Do What You Love

Do What You Love

Do What You Love

The Love, Happiness & Success Podcast with Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby

Music Credits: Brick Fields, “Gotta Sing Your Song”

How To Do What You Love

So many of our life coaching and career coaching clients come to us because they feel stuck.

Sometimes they're stuck in paralysis, not knowing which career move to make. Some (many, actually) of our clients feel stuck in a career that they don't really enjoy, but that is stable and fairly well-paying. They know it’s time for a career change, but they don't know how to pivot in their career without creating chaos in their lives.

Still, other career coaching clients are feeling stuck in work-related circumstances, like a toxic work environment, or in difficult relationships with co-workers. They don't necessarily want to quit their jobs, but they know something needs to change. 

How to Find Your Career Passion

Can you relate? Feeling stuck in your career can be frustrating, stressful, and even paralyzing. Finding clarity and direction about your next move allows you to move forward fearlessly and find your career passion. 

On this episode of the Love, Happiness and Success Podcast, I'm speaking with Teena, a career development coach.

She and I met over tea to talk about the questions to ask yourself and the mindset to adopt when you’re ready to get unstuck, find your passion, and create a career that's in alignment with who you are.

Every “Mistake” Is a Step Closer to Finding Your Passion

So often, people fear making a “mistake” in their careers. Teena and I discussed how this type of Success-or-Failure thinking creates additional stress and pressure on your career decisions and contributes to a feeling of career paralysis. 

You can — and should — learn as much as possible about a job or a career that interests you before you ever work a day in the field. But eventually, you’ll have to dive in and see what that career feels like, and it’s entirely possible that you’ll discover it’s not quite right for you. 

That doesn’t mean you’re tethered to a bad-fit career until retirement, or that your time, energy, or education were all a big waste. It means you’ve learned something about what you enjoy, what you value, and what you’re good at, and now you can use that insight to bring yourself closer to finding your passion. 

Listen for some great perspective to help you find valuable, meaningful life and work-related experience in all of your efforts, so you can avoid falling into a failure mindset and cultivate a growth mindset instead.

Find Your Passion

Many people reach out for career coaching when they're just starting out in their careers. Perhaps they've just graduated from college and are figuring out what to do with their degree… or finding that their true interest is not what they went to school for. 

No one teaches you how to find your passion, so it makes sense that many of us need a little help. 

We're sharing some excellent advice for helping people who are just getting started in their careers get clear about who they are, and about what type of career will be meaningful and enjoyable… as well as lucrative.

How to Love Your Work Again

So often, working professionals launch careers that they develop for years, only to find out that what they're doing for a living is not truly congruent with who they are. 

Sometimes, people start careers out of what's available, or what's stable, or what's expected of them, rather than through a thoughtful self-discovery process. Over the years, as they become more aware of who they are and what they're really about, shifting their careers to match their true selves becomes an important part of their personal growth.

We have great advice to help you consider who you are at the most fundamental level, and how to use self-awareness as the key tool to finding work you love, or to learning to love your work again. 

How to Do What You Love and Never Stop Growing

Your career story doesn’t end happily ever after once you land on the job that’s right for you. Professional development is an ongoing process of personal growth, and Teena and I discussed how that growth work happens. 

As your position of responsibility grows, it becomes necessary to step up your game on every level. Learning how to be more productive and organized, understanding the impact of emotional intelligence and working to raise your own emotional intelligence, creating positive coworker relationships (even with difficult colleagues), figuring out how to get ahead at work, and learning how to lead are all part of the ongoing personal growth process that doing what you love requires. 

We offer some great tips for continuing to develop yourself both personally and professionally so that you can tap your potential to the fullest as your life and career evolve.

Love Your Work — And Your Life

While we do spend a lot of time in our professional roles, a truly meaningful and satisfying career needs to fit in with your entire life. Teena shares her perspective around how to create a healthy work-life balance, how to balance your career and your relationships, and how to keep your professional success in perspective as just one aspect of your entire life.

We talk about some of the stress management skills and boundary-setting skills that she helps her career coaching and life coaching clients build, so they can stay in a good place physically, mentally, and emotionally — even when they have a lot going on.

Ready to Do What You Love?

Ready to find your career passion?

Pour yourself your own cup of tea and join a conversation about creating a career that is in alignment with your authentic self, breaking through career-related paralysis, and managing the anxiety that starts to bubble up around making big career changes.

Have you submitted a career-related question for the podcast lately? We're answering listener career questions, so be sure to listen for yours!

Your partner in growth,

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby

Do What You Love

The Love, Happiness & Success Podcast with Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby

Music Credits: Brick Fields, “Gotta Sing Your Song”

What To Do When You Hate Your Job

What To Do When You Hate Your Job

Do You Hate Your Job?

Do you struggle with “Sunday Evening Blues?” Do you slap your alarm fifteen times to postpone the inevitable waking up, into another day of stressful / boring / annoying work? Do you feel like you're screwing up at your job? Do you struggle with office politics? Do you feel like you're wasting your life? If your answer is “yes” to any of these questions — you're in luck today! On this episode of The Love, Happiness and Success Podcast I'm speaking with my colleague Dr. Kristi, a Denver Career Coach, and online career coach who has lots of great ideas to help you.

Listen now and get career advice on how to:

  • Figure out whether you can make changes with the job you have to make it better (or whether you need to quit and move on).
  • Figure out what your true calling is (FYI: It may involve mermaids).
  • Use strategic tests and assignments to understand what type of career you'll be most happy with
  • Manage on-the job stress and anxiety, and challenging work-relationships
  • Make a practical plan to start a satisfying new career

What To Do If You Hate Your Job: Listen Now

Career Pathing: How to Find Your Passion

Career Pathing: How to Find Your Passion

Finding a career that aligns with your passion can be difficult. Often, fears and outside factors can make it hard to commit to moving forward with big picture plans and career goals. Nonetheless, it is possible with self-reflection and self-awareness to develop a plan that truly aligns with your passions and goals. In this interview with certified career counselor Megan R., we will discuss how to make your passion your career. 

In this episode, you will learn how to get clarity about your passion. You will also learn the other factors and hindrances that stop you from pursuing it. Knowing these can help you better understand yourself and the path you have to take.

Tune in to the full interview to learn how to make your passion your career path in the happiest and most successful way possible!

In This Episode: How to Make Your Passion Your Career

  • Learn how to take inventory of what’s going on in your life
  • Learn how to break out of choice paralysis
  • Understand how to reflect on your past experiences and make meaning out of them
  • Find the importance of work-life balance in choosing your career
  • Value yourself and practice self-care
  • Discover the power of career counseling and how it can help you
  • Find out why you feel burnout

Episode Highlights

Choice Paralysis and Getting Unstuck

While 2020 and the pandemic resulted in sudden changes in our lifestyles, they also gave us plenty of opportunities. This time at home allowed us to take inventory of what's currently happening in our lives (and what isn't). For some of us, this past year has been a form of an awakening – realizing what we may be missing or seeing potential areas of growth both personally and professionally. When it comes to “getting unstuck” and “getting started,” here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • Are you managing your time in the best way possible?
  • Are you on the right career path? 
  • Is your work in line with your passion?

While the answers to these questions can lead to a more precise understanding of where you're currently at and where you would like to be, they can also lead to choice paralysis (and more questions!). Now, we don't want to deter you from exploring these questions and really diving into your answers because this is an important step in the process of discovering your passion. However, it's important to be aware that this feeling of choice paralysis is common! And you're going to get through it!

As Denver Career Counselor, Megan R. puts it, “Sometimes we become so hopeful and so excited about what could happen next, [we] start to grapple with…paralysis analysis. Saying things like, ‘I put all of these options in front of me. And I don't even know if half these options are viable.'

So, how do you get unstuck when you want to move forward in your quest for find the perfect career path? It helps to understand the problems that hold you back from making a choice.

When you want to get really clear about your next steps and make sure they are in alignment with your overall goal, career counseling can assist you in that step. A career counselor can help you unravel the worries and fears that you may be experiencing and help you find a clearer understanding of what your next move should be. They can also help you set things in motion once you find the right path.

Finding Work/Life Balance On Your Career Path

Some of us may be scared to pursue our passions because of the needed dedication that would take away from non-work related life. The best way to prepare is to have a plan. When it comes to work/life balance, it's important that you understand what changes may need to take place, especially temporary changes. This way you can be prepared for any challenges that may show up when you begin your journey on a new career path. Here are some questions to reflect on:

  • Does your career change require additional schooling or higher education of some sort? If so, do you need to keep your job while in school?
  • Do you have a spouse and kids? How will you balance your most important relationships?
  • Do you have a roommate that is also sharing your workspace at home? How will the effect your experience and how can you set yourself up for success?

To better understand how your work/life balance may be affected by these changes, Megan suggests asking yourself, “What kind of timeline are we working with here?” Knowing the answer to this question will help you understand how to pace yourself through these changes and will help allow you some wiggle room along the way.

Megan refers to this process as “identifying the landmines.” Landmines are the sudden changes that may happen in your life. It can also help you prepare you when suddenly facing these challenges, making it easier to move forward. 

Career Pathing: What Is It?

Career pathing is the process of determining the career development course of an employee inside an organization. Initially, the trait-factor approach determines where a person should work. It factors in your traits and the job you are most likely to succeed in based on other's experiences. While this may have helped before, it is essential to acknowledge that human beings and society are getting more complex.

Career counseling is beginning to shift into a life design paradigm. In this design, you take into consideration that your employee is a complex human being. So you must help them understand the answers to these questions:

  • What are the roles that I hold?
  • What are my long-term goals?
  • What are my values?

When the answers to these questions are taken into account, the “employee” who holds a particular role, is now seen as an individual on a particular career path. This way of thinking can help employers better understand their employees career goals and help support them on their career path.

How to Find Your Passion

For some, their passion is clear as day. Others find it hard to understand and define what it is. The most straightforward approach is to start at the beginning and ask yourself these questions:

  • What went well in my past jobs and hobbies?
  • What didn’t go well?
  • What would you like to replicate from previous experiences?
  • What would you not like to happen again?

It is easier to work from the past because these are events that already happened. You don’t need to think about creating new answers; you only need to reflect. You need to make meaning of the past first for better self-awareness. Reflecting and brainstorming on the past can also give you a roadmap to follow when choosing your career path.

Burnout: How Does This Happen?

Unfortunately, many people don’t know what career counselors are. Even Megan shares that she didn’t know about them until she is already in the field of counseling. Because we skip this process of taking inventory of ourselves before we even pick our college degrees, we lack self-awareness. And so, along the way, only some of us stay on the path we chose. In contrast, others get bored or experience burnout.

Why does burnout happen? There are typically one of two reasons for burnout:

  1. We stop finding joy in what we are doing because we stopped reflecting. When you stop reflecting on your experiences, it's easy to lose sight of what you enjoy and what you don't. You can quickly find yourself in a monotonous cycle of going through the motions. By setting time aside to reflect on your day or week, you're allowing room for growth and understanding. You get to learn a little more about yourself, your passions, and even your dislikes.
  2. Outside factors also influence this lack of motivation. These outside factors could include sudden life changes like marriage, children, or sickness. When important life changes occur, we can revert to working out of necessity and not because we love what we are doing.

By finding meaning in your past experiences you can foster hope and make looking at the future easier.

Changing Your Career Path

Are you ready to make a change to your career path? Congratulations! This is an exciting and hopeful time. To best set yourself up for success when changing your career path here are some important career path tips to take into account.

1. Begin working with an expert career counselor. By connecting with a career counselor early, you can receive expert advice on setting up your career path, your timeline goals, and putting together the steps for achieving these goals.

2. Reflect on your experiences. When you reflect on your experiences you better understand what it is that you enjoy (and what you don't!). Setting aside time daily or weekly to reflect on your experiences will help you make more confident choices moving forward on your career path.

3. Know that it's okay to move slow. Instead of jumping into these drastic changes, know that it's okay to move slow and take small steps as you move forward. You don't have to have it all figured out on day one.

4. Make space for a healthy work/life balance. If quitting your current job means financial instability, then maybe it's better to wait to fully quit your current position until you're more financially stable. Also, keep in mind your most important relationships. How will these changes affect your family, your partner, your friends? Make space in your career path for those you care the most about. Although your time together may change a little in the meantime, it's still important to maintain these relationships throughout these changes.


  • Interested in learning more about Megan R and her career counseling services? Read her bio and schedule a free consultation with Megan here: Meet Megan R!
  • Growing Self – Learn more about our free online career resources for you!

Megan R., M.A., LPCC, NCC, CCC has shared invaluable information about finding your passion and choosing your right career path. What did you connect and relate to the most? Feel free to share your thoughts by leaving a comment down below.

Did you like this interview? Subscribe to us now to discover how to live a life full of love, success, and happiness!

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How to Make Your Passion Your Career

The Love, Happiness & Success Podcast with Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby

Music Credits: So Many Things by Aurora D’Amico

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Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby This is Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby, and you're listening to the Love, Happiness, and Success podcast

[So Many Things by Aurora D’Amico plays] 

Dr. Lisa: That's So Many Things by Aurora D’Amico. Beautiful song, and perfect for our topic today. Because today we're talking about how to get clarity when you could literally go in any direction, it seems like. I think that's one of the weird benefits, almost, of this experience that we've just been through together, of having it feel like the world is basically just falling apart. Now we all have to regroup and rebuild. But in the kind of hidden opportunity there is that it disrupts things, it creates space. It's harder, I think, to make major life changes when you're already in this like, really clear, entrenched path, and everything is just moving in one direction. It's hard to get off that train sometimes. But when things feel a little iffy, and when there's not a ton of clarity about what exactly is going to be happening next, it can create this space, this opportunity to think about, “Well, what do I want to have happen next? And how can I potentially design it?” 

I think a lot of people are in the space right now. And some people it's showing up in their relationships, some in the sort of existential what am I doing with my life thing. And there can be many components of that, certainly, but an important one of those is, “What am I doing with my career?” 

I think that's why, I mean, here at Growing Self, we've seen a ton of clients showing up with an interest in talking about their careers. So, we do career counseling, and career coaching, professional development, coaching, and that's a lot of what we're doing lately—is talking with people about how to either make a pivot in their career, or go more deeply into their chosen career path. But the most important thing that I'm hearing over and over again from our clients is, “I need meaning. I need this to be in alignment with my passion and what I really want to be doing with my life, because I know there's sort of this renewed awareness that life is short, and that we need to make it count.” So that's the theme. 

In addition to that part, been seeing just a ton of really smart, resourceful, successful people, who are in a decent place, but they're, they're saying, “I feel like it could be more,” right. They're also saying that they feel like they have a lot of different opportunities that they could go in many different directions. And that in itself, while it's a good thing, can also feel really paralyzing, because people get very anxious about, “Okay, so I could do 10 different things, but which one is the right thing?” Especially when they're all, maybe kind of interesting or kind of good and they have to choose one, in order to make it happen. Then there's this stress. They wind up getting stuck, an indecision, where they feel like it's hard to make any choice at all, which then just perpetuates more of the same. As we all know, we can stay stuck in the same place for quite a long time without that energy to go in one direction or the other. 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Choice Paralysis

So what we're talking about today is how do we begin to break out of that paralysis, especially with new opportunities on the horizon and pick not just a path, but the “right path.” To help us with this, I have invited a colleague of mine on today's episode. We're going to be speaking with career counselor and professional development coach, Megan Rankin. Megan is my colleague, here at Growing Self, and she is amazing. She is a legitimate expert on this topic. She has a whole master's degree in career development. And I mean, so this is what she specializes in. She's a certified career counselor. She's been doing this for a while and she is also has a background as a therapist, too. She's here today to share her perspective on what it takes to get clear about that career path and start putting things into motion, especially when you have a lot of options. So Megan, thank you. 

Megan Rankin: Of course, yes. Yay. Well, absolutely, no, thank you for having me. This is definitely to kind of piggyback off of what you shared. A lot of my clients come to me at that point. It's not necessarily a crisis, or “I don't know what to do,” but they do have a lot of options in front of them. A Lot of times, it's “I just need someone to talk this through with, and I would love a little guidance on how do I take that next step. How do I even know a next step is warranted?” 

Yeah, absolutely. There's a lot of that going on. I think COVID stirred a lot of that up for us. And as a career counselor choosing to see that as a great opportunity, right, take inventory of what's going on in our lives. And make sure we are using our time well, when we're working from home or maybe unemployed or whatever COVID brought for us in our career. 

Dr. Lisa: Yeah, definitely. Well, I love your positive spin and that idea that it's an opportunity, and that—I mean, I know, it sounds kind of trite but hidden in difficult life experiences, there usually is an opportunity of some kind, but we just have to have to find it.

Okay, so if we go into this more deeply. Say that you have a career counseling client who's showed up and is in that situation. They're stable, maybe it's not a bad situation, but they're really having that sense of wanting more. They want a career that is in alignment with their passion, and they're doing something that they kind of like, but it's not as good as it could be.  I'm wondering, if you could just, maybe you could start by just taking us into what are some of the things that you see these clients grappling with? I mean, not so much specific choices, but like, how does it feel?

Megan: Yeah, absolutely. It's interesting, it's a catch 22, right? Because if we do have a positive spin on it, and say, “Okay, this is a nice time to take some inventory and look through some things.” There's hope in that, and we love hope. We want to see hope. It's where I start a lot of time, let's foster help, if that doesn't feel like it's kind of readily available for us. 

You were mentioning, it almost creates paralysis. Sometimes we become so hopeful, and so excited about what could happen next, that clients start to grapple with, oh, my gosh, paralysis analysis. “I put all of these options in front of me. I don't even know if half of these options are viable, if I should even be researching any of these options. Do I even like half of these options? What about all the other people this might affect?” I have a lot of clients that kind of forget. It's very normal. 

People are affected by your job, right? Yes, it's a very personal experience, your career, because you're the one showing up doing the work advancing or not. But what about the family? Who are you living with that's impacted by this career choice? Do you have kids? Do you have a spouse? Do you live with roommates, they're also working from home, and if you make a career pivot, now you're going to work from home with them. 

Definitely, grappling with just the context of their career. That is something that I don't take lightly as a career counselor. My therapy background kicks in and says, “Hey, what else is this spilling into?” Yes, you've got a 9 to 5 self that we're going to explore, your career self. What about when you close your laptop, or you hang up the phone, or you get back in your car and drive home? So not only are they grappling with just the options that are out there, we're also grappling with what kind of transition are we actually embarking on? If we do choose to shake some things up, and what's going to kind of be different if we do take a step in the next direction. 

Dr. Lisa: Yeah, that's so important. I could see how that's a really necessary place to start. It's like, not even just what you want to do, but like the context of everything. That's a great point because I hear from people all the time that their career can become so consuming. So, like much of their life, it's almost difficult to have anything else. They get home at the end of the day, and they're so wiped out or exhausted. Or if your career pivot is going to require graduate school, and you have to maintain your job through that, how will that impact your personal life? Having that kind of conversation first to map it all out can be necessary.

Career Pathing

Megan: Right. Well, we hope it saves us from a little heartache, right? Because if we do have the beauty of we’re not rushing into jobs. Sometimes that happens, we do have timelines, we do have families to support. But in exploring the context, that helps us determine what our timeline is. 

Often when people come and meet with me, and then we start exploring the options, one of my very first questions is, “What kind of timeline are we working on here? Are you looking to be working with me for a long time? And we can take this, bit by bit? Because the salary that you're working with, or the paychecks you've got coming in cover you?” Or are you looking at me like, “No, Megan, this change needed to have happened yesterday. We're trying to move the ball really, really quickly here.” 

So in establishing a timeline, it does give us a little wiggle room. It also helps us when we think about that long term. I call it identifying the landmines. Right, when we're looking into our future and what's out there, it can be really helpful to anticipate some things. It doesn't take away. Right? Landmines happen, big transitions happen in our lives, I think we could all agree with COVID, we all experienced probably one of the biggest transitions that we could not anticipate. But even just a little work around. “I might struggle with networking. It tends to make me feel a little bit uncomfortable” If we can anticipate that, when it comes to the networking piece, we've already known, “Hey, that's going to be a little scary. Maybe we take some of the scariness out of it.” And we now spend a little extra time in that field or in that arena of job searching, makes it a little easier moving forward. So in looking at context, we can anticipate sort of what’s going on. 

Dr. Lisa: That makes sense. Because it's like there's a difference between somebody who really just needs a different job, like stat, versus somebody that you're working with, and it's conversations around, imagine like, “Do you want children? Where do you want to be living? What does your partner think about?” The phrase that's coming up is that designing a life type conversations compared to getting a different job, because those two things are really different.

Megan: Yeah. Well, and you're kind of actually speaking to some really big paradigm shifts that we did see in the career world. For a long time, moving forward, it was kind of that trait factor approach, right? Where if you have these skills, these aptitudes, well, here's a job that you can do. We've seen success for people like you in the field, go for it. There's still some really great knowledge we can glean from that. 

As we're getting more complex as human beings, our society is getting more complex, so as our context, right? And you're kind of pointing out the kind of this life design paradigm that career counseling is really shifting into, and that takes in consideration, what are the roles I hold? What are my long-term goals? What are my values? It takes the employee and makes them into a human, rather than just an employee. Because good career counseling acknowledges the human in you. And says, “Hey, where are we getting this information from? What information is important to you when we are looking for jobs?” 

Absolutely, life design is—that's where I feel most comfortable operating. And that's actually how I'm able to act as someone who honors her therapy path while being a really good career counselor. I kind of blend the two in that way. 

Dr. Lisa: That's perfect. Because I think sometimes that's what people think is going to happen when they show up for career counseling. It's like you're going to give them a couple of tests, and then you're going to compute their scores, and then say, “Okay, you should be a forest ranger. Here are three places that you can apply and go do that.” Right. And, but yours. 

Megan: See you when you’re done. 

Dr. Lisa: There's that old school mentality. But what you're saying is that there's so much more to it, that it's not just what you could do, or that you would enjoy doing, or that has the benefits that you would be interested in. It's who are you as a human and what's your “Why?” Why are we doing all of this? 

What Is My Passion?

Megan: Absolutely. The “why” is huge. That's what we focus on a lot of times, and especially  when that word passion comes up. I have a lot of clients, “Megan, I want to do something I'm passionate about, I'm passionate about it.” 

In kind of determining passion, first, we're starting with defining passion, because my passion is going to look a lot different than your passion, versus the guy walking down the street, he has a different passion than you do. So we're really spending some time defining—what does passion even look like. Because if we don't know, we're just shooting in the dark. Right? So we start with that. 

Then as we're kind of moving forward and figuring other things out, I'm asking you about, “What did your parents have to say about career? What did your teachers have to say about career? How is that influencing the work that you're doing? Is that playing a factor in this?” Maybe you receive some negative information about the world of work and about career and that's actually holding you back, and we didn't really understand that just yet. That kind of matching approach would neglect that. 

But looking at the person as a human says, “Hey, let's check out the messaging around this.” Or even, “What does the culture say about this? What messages are you intaking from our culture, from our society? Are you disqualifying yourself before we even put it on the table? Or do you have preconceived ideas about, “Well, I have to do that because of X, Y, and Z.” Right. We want to define passion. Those pieces, that's part of understanding your passion and getting clarity around the why.

Dr. Lisa: I think I'm hearing you say, the first step is to do some exploration on how you got to where you are right now, almost. It’s did you create this? Or were you sort of bending in the direction of these cultural forces and messages? Sort of differentiating what's you and the authentic self-directed part, versus what your mom thought you should do, or where your mom thought you should be when you are 31. Is that what you see happening? 

Megan: 100%. Absolutely, yeah, definitely. In that connection, you’re really surprising for people, when I do ask questions around their past, they're like, “What do you mean? We're preparing for my future, five years?” “Yeah, we are. We're going to hold space for that.” And they've got a lot of cool questions oriented around that. The conversation around that, though, is so much more fruitful if you trust me for just a little bit and allow us to kind of pivot and turn back and say, “What brought you here? How did that go for you? Do you have some thoughts about your career?”

I also a lot of times in job searching, maybe when we are kind of getting into the more tough—kind of what we will call hard skills, right? Are you interviewing well, is your resume in line? Does your cover letter look good? When I kind of explore a lot of that, sometimes there's parts of our job past that we actually haven't made peace with. We need to spend some time around that. Right? So let's say you were in a job, you had a really negative experience, maybe management, you didn't enjoy management. 

Dr. Lisa: It’s toxic environment kind of thing? 

Megan: Toxic. Yeah, absolutely. Yep. Something that may be dragged you down. Maybe you got fired, or you got let go, and you haven't done any healing around that experience. When we kind of move forward and work on those hard skills, that actually might come up a little bit. If we can do some work on it before we get to that resume and cover letter, it's going to make that resume and cover letter work really fruitful. 

That can be a surprise for people when I say, “Hey, tell me about what brought you here? How did you get to sitting in front of me from the start to the end? And let's pull some of that apart.” Trust piece comes in, because I asked them, “Can you trust me this is going to be effective?” Because sometimes, people are like, “This is dumb, I don't want to talk about it.” And I honor that, it can be hard, right? That typically indicates to me though, we do need to do a little work around what brought you here, and make sure we kind of make sense and meaning, right? The life design. When we're thinking about you as a human and how you've designed your life, I got to know what artistry and craftsmanship you do.

Dr. Lisa: Oh my gosh. I have never actually thought about it in that way before. But it's almost like shifting from a career or a job. I am such a relationship person. I'm running it through my relationship filter right now. But it would be impossible and not wise to jump into a new relationship without doing a little bit of an autopsy on the last one and how did that impact your… Even the dating coaching clients around talking about relationship history, where have you been, and certainly for couples, because these life experiences are so impactful. 

What I'm hearing you say is that you're slowing people down sometimes to mine the growth experiences out of like, “What did you learn about yourself and your values in this situation with this toxic narcissistic boss?” What are you going to take from that, right?

Megan: Everyone's had one. Additionally a nice add on to this, not only do we kind of understand our past a little more and make some meaning out of it, there's some—you said the word kind of mining, right? I think of hidden gems. So when people talk to me about, “Hey, I want to do something I'm passionate about.” You kind of stare at the abyss that is your future, how hard is it to define passion? Oh my gosh, you could spend 45 minutes sitting in silence and never fully defined passion. 

So when I have clients that give me that blank stare of, “I don't really know,” I say, “Hey, let's take an easier approach. Let's start with your past. What went well, what didn't go well? What would you like to replicate? What could you do without never occurring again in your future?” Looking through those past experiences can be a very, very comfortable place to start. It's already happened, you're not having to create new answers. You're just reflecting what occurred. And it raises self-awareness, it kind of flexes—I use the kind of gym analogy a lot with clients—we're flexing muscles together. 

The big muscle we work with in the beginning is reflection. Can you reflect on what's occurred in the past and make meaning out of it first, like we just chatted about? But can we also glean some really cool gems from it? “Did you really like working with kiddos in that last place? Really, you did? How are we going to fit that into our definition of passion? What does that mean for your future when we plan and kind of strategize and brainstorm together? What’s the past?” To see if that can give you kind of a roadmap.

Dr. Lisa: That's great. It's really that exploration and the mining to figure out who you are and what is important. 

Okay, can I ask you a question? This is somewhat random, and I'm sure it's probably different for every person that I know. Here, in our practice, what we see a lot of, the types of clients are people who are sometimes fairly well established even, in careers in which they are objectively successful. They're okay. Nothing terrible is happening, but they're just not feeling it. They're bored sometimes, or they're like, “Eh, is this all?” 

Question one related to that, how do you think that happens? Usually it requires at least some intention to get on a trajectory. A lot of times, it happens when we're so young. We need to choose college majors when we're 18. I don't know about you, I didn't know if I was coming or going when I was 18. I mean…. 

Megan: I got a lot to say about college majors, don’t even worry about it.

Dr. Lisa: I mean, do people just like get on this trajectory before they even truly know themselves? Is that how the situation is created? Or do you see other things lay there when you have a 29 year old who's dreading going to work on Monday? How does that happen? 

Megan: Yeah, a couple of different things. And you kind of, you touched on it right, with each person there’s a little difference. But college, absolutely. If someone does go the kind of “traditional route,” where they finish up their secondary schooling, they finished high school, and they are going to move into a university setting. And yeah, there's a lot of pressure in those four years, if you do a four-year degree, if you do a two-year degree, to kind of make a stamp right? And say, “This is what I'm doing. I picked this major.” If you're one of the really great people, and you go to your career center, awesome. Maybe you've done a little work around that. 

Fun fact, I'm a career counselor, and I never once went to my career center. No, it happens, yes, we're the—oh my gosh, we're bad. The bulk of us are like this, we didn't even know this field existed until we got into it ourselves. 

But what happens a lot of times, there's nothing wrong with picking that trajectory, sticking to it, moving forward. That shows dedication, that shows commitment, I think that's great. What I noticed when that happens is a lot of times, there's just a lack of self-awareness. Because when you think about that, there was really no pause that was required of you to take inventory. So when you let's say, do pick that major. And let's say I'm going to pick on human development, because that's what I majored in, right. So I picked that trajectory. I get into my very first job, I keep moving, I keep moving, I keep moving. 

When I'm motivated by just getting the next job, never am I required to pause and say, “Why the heck did I pick human development in the first place? Why am I even enjoying this anymore? Am I enjoying this anymore? When my self-awareness and my reflection muscle, like I was talking about that exercise analogy, when that gets weak, when I'm not working out reflecting, it's not going to be my go-to exercise. I'm not going to reflect on what's happening. I'm not going to kind of initiate my own pause and say, “Am I actually enjoying it?” So that sometimes happens. That's one of the first things I see. 

The second thing that I see for people, when they are let's take that 29-year-old, just don't even want to get up and go to work today, outside factors can influence that. Some people get married earlier than they had anticipated. They have children earlier than anticipated. They experience a cross country move that they had never thought was going to happen. They have a parent who gets sick that they now have to be the caretaker for. 

A lot of times, what I just say, life happens. And it was by necessity that you just had to keep moving from job to job because that paycheck was really important to you. That's just as valid of an experience as someone who picked a major and stuck with it all the way till the end. That’s why when I'm with my clients, I'm taking time to figure out how I got there. We can make meaning around that. 

I want to know when you tell me, you had kids earlier than you expected, tell me how important they are to you, though. And did you still use that time really well because I'm sure you did. Even if you were moving paycheck to paycheck, let's make some meaning around it, maybe take some of—I find when people are at that spot, there's shame. Right? They're looking at themselves at 29 thinking…

Dr. Lisa: How did I get here? 

Megan: “I really envisioned something different.” Exactly. And there's a lot of despair, actually, that comes out of like, “Man, I don't really know how this even happened.” When I mentioned hope, right, it's really hard to do any kind of career work without hope. We're going to kind of figure out at that age 29, I hate this spot. “Okay, let's make some meaning of how you got here, though, first. That fosters hope, it's going to be a little easier to look forward.” So those are kind of the two big, I would say, processes that I see people get in there. It's dependent on each clients. 

Dr. Lisa: It makes so much sense. But I could almost see how like having it make sense to your clients, too. You brought up words, I mean, big words like shame and despair. But to be able to tell the story about, yeah, “Here's what was actually going on in my life when I made this decision. And this is why it made sense at the time. I could see how, many times, these decisions are like the path of least resistance in some ways.” And then over time, it kind of snowballs because your work experience, your work history qualifies you for more of this situation. And so you’re like, you keep growing and developing in a field that you are sort of ambivalent about, to begin with. And then, at a certain point, like, you have a great income, you have all the things and it's hard to let go of, because there's almost a lot to lose without idea of—I mean, it's not always starting over, certainly, but I think it can be scary.

How to Find Your Passion

Megan: Yeah, but it can feel that way. It can feel even if it's not fully starting over, you're still probably for one of the first times in your life, out loud saying, “I'm not happy where I’m at.” And that alone can really be—it's jarring to kind of admit that though, sticking with this 29—I’m sorry for all the 29-year-olds out there, I'm sure people are doing well at 29.

Dr. Lisa: It's a crossroads that that age, yeah, 28 to 32. 

Megan: And we love them, we love them. That can be—imagine having to reflect on your whole life and say, “Wow, my choices got me here. Okay, but I'm doing all right, I'm going to make some changes. It's a really scary part to be in.” That's why career counseling can be so wonderful. You finally have somebody to have that feeling with, if despair comes up, if shame comes up. A lot of people though, it's excitement. And it's, “Okay, I'm ready to do it. I can't believe we're finally—we get past that panic of oh my gosh, everything shifting, the excitement kicks in, the hope kicks in. The what's next? 

A lot of people get really ambitious. They're like, “Okay, I've been waiting all this time, right?” There's this energy in them that comes up.We just got to make a little meaning of it first, and something that I really enjoy kind of letting people in on when we do start talking about “Okay, what's next, and how can we do this?” When we're making meaning of that past, or when we're naming some of the feelings that we're having, and we're just getting language around it, we're actually kind of using a double-edged sword. Not only are you going to feel a lot better about it and find some hope, you also just practice articulating that to an employer. 

Let's say we are in an instance where 29 years in the making, you've been working on this career, your resume shows that. Nw, let's say I'm in human development, and I'm shifting the business. “Oh my gosh, my resume doesn't look at all like what it should look like to get me into business.” So, when I'm in that interview, and they're asking me, “Hey, Megan, there's a pretty big gap between the direction you're headed and where you've been. Help us understand.” You've already spent time working with me, putting language to this experience, articulating it, understanding it, taking the shame out of it, taking the fear out of it. It's a really, really, kind of hidden skill that I try to get my clients to enjoy with me of, “Thanks for doing this hard work.” First, you feel better, benefit number one. Second, these employers are really going to enjoy what meaning you did make out of it, and you just kind of without knowing it practice interviewing skills. So, I’m little sneaky about that, but it’s good. 

Dr. Lisa: But before somebody can sell themselves to another person or an employer, it's like they have to have sold themselves on “yes,” they have to get that cut that type of clarity. That is like working through it with you and having those conversations and yeah. Wow. 

Megan: Absolutely. 

Career Counselling

Dr. Lisa: Okay, so now, I don't know if this has come up in your career counseling conversations, but I have talked to clients who sometimes struggle with the situation, because I think it can be difficult to have to figure out how bad is bad enough for me to want to burn this all down and go do a different thing. But it's almost—let's see, what are the words? How can people get clear as to whether or not they are really unhappy with this job specifically, versus what is kind of normal and expected when it comes to any career path? 

Personally, I feel like I'm quite passionate about the work that I do. I had to have a couple career iterations before I figured that out. I'm sure you feel the same, like, there are some days where you're like, “Oh, can I do this today? Yes, I can. I can do it. I'm drinking my coffee, I'm going to do it.”  There's always ebb and flow, and I think that it can be difficult for people to sometimes be, “Okay, so if I feel this way sometimes, does this mean that I'm in the wrong career? Because there's something that it could be more passionate about? Or is this just what it feels like to be in a long-term career?” Like a long term relationship, you know? There are times when your partner, like the rest of us, is a mixed bag. It's not always fun. Just sorting through, doesn't mean I need a different career, or is this me needing to work on myself? How bad is bad enough to make—and I know that this is a big, complicated, probably incoherent question that I've just asked of you. I'm sure your clients probably come in, with some kind of download that’s similar around with that I said. 

Megan: I am so used to, right making sense of the—I get a lot of “I'm sorry, I just thought about it.” That’s fine. 

Dr. Lisa: Exactly. That’s what we do on this podcast, which is I just word vomit.

How to Find a Career You Love

Megan: Yeah, yes. Let the thoughts roll. Yes. You know what? That can be a really hard to kind of define that threshold, it’s a really challenging threshold to define. It is. A lot of times it's client to client, circumstances to circumstances. 

First thing we're looking at, how secure is that job making you? Before we do any craziness, is this a job that paycheck to paycheck, if that paycheck were to go away, things would not be looking good? We have to take in the reality of the situation first, when we think about that, once we've done some work around that. For some clients, that's a really quick answer of like, “I'm good, it's time.” For other clients, we're going to have to kind of reach that threshold, get some skills around hanging in that threshold because we need to stay in this job for a little bit longer. That's okay. 

Let's take the great scenario of I'm ready, “My savings is set. I'm good to go.” When we think about ebbs and flows, and kind of how we tackle them in a day-to-day situation, the first thing you're going to look at, and this is actually a really fun activity you can do with somebody or on your own: envision your life at a 10 year mark and a five year mark. Start as far out as possible. For some people that far out mark may only be two years, and that's okay. Some of my younger clients, when you're just getting out of school, it's going to be that, you're, “I don't really know this field just yet.” So, we're only looking at two years, that's okay. 

Pick your timeframe. I'll do 10 years, and we'll use my personal life example. In 10 years, I've got a lot of goals around it. When I reflect on where I'm at currently, I asked myself the question of “Does this job align with my 10-year goal.” Typically, thankfully, right now, my answer is yes. So, when I'm pouring that cup of coffee with a sleepy man in my eye, because it's Monday, and I don't want to go to work, I say to myself, In 10 years, you're going to have done so much work to get here, it's going to be worth it.” 

Now, let's say you have your 10-year vision, and when you think about that 10-year mark, I challenge you to think about where are you living? Who are you living with? What car are you driving, what groceries do you have in your fridge? Think about the lifestyle you want when you think about that 10 year goal. Not just “I want to have this job title.”Got to get more specific. When you think about and you detail out that vision, let's say the answer actually is, “Wow, in 10 years, no, my life looks a lot different. And the current role I'm in now is not getting me there. That's maybe how we're determining the threshold. 

Dr. Lisa: that kind of difference there, is this a vehicle to get me to where I want to go. But first, you really have to be clear about that—where do I actually want to go? As opposed to just waking up every day and doing the same thing over and over again.

Megan: Yeah, right? Well, because we don't want to make any crazy decisions, just because we're not feeling happy at work, right? And I think the word burnout has been tossed around so much at COVID. And I work a lot with the symptoms of burnout, and it can be really challenging to kind of define it and look at it. When we're experiencing symptoms of burnout, it can be really easy to want to pull the plug and say, “Forget it. I'm going on to Indeed, I'm going on to LinkedIn, I'm finding a new job, I don't care. I don't want to do this anymore.” It's okay to have those feelings. Bring those feelings on in, sit with those feelings, journal them out, cry them out, scream them out, do what you got to do. Don't make a decision when you're in that specific moment, right? 

Dr. Lisa: That’s a good advice. 

Megan: Because that's when we see kind of the “Ooh, maybe we could have avoided some of this toss up that's happening, some of this uncertainty now that we just quit a job that was actually really stable, and maybe did align with our 10 year plan,” right? Having that 10-year plan and goal and vision already designed for you. Though, sometimes it can be nice just to escape to that for a couple minutes a day, enjoy your vision, enjoy it. Remind yourself why you're doing the work you're doing right now so those crazy kind of quick knee jerk reactions aren't dictating too much of your life. 

Dr. Lisa: What a good point, and we could talk so much more deeply about this topic. Our time is limited, but that's a wonderful resting point and a reminder that, when we're not really well, like in burnout. I mean, there are a lot of symptoms of burnout that really do mimic depression. It changes that way you think, it changes the way you feel. What you're saying is, when you're in that sort of mental and emotional space, it is not the best time to make major life decisions with major life consequences. It's almost like, slow down, take some time to get real clear. Yeah, thank you for saying that. 

Especially I think right now, in this day and age, people probably need to hear that because who is at their best, right now? In this particular moment?

Megan: Very few.

Dr. Lisa: Give it some time and space, and thank you.

Megan: Well, and it also kind of touches on another word that even prior to COVID got tossed around a lot, is self-care, right? How are you taking care of yourself? Now, if we think about, maybe you are kind of reaching close to that crisis point of I'm ready to throw up my hands and just quit. Yeah, what happens if those symptoms of burnout that you're feeling are because of a lack of self-care? If you just move into that next job and don't really address kind of the root of what's going on, we're just going to replicate that almost crisis moment again, right? So taking pause, and reflecting and allowing kind of the dust to settle, we're able to more clearly define what's going on and get to the root of that concern. When you do move into this next position, again, we're not repeating old habits. 

Coming right back to me, “Well, Megan, I'm still just as bummed.” Well, the reality was, you weren't sleeping, okay, and we didn't fix the sleeping concern. So no matter what job you take, you're not going to show up healthy and rested, because you're not taking care of yourself. So kind of pause. 

Dr. Lisa: That idea that if you don't work on yourself, you will, even subconsciously, wind up replicating the same sorts of patterns. Again, I'm thinking of relationships right now. That people have an influence on their environments, and a lot of times without even realizing it. You're saying that people could do that in their career, and you were talking about self-care, but I'm sure there's ways of thinking and feeling and ways of communicating and ways of leading and productivity stuff. 

Megan: Well, and when I'm talking about that exercise metaphor, right, of are we flexing and exercising, self-reflection, self-awareness? The ability to just name where we're at. If we're not kind of checking in on some of those core—I would call them, soft skills that are really important for being a successful employee, or being a successful human being, shoot. We're going to jump the gun. If we don't really spend some time working on those things and getting those muscles strong. Because inevitably, and I tell a lot of my clients this, you're going to end up right back with me and that's okay, I love spending time with you, and I want to make you a self-sufficient, self-sustaining human being, who if and like when you reach these career transitions again, you kind of pull your tool belt back on. 

You've got your strong muscles, and you get to do the work yourself because you already know how to do this. Instead of kind of letting it get to that negative almost crisis point where self-care has gone out the window and burnout symptoms are happening everywhere. We want to prevent that, preemptively, if at all possible. 

Dr. Lisa: Wonderful reminders. Megan, this was such a fabulous conversation. Thank you so much for taking the time to be with me today.

Megan: Absolutely, this is something I could have all day long.

Dr. Lisa: You're Passionate. 

Megan: That's the best part, because some people are like, “Well, how did you get to where you're at?” I'm like, “If only you knew, there's been a lot of work to get here.” So thank you so much for letting me kind of chat your ear off and just share the world that I feel so comfortable. And I really appreciate it.

Dr. Lisa: Thank you again, Megan.

Well, you guys, I don't know about you, but I am feeling so inspired now after talking with Megan. If you are, too, and if you would like to talk to Megan, you can cruise on over to to learn more about her. I know that she has a couple of wonderful articles up on our blog right now, at You can take advantage of those and our other online career resources that are all there just for you.

Of course, if you would like to speak with Megan, you can always request a first free consultation and get that party started. So, thank you again for visiting with us today. And I'll be back in touch next week with another episode of the podcast. 

[So Many Things by Aurora D’Amico plays]

Life Design: How to Construct Your Pathway with Hope for the Future

Life Design: How to Construct Your Pathway with Hope for the Future

Life Design: How to Construct Your Pathway with Hope for the Future

Design Your Life

As a certified career counselor and life coach, I’ve had the unique opportunity to connect with folks from all around the world this year through 45-minute Zoom coaching sessions. What I love most about what I do with clients is helping them build hope by understanding their career narrative and how it’s impacting them so they can move forward with new strategies for success. 

Many of my life coaching and career counseling clients – and myself included! – are experiencing a deep upheaval of what we know about ourselves and the world of work because we’ve needed to adapt so much of our lives this year. 

Work is foundational to our lived experience because our careers really impact every other aspect of our lives! Have you thought about it this way before? In fact, I bet you can’t think about a day where you haven’t thought about your career! That’s especially salient as we round out 2020. So, let’s start by having a quick check-in with yourself: how are you thinking about your career? What’s your current career narrative and how is it impacting your day-to-day life?

A Year That Changed Everything

I remember at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us were adjusting to working from home and trying to understand how to be in quarantine with family members, roommates or on our own, all while attempting to find toilet paper products and hand sanitizer that had somehow vanished overnight from every store within a 50-mile radius. Our basic physiological needs – the foundation of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs pyramid – including access to things like food, water, and shelter, were drastically impacted due to a health crisis that changed the world in a matter of a few weeks. 

In modern society, the way we meet our basic needs is through having a sustainable income (aka having some sort of a job) and the rates of unemployment skyrocketed across the board because a virus prevented us from conducting business in the ways we were used to. 

And, yet, we were doing our best to cope by baking bread, watching Tiger King, and learning how to host Zoom happy hours to connect with our people. We went on springtime walks to get fresh air, read books or did DIY projects, and watched as social media transformed into an information sharing platform and a vessel for social change, rather than a place to simply view cat videos and share photos of our weekend escapades. 

I recall checking news headlines more frequently than I ever had, even though I knew things were bleak, and watching case numbers rise seemingly exponentially day by day. Every large group gathering from concerts to weddings to places of worship were cancelled or closed to protect us from this devastating virus. Workplaces were shut down, entire industries and supply chains affected, and millions faced unemployment. Anxiety and fear were commonplace as we awaited some sort of hope to grasp onto.

One of the highlights of hope from March to May was seeing people doing what people do best in times of crisis: showing kindness, rallying together in support of our essential workers, and staying at home as much as we could to flatten the curve. John Krasinski hosted the popular YouTube series, Some Good News, during that time as well and we watched dreams come true in magical ways, participated in virtual prom, and found inklings of hope in the uncertainty.

Flash forward to the end of 2020 and those days of quarantine seem like eons ago! Since then, there has been a continued deep sense of turbulence felt with no end to this global health crisis in sight. And, now that it’s December, we’re also continuing to address systems of power and privilege, dealing with an election year, and trying to figure out what the holidays look like in the middle of a pandemic. (Thanksgiving dinner on Zoom sound familiar, anyone?) Maybe the hope we need is that we’ll get a glimmer of hope in the coming months; but hope seems to be in short supply.

I share this spiel to shine light on the layers of the 2020 experience because nothing really looks the same nowadays as it did before. We’re settling into this “new normal” and reflecting on the immense losses we’ve faced collectively while also trying to envision what we want 2021 (and beyond) to look like. 

So, how do we plan ahead when nothing is certain? As a career counselor and life coach, I argue that the answer is through a process I like to call career flow and life design. Here’s what you can do RIGHT NOW to amp up your hope and construct your pathway forward!

Using Life Design to Construct Your Career

We are in the midst of the third paradigm of career development known as life design. But it hasn’t always been this way! Don’t know much about career development? Here’s a very brief history: 

  • Vocational guidance: workers have certain traits that link them to certain jobs, where it’s assumed that our skillsets remain static over time


  • Career education: people should pursue certain educational opportunities to train them on how to launch their career in a certain industry, where it’s assumed that industries and jobs will remain stable
  • Life design: individuals can gain understanding of who they are and what they have to offer the world, where it’s assumed that nothing is static or stable so we must design the future ourselves

Which paradigm does your career currently exist in? If it’s vocational guidance, you probably knew that you were good at something from a young age so you pursued a pathway that lined up with that skill. If it’s career education, you probably have some sort of educational background that linked you with a certain career path. OR, if you’re like most of my clients, you thought you had an idea of your skills and pursued certain training options like we’re “supposed to”, but aren’t finding a fit in the modern world of work or are overwhelmed by the options.

What you need is career flow experiences to build your hope and life design strategies to build your future!

And, as you can imagine, finding hope and designing your life is more relevant now in 2020 than it’s ever been before because the way the world used to be is no longer the reality – at least, for now. We’re creating a “new normal” for how the world operates and it’s met by a need for creative solutions in how we think about our options.

The following tips are for those of you reading this who are currently seeking work (or know someone who is!) and who are trying to plan for the future. My hope is you can use these tools to refresh your current narratives and beliefs about careers, knowing that regardless of the struggle, you can do this and you’re not alone

Career Flow Job Searching

If you’re currently job searching and finding yourself feeling frustrated by the process, you’re not alone. It can be so debilitating to put in so much effort to fill out job application after job application with no response from any employers. Oftentimes, when I meet a new client who’s experiencing this hopelessness about their job search, I want to check in on their process that led to where they are now and help them focus on the specific aspects of their search that are stifling their progress.

To do this, we talk about career flow, which includes six competencies that help us build hope in our process. Career flow is not like psychological flow – it’s recognizing that our careers will evolve over time and our task is not to simply “go with the flow” but to “be the flow.”

To evaluate your own career flow in this moment, use the following prompts:

  • Hope
      • If I’m feeling stuck, do I believe I can solve this problem and find a job?
      • Do I believe there’s hope for my career future?
      • Can I make a difference in this situation?
  • Self-reflection
      • Can I identify what makes me happy right now?
      • Do I reflect on what’s important to me before I make important decisions?
      • How are my career circumstances influencing me right now?
  • Self-clarity
      • Have I thought about what motivates me in my career or studies?
      • Do I know what I’m good at, what I enjoy, and what is important to me?
      • Can I identify the life roles I hold, besides my career?
  • Visioning
      • Can I imagine future possibilities for myself?
      • Have I thought about what my life and career could look like in 5 years from now?
      • Do I have a clear vision for my future?
  • Goal Setting & Planning
      • Have I set any long-term goals for my future?
      • Do I have several things I’d like to accomplish on my way to seeing my long-term goals achieved?
      • Can I set specific goals for myself for the next month?
  • Implementing & Adapting 
    • Am I currently monitoring my plans and actions so my goals are met?
    • Have I evaluated the effectiveness of my plans recently if I’m not meeting my goals?
    • Do I know how to adjust my plans – even in the midst of uncertain, trying times?


If you answered NO to any of the questions posed above (very common!), here are some useful action steps you can take to develop your career flow:

Take the time to reflect on the outcome you’re hoping for from your job search

Are you looking for a long-term position but having no luck tracking one down? With the uncertainty in many industries, or if you’ve been in job searching mode for months on end, it might be time to find a bridge position. 

What I mean by this is landing any role that you’d be willing to do for the next few months as you continue to look for a long-term job in your field. My best advice is not to worry about what the job is itself; think about it in terms of the types of skills you have and the experiences that would be enjoyable to you.

Tap into your network and build connections 

We’ve all heard it: network, network, network! But how many of us actually know where to start on that front? Networking is important, as it’s been found that around 80% of available jobs never make it to a job board. So, think about who you’d be interested in connecting with to learn more about a job or an industry from: you have a warm network (folks who you know or who know someone you know) and a cold network (literally anyone else!). Ask for a virtual informational interview and see what you can learn!

Tailor your resume when applying for positions through job boards

Job boards are still a great place to keep your eyes on, because you never know what will be posted. Ensure that if you’re applying to a position through a job board that you’re tailoring your resume to that job and company. 

To do this, look at the keywords in the ‘required qualifications’ section – take 5 minute to list them out and include as many as possible on your resume and cover letter. The best way to do that is to use what you already have written and then switch up the keywords as necessary. 

Many employers and recruiters use an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) and will see how much of a match your materials are to the job search. You won’t have to worry about that if you’re able to tailor your resume!

By implementing the strategies of career flow, you’ll be more intentional about your job search and have a direction to go in. Take the time to think about what your end goal is, who you might be able to network with, and how you can tailor your current materials to any jobs you apply for. And, consider working with a career counselor if you’re feeling a bit lost on where to begin. It’s completely normal to be feeling this way and we’re here to help you build the career that you’re hoping for! We can also help you navigate a tricky job market and find your confidence in that process. 

Life Designing for the Future

I’m a firm believer that career development work requires a sense of creativity to truly access breakthroughs. The things we subconsciously believe about careers based on our experiences or the experiences of those around us really do impact how we progress in our career development. 

Let’s use the Great Recession from December 2007 to June 2009 as an example. In terms of careers, many families experienced job loss or money insecurity, so a recent graduate who’s entering the world of work during that time frame might have the belief that the job market is unstable and uncertain due to a challenging and long-term job search process. This could impact their current career beliefs in 2020 when that instability and uncertainty is back in full force. So, if they’ve lost their job this year, they might find themselves in the same headspace as they did more than 10 years ago because they’re experiencing yet another tumultuous job search. 

We repeat what we don’t repair.

If you’re holding onto tough career-related experiences from your past, it’s time to see what can be healed in this current moment. Or, if you’re feeling stuck or overwhelmed by your career, it’s time to move from this passive suffering into active mastery and see what advice you can lend yourself in times of struggle. And the way to accomplish that is to tap into your career story and narrative and to construct your career with hope for the future, while also developing career adaptability to take you into the uncertain future!

Whatever your career or life situation is as we approach the end of the infamous year of 2020, I’m here to strategize with you about how to create a hopeful career pathway that will allow you to plan ahead and continue to dream, all while developing your career resilience in the face of uncertainty. As a career counselor and life coach, I help clients from all over the world create a hopeful career narrative that allows them to confidently move forward and build momentum through my three step coaching process of exploration, clarity, and action. So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or stuck in your career, this article was written for you and I’d love to connect to provide additional support in your own journey!

Best wishes, warmest regards,
Elise Ross, M.Ed., NCC, CCC, LPCC 



Dr. Rachel Merlin, DMFT, LMFT, M.S.Ed.

Elise Ross, M.Ed, CCC, NCC, LPCC, helps people get unstuck! Whether it’s a career concern, personal challenge, or the need for something new, she will partner with you to identify strategic ways to achieve your goals and be your best self.




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Being Organized

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BEING ORGANIZED: Creating an organized life can sometimes feel like an unattainable goal, especially when it's not your natural way of being. One of the things I've learned over the years as an online life coach and Denver therapist is that being organized is more than learning about “organizational tips” or “time management skills” or a new plan for where to put stuff or reorganizing your drawers. Being organized (genuinely, sustainably organized) is actually a mindset; a way of being that cultivates order and calm. And unless you figure out how to be organized from within, all the “how to be organized” how-to's will be short term and ineffective. 

How to Organize Yourself

Now, before we go further I must be honest with you my dear reader. I'm going to step out from behind the Therapist / Life Coach “Dr. Lisa” facade for a moment to share a secret: I am not a naturally organized person. In my personal life, particularly when I was younger, I have struggled to manage time effectively, keep control of the clutter and chaos, and maintain an organized life. I didn't come from an organized family and arrived into adulthood without organizational skills in place.

I squeaked by for a while, but then when my life got harder I really needed to up my game. I could not get through graduate school or run a business without doing a better job of managing my time, energy and tasks. When I became a mom, that balance became even harder, and in order to do the things that we most important to me I really needed to work on my organizational skills. So I did!

I actually spent a lot of time figuring out how to get organized in order to do the things I wanted to do, to be the person I wanted to be, and to achieve my most important personal and professional goals. On my lifelong quest for personal organization, I have tried all the systems, all the hacks, and read all the “how to get organized” self help books there have ever been.

I am pleased to report that over the years I have grown into a reasonably organized person. I'm able to get important things done, and I usually have my act together. I still lose my keys sometimes (but not my shoes!)

How to Organize Your Life

Many people who are not good at being organized from within do have to work harder to create organizational systems, and stick to them. Many “Messies” dread these systems and will fight tooth or nail to avoid the types of routine and structure that being organized requires. But — I'm here to tell you, from the other side of this chasm — It's much, much less stressful and easier to cope with basically everything when your life is generally in order. There's less anxiety and drama. Your relationships feel easier too.

While it can feel hard to get organized and stay that way, once you do, you'll be amazed at the contrast: Being organized and living an organized life is actually much, much easier than being chronically disorganized and chaotic. (More on this subject in the marvelous interview I did with Dr. Marilyn Paul, on “How to Be Stress Free.”)

I have learned from my own process that being organized, really, genuinely organized, is not about the systems and the containers and the calendars. (Though all those tools can help). Being organized begins with a shift in mindset. Organized people actually think differently than Messies. By learning how organized people think, and cultivating an organized mindset, you too can achieve the Nirvana of feeling genuinely in control of your time, your energy, your stuff, and your life.

The Organized Mindset

I considered inviting an “organizational expert” to come on today's podcast and share their strategies for being organized, but then I had a better idea: My pal, Denver therapist and Denver psychologist Dr. Danielle Kahlo. Dr. Danielle is not a professional organizer, she's way better — a blazingly talented therapist who is also a next-level organized person. She has incredible insights into the life experience of being organized, and how to achieve it.

Let's Get Organized!

Listen to today's episode of the Love, Happiness and Success Podcast for Dr. Danielle's down-to-earth advice for:

  • The biggest differences between an organized mindset and a disorganized one
  • Why being organized has to come from within, especially when you're working from home or managing a household
  • How being organized has a direct (positive) impact on anxiety
  • What causes procrastination, and the new ideas to nip it in the bud
  • How to achieve meaningful work / life balance and still get all the important things done
  • Ways to cultivate present-moment awareness in order to be more organized… and happier too.

I hope that this heartfelt advice on being organized is helpful to you as you juggle all the demands of your beautiful life!

With love,

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby


Listen & Subscribe to the Podcast

Being Organized

by Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby | Love, Happiness & Success

Music Credits: Jules Gaia, “Two Steps Back”

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Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby is the founder and clinical director of Growing Self Counseling and Coaching. She's the author of “Exaholics: Breaking Your Addiction to Your Ex Love,” and the host of The Love, Happiness & Success Podcast.

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Being Organized

Access Episode Transcript

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby: This is Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby and you're listening to the Love, Happiness & Success Podcast.

[Two Steps Back by Jules Gaia]

That’s Jules Gaia with the song Two Steps Back, which I felt kind of captured this sort of frenetic energy, maybe? That I’m hearing so many of you are feeling these days trying to manage all of the stuff that you have going on between working from home, parenting, homeschooling. Oh my goodness. And you know, for as quiet as our lives have become in some ways during this whole Coronavirus experience, I am hearing from so many people that you feel busier than you have ever been in your life. And that is really a daily challenge—to figure out how to manage at all. If you too, have been living this experience, today’s podcast is for you.

And I have some very special things planned. Today we are talking about not just organizational tips, we’re talking about cultivating an organized mindset. And my guest on the show today I am so thrilled to introduce to you. She is Danielle Kahlo, but she is Dr. Danielle Kahlo. She is a psychologist. However, Danielle is also a wonderful dear friend of mine. And I wanted to talk with Danielle about this because she is the real deal. She is not some organizational guru who wants to sell you an online course to learn XYZ; she lives it. I have been in this woman’s house; I have opened her silverware drawer. I have seen the truth. She is next level organized and today she’s here to talk with us about how to cultivate this inner and outer state of zen. Danielle, thank you for being here.

Dr. Danielle Kalos: It’s my pleasure. And it’s interesting that we’re just doing an audio recording because if this were video, people would just see me cackling.

Dr. Lisa Marie: She is actually rolling her eyes as I’m talking so I can confirm this. No, but it’s true. You are among the mostlike supernaturally organized people I have ever met. Well, you know, it’s important though because some people talk the talk. And they like talk this big game and then you likemeet them in real life and they don’t always live it. But you exude organization.

And so let’s just start with a couple of questions because myselfas a person who can only be kind of organized with great effortit seems like magic. So now, let’s see. You and my stepmother, Bobby, are the two most organized people I have ever met in my life, and you are both from the South originally. She’s from North Carolina, you are from Mississippi. Question one: is this a Southern thing? Is that what makes you organized?

Dr. Danielle: That’s a fascinating question. I’ve never thought about it in that way. I don’t think that’s what drives me.

Dr. Lisa Marie: Okay.

Dr. Danielle: It may be different for other people.

Dr. Lisa Marie: Also, common factors here—you and Bobby both, at least at one time, drink large quantities of Diet Coke. Does that have anything to do with why you’re sobecause I don’t drink Diet Coke. And I was thinking, is that what this is about?

Dr. Danielle: I genuinely do not see any correlation between Diet Coke consumption as my way of being in the world, but who knows, there are so many chemicals in that. Something may have gotten in and changed my…

Dr. Lisa Marie: Yeah. Changed your brain.

Dr. Danielle: …your own wiring.

Dr. Lisa Marie: Okay. Well, I'm then going to write that one down as a hypothesis to continue going into because those, those like, “What? What? What is it? How do I get it?” But okay, so it’s neither of those things probably. Well, let’s talk about other possibilities then.

Dr. Danielle: Okay.

Dr. Lisa Marie: Okay, so for now, so what I am really interested in digging into is… because I think like superficially, you can read books or watch a YouTube video about like, here’s how to clean out a closet, here’s where to put stuff, you know, like that kind of thing. But for people who struggle with organization, it’s always hard to maintain those systems. And I think it’s because it’s really just like a different way of thinking and like being oriented to stuff. Like there’s really an organized mindset. 

And I think it’s so important right now because people are dealing with more stuff to wrangle. And it’s been interesting because like, even people that I have talked with, like clients who are extremely successful people and who have done a lot, like I'm thinking of a client I work with who’s a physician. I mean, she is an extremely confident person. And, um, even her, like working from home, it removes the external structures that you have in place that kind of allow you to be organized. Like you don’t necessarily have to be places on time in the same way. Or you don’t have a routine that you are kind of funneled into. There’s not this external set of guide rails and or a company policy that says, “here is how to do XYZ” that we kind of follow along with.

When you’re working from home, you have to figure out how to be organized in a very self-directed way. You have to figure out your own routines and your own like procedures and processes that aren’t something that you’re being made to do. And so what I’ve experienced is even really highly competent and organized people that function very well in a workplace, when they’re working from home, there’s like this sort ofnot chaosbut it’s like they need to figure out how to organize themselves from within. And so that’s why I wanted to talk with you about the… how the thinking is differentlike that internalized organization, because you do this all the time. You do not just, you know, have your systems at work. 

And like, I don’t know if that makes, make sense or not, but what I’m hoping is like to get a sense of what the inner process is, and like, okay, let me actually ask you a coherent question. Do you feel that you were, like looking back on your life, always an organized person? Like is it just something that you’re born with? Is it a personality trait? Or do you feel like it’s something that you had to learn or cultivate or be taught or practice over the years in order to be organized? Is it? Is it nature or nurture? Is it you? Is it something that everybody else can learn? What do you think?

Dr. Danielle: Yeah, that’s a great question. I certainly, you know, can remember as a kid, having a really messy, messy room and my parents having to say, “Clean up the room, clean up the room,” so I think that I…

Dr. Lisa Marie: That makes me feel so much better.

Dr. Danielle: …came out of the chute this way. Um, I do think… so I do think it can be cultivated. I think for meand I have shared this with you beforeit’s honestly, there’s a lot of anxiety management that comes with a strategy, so I feel less anxious when my surroundings are put together and in order. And I have a sort of an internal structure that helps me sort of navigate the world and feel like there are guide rails, even if they’re not being imposed from outside. But there’s a little bit of anxious temperament that I think goes into that. 

But I think I also have sort of practiced this over the years, and most of us do in school. You’ve got the structure of school, but then you’ve got all the activitiesthe homework, the assignments, the dissertationthat has to be done outside of school. And so you have to practice this. And so I think, remaining in the academic world for me, I’ve had to work remotely for years and years and years. And so there is some bit of things get very easy the more you practice it. Maybe getting started for people is the hardest part. I don't know.

Dr. Lisa Marie: Yeah, no, those are, those are interesting reflections. And but I think that maybe that what you just shared is an important takeaway. And something that would be useful for all of us is this idea that when you do have an organized and kind of serene environment and systems and sort of a, you know, inner slash outer sense of control that everything is sort of in its place, it makes you feel better emotionally. And I can certainly understand. I mean, I think, even for me, like my natural tendency is to get a little frenetic and chaotic and I don’t feel good when things are like that. I don’t know where my keys are. I can’t find stuff. I feel disorganized. And when I can kind of come back and make a plan and put things in place, it just, it feels, it feels better. And so maybe that’s one takeaway is that even though it takes time and effort to create organizational systems, there is a positive impact on… yeah.

Dr. Danielle: I think that does stick from reinforcing, yeah. When you’re cooking a meal and you know where to find the utensils the same place every time or when you’re sitting in your office and you know, you know where this stack of papers or references is all the timeit does make things go smoother in the moment. And then there’s this reinforcing sense of, “okay, that went well” and efficiency and so…

Dr. Lisa Marie: Yeah.

Dr. Danielle: …that is, that is a good feeling.

Dr. Lisa Marie: Yeah, yeah. And then, okay, and so now just, just for the benefit of our listeners, I can tell you that Danielleher homes are always immaculate and you have just such a wonderful sense of design. I mean, I always joke with Danielle that yes, if the psychologist thing stops working out for you, that you should definitely look into interior design because you just create the most beautiful environments.

And I’m curious to know so if you have, you know, want to share, share something for the benefit of a working mom who has like… a family dad, too, that keeps the home together. When there are a lot of people in it all the time and buzzing around and doing things and moving stuff, are there systems or practices that you have found over the years that help you kind of um, keep it together? You know, because a lived in space will always start to get messy because people you know, you take the silverware out of the drawer, you do stuff, and you cook things. Are there any things that you have found to just like make it easier to restore order or maintain order?

Dr. Danielle: Yeah, that’s a great question. I think two things work for me and that’s something that doesn’t work for everybody. But I think keepingyou mentioned earlier stuffa minimalist approach. And that’s not to say you can’t have any art on your walls, but a minimalist approach to stuff like when you get something new, you give something away. So you know, before I make a new clothes purchase, I make purge my closet and see what needs to go to Goodwill. So keeping stuff minimal so that it, there’s fewer things to sort of get, you know, kind of explode in the inner space. That’s one thing.

And then the other thing is, and I heard this from someone years ago, so this quote is not from me but I have subscribed to it for much of my life, “Don’t put it down; put it away.” And that philosophy really works for me because it’s just as easy to drop it on the couch when you walk in the door as it is to hang it on the coat rack. It doesn’t take any more time. And so if you put it away instead of just dropping it down, that just keeps the order throughout the day.

Dr. Lisa Marie: Yeah.

Dr. Danielle: So that’s kind of, those two principles really work for me.

Dr. Lisa Marie: That’s great. I like that. “Don’t put it down; put it away.” Because I, because then here is actually another question that I had for you. So, you know, you are a psychologist and as such, a keen observer of people, and you know, have a lot of contact with different personality types and ways of being and I can absolutely relate to what you just said. Like I think that that is part of my disorganized mindset when things do start to get, you know, too much. It goes in a stack and this sort of mental narrative is, “I will do this later.” Like I know that when I listen to, “I will do this later,” it creates disorder for me. And so I’m going to practice swapping out that “Don’t put it down; put it away.” But, you know, have you also observed like, when people are more chaotic or have more difficulty just kind of keeping themselves organized. Are there other differences that you have noticed in terms of the mindset or the things that they’re telling themselves that seemed, from your perspective, to be contributing to their difficulty? Because we all create our own reality, right? And whatever our world looks like, is a manifestation of whatever is going on inside of us. And so I wonder if you could eliminate this for us, around what is the thinking style or the inner story that contributes to messiness?

Dr. Danielle: Well, I think, you know, to your point, the um, one of the things that I see sometimes with people who struggle with this is a tendency or procrastination. You know, that’s a problem for future me. And I think, you know, that mental way of approaching life creates piles in our mind, in our psyche, in addition to the piles out in the world. And so, for me, procrastination has never been effective. Because the anxiety just builds as the list builds in my mind and as the stuff builds on the, on the desk. So tackling things now is sort of a similar approach to “Don’t put it down; put it away.”

Not putting things off, for me, is a really effective way to stay organized. Because I don’t think that you know, and I recognize procrastination as an anxiety management strategy of its own, but that avoidance of dealing with thing right here, right now, and putting it in a mental pile for laterI think it builds up and builds up, and then life interrupts. And this is what I see happening with clients all the time. Or students even. You know, putting things off, putting things off. And then all of a sudden, there’s some sort of crisis, or things happen or whatever else. And people didn’t bank that into their mental timetable for when they could get this project done or this activity or whatever else. And then suddenly something has to fall off and can’t get accomplished. And so for me, sort of approaching things with “just go ahead and do it now,” because I know that something out there is going to come in unpredictably and I need to have some cushion. I don’t know. I don’t know if that makes sense.

Dr. Lisa Marie: Yeah, no, it really does. That to do it now; don’t put it off; and also expect that whatever you think is going to happen in terms of the plan is not actually what is going to happen. And so to account for thatand because I think too, like when I think about my, my messy mindset, so to speak, there is this overly optimistic narrative about what I will be able to accomplish that has no basis in reality. You know what I mean? Like I can really realistically do probably 25% of whatever is on my giant list or whatever. I think I can get accomplished on a Saturday morning. So you’re saying, I don’t do that and that’s why I’m organized. I love it.

Dr. Danielle: Yeah, well, I mean, how many of us have you know, started a work day and then a supervisor, a co-worker, a client, an administrative issue pops up that we didn’t build into our work day and it’s like, “when am I going to find time to do this thing that you need me to do that’s suddenly so urgent?” And so I think expecting that, that is the reality does keep me very focused on staying on top of what I can see that I need to do in an efficient way. So that if there’s cushions, I can enjoy the cushions when it comes instead of being taken by surprise.

Dr. Lisa Marie: Okay, so then let’s, let’s go there for a second. So when it comes to like, routines and work days, in order to stay on top of things and do what needs to be done, and not get either blindsided or lost down a rabbit hole of whatever you know… and you have a lot of experience from working. And I should tell listeners: so in addition to being a psychologist and carrying a caseload, that DanielleI don’t want to call you Dianethat Danielle is also a professor of psychology at the University of Northern Colorado. She’s on the faculty.

And so you have a lot of plates spinning in the air. When it comes to personal routines and just like, I mean, do you, do you do like a task list? Do you like prioritize things to figure out what you're going to work on first, or what you’re going to work on second, and when you’re going to work on that? And do youdo any like formalized kind of planning things to stay on track? Or is it so deeply ingrained that you just kind of know what to do and when to do it?

Dr. Danielle: I do think some of it is muscle memory that builds over time with practice. But yeah, I certainly have, um… especially on days when the external structure is not imposed. So, you know, when we’re seeing clients back to back, then that’s just the schedule. That is what it is. But on days where there’s less external structure imposed and it has to be more internal, I absolutely have a mental list. And so for me, the list begins with certain things that have to happen at a particular time.

So you and I had this, this meeting scheduled this morning at eight and I’ve got some appointments with students scheduled this afternoon. And so I’m looking at my day and those have to happen at a particular time. And then everything else gets slotted in around that. And, and then for me, there is a prioritization. You know, which of these things can wait and which of these things is urgent? And I don’t know that, I think that’s a values-based decision. I think it’s a sense of, you know, what the world is demanding from us in different areas of our life and what takes priority. So for me, there is a, you know, “These are my values so these are the most important things. So I’m definitely going to accomplish these. And the other things can wait until tomorrow evening, if, if they need to.” So, I don’t know that that's very structured.

Dr. Lisa Marie: Well no, but, but I think what you’re talking again about the most important piece of this, which is the mindsetwhich is that you’re thinking about, “What is the most important, you know, what’s, what’s the stuff I have to do. But then what’s the most important or valuable stuff for me?” And then I think, I think you were insinuating this without saying it out loud, that you would do that important stuff before you would do the other thing. And so, so then, I mean, that seems like so natural to you. It’s probably not even a thought, but like, I talk to people all the time who like, know that I have these important things to do. And instead, they will mess around with like, low-level tasks because they’re easy. They’ll clean out their email box. They’ll mess around on Reddit for 45 minutes before they start doing stuff. Do you have… you don’t do that?

Dr. Danielle: I know.

Dr. Lisa Marie: What? Yeah.

Dr. Danielle: That’s a great, great observation. And I certainly have clients who do the same thing. I think, two things. I think some of that is avoidance, you know, when we can sort of cross easy things off the list because we know other things are bigger or require more energy. Then some of that could be, is sort of an avoidance or escapist strategylike, “I don’t want to deal with that; I’m gonna bury my head in the sand of the Reddit or the inbox.” But I think some of that is also, at least for some of the clients that I work with, that they haven’t really explored what their values are. They haven’t really explored and outlined, “This is what’s really important to me, and this is what I want to commit my time and energy to,” and made a conscious decision to focus on those things. So they’re much more easily be derailed because they haven’t outlined and committed to those things…

Dr. Lisa Marie: Yeah.

Dr. Danielle: …um, for themselves. Yeah, and so some values exploration is a lot of work that I do with people. “Really what matters to you? Are you aligning your life with that?”

Dr. Lisa Marie: Okay, like a true life coach, like we’re gonna bring you over. But, but really though, and you know, as you’re talking, I’m reflecting on what I have seen clients do. But also personally when I have, again, I need to be much more intentional in order to be as organized and productive as you are. And when I am moving into that space, I do have to be very deliberate about what is the most important thing today, and you know, like as it attaches to bigger goals. And I think what I also probably tell myself is “Do the hardest thing first and resist the temptation to do the easiest thing first.”

Dr. Danielle: Yeah.

Dr. Lisa Marie: Like I have to do the hard thing at the beginning of the day, and then the easy  pesky things in the last hour of the day because that takes less mental bandwidth. And I think I’m hearing a similar process there that the easy stuff happens when it happens.

Dr. Danielle: I think that’s right because you know, we sort of lose steam throughout the day. So when we wake up, and we’re fresh, and we tackle the hardest thingsit’s the whole “eat your vegetables” first kind of a deal. I think there’s a reason, structurally, that we teach and train kids, you know, dessert comes after you eat all the other healthy things so that you don't fill up on dessert first, right?

And so I think there is that, that of, you know, let me get these things out that will require more energy while I’m fresh. And then at the end of the day, if something comes up, if life intervenes, if I get derailed by another urgent issue, then at least I’ve done those most important things.

Dr. Lisa Marie: Yeah.

Dr. Danielle: And the other things can fall off and wait until tomorrow. And you know, I never subscribed to that whole… I don’t know if you remember back when we were a little bit younger. We’ve known each other for 15 years, can you believe that? That’s the whole daytimer process. And you know, there was a big… But there is something there about having a list, having it on paper instead of just in my head, and then being able to prioritize. “This is an A item. This is a B. This is a C.”

Dr. Lisa Marie: Yeah, I have to do that. I have do that.

Dr. Danielle: Yeah, but it’s helpful.

Dr. Lisa Marie: So okay, so prioritizing. When it comes also to time management, have you observed in yourself any strategies that you use that maybe are a little bit different than what you see less organized people doing that help you, you know, I’m thinking get places on time. You are also supernaturally punctual. I should, I should… but like, be able to, like schedule things.

Okay. So here’s a, here’s a more specific question. One of the things that I have observed in myself and also people who are—have of a less organized orientation is that there is a different sense of maybe how long things are going to take. Whereas, and, but this is a hypothesis; I don’t know this for sure. I mean, I’m wondering if part of being punctual and good time management is having a more, maybe realistic sense of how long things take? Or do you feel like it’s attached to something elselike your ability to get places on time and to know, “I’m going to spend this much time working on this report?” What do you think?

Dr. Danielle: Yeah. No, I think that’s right. I think that this goes back to what we were talking about a little bit earlier, which is the idea of building in a buffer that things are going to go wrong. How do I create a cushion for that? Right? So there will be an accident on Colorado Boulevard as I’m trying to get somewhere. Or you know, something, something else will, will interrupt my ability to, you know, get to this particular appointment on time.

And so building in that cushion, I think when, when I haven’t done that so well, you’re right, I have assumed that I could get somewhere or do something in a particular amount of time. And that has, I underestimated how long things would take or what would get in the way or whatever. And so, I may work on fiddly tasks up until the last minute and say, “Oh, I need to go.” And I should have stopped those fiddly tasks, you know, 10 minutes earlier and be more efficient with my time management. So I think there is a little bit of predicting that things may go wrong. And so my strategy islet’s say I’m trying to get to an appointment and the Google Maps says it’s going to take 20 minutes to get there. If I leave 35 minutes early, then I’m not panicked if there’s an accident. And if I arrive early, then I’ve got that cushion to then do whatever that was answer those emails or whatever because we can do that from anywhere now…

Dr. Lisa Marie: Yeah.

Dr. Danielle: …while at, while I'm waiting at that appointment. And so it’s not that I’m getting less done. It’s just that I, you know, plan the cushion, and then use that cushion when I arrive and I’m waiting for the appointment.

Dr. Lisa Marie: Got it.

Dr. Danielle: I don’t know if that makes sense.

Dr. Lisa Marie: No, that’s a fantastic strategy. And that has like, never actually occurred to me before, but I think I’m gonna start doing it, Danielle. No, but so, so like, I mean, so just out of curiosity. So Google Maps says 20 minutes, do you add 50% to that? 75% to that? Like, is there a little mental calculus that you found to be… “If I add 50% more or whatever it is, then it’s usually okay.” I’m just curious.

Dr. Danielle: Yeah, I don’t know that I’ve done the mental math and like actually calculated, “Okay, 20 minutes divided by two and then blah, blah, blah.”

Dr. Lisa Marie: 14.75 seconds. Right.

Dr. Danielle: Right. Right. Right. Right. But, but I think some of it depends on, you know, actually how far I’m going. And so there is a little bit of a ratio there, although it’s more of a gut instinct than anything else. But I think it’s a question of just building in some buffer, instead of working up to the last minute on the project that’s right before. And, and, and then slotting in some of those easier tasks that we were talking about that can sort of occur throughout the day, can then occur in those buffer windows. When I arrived to that appointment 15 minutes early, okay, let me answer those emails now instead of trying to do it before I got in the car. And so there’s a little bit of just sort of restructuring and sliding the smaller tasks in when I find that there’s a window of opportunity. So yeah, so there’s some reorganization of bigger items and then slotting in the smaller items in between.

Dr. Lisa Marie: Okay. Well, that’s great. So this is wonderful. And so okay, then lastly so let’s say you have your, your typical typical familywith you know, mom and dad trying to work and manage a home, but also now managing kids, and keeping them on track, and homeschooling and schedules. And just trying to make sure that everything, everything that needs to happen, happens to a degree, with the understanding that right now for many people, there’s some stuff that isn't going to happen because it can’t. So you know, while we might like to have our socks matched and in the drawer, it may be realistic to get the clean clothes out of a laundry basket that never actually gets put away because nobody has the bandwidth to do that with everything else that needs to be done. I mean, there are, there are finite limits. But do you have any last words of advice for, you know, a family in the situation with going in a zillion different directions in this contextwith not external structure, you know, child care, having to do all the stuff–that might help them begin to create a workable plan to make sure the important things at least get done?

Dr. Danielle: Yeah, I mean, I think that’s a, that’s a great question. And I think it involves, I think, a lot of communication and a lot of sharing together——at least the adult partners in the, in the family system–saying, “Okay, what is most important to us as a family?” And putting those things first, and then coming up with a strategy for managing that together as a team.

I think one of the things that can happen is when we get stressed out and we go into our own, our own little bubblesthat can be isolating in a family system.

Dr. Lisa Marie: Yeah.

Dr. Danielle: And when we can sort of just sort of spin off into our own little solar systems instead of really consciously coming together and saying, “Okay, what’s most important to us? And what do we value here?” Again, going back to those values. And then, and then sort of choosing, “Okay, let’s tag team this. I’m going to do this with the kids today. You’re going to do that with the house. You get that done.” That’s a good day.

Dr. Lisa Marie: Yeah.

Dr. Danielle: And really just making a conscious effort to communicate about that and be, be working together as a team instead of spinning off into our own little zone.

Dr. Lisa Marie: Yeah. That’s fantastic advice. Okay, so to recap, I mean, if I, if I kind of just run down the big takeaways. I think the first thing, the first thing you said was just get deeply committed to, “Don’t put it down; put it away.” And you also talk about minimizing like, you maybe make it, do some curation to make it so that you do have a place for the most important things and that it’s not overwhelming sprawl. And I think that’s fantastic advice.

You also talked a lot about figuring out what your priorities are, and what is most important, and making sure that you do whatever that is first, and the lower value or less important things after that. Yup. And, and I think woven throughout this is sort of this core belief of that, you can probably do less than you think you can. And it’s probably going to take longer if it’s driving or doing a task. So maybe, I mean, is it fair to say like, lower your expectations about what is possible, and really focus on what is important? Does that kind of summarize it?

Dr. Danielle: Yeah, I think that’s right. I think that’s right. Having a, having a sense of buffer for anticipating that, you know, things will, you know, go wrong or take longer and, and really focusing on what matters most.

Dr. Lisa Marie: Yeah.

Dr. Danielle: And then, and then making that explicit for yourself. And so whether that is you know, as a calendar or a list or whatever else. Getting it out of your headwhere things tend to swim around and get lostand really outlining it for yourself in a very clear way, so that you can feel like, “Okay, yeah. I'm, I'm actually, my behavior is consistent with what I’m saying matters most to me.”

Dr. Lisa Marie: Yeah. Yeah. And then doing it now. Don’t put it away.

Dr. Danielle: And then doing it now. That’s right. That’s right. Easier said than done.

Dr. Lisa Marie: Wow, so many, so many wonderful tips. Danielle, thank you so much for spending this time with me today.

Dr. Danielle: Pleasure. Thanks for having me.