Thinking to her varied responsibilities: from day-to-day operations to sales to workshop design and presentations.

Ann Herrmann-Nehdi is an ISA (Instructional Systems Association) and Eureka Ranch board member, a member of the SmartBriefs on Workforce Advisory Board, an advisor to the American Creativity Association and Innovation Network, a founder of the Hickory Nut Gorge Community Foundation and serves on other non-profit and for-profit boards. In addition, she is a faculty member for the Institute of Management Studies.

A thought leader in her field, Ann has written for and been interviewed by a variety of media outlets, sharing her insights into how thinking styles impact productivity, creativity, problem solving and overall business results. With her Whole Brain® approach to presenting, she is an engaging and in-demand speaker, providing keynotes and educational sessions for Fortune 500 companies and industry associations around the world.

Ned Herrmann, founder of Herrmann International and the originator of Whole Brain Thinking first pioneered the study of the brain in the field of business while working as Manager of General Electric Corporation’s Management Education. Ned Herrmann wrote a widely acclaimed book, The Creative Brain, tracing the scientific and historical roots of his innovative “Whole Brain Thinking” approach. In 1995, McGraw Hill published Herrmann’s next groundbreaker: The Whole Brain Business Book, creating a new benchmark in the hot arena of mind research and its applications to business.

BrainTalk: “Building the BRIDGE between your business and your intuition”, is produced by (Left Brainer) Dawn Quesnel, CPCC, PCC (aka) Coach DQ, B.R.I.D.G.E. Coach, Radio Show Host, Producer, and Passionate Innovator and, (Right Brainer) Tara Crawford Roth, CEC, Intuitive, Business Coach, Mentor Coach Trainer and Founder of the New England Holistic Chamber of Commerce.

Looking forward to having you join our conversation and live chat with Ann Herrmann-Nehdi on BrainTalk, Live, January 5th, 2011 at 12pm EST click here to sign up for a free show reminder.

BrainTalk is an internet radio show to help you to “Build the BRIDGE between your business and your intuition”

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December 14th, 2010

Bad Hair Day?

“Gratefulness is the key to a happy life that we hold in our hands…if we are not grateful, then no matter how much we have we will not be happy – because we will always want to have something else or something more.” Brother David Steindl-Rast

I don’t know about you, but I feel like I have a lot to be thankful for this year.
Eight years after opening Career Life Balance, I finally have more balance more in my life. With the exception of a few bad hair days :)

This year, I finally had the opportunity to prove to myself that you can be a good mother, run a successful business, and keep a household afloat all at the same time. (Something we don’t give ourselves enough credit for it and that goes for both men & women! Thankfully my hubby and I make a great team!) I had to make some sacrifices in order to achieve this, but in the end, they didn’t feel like sacrifices at all.

I learned to have fewer balls in the air at once and am much better with flexing my No Muscle. Below are some more things I accomplished this year. I’m profoundly grateful that I have had the opportunity to make these things happen for myself, my clients, my business, and my family. I know that gratitude will stay with me throughout 2011.

DQ’s (partial) Gratitude List

I am grateful that I was able to…

• Connected with many old friends on Facebook – Many trips down memory lane 

• Get away with just me and Hubby
• Host Radio Show once per month verses once per week
• Launch “BrainTalk” Radio with Co-Host Tara Crawford Roth
• Serve on the Board of Directors for International Coach Federation – New England
• Hire a new assistant (Hooray!)
• Hire Video Editor & Business Coach
• Be a guest on Career, Money & Manifesting
• Guest Host Employment For All TV Show
• Take a grammar class
• Give LinkedIn Job Strategy Classes
• Teach many “Baby Boomers” how to use social media tools to land a position
• Learn from my amazing clients
• Conduct a very helpful Branding Assessment
• Go skiing with the girls
• Start work on our master garden
• Foster an 8 Year old boy  sad to see him go
• Do a women’s retreat
• Buy a new car
• Take 4 weeks vacation
• Help support the launch of several new client businesses
• Coach many into new jobs and careers
Help clients negotiate higher salaries/offers
• Contribute to three upcoming books, including 101 Ways to Enhance Your Career (published by
• Host a gluten-free Thanksgiving at my house
• And best of all… Finally closer to adopting our incredible daughter!

One of the best things you can do when you’re feeling stuck or stymied is to make a list of things you’re grateful for. Whether they’re things you own, things you’ve accomplished, relationships you’ve preserved (or ended), or emotional connections you’ve made, these accomplishments are the true measure of your efforts. Overachievers don’t get caught up in what you haven’t done: you have the rest of your life to meet those goals. Remember that you have created the ground you stand on—so stand tall and be proud! Do this exercise for yourself and share what you are grateful for. We love hearing from you, share your comments below!

Dawn Quesnel, CPCC, PCC, known as Coach DQ, is a professional coach, radio show host and workshop leader. Through the use of her B.R.I.D.G.E. programs she helps marketing, advertising, and creative entrepreneurs navigate career or business transition while maintaining a healthy career-life balance. Her core belief that you can accomplish anything you set your mind to, consistently leads clients to uncover hidden resources and strengths. B.R.I.D.G.E. the gap and accelerate your career so you can love your life now!


WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE, BLOG OR WEBSITE? Please do, as long as you include this complete blurb with it: Dawn Quesnel, CPCC, PCC, known as Coach DQ, is a professional coach, radio show host and workshop leader. Through the use of her B.R.I.D.G.E. programs she helps marketing, advertising, and creative entrepreneurs navigate career or business transition while maintaining a healthy career-life balance. Her core belief that you can accomplish anything you set your mind to, consistently leads clients to uncover hidden resources and strengths. B.R.I.D.G.E. the gap and accelerate your career so you can love your life now! Visit or today or for more information email me.

November 17th, 2010

New ICF study delivers high marks in satisfaction and advocacy


Ross Brown, +1.859.219.3570,
Ann Jarvis, +1.859.226.4428,
Kristin Kelly, +1.859.219.3530,
Amy W. Richardson, +1.859.219.3550

Professional coaching continues to satisfy consumers

New ICF study delivers high marks in satisfaction and advocacy

LEXINGTON, Ky., USA – An overwhelming majority of people who have experienced professional coaching are satisfied with their experience and would recommend coaching to others, according to a new study by the International Coach Federation (ICF).

The ICF Global Consumer Awareness Study found that 83 percent of respondents who had been involved in a coaching relationship were somewhat satisfied to very satisfied with their coaching experience. Advocacy of coaching among those respondents also ranked high, a mean score of 7.5 on a 10-point scale with 10 being “extremely likely” to recommend. Satisfaction and advocacy results are consistent with previous ICF research which found that coaching is seen as a positive experience by the vast majority of those who have been coached.

“Whether contemplating using coaching as a business strategy for these precarious times, or looking to achieve personally relevant goals, people will find encouragement in the results of the ICF Global Consumer Awareness Study which show that coaching is an overall satisfying experience,” said ICF President and Master Certified Coach Giovanna D’Alessio. “High satisfaction levels can be attributed to people experiencing meaningful accomplishments in areas they wish to improve and that is precisely what coaches are helping individuals and businesses do.”

According to the Global Consumer Awareness Study, professional coaching is being used to help people around the world improve work performance, expand career opportunities and increase self-esteem. More than two-fifths (42.6 percent) of respondents who had experienced coaching chose “optimize individual and/or team performance” as their motivation for being coached, followed by “expand professional career opportunities” at 38.8 percent and “improve business management strategies” at 36.1 percent.

Satisfaction levels can most likely be attributed to high returns on investment as well. In previous research the ICF found that coaching is generating a very good return on investment—a median return of seven times the initial investment for businesses, and nearly 3.44 times for individuals who use coaching (Results representative of survey respondent sample).

The ICF Global Consumer Awareness Study, which surveyed 15,000 participants ages 25 and up in 20 countries, was conducted independently by the International Survey Unit of PwC. Please contact the ICF or visit to learn more.

ICF defines coaching as partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential. Coaching is a distinct service and differs greatly from therapy, consulting, mentoring or training. Individuals who engage in a coaching relationship can expect to experience fresh perspectives on personal challenges and opportunities, enhanced thinking and decision-making skills, enhanced interpersonal effectiveness, and increased confidence in carrying out their chosen work and life roles.

The International Coach Federation is the leading global organization for coaches, with over 16,500 members in more than 100 countries, dedicated to advancing the coaching profession by setting high ethical standards, providing independent certification, and building a worldwide network of credentialed coaches. The ICF is the only organization that awards a global credential which is currently held by more than 6,800 coaches worldwide. For more information, please visit our website at
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November 15th, 2010

Are You Working from Assumption?

You remember the old adage: “When you Assume, you make an Ass out of U and Me!” Nothing could be truer, especially when it comes to planning your future. But although we know (in theory) that assumptions are dangerous, we don’t always recognize when we’re assuming.

Too many people today are working from a place of fear instead of fun, and from a place of apprehension instead of action, because they assume they know what will happen if they make a change.

 “If I leave my job, I’ll never find another one.” “If I start my own business in this economy, I’ll crash and burn in a year.” These aren’t facts: they’re assumptions. And we all know what happens when you assume.

Assumptions keep you stuck in apprehension, and “apprehension” is just a pretty word for fear—a way to dress the wolf in sheep’s clothing.  When our minds are constantly spitting out reasons why we can’t do this or that, we start to feel trapped, like a cat up a tree. Our “fight or flight” response is triggered, and our bodies react accordingly. For some, the constant stress of “I can’t” manifests as physical illness; for others, depression or anxiety. I’ve personally experienced this as an ever-present pit in my stomach, a black hole of trepidation that sucked all my energy down into it, until I could barely get out of bed in the morning.

If this sounds like you, please know that you’re not alone, nor do you have to go through it alone. You can do something about it. Of course, any physical or emotional symptoms should be treated by the appropriate medical professional—but if you’re pretty sure that that “cat up a tree” feeling is what’s bringing you down, action on your own behalf is the only cure.

One of my clients, who owns her own business, recently called me in a panic because she was afraid she wouldn’t have any work over the winter. Yes, her business is what you might call “seasonal”—but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t opportunities to be pursued. When I suggested some of these avenues to her, she balked. Her fear had its claws dug in so deeply that she didn’t realize there were any solutions to her problem. Her assumptions had taken control.

Think of your beautiful friend from high school, the one who always insisted she was ugly. No matter how many people told her it wasn’t true, she was terrified that it was. So she continued to operate from her (obviously incorrect) assumptions, and stayed miserable when she could have been happy.  

When you’re deeply involved with your assumptions, it’s almost like joining a cult. Suddenly, there is no room for outside opinions, suggestions, or influences. You know what’s what, and you don’t want to hear anything else. If you’re stuck in that place, try to crack the door a few inches. Allow for the possibility that your assumptions might not be correct. Do your research. Talk to people who’ve been there.  Make your decisions based on the facts, instead of letting fear step in and run the show.


Dawn Quesnel, CPCC, PCC, known as Coach DQ, is a professional coach, radio show host and workshop leader. Through the use of her B.R.I.D.G.E. programs she helps marketing, advertising, and creative entrepreneurs navigate career or business transition while maintaining a healthy career-life balance. Her core belief that you can accomplish anything you set your mind to, consistently leads clients to uncover hidden resources and strengths. B.R.I.D.G.E. the gap and accelerate your career so you can love your life now! Visit or today or for more information email me.

October 27th, 2010

Don’t Stubbornly Hold Onto It!

Often, our biggest obstacles to success are the things we hold on to—fears, insecurities, and ingrained behavioral patterns that no longer serve us. Inevitably, there comes a time when we have to let these things fall away; when we have to clear away the debris of the past to make way for new growth. After all, if the trees held on to last year’s leaves all winter, there would be no room on the branches for spring buds, and no beautiful foliage to celebrate come autumn.

In many ways, the key to progressing is learning to let go. When you relax your rigid preconceptions around your goals and dreams, new possibilities begin to unfold. When you stop scrutinizing every detail, the big picture comes into clear view. When you stop thinking about what might happen and focus on what is happening, fear melts like ice cream on an Indian summer day.

When it comes time for the maples and oaks to put on their brilliant fall coats, they don’t resist or complain. They don’t stubbornly hold onto their summer green because “I might never see a summer like that again.” They don’t shrug off all their leaves at once in a show of defeat. They flow with change, because change is part of life, and even the most challenging changes can yield beautiful results.

If you’re finding yourself resisting change in your life, ask yourself why. What are you afraid of? What good things about what you have right now are you reluctant to lose? Sometimes, we’d rather stay in a bad but familiar situation than strike off into an unknown place where we can’t predict what will happen—but if you’re doing that, ask yourself if you’re really content to stay where you are forever. Sooner or later, autumn comes, and you’ll have to shed your skin for something better and brighter. It’s not a question of if, but when. Will you flow into change like the trees, with grace and optimism, or will you be dragged kicking and screaming through your next metamorphosis?

Most of the people I work with are trying to be more like the trees. They’ve recognized the need to shift something (or several things) in their lives, but aren’t sure where to begin. Unlike trees and forest creatures, we can’t always rely on our instincts to direct us—but we also have the unique ability to shape our lives and create our dreams from nothing more than a vision and a plan.

Part of my job is to help people figure out how to create change in their lives, why they’re resistant to change, and if the decisions they’re making are coming from a place of security or fear. Just like the most brilliant foliage is a result of several independent factors (temperature, soil conditions, rainfall) coming together in harmony, positive change comes from the alignment of planning, vision, and good old fashioned hard work.

If you’re ready for change, and want to come into the next season with a new outlook and fresh, bare branches just waiting to bloom, it’s time to let your leaves fall! Let go of what no longer serves you. Silence your internal critics and commentators (or at least ignore them), and step into the life that’s waiting for you! The big question is what do you need to let go of? Email me your biggest obstacle.


WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE, BLOG OR WEBSITE? Please do, as long as you include this complete blurb with it: Dawn Quesnel, CPCC, PCC, known as Coach DQ, is a Professional Certified Coach, radio show host and workshop leader. Through the use of her B.R.I.D.G.E. programs she helps creative professionals and business owners navigate career or business transition while maintaining a healthy career-life balance. Her core belief that you can accomplish anything you set your mind to, consistently leads clients to uncover hidden resources and strengths. B.R.I.D.G.E. the gap and accelerate your career so you can love your life now! Visit or today or for more information click here or email me.

October 19th, 2010

The Missing Piece

When you find your ideal company culture, it can feel like you’re the “Missing Piece,” the element that’s needed to make the greater whole operate seamlessly. Conversely, your ideal company culture can fill in the pieces which are currently missing in your career.

In the last two articles, we’ve explored “A Week in My Life,” where you created a description of your ideal week; and “Cultural Consciousness,” where you identified your ideal company culture. Now, it’s time to discover where you fit into that culture, and use that information to seek out your ideal job/role.

Here are some questions to ask yourself in order to get a clearer picture of your ideal role. It can be helpful to have your description of your ideal company close to hand as a reference. Remember, all these questions should be answered within the framework of your ideal week and ideal company culture.

  • What is your job title and description?
  • What is your salary range? (Go for the gold, here. After all, this is your ideal world!)
  • What are you creating in your role? What types of problems are you solving on a day-to-day basis? What type of information are you working with? (If you have trouble answering this, look back over your career, and identify the projects/solutions/incentives that you’re most proud of, or which were most fulfilling to you. What role would provide you with those types of situations regularly?)
  • How many people do you answer to? How many people work directly for you (or as part of your team)?
  • How do you interact with your bosses, coworkers, or team members on a daily basis? Do you work mostly alone, or as part of a group?
  • Does your ideal job require frequent travel? To where, and for what?
  • What is your ideal work schedule? Flexible hours, weekends, nights?
  • In what ways does your ideal job align with your personal values, goals, and commitments? 
  • How do you feel that you can make a difference on a larger scale in your ideal role? What contributions will you be able to make in this role which will allow you to feel more fulfilled and productive?


As with the last two exercises, you might choose to make two lists: one for your ideal job, and the other for your not-so-ideal job. Become clear about what you want, and what you cannot or will not accept. When you have a strong vision about what’s right for you, you’re more likely to find it.

Sign up for my FREE BRIDGE E-COURSE.  DQ’s BRIDGE Process, proven to help you find your ideal job faster, is being featured in the soon to be released book “101 Ways to Enhance Your Career”


Dawn Quesnel, CPCC, PCC, known as Coach DQ, is a professional coach, radio show host and workshop leader. Through the use of her B.R.I.D.G.E. programs she helps marketing, advertising, and creative entrepreneurs navigate career or business transition while maintaining a healthy career-life balance. Her core belief that you can accomplish anything you set your mind to, consistently leads clients to uncover hidden resources and strengths. B.R.I.D.G.E. the gap and accelerate your career so you can love your life now! Visit or today or for more information email me.

October 13th, 2010

Cultural Consciousness

“Happiness is that state of consciousness which proceeds from achieving one’s values.” – Ayn Rand

Two weeks ago, we created “A Week in My Life”—a tangible description of your ideal week. Now, it’s time to delve deeper into your work experience during your ideal week: specifically, your experience in your ideal company culture.

Work culture is often discounted as a secondary factor in choosing a new job or career. But the social dynamics of a company can make even a mundane job great—or make even the most interesting job unbearable. In order to truly enjoy your job, you need to enjoy the culture.

If you’re like many people I’ve spoken with over the years, you find yourself falling into the same type of culture over and over again, in job after job, without really knowing why. No matter where you go, you end up working for the same micromanaging, manipulative, or absentee boss; or, conversely, you end up managing the same resentful, uncooperative, or scattered people. You want to make a move, but you’re afraid that the only difference between the new job and the old will be the color of your office walls.

The truth is, we attract certain types of people into our lives and careers based on our conscious and unconscious thoughts and processes. But if you take the time to become clear about what you really want, rather than simply falling into whatever comes your way, you’re more likely to avoid the trap of “same, same.”
Take 30 minutes or so this week to envision and flesh out your ideal company culture. Here are some points to consider:

  • In what industry does your ideal company operate? What types of product or service does it provide?
  • Where is your ideal company located?
  • What does the building/campus look like?
  • What is the layout of the office/production space? Do you have your own office? Work in an open space?
  • How big is your ideal company? Do you like having many diverse co-workers, or do you prefer to work with a smaller, select group of individuals?
  • What is your ideal boss like? In what ways does he or she support you? Consider a specific situation (perhaps one from your own recent experience): how would your ideal boss behave? Is your boss a mentor? Does he or she offer consistent guidance and support, or allow you to operate more autonomously?
  • If you’re considering a management or executive position, what are your employees like? What qualities do your team members possess which make them easy to work with? How do they support you in your role, and how do they allow you to support them in theirs?
  • What is the pace of your ideal business or office? Do you thrive under pressure, or do you like to take your time? How would your ideal company culture support your natural working pace?
  • What social, environmental, and financial goals are important to your ideal company culture? What causes does your company support?  

As with the first “Week in My Life” exercise, it’s just as important to know what you don’t want. You might choose to make a list based on the above criteria of what is unacceptable to you in your ideal company culture. For example, you might write, “I don’t want a boss who dates his secretary,” or, “I don’t want a boss who says she’ll give me a raise/a better position/flexible hours, then never follows through,” or, “I don’t want to manage unmotivated employees,” or even, “I don’t want to feel lost in a sea of desks.”
Once you’ve identified your ideal company culture, it’s a whole lot easier to see how you can fit comfortably into it. Next week, we’ll look at your role in your ideal company—in other words, we’ll narrow down your ideal job description!  It may sound like a lot of work, however, the amount of time you spend doing these exercises upfront will save you years of wasted energy and frustration which directly impacts your overall well being.  You only have one life.  Make it a great one!


DQ’s BRIDGE strategy and job search coaching services are designed to help you identify and zero in on your target company, salary range, location, and other vital factors. Like using a Rapla lure to catch a bass, you’ll know exactly what you’re fishing for before you’re ready to cast. When you’re prepared and focused, you’re more likely to capture the opportunities that are out there waiting for you.
Dawn Quesnel, CPCC, PCC, known as Coach DQ, is a professional coach, radio show host and workshop leader. Through the use of her B.R.I.D.G.E. programs she helps marketing, advertising, and creative entrepreneurs navigate career or business transition while maintaining a healthy career-life balance. Her core belief that you can accomplish anything you set your mind to, consistently leads clients to uncover hidden resources and strengths. B.R.I.D.G.E. the gap and accelerate your career so you can love your life now! Visit or today or for more information click here or email me.

October 6th, 2010

Client Case Study

What was the problem/situation which drew you to seek out Coach DQ’s services?

After two years in an advertising job that wasn’t going anywhere, I was in a rut unlike any rut I’d ever experienced. I was working with a client who wasn’t treating me well at all, and my boss had decided that not only should I suck up to the client, I should view this experience as a test to see if I was “happy” with the company.

Happiness. That was a big thing for my boss. He had an instinct for it, but not in a good way. The moment I started feeling unhappy, he’d hone in on it, and try to exploit it. Rather than managing my issues—like my problem with the client—he would insinuate that this might not be the right job for me anymore. This had the effect of compounding the frustration I was already feeling.

After a while, my rut became a valley. Instead of looking for a new job with a more supportive boss, I tried to combat my boss when he sniffed out my unhappiness. In the end, I ended up hurting myself more than I hurt him, and I found myself in need of some serious self-repair and outside perspective.

A good friend of mine suggested that I work with Dawn, because Dawn’s coaching had really helped her accept responsibility for the situation she’d been in, and move on. Coaching sounded like just what I needed.

What specific issues did you hope to address with your coaching sessions?
The first thing I wanted to concentrate on was rebuilding my self-esteem. My boss’s habit of making everything my fault had really done a number on my confidence and judgment. I’ve always known myself to be a positive, capable person, but I had allowed those qualities to erode. I knew it would be difficult to interview and secure a new job without self esteem intact.

Second, I wanted to define what I wanted to do with my life—or at least what I wanted to do next. I was feeling confused about marketing as a profession and felt overwhelmed by the notion of a “career” that would span the rest of my life. I was also fearful that I would land a new job, but wind up feeling unfulfilled again in another year or two. I’d held six marketing jobs in ten years, but I didn’t have a sense of purpose in my job choices. And, I was frustrated by the fact that although I spent a lot of time working—even to the point of sacrificing my own healthy creative outlets—I was still unsatisfied

Finally, I wanted to learn to set boundaries and establish ways in which I could deal effectively with difficult people—like my former client.

What was the best part of the coaching experience for you?
The best part of the coaching experience for me was that I no longer felt alone. I’ve always been encouraged and empowered by supportive friends and family to navigate life as I saw fit; I never thought I would “fail” at being happy. But the truth, for me, is that that empowerment can be overwhelming without tools and proper guidance. The structure of my weekly meetings with Dawn kept me accountable for what I was supposed to be thinking about, and gave me the thing that matters most to my success: time to reflect.

What was the most challenging part of the coaching experience for you?
The most challenging aspect of the process for me was to be disciplined about making time each week for the coaching. I was really great at it in the beginning, but after I landed my new job, I began to put a lot of pressure on myself to have some sort of “status update”—some progress on which to report. There were times when I would have a strong urge to cancel our call, because I hadn’t accomplished our objective from the week before. But Dawn reminded me that the process isn’t always linear, and that learning happens both during and outside of calls. I still worry that I’m not maximizing my time with her, but I now have a better understanding that my time with her is also time I give to myself to keep my life balanced and fulfilling—regardless of what I may or may not have accomplished. In many ways, I’ve discovered, taking this time for myself is an accomplishment!

Was the issue you originally intended to work on resolved through your coaching sessions?
Yes, my core issues were resolved through the coaching process. But more important even than the problems solved are the valuable skills and tools I learned—including the ability to clarify what I can and cannot control. These help me navigate the workplace in a healthier way. I know now how to consciously put myself in situations where I can succeed.

What was the outcome of your work with Coach DQ? Did it meet your expectations?
Here are what I perceive to be my key outcomes as a result of my work with Dawn:
• I’ve gained self-confidence. Dawn’s tactic of asking, “What evidence can you identify that leads you to that conclusion,” was a great reminder that sometimes my perception of a situation can not only be destructive to my self-esteem; it may not even be reality.
• I am less intimidated by the notion of a “career.” Now, I see a career as something in hindsight and retrospect. What’s more important is being aware of who I am today, and having a job I enjoy.
• I’ve learned not to take everything personally. On Dawn’s recommendation, I purchased Richard Carson’s book, Tame Your Gremlin. After reading it, I learned to differentiate between the Gremlin in my head, and my better judgment, which has helped tremendously.
• I realize that I need a professional mentor (not necessarily my boss) who can serve in the role of coach on an ongoing basis.
• I have a greater appreciation for the power of creative visualization. It’s one of the best ways to achieve what I want. Whether I use a vision board or meditation, the process is an anchor for me, especially for when life gets chaotic and confusing.
• I’ve landed a great job marketing the arts. It is at an appropriate level for my skills, and I am marketing something I’ve always loved. During the interview process, I was able to deliberately assess cultural and managerial fit.
• Finally, even though I love my job, I am acutely aware that it does not have to serve as the sole definition of who I am.

I am not quite done with my coaching experience, so I’m not sure what the remaining month will bring, but overall, I would absolutely recommend working with a career coach to anyone who is feeling a bit lost in the process. I am confident in my new skills, and would love to revisit this experience in a year or two, to see how these lessons progress for me over time.


DQ’s BRIDGE strategy and job search coaching services are designed to help you identify and zero in on your target company, salary range, location, and other vital factors. Like following a track in the woods, you’ll know exactly what you’re looking for before you’re ready to aim. When you’re prepared and focused, you’re more likely to capture the opportunities that are out there waiting for you.

They say that for every $10,000 in salary you’re asking for, you should add one month to your job search. But my BRIDGE for Job Search “hunting” strategy is proven to cut job search time by 50% or more.

Now that Fall is here, the hunting season is in full swing. Don’t miss out on your ideal job. Find out How it works, click here.

Dawn Quesnel, CPCC, PCC, known as Coach DQ, is a professional coach, radio show host and workshop leader. Through the use of her B.R.I.D.G.E. programs she helps marketing, advertising, creative professionals, and business owners navigate career or business transition while maintaining a healthy career-life balance. Her core belief that you can accomplish anything you set your mind to, consistently leads clients to uncover hidden resources and strengths. B.R.I.D.G.E. the gap and accelerate your career so you can love your life now! Visit or today or for more information click here or email me.

September 28th, 2010

Itching to Get Out of Your Job?

“Start With the End In Mind” ~ Coach DQ

If you’re like many of the people with whom I communicate on a daily basis, you want to make a move. You’re practically itching to get out of your job. But you’re worried about the economy, and the availability of positions in your field or salary range. Or, you cringe at the very thought of the job search or resume development process. Or, you’re worried about the fact that you’ll end up in the same unsatisfying situation in your new job, with the same unreasonable or manipulative boss and the same ill-fitting work culture.

Do not wait; the time will never be “just right.” Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along.” Napoleon Hill

Well, don’t despair. The economy is starting to rebound, and now is the time to start becoming clear about what you want from your new position. Do you want to make a lateral move to a company with a culture you admire? Do you want to advance to an executive or high-level position? Do you want to change careers, or start your own business?

Becoming clear about what you want and need from your job is also important to avoiding career déjà vu—when you wake up in a new job to find that your new boss is the same as your old boss, your stress level hasn’t gone down, and you’re dissatisfied with the same elements of your new job as the old. Often, our unconscious patterns lead us toward specific types of people and situations. But we can break that cycle through careful planning and creative visualization.

Remember that there’s a solution to every problem—you just have to find it. You’ll never get out of your rut if you don’t take action.

Today, and over the next few weeks, we’ll be looking at solutions to help you break out of your rut and start moving forward. If you’re unhappy with your current job but aren’t sure what to do about it, I invite you to create “An Ideal Week in My Life.”

An Ideal Week in My Life. I’m sure you’ve been asked at some point in your life to describe your ideal day. But an “ideal” day is hard to come by, even in imagination-land. Instead, I will request you to take 20-60 minutes to sit down with a pen and paper, and describe your ideal week. Here are some elements to consider when envisioning this ideal week in your life.

•Where are you living? Are you in your current home, or elsewhere?
•What is your schedule? Are you working 40 hours? More? Less?
•How long is your commute?
•What time do you wake up? What time do you get home from work?
•What is your job like? What field are you working in? (You can be pretty general in this area, since we’ll delve into more specifics next week.)
•What do your nights and weekend look like? What creative and social activities do you make time for?

Imagine that you are a character in a novel. What emotions do you feel in each situation in your ideal week? What goals are you pursuing? What things do you look forward to? Once you have everything down on paper, take a moment to close your eyes and summon the emotions you would feel during your ideal week. Since we attract what we think about, visualizing yourself in a space of contentment, joy, creative inspiration, and forward momentum can help you attract those things.

If you’re not sure what your ideal week looks like, start by making a list of the things your ideal week would NOT include. Maybe you’d write, “My boss would not engage in manipulative behavior,” or “I would not have to drive sixty miles each way to my job.” Knowing what you don’t want is just as important as knowing what you DO want!

If you still need help getting clear, take the time to Ideal Day Exercise, which can help you identify your strengths, goals, and common life themes. Next time, we’ll take a look at your ideal week’s ideal job, and delve into your ideal company culture. Stay tuned!

“It’s the job that’s never started that takes longest to finish.” – J.R.R. Tolkien (1892-1973) Writer


My BRIDGE strategy and job search coaching services are designed to help you identify and zero in on your target company, salary range, location, and other vital factors. Like following a track in the woods, you’ll know exactly what you’re looking for before you’re ready to aim. When you’re prepared and focused, you’re more likely to capture the opportunities that are out there waiting for you.

They say that for every $10,000 in salary you’re asking for, you should add one month to your job search. But my BRIDGE for Job Search “hunting” strategy is proven to cut job search time by 50% or more.

Now that summer’s over, the hunting season is in full swing. Don’t miss out on your ideal job.

WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE, BLOG OR WEBSITE? Please do, as long as you include this complete blurb with it: Dawn Quesnel, CPCC, PCC, known as Coach DQ, is a professional coach, radio show host and workshop leader. Through the use of her B.R.I.D.G.E. programs she helps creative professionals and business owners navigate career or business transition while maintaining a healthy career-life balance. Her core belief that you can accomplish anything you set your mind to, consistently leads clients to uncover hidden resources and strengths. B.R.I.D.G.E. the gap and accelerate your career so you can love your life now! Visit or today or for more information click here or email me.

September 22nd, 2010

What’s Your Point?

September is flying by so fast, or shall I say time is flying by so fast. Tomorrow my husband and I are celebrating our 10 year Wedding Anniversary! Over the years I’ve learned, (sometimes the hard way) how to best communicate my point and depending on the subject, I either need to provide a lot of details or bottom line it. You many notice some similarities and differences when speaking with your boss or significant other when talking about money for example or job satisfaction? Try this simple 5 step process and let me know how you make out.

Have you ever been engaged in a conversation for five or ten minutes, and realized that you still had no idea what was going on? Sometimes this is fun, but more often it’s frustrating for all parties involved.

In business and in life, effective communication is key. I believe and have witnessed how communication can be the root of all problems and solutions. We all process things differently. That’s why it’s
effective to plan important conversations, and start them with a thought summary. When you do this, you’ll see greater productivity and less confusion, and you’ll save time and headaches.

So, first things first: What stops us from being effective in conversation?

  • We don’t know what we want or need.
  • We don’t feel like putting in the energy to figure out what’s really required.
  • The person we have to speak with makes us nervous or uncomfortable, or  is too busy to give us his or her full attention.
  • It’s easier to let someone else solve the problem.
  • “They” always say no.
  • We want to be liked, so we start off with an overly friendly tone or a  funny story that leads the conversation off track.

The result of these factors (and others) is ineffective communication. But if you spend a few minutes planning your conversation—even jotting down notes on a piece of paper—you can reduce the influence of the above factors and therefore make your communication clearer and more effective.

Creating a Thought Summary:

The text below outlines the Thought Summary Process and provides both a personal and a work-related example for each step. The work example is generic. The personal example comes from a situation in my one of my client’s life.

 Step 1. Define your ultimate goal for the conversation.

  •  Work: I want to create an ongoing sales relationship with this client.
  •  Personal: I am having some renovations done on my house. Her ultimate goal is to have great new space that I love living in.

Step 2. Name one to three specific things that you would like to achieve through this conversation.

  • Sales relationship: Understand what the customer wants to get out of this conversation. Understand what’s really on the client’s mind. Understand what the client likes about me and my service.
  •  Personal: While my home was undergoing renovations, I was pretty frustrated with a contractor. The goals for one of my conversations with him were to let him know exactly how angry I was with him (so much so that it was impacting my ability to speak rationally to him at all); to let him know that I no longer trusted him but wanted to be able to do so again; to let him know that I really did appreciate his efforts and his work; and finally, to hear his side of the story, so we could work things out and accomplish my ultimate goal from Step 1.

Step 3. Figure out the best approach to use for this person.

  • Know your audience. We all communicate and process information differently.
  • Ask yourself what you know about the person with whom you will be speaking. Are they quiet, shy, straightforward, bossy, or self-important?
  • Is your relationship with them important to you, or can you dissolve it if certain issues can’t be rectified? Tailor your approach to their style and watch communications open up. Increasing our communications skills helps in all areas of our lives. Remember that communication involves not only words but also body language.

Based on your understanding of this person and the specifics you want to accomplish, make some notes about what your executive summary will sound like. For instance, for a shy customer, note that you will keep your voice low and body language quiet. For a boisterous person, practice holding your head up and shoulders down and back to be open to their great energy! The same holds true for someone that makes you nervous.

Step 4. Keep it simple! The simplest way to create an Executive Summary is to simply say it as it is, and go from there.

  • Begin the conversation by stating the reason you are standing there or calling, then list what you want to accomplish. Once you have done this, wait for a response or ask if this makes sense. If the answer is yes, then begin with the first point. Watch for responses and create a two way dialogue as part of your goal.
  •  Business relationship: “Hi Mary. It’s great to see you! I’m excited to speak with you about how I can help you. May I ask what you like to accomplish in our meeting today?” (Listen to answer and respond accordingly.) “In addition to what you wanted, I hope that I can get a better understanding of what things are really frustrating you and figure out how I and my company can help you.”
  • Personal: “John, we need to clear the air. In the last two weeks a number of things have happened that have been very frustrating to me and at this point, I don’t feel like I can trust you. I want to be able to be a reference for you and I greatly appreciate your level of craftsmanship, but we need to work on our communication. May I tell you what is bugging me so we can discuss things and get back on the same page?”

Step 5: Once the conversation is over, evaluate your success. As with any new skill set, it is good to step back and be honest with yourself about how things transpired. Some questions you might ask yourself include:

  • How did it go? Was it better or worse than I expected?
  •  Did I accomplish my specific objectives?
  •  Did I move closer to my ultimate goal?
  •  How, if at all, was the person’s response different from what I had expected or planned for?
  •  What do I want to change to improve things more the next time?

Above all, keep working at it! Changing how we relate to others is an ongoing process, and it takes time to learn to guide a conversation with a cool head.


September 16th, 2010

I am digitally distinct! Visit

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September 14th, 2010

Food Production for Business Owners

Last month I mentioned to you to save the date of September 15th. I was planning on doing a tele-class, however, one of my long time business coaching clients (6 years straight) has been selected to host a special VIP Event for clients and guests being put on by Don Froude, President of The Personal Advisor Group of Ameriprise Financial. My client asked me to attend the same time I was planning the tele-class. I am proud to share this accomplishment with him and will not be doing the tele-class. This is a unique opportunity for my client because the President has never done such an event. Plus, how could I say no to scallops wrapped in bacon, filet, baked stuffed shrimp, and warm chocolate lava cake with vanilla bean sauce. :)

Sort of continuing with theme of food, please enjoy this week’s article titled: “Food Production for Business Owners

In last week’s article, I compared two different types of job search strategies to hunting and farming. These two approaches can also be applied to business marketing and client search techniques. The main difference here is that, when you’re a business owner, you want to be both a hunter and a farmer-not one or the other.

A farmer takes the time to cultivate relationships in many areas, carefully nurturing vital connections, weeding out unhelpful associations. These connections can, in time, bear fruit—sometimes in the most unlikely places, like a blueberry bush growing out of the pile of weeds by the stone wall. But for all his hard work, the farmer waits for results to come to him. They appear gradually, and not always in the shape he anticipated.

On the other hand, the hunter goes out and gets what she wants. Usually, she’s looking for a specific type of client—the “ideal” client I’ve talked about in past articles. She has a narrow focus, and doesn’t waste her time tracking game that isn’t on her list. In other words, she’s not throwing spaghetti against the wall to see what sticks (for those of you who know, I still hate that expression, but it fits here!) Another way to say it is that the hunter is seeking out a niche, while the farmer is covering a broader spectrum of possibilities.

As a business owner, you don’t want to waste time cultivating prospects that go nowhere. Nor do you want to become so targeted in your niche that you back yourself into a corner. For example: if you started a business selling Beanie Babies in the mid-1990s, fantastic! You were probably getting world-class returns for your hunting skills. But if you were still stuck trying to sell Beanie Babies once they went extinct five or so years later, you were probably wishing you’d planted some other seeds along the way.

What’s the point of all this? If you’re not turning away clients at the door these days, it might be worth the time to look at how you’re getting your business. Are you a farmer or a hunter? Are your services broad-based or do you cater to a tight niche market? What can you do to bring a little more balance to your marketing strategies?
If you’re in the market for a new method of “food production,” give me a call. I can help you develop an outreach strategy that provides immediate returns and room for growth. It’s all in the BRIDGE! Don’t just take my word for it, see what my clients are saying.

WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE, BLOG OR WEBSITE? Please do, as long as you include this complete blurb with it: Dawn Quesnel, CPCC, PCC, known as Coach DQ, is a professional coach, radio show host and workshop leader. Through the use of her B.R.I.D.G.E. programs she helps creative professionals and business owners navigate career or business transition while maintaining a healthy career-life balance. Her core belief that you can accomplish anything you set your mind to, consistently leads clients to uncover hidden resources and strengths. B.R.I.D.G.E. the gap and accelerate your career so you can love your life now! Visit or today or for more information click here or email me.

September 7th, 2010

On the Hunt

The other day, I had a conversation with a former client from the recruiting world. We were discussing the most effective way to target prospective employers in this brave new job world. I debated that my BRIDGE strategy—to Become clear, Research, and Identify potential employers (your targets) Develop your contacts, Get a Game Plan, Execute and Evaluate the Game Plan—is more effective, while he debated that his strategy, which was to go through every single one of his contacts on LinkedIn and see what came up, was the one which produced results.

I was intrigued. I wondered if there are more people than my former client who think this way. In my mind, his strategy was that of a farmer: he planted many seeds in many areas of his professional network, and waited to see what grew for him. I, on the other hand, am a hunter, and I encourage my clients to utilize a “hunting” strategy when they begin the job search process.

Usually, a farmer plants more than one type of crop. He nurtures his seeds patiently, pulling weeds where necessary. Sometimes, what pops up surprises him, and sometimes it fails to grow at all.
A hunter, on the other hand, goes out into the wilderness knowing exactly what she is looking for. She stakes out her ground, carefully positioning herself in the right place to hit her target, and waits. When the moment comes, she’s there, ready to jump on the opportunity. Of course, sometimes the quarry gets away, but more often than not, the hunter comes home with what she went looking for.

So, are you a hunter or a farmer?
Don’t get me wrong, there’s validity to the farming approach in a job search. You’re nurturing relationships, growing connections. You might also be cultivating several options at one time, so that if Plan A doesn’t work out, you can fall back on Plan B, C, or D. But this approach is also time-consuming, and if you’re living on a severance package (or unemployment), time may not be on your side. That’s when it’s time to go on the hunt.

My BRIDGE strategy and job search coaching services are designed to help you identify and zero in on your target company, salary range, location, and other vital factors. Like following a track in the woods, you’ll know exactly what you’re looking for before you’re ready to aim. When you’re prepared and focused, you’re more likely to capture the opportunities that are out there waiting for you.

They say that for every $10,000 in salary you’re asking for, you should add one month to your job search. But my BRIDGE for Job Search “hunting” strategy is proven to cut job search time by 50% or more.
Now that summer’s over, the hunting season is in full swing. Don’t miss out on your prize job.

WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE, BLOG OR WEBSITE? Please do, as long as you include this complete blurb with it: Dawn Quesnel, CPCC, PCC, known as Coach DQ, is a professional coach, radio show host and workshop leader. Through the use of her B.R.I.D.G.E. programs she helps creative professionals and business owners navigate career or business transition while maintaining a healthy career-life balance. Her core belief that you can accomplish anything you set your mind to, consistently leads clients to uncover hidden resources and strengths. B.R.I.D.G.E. the gap and accelerate your career so you can love your life now! Visit or today or for more information click here or email me.


August 25th, 2010

Is Your Resume SEO Compliant?

Those of you who’ve taken my BRIDGE tele-class or followed my BRIDGE strategy for Job Search, you already know that when you’re clear about the role you’re after, it takes less time and effort to land your ideal position.

I’ve heard it said many times that when you’re applying for jobs on-line and you send your resume, it may as well have been sucked into a black hole. With the increasing intelligence of search engines, company web site databases, and online applications, it’s easier than ever to get lost if you’re not on top of the latest web strategies. First on the list: make sure your resume is SEO-Compliant (Search Engine Optimization).

The “B” in my BRIDGE for Job Search Strategies method stands for “Become Clear.” As a Coach, part of my job is to help my clients with this first, deceivingly complex step. What do you want your career to look like? What do you want your life to look like when you’re in this career? Where and for whom do you want to work? 

When a client has trouble with this step or if “B” is too heavy for you to handle right now, we move to “R”—Research. We Research together to “I”—Identify—your skill set, likes, interests, motivators, values, unique attributes, target titles, target companies, and target key words. While we’re doing this, we’re also “D”—Developing— your resume, your career positioning, new contacts and “G” Getting a game plan, while “E”—Executing and Evaluating—on these strategies to help you reach your ideal position faster. This takes us back to “B”—Become Clear—at which point, you’re ready to progress to the next level.

As you Research and Identify, you’re not only creating a list of your skills and values; you’re creating a list of key words and phrases. These can be very helpful when creating an SEO-Compliant resume, since they are likely also the words and phrases which will be searched by hiring managers.  You can then use these key words when researching on LinkedIn and other online resources to Research and Identify your ideal target employer.

We have too many high-sounding words, and too few actions that correspond with them.” – Abigail Adams

Here’s how you can use SEO and key words to optimize your resume using LinkedIn.

Let’s say you are targeting a position on the client side as a Director of Marketing in the computer software industry.  Go to, and in the upper right-hand part of the screen, click “Advanced” which is just to the right of the Search box for “People“.  This will take you to the screen below:

  LinkedIn Director of Marketing Key Word Search

In the Keyword box, type the title you are targeting (for this example, Director of Marketing). Note:  You are typing Director of Marketing in the Keyword field not the Title field.  Next, for Location, select “Located in or near” and then enter your Zip Code.  Next check off under Industries, Computer Software, and click Search at the bottom.  

Drill down on some of the profiles that come up in the search, and take note of the titles, the companies and the key words used to describe the position held in each profile – keeping in mind that some Profiles contain much more information than others.  Use these key words and phrases to refine your target search, and then look at the LinkedIn Profiles of your potential competitors – then look at your resume.  Is it compliant relative to the types of positions you’re targeting? 

As you’re reading job descriptions do you notice some of the same key words?  Are those key words present on your resume? It’s as simple as that!  Use these words and phrases and get your resume SEO-Compliant! What most people don’t realize is the biggest value you get from LinkedIn and other job boards is the information you can obtain with simple Research. 

As the saying goes, people don’t plan to fail, they fail to plan.   Brian Tracy, in a recent interview said…”You can’t hit a target you can’t see… and more people spend more time planning a picnic than they spend planning their careers.”

Start planning your career today by taking advantage of my no-obligation complimentary coaching consult. 

WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE, BLOG OR WEBSITE? Please do, as long as you include this complete blurb with it: Dawn Quesnel, CPCC, PCC, known as Coach DQ, is a professional coach, radio show host and workshop leader. Through the use of her B.R.I.D.G.E. programs she helps creative professionals and business owners navigate career or business transition while maintaining a healthy career-life balance. Her core belief that you can accomplish anything you set your mind to, consistently leads clients to uncover hidden resources and strengths. B.R.I.D.G.E. the gap and accelerate your career so you can love your life now! Visit or today or for more information click here or email me.

Need help with your resume?  Enter your name by September 7, 2010 by e-mailing me at win a free resume strategy coaching session! (Valued at $350)

August 18th, 2010

Job Vs. Mission?

Too often there’s a big gap between what you do for a living and what you do because it’s fun or feeds your soul. It’s not your fault really. When you think about it, the stage was set way back in elementary school, where you spent most of your time sitting in a classroom looking forward to recess. Class was work, and recess was fun.

But if you were lucky, you had a teacher who was fun and engaging. Someone who put your desks in a circle instead of boring rows or had you doing science experiments that involved flames and smoldering potions. You probably forgot all about recess with that teacher. Your “work” suddenly became a whole lot more interesting.

  • Do you spend your grown-up days watching the clock for the moment you can get outta Dodge and head for home and hobbies?
  • Do you enjoy your work on a superficial level – but it doesn’t speak to your deepest dreams and values?
  • Maybe you feel like you’re leading a double life – that who you have to be at work is a totally different person than the one you are at home?

Whatever the case, if you’re splitting your focus, you’re splitting your energy and diluting gratification. Is there a deep-seated sense of purpose drawing you toward certain “recess” activities? Another word for this is missiona calling to do things that speak to your core values and goals?

Maybe your mission pulls you to create art, work with charities, tutor neighborhood kids, or create beautiful landscaping in your own backyard. You’ll know when a task is tied to your mission because of the strong emotions it stirs, calling you to be and do something bigger with your life.

The good news is that you are living in a time when more and more people are recognizing the truth that, it really is possible to live your life mission. The question then becomes, how exactly do you meld your job and your mission?

Getting there requires a shift out of the old pattern that was ingrained during elementary school. Facilitating just this kind of shift is a fundamental aspect of the coaching process.

Save this date on your calendar now, September 15th, 2010. I’ll have more details for you soon, but I can tell you this now: I think you’ll be surprised at just how easily you can learn to bring that “recess” feeling to your work desk!


August 11th, 2010

8 Resources To Help You Build Your Network

I talk a lot about using social media to expand your network, look for a new job, or promote and grow your business. But how do you know which sites to use?

Which sites you choose depends entirely on what you want to achieve. Helping you figure out what you want to achieve is part of what working with a coach is all about. If you’re looking for a new job, Twitter has some great job boards, and you can get real-time updates of new listings, learn more about the companies you are target and if it’s networking you’re after, LinkedIn—and, to a lesser degree, Facebook—allow you to connect with other professionals.

There are other, less well-known social networking sites that have a lot to offer job seekers, entrepreneurs, and networkers. Here’s a partial list of business-related social networking sites you might find helpful:

AdvisorGarage—An online directory of advisers willing to assist budding entrepreneurs.

ConnectBeam—Social networking specially designed for corporate users.

Doostang – An invite-only career community for professionals.

Fast Pitch—A growing business networking community in the corporate world. It provides users with a one-stop shop network to market their business.—A site for professionals in content or creative industries.—A site for establishing new connections and growing networks. Connections for jobs, building career and making sales.

Blitztime—Speed networking platform where you can network in your PJ’s. Check out their free demo to learn more.

XING—A directory of business contacts powering relationships between business professionals.

Everything is easier when you have the right tools and you know how to maximize them. Integrating social media into your job search or business networking strategy is a great way to open new doors, stay on top of the trends and grow your network. “Opportunity rarely knocks at your door. Knock rather on opportunity’s door if you ardently wish to enter.” – B.C. Forbes

Check out some of the sites above, see who’s online, and shop around until you find the site (or sites) that are best for you. You never know who you’ll meet (or Tweet)! Follow me on twitter at

Are you overwhelmed with all the resources available and you just don’t know where to start?  Contact me for a complimentary coaching consult.

WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE, BLOG OR WEBSITE? Please do, as long as you include this complete blurb with it: Dawn Quesnel, CPCC, PCC, known as Coach DQ, is a professional coach, radio show host and workshop leader. Through the use of her B.R.I.D.G.E. programs she helps creative professionals and business owners navigate career or business transition while maintaining a healthy career-life balance. Her core belief that you can accomplish anything you set your mind to, consistently leads clients to uncover hidden resources and strengths. If you are ready to B.R.I.D.G.E. the gap between you and a life you love then visit or today.

Do you have a website or resource you want to share? We welcome your comments, suggestions and feedback below.

July 25th, 2010

Are You Lowering Your Standards?

In these uncertain economic times, the perception is that there’s no room to negotiate. “I’m lucky even to have landed a job,” or “I’m afraid to ask for more, the company is on tight budget and I don’t want to piss them of,” or “I’m already at the top of the range for the position”…..these are only some of the things I hear people say when negotiating an offer and bottom line they hesitate to ask.

There is a major misconception. Very rarely will an employer flat-out refuse to work with you. You don’t have to take a ridiculous pay cut just to be employed. Even now, with cutbacks and budget-crunching rampant, employers are still willing to negotiate with candidates whom are qualified and are the right culture fit for the company.

I have two clients who just completed my private VIP three month BRIDGE Program to help you cut your job search by half and both clients landed their ideal jobs,—but the initial salary wasn’t what either of them had hoped for. When they realized that they didn’t need to lower their standards just to have a job. We worked together to help them negotiate a better offer. Coincidentally, both were able to negotiate $5,000 more per year, plus some additional perks.

We looked at things that were little cost to the company, no cost to the company, salary, and bonus structures, then role played possible scenarios, strategized for rebuttals, and helped them prepared them for the next step.

When you assert your value, employers recognize it. And even if there really isn’t room in the budget for a bigger salary, it doesn’t hurt to ask. After all, you aren’t privy (yet) to the inner workings of the company: you only know what you’re worth.

Losing a game is heartbreaking. Losing your sense of excellence or worth is a tragedy.” – Joe Paterno, Contemporary American College Football Coach

WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE, BLOG OR WEBSITE? Please do, as long as you include this complete blurb with it: Dawn Quesnel, CPCC, PCC, known as Coach DQ, is a professional coach, radio show host and workshop leader. Through the use of her B.R.I.D.G.E. programs she helps creative professionals and business owners navigate career or business transition while maintaining a healthy career-life balance. Her core belief that you can accomplish anything you set your mind to, consistently leads clients to uncover hidden resources and strengths. If you are ready to B.R.I.D.G.E. the gap between you and a life you love then visit or today.


July 21st, 2010

The Career Balance Wheel: work/life balance 2.0

I am so excited about this week’s article and the launch of my new tool – The Career Balance Wheel was inspired by my clients. It is truly satisfying and I thank all of you! This week a few special clients who just completed the 3 month BRIDGE Program, and I might add, negotiated the salary they deserve and landed their dream jobs! An Executive Director and a Director of Marketing.

Also, a big CONGRATULATIONS TO my long time client ELAN, who just completed the Nautica New York Triathlon in 2:46:09.

“At various points in your careers, you will be called to take a risk. And I think you will find, as I have found, those will be the times of your greatest opportunities.” Raymond V. Gilmartin, American Business Executive

Make it a great one!

Coach DQ

I am curious what word is missing for you in the last slice of the Career Balance Wheel. Enjoy!

One of the things I do is to help people who are in transition: moving from employment to self-employment, from one place of employment to another, or from one role to another within their current company.

Often, we realize we need change, but aren’t sure what change will serve us best. We feel restless in our role (I like the word “role” versus the word “job” because honestly I hate the word job.  It doesn’t really have a positive feel to it when referring to one’s career, especially in these times.  One of my practices is to help clients change their words so they can change their life.  However this isn’t the point of the article.  I digress.

Over the years, I’ve found several common themes among my clients who felt restless or stifled in their professional roles. My new tool, the Career Balance Wheel, encompasses these themes to help you see what areas of your professional life may be unfulfilled.   And keep in mind, much like a healthy romantic relationship, you realize that not everything you need is going to come from one place – and that’s ok.  Be creative in how you achieve balance both inside and outside your workplace.

I’m pleased to say that the Career Balance Wheel was inspired all of my clients, in the last 6 months, not to mention a few client’ who, after having been laid off three months ago, landed their dream job! When looking for a new position the Career Balance Wheel helped them discover what areas of their professional life were important to them, and which were lacking. Armed with this knowledge, they were able to look for a position which supported their personal balance. Also, recognizing that not all of their needs would be fulfilled by this position helped her take a more reasoned and flexible approach to the job search.

But don’t take my word for it! Look at the chart below, and see what mapping your career balance inspires you to do today!

Career Balance Wheel

To use this tool: Rank each area in the pie chart on a scale from 1 to 10—10 being absolute fulfillment, 1 being a complete absence of this quality. I encourage you to change the Values headings if you feel they do not apply to your current situation. I’ve also left one space blank, so you can insert a tenth important value which is unique to you and please post it below.

Here are a few examples of how the Career Balance Wheel can help you implement greater balance and fulfillment into your current professional life.

  • Problem: You don’t have a mentor you can turn to. Many of us expect our boss to be a mentor, and while this is certainly convenient, it’s not always reasonable to expect.  Solution: try to find a helpful, knowledgeable person outside your company (or even outside your department) to turn to when you’re not sure how to continue to grow. This also takes pressure off your boss, and might improve your relationship.
  • Problem: Lack of intellectual stimulation. Sometimes we get stagnated in a role, coming to the point where there’s nothing more for us to learn. Solution:  If you’re not advancing in your position at the moment, that doesn’t mean your brain should be put on the back burner. Cultivate other interests (even non-work-related ones) in order to keep your mental skills sharp until an opportunity comes along.  Take classes, express new interests, and talk to people with interesting jobs outside your current sphere.

Remember, no one job, relationship, or career can give you everything you need. There’s nothing wrong with looking outside your workplace for balance. Remember, you create your life, and the things you need will come to you if you allow them. Just be open to balance, and let the magic happen!

WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE, BLOG OR WEBSITE? Please do, as long as you include this complete blurb with it: Dawn Quesnel, CPCC, PCC, known as Coach DQ, is a professional coach, radio show host and workshop leader. Through the use of her B.R.I.D.G.E. programs she helps creative professionals and business owners navigate career or business transition while maintaining a healthy career-life balance. Her core belief that you can accomplish anything you set your mind to, consistently leads clients to uncover hidden resources and strengths. If you are ready to B.R.I.D.G.E. the gap between you and a life you love then visit or today.


July 14th, 2010

Narrow Your Focus, Expand Your Business!

8 years ago this month I left my job as an Executive Recruiter placing Sales, Marketing and Advertising professionals, went back to University and enrolled in one of the top coaching institutes in the world and started my own business! 

8 Years in Business!  Does time fly when you’re having fun!  I’ve learned a lot and certainly have a lot more to learn, however, one important lesson I’ve learned was to narrow my focus – and the results have helped to expand my business.  The topic of this week’s article is “Narrow Your Focus, Expand Your Business!”  It’s true; there are riches in the niches! 

In fact, one of my clients who recently claimed his niche, reported a 67% increase in revenue over last year and the year is just half over!  We worked together using my BRIDGE Method.  I do that because it works.  I’m so confident that I’m using it again for myself as I continue the transition and expansion of my own coaching & consulting business.  

I’ve done a lot of thinking about my specialties, and exactly the type of clients I think will be best served by my unique skill set. Implementing the first step of the BRIDGE Method, “Become Clear,” I was able to determine that my ideal clients are self-motivated college grads or MBA’s who have a history in marketing, advertising, or design fields; who are creative and expressive; and who just need a leg up to get to the next level in their job search or business development plan. Now this isn’t to say that I’ll only work with people who have these qualifications, but clients who possess one or more of these qualities tend to benefit most from my services – because my particular expertise lends itself to their development.

Once I’d really gotten clear on who I want to work with, I started working on the next steps: “Research, and Identify Target Markets.” I found that, armed with a clear picture of my ideal client, I was able to effectively reach out to people who were actively looking for my services, rather than just casting my line out into the Internet void.  While on Twitter the other day I happened to glance at the profile of someone who was following my Tweets. He’s a marketing and web development professional with a Master’s degree, a musician, a DJ, and a foodie, who’s interested in starting his own business but needs a little help getting clear on the particulars. Behold the power of targeted thinking!

At first it may seem that by targeting a niche market or taking the time to really identify your ideal client, employer, or employee, you’re limiting your options. But the truth is you’re doing exactly the opposite. Instead of spending time and resources on projects which don’t utilize your full skill set, you can now step confidently into the spotlight and say, “I really am the BEST person for this job/client, because this job/client is the best one for me.”

This clarity is the biggest gift of my BRIDGE Method. When you know exactly what you want, you don’t need to waste time in a Method of elimination. When you know exactly who or what will be best served by your unique skills, you don’t need to spend your energy on tasks that don’t light your fire. When you know where you want to be, you can forge a path to get there, instead of wandering around lost in the woods.

I offer regular tele-classes using the BRIDGE format, as well as one-on-one coaching sessions which delve even deeper into the BRIDGE Method to help you get clear, get ready, and get going! Remember, first-time clients receive a FREE consultation session!


June 23rd, 2010

Struggling with Self-Fulfillment?

When working with job seekers and business owners I often suggest they develop case studies. For job seekers it’s a good exercise to help them prepare their resume as well as for the interview. I recommend preparing 3 to 5 case studies using the following structure.

Step 1 – Describe the problem or situation in 5 sentences or less.
Give examples of how you saved money or time, made a process more efficient, or increased revenues.

Step 2 - Describe your process and/or how you solved the problem or issue. No more than 2 paragraphs.

Step 3 – State the result or outcome.

For business owners, use the same formula above. It’s a way to showcase the types of clients you’ve helped, can be used as a sell sheet, can enhance your website, or be used as an article. Click to see a sample here. Facts tell and stories sell!

In this week’s article I am taking my own advice and sharing with you one of my case studies. There are many misconceptions and preconceived notions of what it is really like working with a coach. Clients hire me for many different reasons; to make more money, career/job change, start their own business, and of course career life balance – however, their goals are always the same. They want results and I take pride in teaming up with them to get the results they’re after. My practice is about 50% male and 50% female, and I like it that way. I choose the clients I want to work with which is why I offer a complimentary consult. Here is one case in point.

Susan came to coaching because she was frustrated with her job and felt unfulfilled in her life. She had been working in the same company for five years, and saw no opportunities for future growth. The company politics drained her, and by the end of the day she had little energy left to share with her two young children.

Susan knew she wanted to make a change in her career. Feeling stuck, but driven to find a solution, she contacted Coach DQ—Dawn Quesnel, PCC (Professional Certified Coach)—who specializes in coaching sales, marketing and advertising professionals, and creative entrepreneurs whose techniques blend holistic life coaching and career coaching in a practice she calls Career Life Balance. In her first session with Coach DQ, Susan said, “I struggle with self-fulfillment, and worry that I’m not being a good mother and wife. I feel that I didn’t realize my earliest dreams, or didn’t try hard enough to realize them.”

Coach DQ replied: “Your career affects your life, and your life affects your career. Finding a balance isn’t always easy, and you can make the choice to make balance a priority. All you have to do is believe balance is possible. You absolutely can go after your dreams while being more present for your family. You only have one life, so why not make it a great one?”

When she started working with Coach DQ, Susan filled out a coaching questionnaire. Here are a few of the questions, and Susan’s answers.

1. What accomplishments or measurable events must occur in your lifetime in order for you to consider your life satisfying and well-lived? Have enough money to live comfortably with my family, have money for retirement, perhaps kids education.

2. Do you have a secret passion in your life, something which is almost too exciting to actually do, or do more of? Work in the movie/tv industry

3. What tips would you give your coach about how to manage you most effectively? Check up on me regularly, give me assignments

4. What’s missing in your life, the presence of which would make your life more fulfilling? Calmness, no stress, a sense of satisfaction in a job well done, knowing I am doing the best that I can, and being told that on a consistent basis.

5. Please describe your life purpose. How does it impact your day-to-day living? How do you know it’s the right path for you? I would say my life purpose right now is to make sure I am being a good mother first, wife second, and good to myself last. It impacts my day to day by having enough time and energy to give myself to my family in the way I feel it would benefit us as a whole and individually. It is the right one for me because having children is a big responsibility and it’s the most important part of my being at this time.

6. What do you want to make sure you get from the coaching relationship? Direction, options, new ideas and thoughts that I wouldn’t think of myself from lack of experience, support and dedication, loyalty.

7. What two steps could you take immediately that would make the greatest difference in your current work and life situation? Get a new job that pays better. Spend more time with my family.

Coach DQ suggested exercises to help Susan get clear on what her she wanted from her “dream job,” and how she wanted her life to be. Together, they developed specific goals and timelines, including a job search strategy plan to help Susan land her dream job. Then they looked at the obstacles—including her limiting beliefs—and developed structures to help her manage that inner saboteur who repeatedly told her, “You didn’t try hard enough.”

Working with her coach, Susan cultivated new habits and thought patterns, and learned how to use her time more effectively. Soon, she built up the courage to approach her current boss about working from home a few days a week, so she’d have more time to spend with her family.

After just six months of working with Coach DQ, Susan landed her ideal job in the film industry. She sold her house, and moved north to be closer to her family. She now has a shorter commute, makes more money, and has more time to spend with her children. By getting clear on what she wanted from her job and her life, and by using the focused techniques provided by Coach DQ, Susan was able to manifest her ideal situation and fulfill her personal and professional goals.

“The shoe that fits one person pinches another; there is no recipe for living that suits all cases.” – Carl Jung


June 15th, 2010

Are you thinking too hard?

Science is just beginning to scratch the surface of the real power of our brains. In the last few months, I have become more fascinated with the human brain. What I’ve learned about brain function, brain types, neurological patterns, and thought patterns, from David Rock, has not only changed the way I think about my own mind, it’s changed my approach to coaching.

DQ and David Rock author of “Your Brain At Work”
DQ and David Rock

This new understanding is opening doorways left and right, and it’s benefiting not only my business as a whole, but each one of my clients.

One of the themes we’ve been discussing on BrainTalk is how to build a bridge between business and your intuition using both halves of our brains: the left brain, and the right brain. The left brain controls all of our conscious thoughts, analyses, and learned patterns. According to some analysts, it’s the “rational” side of the brain. It’s also where those pesky ANTs (Automatic Negative Thoughts) are generated.

On the other hand, the right side of the brain is creative, intuitive, and uninhibited. This is where our “gut feelings” come from, and the quiet voice we often call our “sixth sense” or your little brain. Click here for more science on this topic and learn what Freud never told us about.

The right brain is able to tap into the depths of the subconscious, where deep intuitive wisdom comes from. Your right brain, when properly accessed, can be your greatest asset, because it speaks from your truest self, rather than from your conditioned, fearful, restricted self. Often, when we want to make a change, we start by thinking really hard about it. We apply all of that left-brain reasoning power to the problem, hoping to find a solution that’s both comfortable and logical. But because our left brain is conditioned to think in predictable patterns, we don’t always find the answers we’re looking for. If you’re feeling stuck in a job, or if your attempts to create change are being swallowed up by legions of ANTs, you might be thinking too hard.

When you stop devoting all of your left-brain thought energy to a problem, you create a little more internal quiet. When this happens, the softer voice of the right brain can start to make itself heard. By turning the attention of the left brain elsewhere, you might find yourself suddenly realizing solutions you never considered. Practicing yoga, meditation, Tai Chi, or other breath-centric exercises; taking a long walk; engaging in a favorite creative pursuit; or simply sitting quietly for five to ten minutes are all great ways to temporarily turn off your left brain.

Want to learn more about using the power of your brain to help you create a successful, balanced life? Check out Dr. Daniel G. Amen’s books, “Change Your Brain, Change Your Life”, and “Change Your Brain, Change Your Body”. (

While my newfound fascination with and knowledge of the brain is taking my coaching skills to the next level, I’m maintaining my focus – (with marketing, advertising, and creative entrepreneurs) and continuing to help my clients in their career transitions, job searches, and entrepreneurial ventures. I feel as though my knowledge and experience are really coming together to help me better serve my clients. Or maybe I’m just learning to unify both sides of my brain!


June 8th, 2010

Six Signs Your Self-Care Has Been Put on the Back Burner

Good self-care practices are truly necessary to help you be at your best in both your personal and professional lives. Taking time out to relax and do something that’s healing for you can recharge your body and reset your mind, cleansing them from built-up tension and anxiety and making room for new, healthier energy and ideas.

Here are six signs that your self-care has been put on the back burner:

  • You’re reacting, not responding
  • You’re skipping lunch
  • You’re feeling unfocused
  • You’re exhausted
  • You’re impatient and easily frustrated
  • Your entire body feels tight and stressed

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, maybe it’s time to give yourself a little T.L.S.C.—Tender Loving Self-Care!  The important thing is that you notice the signs before it’s too late, and you’re forced—by an illness, injury, or an all-out nervous breakdown—to take time out and recuperate.

So what is self-care, exactly?

Self-care is anything that allows you to take a break from your professional and personal responsibilities, and focus completely on yourself.  It’s about taking a step back from your routine, and asking yourself, “How are you?” 

Last week I took a couple days to focus on me.  I call it a mental vacation or a mini-vacation.  I spent some time in self-care. I took naps, meditated, and made a little time to recharge.  I felt totally grounded and centered, and ready to put my energy into my clients again.

Self-care is also a part of my daily routine here in Massachusetts. I regularly receive Reiki treatments and massages, and take time out to meditate. I used to have a hard time justifying the expense of self-care—but, like a nice suit for an executive or scissors for a hair stylist, self-care is a tool which is necessary for me to do my best work. 

Here are some ways in which you can begin your practice of self-care. Some are free, others are not, but all are great ways to reconnect with yourself and regain your footing in a crazy world.

         ·            Take time to meditate, or just breathe deeply

         ·            Listen to a guided visualization CD

         ·            Get a massage or Reiki treatment

         ·            See your chiropractor or acupuncturist

         ·            Take a nap

         ·            Play a round of golf

         ·            Take a yoga or Tai Chi class

         ·            Read a great book

         ·            Take a hot bath or Jacuzzi

         ·            Garden

If you’re convinced that your crazy schedule won’t allow time for self-care, “chunk it down!” You can definitely find five minutes over the course of a whole day: spend it breathing deeply, even if you do so while sitting in your car between one meeting and the next.  If you have fifteen minutes, sit with your eyes closed and listen to that meditation CD, or (if you’re into yoga) do a few half-sun salutations and standing poses that don’t require a mat.  If you have half an hour, take a nap, or read a chapter in your favorite novel.  And if you have a whole hour, book that massage you’ve been dying for.

Your mind and body are the most important tools you have to be successful. Just like any other tools, your mind and body need regular care and maintenance in order to perform at their peak. If you find yourself rebelling at the idea of taking time for you, imagine what would happen to your car if you never changed the oil, or how well your expensive kitchen knives would work if you never sharpened them.  Engaging in self-care is not being selfish—in fact, it’s the opposite. When you’re calm and balanced within yourself, you have more to give to others. 

Your Action Step this week is to engage in at least one self-care activity, for a minimum of thirty minutes.  You can split up those thirty minutes any way you like—five minutes a day over six days, or ten minutes over three days—but you should spend them in an activity that calms, centers, and grounds you. If you’re stuck, give me a call: I can help squeeze a self-care routine into even the tightest schedule.


WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE, BLOG OR WEBSITE? Please do, as long as you include this complete blurb with it:  Dawn Quesnel, CPCC, PCC, known as Coach DQ, is a professional coach, radio show host and workshop leader.  Through the use of her B.R.I.D.G.E. programs she helps creative professionals and business owners navigate career or business transition while maintaining a healthy career-life balance.  Her core belief that you can accomplish anything you set your mind to, consistently leads clients to uncover hidden resources and strengths.  If you are ready to B.R.I.D.G.E. the gap between you and a life you love then visit or today.

June 2nd, 2010

Facilitating the ‘aha’ on BrainTalk with special guest David Rock

This month on BrainTalk, we are proud to have as our special guest, David Rock, author of ‘Personal Best’, (Simon & Schuster, 2001), ‘Quiet Leadership’ (Harper Collins, 2006) and ‘Coaching with the Brain in Mind’ (Wiley & Sons, 2009), and ‘Your Brain at Work’, released in October 2009.  Join us June 2nd, 12pm EST on BrainTalk, as we discuss “Facilitating the ‘aha': How leaders, coaches and trainers can improve their insight-quotient by understanding the brain.”

David Rock on BrainTalk w Coach DQ & Tara Crawford Roth
David Rock


In 2004, David founded the brain-based approach to coaching, which has gathered momentum as a theory base for coaching ever since. In collaboration with several leading neuroscientists, David is working to explain the neural basis of issues like self-awareness, reflection, insight and accountability.  In 2006 he co-authored a feature article in strategy business magazine with neuroscientist Dr Jeffrey Schwartz, called ‘The Neuroscience of Leadership’, the most downloaded article of the year at the magazine. In September 2006 CIO magazine ran a cover story featuring David and Jeff’s work called ‘The new science of change’. His paper ‘Managing with the Brain in Mind’ was the most downloaded of 2009 at strategy business. 

Do you know your brain type?  Take the Brain Type Questionnaire and find out on BrainTalk at 12n EST today to learn more!  Join me and Co-Host Tara Crawford Roth for our new series “BrainTalk” airing the 1st Wednesday of every month at 12pm EST.  Our goal is to help listeners understand that it is not an either or it is an AND- intuition and business are your right and left brain. Together they are a powerhouse!

May 27th, 2010

Are You Prepared for a Career Tsunami?

Now, I’m not trying to get all gloom-and-doom on you, but in this economic climate there’s a very real possibility that things can shift for everyone on a dime. And, with new unemployment regulations going into effect, many people who were feeling secure in their benefits may soon be out of a paycheck.

I call these shifts “career tsunamis” because they’re upheavals: sudden, unexpected, and usually life-changing. Therefore, it’s important to have a solid plan in place, a “life-raft” you can rely on if things get a little crazy.

A tsunami doesn’t just have to mean a layoff or a company closing. You could experience a personal wave when, waking up in bed one morning, you realize that you’re not at all in love with your career. You might wonder how you got here, and what wrong turns steered you away from the goals you used to cherish. Or, you might realize that, although you feel that you’re on the right path, you haven’t taken a forward step in five years.

Often, we resist change until something forces it on us, or until the internal pressure builds up so high that we become the tsunami. Instead of waiting for something to give, try making your plans now. A little preparation can go a long way, even in the toughest circumstances.

Here’s how you can go about planning for those unexpected shifts.

Take 20 minutes to plan. Where do you want to be in a year? In 5 years? What steps can you take to ensure that your dreams stay on course even in the event of a career tsunami? Do you need more education? A larger network? Start working on the supporting details now, so you’re ready to move forward when the time comes.
Take 10 minutes to dream. If your circumstances were to change, what would you do? What course would you take? I once knew a man who lost his job after 30 years at the same manufacturing plant. Instead of panicking, this 55-year old decided to pursue a lifelong dream of becoming a barber.
Plug the holes. If you know there are areas of your life that could use some “tightening up”—like extraneous spending, poor use of time, etc.—start working on them now. Better to fix a leaky boat on the beach than to try to do it while you’re bailing out water.
Save, save, save. A well-padded savings account can mean the difference between a tropical squall and a hurricane. Even if it’s only $25 or $50 a week, put something away “for a rainy day,” so you’re not totally reliant on government benefits in the event of a layoff.
Keep your network warm. Keep up with your contacts now, rather than waiting until you’re in a state of panic.

Steven Covey, in his book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, wrote, “Begin with the end in mind.” If you’re building a house, you have to have the end result solidly in mind before you pour the foundation. Same goes for your career. If your planning is solid, and your support system is well-maintained, even the biggest waves won’t be able to sink your boat.


May 19th, 2010

Are You Part of a Dysfunctional Family?

Chances are, you spend almost as much time with your bosses and coworkers as you do with your partner/spouse and/or children, so that makes them a type of family. And like many families, work families tend to be slightly dysfunctional.  

A little dysfunction is normal. Whenever you put a mix of different personalities together for an extended period of time, a bit of drama is bound to happen. It’s okay: it keeps things interesting. But sometimes, the drama escalates out of control.  It happens in every industry!

Whether it’s a manipulative boss, a sneaky coworker, or an employee who just doesn’t want to cooperate, a lot of my clients have had (or continue to have) issues around their dysfunctional work environment. I’ve heard some crazy stories over the years about everything from shouting matches to slanderous emails to chair-throwing tantrums! The tricky thing is how to deal with these issues in a way that’s both professional and respectful of your own needs.

The first thing to do when you find yourself in a dysfunctional situation is to take a step back and look at things objectively.  Maybe your boss, who gave you great reviews your first year with the company, is suddenly on your case about every little thing. Maybe a coworker suddenly decided you were no longer a friend, but competition for her next promotion. Instead of making a mental list of all the wrongs they’ve done to you, try to step back and look at potential reasons why the person is acting this way. (It’s usually not about YOU!)  Is it a problem that can be fixed through a simple clear communication? Do you need to take it to someone with greater authority?

Next, look at how the other person’s behavior has affected your own. Have you been reacting? What role is being played?  Snapping back at them, or putting your foot in your mouth? When we take the time to respond, rather than react, to a situation, no matter how offensive it might be, we’re more often able to make the best decision.  Sometimes, simply changing your behavior toward a person or situation is enough to alleviate the tension.  You have a choice as to how you respond.  Take time to look at what perspective you’re in.  Ask yourself:  What evidence do I have that this is true?

If it’s not a question of personal relationships, things might be even trickier. Many people these days find themselves in a position where they feel lucky to even have a job. Their coworkers have been laid off, and now they’re stuck doing the job of three people. The pressure is mounting, and the stress is killing them—and yet, the boss just throws his hands up and says, “What do you want me to do about it?”  The thing to remember here is that if you don’t take care of yourself, you’re either going to burn out or walk out. So get clear on what your true priorities and responsibilities are, and make it clear to your boss that, although you’ll do your very best to stay on top of things, you do not, in fact, have six arms and three heads, so you can’t do the job of three people. It’s that simple.  (You might want to phrase that differently in actual conversation…)

Sometimes, a company’s dysfunction has progressed to the point where it’s impossible to do anything about it. You see this a lot in big companies, where the corporate culture is so ingrained that it’s totally immovable. If you’re in that situation, you might see yourself like a cold-water trout in a gradually warming pond. As the environment grows less and less hospitable, your only choice is to adapt or get out. 

Part of my work is helping people transition from a dysfunctional corporate environment into a new, more suitable culture. Sometimes that means simply changing jobs, while other times it means going it alone as a freelancer or small business owner.  So if your work family is dysfunctional, maybe it’s time to make a change for the better!  Do you have a dysfunctional workplace situation?

“To think is easy. To act is hard. But the hardest thing in the world is to act in accordance with your thinking.” - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


May 12th, 2010

Lessons from Mother

“The best years of your life are the ones in which you decide your problems are your own.  You do not blame them on your mother, the ecology or the president.  You realize that you control your own destiny.” – Albert Ellis (1913-2007) American Psychotherapist

When it comes to growing our careers, there’s a lot we can learn from our mothers.

My mother passed when I was 21 so it was still very early in my career, yet, one of the best things I learned from my mother about growing my career was to “try it out”. She would say to me, “Dawn you can do anything you want to do as long as you put your mind to it!”  That wisdom has stayed with me all of my life and I truly feel it’s part of my purpose to share that inspiration, motivation, and curiosity with you.   

One of the ways I incorporate Mom’s wisdom into my work with clients is to support them with resources to “try out” and explore a job change, a new career or start a business. 

Sometimes, managing a business, a department, or a project team can feel a lot like parenting—so take your cue from those who did it best.  Here are some tips to integrate the wisdom of mothers into your professional life, and nurture your career at the same time.

  • Guide, but don’t smother: Sometimes, people have to fall down to realize that standing on their handlebars is a bad idea. (Although that never really stopped me. I had pretty good balance, “Daring Dawn” standing on my seat, riding backwards and teaching my brother how to ride a bike.) Micromanagement almost always creates a tense atmosphere, and can actually reduce employees’ sense of personal responsibility verses teaching and guiding.  Set the general direction, but let your employees or team members run with their ideas whenever it’s practical. You may be surprised with the results.  

  • Write an action list:  When people know what’s expected of them, they’re more productive. An “action list” creates clear duties for each team member, and adds a sense of personal responsibility. As a bonus, this also eliminates the blame game if someone doesn’t pull their weight.   

  • Praise good deeds: Your team looks up to you, and your opinion matters to them. When people do good work, let them know that you’re aware of it, and that you appreciate their efforts. Also, people tend to try harder when they know their work makes a difference, so if numbers are up, spread the positive stats around.  

If you feel you’re lacking in the leadership department, reach back into your childhood, and remember what effect positive leadership had on you when you were young—whether it came from a parent, a teacher, or some other adult. Make a list of the qualities this person exhibited which you feel assisted you in your personal growth. Now, see if you can integrate those qualities into your own leadership style.

Conversely, if there were situations where you felt that an authority figure had a major negative impact on you, make sure to steer clear of that style of leadership, since it will likely feel unnatural and will almost certainly be unproductive.

Often, we search for direction and inspiration in our professional lives. Looking to your own past can be a great way to find it. For example, if you’re considering a career change but don’t have a clue what you really want to do, revisit your childhood. Stephen Spielberg made 8mm adventure films, Oprah was known as the preacher.  I use to play this job interview game with my neighbor, “Courageous Kathy”.  She was so funny!  I would sit at the desk and she would come in for an interview dressed up with a hat and glasses down to her nose and she called herself “Casey Fresh” and every time I asked her a question, she would say she forgot and then say, “Let me look that up in my little black book”.  It was hysterical. We still laugh about it today.  She’s a nurse and has worked with Alzheimer patients and if you’re new to my blog (WELCOME!) I was a recruiter for many years, and today; I interview people on the radio and coach people for interviews. What did you love to do when you were five, seven, or ten years old? How did your parents’ actions and words encourage and shape those old fascinations? Finally, is there some way you could integrate either your childhood loves or your parents’ wisdom into a new, rewarding career?  Not everyone can be a dinosaur hunter, of course—but a copywriter could look for a contract with a natural history museum, or a banker could try grant writing for archeological expeditions.  One of my recent clients went from being a personal trainer and business owner to becoming a Police Officer.   “You can do anything you want to do as long as you put your mind to it.” 

When it comes to creating positive forward motion in your career, sometimes looking back is a way to start. If you have a story about how your mother’s (or father’s) wisdom helped you get to where you are today, I’d love to hear it!

“Diligence is the mother of good fortune; idleness, it’s opposite, never led to good intention’s goal.” – Migues de Cervantes (1547-1616) Spanish Poet, Dramatist and Author 


April 30th, 2010

Brain Talk – A new radio series starting May 5th at 12n EST

Are you a Left or Right Brainer? Take our free quiz.


Coach DQ & Tara Crawford Roth *Hosts of Brain Talk*

Brain Talk, “Building the BRIDGE Between Your Business and Your Intuition” (, runs the 1st Wednesday of every month starting May 5th at 12n EST. This series will be showcasing business people who have married these two elements together for great success. Our goal is to help listeners understand that it is not an “either/or”; it’s an “AND” – intuition and business are your right and left brain. Together they are a powerhouse! Brain Talk is created by (Left Brainer) Dawn Quesnel, CPCC, PCC and (Right Brainer) Tara Crawford Roth, CEC.

(Right Brainer) Tara Crawford Roth, CEC – Intuitive Business Coach, Mentor Coach, Trainer and Founder of the New England Holistic Chamber of Commerce Tara helps driven professionals connect to their own intuitive brilliance while developing a powerful supportive relationship with the most important person in their lives: themselves. A lifelong intuitive, former executive, and certified Coach and energy leader, Tara trains Coaches through iPEC’s ICF (International Coach Federation) accredited program. Tara is a motivational speaker, a Shamanic initiate, and she specializes in intuitive development skills that empower her clients to live and work with greater confidence, insight, and creativity. and

(Left Brainer) Dawn Quesnel, CPCC, PCC – aka Coach DQ, B.R.I.D.G.E. Coach, Radio Show Host/Producer, and Passionate Innovator Dawn is a Career Life Coach helping marketing, advertising, and creative entrepreneurs to accelerate their career so they’ll love their life!  She is the creator of the BRIDGE Methodology, a 6-step process for changing careers. She’s also the former host and producer of Career Life Balance Radio on WNRI AM 1380. She received Coaches training from the Coaches Training Institute (CTI) and Career Coaches Institute (CCI), and is a graduate of iPEC’s Accredited Energy Leadership Coach Program.  She also holds a seat on the International Coach Federation (ICF) Board of Directors for the New England Chapter. and


April 28th, 2010

Clean Sweep for Spring


A big part of the work I do revolves around helping people find balance not only in their careers but in their lives.  Often, professional life and personal life get put into two separate categories, and treated as separate entities. Almost as if you’re one person from nine to five, and another person from dusk ‘till dawn.

You can’t segregate your personal and professional selves completely if you want to be happy and fulfilled. Eventually, those two selves will intersect; when they do, will it be a pleasant meeting? Or will it be a clash of opposites?

I often use a tool called the Clean Sweep Program to help my clients get on track in both their personal and professional lives. This tool consists of a list of 100 items divided into four categories: Physical Environment, Health and Emotional Balance, Money, and Relationships. You start by checking off each one of the 25 statements in each category which applies to you. Then, you plot your answers on a chart which allows you to see, clearly, where your imbalances lie. Once the assessment is complete, the program gives you tools to help you fill in the weak points and regain balance in the areas where you’re a little shaky.

Download the Clean Sweep Program sheet in pdf format.

Now, I don’t use this tool exclusively, and I certainly don’t think it’s a substitute for the personalized advice and exercises a Coach can give. But it’s a good vantage point from which to start looking at your life as a whole, rather than daytime and nighttime halves.

Spring is a great time to undertake a self-evaluation program like Clean Sweep, because it’s a time of refreshment and renewal. As the old energy of winter fades away, and new growth blossoms, it’s natural to want to clean out your closet, so to speak, and establish newer, healthier habits.

Have questions? Give me a call at 508-520-9933! Remember, first time clients receive a FREE session!


April 19th, 2010

The Signs of Evolution


Five years ago I was a guest on a radio show. Walking out of the studio after my interview, I was absolutely elated. I’d fallen in love with broadcasting and decided then and there that I wanted to do my own show!

Five years later I’m still riding the wave. And I’m so grateful to all my loyal listeners and the people who have made my radio show possible.  Special thanks to Joe D’Eramo for introducing me to John McCaul, who introduced me to Jeff Gamache, who introduced me to Tony Lopes, Roger and Dick Bouchard – and to all my special guests over the years!

But dreams like everything else evolve over time, and on April 7, 2010 I officially completed my last weekly broadcast of Career Life Balance (CLB) Radio – at least for now (but don’t worry, I’ll still be on air the 1st Wednesday of each month, beginning May 5th – so read on for more info).  I’ve written many articles about planning for the future, setting goals and following through, and finding a balance which can propel you forward. The thing about forward motion though is that it brings change. And so not only do we need to plan and learn and act, “we need to evolve”.

Five years ago, starting my own radio show was just about the best thing I could have done. The process helped me to grow personally and professionally. But things have changed in my life since then and other exciting projects are in the works that demand my energy and attention. So I decided to embrace this evolution, which better supports my Career Life Balance.

Now, the fact that my direction is changing doesn’t mean that my goals are changing. My Coaching business is still my number one priority, and helping people is still my highest goal. It’s only my approach that’s evolving. I’m confident that this evolutionary process will bring even more benefits to my clients – and to me!

How do you know you need to evolve?  Is it simply time?

There are many clues that will tell you it’s time to evolve. Maybe you’re feeling stagnate or stuck in a rut. Maybe your business has reached a plateau, but you want to climb even higher. Maybe you’re feeling apathetic toward a career that you once loved, without really knowing why. Or maybe you’re ready to grow wings and fly in a completely new direction.

If you’re not sure which path holds the most potential for growth, step back and try to look at the situation objectively. While my love for broadcasting has never faded, when I stepped back and looked at my business as a whole, I saw that in order for growth to happen, something needed to fall away – after all, there are only so many hours in the day. When an old tree falls down, more sunlight is able to come down to the forest floor, and new seeds are able to sprout. By allowing myself to let go of this one thing, I’m making room for new things to come.

Again, many sincere thanks to all my devoted listeners, friends, and clients who have helped to make CLB Radio a success! It’s my genuine hope that we can continue to evolve together. As my own evolution progresses, I’ll continue to provide helpful tips through these articles, and hopefully through other media venues as well.

In fact, although you won’t be hearing my voice every week anymore, I am happy to announce a new pilot series airing the first Wednesday of every month called “Brain Talk: Building the Bridge Between Your Business and Intuition”, with my series Co-Host, Tara Crawford Roth, CEC

On “Brain Talk” we’ll be showcasing business experts and discussing tools to support the development of the right and left sides of the brain.  So be sure to tune in to on Wednesday, May 5th @ 12n EST for Brain Talk.
“Some give up their designs when they have almost reached the goal; while others, on the contrary, obtain a victory by exerting, at the last moment, more vigorous efforts than before.”      – Polybius

Until next time,
Hugs to you!

Coach DQ

Make it a Great one!


April 2nd, 2010

Don’t Be Afraid To Negotiate

A couple of weeks ago, I was at an event, and a friend of mine was talking about her recent car-buying experience. “I hate all that haggling and negotiation,” she said.  “I hate the whole process!”  

I, on the other hand, love buying cars, and furniture, and anything else that gives me a chance to flex my bargaining muscles. To me, it’s a challenge: I want to see how great a deal I can get.  I realize I’m sort of an anomaly in this. But most people don’t shy away from negotiations because they don’t want a better deal for themselves, but because something is holding them back from asking for what they need or deserve. 

Whether you’re negotiating for a new car, a raise, a severance package, or even a new set of duties, you’ll be best served to come from a place of your own values.  Know your strengths, and use them to establish your position. Most of all, value yourself and your goals as much as you’d value those of your best friend, and remember that the only way you’re guaranteed NOT to get what you want is when you don’t ask for it.

Here’s a great example of negotiating from your values:

My client (we’ll call her Sue) had received an offer from a company, but it wasn’t the stellar offer she’d hoped for. She and I worked together to strategize her negotiation. We looked at the money aspect, but we also delved a little deeper to find out what other items were really important to her. We also did a little research about the person she would be negotiating with, in order to discover the best approach.

When Sue went in to present her counter-offer, she was solid in her positioning and strategy. She knew what she absolutely needed to achieve, and where she was willing to give a little. In the end, although she didn’t get a big jump in salary, she did receive a company gas card, a gym membership, and greater flexibility with her schedule—all things that coincided with her personal values.

Maybe you’re reading this and thinking, “That’s great and all, but if I ask for a raise in this economy, I might be next on the layoff list.” Or, maybe you’re thinking, “At least I HAVE a job: that’s more than some people can say.” That’s your fear talking. In all my years as a coach, and former recruiter, I’ve never known someone to get fired for asking for a raise. You have nothing to lose. If the company budget is a little tight, you can still negotiate for items that coincide with your values, but which don’t cost the company a lot of cash—like Sue’s gym membership, or the ability to work from home.

Here are some testimonials from clients who’ve worked with me to accomplish a successful negotiation.

”Coach DQ helped me to negotiate an 11% increase in salary and a 10% bonus!” C.F., Project Manager 

“I hadn’t had an increase in salary in 2 years and my boss wouldn’t budge.  With DQ’s help I negotiated a few perks, an extra week’s vacation, mileage and a gas card.” Lisa, Director of Client Services

“I hired DQ and within 4 months I landed my dream job making 50% more salary than I was making at my last job.” Jen
Watch a video (3:19) –

“Dawn taught me how to negotiate.  I was able to be confident, organized, and prepared for my annual review. I calmly and professionally negotiated myself a 12% increase in salary and benefits.”
Ariel, Operations Director

Recently one of my client’s lost his job after 14 years with the company. The new management was offering a ridiculously small severance package. Using the same techniques I’ve used with previous clients, we were able to increase his severance package by 450%, and he was able to extend his health care coverage.

So if you’re feeling stuck, or you haven’t yet discovered the art of negotiation, give me a call. I can help you turn your negotiating experience around, and create a career situation that’s aligned with your goals and core values.


March 5th, 2010

What’s Your Story?

We all have a story. We tell it when we want other people to understand who we are and where we’re coming from. Sometimes, we tell it to ourselves to justify or explain our thoughts and actions.
So what’s your story doing for you?

I know a woman who’s an introvert. She learned this via on online personality test. When she’s called on to speak in front of people at work, or when she’s put in a position where she has to interact with clients, she tells herself, “But I’m no good at that. I’m an introvert!” My acquaintance is an intelligent, resourceful, personable woman, perfectly capable of tackling anything that’s put in front of her. She struggles with “extroverted” tasks more because of the story she tells herself than because of any lack of skill on her part.

Some stories run deeper than others. They might involve our childhood experiences, our first loves, our first failures. We tell them to ourselves over and over, until they become embedded in our consciousness. It’s said that we think 80,000 thoughts a day, most of which are repeats of the thoughts we had the day before. Some researchers say that 87% of these thoughts are negative. Some of them are so derogatory and hurtful that, if someone else said them to you, you’d probably punch them in the nose.

If you spoke the same words aloud, over and over, all day, eventually you’d believe them, whether or not they were true. The same thing goes for your internal dialogue. But when you become conscious of the stories you tell yourself, you can make some amazing changes in a relatively short period of time. When you change your words, you can change your life.

I spend a long time telling myself how I had to be. “I’m a coach,” I would say. “Therefore I can’t react this way. I can’t make mistakes. I can’t be human.” My story—that I wasn’t allowed to react in a human way to problems in my own life—was causing me a lot of stress and anxiety. When I realized that I was using my story as a crutch to stop myself from diving into tough emotional territory, I was able to set it aside and work from where I was, rather than where I felt I was supposed to be.

Your action step this week is to find out what your stories are. If you’re not sure, listen to yourself as you talk to your friends, family, and coworkers. What words do you use over and over? How do you define yourself, and how does that definition serve you?

Sometimes it helps to have an objective person on your side when you begin to delve into the internal dialogue. Some of my greatest successes as a coach have come at the moments when my clients really got clear on their stories. When they changed their words, they changed their lives!


February 26th, 2010

Balance Not Perfection

The idea of Career Life Balance comes into everything I do as a coach, in one form or another. So I’d like to correct a common misconception.

Achieving balance doesn’t mean achieving perfection. You’re naturally going to swing back and forth between your job and your personal life; sometimes, more attention will be paid to one than to the other. It’s kind of like a see-saw, floating up and down depending on what’s happening on one end. And (unless you have twins) how often have you seen a see-saw balanced perfectly still in the air?

What’s beautiful about Career Life Balance is that it’s a process, an evolution, and not really a fixed goal. The most important thing is not to achieve perfect balance (because how boring would that be?) but to mindfully strive toward it.

If there’s anyone out there who needs to mindfully strive for balance, it’s me. I’m constantly in that evolution. What helps me is getting back to the basics, and taking the time to do the simple things that help stabilize my foundation. Sometimes, being a little out of balance isn’t a bad thing, because it helps me realize all the reasons why balance is important!

With the job market the way it is, and all the craziness on Wall Street in the last few years, a lot of people are in survival mode. They think that if they take the time to find balance—if they even take the time to think about finding balance—that they’re somehow compromising themselves or their chances for success. Of course, this isn’t true. Even if security is a major issue for you right now, will that security mean as much if you’re unhappy, or if you have no time to enjoy it?

Whether you’re in survival mode or striving to find your own personal balance, remember most of all that it’s okay to be human. You’re allowed to slide out of balance sometimes. You’re allowed to go gung-ho on a great work project, or slack off to spend time with your family. You’re allowed to sit with your head in your hands and wonder why things are the way they are. Just remember that change is the only constant. Learn from where you are, and be willing to flow with change. Trusting the process is the first step toward finding your best expression of balance.

Feeling stuck on the low end of the see-saw? Give me a call! I’m always here to lift you up! Also, for new clients, email or call me to schedule a complimentary consult!

February 8th, 2010

Start this Decade with a New Pair of Shoes

Ever heard the saying, “Walk a mile in someone else’s shoes?” Do you ever wish that you could throw out the shoes you wear every day, and put on a new pair?

Shoes have become a standing metaphor in our society for our jobs, our socioeconomic status, and even our core values. So if you’re thinking about starting your own business or making a career change in 2010, you may also be thinking about a new pair of shoes—literally.

Maybe you’re a black pump kind of girl who dreams of wearing fuzzy boots all day, and working in a casual environment where people are open and fun. Maybe you’ve been a sneaker guy, but you want to step into a pair of shiny wing tips, and take your ideas into the realm of big business.  Taking a few moments to visualize your “new shoes” can go a long way toward helping you define not only your career goals but your values. For example: sneakers might define agility, movement, and spontaneity. Fuzzy slippers might symbolize working from home. A pair of Jimmy Choos might symbolize prestige, financial security, and high visibility. Whatever shoe pops into your head while you’re reading this, take a moment to think about what it symbolizes to you.

The second way you can use the shoe metaphor is to think of your goals themselves as shoes. Do you want your new business to be built like a work boot or a stiletto? Not that there’s anything wrong with stilettos (I like them, myself), but if you’re trying to hold up a big dream or a big investment on a little wobbly platform, it might be time to step back and rethink. Do you want to go trendy, with a lot of glitz and glitter, or do you prefer plain, uncomplicated solidity?

When you’re further along in your planning, you can even use the shoe metaphor to help you decide what type of clients you want to attract. What kinds of shoes do your ideal customers wear? Knowing your potential customers’ “styles” can help you create targeted marketing strategies.

Your Balance Blast today: Try on a new pair of shoes this week. For real; I’m not speaking metaphorically this time! Pick a style you’d never normally wear. Do they make you feel off-balance, or confident? What do you like about them, and what do you dislike? What do those feelings tell you about who you are, and where your values lie? How can your observations help you take the next step toward your career goals?

Not sure what shoes you want to put on in 2010? Step into the BRIDGE! A 3 month Coaching Program designed to help you get back to work.

3 Month Coaching Program Includes:
• One 60 Minute Designing Your Dream Job Coaching Session
• Twice Monthly 30 Minute Scheduled Coaching Sessions
• Career Search Support
• Personal Introductions to Resources and Partners
• Resume & Cover Letter Critique
• Resume Exposure to CLB Network
• Interview Technique Coaching
• Positioning & Job Placement Strategies

Your new pair of shoes are waiting for you on the other side. Sign Up Now! SPECIAL*****During the week of February 7-13, 2010. In honor of International Coaches Week buy a 3 month BRIDGE Coaching Program for only $297 per month for 3 months (savings of $234; $78/month).  Available for first time clients only. Make your first payment of $297 before 2/13/10 12 midnight EST. The BRIDGE process is customized to help you flesh out the details and get you moving, so you can step into your new shoes with confidence.

No shoe is “one size fits all,” and no career plan is either. Call me now on 508-520-9933 or email to set up a complimentary consult to learn if the “shoe fits”. If we’re not the right fit. of course I will refer you to some of the other professional certified coaches I network with, it’s what I do. I’m a connector, a BRIDGE to help you take the next step.

Learn more about the BRIDGE Methodology or Contact me to schedule a complimentary consult and take the BRIDGE back to work and in your new pair of shoes.

Until next time, walk tall!

P.S. This offer is ONLY available to first time clients during the celebration of International Coaching Week, February 7-13, 2010. Buy Now


January 8th, 2010

Dreams with a Deadline

Sometimes, you need to get back to basics.  I talk a lot about goal setting, but what IS a goal in the first place?

A goal is a dream with a deadline. When you set a goal, you say to yourself,

  • “This is what I want, and this is what I’m going to do.”
  • When you make a plan around that goal, you’re adding, “This is how I’m going to do it.”

Pretty simple, eh? The tricky part, though, isn’t saying it. It’s meaning it.

If you’re like most people, you wouldn’t dream of going back on your word to someone else. How many times have you said, “I really don’t feel like doing this for so-and-so, but I told him I would, so I have to.” Now, how often do you apply that same dogged commitment to your own goals? Chances are, not very often. And yet, your dreams are probably far more important to you than the stuff you’re actually following through on.

Top performers not only keep their word to others, they keep their promises to themselves. They realize that their goals are just as valid and valuable as those of the people around them, and they treat them accordingly.

If you’re tired of paying lip service to your dreams, now is the time to get on track once and for all. 2010 can be the best year ever, the year your dreams come true. No more excuses, no more “ifs,” “ands,” or “buts.” All you have to do to get started is decide to keep the promise you’ve made to yourself.

If that promise involves taking your career into the 6-figure zone, then you’ll want to take good hard look at this 8-week BRIDGE for Top Performers Workshop.  And if your quick about it you’ll be able to cash in on the introductory savings and FREE bonus coaching offer.

December 28th, 2009

Sexy Goals

Goals are like sex. And although the goal-setting process may not be quite as fun as a romp in the sheets, a lot of the same rules apply.

  1. You can’t accomplish it alone. If you try, the results are SO much less gratifying.
  2. Distractions and interruptions really ruin the process. Stay focused!
  3. In order to get anywhere, you need to take action. What good does a hot crush do you if you never act on it?
  4. Confidence will get you everywhere. If yours is sagging, call a friend (or your coach) for a pep talk!
  5. Don’t rush it. Take the time to savor each step of the process. You won’t regret it.
  6. Don’t be afraid of what turns you on. Own it instead. So what if no one else has ever started a yodeling cookie delivery company?
  7. When you finally do the deed, you’ll be really proud of yourself. And you’ll be smiling and strutting for weeks.

This year, don’t hold yourself back. Don’t be satisfied with an anonymous crush. Set your goals with purpose, passion, and pleasure.  There’s nothing sexier than someone who walks their talk.

Join me for a FREE class and learn the top three attributes high earners use to break through to the next six-figure level.  Click here and sign up to learn how to set goals effectively, with the kind of non-nonsense confidence you need to go all the way!

December 22nd, 2009


Do you consider yourself an altruistic person?

I admit, the word “altruistic” is a little intimidating.  It might conjure images of misty-eyed do-gooders who spend every minute trying to make the world a better place.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that and you don’t need to chain yourself to a tree or wear only hemp clothing to be an altruist.

 All you need to do is align your personal values and ideals with your actions. When you do that, you’ll find a deeper sense of fulfillment and accomplishment in every area of your life.

This alignment can be tough, don’t get me wrong.  We tend to separate our “work selves” from the rest of ourselves, and sometimes our actions on the job run counter to our ideals. Have you met…

  • The eco-activist who works for the chemical plant?
  • The health nut who works at McDonalds?
  • The pharmaceutical salesman who only takes herbal remedies?
  • The WalMart executive who secretly dreams of opening a “mom and pop shop?”

 Talk about split personalities!  Of course, the split doesn’t need to be that obvious.

Maybe you’ve met…

  • The mom who wants more time with her kids, but whose job forces her to travel.
  • Or the creative director who doesn’t believe in the products he’s helping to sell.

These people are also experiencing conflict, but for one reason or another, they feel as if they’re tied to their jobs despite their misgivings.  Maybe it’s the great benefits package, or the “golden handcuff” of an executive salary.  Maybe it’s just simple convenience.  Any way you look at it, conflict creates stress.

If you feel like your work self is working against your altruistic self, maybe it’s time to shift your career perspective.  If you want (or crave) a career that connects with your values; if you want to begin to define your altruistic self and find more fulfillment in your work life then join me for this free call.   

You don’t even need to have your personal definition of altruism figured out.  You just have to know that you’re ready for change!

December 8th, 2009

Trapped in the Career Forest?

Remember how I talked about the partnership of a good coaching relationship in Getting Your Ducks in a Row?  Well, here is a great example of that process in action.

Liz, (not her real name, of course) was working for a major ad agency but had been thinking about setting out on her own for a while.  She wanted to explore just how feasible it would be for her to start her own business and developing and executing a plan which would get her there.

When I asked her to name her biggest concerns about making this career transition, she answered: “feeling like what I’m setting out to do is impossible to accomplish,” and “becoming my own worst critic.”  These fearful feelings are deep-seated and very personal, but they’re also common to nearly everyone who wants to take the leap and start their own business!

So we set out to overcome these concerns.  When I asked Liz to tell me what successfully surmounting these challenges would look like, she answered, “Dismantling the feeling of impossibility and creating a schedule to focus on working for myself, as my own boss.”

Then I asked Liz, “If someone else were handling this process, what would you be worried about?” She concerns that there could be a lack of attention to detail around expressing the ‘soul’ of the business and that things wouldn’t be done the she want them done.

See how very revealing a few well positioned questions can be?  Liz was able to see that fear and perfectionism were holding her back. Sometimes, you’re too close to your own thinking to see how it may be holding you back.

We continued this kind of exploration during our work together and the tipping point came a month or so later when Liz shared, “I have learned that no matter how much I want my world to change at my current company, it’s never going to happen.  I am wasting my time, creative spirit and future freedom… For the past couple of weeks, I have been promised more ‘high level’ involvement, but the one area where I am at my strongest—positioning and strategy for brands—I have been locked out. The company doesn’t see my full potential, and I am it’s time to invest my time and energy elsewhere.”

If you’re struggling to find focus and clarity as you walk your own path to success you may just need a little help navigating your career forest so you can see the trees of opportunity that await!  A tree thinning event for top career advancers is on the horizon in early January.  Keep an eye out for the details – coming soon.

December 1st, 2009

Getting Your Ducks in a Row

Do you ever feel like your dreams are hazy?  Like they are too big and far away and you just don’t know where to begin to bring them into focus?  Believe me, you’re not the only one.

I know this because nearly every one of my clients has expressed the same frustration at the beginning of our work together. In fact, I wish I had a nickel for every time I heard, “I’d love to work with you.  I just have to get clearer about my goals first.”

If you get nothing else from this post, please hear this: You’re not expected to have everything figured out when you engage in a coaching relationship. That’s a big part of why you hire a coach - to help you find that clarity.

I can’t speak for the way others work, but in everything I do, the first step is all about helping you define what you want to achieve.  Then we go to work identifying the obstacles between you and those things and developing a concrete plan for moving past them to the finish line!

Waiting until you’ve got all your ducks in perfect marching order before working with a coach is like waiting for your symptoms to improve before going to the doctor.

Bring on those dreams in duckling form and together we can line them up, stack them up, grow them up and even teach them to square dance if that’s what will give your life fulfillment and purpose!  The point is that a good coaching relationship works like a partnership – with a firm, non-judgmental, accountable push!


November 23rd, 2009

Defining Your Goals for 2010


This week, I’m giving you a homework assignment.

If you’re like most people, you’ve spent quite a bit of time over the last few months thinking about what you want to accomplish in 2010. And this week, before the madness of the holiday season starts, you’ll be putting the finishing touches on your career goals for next year. Think of it as putting the icing on that sweet holiday cake.  

If you’ve been keeping up with my blog for a while, you’ve probably already done some work with identifying your values and defining your goals. Now, it’s time to plan, prepare, and make changes, so you can charge full steam ahead into the new year.

If you’re considering launching your own business, now is the time to “chunk it down,” to break down the big picture into smaller, detailed bites.  In order to succeed, you want to be really clear about what you’re after, and research your target markets and demographics to ensure you’re taking the most strategic approach.  Not too long ago, we talked about the “unwind” happening in society right now:  does your business plan allow for this new type of consumer? The more quality and value you can offer, the better your products and services will be received in this new consumer economy. Good planning  and a thorough understanding of who you are targeting will give you a solid platform from which to launch your marketing and product development ideas. 

Wherever you are, you can begin your planning process by following the BRIDGE process I’ve developed to help my clients advance their careers and start new ones.

·         B—Be clear about what you want

·         R—Research to realize what paths can take you toward your


·         I—Identify market criteria and other important information

·         D—Develop your contacts, define (or redefine) your short- and

             long-term goals

·         G—Get a game plan

·         E—Execute, then evaluate.


The more specific you are in your outlining, the easier your planning process will be.


So, your Action Step—your homework this week—is to list your goals, both big and small, for 2010. Be clear, not vague. Rather than saying, “I want a new job,” say “I want to land a new job in field X in city Y, for Z dollars per year.” Stay positive, and let the Law of Attraction and your new focus work for you!


Once you have your plan in place, the execution is simple. All it takes is one step at a time to cross the BRIDGE to your new career!  Stay tuned, because I’m working on a brand new program for top level professionals who are ready to move up – whether that means setting your sites on the corner office, finally starting your own business or shifting gears and taking your career in an entirely new direction! 


November 19th, 2009

3 Clues to Impending Crisis in the Workplace

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November 20-21
Michael Charest  Workshop
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November 29
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November 26

Enjoying my first Thanksgiving with the kids (K, our 14-month-old foster daughter, and D, our 9-year-old foster son) and family in New Jersey

1pm Hanukah – 3pm Thanksgiving Dinner at Barry’s!

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Career Life Balance Radio

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B.R.I.D.G.E. Coach, Radio Show Host, Producer, and Passionate Innovator – that’s me, Coach DQ, hosting Career Life Balance Radio, a show about coaching, educating, motivating and connecting you to the resources you need to help you have a more balanced career and life.

Join me this week as we’ll be talking with Joan Williams, Crisis Coach, about the three things to watch for in the workplace.

Joan WilliamsJoan Williams is an Executive Coach with Communications Research who has been in practice for 20 years and specializes in crisis coaching.  She works nationally and internationally with a broad base of Fortune 500 companies and nationally within large university systems such as Cal State and private universities such as USC and Lehigh.

She has a Master’s Degree in English Literature, specializing in Linguistics, from NYU.  Working in corporate America for many years, managing sales teams and leading sales and management training, she spent most of her corporate career at Citigroup and Chemical Bank.

She coached and played tournament racquetball, placing second in the amateur ranks in Connecticut in the late ’70s.

Her varied background enables her to analyze body language, emotional content in verbal language, winning strategies, high performers and the political ramifications inherent in difficult situations.  Her sales training and experience enable her to sell solutions to struggling executives in a way that enables them to envision a positive outcome to their situation. Her management training has focused her on putting together solutions that have measurable results.

Marketing Minutes

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The Marketing Minutes segment can be heard every week immediately following the guest interview.   

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This week – Lisa Almeida of Planit Production discusses

The Law-Abiding Way to Use Email Marketing

Holly Kouvo Picture Holly’s Helpful Hints

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Personal Trainer & Nutrition Specialist, presents:

The Holiday Meal is a 3000-Calorie Deal.  It’s holiday time and it seems that getting into the holiday spirit requires eating.  But it helps to have a clear view of your choices as the Thanksgiving meal approaches.

The typical Thanksgiving meal is around 3000 calories. Listen to some easy alternatives to lighten the calorie load.

November 17th, 2009

Plan Ahead for Smooth Business Sailing

We plan ahead for a lot of things in our lives. We schedule appointments and make grocery lists. We buy a map before a road trip, and we book hotel rooms before flying cross-country.  But when it comes to our careers, many of us don’t plan beyond TGIF.


Your business future shouldn’t be a vague blur on the horizon, easily mistaken for a smudge on your windshield. It should be a concrete destination, firmly fixed in your mind—because when that happens, you can dig out the map and plan the most direct route to reach it.  


Now don’t get me wrong: you can’t plan for everything. Sometimes you hit a big pothole and your tire goes flat. Sometimes, bridges don’t go all the way across the river, and you have to reroute. Perhaps our current financial crisis came as a complete surprise—like an avalanche in the Rockies or a mudslide in California—and now you feel stranded.  But no matter how bad things may seem, if you have a goal you have momentum. You can always draw a new map.


Here are some ways in which you can plan ahead to make sure you keep cruising along toward your career goal.

  • Have a backup plan. Unfortunately, every career can feel a little shaky in this economy. If you feel your job is in jeopardy, take some steps to ensure you keep it (like those I outlined in last week’s article). But also, strengthen your networking connections and brush up on your skills, so you’ll have some solid resources if the worst happens. Think of your networking group like AAA; when you get stuck, call them and someone will be there to help you out.


  • Start saving. When people lose their jobs—or leave them—their new jobs are often not the ones they’d imagined themselves landing. Sometimes, they turn out to be less rewarding than the old job. The biggest reason that this happens is money. When unemployment runs out, most people are forced to take whatever’s offered to them, just to pay the bills. This can be the career equivalent of taking a detour to Montana when you want to get to Los Angeles: it’s not that there’s nothing of value in the former, but it’s not at all where you wanted to be.  To make sure you have enough gas to get you to Hollywood, start putting some money aside.  If you can hold out a little longer, you stand a better chance of finding a job that’s right on your route to personal success.


  • Think two steps ahead. If you’re determined to rise to the top of your company or your field, you need to think two steps ahead. Don’t try to micromanage your future—that will only cause you a lot of stress—but know what your stepping stones should be.  This doesn’t just include positions or titles, but also education, networking, and participation in actual projects.  Most importantly, when you see an opportunity, go for it. Don’t sit at a green light wondering which way to turn.


If you’re not sure of the best way to map your way to career success, give me a call. Sometimes all you need is someone to point you in the direction of the freeway!

October 28th, 2009

Wasting Time

Do you ever feel like your time and energy just seem to slip away from you? You want to accomplish something—like searching for a job, furthering your education, or pursuing a creative path—but your day fills up with mundane tasks and by the time you actually get around to doing what you really need to do, you’re too exhausted to continue?

Sometimes, life really does get in the way of our plans. But other times, we allow our Goblin—our inner critics—to rule the day. Their negative talk makes us feel uncomfortable about pursuing our goals, and so we find something—anything—else to fill our time, so we don’t have to do the things our inner critic tells us we’re not good enough for, or that will be too hard, or too time-consuming…blah, blah, blah.

A great example of this “Goblin block” is writer’s block. It sounds like an old cliché, but acquaintances who have struggled with this tell me that they’ll sometimes do anything—right down to washing the driveway, steam-cleaning the drapes, or cleaning the drains—to avoid putting words to paper. Why? Because their goblin is telling them those words won’t be good enough.

People in a job search situation often experience the same feelings: they’d rather do just about anything besides look through the online job listings. Maybe their inner critic is calling them unqualified. Maybe it’s saying the job market is just too tough. Maybe there’s a hundred other reasons why they can’t/shouldn’t/won’t find a job, but all of them can be time-wasting beliefs.

The point is, negative perspectives and limiting beliefs waste valuable time and energy, and are really counterproductive.  Now, if you’ve recently spent a whole day organizing your tee-shirts by color and fabric weight just to avoid logging onto, don’t feel guilty: we’ve all done it. Just recognize your avoidance tactics for what they are. Once you’ve done that, you’ll probably have no trouble spotting the boogeyman whose negative talk made sorting cotton from polyester sound so appealing.

The Law of Attraction, which we talked about a few weeks ago, basically says that what we think about, what we believe in, we draw to ourselves. By conquering your “goblin”—or even just dragging him out into the light—you’re also putting your intention to move forward out into the universe, which can create an immediate, positive impact.

With the season turning, change is in the air. If you’ve decided it’s time to kick your goblin to the curb, give me a call. I can help you pinpoint your limiting beliefs, formulate a plan of attack, and move forward in pursuit of your personal and professional goals.

PS: October 31—Halloween—was the last day of the year in the Celtic calendar. So if you’re in the mood to make a change, why wait until December 31? Banish your boogeyman on Halloween night, and start your new year critic-free on November 1!

October 26th, 2009

Learn More to Earn More


Before I became a professional coach, I was an Executive Recruiter.  My job was to place qualified candidates in advertising, marketing, sales, and creative type positions, such as: Creative Directors, Art Directors, Copywriters, Producers, and Designers etc.  Working with both companies and individuals in this capacity, I learned a lot about what people need to do in order to succeed in high-paced fields; now, I’m able to share this knowledge with my coaching clients.


No matter what your field, if you want to advance, you need to keep advancing yourself. Basically, this means continuing your professional education.  Technologies are always changing, methods are always evolving, and public tastes are always shifting. To ride the wave, businesspeople need to stay on the cutting edge. The best way to do that is through education.


Now don’t get me wrong: I’m not suggesting that every professional needs to go back to college to get their Master’s degree or a PhD – although if that’s your personal goal, that’s fantastic.  Education can take many forms: trade books, seminars, professional association meetings, even independent online research.  Taking a single college course each semester, whether or not you ever apply it toward a degree, is a fantastic idea; if you’re pressed for time, try an online course. Many colleges also offer how-to classes on computer software, which is great for people who are less tech-savvy.


When you’re considering your continuing education plan for 2010, approach it from the perspective of your current skill set. What new skills would help you to perform better in your chosen field? If you’re considering a career change, what new skills would help to put you on par with – or better yet, ahead of – your competition? When working with a client we work on developing their abilities, and help them to position themselves favorably and accelerate their career using those abilities – but I also remind them that they need time to enjoy the fruits of their labor. After all, you have to have some Career Life Balance! 


Action Step: Return to your game plan: have you included any continuing education in your list of intentions for 2010? If you have, that’s great. If not, choose two activities or classes to participate in over the next year which will advance your game plan and bring you closer to your ultimate intention.  Accountants, teachers, and anyone else who is required to fulfill annual education requirements: this could be one or two activities over and above what you need to do to maintain your certification.


When you’re learning, you’re growing, and growth is the key to positive change.  Keep your intention in mind, and remember to chunk it down so it works for you, not the way you might think it’s suppose to be done.  If you’re stuck email me to schedule a consult.

October 22nd, 2009

Clean Out Your Closet

Do you have a Goblin living in your closet?


Your Goblin—your inner critic—probably has a whole slew of catch-phrases ready to tear you down in any situation. These might be classics like, “you’ve GOT to be kidding,” or “what will people think?” or “that’s impossible.” Or they might be more personal, like “your sister would never do that,” or “your father would be so ashamed, “or “if you were more like so-and-so, you wouldn’t have to worry about this.”


Maybe these limiting beliefs come from your childhood, maybe from experiences later in life. Maybe you tell yourself that the voice of your inner critic is practical, reasonable. But chances are, it’s only holding you back.


Fall is a great time to scare away your Goblin—to get rid of beliefs that no longer suit you. Think of it as cleaning out your closet before the winter season. Will you keep the shoes that give you blisters, the clothes that no longer fit, or the purse with a big hole in the bottom? Probably not.  So why hang onto the beliefs that blister your confidence, the old-fashioned sentiments that no longer fit you (i.e., “it’s a man’s world,” or “I’m a woman/I’m not good enough/ I’m too old, so It’s a hard business, or I’ll never make it in this business”)?


Take a good, long look into the back of your closet. What’s really hiding back there? Shedding some light on your goblin can help you recognize the limiting beliefs that hold you back. If you’re hanging onto those uncomfortable shoes, those “skinny” jeans, ask yourself why. Chances are it’s about perspective. Instead of looking at them as lost opportunities—or reminders of who you could be/used to be/would be if only you were different—toss them into the donation bin. Let your emptied closet be a place for new stuff to land: stuff that fits you better, and serves who you are right now. Who knows: instead of a goblin, you might find an angel!


When tackling your limiting beliefs (your goblin) it’s really important not to play the blame game: that only plants the seeds for more goblin to grow.  Try not to criticize yourself for old habits or perspectives. Instead, think of the identification of limiting beliefs as a process of liberation—a jailbreak, if you will.


Your action step this week is to listen for your goblin, and write down everything she/he says. Chances are, when that inner critic acts up, she’ll/he’ll be saying the same things over and over again (no one ever said Goblin’s were smart- although they can be tricky!). Soon, you’ll learn to recognize these limiting beliefs for what they are, and you’ll be able to pull them out of your closet for good.


Someone once said to me, “you’re only carrying around that load of bricks because you choose to. If you don’t want to carry it anymore, just set it down and walk away.” Whether you visualize your limiting beliefs as old clothes, or bricks, or something else altogether, the only thing you have to do to be free of them is set them aside.  What does your goblin say?  Send me a confidential email

October 15th, 2009

Who’s Your Goblin?

We all have one: a goblin, a gremlin, an inner critic, whose snarling and growling keeps us from feeling confident and worthy.  Continuing with this season’s theme of “perspective,” let’s talk a bit about your goblin.  Halloween is coming, after all!


Your goblin lives in your closet with the skeletons. He’s mean, cynical, negative, and likes to tell you you’re not enough, makes you feel guilty for not doing more at home, the office, for yourself?!!! If you were to imagine your goblin, he may sort of look like your partner from your first adult relationship, or maybe he looks a little like your old boss, or your tough-as-nails grandfather, or even your fifth grade teacher. Whatever form or combo your goblin takes, he’s not the core of who you really are, it’s just head trash!  This type of energy is not something you want hanging around in your space when you’re trying to make a positive change in your life, grow your business…follow a new path, or even just get through the day.

 When we hear or feel negative things about ourselves, especially when we’re  young, we tend to remember them. Those triggers pop up when we’re feeling insecure, fearful, or ungrounded.  We start to believe it’s true and before long it becomes a habitual type of trigger, some experts may even refer to it as the root of the issue.  Bottom line is for you is to step one become aware of  certain “trigger” situations: we condition ourselves to react based on this memory or feeling. And when we practice a habit for long enough, it becomes a belief.  Like a tree sending roots into the earth, we feed our goblin out of our past circumstatances, and fears. 

 Here’s an example of the evolution of a goblin.


When Sara was just out of college, she went to work for a certain corporation. She was young and a little insecure, and had no real-world experience to speak of. One day, her boss (a critical, overbearing type who was probably pretty insecure herself) assigned Sara a project that she wasn’t sure how to approach. Being unsure, and wanting to please, Sara asked her boss where to begin. Her boss replied, “What are you, an idiot? Didn’t they teach you anything in college?” Sara was devastated. She knew she wasn’t an idiot, but her boss had just told her she was.


Sara finished the project, with no feedback—positive or negative—from her boss, and soon after left the company.  Soon after starting her new job, another project crossed her desk that she wasn’t sure how to approach. She thought about asking for help, but was afraid her new boss would react in the same way her old boss had. Finishing the project on her own caused her a lot of stress and sleepless nights, and in the end, the result was satisfactory—but it wasn’t stellar, and Sara knew it. She heard her old boss’s voice in her head, calling her an idiot, and began to wonder if the woman had been right.


The memory that kept resurfacing for Sara became a habit: it reappeared automatically every time she was put in a situation where she needed help or advice. She conditioned herself to believe not only that it was the act of an idiot to ask for help, but that she was ill-prepared and ill-educated in her job field.  When she got laid off last year, she was terrified to look for a new job, because she had honestly come to believe that she was unworthy of being hired.


Now, Sara is a fictional character, and I’ve simplified her story. But many of us have goblins living in our closets, and their evolution can be traced back to a single incident or memory that impacted us deeply.  Our beliefs—our perspectives—evolve out of our experiences. Just like an athlete conditions her body to perform in a competition, we condition our minds to certain perspectives or beliefs. If these beliefs serve us, that’s great. But often, they don’t.


So the next time you hear your inner critic yapping away in your ear, telling you you’re not good enough, you’re stupid, you’re worthless, etc., try to pull your goblin out of hiding. Give him (or her!) a name, and try to follow him back to the experience, or set of experiences, that shaped him. Once you’ve pulled your goblin out of the back of the closet and into the light, he might not look so scary after all.

Want to learn more about how to give your goblin the boot? Pick up Taming Your Gremlin: A Guide to Enjoying Yourself, by Richard David Carson. This is a great read, not at all your typical “self-help” book.

October 13th, 2009

Finding that elusive “Work-Life Balance”

We all say we want it: Career-life balance.  But sometimes, trying to find it can feel a bit like searching for giant squid in the South Pacific—or for Nessie in Loch Ness.  You’re pretty sure it exists, somewhere, but actually grabbing it by the tail is another matter.

I felt the same way, once. But over the years I’ve discovered that career-life balance isn’t really all that difficult to achieve. Like yoga, or Tai Chi, or any other practice, it just takes a bit of time and discipline to master. First you need to learn the basic techniques; then, you can start to practice them.

Your first step is to determine which areas of your life you want to improve and/or pay more attention to.  If you’re not sure, revisit the Wheel of Life.  Draw a circle on a piece of paper, and divide it like a pizza into 8 sections: career, money, spirituality, friends and family, recreation, personal growth, physical fitness and health, and marriage/significant other.

Now, on a scale of 1 to 10, rate your satisfaction in each area.  Be honest, even if it makes you feel guilty.  When you’re done, you’ll have a snapshot of your current career life balance (or lack thereof).  Don’t automatically go for the lowest number, or try to focus on everything at once; pick one or two key areas to work on. Also, be aware that working in one area can help to improve others. For example: if you want to spend more time with your family, organize a hiking trip, a golf game, or a day at the playground. You’ll be upping your fitness level (and theirs) while still focusing on your primary goal, which is quality time.

If you’re not the sketching type, check out CNN’s online Work Life Balance Calculator. It’s a good on-screen visual tool to help you find your personal balance.

The current economy has put a lot of people into worry mode, and many have stopped engaging in the activities that used to help them find their balance because of financial concerns. If you’re out of work or concerned about losing your job, or just a little tight in the finance department, you don’t need to give up fun activities.  Just look for more creative ways to do them! Here are some ideas:

  • If you cancelled your gym membership, check out your local recreation center.  Bonus: rec centers are great places to meet people. You could network while playing basketball!
  • Check out meet-up groups like those on You can find inexpensive ways to have fun, network, and meet new people.
  • Give yourself permission to take down time. Especially if you’re searching for a new job after being laid off, every minute not devoted to the job search can start to feel like wasted time. Don’t push yourself too hard. If you work yourself to the point of burnout, you won’t be at your most effective in a new job.  Relax into the process, and remember that it’s okay to take a few moments for yourself in the midst of your search process.
  • Take 10 minutes a day to meditate. Meditation is free, easy, and requires no special equipment. Plus, it’s one of the best stress relief techniques out there. Meditation—especially creative visualization—is a favorite technique of the world’s most successful people.  Not sure how to begin? Invest in one of the hundreds of great meditation CDs out there.
  • Don’t forget your core values. If something is really important to you, try to find a way to keep doing it. Maybe your best self-care is a relaxing massage, or a painting class, or a day on the golf course. Instead of giving these things up out of hand, ask yourself how you could make it work with your current budget. Maybe you could go less often, or during off-peak hours.  Maybe you could find some other, less important item to cut from your weekly budget. However you handle it, remember that your favorite activities are your favorites because they make you feel good—and feeling good is an important part of career life balance.

October 8th, 2009

Building A Balance Mindset


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The fourth quarter is here. 

In business lingo that means time to evaluate the goals you set for this year to see if you’re on track, make any needed adjustments and start thinking about goals for next year.

In family lingo it means back-to-school is in full swing and a truckload of holidays are bearing down fast that require party and gift planning.

In health lingo it means time to take a hard look at your day timer and be sure that your stress reduction tools are in place and won’t get bumped in favor of one of the above.

Ahhhh, the ongoing pursuit of balance.  It’s what makes life fun, exciting and challenging OR stressful, exhausting and frustrating. 

Balance is a process, not an event, and I love bringing you resources to help your process follow the fun path instead of the stress one.

On CLB Radio this week, I’m tapping into the teachings of a spiritual master to offer you tools and a mindset to do just that.


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Career Life Balance Radio
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Dawn Quesnel

dawnherself B.R.I.D.G.E. Coach, Radio Show Host, Producer, and Passionate Innovator – that’s me, Coach DQ, hosting Career Life Balance Radio, a show about coaching, educating, motivating and connecting you to the resources you need to help you have a more balanced career and life. 
Join me this week as we’ll be talking about the book The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz and Don Jose Ruiz.

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Tune in for her new show Intuitive Living on the 2nd Friday of every month starting at 9:35am.


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These articles are really just the tip of the iceberg.  Contact me when you’re ready to go deeper.  
Attitude and the Law of Attraction

In my coaching practice, I talk a lot about the Law of Attraction. I’m a firm believer that the way you think influences the way your world takes shape around you, and that you can create the life you desire through the power of positive thought and the right action. 

The Law of Attraction basically states that what we put our energy into will be drawn to us. So if you’re in a job search, and you spend a few minutes every morning visualizing yourself in the perfect job, you will be more likely to draw that job to you. If you spend a few minutes every day thinking thoughts of abundance and gratitude, you will probably feel abundant and grateful all day long, and have experiences that reinforce that feeling.

The opposite is true as well. If you’ve recently lost your job and you find yourself dwelling on your current lack of money, lack of opportunities, lack of “____,” you may find yourself noticing that lack more and more in your life. You’re actually using the Law of Attraction to draw negative experiences to you.

As human beings, we think … read on.

Coach DQ




October 7th, 2009

Attitude and the Law of Attraction

In my coaching practice, I talk a lot about the Law of Attraction. I’m a firm believer that the way you think influences the way your world takes shape around you, and that you can create the life you desire through the power of positive thought and right action.

The Law of Attraction basically states that what we put our energy into will be drawn to us. So if you’re in a job search, and you spend a few minutes every morning visualizing yourself in the perfect job, you will be more likely to draw that job to you. If you spend a few minutes every day thinking thoughts of abundance and gratitude, you will probably feel abundant and grateful all day long, and have experiences that reinforce that feeling.

The opposite is true as well. If you’ve recently lost your job and you find yourself dwelling on your current lack of money, lack of opportunities, lack of “____,” you may find yourself noticing that lack more and more in your life. You’re actually using the Law of Attraction to draw negative experiences to you.

As human beings, we think about 80,000 thoughts a day. Most of these thoughts are repetitive, the same stories we’ve been telling ourselves for years. They influence how we feel about our work, our finances, our families, and ourselves. Like I talked about in articles from past weeks, it’s all about perspective.

Your Action Step this week is to keep a record of recurring thoughts. If you’re constantly telling yourself, “I hate my co-worker,” “I’m broke, I can’t buy that,” “I’ll never find a job in this market,” or even “I’m ugly,” you’re actually using the Law of Attraction to reinforce these negative experiences in your life.

Once you’ve identified your recurring negative thoughts, try to counteract them with a positive thought as soon as they come up. For example if you’re thinking, “I’m broke,” counteract that statement with one like, “I have all the money I need to provide for myself and my family.” If you’re thinking, “I can’t stand my boss,” counteract it with, “I do not allow negativity to touch me. “

One more thing: The Law of Attraction doesn’t always provide what you want in exactly the way you want it. But when it does pull good things to you, they will be the best things for you at that time.

Here’s a very personal example. My husband and I have wanted children for a long time. But after years of fertility treatments (and lots of work with the Law of Attraction on my part), we still couldn’t get pregnant. I’ve joked that there are other laws beside the Law of Attraction—like the Law of Gravity—and I felt these other Laws were working against me.

One day, some friends stopped by our house with their two children, on their way to the Boston Aquarium. I found myself thinking, “I wish I had kids to go to the Aquarium with.” For the first time, I didn’t specify that they should be MY kids. Two hours later, I got the call about my foster son.

So if you find yourself thinking, “I’ll never find a job,” you might counteract that with a statement like, “The perfect job will come to me at the perfect time.” By eliminating any preconceptions about what the job should be, you open yourself to greater possibilities.

October 1st, 2009

Resistance and Regression

Over the last few weeks, we’ve talked about perspective, and how it affects your job search and your life.  Today, we’ll examine how a perspective of resistance can hinder your progress toward the career and the life you want.


Transition and change are part of our reality. But sometimes, we set up roadblocks for ourselves, trying to slow or stop the flow of change. These roadblocks are made up of thoughts that stop us from experiencing an internal transition to match the outward one—thoughts like, “I want things to be the way they used to be,” and “I can’t cope with this new situation.” 


Some of you will remember “Mr. X” from past articles, a man I coached as part of the Midlife Male Makeover project in conjunction with PR Works. His real name is David Flanagan, and he was a guest on my radio show on Friday, September 18. In the interview, we talked about resistance to change and how it affects the job search process.  (Click here to download an mp3 file of the show.)


Holly Kouvo, of FittingFitnessIn, a Personal Trainer and Nutrition Specialist, also worked with David (virtually)during the Midlife Male Makeover Project.  She discusses exercises for building confidence and how to fit fittness in. 


When you lose your job, or are thinking about changing jobs, a lot of resistance can come up around the job search process. For David, being laid off in December 2008 brought up a number of memories and old feelings. He’d been laid off before, and he felt that this time around, with the job market in its current state, that the job search would be “a marathon. Every time you get laid off it’s like starting all over again.”  His age and financial obligations were also an issue for him. “Last time I was laid off, I had two young children. Now I have one kid in college and one going into college. I knew the pressure this layoff would exert on my wife and my kids.”


He knew he needed to make some changes to adapt to the job market and the current times, but when we first started working together his resistance was in high gear. He was comfortable in his experience and approach, and was reluctant to hear that his old way of doing things might not be working so well for him anymore. As he put it, “The minute somebody tries to tell me that they know something different than I do…It’s not that I’m not willing to learn, but I’ve been through a lot.” At the same time, he was experiencing feelings of doubt around his age (he’s in his 50s), his financial situation and home life, and the fact that he hadn’t been maintaining his network in the years prior to his layoff.  All of these fears combined to make David resistant to change.


“I was a chubby shy little kid,” David said. “… I’ve come out of my shell tremendously. But sometimes, you know, despite your best efforts, when you know you do a good job and you’re still laid off…and you start questioning your self-value and your worth and your skills, you start to go back to that place where you once were, starting to doubt yourself, starting to maybe not be shy, but not wanting to speak up, not wanting to bother people, not wanting to depend on people.” 


This type of regression isn’t uncommon in boomers who lose their jobs: like David said, it can feel like starting over. However, in order to move forward, you may need to shift your perspective and/or be willing to let go of old beliefs. Finding a way to accept change has come into your life, rather than being angry or fearful about it, consider the perspective or choice to view this as the first step to opening the doors of possibility. How about considering from the perspective of – all the skills you’ve developed over the years will lead you to the next step in your career path or/and or has prepared you to finally start your own business!  Whatever it is for you, take the time to explore and shift your perspective.  Once the resistance is gone, you can begin to ask the questions that really matter. Creating the right mindset is half the battle in overcoming any difficult situation, whether it’s a job search or some other life transition.


Through our coaching process, David has discovered that he is happiest when he’s advocating for people or a worthy organization, that he feels most fulfilled working in or with government, and that he really can reach out to his network he’s built over the years. He’s rediscovered his strengths and worked through a lot of the fears and negative thinking that were holding him back.


When I asked David where we can find him now, he replied, “Where you can find me is believing again.”


What’s possible for you when you choose to shift your perspective?  


Action Step:  Notice the perspective you’re in about your career right now?  What’s your view point?  Is there a particular response you have when someone asks you, “How’s work?”  or “What do you do?”  When you describe to someone what you do, what do you notice about your body posture?  Are you standing tall or slouchy?  Notice the tone of your voice, are you excited to share or do you exert with low energy?  Are you thriving or surviving?  Something else?  Send me your comments Try on a new perspective for a day. 


September 28th, 2009

Perspective in Career Life Balance

Last week we talked about perspective: what it is, and how it relates to your job search/career change. Now, let’s talk about how you can shift your perspective in all areas of your life.

Have you ever noticed that people who have a positive attitude always manage to turn lemons into lemonade? No matter what happens in their lives, they’re able to take it in stride, and turn a problem into an advantage. Maybe you admire them for this resiliency—or maybe you’re a little jealous of them, and wish that you too could be so optimistic.

The fact is, a positive outlook is not a birthright, but something that can be cultivated. By making changes to your focus, internal language, and even the way you stand and breathe, you can cultivate a positive perspective and reap the benefits in every area of your life.

Here are some tips to help you get started.

  • Stand up straight and smile. Yes, our mothers always told us to do it, but how many of us do? The fact is, it’s hard to feel angry or fearful when you’re standing tall and proud with your chest lifted and your shoulders back.  Take deep breaths into the center of your chest, put a smile on your face, and see how your perspective responds.
  • Cultivate your health: When we’re feeling tired, achy, and dull, it’s hard to keep a positive outlook. Making even simple improvements to your diet and exercise regimen can have an enormous positive impact. Cardiovascular activity, in particular, is a great mood-booster.
  • Shift your internal mantras: A mantra is a saying that we repeat over and over, until it’s ingrained in our subconscious. Think this is only for yogis and Buddhists?  How many times do you say “I’m tired of…” or “I can’t…” or “I’m not…” in the course of a day? These negative, limiting thoughts become your mantras. So when you catch yourself making these statements, try rearranging them to say, “I will…” or “I can…” and see what happens to your perspective.
  • Realize where your roadblocks are. Often, these will come from past life experiences. Track your feelings to find out where fear, guilt, and other negative emotions are blocking your progress. Notice where you have immediate reactions to situations that haven’t even happened yet. When you say, “I know this is going to be awful,” you’re defining your experience before it has a chance to unfold.


You can’t see the cobwebs in the dark corner until you shine a light on them; in the same way, it’s often difficult to pinpoint where a shift in perspective is needed until you know where to look. The more you learn about your own perspectives and how they affect your life, the easier it is to weed out the perspectives that no longer serve you.  One of my jobs as a coach is to help people create shifts in perspective which improve their careers, their lives, and the balance between the two.  So are you ready to shift?

September 17th, 2009

Perspectives in Your Job Search

It’s all a matter of perspective.”

How often have you heard those words spoken about a problem, a political issue, or a personal situation? Maybe you brush them off as a tired old adage—but there’s a lot of truth to them. How you look at things plays a big role in how those things affect your life, in both positive and negative ways.

So what is perspective?

Perspective is defined by Webster’s New World Dictionary as “a specific point of view in understanding or judging things or events, especially one that shows them in their true relations to one another.” The way we see, interpret, and judge people and situations is based on our past experience, our ingrained beliefs, and our current personal situation.

Sometimes, this is to our advantage: we’ve had great experiences in past job searches, so we expect the experience to be the same this time around. Other times, when we’re coming from a perspective of anxiety, doubt, and fear, those emotions color our experiences before we even have them.

Like all things in life, perspectives can change with time, experience, and pure willpower. If your perspective on your job search or career transition has you feeling worried, doubtful, or aggravated, it might be time for a shift.

Here are some ways you can create a change in your job search perspective:

  • Let go of your expectations: sometimes, when we have a set idea of how and where we’ll find our perfect job—for example, saying “I want to work at this company, in this department, for this salary”—we’re actually limiting ourselves, and narrowing our perspective. By changing this internal mantra to something like, “I want to work in a fulfilling career, for a company whose views and policies I respect, and receive a salary commensurate with my worth,” our narrow perspective of what is “perfect” for us no longer shuts out opportunity.
  • Maintain a positive outlook: When we don’t get a callback on an interview, or when we don’t get a response from a company we thought was a perfect fit, our perspective can shift into the negative. Instead of saying “I’m not good enough, I’ll never get a good job,” try saying, “Maybe that wasn’t the perfect job for me, but the perfect job IS out there.”
  • Ask “empowering questions.” Questions like “what’s wrong with me?” and “why aren’t I good enough to get the job I want?” are disempowering. They reinforce a negative perspective that comes from our stress, insecurity, and fear about an uncertain future. When you find yourself asking those types of questions, try turning them around by switching the word “why” with the word “how.” Instead of “why can’t I do this?” ask instead, “how can I do this?” Now, rather than questioning the problem, you’re actively asking for a solution.

Sometimes, it takes an outside perspective to help you see where you’re building walls.

September 14th, 2009

Play to Your Strengths

What is the most important tool for advancement you’ll ever have at your disposal?  Yourself.

Every one of us has innate strengths which make us unique, and uniquely qualified for what we do. Your best resources are the things that come naturally to you, because they’re already there, waiting to be accessed.

Many people undervalue their own abilities, either because they don’t know what they are or because they can’t see how to use them.  Either way, they’re missing out: even the most mundane-seeming skills can, if applied properly, give you the edge you need to get your game plan on a roll – you just have to use them creatively.  If you’re a tech junkie, why not start an e-mail or Blackberry marketing campaign to enhance your company’s visibility? If your friends call you “Betty Crocker” or “Mr. Maître d’”, could you put those hosting skills to work by moderating the next company meeting, or organizing this month’s event for your networking group?  Explore what your career options are using your project management skills. 

Personality traits can also be great assets, if you know how to apply them.  When you consciously recognize your strengths and weaknesses, you can find ways to make every situation work for you.  For example: If you’re a shy, introvert type, you’re probably scared to death of networking, and that’s okay. But instead of fading into a corner at your next event, why not put that brilliant memory of yours to work? Talk to just a few people, but give them all of your attention. While you’re conversing, file away a few bits of information about each person: when you see them again, you’ll have a ready store of conversation-starters, and they’ll feel valued.  It’s all about having the right perspective.  

Action Step: This week, write down at least three of your strongest traits.  Be specific, and be honest. Are you solitary? Sociable?  Are you a risk-taker, or are you more practical? Do you excel in project management or are you more of a conceptual, big picture strategist?  Are you supremely organized, or do the little details drag you down?  Are you a good public speaker? Are you brilliant at math? Regardless of whether these traits are related to your current job field, get them down on paper. These are the tools with which you work every day, even if you don’t realize it.

Now, take one of the traits you’ve written, and come up with a way to use it creatively as part of your game plan.  Try to apply it to an area that’s been frustrating you – you may be surprised by what you come up with!

September 10th, 2009

Autumn Leaves

Change is a constant in our world. Summer is drawing to a close, and soon the leaves on the trees will begin to change their colors. This autumn will be different from summer, which was in turn different from spring.

Even though the seasons repeat every year, they’re different each time. Nothing remains exactly the same. The same goes for our own lives, and our careers. In order to adapt to today’s shifting job market, job seekers and entrepreneurs need to make shifts to stay ahead of the curve.  Like leaves changing their colors, successful people sense when it’s time to make a change, and follow through. 

Autumn is a great time to shift in your career perspective. Change is already in the air, the kids are back in school, the lazy hazy days of August are behind us. So if you’re wondering what your place will be in this new job market, or if you’re determined to find a job that’s a perfect, exact replacement for your old one, it might be time for a little photosynthesis.

Many of us are afraid of change because we think it will undermine our foundations, and leave us floundering. That doesn’t need to be true. A leaf is still a leaf, no matter what color it is—and you’ll still be you, with all your skills and strengths intact, if you shift your perspective to incorporate a new and broader view.

Here are some steps you can take to shift with the season, and get your job search back on track.

  • Consider your skill set: Inventory your strengths and experiences. Ask yourself if these skills can be applied to jobs in a field other than the one you’re currently in (or the one you just left).
  • Educate yourself: When was the last time you took a continuing education course? Candidates whose skills are up-to-date are more likely to be chosen for a job.
  • Notice your internal responses: Brainstorm a list of possibilities for career choices. Notice what your inner voice is saying in response to each. If you’re hearing, “I could never do that,” or, “I don’t want to have to go back to school,” ask yourself why you’re limiting your options. Try not to filter: instead, let your brainstorming session be about possibilities.
  • Remember that you don’t know what you don’t know: Often, we resist change because we think we know the outcome. But unless you have ESP (which most of us don’t), you can’t really know what might happen if you try something new, so…
  • Embrace the possibilities: When you have no preconceived expectations, it’s easier to see opportunities for what they are.  The perfect job for you may not be the one you imagined, but it will still be perfect!

Sometimes, it takes an outside perspective to help you realize where change can be helpful.  If you’re trying to make changes but keep getting stuck, give me a call. I’m always here to help you—and if you’re a new client, your first coaching session is complementary!  Email me to schedule yours CoachDQ

September 3rd, 2009

Back to School

Every year at this time, the kids go back to school, and we begin to settle into our Fall routine. If you’re in a career transition, you may also be thinking about hitting the books again.

You can have too much of a lot of things, but you can never have too much education. In our current job market, it’s more important than ever to be up-to-date on the newest computer programs, techniques, research, and advances in your field.  Web skills are becoming extremely important, especially in industries like direct mail, publishing and printing, where the ways of operating are being totally overhauled. Even the seemingly-indestructible health care industry is shifting.  The more knowledge you accumulate, the wider your skill set becomes, and the broader the range of jobs and careers you’ll be suited for.

Yet some of us, as adults, attach a stigma to going back to school—as if, by realizing that we need or want to further our education, we must also admitting that we’re lacking in some area, or that we made poor decisions in our past. Age is also a big factor for some people: they feel that they’re simply too old to go back to school. We tell ourselves a lot of negative stories, and set up roadblocks for based on our insecurities. But are these really protecting us, or just holding us back?

As human beings, we’re always learning and adapting—and we’ll keep learning and adapting, in one way or another, for the rest of our lives, whether we acknowledge it or not. When I went back to school in my 30s, I felt like I might be too old—until I sat down next to a 65-year-old grandmother in one of my classes. Surrounded by kids a third her age, she wasn’t self-conscious at all; by admitting that she didn’t know everything she wanted to know, she freed herself to learn.

Sometimes, our worries about continuing education are financial—but even these shouldn’t hold us back. There are programs in the recent government stimulus package which delegate money to help adults go back to school.  If you’re currently receiving unemployment benefits, you might also qualify for aid.  And, there are always student loans, grants, and scholarships to help you out (check out the FAFSA site at  If your unemployment benefits are running out extensions may be available click here

In the end, it’s all about perspective. If you find yourself needing to return to school in order to compete in the job market, don’t look at it as a punishment: see it as an opportunity. Not only will you be exposed to new skills and ideas, you might set foot on a completely new path, one you would never have seen otherwise.

August 27th, 2009

Finding Your Balance Point

No one ever lamented on his deathbed that he wished he’d spent more time at the office.

Last week I wrote about ways to tell when your Career-Life scales are out of balance. Now, I’ll show you what you can do about it. Finding balance between your personal and professional lives is one of the best ways to alleviate the stress, guilt, and burnout that comes with a high-powered career and a crazy schedule.

Finding career life balance would be easy if our careers were as understanding and forgiving as our families. But in many cases, if you can’t finish your work in a 40- 50-hour work week, and you don’t put in the extra time to get the job done, you’ll be fired—whereas your family is (probably) not going to fire you for leaving dirty dishes in the sink, or working too late to read a bedtime story.  The unbending demands of work often push the more flexible family time aside, resulting in those unbalanced scales, and a lot of stress.

There are a lot of very successful people who manage to do their entire job in the span of a normal day, and get home in time for the family dinner. This isn’t because they’re superhuman; it’s because they plan carefully, schedule intelligently, and roll with the punches.  They know what their strengths and weaknesses are, and they know what they can and cannot control. Most importantly, they utilize good time management skills.

If you want to become the type of person described above, you need to ask yourself some hard questions, and answer them honestly.

  • What would happen if you performed only the action steps required to complete your tasks?
  • What choices are you making with your time and your controllable decisions?
  • Are your choices in harmony with your core values—like family, personal development, and your long-term career path—or are they simply made in reaction to day-to-day situations?
  • What uncontrollable factors are you allowing to create stress and extra work?
  • What can you stop doing (or start doing) that will allow you to complete your tasks in less time?
  • What are your biggest time killers? How can you reduce or eliminate them?
  • How will shifting your priorities and/or routines affect your work life?
  • How is your attitude about your career life balance affecting that balance?

Use these questions, and your answers, to develop a clearer picture of how you control your tasks, your time, and your world. Like the successful people mentioned above, you can begin to make decisions that support a healthier career life balance. Take small steps to start, and stick with your changes until they become habit.

If you need some more hints on how to discover your own unique career life balance, give me a call! I offer a complementary coaching session for all new clients. What have you got to lose?

August 19th, 2009

A Trip to Chucky Cheese’s is Not a Night Out

I’ve talked a lot lately about finding a new career, prospecting, resume building, and the unique aspects of the current job market. And while those things are vitally important, the foundation of what I teach all my clients can still be summed up in three little words: Career Life Balance.

Sometimes, a job (or a job search) can consume our time and energy until it feels like there’s nothing left for anything else. We become absorbed in the professional side of our lives, in the act of providing for ourselves and our families. But this mentality can dangerously tip the Career-Life scales, so much so that we may not even realize how little weight is given to our family and personal lives.  I know a business owner who didn’t see how far his own scale had tipped until his wife took the kids and left him.

How do you know if your scales are tipped too far?

  • You feel like you don’t see your kids enough
  • You feel like you don’t spend enough time with your spouse or significant other
  • You can’t accomplish routine tasks around your home
  • You can’t remember the last time you had a night off to enjoy with family or friends or for just You!
  • You think about work even when participating in family or social activities

The last point is a conundrum common to anyone who owns a Blackberry. A trip to Chucky Cheese’s with the kids is NOT a family night out if you spend the entire time answering e-mails messages on your smartphone. In order for personal time to be personal, leave the work behind.  

If the thought of being out of contact for more than ten minutes makes your blood run cold, ask yourself why. For many people, the fear is two-faced: first, they’re afraid that they’ll miss some important career-related opportunity or bit of information if they aren’t on call. Second, they’re afraid that if they enjoy their time off too much, or become disconnected from their “work persona,” it will be too hard to face Monday morning.  Finding Career Life Balance means finding a way to deal with these types of fears, and be fully present both at work and at home.

Back-to-school time is a great point at which to begin evaluating the balance in your own life. It’s a time when new systems and schedules are being established—so why not work on your own balance as well? When you make the effort to reset your priorities, you’ll realize what you need to regain your ideal balance.

I’ll have some great tips on how to pare down your workload and find your personal balance point next week. Until then, I’m here to chat if you want to work on your balancing act!

August 17th, 2009

Are you a Savvy Interviewer?

Some good news the US Unemployment Rate dipping down to 9.4%.  Job openings are slightly increasing through my network,  and there is a expected recovery of the executive job market. If you’re ready to take the plunge, and go after that great new job, you need to know how to give a great interview.

Many people feel quite comfortable with their interviewing skills—until they actually get to the interview. Then, all of a sudden, they’re tongue-tied and feel awkward. If you’re contemplating a career change, or recently lost your job and are looking for work, you need to brush up on your interviewing skills. If you’re one of hundreds of applicants, you need to stand out. A great way to do that is with a stellar interview. 

I work with a lot of people who say they interview well. Then, we start role-playing, and they discover that there are a lot of areas where their skills aren’t as solid as they believed. To support this, I am developing a 4-part interviewing module that has natually evolved int a by-product of the BRIDGE Process!  Up your interview savvy!


  • Find common ground and build rapport: Find similar interests or experiences between yourself and the person or people you’re interviewing with. You can establish commonalities during the interview, or beforehand by researching your interviewer(s) online.


  • Establish how you align with the position you’re seeking: Make sure you understand the job requirements completely. If the posting is vague (and they usually are), ask the interviewer for specifics.


  • Align yourself with the requirements of the role: Communicate how your particular experience, education, and skill set make you a perfect candidate for this job. Be honest, and be prepared to provide details.


  • Gather feedback: You want to get feedback from each interviewer after the conclusion of your meeting. Does your interviewer think you’re a good fit for the position? Do they think you’re a good fit for their corporate culture? Don’t be afraid to ask direct questions.

August 11th, 2009

How to Handle the Salary Question

For most people, ‘money talk’ is one of the most uncomfortable parts of any interview.  It’s hard to put a price on your professional worth, and harder still when you feel you have to justify that worth to a near-stranger who holds your future in their hands. For many, the mere thought of it is enough to make their palms sweat.
The salary question doesn’t have to be a big uncomfortable ordeal. Remember, you deserve to be fairly compensated for your time and your skills. The trick is to go into the interview not only knowing what you’re worth—but knowing as well what kind of money other people in your position are making.
It use to be rare for the salary question to come up in the first interview. Now most companies ask you to state your annual earnings on the application. Human Resources usually uses salary as a way to qualify and disqualify perspective candidates. It is not uncommon you’ll sit down with a straight-shooter who’ll ask the money questions right off the bat, so it’s best to go in prepared.
Here are some tips:

    • Research! A few hours (or less) of internet research should reveal a salary range for positions like the one you want in similarly-sized companies. If possible, research benefits as well; if your new company doesn’t offer health insurance, for example, you’ll have to build that additional cost into your salary requirements. and are two popular sites I refer to clients on a regular basis.

    • Geography is key, especially if you’re relocating. A modest salary in New York might seem like a king’s ransom in Kansas, and vice versa. Again, it comes back to research: know your market.
    • Try not to talk about money right away.  If you can, deflect the salary question until you’re absolutely certain the company wants to hire you. This puts you in a must better position to negotiate.

When it comes time to negotiate, (my favorite part) always have three offer senerios ready. Of course you want to start with your highest senerio first.

    • Work with your recruiter. If you were referred to the interview through a recruiter, the best way to address salary is to say, “I understand, based on the information I received from my recruiter, that I fall within the salary range for this position.”
    • Don’t give an exact number. No matter how bluntly your interviewer states the question, don’t commit to a figure until you’re sure they want to offer you the job, and you sit down at the bargaining table. If you must, provide a range based on your research and be sure to specify if you’re in the high end of that range. Then follow that statement with stating other factors that are more important to you than money, if applicable. For some clients I’ve worked with over the years, working in the right culture and having a short commute is more important to them than base salary.


Remember, you don’t have to give a concrete salary range just because your interviewer brings it up. When asked, “What salary range are you looking for?” you might reply: “I’m very interested in learning more about this position, based upon what I’ve learned so far it feels like a good fit for my background and experience and I am confident you’ll present me with a fair offer. I would like to have the opportunity to meet other team members and learn more about your biggest challenge.” Or, you might say, “I appreciate that you’ve asked me this, but I’d prefer to learn more about your company and the position before I give you a salary range.” Or, you might just say, “I’ll consider your strongest offer.” This isn’t an evasion tactic: it’s a smart move. It makes it clear that money is not the number one reason you’re interested in this position, and that you’re flexible enough to work with the company to come to a mutually beneficial agreement. Be prepared to negotiating, most people are afraid to ask, the worse they can say is no. In all the years I’ve been doing this only one client, ONE received nothing. Others have negotiated perks such as; gas cards, gym memberships, flex time, working from home a couple days, work from home two weeks of the month, work in the office two weeks of the month. Get creative! I work with clients to customize their negotiating strategies and offer a one time salary negotiating coaching meeting. Call or email me to futher discuss. Prepare to ask.

“Losing a game is heartbreaking.  Losing your sense of excellence or worth is a tragedy.” – Joe Paterno, Contemporary American College Football Coach

August 6th, 2009

Job Search Resources

Remember the days when all you had to do to find a job was open the newspaper and flip to the classified ads?

Well, things have changed a lot since then. First there were the online job search engines like and Now, savvy hiring managers are taking advantage of social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter to find their perfect candidates.  If you’re not up on the latest trends, you could be missing out on a lot of potential positions.

Twitter is the hot new place to find jobs, but there are a lot of job resources within the Twitter network, and you can spend a lot of time trying to navigate them if you’re unfamiliar. So if you’re unsure where to begin, here are a few suggestions.  (If you have any issues getting to these links we hope twitter will restored real soon.)

  • @authenticjobs: “An astutely savvy blend of talent and opportunity.” This is a great place to start a search for a creative job. If you’re in web design, graphic design, or software development, you’ll find plenty of exciting opportunities here. Many of the positions offered are freelance, so it’s also a good resource for self-employed professionals. If you’re looking for an executive or administrative position, however, this may not be the site for you.
  • @indeed: “One search. All jobs.” This site is similar in size to or other major job search engines, and really does offer all types of listings. A search for jobs within 25 miles of Providence, RI pulled up more than 10,000 listings, with salary ranges from 20K to 100K+.
    • @simplyhired: “Job search site.” has won awards from Forbes, Time Magazine, PC Magazine, and many other organizations. The site has tools you can use to identify trends and research salaries.
    • @juicyjobs: “A green job search board which offers free job listing.” Although most of these jobs are in the UK, JuicyJobs is a great resource for anyone looking to take their career in a “green” direction.
    • Get a complete list of the best places on twitter when you take my BRIDGE Job Search Strategies Tele-course.

The great thing about using Twitter for your job search is that you can “follow” the job search companies and get real-time updates whenever new jobs are posted. You can also follow contacts at the companies you’re interested in, and get the inside scoop on company culture.

When you use social media in your job search, you’re networking and researching at the same time! If you’re confused about how to use Twitter, or if you get stumped, you can always give me a call at 508-520-9933 or email me at

August 5th, 2009

6 Myths About Job-Hunting in a Recession

by Cherie Berkley,, Yahoo! HotJobs

Just when you thought the job market couldn’t get worse, there is more
news about company pink slips, hiring freezes, and benefit slashes. If
you are one of the thousands tasked to find a job in these dire
economic times, all is not lost. Hopefully, you can move more quickly
from the unemployment line to a job offer once you get past these six
common myths about job-hunting during a recession.


Myth 1: No one is hiring.
Layoffs are coming in every direction, but some employers — even
those laying off workers — are still hiring. Companies often
eliminate full-time employees with budget-busting benefits only to
replace them with contractors or consultants to save costs.
Additionally, “green” jobs, and health care jobs are among those still
actively populating want ads. And, the pay is respectable. For
instance, shows the median annual salary of an
environmental engineer with 3-5 years experience is $60,672.


Myth 2: The Internet is the best place to find jobs.
The Internet is an efficient way to survey jobs among many companies,
but personal interaction is still key to job search success. Truth is,
employers are bombarded with thousands of resumes from the Internet —
especially in a recession. Therefore, the chance that your new boss
will choose your resume out of a pile of prospects is slimmer than
ever. Instead, focus on finding a position, apply for it, and then do
some research and connect personally with a hiring manager in the
company to follow-up. Social networking sites, such as LinkedIn, also
offer a great way to connect with targeted employees on your company
dream list. These connections are golden because they can give you
insider info about unpublished positions and help you sail past HR
“blockers.” Personal recommendations go much farther in landing a job
than random resumes.


Myth 3: Searching companies in hiring freezes is a waste of time.
Like many situations in life, hiring freezes are not absolute. Savvy
networking, the right face-to-face meeting, and the ability to sell
skills critical to the prospective company can be the perfect formula
for lighting a fire under an employer in a hiring freeze. Behind
closed doors, hiring managers are told to make exceptions for
spectacular candidates that can show them the money, especially in a
recession when every dollar counts.


Myth 4: Expect a salary cut.
In hard times, companies value astute problem-solvers more than ever.
While employers may trim the fat elsewhere, there is always room in
the budget for top-tier talent. However, during a competitive job
market, there is a bigger burden to prove you are worth a higher
salary, says John Challenger, CEO of Challenger, Gray & Christmas.
Ultimately, companies want their talent investments to pay off — and
stick around. “If an employer goes to the expense, time, and effort to
find a qualified candidate, it wants the person to stay, ” Challenger
adds. The last thing an employer wants is for a prized candidate to
temporarily accept a lower salary than her previous salary and say
“hasta la vista” once the job market recovers.


Myth 5: Companies are not interested in hiring people over age 55.
There are several reasons Challenger, Gray & Christmas disputes the
adage that older employees are unemployable. In a struggling economy,
employers value seasoned workers’ shorter learning curves (aka: less
money invested in employee training) and their ability to do the work
of several younger, less-seasoned workers. Separately, like a fine
wine, experienced employees who are surgeons, accountants, attorneys,
engineers, and IT professionals get better with time. Clients
gravitate to more experienced employees in these professions. This
adds up to more cha-ching for employers.


Myth 6: Experience and advanced degrees guarantee a job.
While experience and education have their plusses, they aren’t
guarantees to landing a job. In a deep recession, experienced and
degreed people come a dime a dozen. “It is very important to sell your
world experience, your concrete accomplishments, and expertise; things
that make an impact on the company rather than just your knowledge,”
Challenger says. Research what skills the employer values most in
order to tailor your sales pitch accordingly, Challenger adds. And,
because the market is so tight, though you are experienced, someone
with more experience is likely applying for the same job. Take time to
create your brand image and sell, sell, sell!

Are myths like these holding you back from advancing in your career or finding a new position?   Ready to learn more strategies to create your brand image, accelerate your career, and reduce the amount of time it takes to land your dream job even in a recession.  Take the BRIDGE and bridge the gap from where you  are now to where you  want to be in almost half the time.

August 3rd, 2009

Vice President of Engineering

Company is the premier business information search engine with information on over 45 million people and 5 million companies.  Their  search engine continuously crawls the Business Web – the millions of company websites, news feeds and other online sources – and identifies information on people, companies, products, services and industries.  Their tool then organizes this information into fresh, comprehensive, objective and easy-to-read profiles.

This tool is one of the most sophisticated automatic content generation systems in the world.


This position is based in Waltham, MA and reports directly to the President, and works closely with the company’s founder, CEO and Chief Scientist. To supplement its growing and profitable business, the company is in the midst of developing and releasing a slew of ground-breaking new products and technologies which will become their core growth engine in years to come. Product and technology development is key to the company’s continued success and accelerated growth, and the Vice President of Engineering position is critical to the scope, quality, feature set, timeliness and ultimately the success of these new offerings.

The Vice President of Engineering will be a key member of the management team and critical to the business growth strategies and strategic positioning of the firm.

Responsibilities will include:

 Provide leadership and growth to the engineering team and hire top notch engineers and managers to expand the team.
 Foster a highly collaborative team environment.
 Work as a member of the executive management team to identify business drivers, product market requirements and competitive issues that may impact product development strategies and tactics.
 Define and execute effective, efficient and rapid product development processes to deliver high quality products, on time and under budget.
 Prioritize and allocate technology resources among competing needs.

The Vice President of Engineering will be responsible for:

Data Acquisition & Production

A new data production infrastructure supporting:
 Continuous improvement in algorithms to increase data accuracy, freshness and coverage.
 Automated tools to support uniform integration of data from various sources, including user contributed and partner contributed data.
 Publishing of new profiles within minutes of extraction from any source.
 Ability to track and alert on any change in the data. Creating a timeline of changes for each Person or Company entity.
 An Outlook Plug-in to extract data from contributing users.

Data Delivery

 A highly trafficked site, currently at 5M unique visitors a month, to be scaled to support more traffic and to continuously improve response time. The site will support sophisticated tracking and A/B testing tools to direct undifferentiated traffic to different venues to maximize value of each visitor to the tool, either as a contributor of data or a paying customer.
 Develop a new Web 2.0 collaborative site where users can contribute data, sign up for alerts, track their own or their company’s profile, download an Outlook Plug-in, buy data by the drink or sign up for a monthly subscription.
 Building the infrastructure for Data Cleansing products, leveraging the timeline of changes created by the new data production system.
 Building the foundation for Data as a Service platform that can revolutionize CRM and other Enterprise applications.
 Flexible new Search platform to return highly relevant information while simplifying the query process.


The successful candidate for the Vice President of Engineering will have:

 Minimum 10 years leading engineering teams and managing and directing software development projects, with 5+ years of rapidly evolving web products.
 Strong business acumen with a proven capacity to broadly interact with all functional groups with a company.
 A proven track record in the delivery of software products with proven commercial success.
 Experience in building and managing a passionate and high-performing development team of 30 or more people.
 Background and experience in algorithms, data analysis, statistics or data mining a big plus with a strong understanding of the following technologies:
o Java, J2EE, JMS
o Spring, Struts, Hibernate
o AJAX, JavaScript
o SQL server or MySQL
o .NET, C#, C++ helpful
 Superior leader with excellent management and communication skills and an infectious positive attitude
 A cross-functional team player who drives business solutions that exceed expectations and enhance relationships across the company
 BS degree in Computer Science or equivalent from a top school. Graduate degree is a plus.

 Contact me if you think you may be qualified

July 29th, 2009

Creating Case Studies

Last week I talked about how to make your resume stand out from the crowd. Now, let’s go even deeper.

Before you even begin to put your resume together, consider gathering some case studies—instances from your own professional life that showcase your value to prospective employers.

For example, let’s say that you worked on a project last year where you established deadlines with your client. Then, your company went through a merger or transition, and the deadlines were suddenly no longer in accordance with the original plan. You, and your team, had to readjust to make things workable for everyone, and keep the client happy. How did you shine in this process? 

How did you show the type of leadership, resourcefulness, and flexibility that your new employer might be looking for? These are the kinds of questions a case study answers.

Instead of panicking when things got complicated, let’s say you went immediately to your department head to work out a new calendar, and then prioritized each project item according to the new timeline. In the end, thanks to your resourcefulness, your team delivered the final product two days ahead of schedule. Plus, you saved your company 10% by negotiating with a new vendor. 

Whether it’s bringing in more money, changing processes to streamline operations, coming in ahead of schedule on a deadline, or building a team that really went the distance, your professional accomplishments are probably more numerous than you think. Think back and pick specific instances to focus on, then list your actions and decisions step by step in chronological order. Your case studies might be just a series of notes or bulleted items, or they might read like narratives. The format doesn’t matter: what matters is that you’re using the process to familiarize yourself with your own “brag sheet.”

Once you have three or four solid case studies, try to wrap them into your resume. You can do this by dropping hints in the descriptive section of your employment history, or building keywords into your summary. The point is, you want the hiring manager who interviews you to ask about these specific instances—and when they do, you’ll have your talking points rehearsed and ready to go. If you get nervous in interviews, you can even bring your case studies with you and read from them. (However, you don’t want to include them in your resume package: until your interviewer is interested, they’ll just be clutter.)  

Don’t think of your case studies as self-centered bravado. It’s hard, I know: sometimes acknowledging your own accomplishments is much harder than acknowledging your failings. But even if it’s an uncomfortable process at first, building case studies can help you target and hone your resume, streamline the interview process, and make it clear to a hiring manager that you’re prepared, detail-oriented, and not afraid to shine.

 [B1]Link here to previous post

July 27th, 2009

Are You Selling Yourself Short?

Remember in the movie Glengarry Glen Ross (a flick with an admittedly harsh approach but lots of valid points too) when Alec Baldwin’s character, Blake, talks about the ABC’s of sales – Always Be Closing?

Part of the close is the pitch. And when it comes to your career, the most important sales pitch you’ll ever make is the one that involves selling you! That pitch starts WAY before the interview.

Regardless of whether you are trying to position yourself as the best candidate for a new job, the job you have now and want to hold onto or the one on the next rung of the ladder in your current company, it’s in your best interest to consciously “Always Be Closing.”

That includes a lot more stuff than you probably ever thought to consider.  Here’s a short list:

  • Your personal appearance: does it match the “norm” for your industry?
  • Is your resume: current? free of typos? talk about results or just tasks?
  • How’s your handshake:  assertive, aggressive, wimpy?
  • Do you make eye contact when speaking face-to-face?
  • What about your follow up habits: do you return emails and phone calls promptly and professionally?
  • How do your networking habits measure up: are you genuine and sincere? do you offer referrals before you ask for them? and are they quality referrals or perfunctory?

This is just the tip of the iceberg!  If your career isn’t on the path you had in mind, could be you’re sabotaging yourself with parts of your “pitch.”   The BRIDGE job search strategies process can help you see how you might be selling yourself short and give you the tools to turn that around.
But you don’t need to take my word for it, decide for yourself when I offer a sneak peek into the process during this free call.

Two of the greatest elements of success are decisiveness and action.   So, my coaching challenge to you is to implement those elements and register now.   The call will be recorded and you’ll get the link the next day so you can listen at your leisure.   So, even if you have a schedule conflict, go ahead and register.

Just imagine, you could be hanging out on the beach AND sharpening the saw while listening to the recording on your iPod!  Register now and keep yourself on the career fast track and a step ahead of your competition!

July 22nd, 2009

Resume Formatting

A powerful resume can make the difference between getting hired and getting no response!

Due to the current economy, there’s been a shift in the ratio of resumes to job openings. More people are after the same jobs, and hiring managers are being bombarded with resumes—most of which are from under- or over-qualified candidates, or from people whose job experience only narrowly matches the description. Often, managers do no more than scan a resume before moving on, so if your resume doesn’t hold up at first glance, it will probably end up in the trash.

A few of my own tips for creating a resume that works…

  • Make it easy to read! Funky fonts and artwork might work for someone in a creative field, but if the resume isn’t readable at a quick glance, it’s not going to do its job – Get their attention! 


  • Know your target. Learn about the company you’re submitting to. If you have experience which matches aspects of that culture (i.e., the company is launching a new Green product, and you have experience with FDA Organic certifications) make sure you mention it. 


  • Don’t use “objectives” unless you’re a recent college grad. Your resume is not designed to tell your prospective employer what you want to do, but what you’ve already done.  Also, stating specific objectives can narrow the focus of your resume, and if you’re not clear on the true nature of the position you’re after (which most people aren’t, prior to the first interview), targeted objectives might actually rule you out for the role.  The person reviewing the resumes might say, great experience but according to his objective he wants…. 


  • You need a professional profile statement, a summary statement, or an executive summary. These opening paragraphs encapsulate who you are and what you do. This is the place for generalized statements and keywords like problem-solving, creative, motivated, etc. Save the details for later in the resume – but make sure you follow up on any assertions you make in the profile statement or summary. (There’s a great example of a summary statement in the article linked below.) 


  • Use bullets vs. paragraphs. Bullet points put the important information at the forefront, so it’s easier for busy managers to scan. 


  • Don’t be afraid to create more than one resume. Hiring managers look at enough resumes that they can tell when one is generic. Even if your “professional experience” section remains the same, your profile statement or summary should be targeted to the specific position you’re after, and make mention of specific qualities which are vital to succeeding in the job.

Above all, remember that your resume represents you on paper. If it’s lackluster and mediocre, the person reading it may think the same is true of you as well. Take the time to Be clear, make it outstanding, and let it lead the way to a successful career path that’s meaningful and fulfilling, challenging, yet flexible and intellectually stimulating.  Why not?  You only get one life!   


One of the biggest reasons your job search may be taking longer than you’d hoped is because you lack clarity about whom you’re targeting.  I conducted a survey to see what was going on in the job market, and the results were astounding. 96% of respondents said they don’t have a career plan, but about 50% are actively involved in a job search! (Read more survey results here.)


In a market like this, it’s more important than ever to have a resume that speaks to your target audience, and which accurately and clearly communicates your professional and personal strengths.

In my upcoming BRIDGE for Job Search Tele-class, I’ll talk about how to use your resume to land the job you’re looking for.  Get a taste of the BRIDGE Job Search Tele-class!   Join me for a FREE preview Tele-Seminar! Click here for details.


More great tips on resume formatting see which breaks down the process into step-by-step “Decisions” so it’s easy to understand and follow.  (Check out the article here.)

July 20th, 2009

Product Marketing Director opening in Mass to $110K

We are looking for a person who has been in a similar role for just a few years (3-5) and is ready to move to the next level. Online experience is a must. Compensation will be $90-110K base plus 15% bonus. This person will work in the company’s Boston based office.

Product Marketing Manager

The company’s roots are in digital publishing, where it has been long recognized as an innovator. Now, the company is bringing its technology into the broader corporate marketing realm. Since its founding in 2006, they’ve helped more than 2,000 organizations in 35 countries engage readers online.

The Director of Product Marketing is responsible for coordinating and developing all customer facing collateral materials as well as positioning the company in the market and contributing to the generation of demand for its products.

The Product Marketing Director will be responsible for:
• Working closely with product management to better understand product features, functionality, and customer benefits and ensuring product rollouts are effectively targeted and marketed
• Identifying and removing obstacles to market success by developing and delivering product training to the sales team and production of sales tools/collateral for products, including datasheets, FAQs, product feature tours, white papers, case studies, etc.
• Developing and delivering comprehensive internal product launch materials – collateral, training presentations, FAQs, feature tours, etc – to internal departments (support, corporate/management, development, etc.)
• Oversee the planning and execution of product marketing activities in the areas of messaging and positioning, segmenting and targeting, and collateral —from initial development of a comprehensive Messaging Kit, to ongoing cross-functional meetings tracked by a marketing schedule
• Analyzing and reporting on the competitive landscape within the product line and industry
• Creating market awareness of the product lines and unique advantages of the products
• Working with the Marketing Manager to align overall company branding and messaging
• Being the leading product expert, thought leader and evangelist for all external audiences including prospects, analysts and the media
• Providing the sales organization with highly effective sales presentations, tools and training on selling, and assistance as needed
• Supporting strategic sales opportunities by presenting and demonstrating products for internal (sales, executives) and external parties (customers, industry leaders, press, analysts).
• Partnering with Product Management to develop and drive a strong roadmap to illustrate the vision of the product
• Building the product marketing team over time
• Continually seek new ways of improving existing processes or introduce new processes to bring efficiency and value to the business
The following is a subset of the many facets of activities that the Director of Product Marketing will be conducting:
• Convert product technical features into customer centric feature/function collateral
• Develop customer centric positioning of the solution
• Develop all the product related tools/collateral to enable the sales team to have a higher conversion rate from opportunity to close
• Be a resource for the sales team to leverage in support of key prospect opportunities
• Deliver to the demand generation team timely and highly impactful content for use through various marketing channels
• Create and maintain a corporate blog, and drive a program for the creation and contribution to many employee driven blogs
• Work with Product Management to develop various customer personas and use cases, and leverage those to develop customer case studies, competitive advantage statements and vertically oriented messaging and positioning.

The ideal candidate will have 3-5 years experience:
• Deep experience in marketing SaaS based B2B software/service
• Strong online marketing and Web2.0 experience
• Marketing to marketers

Qualified candidates will have the following attributes and competencies:
• A “Do’er” and not a manager
• Excellent writing skills
• Excellent marketing skills
• Tenacious, agile and willing to do what it takes to drive demand and revenue


Tell her DQ sent you :)

Elizabeth A. Sheridan, Executive Recruiter
Phillip Madison Associates
New York, NY
work: (917) 596-2167 fax: (646) 833-7018

July 20th, 2009

There is no such thing as job security.

Does this sound at all familiar?  When Bob (not his real name but an actual client) and I first met, in his words he was, “underpaid, unfulfilled, didn’t really know what he wanted or how to sell himself.”  These are not unusual comments to me.  In fact, it’s the kind of thing I hear from people almost everyday.  After Bob and I worked together using my BRIDGE job search process he reported having, “a better knowledge of strengths and weaknesses and the confidence to sell myself in any situation.” 

Bob landed a position with an 80% (that’s right, eight – oh) increase in salary as a result of putting the BRIDGE process to work.
There was a time when you could get a degree, land a job with a company that would “take care of you,” stay there for 25 years and retire with a nice pension.  That scenario only exists in the pages of employment history books now.
These are the facts now:

  • At any given time 50% of the workforce is actively seeking a job or career change.
  • On average, people change jobs 11 times before age 36
  • At last count (May 2009) there were 2.6 million job openings in the US.
  • During the last 12 months job separations have exceeded hires.

What does all that mean? 

  • It means that either you or the guy or gal standing next to you is actively looking for a job right now. 
  • The life expectancy of most positions is about 3 years – either by your choice or someone else’s.
  • It also means that while there are plenty of jobs to be had, those in charge of hiring are being a whole lot more selective about who they choose to hire and hold onto.
  • There is no such thing as job security. You create your own!

The first step to getting what you want lies in knowing what you want.  Becoming laser-clear about what you want from your current position or the next one is the first step in my BRIDGE job search strategy process.
If you can relate to Bob’s situation when we met; if you want more but aren’t sure how to make it happen; if you are less than crystal clear about where you want your career to be three years from now, then you’ll want to join me for this free teleclass to learn how you can transform your work and life like Bob did.

July 16th, 2009

Making A Difference Through Self-Awareness

I’ve talked a lot recently about taking an inventory of your skills, and using this information to help you choose a career path. Now it’s time to go a little deeper.

Who are you? What motivates you? Where do your core interests lie? How do you interact with others? What are you afraid of, and how does it limit you? When you delve a little deeper into the “why” and “what” of yourself, you can make career-related decisions that will benefit not only you but those around you.  Hint – (Trust that the how will come once you figure out the what!)


Where to start?  Well, to start, having a positive mind set  is contagious. When you have the mindset that you make a difference , you’re unique in your work and in your life, it gives you a sense of fulfillment you might not otherwise experience. This doesn’t have to mean that you’re touching millions of lives with your philanthropic work, or that you’re sharing your ideas with the world on national broadcast television. (Although if that’s your direction, go for it!) You’re making a difference as a, marketer, creative director or sales professional, by ensuring that a great new eco-friendly product reaches the consumers who will buy it.  You’re making a difference as a CPA by ensuring that your clients don’t get bilked by the IRS. You’re making a difference as a restaurant manager by helping to give people a place where they can relax and enjoy the pleasures of succulent food and fully bodied wine. Everyone, from the janitor to the CEO, makes a difference in one way or another. It’s all in how you look at it.


If you’re feeling stuck in your current career or in your job search, you might be suffering from lack of inspiration. Perhaps you’re a people person, and your job keeps you stuck in a lonely cubicle. Maybe you’re a numbers guy—an Executor, if you read my e-zine article a few weeks ago (sign up here)— struggling in your role as a Creator, or a “big ideas” guy. When your passions aren’t engaged in your work, it’s hard to stay motivated.

So how do you develop self-awareness?  Here are some ideas.

  • What do you love to do? Do you harbor a secret passion for outdoor retreats? Are you a born marketer or have an eye for  photography? Skilled with facilitating?  Does the thought of travel make your heart beat faster, or do you prefer your own backyard? Make a list of your top ten activities; then, look for commonalities. If you thirst for adventure, you probably won’t feel fulfilled by a job that keeps you at your desk all day. On the other hand, if you prefer to have more career life balance, a job that requires a lot of travel might make you feel nervous and imbalanced.


  • What did you love when you were a kid? What sports did you play, and why did you love them? Who were your favorite playmates (real or imaginary)? What were your favorite books and movies?  Make a list of your top 10 childhood loves (or as many as you can remember), and look for the similarities. If you were a daydreamer, constantly lost in a land of fairy princesses and magic wands, chances are you won’t be content in a job that doesn’t require creative thinking in some capacity.  If you were a builder, always digging in the dirt and building towers with Legos and Lincoln Logs, you might find fulfillment in a job where you can put your hands on concrete results.


  • How do you deal with problems? Do you work things out through talking about them, or hashing them out on paper? Do you confront situations head-on, or are you afraid of confrontation?  If you don’t like confrontation, the sales and marketing field may not be for you.


  • What are your top priorities? Make a list of things that really matter to you, and put them in order. Some possibilities are security, family, achievement, recognition, independence, creativity, spirituality, and inner growth. Now, write down how you manifest these things. For example: “security” might mean simply having enough money to pay the bills, or it might mean leaving a financial legacy for your children and grandchildren. “Achievement” might mean winning a new client, or building something tangible for the world to see.  Knowing what your basic priorities are can help you decide on a career direction.  If you’re a person who relishes security and stability, a career as an international journalist might not be for you. If you crave independence, you may feel more fulfilled as an entrepreneur than you would in a corporate setting.

“Know thyself” is a well-used aphorism, but it’s a very true one. When you really know yourself, you can begin to make choices that speak to your deepest needs and wants. Once those needs and wants are met, you have more energy and drive to help your family, friends, and coworkers achieve their goals.  You can make a difference, both in your own life and the lives of others, because you’re in tune with what drives you, and what sustains you.

Want to learn more about how coaching can help you work with your core values? I will offer more values-based exercises this month, so tune in to hear me LIVE on Fridays at 9:05 EST on To download archives of the radio show, go to and click on the “quick links” section—Radio Shows/Podcasts.   For values click on the show titled “Secrets from a Recruiter”  Until next time.  Make it  a great one!

July 16th, 2009

Communication Styles

Communication Styles

There are five distinct communication styles which you’ll see in the workplace.

  • Creators generate new ideas and concepts, and are generally “big picture” people. Some might call them “visionaries.” Generally, they’re not detail-oriented, and may become frustrated when they have to “sweat the small stuff.”
  • Advancers take the ideas generated by the Creators and carry them forward. They add depth and breadth to a vision or concept.  They build action items and apply boundaries to focus or target a project. They’re also great HR people, since they tend to focus on and facilitate human relationships.
  • Refiners analyze ideas and processes for flaws, and are the executors of the ideas put forth by the Creators. They’re generally detail-oriented, and don’t like to work without definitive guidelines in place. Without a clear direction, they often focus too much on the details, and can lose sight of the goal.
  • Executors deliver results. They’re the people who finish what the Creators start. They’re great with wrapping up the final details or organizing multiple areas of a project, and are usually practical and pragmatic. They’re also the people who pay attention to the bottom line.
  • Flexors are those people who fit comfortably into one or more of the styles described above. They’re flexible (as their title implies) and can shift easily between roles when needed. They also tend to get a bit bored when they’re asked to perform the same task over and over.


The theory of communications styles presented above comes from the DISC Profile Assessment I use when working with my clients. To see a sample of this assessment, click here to contact me.

Based on the descriptions above, can you tell what type you are? How do your strengths help you in your professional life? How can you use your knowledge of your type—and the types of others—to help you become a more effective networker (or Netweaver, if you read that article) and build connections that support your goals?

Often, when we dislike a job, it’s because that job is not suited to our particular communication style. For example, a Creator may feel stifled in a field like accounting, which requires attention to detail and adherence to established guidelines, while a Refiner might shine in the same position. On the other hand, the Creator may be much more comfortable in a field like venture capitalism, which requires “big” thinking and risk-taking. If you’re unhappy in your current position, ask yourself if what you’re doing is suited to your communication style.  If not, ask yourself how you can modify your job structure so that it suits your style. If you’re looking for a new job, focus on fields and positions that play to your strengths.

A diversity of communication styles gives any team a winning edge, since everyone can utilize their strengths to move the project forward.  If you’re interested in having your team assessed, or in learning more about your personal communication style, you can click here

July 13th, 2009

BRIDGE Job Search Survey Results and Insights

What a beautiful weekend we had in and around Boston! But regardless of the weather, when Sunday night rolls around, unless you’re on vacation, you start to think about back to work on Monday morning.

Pause for a second and notice what you felt when you read the part about “back to work.” If it brought up anything unpleasant or uncomfortable, according to the results from the job search survey I just took, you are not alone.

Here’s some of what the survey revealed.

~ Not everyone is unhappy with their current work situation. But everyone is unhappy with at least some aspect of it: compensation, level of challenge, opportunity for growth, etc.

~ About half of the working world is actively involved in a job search on some level.

~ And – get this – 96% of everyone who responded (searchers and non-searchers alike) said they don’t have a career plan.

No written goals! That’s like sailing without a rudder; a pleasant trip until rough waters hit and you have no control over your destination and may even wind up sunk!

Here’s a coaching challenge: If you’re one of those people who is sailing through your career without a rudder, click here  and send me a private message or leave a comment if you don’t mind going public, and let tell me the single biggest thing or reason or obstacle that keeps you from having a written career plan.

It won’t cost you a cent, it will only take about 3 minutes and it may just cause a great big “Ah-ha” moment that could move you closer getting a rudder in your career water.

July 9th, 2009

Living In The Moment

It’s easy to say “live in the moment,” but it can be pretty hard to actually do it.  Our minds like to move forwards and backwards—sometimes both at the same time—rather than staying still and focused on the here and now.

As both a certified career coach and life coach, one of the things I try to do and encourage in my clients is a sense of being present. In fact, I was working with someone just last week who was struggling with this issue. His mind was preoccupied with what he could have done differently, what he should be doing differently in the future, what he wanted to do versus what he believed he could do… All of these thoughts were taking him  out of “today.”  He was having trouble formulating his next step because he didn’t have a firm idea of where he stood.  When he realized that he was creating his own unease, he was able to relax and take a more objective look at his current situation.

When you don’t live in the moment, it’s rather like standing in a long tunnel. You can see light at either end, behind you and in front of you. You might even catch some glimpse of what’s going on outside—but you’ll have no idea what’s right under your feet. Not only can this make it more likely that you’ll make a misstep and skin your knee, you could walk right past a golden opportunity and have no idea you’ve missed it.  When you become present, it’s like flipping on the light switch.

When you’re in the process of changing direction with your business or moving forward in your current job, living in the moment becomes really important. Opportunities are all around us, every day. But when we’re lost in the world of “could’ve-should’ve-would’ve,” they’re easy to miss. Often, when we’re in an uncomfortable position—like when we’re between jobs or when we’re unhappy with our boss—we try to escape the here and now by looking forward or backward. But because neither the past nor the future give us firm ground for plans and progress, this mental escapism doesn’t do us much good.  When we take each day as it comes, we’re more likely to see the good in a situation, and more likely to seize opportunity when it presents itself. On the other hand, living in the future makes it hard to be objective, and you may overlook an opportunity because it doesn’t look the way you imagined your opportunity should look.

In our personal lives, we also run to the past or the future, and in doing so we miss a lot of good stuff. For example, if you spend your entire day off thinking about all the work you have to do when you go back to work, you probably won’t be able to relax and have fun with your family. Or, if you think too much about someone who’s hurt you in the past, or something you feel guilty about, you’re transposing the past onto the present, and coloring today’s page with yesterday’s marker.

In a way, my career as a coach has prepared me for my new role as a foster parent. Knowing that my foster son might be returned to his birth parents at any moment makes living in the moment really important. When I’m with him, I don’t think about how painful it will be to lose him: I try to think about how wonderful it is to have him with us. There’s no such thing as permanence in life; there’s only right now. If I spent my time with my foster son worried about the future, I’d miss a lot of great moments.

Your action step this week is to consciously bring your thoughts back to the present. When you find yourself saying, “I wish… had been different,” or “when this happens, I’ll…” try to come back to the here and now, and say instead, “Today, I am…” You may be surprised what you learn about where you are right now.  If you’re craving change, make a list of things you want to improve, and then list five things you can do right now to help you reach those goals.

You can also try this daily exercise to help you return to the moment.  For 5 minutes, sit quietly, eyes closed, and simply hold the word “be” in your mind.  Do your best to open to the experience of just this moment. Don’t think about what “be” is; just try to open your whole awareness to the experience of it. Don’t worry about doing it wrong. When your mind wanders, just come back to the word “be.” Before you open your eyes, notice how you feel.

If you need more inspiration, you can read this great article from ZenHabitats at

The International Coach Federation (ICF) defines coaching as “partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.” (See ICF’s Code of Ethics.) If learning how to live in the moment is what you need to succeed, I’m here to help! Just give me a call!

June 26th, 2009

VP Sales ~ Application Security & Compliance

My good friend Elizabeth asks “Can you recommend someone for this VP Sales, Americas position? (Application Security and Compliance / Application Risk Management SaaS firm)

An opportunity for a Massachusetts based, VP Sales:
This venture funded, (Application Security and Compliance / Application Risk Management SaaS firm) has routinely been recognized as a leader over the last 5 years.

We are searching for a Sales Executive to build and lead the sales organization. This person has to be a very strong sales person and leader from the information security sector. Career management, job history and track record must be solid. The VC firm we are working with is looking for an impressive presence and education.
Compensation will likely be in the $150-175K base range, $300K OTE

I would be grateful if you would be willing to share this position with your network and/or let me know if there are people who you recommend. Company details will be provided to candidates with proper credentials after an initial call with me.

*****Please contact Elizabeth directly and be sure to tell her you heard about it from Coach DQ’s Blog.  

Elizabeth A. Sheridan, Executive Recruiter
Phillip Madison Associates
New York, NY
work: (917) 596-2167 fax: (646) 833-7018

June 24th, 2009

Boston ~ Are You Ready for a little Upswing?

It’s official: the job openings are on the rise. I had three new openings come through my network this week:  Finance Director, Internal Audit in Concord, MA, Sr. Acccountant, Bedford, MA, and an Executive Assistant, Boston, MA.  This is great news for everyone who has been laid off as a result of the economic changes in Boston see recent post “Three indicators that the economy may be on the mend.”  It’s also good news for those who’ve wanted to make a career change, but put off making their move because of economic anxieties.  

Want more details? Read an article on

Of course, if you’ve decided that now is the time to act, you’re not alone. As labor demands continue to slowly shift in new directions, so too will the number of people stepping forward to fill those gaps.  Think of the all the possibilities as we further evolve in technology, science, health, and education. “Where there is change, there is opportunity!”  To succeed in your job search right now, you’ll need to be in top form.  My new Career Change BRIDGE Course can help you stay focused, clarify your goals, and get smart about interviewing, salary negotiation, and other important factors. To learn more about my up coming BRIDGE Job Search Strateiges Program.

The most important thing to remember in a crowded job or business market, regardless of your field, is that you are a unique person with unique skills. No one else will do a job exactly the way you do. Take an inventory of your skills and revamp it to reflect what you’ve learned in the last six months. Examine your communication style (see post below). List your short- and long-term goals. Give yourself the kind of pep talk you’d give your best friend. Believe that you are valuable and well-prepared, and that your perfect role is out there, just waiting for you to step in and take the reins. Remember: what we believe is true will become true. Negative self-talk will only bring you down.

June 17th, 2009

Are you a Netweaver?

Netweaving is the art of connecting with others not only for personal gain, but for a higher goal. While networking incorporates only one part of you—the professional you—Netweaving encompasses all parts of your life. When you Netweave, you use your intuitive energy to channel opportunity, heal the space around you, and create a sense of community among those with whom you interact.

This concept may sound new-age and wacky to some, but there’s a lot of evidence to suggest that how you operate on an energetic level affects how things happen in your life. When you help others, they will help you in turn.


For example, in some networking groups, you’re expected to refer your clients and friends only to other professionals in your group. But if you’re not comfortable doing that (if, let’s say, you don’t really know the person all that well), your clients will sense it, and feel that you’re passing them off to someone you’re not entirely enthusiastic about. This in turn could affect their level of trust in you. Also, making referrals only because you want people will refer to you in turn (or out of fear that they won’t scratch you back if you don’t scratch theirs), can make things uncomfortable for everyone.


When you Netweave, you’re building your network like a spider web, from the center outward. All the people in all the areas of your life become connected, and you are at the center point. When you help the people in your “weave” connect with each other and begin to build a community, good things happen.


Here’s a perfect example of Netweaving:

An acquaintance of mine (we’ll call her Lily) met Jane, a radio host, at a seminar in Rhode Island. Lily had written a book on green cleaning. Jane put her in touch with Abby, who had also written a book on green cleaning and who’d been a guest on Jane’s show. Lily and Abby had a lot in common, but no real ideas for working together. But, since they got along well, Lily introduced Abby to her co-author, Kelly, and the two of them soon launched a Tele-seminar program.


“So what?” You might be asking. “That kind of thing happens all the time!” But that’s not the end of the story.


Soon after Abby and Kelly began working together, they hired Lily to create their website. Lily had introduced two people from separate parts of her life, not for any personal gain, but because she thought they would like each other—but when it came time to hire a web designer, Lily was the first person they thought of. And there’s more: not long after the web site was finished, Kelly and Abby got in touch with Jane to talk about air time for their new Tele-seminar program. So Jane, who had given Abby’s name to Lily with no expectation of return, benefitted as well. The Netweaving had come full circle!


When you begin Netweaving, you’ll notice how easily all the separate areas of your life come together, and merge into one community. You’ll notice how, by helping other people reach their goals, you can move toward your own. You’re working to create good things for everyone, not only yourself.


Of course, there’s a practical side to all this as well—as those of you who know me well can attest. The truth is, only 20% of jobs are found through advertisements. The other 80% come through networking! So if you’re looking for a job, you’re doing yourself a real disservice if you’re spending the whole day on Netweaving—integrating yourself into whatever community you choose and working to help that community thrive—is the best way to get a job, find helpful contacts, or launch a new business. When you’re at the center of a Netweaving web, everyone wants to help you succeed, because their own success is enhanced by yours.


So get out there, and start Netweaving! You can become part of my NetWeave (if you’re not already) by finding me on Twitter and LinkedIn.


June 12th, 2009

New Research on the ROI of Coaching just released.

The ICF developed the client study as a means to gather reliable data from coaching clients and the results they achieved from their coaching partnerships. The findings alone support the coaching profession repeatedly through such statements as “98.9 percent of respondents in the ICF Global Coaching Client Study were satisfied with their coaching experience,” (82.7 percent were very satisfied and 16.2 percent were somewhat satisfied).

The Executive Summary of the ICF Global Coaching Client Study is available at no charge to ICF members (non-member price: $15 USD). And data sheets containing some of the regional and country specific data from the study are available at no charge to ICF members. Please note that you will need to be logged into to access either download.

June 11th, 2009

CLB Radio Friday, Jun 12th 9:05am EST

Listen Live Friday morning at 9:05am EST  to hear our special guest:  John DiPietro, author, marketer and professional speaker.  He is in the midst of a distinguished career in media relations and is President of Advanced Business Concepts/ DiPietro or ABCD for short.
DiPietro is well versed in every phase of the media industry including radio, broadcast TV, Cable TV, newspapers and magazines.
He is  the author of  “You Don’t Have to be Perfect to be Great”, now in its second printing and soon to be updated, revised and expanded.  The book entails his face-to-face work with notables from sports and entertainment including Kenny Rogers, Neil Diamond, John Denver, Frank Sinatra, the superstars of the WWF and even the clowns from the Greatest Show on Earth.
DiPietro is also a featured contributor to the latest Chicken Soup for the Soul series book called Inside Basketball. He is the host of the popular TV show The Success Journey, where he interviews people who have achieved success after encountering failure along the way!
DiPietro is the proud Dad of two daughters and has been married for 34 years to his wife Maribeth.



Listen Live this Friday at 9:35 am EST  ~ Intuitive Living with Tara Roth ~ As a lifelong intuitive and former senior executive specializing in personal development and training programs, Tara offers the unusual and powerful combination of hands-on business experience coupled with compelling intuition, well-honed communication abilities and improvisational performance skills.Tara is a poised, animated, and a motivating coach and intuitive and her passion is to instill more fun, creativity and insight in the lives of others. Listen as she teaches you how to tap into YOUR intuition and put it to work to manifest the results you want in your life. 

Coaching Playground
2nd & last Friday of each month at
9:35 am
EST live on 

June 9th, 2009

Portfolio Careers ~ Client uses talent & passion to create new revenue stream while contributing to a worthy cause.

(you have to wait a few seconds for the video to download).

 About Strike a Chord Concerts for Charity 

Strike a Chord Concerts for Charity is an ongoing initiative to support nonprofit organizations by raising money and awareness through concerts supported by Boston-area musicians.  More than $12,500 has been raised through eight concerts in two years for: The Gulf 2 Fund, based in Holliston, which sends weekly care packages to local troops serving in Afghanistan and Iraq, School on Wheels of Massachusetts (, which provides educational advocacy and resources to children experiencing homelessness, and The Home for Little Wanderers, the oldest child and family service agency in the nation. Concerts have been held at Boston area venues, including the legendary Club Passim.  

The next Strike a Chord Concert is planned for Saturday, October 24, from 4 to 7 p.m., at Stonehill College, to benefit School on Wheels and help them celebrate their five-year anniversary.  Another fundraiser is being planned for 2010 to raise money for breast cancer research. More than 30 musicians from Greater Boston have donated their time, talents, and resources in helping to make the concerts successful. Strike a Chord Concerts for Charity was created by Holliston musician Ruthann Baler in 2007. For more information, visit or  

June 4th, 2009

Career Advancement—It’s Not About Luck

Everyone has a dream job. Some people want to become CEOs; others dream of being named creative director of a non-profit organization. Some want nothing more than to run their own company. For many people, a dream job is just that: a dream.  But others manage to turn even their most far-fetched goals into reality—and they do it through careful career advancement planning. 

Everyone should have a career advancement strategy in place. If you don’t, it’s definitely worth your time to sit down and create one. Career advancement strategies can help you stay one step ahead of the game, and help you “chunk it down” and establish short-term goals.

A career advancement strategy is different from a job search strategy in two ways. First, it addresses your loftiest career goals, and helps you find ways to achieve them, regardless of your current job situation. Second, it lets you plan your actions in advance, and helps you build a solid foundation so you won’t backslide by trying to reach too far too fast.

When you’re building your career advancement strategy, start from where you are right now. For example, I’m currently working with a client whose ideal job involves being on stage. (This client has given me permission to use his story.) This client—we’ll call him Mr. X—is leaning toward politics as a vehicle to make this happen; more than money or prestige, he wants to use the stage as a way to make his opinions heard, and to solve problems in the world. So what should his career advancement strategy include?  Well, he’s “been in hiding” for a while, as he puts it, so he needs to get out there and start working some of his old contacts, because politics is all about making the right connections. We’re also working on his image, which is very important to anyone who wants to be in the public eye.  

Other things from which someone in Mr. X’s position might benefit include formal training in public speaking and a course on body language. Leadership courses, especially those targeted toward corporate managers and CEOs, might offer an opportunity to make new contacts. He also needs to chart his ideal “rise through the ranks,” and set his sights on jobs that will act as stepping stones to his dream job, which is that of a legislator or other public servant.

Here’s what you can do to get started on your own career advancement strategy:

Action Step 1: Take an inventory of things you need to do to prepare yourself for your future role of ____ (you fill in the blank).  Do you need further education, a broader networking base, the backing of a daring venture capitalist?  If your ideal position exists within your current company, which positions do you need to move through in order to attain your goal, and with whom will you have to work to attain them?

Action Step 2: Look for resources to support you. And if your company offers tuition reimbursement, use it! Education is one of the top things employers look for—and the same goes for your current employer. You won’t land that next “stepping-stone” position if you don’t have the right skills.

Action Step 3: Conduct informational interviews. Make an effort to meet people who are living your dream. CEOs, managers, and entrepreneurs are all great people to talk to when you’re looking for some perspective. Ask them how they got to their current position, and what challenges they faced along the way. Their answers provide valuable career insight.  

June 4th, 2009

Time-Choice Management Basics

I talk a lot about time-choice management. When I’m working with my clients, it’s one of the first things we address. Good time management practices can equal good stress management too, since you’ll be a lot less stressed out when you have time to do the things that matter to you!

But what IS time-choice management, exactly?

 Values + Choice + Good Planning + Action = Time-Choice Management

Every day we make choices based on our values. For example, we might choose to attend every one of our kids’ soccer practices. Or, we might choose to alternate carpooling to practices with a group of other busy parents. We might choose a trade-off: we work during practices, but go to every game. Our choices can help us find balance in our daily lives.

Depending on your schedule and your other priorities, you can come up with a balance that works for you by using the time-choice management formula.  By assessing your Values, you make a choice: maybe you have to work during practice times, but because you do so you have the entire weekend free for family time.

Good Planning means that you perform the tasks you’ve scheduled in the time you’ve allotted for them, so that you don’t have to squeeze them in later and shift around other valued activities. And Action means doing what you’ve planned, when you’ve planned it. Not that your schedule should be inflexible, because sometimes important things do come up—but when you’ve scheduled an activity, you should do your best to perform it in the time you’ve dedicated for it.

You can also use the Time-Choice Management formula in reverse. This is especially helpful if your schedule fell apart on you. If you missed that Saturday game because you had to catch up on work, ask yourself why that happened. What was the action that necessitated a change in your plans? How could you have used better planning to avoid the time crunch?  What choice did you make that led you to take that action? What value did you fail to honor when you made that choice? Chances are, if you ask the right questions, you’ll learn how to avoid scheduling conflicts, stress, and unnecessary guilt in the future.

Sometimes, you’ll be faced with a situation where two competing values require the same block of time. For example, you’ve got a strict deadline to submit a proposal that could score you the biggest project of your life—but your daughter is in a play, and you promised her you’d be there.  When this happens, it’s time for some serious negotiation. Maybe you’ll say, “My deadline is tomorrow, and there’s no way I can afford to miss this opportunity. I’ll skip the play, but with the money I’ll make on this project I’ll be able to take the family on vacation, and spend a larger amount of quality time with them.” Or, maybe you’ll say, “I have three more days to finish the proposal. An hour at the play will mean so much to my daughter. I can get up extra early tomorrow to make up the lost time?” Based on the individual situation, you should be able to make a choice you’re comfortable with if you weigh the options according to your values.

We all have the same amount of time. We can choose to spend that time however we want. It’s the choices we make, and the good planning we implement, that allow our actions to move us forward into a more balanced life.  How’s that for a formula?

May 26th, 2009

5 Job Search Tips

The most challenging part of any career change is actually finding that perfect new job. Whether you’re currently unemployed or looking to move onward and upward, it’s important to have a solid job search strategy in place so you don’t get stuck in a rut.

Here are the top 5 job search tips I share with my coaching clients.

1.       Network, network, network!  Online or in person, you never know who you’re going to meet when you start networking.  I feel it’s important as a job coach to encourage my clients to try a little of everything, until they find their ‘niche.’  Even social events can turn into fabulous networking opportunities if you’ve got the right attitude.

2.       Know your career goals, and stick to your guns. Unless you’re in really dire straits, you should never settle for less than what you want. That’s not to say you shouldn’t bend a little in order to score that perfect gig, but don’t ever compromise your values.

3.       Strategize. Are you willing to check out any offer that comes your way, or do you have your eye on a specific corporation or geographical area? Depending on your individual goals and flexibility, your strategy will be different. If you’re leaning more toward the former, you might plaster your resume on every major job search site, call a few head-hunters, and wait to see who bites. I don’t recommend this strategy.  You need to be more targeted, it’s a good idea to spend your time cultivating your connections, researching specific companies and asking for introductions to the companies at the top of your list.

4.       Revamp your resume: After you define your target.  A positioned and well-laid out resume is one of your best assets in the job search process.  If you’re not sure your resume is up to snuff, I’m always happy to review your resume.  Contact me for details. 

5.       Be patient! If you’re sick to death of the job search process, take a short break and do what you need to do to get refreshed.  Perhaps you need to re-evaluate your strategy?  Perhaps you need to refresh your skills, add news ones or practice interviewing.  Hang in there; the right job is out there, just waiting for you to fill it. Never underestimate the power of positive thinking, but don’t forget it needs to be accompanied by a well thought out strategy you take action on!

Your Action Step is to complete at least one job-search-related task outlined in your game plan. That could be posting your resume online, attending a networking event, rewriting your resume, or sitting down with your friendly neighborhood career coach for a pep talk. If you keep moving, you’ll never lose your momentum!

May 26th, 2009

Resume Strategies

Creating the Perfect Résumé

A great résumé is one of the most important tools you’ll use as you work toward your career goals. Not only does a résumé convey information about your accomplishments, it can convey aspects of your personality, your style, and your capacity for creative thinking.

Here are my top five rules for résumés:

1.       “B” Clear:  Many of you are familiar with my BRIDGE process. “B” stands for Becoming clear about your direction. If you’re not clear where your career is going, your résumé will show it. Have your goals firmly in mind before you start writing.  To learn more about my BRIDGE course visit

2.       Go for the bull’s eye: A good résumé should be targeted—not just to the general field you’re interested in, but to each specific job position, and even each potential employer. For example, if you’re interested in both graphic designer and art director positions, you will need two separate résumés: one to focus on your visual art skills and experience, and the other to focus on your directorial skills and project management experience. That doesn’t mean that the two résumés can’t overlap, but their individual focuses should be clear.

3.       Know when to bold: I’ve seen résumés where literally every other line was in dark, bold typeface. This is a big mistake. Too much bolding on a page makes everything hard to read. Use bold type (or if you’re using two fonts, your header typeface) only when it’s truly necessary. 

4.        Avoid font overkill: Your résumé’s layout should be unique and eye-catching, but you can easily go overboard with flowery, hard-to-read fonts and bright colors. Remember that, first and foremost, your résumé needs to be legible. If a prospective employer can’t read it, they won’t read it. Examples of good résumé fonts include Times New Roman, Arial, Verdana, Georgia, and Garamond.

5.       Use snail mail: I know it seems like a relic from the Dark Ages, but the postal service is still a great way to send your résumé (unless your prospective employer has specifically requested that résumés be submitted electronically).  Sending a paper copy eliminates any hassles with file conversion and formatting, and ensures that your résumé will look exactly the way you intended it to when it lands on your new boss’s desk. If you are required to submit electronically, make sure to find out what file format the company prefers.  On a side note: most recruiters prefer Word documents, so they can edit if necessary.

You can use the tips above to perfect your résumé no matter what field you’re in. When it comes to getting more creative, the rules are different for every profession—but a truly creative résumé can easily make you a star candidate. Here are some tips for creating a truly stellar résumé.

·         Make a video résumé: According to a recent article in Time Magazine, video résumés are the new tool for the YouTube generation. If you’re job-shopping in a field where personal appearance and mannerisms are vital (think sales, marketing, and advertising) video résumés can give potential employers a taste of your charisma. 

·         Set up an online portfolio: If you’re in a field where it’s necessary for you to showcase a portfolio, you need a website. Period. Paper copies of your work, no matter how pretty, don’t measure up to an online presence, and they’re much harder for prospective bosses to share with other company members.  If time or money constraints prevent you from setting up your own website, consider utilizing a free online gallery service like or  If you have other resources that have worked well for you, please let me know so I can share them!

·         Use testimonials and quotes: If your old boss wrote you a glowing letter of recommendation, excerpt it on your résumé. Same goes for client reviews and coworker evaluations. These can be included as sidebar items or can be spaced throughout the résumé. Just be sure to use them sparingly: you don’t want your résumé to read like an infomercial!

·         Use online tools: Twitter, LinkedIn, and other online networking tools can be a great way to get your name out there. If you have a website, ask your friends and networking contacts to link their sites to yours. The bigger your web presence, the better the chances that the right someone will notice you.

Remember that when it comes to crafting a great résumé, the finished product needs to express not only what you’ve accomplished but who you are as an individual. If prospective employers can see you on that piece of paper, they’re more likely to feel connected to you, and call you in for an interview.

If you need help formulating your creative résumé, give me a call: I’ve recently partnered with a local résumé service, and I’m happy to put you in touch.  Also, I can offer advice for targeting your résumé—in my former life as a recruiter, I reviewed thousands of résumés (some great, some awful), and I know what works.  Finally, if you have a creative resume you’re proud of, send me a copy—I’d love to see it!

May 26th, 2009

“Self-Care Doesn’t Need to Be Time-Consuming”

Self-care doesn’t need to be time-consuming. It just needs to get the job done! When your computer locks up, you restart it, and it works like new: this takes about 5 minutes. When a light bulb blows over your desk, you replace it: 5 minutes. And when your mind gets so cluttered that you lose your focus, you can choose one of the following exercises, and hit the “reset” button: 5 minutes. Just think of it as preventative maintenance.

Here are 5 exercises you can perform in 5 minutes. Just give them a try: you only have 5 minutes to lose. You could spend that long at the Dunkin’ Donuts drive-thru, or waiting for the copier to warm up.

1.       Breathe! Breathing exercises are some of the most potent self-care techniques around. Deep breathing can lower your heart rate and blood pressure, moderate your blood sugar, and clear your brain of that insidious “mind-fog” that creeps in after a stressful morning or a sleepless night. If you’re not comfortable doing your breathwork at your desk, use the bathroom: you won’t have to explain what you’re doing to anyone, and there are fewer distractions. If you’re a parent, sometimes the bathroom is the only quiet haven in the house!

Here’s a great breathing exercise I learned from Michelle Morin, creator of The Core Alignment Practice®. She calls it “Misogi Breathing.” You can do this at your desk while at work, at home during a commercial break in your favorite show, or even in the morning before you sit down to breakfast.  (If you get my newsletter, I also featured this exercise there.)

·         Begin by positioning yourself at the edge of your seat. Plant your sit-bones at the edge of your chair, and place your feet flat on the floor. Allow your arms to relax at your sides, with your palms facing up. Close your eyes. Now, take a deep inhale through your nose. When you’re full, hold the breath inside, and allow your belly to relax. Feel the bright breath circulating within you, loosening all the tension in your chest, shoulders, and belly. When you can’t hold the breath any more, open your mouth and exhale on a big sigh. Say “hhhaaaaaaaa.” Make the breath hiss in the back of your throat, and envision all of your tension riding that breath as it leaves your body. Take another breath in through your nose, inhaling peace and calmness, hold the breath, and sigh it out again. Do this 10-15 times in the next 5 minutes, without opening your eyes. When you come back to your day, you’ll feel more relaxed, more centered, and ready to face your day!

2.       Stretch! If you suffer from low back pain like I do, you know that sitting behind a desk all day can be really painful. People with carpal tunnel, tendinitis, and other repetitive motion injuries will also benefit from stretching more often. So take a 5-minute self-care break. Reaching up toward the ceiling, and side to side, forward bending, gentle twisting, and wrist circles are all great for wringing tension out of your body and getting your blood moving. If you’re not sure what stretches would be best for your particular condition, a reputable massage therapist, yoga teacher, or other bodywork professional will be able to give you some advice.

3.       Kick up the Cardio! My friend Holly Kuovo, co-facilitator of my new “Coaching Your Mind to Fitness” tele-class, gave me this tip for getting in my daily dose of cardio while giving my mind a rest. She calls them “Cardio Breaks.” Basically, when you’re watching TV, working at your computer, or doing something else that’s sedentary, take short five-minute breaks at intervals and hit the treadmill (or run in place, or do jumping jacks—anything to get your blood pumping). So while you’re watching your favorite crime drama, jump on the elliptical while the commercials are playing. You won’t be missing anything, and by the time your hour-long show is done, you’ll have finished 20-25 minutes of cardio. If you’re at the office, you might only have time for one or two breaks over the course of the day—but that’s more than enough to get your heart rate up and your stress level down.

4.       Play your favorite song! Music can be many things, but among them it’s a tool to help us connect to our deeper selves, and our emotions. So if you’re feeling tense mid-day, put on your headphones, crank up your iPod, close your eyes, and listen to one single song. Yoga, New Age, and trance music are all great on a self-care break, since the steady rhythm and soft melodies are designed to relax you. Or, if you need some extra energy, put on your favorite pop song: you could even bob your head, or do a little dance.  (This is another time where the bathroom might come in handy!) Any way you go about it, the objective is to slow down your thoughts and step outside your day for 5 minutes—just about the length of the average song. Trust me: when you come out of the bathroom after shaking it to Shakira for five minutes, the rest of your day won’t look so dire.

5.       Take a Walk! If you work in an office, all that florescent lighting and re-circulated air can put a damper on your mood. And when you mood is low, your stress levels are high.  So take a 5-minute walk. If possible, leave the building. Walk around the building, around the block, or around the parking lot for 5 minutes. This isn’t necessarily a “cardio break”— although it could certainly become that—but more of a “breathing break.” Take in deep breaths of fresh air, stretch your legs, and look up at the sky. Remember that the world still turns even when stress makes it feel like you’re standing still. When you head back inside, you’ll have a new, healthier perspective.


I had great feedback from all of you after my last article on self-care.  I know that this is an important subject to many of you, and I’d love to hear your thoughts on—and experiences with—these 5-minute self-care breaks.