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What You’ll Need to Be Highly Employable in 5 Years

Getting a job has never been easy.

It seems it’s only getting harder.

With four generations now actively working and seeking full and part time employment, the job search will become increasingly challenging as job seekers compete against larger pools of qualified candidates as well as those that are well accomplished in their career/ chosen industry.

You may be looking for a new job, or starting a new career altogether but the days of walking into a building and asking to speak with the boss are over. There are new rules and they will only continue to change as time goes on.

If you want to get a job in the next five years you’ll have to remember these important tips:

Let’s Start At The Beginning:  Resume & Cover Letter Over the course of the next five years the resume and cover letter will increase in its importance with respect to creativity in its appearance.

Now this is not to say that the resume becomes unprofessional in appearance, long gone are the days of listing a photograph and hobbies but now, with competition as high among graduates as it is for those seasoned workers, being able to quickly grab the attention of the screener will be most important to be able to package your skills, education, and experience in the best manner possible.

You only have one chance to make a strong impression, if you lack the skills to create a sound marketing tool of yourself, hire a professional to work with you on developing your resume and cover letter.

  • Resume: metrics built around your accomplishments at each job you have held, from the lemonade stand, restaurant job, internet based small business, or internship, are important to highlight rather than a mere listing of duties performed.

  • Cover Letters:  this should be professional in appearance and written directly and specifically to each position that you are seeking.

Competition For Jobs The employment landscape has changed significantly over the past 10 years, and with more candidates vying for the same jobs, competition in the next 5 years will be at its highest as we now have four generations in the workplace. Being able to understand and collaborate with those from each generation will be critical in one’s success.

Retention efforts of good employees has already begun as employers are focusing not only on recruiting the best, actively and sometimes aggressively seeking top notch employees from their competitors, but formal retention plans are being created by employers as a means to keep those quality employees from leaving.

What does this mean for you?

Be open and realistic in what you have to offer an employer and start at the beginning. Get in at ground level and build your career by proving your worth from the very first day on the job.

Remember you are not owed a job, you must continually earn it.

Who will be your competition for jobs?

  • Experienced candidates that are seeking new challenges or a new work environment.

  • Experienced candidates that have lost their jobs due to the downturn of the economy that are either working in lower skilled jobs or are still unemployed.

  • Experienced candidates with transferable skills that are highly rated for a career change.

  • Semi-experienced candidates (those with less than 5 years in the workforce).

  • Recent college graduates seeking their start.

  • Candidates that are returning to the workforce after a voluntary leave of absence.

What Will Employers Seek? With so many levels of candidates applying for the same positions what will the interview process look like in the next 5 years and what will be the new minimum expectation from candidates?

  • A Bachelor’s degree is already the minimum for education, with advanced education and /or technical training or certifications more the norm.

  • Advanced computer skills relative to your area of expertise.

  • Experience using platforms relative to your area of expertise, with certifications a plus.

  • More remote jobs will be in place which will call for higher skill sets to be entrusted to efficiently and effectively work off site. This also means more competition from highly skilled candidates as they can work from anywhere.

  • Alignment with company vision and values and an ability to be ‘teachable’ for the technical needs.

Application Process: The online application process has nearly eliminated the practice of mailing a hard copy of your cover letter and resume. Therefore, experience will be the focus and must be easy to locate.

The current amount of time that the initial screener will take to review your resume now ranges from 6-60 seconds!  Not much time to read through a long and poorly developed resume and cover letter.

Mobile application platforms will be in place that will allow you to apply using your phone. Convenience plus 24/7 activity will mean increased competition for jobs with candidates from around the world vying for the same jobs.

Professionalism will be paramount, so create an email account using a professional name, one that is simply first name.last name@gmail.com for example. Use this only for your employment applications as it shows you are serious about your career.

Interview process:

  • Face to face interviews are not going away. Being articulate, having confidence in what you offer relative to the job, and strong non-verbal presence are key.

  • Electronic means, such as using video presentations for the visual interview ,especially over long distances, being able to produce an electronic presentation in  your area of expertise, will be critical as will being able to field questions on your presentation.

  • Remote live video interviews, contests, online assessments, and simulations will begin to be used for student and intern assessment.

While advancements in technology will equate to an increase in competition, and with more generations remaining or returning to the workplace, some things will change and a few standard practices will remain in place.

In the end, employers all want to hire the best and it takes time, dedication, and aptitude to become the best. Starting the process as early as possible so that you are prepared will aid in your success when the job search begins.

Why Quitting is Good For You

Society leads us to believe that happiness arises from sticking with something for a long time, plugging away at that project with passion and determination and above all, never quitting.

Quitting is seen a sign of weakness and we would rather go to extreme lengths sooner than admit that we have quit something.

In fact, many people work so long and hard on their projects that they forget what it was that inspired them initially. There is therefore major social stigma associated with quitting.

Another thing that stops us from quitting is the thought of how much time and effort we have put into our work. It seems like so much has gone into the project that it would be an awful waste to throw it all away. This is something known as the sunk costs fallacy. Sunk costs is a term used by economists to describe the time, effort, and money a person has invested into doing something. It can be very difficult to let go of this and announce to the world that you’ve quit.

But is quitting always bad for us?

Having established that quitting is accompanied by stigma and made even more difficult by curious quirks of our brains, let’s look at some people who, by almost any standards were doing well but ended up quitting and their reasons for doing so.

People who quit and loved it The year is 1999: Ali is a software programmer living in Texas. She earns $60,000 a year – especially impressive considering she is 25 years old. She can afford a decent car and place to live and sustain her love for shoes. It seemed like she had the perfect life.

So why on Earth did she quit her stable, well-paying job to become a high-end escort?

Ali says her job involved staring at a computer screen all day, which proved terrible for her sociable personality. In her own words, her choice was right for her at the time and her new job made her happy.

Three years prior, Robert Reich, United States Secretary of Labour had quit his job. His reason? To focus on his family. Pundits may claim that such reasons are usually code for tensions within organizations, but Robert knew his own truth. Robert realized that it was important to him that he did not miss the opportunity to spend time with his two sons before they went off to college. And so, he quit.

We have already talked about sunk costs, for example, Ali was spending her days at the computer screen. But there is a slightly different concept at work here – the idea of opportunity cost – the value of something that is given up to pursue any given activity. For Ali, her job was depriving her of social interaction, Robert wasn’t seeing his sons as often as he wanted to. Both Ali and Robert came to realize that the sacrifices they were making for their jobs were not worth it and made the choice to quit.

How do I know when to quit? But how do you know “when to quit and when to struggle” as Carsten Wrosch, psychology professor at Concordia University puts it. The appropriate course of action can be really elusive.

Eric Greitens, former United States Navy SEAL operative with combat experience in Iraq and Afghanistan might have some insight for us. As a recruit, Greitens went through something called “Hell Week” – a weeklong series of physical activities designed to push people to their limits. During this time, recruits are allowed fewer than five hours of sleep. Clearly, the Navy instructors are not looking for quitters.
So why were they actively encouraging recruits to quit and even promised hot coffee and donuts to those that did?
The reason was to eliminate the people who would quit later on at an earlier stage to prevent unhappiness further down the line. Indeed, the vast majority did quit, the demands of Hell Week are simply too great for most recruits.  The key here is the attainability of your goals. For most Navy hopefuls, the goal of becoming a fully fledged SEAL was simply unattainable.
Here then, is the first step to quitting well: identifying if the goals you have set for yourself are realistic and either modifying or changing them entirely if need be.

Following that comes the actual process of quitting, and this can be long and painful. According to Sudhir Venkatesh, sociology professor at Columbia University, it’s best to “rip the Band-Aid off quickly”. People who are able to act quickly once they decide to quit usually fare better than those who take longer. In fact, it is actually healthier when quitting to quit quickly and move on. Research conducted by Carsten Wrosch, psychology professor at Concordia University indicates that people who are better able to let go experience fewer depressive symptoms and fewer health problems over time.

While on the subject of quitting quickly and cleanly, we must refer to the master of quitting quickly, Steve Levitt. Steve is an economist at the University of Chicago and advocates for people to “fail quickly”. The professor claims that the “single most important explanation for how he managed to succeed in the field of economics was by being a quitter.” Steve says that if he were to have a hundred ideas he would be lucky if two or three turned into actual academic papers. This taught him to rapidly recognize unpromising ideas and pull the plug on them.

The process By now, we should be able to pick out and isolate the reasons why somebody would want to quit and the process they ought to follow. Quitters are not unsuccessful or weak people, in fact all the quitters cited in this article are highly successful individuals. Quitting has more in common with realistic goals than giving up. The following is an outline of the process to quitting well and finding greater satisfaction in life.

1. Ask yourself: Am I happy? 2. If not, what is it I’d rather be doing? 3. Identify what you’re missing out on (opportunity cost). 4. Stop doing your current activity. 5. Set realistic goals for your new activity. 6. Accept that it didn’t work out the previous time. 7. Move on – dive right into what you’ve always wanted to be doing.

Looking back, Ali says quitting was easy for her. Since then, she has found a companion and has left the escort industry – she’s quit once again when the couple decided they didn’t want prostitution in their joint life. In this, Ali embodies more than just a willingness and honesty to reassess herself and her goals, she also possesses the ability to rethink her plans on the go.

Quitting has the power to bring greater satisfaction and the freedom to align one’s activities in line with one’s interests. Having the flexibility to do it on a regular basis in line with shifting priorities will ensure you’re caught stuck doing something you don’t like.

9 Ways You’re Wasting Your Money

Do you ever find yourself wondering where all your hard earned money went?

It seems like the bills can’t wait to escape your wallet.

It’s tricky to identify and keep track of all the small things in our busy lives that slowly but surely thin out your billfold. Sometimes the purchases we make seem important, useful and even indispensable at the moment. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.

Indeed our spending habits do all sorts of harm, from mild inconveniences, to real threats, to affecting our health and well-being. Luckily, it’s easy to put yourself on the path to health and wealth by identifying where you’re wasting money and how you can fix it.

1. Your house Let’s start with the big things that have a major impact on your life, such as your house. Your house, apartment, or condo is a major expense item in your budget and as such should be your number one priority when looking to save money.

So what is it you can do to save money on your home? Well, take a look at all the expenses that go into your home – your hydro and electricity bills. You can cut down on utilities by installing energy and water efficient appliances. There are major savings to be found here, in fact, the folks at Energy Star who certify appliances say that you can save up to 33% on your energy bill if you follow their recommendations.

2. Credit cards Chances are, your house is partially mortgaged and some of your purchases are done on loan. Credit cards can be very useful tools to buy the items you need but can very quickly accumulate interest.

The average American household owes some $15,270 in credit card debt. 39% of Americans carry debt forward from month to month. This can result in difficulties with paying for medical emergencies, unemployment cushion, and post-secondary fees for your kids, just to name a few. If you find you are often unable to make the entire monthly payment on your credit card, it might be a sign that you need to look at your expenses and make some changes to your habits.

3. Coffee Simply opting to buy one cup less can do wonders.

Don’t get me wrong, coffee tastes great and you need it to get yourself going in the morning, but that extra one you downed on break was most likely unnecessary. Cutting down on coffee will save you hundreds of dollars a year as well as reduce your risk of anxiety, restlessness, and depression, which are all side effects of caffeine.

4. Lunch As you move throughout the day, inevitably you will get hungry. You probably have a favourite restaurant you love to eat at. Although you can get a quick and easy lunch for as little at $10, this is good for neither your health nor your wallet.

Ten dollars a day works out to $2600 a year on lunch alone, not to mention that fast food is high in fats, calories and preservatives. You’re much better off preparing a homemade lunch to take with you. One nifty trick you can use is to refrigerate your leftovers from dinner and pack them for lunch the next day.

5. Bottled water Furthermore, you can buy a reusable water bottle and fill it up from the tap. A plastic bottle of water can cost $2 – that’s $520 a year. Without a reusable bottle and tap water, you’re definitely doing your wallet a disservice, not to mention the environment. Don’t worry – tap water is every bit as good as bottled water.

6. Warranties So you’ve probably been shopping for your new energy efficient appliances and eco-friendly water bottle. Hold right there! Are you pulling out your credit card to pay? If so, I hope you didn’t pay for the extended warranty on that new Whirlpool. Warranties are a great idea, especially when you are buying an expensive product that you expect to last a long time. However, according to a report by Consumer Reports, most products do not break within the time covered by the normal warranty. Therefore, it makes no sense to pay extra for coverage you’re not likely to ever need.

Some food for thought: the same report says retailers keep at least 50% of the extra fee they charge you for that warranty, so make sure to bargain around with the salespeople for a better deal.

7. Cable boxes By now you’re at home and reaching for the remote to catch up on the day’s news and your favourite TV shows. Let me guess, you have 700 channels available with the Verizon or Rogers premium cable box that sits on your set. Let me guess again, you’re also probably paying for it. Enjoy your channels, but know that as with warranties, cable boxes are something you can get for less if you haggle a little with your provider.

8. Taxes It’s that time of year again: time to do your taxes. And luckily, you have a bit more income to report this year thanks to all your nifty money saving tricks you’re using. But the problem with reporting more income is having to pay more taxes.

It’s very easy – look into the various refunds and deductions available from the IRS/CRA and see which ones you qualify for. It’s hardly possible for you to know the tax code inside out so there will most likely be a few that you missed and obviously were not informed about by the government.

9. Alcohol After a long and hard day doing your taxes, you decide to go out with a few friends – grab a few drinks, maybe smoke a cigarette or two if that’s your thing. After all, you can afford it now with all your savings piling up.

Not so fast! Wouldn’t it be pointless to have saved so much money only to blow it on drinks? As little at $50 a week on alcohol adds up to $2600 a year. It can be fun (and definitely tempting!) to drink and you should definitely be able to enjoy yourself without pinching every penny, but do keep in mind that reducing your alcohol consumption even a small amount will save you loads of money and provide innumerable health benefits such as reduced risk of heart, liver and kidney disease.

At the end of the day, if you need to buy something, go ahead and buy it. You cannot live your life filled with worry and guilt for every penny. In fact, this is likely to make you unhappy and frustrated. Instead, focus on small and achievable goals and before you know it, you’ll find yourself a master saver.

Can Women Command A Screen?: A Night with WIFT-Toronto

This past year we’ve seen an amazing group of women grace the silver screen and that showed at this year’s Oscars.

While Ellen’s twitter crashing selfie was the talk of the night, something else seemed to catch my attention: Cate Blanchett’s acceptance speech for her role in Blue Jasmine.

“Those in the industry who are foolishly clinging to the idea that female films, with women in the centre, are niche experiences, they are not,” she said.

“Audiences want to see them. In fact they earn money. The world is round people!” she continued.

Cate was absolutely right. Women in film and television can and do hold the show.

Women Who Run It believes in this so much that they have been working with Women in Film and Television – Toronto (WIFT-T), a member-based organization of women and men working in screen-based media that supports the development and advancement of women in the industry.

Women Who Run It recently attended their advanced screening of The Grand Seduction and their networking event afterward where we learned a few things about women in film and television with the help of WIFT-T’s Executive Director, Heather Webb.

Give us a chance, and we’ll run with it For some reason people have come to believe that women can’t carry a movie, but WIFT-T has different ideas.

“Women are one of the largest consumers of onscreen material and we’re half the population. It’s really important that we see ourselves on-screen as well as behind the camera… I think if we can just give them a chance, and often that’s all it takes, you just give them a chance they’ll run with it and they’ll make a really successful product commercially,” Heather shared.

But we’re still struggling for that chance While we may be the main consumers of on-screen material, we’re still struggling to be seen as the powerhouses that we are.

WIFT-T tries to combat the lack of opportunities by bringing women together to help each other.

“In the entertainment industry it’s very much who you know. Women are notoriously not good at networking and promoting themselves so that’s part of what WIFT-T does. We always have a networking component to every program we run because it is really important for women to make those industry connections,” said Heather.

In the end it’s all about diversity “If you want to be very successful in the entertainment business in Canada you want to have as diverse a workforce as possible. You want to have as many people telling different stories, whether it’s women, or Aboriginal people, or people from other minorities… I think you want to have as diverse a population making your film to reflect our population and to set up role models for people,” shared Heather.

“I think it’s really the leaders of every company, the CEOs, the board, they need to set diversity as a priority at the top level because it really is where the decisions are being made. I encourage everyone to look at their writing rooms, look at their production set, and make sure there is as much diversity as possible reflected there and it will pay off. It will pay off in the long run with really successful, engaging, relevant stories,” she continued.

WIFT-T’s message is one of diversity, acceptance and community. This is a message that needs to be heard.

Unfortunately there are countless myths surrounding women in the entertainment industry. People believe that women can’t carry films, they are constantly trying to pit women in the industry against each other, and constantly taking the focus off of women’s achievements and onto their personal lives.

While women are more outspoken than ever, there is still a need for an organization that uplifts them, brings them together, and promotes them.

“I just think a lot of people ask is there still a need for WIFT? There’s 45 WIFT’s worldwide, so obviously we’re relevant, we’re needed. I don’t think we have seen the full potential of women in the industry yet. I’m really excited to see when that happens because I think we’re going to have some really high quality storytelling coming from that,” Heather said.

WIFT-T isn’t just for people within the industry. They host advanced screenings that anyone can attend and their networking events afterward are great opportunities to meet new people, see new perspectives and support a great organization.

To learn more about WIFT-T go to www.wift.com.

What Are You Afraid Of?

Type, type, type… backspace, delete, backspace and type again.

Sigh… It is a pattern.

The page is still empty and as I select word count from the menu bar. I still haven’t hit the marker that will make this article complete.

What is the problem?

I know the topic I wish to discuss but there is something that is making me hesitate. What is making me hesitate? I cannot seem to put my finger on it.

Hmmm, perhaps it is the way society has socialized women to believe that they must be perfect.

This is an unrealistic expectation.

I constantly feel the need to prove my competence, intelligence, and value. When I am provided feedback (criticism), I think about what I could’ve and should’ve done, and will do next time. That one critical comment or comments will make me question my capabilities but it will only last a moment. However, that moment will feel like a lifetime. Yet, in reality, it is ever so brief and I will eventually get over it.

Research points to the value of women negotiating and how that plays a role in the wage and leadership gap between men and women (“Women Don’t Ask”, Babcock & Laschever). Women will speak out about things they believe in but when it comes to advocating on behalf of themselves, they are reluctant to do so.  Although, encouraging women to negotiate can be mutually beneficial for all parties involved, women are hesitant to make the ask.

Keep in mind that there are a number of women who negotiate daily. These women are unabashed to talk about their qualifications and to take risks. This article is intended for the large number of women who have something valuable to share but are afraid to speak up about it.

So for the women who are reading this article and do not negotiate on their own behalf, I would like you to think about why you don’t negotiate.

There are a number of studies that report on the differences between the way we socialize our girls and boys. These differences play a role on why women are reluctant to advocate on behalf of themselves.  Women who are well-versed in the art of negotiation and self-identify as leaders may even hesitate to negotiate or be in the spotlight. I would like you to think about what makes you fearful from negotiating, speaking up, or taking on a leadership role.  Is it the fear of hearing “no,” making mistakes, being criticized, or is it the fear that people will perceive you negatively?

There are a few basic steps one must take prior to entering a negotiation:

1. Make a plan. 
As you create your plan, think about your goals, interests, the other side’s goals and interests, what you will do if you don’t negotiate, your options (their options), and tactics.   

It’s to my contention that it is not only important to harness your negotiation skills but also build your confidence. There are a number of ways confidence is defined. For the purpose of this piece, let’s summarize confidence as having a thought and then acting on it. To take action is to become fearless.

2. Be comfortable with hearing “no.” You tested the boundaries. Your next step is to find out what you need to do to receive “yes” (education, management experience, increased time in the field of study, etc.).  Be aware that there may be nothing you can do to change the no to a yes but at least you know your position within the company. This will help you take steps towards making a new plan to reach your goal.

3. Learn to welcome criticism. Your work is being acknowledged and you should feel pleased that you took to time to share your perspective. In addition, you may learn something from the critique. See this as an opportunity to learn how to grow and do better.

4. Take risks.
Success is how you define it. Allow yourself room to alter your path to success from time to time. Keep in mind that opportunities may open up when you take risks. 

5. Practice. The more that you put yourself in the spotlight will shorten your recovery time when mistakes do happen.

6. Share. Women (and men) need to share more stories about their life’s glitches (getting fired from a job, an unsuccessful promotion, a botched team project that they led, etc.) and how they overcame them to redefine success. Together, we can dismantle the myth of perfection.

Effective negotiation skills can be learned. A fearless negotiator involves practice and building confidence. Take a proactive approach towards your goals and challenge yourself to push through the hesitations. Practice will help you become a confident negotiator, but it is also important to identify your fears so you can overcome them.

Confessions of a Gatsby Wife:Lessons Learned From Losing It All

Do you remember the first time you read The Great Gatsby? Probably in high school before you could ever truly appreciate an American classic, but like many other readers you were probably enamoured by the luxurious lifestyles, intrigued by the social bonds that were made and broken throughout out the novel, and if nothing else, you were wishing you could find a Gatsby party of your own to attend.

Some people are actually living the Gatsby lifestyle, for better or worse.

“I just wanted to have the dinner parties and to have the life! And I didn’t want to know about the details or how he was funding this. I didn’t want to hear about his problems, if he didn’t have enough money. That maybe pushed him to have riskier behavior. I wasn’t a total innocent bystander,” Daisy (not her real name).

In The Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby’s mansion effervesces with fair-weather friends as long as the free champagne flows. When scandal erupts, however, no one is to be found. Gatsby, who was once the toast and talk of the town — the mysterious millionaire — died alone, with no one in attendance at his funeral.
Almost a century after Fitzgerald penned his iconic American novel, the scene still plays itself out. Sometimes the tragedy ends in death, like the many suicides that occurred in the wake of the Bernie Madoff scandal. Sometimes you are simply exiled from the Gatsby lifestyle, as happened in the case of “Daisy”, who sat down with me last week to tell her story.

Ten years ago, Daisy was living the high life. Her husband was a jetsetter with a fancy lifestyle and a flashy career in commodities. Daisy — her jewelry, her parties, her circle of friends, her figure! — was the envy of the Hamptons crowd. Socialites flowed like a cool breeze in and out of beach and country homes. Just like The Great Gatsby, Daisy’s toddler tumbled about, adding frolic and comic relief.

Daisy worried for nothing. She can’t even remember how she spent her money — the good income she earned on her own, working as an executive assistant for a venture capital group. She didn’t save a dime, and her husband handled all of the bills.
Weekdays were worker bee busy, but on weekends Daisy became the social butterfly, fluttering about among friends. That is until one fateful day, when her husband called with a horrible confession. He had collateralized their home against a hard money loan, and they were in danger of losing everything.
The years that followed were a flurry of anger, arguments and attorneys — none of which saved the home, or the Gatsby friends. As Daisy describes it, “We lost a lot of friends. People don’t hang around when you’re not having the big dinner parties that we used to have.”
And yet, Daisy looks better than I’ve ever seen her. She and her husband have reinvented themselves — something that took serious self-examination and brutal honesty over who was really to blame for losing almost all of their worldly possessions. Her husband went from dealing in bling and jet setting around the world, to dealing with high school students and commuting by train. His teaching job pays pennies on the dollar from his prior career, but he burned too many bridges to stay in his former business. Daisy went from lavish living to modest budgeting — where she controls the money and pays the bills.
In order to stay married to the father of her children, Daisy had to ask and answer the question, “Is my husband evil, or did he just make a terrible mistake?” She admits that he gambled their future on a bad business deal — one that he genuinely thought would pay off and save the day. But she also had to acknowledge her own role in the mess.
As she describes it, “I just wanted to have the dinner parties and to have the life! And I didn’t want to know about the details or how he was funding this. I didn’t want to hear about his problems, if he didn’t have enough money. That maybe pushed him to have riskier behavior. I wasn’t a total innocent bystander.”
Today, Daisy is financially, though not legally, divorced from her husband. Shepays the bills. She owns the home, and a 401K and life insurance. Her child has a trust fund and a college fund. And her next goal is to get back to earning passive income, through smart investing.
The champagne life may be gone forever (or not), but Daisy is happy and optimistic about what lies ahead, mainly because she’s driving the car now, sober and with a good plan. And she encourages you to consider the 10 Tips below, so that you never have to lose it all, like she did.

Smart Girl’s Guide to the Rich Life

  1. Pay yourself first always.  Deposit 10% of your income into a tax-protection retirement account, and learn how to compound your gains.

  2. Always have money of your own — even if he’s the mega-bread winner.

  3. Have your own credit card.

  4. Verify that you are on the deed of the home (not just the mortgage).  This is how Daisy lost her home — by not having her name on the deed.

  5. Know what and where your assets are Including how much is owed and whether your money or estate is being leveraged to pay Paul.

  6. Establish a Thrive Budget You can either survive or you can thrive. A Thrive Budget is a way to budget your money in order to help you thrive in your life. You may have a retirement fund but maybe it should be called your Private Island Fund. What do you want from your money? Save for the things you want, let it build up and never worry about surviving, just focus on thriving.

  7. Have your own retirement fund And never allow anyone to touch it. This is your lifeboat!

  8. Read the fine print of all legal documents Particularly big asset purchases.

  9. Demand transparency from your partner in all things financial  Even if you have separate bank accounts.

  10. Take ownership of your investments  Even if you have a “financial planner”.

  11. Learn The ABCs of Money  These are things that we all should have received in high school. It’s far more important than knowing how fast a train can get between Omaha and Chicago.

Sure the Gatsby lifestyle is seductive and alluring, but it’s also an uncertain lifestyle that is built on unsteady ground. Instead of being drawn to the glamour of dinner parties and fancy material possessions that could all be lost tomorrow, let yourself be drawn to the security to smart financial decisions. These are decisions that you should be making with your partner, because they’re your teammate and they’ll be the one down in the dirt with you if it all falls apart.

**Edited for repurpose by Taylor Brown, Associate Editor of Goddess Connections’ publicationWomen Who Run It.

A Note to Financial Advisors: 5 Powerful Insights Into How Women Think

Money can be a hard subject to talk about.

Honestly, who wants to sit around talking to a stranger about their annual income, their monthly expenses, where they want to invest, and then in the end write a big cheque with money you hope you see again?

I truly believe the best way for women to create wealth is by working with financial professionals. But, according to the Wall Street Journal, “fewer than one in five women currently has an advisor.”

Why? Because women can’t find anyone who understands them.

Advisors are talking to women just like they do men. Big mistake. True, money knows no gender. Women, however, are very different from men. Yet the financial world is based on the male model of communication.

Here are 5 powerful insights into how women think. By looking at these insights you can learn what to look for in your relationship with your financial advisor.

1) Women are all about relationships.  Women are ‘other’ oriented; men are transaction oriented. Women communicate to create relationships and make connections. Men communicate to obtain information, establish status, and show independence. These are 2 very different conversations. The message women want to hear: “I care about you. I understand you. I’m here to support you.” How can a financial advisor provide this for you? Ask lots of questions about your goals, dreams, time frames, lifestyle, opinions, your life in general. They should listen more than talk. Find out what you need, not what they think you need.

2) Women can be very emotional when it comes to money. But in the financial world, conversations about emotions are considered taboo, too touchy-feely, not part of the financial planning process.  Really big mistake. Your financial planner doesn’t need a degree in psychology, but they do need to invite you to discuss your fears, beliefs, and family’s attitudes toward money. Often by simply listening your issues, and addressing your qualms while explaining your options can be enough to get you past your emotional blocks.

3) Women want to be educated. Men like to learn through trial and error. Women like to be taught. In a study by Deloitte Touche,  90% of the women expected their financial advisor to educate them. They even rated service, advice, and education far ahead of performance. What’s one of the best ways to educate women? Seminars. Why?  According to an Emory University study, “the pleasure and reward centers of their brain light up if they can work towards their financial goals in a cooperative way with other women.”

4) Women define success differently than men. Men define success as being in control; women as how well they can help others. The financial media, and the industry itself, seem to believe that scary statistics, alarming statements, and worse case scenarios will actually motivate women. But clearly fear tactics haven’t worked.

Instead, look for a financial advisor who will talk to you about how investing allows you to experience the joys of philanthropy, the thrill of leaving a legacy, the satisfaction of helping people you loves and causes you’re passionate about.

5) Women clients tend to be more time consuming, especially at the beginning. Women expect more service, ask more questions.

In my 1st appointment with Eileen, my long time advisor, she told me: “My job is to see your needs are met. It’ll take time but I need to find about your goals and level of risk.” And she did. Then she gave me choices. “I see myself in partnership with you. Here are your choices. Let’s discuss each of them and figure out what is best for you.”

These are powerful insights that should help you to orient yourself around what is important to you when it comes to money. Instead of seeing the financial world as a man’s world, you can now reframe it around what you want and make the financial world your own. Keep these insights in mind when looking for your financial advisor and you’ll be sure to find the right fit for you!

**Edited for repurpose by Taylor Brown, Associate Editor of Goddess Connections’ publicationWomen Who Run It.

Are You Ready to Coach Your Way to a Better Life?

You’ve already heard my story about my experience with coaching, but that’s just one story. One story among the countless of lives that have been changed, people who have begun to see things differently, paths that have been redirected.

And here is another.

Julie Anne Christoph is a life coach certified through the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC), but this wasn’t her original path.

Julie Anne began working in sales and she did so for seven years until she was diagnosed with depression. Like so many other women, she found herself on the wrong path in life, and her health was suffering because of it.

Instead of reaching for the pill bottle, Julie Anne headed to the gym.

“I didn’t want to take medication to get out of it so I started exercising… I was really doing it for how good it feels, spiritually and mentally, how you just feel good afterwards. I wanted to share that with the world.”

And she did, by opening her own Curves gym.

Her Curves immediately thrived. She had over 880 members and was running a successful business she loved with one goal in mind: “My goal was impact and inspire one woman to love life again, just like what exercise had done to me.”

Julie Anne achieved that goal and in a bigger way than she had ever imagined. One day a member of her gym came up to her and told her “When I came here I had heard so many great things about your club and I said I have to go and check it out because at that point in my life I did not want to be on Earth….If that had not worked I was going to kill myself, but that was six months ago.”

Julie Anne was stunned by this. She realized that she had reached her goal, and that this goal was the key to what she wanted to do with her life.

“I spent time to think about what I was really doing different and what I wanted to do with that. So I went into coaching and when I found iPEC…I said ‘Oh my God. This program is absolutely life changing; it deals with consciousness, with awareness, with energy, with what human beings are’… It’s really finding yourself so you can share your gifts with the world,” Julie Anne shared.

So she became a Certified Professional Coach and shared her best insights on what coaching is with me.

WWRI: What would you say are the three main things that you have learned from coaching?

JA: That it’s important to be objective, meaning not jumping into other people’s stories. Being non-judgmental. There are so many perceptions from one situation. There are so many options to choose at every moment for how we want to perceive our world and create our world. Also, coaching has nothing to do with giving advice. Coaching is there to help you see clearly who you truly are, and be aligned in everything you do. Coaching guides you to be the best you possible.

WWRI: What has it taught you about other people?

JA: People get stuck in their own story.

People limit themselves.

People have so much potential and when they choose to open it, they bloom like crazy. They become very different people. When they choose to face what’s stopping them, they accept it and they realize that really what was limiting them was all a story that they made up themselves, they literally change. This is how we get in our own way, whether we’re conscious of it or not. It’s how people work through any potential blocks or challenges or stories they’ve hung onto, that will determine how fulfilling and abundant life will be. We do have more control than we think, in terms of how we “show up” in our relationships, career, and all other aspects of our lives. Coaching is a viable tool to plant these seeds of growth.

WWRI: What would you say to people who don’t think that coaching is a necessary thing?

JA: A coach is no longer seen as someone you go to in order to tout your problems. Coaches are now in such high demand grooming leaders for growth and greater possibilities. In fact, women who hire coaches to help them with their careers are shown to increase their productivity and confidence, helping them to speak up more, make bolder and stronger strategic decisions, and improve upon their work/life balance. In just three years, according to a Sherpa Coaching survey, coaching has fast become widely used as a leadership development tool.

And, right here in Canada, the Sherpa survey revealed that over 50% of individuals find coaching to be a credible and effective return on their investment. So, while coaching may not be for everyone, I say anyone can benefit from self-development heightened communication skills, and finding alignment with oneself – one’s values – my journey through iPEC’s Coach Training Program proved to be priceless… I love my job, family, and my outlook on life because everything is in alignment. I am passionate in what I choose to do and coaching was my springboard in getting there. I loved it so much that I now own iPEC Canada. I really wanted to make this incredible program accessible to Canadians.

WWRI: What about becoming a coach? How about that?

JA: When you become a coach then you go through the certification process to become a masterful coach, following a certification program through an ICF accredited school is recommended. People follow a Coach Training Program for different reasons, some for personal growth, some to start a new career and others to bring the new skills and tools back into their organization.  You could just want it for yourself, you could want to bring it back to your own organization and be a different leader and interact differently with your employees, or you could just choose to coach.

Many people ask me about a career in coaching (either life, executive, or business coaching.) The first thing I say is, it’s great that you’re curious – the best coaches use their curiosity, intuition, and listening skills, day in and day out, to help move their clients forward. And, nine times of out ten, the people asking me this question are drawn to the profession because they truly want to make a difference in the lives of others.

If you want to become a coach, do your homework. Be sure that the coach training school is ICF-accredited, that is, it has passed strict rules and regulations set forth by the industry’s governing body, the International Coach Federation (ICF).  Again, take a look at your values and that of the coach training school. Ask yourself if they are aligned, and be sure to investigate the quality and experience of the trainers. I can tell you one of the things that sold me on choosing iPEC was their business development component. iPEC not only teaches a unique, inside-out approach to coaching, they incorporate business development and marketing tactics to help you become a successful entrepreneur…or womenpreneur, as I like to say!

WWRI: What is one weird thing about coaching that most people don’t know?

JA: Whatever a coach is hired for, whether it’s in corporate, in business, whatever field, it all ends up being about life coaching. You never know when those “ah ha” moments are going to come or where they might stem from. In order to get to the bottom line, whether you aspire to engage your employees or become a more authentic leader, coaching will get you there. It’s the journey, however, that is a weird, fun, zigzagging adventure and the rewards, in truly finding out about yourself – how you operate and what you want to improve upon, are simply endless.

WWRI: What about people who are scared to take the leap?

JA: To get a coach: I would ask what are they scared of finding?

People who want to become coaches: How much do you believe in yourself? We all have the capacity, it’s just about choosing if we want to or not. And some people choose not to.

Through my talk with Julie Anne I learned that becoming a coach, or getting a life coach is not for everyone, but that it could benefit anyone. It just depends on where you want to take your life and if you’re ready. If you’re ready, then take the leap today!

Positive Thinking Is a Useless Waste of Time

You’ve probably been told since you were young that positive thinking is the key to success.

Who wouldn’t want to believe that?

In a word of sunshine and rainbows that would be the way it is. Thinking positively would get you to your goals, you would never have to doubt your self, and it would all come up smelling like roses. That’s what most people are told, but when tested, it’s easy to poke holes in that theory.

Positive Thinking is Actually a Huge Waste of Time “Who believes in positive thinking?”

All hands went up.

“Who uses positive thinking on a daily basis?”

Again, all hands in the room went up.

“I don’t believe in positive thinking. It’s useless and a waste of time.” I stated from the front of the room with great conviction and authority.

I stopped and looked around the room. Some of the men glared at me. Some leaned forward in their seats and actually looked angry. Others sat back in their chairs and crossed their arms. They didn’t like me challenging their way of doing things.

But here’s the thing: I wasn’t there for them to like me. As an Ultimate Performance Expert, my workshop was designed to train the elite to show up and be excellent consistently. My role was to coach them, teach them, and challenge them to do more and be more. Fluff and philosophy is not my style.

Setting the scene, this particular workshop wasn’t my business audience. This group was comprised of all male athletes. Not just any group of athletes either. These were elite college football players who were into serious preparation mode. They were about to show off their talents to NFL scouts and coaches, in hopes of making it into the league. There was no room for error. They couldn’t afford to blow this upcoming opportunity.

They each signed up and showed up to the workshop to learn how to not be average. Excellence was their goal. Blending in and fitting was not acceptable. They would be showcasing their talent against other highly talented players who were chasing their dream.

The missing piece in their armor was mental and emotional strength conditioning. No matter how incredible their skill and their talent was, they knew that if the pressure of the tryout got to them, they would screw up any chance of making it into the league. Any amount of self-doubt, hesitation or stress could kill their lifelong dreams in seconds.

Proving My Theory It was time for me to prove to them that I actually knew what I was talking about. So I asked one of the players to share a positive statement with me. A statement that he would normally use to pump himself up during training.  Without hesitation he stated, “I am feakin’ amazing. I own my position and I dominate my competition.” The statement flowed naturally out of his mouth and I could tell he used it often.

“Great, that’s a clear and positive statement. But do you believe it?” Now I had everyone’s attention. Walking over to the player, he was still seated and I was standing in front of him, I watched his body language change.

As I approached, he went from leaning across the table in front of him to sitting back in his chair. I asked him to repeat his statement out loud. What happened next was extraordinary and powerful.

This player, I’ll call him Jim, who towered above me and could have flattened me with little effort, now sat farther back in his chair, his eyes went down and he visibly began to shrink.

Keep in mind, I had asked his permission to coach him live and in front of this group and he had volunteered. I had applauded him for his courage. This entire time I made certain he did not feel embarrassed. In fact, he was intrigued by the whole experience.  Each step of the way I continued to point out to Jim and the group what I was observing.

When I asked Jim to say his statement again, but this time to do it like he actually meant it, he looked up at me and said it again. His voice was a bit louder, he sat up some and he now made his statement with more conviction.

Reframing What It Means to Think Positively Then it was time to push. I could tell he was up to the challenge. It’s part of Jim’s competitive nature. He would either fold or rise to the occasion. So I pushed, with authority and conviction I stated, “I don’t believe you. You’re really not all that great are you? You don’t seem like you’re that amazing to me!” I waited just a moment and then told Jim, “Say it again and make me believe you.”

He straighten up in his chair, looked me squarely in the eye and I could see the light coming on behind his eyes as he said it again. “Better. Now say it like YOU believe it.” I pushed him again.

All of a sudden his entire body came up and forward in his seat, his voice went deeper, his eyes were full of power and he clenched both fists. When he made his statement this time, I literally felt chills run through my body. He had done it! The entire room knew it and felt it. The energy of everyone in the room changed. Most important, Jim felt it.

“Now, run that feeling through your entire body. From the top of your head to the tip of your toes feel it, experience what power and belief really feels like.” I directed.

I took one step back and looked around at the group. All eyes had been on Jim and me. Some of the guys had gotten up out of their seats to watch. Others sat riveted on the results. All of a sudden the applause broke loose.

Jim looked straight at me and a big smile came over his face. “Wow, that was powerful! Thank you!” I nodded and went back to the front of the room and just stood there for a moment. I gave everyone time to take in what had just happened before I we began our discussion.

Why You Shouldn’t Think Positively “THAT was a positive statement that was believed in. Do you get the difference? Positive thinking is just that, it’s thinking. Thinking is way overrated. It’s just a lot of well-chosen words that will fall apart under pressure. The power to believe in yourself and the power to perform at a high level comes from emotion.”

Jim could have stated how great he was all day long, but if he didn’t believe it at an emotional level his skills and talents would fall apart at the most critical moment when he needed them the most.

When you add emotion to a positive statement, you charge it up.  You light yourself up at the same time! Belief is the key. Belief isn’t a bunch of words. Belief is a deep down emotional experience.

So don’t listen to the idea that you need to think positively. That will get you nowhere. Find it in yourself to believe in that positivity and you take your success from being a thought to a reality.

From Stressed Out to Super Mom Entrepreneur: An Interview with Carolyn Dickson

Carolyn Dickinson is no run of the mill working mom.

She has two children, a thriving business, and she runs a yearly conference to help other women follow in her footsteps.

But she wasn’t always living a supermom life.

At one point Carolyn was dealing with a colicky baby, postpartum depression, and a career that she had to be put on hold as she dealt with a harder life post-birth than she could have ever imagined.

So how did she get where she is today?

1. She never gave up

Sure, Carolyn could have said “I’m exhausted, I’m dealing with so much. I’m just going to sleep and forget about work for a while.” But she wouldn’t let that happen. She knew that she wanted to work so she made it happen.

Carolyn researched for herself, used the contacts she had, and built up her business on her own. And she did all this with a baby strapped to her.

“Sometimes I actually put her in a pouch, I got running shoes for my house and I would walk for two hours and make phone calls and literally just walk her around the room and that’s how I would sometimes do my business,” she shared.

2. She used her resources to her advantage

When she first began working again after the birth of her daughter, Carolyn wanted to know “Who do I go to to say ‘what do I do?’ and ‘I need help.’” When she couldn’t find anyone to help her, she took it upon herself to find the answers.

“I’ve always done self-training. I’ve always gone to courses. I’ve always tried to better myself, learn more. I went back to some of the courses I had taken…and thought ‘let me pull some of the strategies and kind of change them up a little to work for me as a mom,’” said Carolyn

Not only that, but she leaned on those around her to help her to achieve her dreams as well.

“I had a great business partner at the time who would literally, no word of a lie, would come over and walk my baby in the pouch so I could make some calls and feel like I was getting stuff done. He would come over and support me so that we could do meetings at my house. Even if I had to leave and breastfeed, he would continue the meeting for me,” Carolyn said.

What a great man!

3. Her children are the CEOs of their own companies

“If I go to my daughters school event, I don’t bring my phone. If someone calls and says I couldn’t reach you, ‘Oh I was in the meeting with the CEO,’”she shared.

Carolyn continued to explain that “I look at my children and my husband now, and it took a while to get here, but they’re CEO of their own company and I would not, if I had a meeting with an IBM CEO and the CEO of Royal Bank calls me and says that he wants to meet with me, I’m not going to call the IBM CEO and say ‘Sorry I can’t meet with you, Royal Bank wants to meet with me.’ I’m gonna say ‘I’m really sorry, I’m booked at that time, but here is a bunch of other available times, can any of these work for you?’”

Instead of feeling the need to justify the important time that she needs to spend with her children, she makes them a priority and brings them up to the same level of importance as she would her work.

“I have to choose that when I am with my kids, everything else shuts off. They feel I’m 100% present with them when I’m with them. That’s more powerful than being around all the time and never being present… It’s not about spending a ton of time, it’s the quality of time,” Carolyn shared.

4. She always planned ahead “The night before I would try and take 20 minutes to a half hour and write down my list of things to do for the week and pick 5 things I could do each day.”

Planning. Kind of sounds like a joke when you have kids, but Carolyn planned to have distractions by getting things out of the way as soon as possible.

Carolyn said that “It was really about organizing my time, being efficient in the time that I did have, because you never know exactly when that was going to be, especially when you have a colic child.”

5. And of course she prioritized, because you can’t do it ALL

Carolyn always tried to make her to-do lists as realistic as possible and prioritized them in order of importance, “My top 3 being the money-makers, [I would] really get at them as soon as I had the opportunity, regardless of how tired I was. If I could get through that I could take a nap.”

Instead of thinking that she had to do everything, Carolyn understood that she needed to work,  be a mother, and keep her sanity, so she allowed herself time for all of those things, instead of burning herself out.

Besides becoming successful in her own rite, Carolyn chose to share her success with others. She has become the kind of person that she wished she had to look to during her time of struggle.

“I felt really alone when I needed that help and it was a horrible, horrible, horrible feeling and I didn’t want other women to have that. It doesn’t need to be that way. It doesn’t need to be this difficult. It doesn’t need to be that we don’t help each other,” she shared.

One way she’s done this is through her Super Mom Entrepreneur website, a site dedicated to helping women balance their business and home life. Thanks to Carolyn, no longer will women need to choose one or the other, or struggle on while trying to juggle both, now they can thrive in all areas of their life and they don’t have to do it alone.

Carolyn has also created a one day conference called I AM THE BOSS. It has three parts to the day. In the morning she has a talk show segment where she interviews other inspiring women in business. Part two has a keynote speaker, and part three provides training for the women. Her conference is now in it’s third year and has truly inspired and changed women’s lives, all in one day.

Carolyn is truly a super mom entrepreneur and thanks to her, you can be too!