Saturday, September 27, 2008

Believe in Your Dreams Part 1 (guest blogger Craig Zabransky)

This Believe in Your Dreams entry comes from Craig Zabransky, Financial Services Consultant and Travel Adventure Writer.

With time to reflect on my recent appearance on the ‘Believe in Your Dreams’ segment on the Making a Living radio show with Maggie Mistal, I realize that there is one key element, one vital piece of advice to really help make those dreams a reality.

I spoke about it on the show, but to summarize, the advice is simple. Start ‘being’ what you want to become in your career. Don’t just dress the part, or even act the part, BE the part.

For example, when people ask you, “What do you do for a living?” Take this golden opportunity to advance your dream.

Sure, you can answer with a conventional approach and discuss what you do to pay your bills, to support your lifestyle, etc…Or you change your answer and start ‘being,’ start discussing your dream. Trust me; people would rather discuss a topic that energizes you then be bored chatting over your listless occupation.

Make no mistake; I am not saying to lie. For me, I started discussing my passion to write stories about my adventures and foreign travels. Then one day, after many attempts, I started talking to someone launching a website and my enthusiasm easily enabled me to pitch a travel story. He listened intently, appreciated my passion, and gave me an opportunity. That day my passion transformed into a real assignment, a job.

Now after publishing fifteen articles, my career is just beginning, and I am starting to do more than just believe in my dreams, but live them.

Gandhi said, “ Be the change that you want to see in the world.” Great advice not just for the world stage, but for your career too. So, ‘be the change’ in your career and start following your dream. Trust me, life is much better on this side.

Good luck & Stay adventurous.
Craig Zabransky

Craig is a published Travel Writer; click here to view his latest published work. And join his email list by reaching him at

What do you want to be? How might you start acting as if and make your dream a reality?

Believe in Your Dreams Now More Than Ever

When times are uncertain, it can feel safer to pull back-“to tighten the belts” as my father likes to say-than to take on anything new. Yet, this approach can keep us from going after the very opportunities that will turn our careers or even our lives around.

I reiterated this point recently on my radio show, Making a Living with Maggie on Martha Stewart Living Radio on SIRIUS. I interviewed a panel of three fabulous guests, each of whom was following their dreams. They had so much great advice to share I've asked each to guest post over the next few weeks.

In case you missed tuning in, I'm on live every Wednesday at 4pm EST, (subscribe to a free three day trial of SIRIUS) the next several blog posts will include inspiring words of wisdom from my guests to support you in "Believing In Your Dreams".

It’s vitally important now more than ever to step into your power versus feeling afraid. The world's best and brightest don’t wait for the right opportunities; they go out and create opportunities in good times and bad. Now it’s your turn!

Share your advice and comments too. What are your dreams for your career? What's worked for you in making your dreams a reality?

Monday, September 22, 2008

Time for Career Strategy as well as Financial Strategy

I responded to a recent question on - "What's your biggest concern with regards to the US Financial Market crisis?" I think it was aimed at people managing money on Wall Street but I felt the need to expand the focus. Here's my response:

"My biggest concern is that people react to the situation rather than proactively strategizing what it means to their careers. In every challenge there are opportunities especially if you are positioned to take advantage of them. We are witnessing a fundamental change in Wall Street that will impact Main Street. The sooner people focus their attention on planning their career strategy, the sooner they can implement those plans and stay ahead despite any adverse changes in the economy."

I'm not trying to scare anyone. I'm merely pointing out that reacting to change is not an effective career strategy. Knowledge truly is power.

Get in the know about the impact to your career:

--Assess the impact to your employer. Did your employer lose clients or revenue due to the Wall Street shake-up? If so, will cost reductions need to follow to keep the business profitable? What ideas might you offer up to save the company money and perhaps save jobs?
--Assess the impact to your industry. Is demand in your industry likely to grow even if people curb their spending? Are the products and services produced by the industry something people can't live without or are they more of a luxury? Consider making contacts in growing industries such as healthcare, green power, oil and gas. Use your university alumni network to do informational interviews and understand how your skills can transfer.
--Assess your performance and contribution. Are you known by your manager as a top performer? Do clients love working with you? There's always room for the best of the best. Are you a revenue generator for the company? If not, what might you do to adjust your job to bring in revenue so you're not viewed as an expense?

I welcome your questions, comments and responses to these assessments. What impacts are you seeing (or do you anticipate) in your job, employer or industry? What outcomes are you working to create or would you like to create? What do you feel is a good career strategy given your situation?

If you're not sure, email me at for an assessment of your current situation and what you can do to strategically manage your career.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Smart Career Resources For Tough Times

"We never thought it would get this bad." Words from one employee affected by the changes that are hitting Wall Street this week.

Most are in shock but realize action is necessary to weather the storm effectively. If you are looking for support and advice, here are sites I've found useful:
--Collection of career advice from expert career coaches and authors
--Free career how-to videos on finding a job during tough times, landing a recession-proof job and acing a job interview
--Tips from the if you're Out of Work on Wall Street

My advice, take this as a wake up call - focus on your passion and your unique strengths and the money will follow. And I walk the talk.

I made it through the Andersen debacle by doing a soul search BEFORE the job search with the help of career coaching. I found the process so helpful, I got certified as a coach and started helping all my Andersen friends with their careers. Now 7 years later, I'm my own boss helping people get out of the rat race and into careers they would do for free (but get paid well to do.)

It's your turn to take control of your career and find opportunity in challenge.

Join the conversation with your comments and let's all get through this together. What are your thoughts on what's happening on Wall Street? What advice you want to share for those impacted?

Monday, September 15, 2008

Recovering from Career Crisis

If you haven't heard, today shock waves went through Wall Street. Sadly, I know how these employees are feeling. It's de ja vu back to my experience with the Andersen/Enron debacle.

Going through a corporate crisis is not something I recommend. Though I have to say it has made me stronger. For those personally impacted by the changes announced today on Wall Street, I do have some advice that can help you not only cope with the situation but use it as a springboard to take charge of your career.

--Take stock of what you do have. It's amazing how crisis puts things in perspective. Be thankful for your health, friends, family, skills, experience, savings. It will help you see that you have support to move on.
--Realize that this too shall pass. You have recovered from career setbacks in the past. You will recover from this one. Reach out to others who can share advice and ideas-former colleagues, mentors, recruiters, career coaches.
--Focus on what you can control. I remember being angry with management for the Andersen situation. It was frustrating to see something end with so many good people impacted. However, I've since realized that everything happens for a valid reason - even the tough situations. I focused less on my anger and more on my abilities to create a new career. In fact I can honestly say that the end of Andersen meant the beginning of my new career in coaching.

If you weren't personally impacted by the fallout on Wall Street today, I'm sure many of you know someone who has been. Consider calling or emailing to check-in. That was my first reaction when I heard the news. See if you can offer any help, even words of support would be of use to people in this challenging situation. Besides by offering help now, you give to your network. And you never know when you might be the one taking that assistance in the future.

Has your career been impacted by corporate crisis? Have you recovered from crisis like these in your career?

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The First Steps to Starting Your Own Business

Thank you to those of you who tuned in last week to the return of "Making a Living with Maggie" on Martha Stewart Living Radio SIRIUS 112. I was joined by four fabulous guests throughout the hour and we shared tips, advice, ideas and inspiration about "Believing in Your Dreams."

It's a topic I feel can't get enough air time. Callers shared their dreams, many focused starting their own businesses - from a hair stylist, to a wedding planner, to a stay at home Mom returning to work. The on air conversation focused on not just believing in your dreams but making them a reality.

If you've been thinking about becoming your own boss and want to know how to get started, there are great resources offered by the US Small Business Administration:
--Free business consulting
--Business planning resources
--Information on health insurance and other programs for the self-employed.

You can also check out Marci Alboher's Shifting Careers blog. She recently mentioned small business contests where you can find even more resources to support your dream.

If you've been thinking about becoming your own boss, perhaps it's time to believe in your dreams. With support, preparation and planning you may very well realize your true potential.

What's your dream way to make a living? What do you need to make it a reality?

Monday, September 08, 2008

Tune in and Start "Making a Living" on Your Own Terms

"My career chose me. I don't even know how I ended up in this job. How do I get out and fast?"

While not actual quotes from my clients (those are protected for confidentiality) this is an unfortunate running theme from my coaching sessions. People need help in figuring out a strategic career path so they can stop hopping from one unsatisfying job to another. And apparently, a lot of people need help. A 2007 Conference Board study found that only half of all US workers were satisfied in their careers.

I'm more than happy to help people get on track. So happy in fact that I'm always looking for new ways to serve.

That's why I'm excited to announce that starting this Wed, September 10th, you can tune in for weekly career advice and inspiration on SIRIUS satellite radio. You can also call into the show live and get your questions answered on air! My show, "Making a Living with Maggie" will air Wednesdays at 4pm eastern/1pm pacific on Martha Stewart Living Radio SIRIUS 112.

What would you like to hear discussed on the show? Job hunting resources, career change ideas, work/life balance strategies, how to be your own boss? What topics interest you? Let me know so I can help you make a living on your own terms.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

What are you cultivating with your career?

People often contact me to find more meaning in their careers. They want to make a difference but aren't sure how. If this sounds familiar, read on. Below is an inspiring example of a one woman whose dream of helping others is now reality.

I had the pleasure of meeting Lois Reddick in high school. Though we had lost touch for several years, she and I recently reconnected. It was great to catch up and even more amazing to learn that Lois had founded a non-profit organization called COSIA. COSIA is built on the belief that one woman, with the help and support of her sisters (and brothers), can make a tremendous and positive difference in the world.

That belief is coming true.

So far COSIA has provided funding, exposure, and/or support for many programs and organizations including: The Love by the Slice Baking and Catering Program and The Dillingham-Williams Foundation (both in development), the Afterw@rd Suicide Prevention Project, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the Consciously Rebuilding Project in New Orleans, and Operation Longthrust Summer Youth Program in Washington State.

If that's not enough, here's what members have to say:

“COSIA is where I go to make the impossible possible through positivity and idea sharing, so that I can then be able to pass it on through community building.”

“COSIA helped me realize that I am a powerful, intelligent, and visionary woman who is determined to make an impact.”

I have the honor and privilege of presenting at COSIA’s Cultivating Your Path Workshop. If you are in the New York area and would like to attend, click here for more information.

I am so impressed with what Lois is cultivating. Now it's your turn. Get inspired and cultivate a great impact with your career.

What cause or goal do you care most about? What change do you want to see in the world? What organization might you contribute through and have a great impact? I can't wait to hear your comments!

Monday, September 01, 2008

Survive and Thrive in Today's Tough Economy

Often times we need an outside perspective to see solutions to our career struggles. The WetFeet Survival Guide for Women in Business by Sarah Baicker offers just that perspective. Completed in conjunction with The Forte Foundation, the guide focuses on the particular challenges of women in the workplace including:
--Finding Work/Life Balance
--Job Hunting (*Here you can read my advice on how to evaluate a job offer).

The guide also includes a comprehensive resource list of articles, books and professional organizations to utilize in moving your career forward.

Find out more about the Survival Guide and share your tips of surviving in today's tough economy.

What strategies have worked for you? What struggles are you finding in surviving in today's tough economy?