You Can Do Anything...Especially Today

I had a client, who I'll refer to as Lynn, who had been let go in a downsizing. She was trained as a lawyer and worked as a compliance officer in a bank.

Losing a job is an emotional experience -- it can involve a real sense of loss -- but it also offers the chance to take stock and look at one's life. In my first meeting with a client, I usually say: "You've lost your job, and we'll deal with the emotions associated with that. But, it's also an opportunity to look at the life you want to create. What kind of life do you want?" I watch the eyes of my clients flicker as they glimpse possibilities.

That's exactly what I said to Lynn in our first meeting. She answered: "I want to be a compliance officer in a bank." I thought, really? Because Lynn came across as a very dynamic, high energy woman, the kind of person who walks into a room and makes an impact. Lynn, a compliance officer? I couldn't see it.

So, I answered: "OK Lynn, that's fine. But, you can do anything. You don't have to be a compliance officer any more."

She assured me that being a compliance officer is exactly what she wanted to do. Every week we met and talked about her positioning, wrote her resume, created her networking strategy, compiled her list of targets, and did all those things one normally does in a traditional job search. And, every week, I would say to her: "You know, Lynn, you don't have to be a compliance officer any more. You can do anything."

Finally, in our tenth week, she came into my office with a HUGE smile on her face and something in her lap. The conversation went something like this:

Me: "What's up?"
Lynn: "I know what I want to do."
Me: "Great...what is it?"
And, at that point, she lifted a book off her lap and said "DOGS. I want to work with dogs." (DOGS was the title of the book.)

I was surprised. She had never said anything about dogs before.

It turns out that she had five dogs, and had always harbored the dream that she would start a pet care company for dogs. So, that's what she did.

She started out small -- creating steady income streams one at a time. She began by walking her friends' dogs and then expanded her dog walking services. Then she began to sharpen groomers' scissors in her kitchen. The next step was to add a breeder referral service. She had three diverse income streams. Then she began to get some media attention and started her own branded column on pet care for a local media channel. Her business has evolved to where she designs the care of pets -- mostly dogs -- for celebrities and high profile working professionals who want pets but don't really have the time to care for them. She provides a kind of "nanny service" for dogs. She loves her work and her clients love her service.

What does this mean for you?


I want you to pretend that you are my client. You are sitting in my office with me, and I say to you: "You don't need to do __________________ any more. You can do anything."

What would you say to me? I'm listening...

1) Write down what you would do if you could do anything (and if money was no obstacle).

2) Pretend that you are going to commit to doing this work. What's the first step you would take? How could you create a small, but steady income stream to begin? Are there other income streams you could add?

Know When It’s Time to Work with a Mentor/Coach

You are struggling.

You have been unhappy in your job for a while. You want to leave, but you are not sure it’s the right time.

You think you want to do something entirely new, but you don’t want to start over again. You don’t want to lose financial security.

You want to move forward, even if it’s only one step a day, but you are not sure where to start.

You’ve tried to take steps forward on your own, but they didn’t really work, and you are afraid to make a mistake. So you don’t even try.

You want to do this on your own but know that you’re probably going to move ahead through trial and error, which can eat up time. 

So, you stay put and spin and spin, going nowhere. You are wasting time, not moving forward. What can you do?

You are considering working with a mentor or coach. What can you do to evaluate whether this is the right option for you? And, the right time? And the right mentor/coach?

The right time to work with a coach is…

…when you want to partner with someone who has a roadmap for you so that you can avoid going down dead-end paths on your own.

…when you want the accountability and support to inspire you to move more quickly than you would on your own.

…when you want to work with someone who has a proven track record of success with others. If it worked for them it can work for you…if you do the work.

…when you want someone to help you sift through your conflicting priorities, such as your desire to change jobs versus your desire to stay put and keep your financial security.

…when you’ve made the commitment to take action and know that you can take massive action more quickly…with someone who has been there before.

…when you want to generate momentum by working through a system based on building blocks.

It’s not always appropriate to work with a mentor/coach, and sometimes it’s not the right time. But, if you answered YES to 4 out of the 6 statements above, it might be time for you to consider working with a mentor/coach.

You’ll want to make sure that you choose the right mentor/coach for you…but that’s a subject for another time.

If you think you might be ready to work with a mentor/coach, send me an email to: info at you are free dot com and we'll setup a strategy session.

Sell Your Value, Not Just Skills

If you are like most people, your job search - or project search - centers around selling your skills. You spend lots of time talking about what you know how to do, what you have done, what you can do. It's all skill-based.

Selling just skills misses the main point. Sure, prospective employers, hiring managers, and joint venture and strategic partners want to know what you CAN do. But, more importantly, they want to know what VALUE you can provide to them. What kind of contribution can you make? Where can you add value? How can you make a difference? And, where did you make a difference in the past? By selling your value, you are answering the following questions for the hiring manager: what can you do for me? Why should I hire you and what do I get in return? What will be the return on my investment in you?

Companies always hire value. And, you don't need to be a PhD psychologist, an ingenue, a genius or a master innovator. Most everyone can provide value.

Providing value is not dependent on your level of job position. It can happen anywhere. For example, I gave workshops to a group of people in South Carolina who had been working in a manufacturing plant that closed down and moved to Mexico. One of the class participants, a warehouse worker, told me the following story: when he was first hired, he approached his senior supervisor to ask about the number of customer complaints he had received and the nature of the complaint. It turns out that the packaging used to transport the product was flimsy, causing the product to become damaged in transit and leading to lots of recalls, which cost the company money. 

This warehouse worker took the initiative to pull together a group of people to figure out how to change the packaging process. They came up with a new, cost-effective procedure that reduced the number of complaints by 65%, saving the company hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Sometimes the contributions are small. It could be, for example, the time you took to help a struggling co-worker get up to speed on a project. Or the time you came up with a better process for serving customers. Or, you discovered a more effective software program. Or,...  

The key lies in looking at your past accomplishments. Where did you make a difference in the past? What did it take to accomplishment it? What comes naturally to you? 


Look back on what you've done in past work assignments. Where did you make a difference? Remember, it can be something small, as long as it is meaningful to you. It can even be an idea you had that no one would listen to. What things are you proud of? Where were you recognized? Make a list. Then think about and list out what it took to get the accomplishment done. These will give you the puzzle pieces you need to begin to figure out your "Value Story." 

If you can figure out how to sell your value, you'll be more attractive to people looking to hire you, whether in a job or project. You'll make it much easier for them to understand why they should hire you. You'll set yourself apart from the competition, people who are still selling just skills. Try this approach and let me know how you do.

Welcome Message

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For those of you who don't know me, I am Founder of, a company dedicated to helping you create meaningful work, boost your impact and your income. Read more at

This blog is based on my deep conviction that you were born with a unique set of gifts, talents, and abilities, and your JOB is to leverage these innate abilities so that you can make your unique contribution to the world, and be well-paid.

That's the WHAT. This blog is dedicated to helping you figure out the HOW. How can you actually make this happen in your worklife? Look for regular posts designed to help you figure it out.

My passion is to help you think differently about work so that you can discover what meaningful work means to you, and then go out and create it.

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