Author: plcwp-admin

Ditch the Resolutions and Create Real, Lasting Change

Happy New Year! Now that we’re a few weeks in, I hope your new year is off to a fulfilling and successful start.

If you’re having trouble keeping your new year’s resolutions but you still want to make some changes this year, read my article below on how to create a theme for the year. A theme is a way of showing up in the world, the qualities you’ll bring forth and the impact you’ll make each day, week and month of the year.

Also, check out USA Today’s recent feature of my practice as a life/career coach for working mothers and Bay Area Parent’s recent interview with me on how to make important life changes. Happy reading and here’s to your new year!

Warmly,
Amber

Ditch the Resolutions and Create Real, Lasting Change

I’m not a big fan of New Year’s Resolutions. Even with the best intentions, resolutions tend to lose momentum and fizzle out in the first few weeks of the year. You’re left feeling like you “failed” and you beat yourself up for not following through.

Instead, try setting yourself up for success by looking out over the year ahead and thinking about your theme – a succinct phrase or word that describes how you want to show up in the world; the impact you want to make; your intention for each day of the year. Examples include “going out on a limb,” “feeling good and looking good,” or “enjoying the fruits of my labor.” You get the idea.

Once you have your intention for the year, you can make a list of actions that will help support your intention. For example, for “feeling good and looking good”, perhaps it’s following-through with all those doctor appointments you’ve been putting off; scheduling exercise into your calendar for twice/week and finding a pair of jeans that fit well and you feel great in.

To help anchor your theme so that it has a longer shelf life and you’re reminded of it on a daily and weekly basis, try writing the theme as the screensaver on your computer; as the wallpaper on your phone; or on the front page of your hard copy calendar. The idea is to have it front and center so that each day you’re reminded of your intention for the year. Then, each day, you get to choose what one small, achievable, realistic action step you can take to support your theme.

Over the years, many readers have written in with their themes for the year. I’ve been impressed and moved by the depth, meaning and variety of themes and look forward to hearing from you this year.

create lasting change, ditch resolutions

How to Complete Your To-Do Lists

How to Complete Your To-Do Lists

Are you feeling weighed down by your year-end and holiday to-do lists?  Check out the 90 second video below with a couple of simple tips to help lighten your load.

I cover three main points:

  1. How to tackle the hardest thing on your list
  2. How to manage your energy to better manage your time
  3. Benefits of this approach

Click below to watch the video and learn more:

Warmly,
Amber

complete your to-do lists

How to Overcome Hurdles & Achieve Goals

For the next several newsletters, I’m going to try something different.  Based on your recent survey feedback, I’ve created a handful of 90 second long videos to address each of the topics that are most important to you. This project has been a lot of fun and I look forward to sharing the videos with you.

This first video is about overcoming hurdles and achieving goals with limited time and energy.  This may be the quick and easy reminder you need to be your most productive self.

I cover three main points:

  1. How to create smart goals
  2. How to break-down your goals into action steps
  3. How to follow-through with your goals

Click here to watch the video and learn more:

As the end of the year quickly approaches, I invite you to ask yourself “What’s most important to accomplish by the end of 2011?”  Then, set yourself up for success by creating smart goals; an action plan; and accountability.  I look forward to hearing about your successes.

Warmly,
Amber

achieve goals, overcome hurdles

Top Ten Tips for Working Parents

As I look out at our garden, the signs of spring are exciting, inviting and full of hope.  I invite you to take a moment to notice what’s growing around you.

I’m happy to share my brand new websites Pacific Life Coach and Working Mother’s Coach with you and I’d love to hear your feedback.

Warmly,
Amber


Top Ten Tips for Working Parents

1) Build Your Support Network
Talk to your partner or folks in your support network about your work/life vision. You’ll strengthen your relationships, save time and energy and build the support you’ll need to make your vision a reality.

2) Communicate at Work Too
Not everyone has the luxury of working with colleagues who are familiar with the challenges of a working parent. Talk regularly with your supervisor and/or your staff about your schedule, priorities and options. Only you know what you need to balance your roles as parent and professional, so speak up.

3) No Parent is an Island – Delegate!
One of the secrets to success as a working parent is learning how to delegate to other staff, your partner, your family, etc. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, take a look at your to-do list and ask yourself some honest questions. What do you absolutely need to do right now? What can you postpone, delegate or say “no” to?

4) Learn How to Say “No”
Saying “no” is a critical skill you can build. The inability to say “no” is one of the biggest obstacles to achieving balance. Once you have defined your priorities, you have a clear idea of how you want to spend your time. Saying “no” allows you to say “yes” to your priorities.

5) Learn How to Let Go
Take a hard and honest look at what’s in your control vs. what’s out of your control. Once you figure this out, you can shift your energy, time and focus to that which can truly benefit from your attention.

6) Create a Childcare Safety Net
A key ingredient to feeling good about working is knowing that your children are getting the best care possible. Pay attention to your intuition and your child’s individual needs when choosing childcare. And create plan B and C for the inevitable emergency needs.

7) Schedule Self-Care into Your Calendar
The success of your work/life vision depends on your self-care. Schedule your self-care activities into your calendar as non-negotiable dates and times.

8) Learn How to Manage Guilt
The next time you feel guilty, shine a spotlight on guilt. Get really curious about it. What happened right before you started to feel guilty? What’s the cost of feeling guilty? Spend a minute writing down everything that comes up for you around guilt. You’ll notice that by writing it down, it decreases the power of the emotion. Better awareness of guilt leads to better management of guilt.

9) Lower Your Expectations
If you want to maintain your sanity and sense of well-being, adopt the mantra “good is good enough”.

10) Get Comfortable with Constant Change
Once you can embrace rather than resist the constant change that parenthood brings, you’ll experience much less stress. Working parenthood calls for you to be agile and adaptable – work on stretching that muscle.

tips for working parents

Stop Being So Defensive!

Happy summer! I hope this email finds you enjoying long days and lots of light.

If this issue’s headline caught your eye – yes, it was meant to be provocative and somewhat ironic. Check out the full article below for tips on how to be less defensive and more powerful in your personal and professional communication.

On a personal note, this March, our 2-year old daughter welcomed her baby brother to the world and what an amazing few months it’s been. Our household has been full of love, laughter, challenge and not much sleep. There’s nothing like a toddler and a newborn to keep things interesting.

With much gratitude,
Amber


Stop Being So Defensive!

Have you ever been in a conversation with a colleague, friend or family member about a sensitive topic and ended up in a power struggle, conflict or shutting down? Or perhaps in response to someone else’s criticism, you find yourself justifying your behavior, blaming the other person or avoiding him or her all together? It sounds like defensiveness is at play.

So, how do you stop being so defensive?

You can start by practicing powerful, effective communication.

Curious Questions

One option is to ask curious, innocent, and neutral questions to understand accurately what the other person means, believes, or feels. For example, if someone acts upset, simply ask him/her directly about your assumption so he/she can confirm, deny, or qualify. For example, “Are you angry (upset, frustrated, irritated) about something?” Try to avoid questions that start with “why” as they tend to put others on the defense. For example, “Why are you so upset?” makes an assumption (which may or may not be accurate) and will likely make the other person feel like they’ve done something wrong. Instead, try “I get the sense that you may be upset. Am I reading this accurately?”

Nothing More Than Feelings

Another way to approach a sensitive conversation is to make statements that start with “I feel”. If you’re simply stating what you genuinely feel and you use a neutral tone, the other person can’t say you’re wrong. Your feelings are your feelings and clearly stating them will help to stave off a power struggle from the get-go. For example, instead of saying to your partner “You’re always late”, try “I feel disappointed when we don’t get to eat dinner together.”

But(t) out!

A third way to nip defensiveness in the bud is to use “and at the same time” instead of “but”. Often times when you use the word “but”, it negates everything you said before the “but”. For example, instead of “I understand you had to work late but I made dinner” try, “I understand that you had to work late and at the same time I made dinner”. Notice how it changes the whole tone of the message? Again, it doesn’t blame the other person. Instead, it simply states the facts.

Next time you find yourself in a potentially defensive situation, try out these tools. They may help you avoid unnecessary conflict, gain respect and strengthen personal and professional relationships.

stop being defensive

How to Manage Stress in a Fast-Paced Culture

If you want to achieve more success and fulfillment this year, this issue’s feature article offers insight into the role that stress plays in your life and practical tips on how to manage that stress.

Also, if you’ve ever been curious about working from home or owning your own business, check out Bay Area Parent’s Jan. 2010 article “How You Can Work From Home”. The article profiles several work-at-home moms, including myself, about the joys and challenges of owning a home-based business.

Here’s to creating more of what you want in your life and career this year.

With deep gratitude,
Amber


How to Manage Stress in a Fast-Paced Culture

Do you ever feel you have too much to do and not enough time? Perhaps you find yourself forgetting to breathe, trying to do three things at once or unable to be in the moment. If you’re like many of us, a fast-paced life of multi-tasking combined with regular family and career challenges can easily induce stress on a daily basis. And, unfortunately, stress has a significant impact on the human brain and can affect relationship skills, creativity, and joy.

That’s a pretty big impact. So, how can you better manage your stress?

The first step is to simply notice when you’re stressed. Shine a spotlight on it and name it. For example, every time you notice that you’re feeling stressed you can say to yourself, “I recognize that I’m getting overwhelmed in this moment”. Or, you can make a check mark on a piece of paper every time stress rears its head. You may have 100 checkmarks on your paper and that’s OK. It’s important to just acknowledge it and try not to judge yourself.

Once you get really good at noticing when you’re stressed, start to identify the sources of your stress and how you react. For example, what’s the first thing you notice in your body when you’re stressed? What does it feel like? What happened right before you felt this in your body (what triggered your stress)? Better awareness of stress leads to better management of stress.

The second step is to get really clear on the cost of your stress and the benefit of addressing it. For example, the cost may be loss of productivity, the inability to fully relax and a short temper. And the benefit, for example, may be more quality time with your family, lower blood pressure and better communication skills at work. We all need reasons to act and identifying the benefit of changing your behavior can be a terrific motivator.

The third step is to create new best practices to proactively manage your stress on an ongoing basis. Self-care is a great place to start. It’s all about you taking better care of yourself which will, in turn, benefit your family, your career and everything else that is important to you.

Below is a list of effective self-care practices – ideal for moms – or for anyone who wants less stress in their lives.

1) Schedule Ten Minutes for Yourself Every Day
2) Talk to Friends or Loved Ones
3) Remember to Breathe (deeply and often!)
4) Actively Notice and Express Gratitude and Appreciation
5) Allow Time to Adjust to Life Transitions
6) Take Small Spiritual Retreats (even if it’s just a moment in your yard or a walk around the block)
7) Exercise
8) Keep Investing in Yourself
9) Allow Interests to Surface
10) Be Creative (draw, sing, doodle – just release that energy)

These are just a few examples. Which of these (or other) self-care practices appeals most to you? It’s all about identifying and integrating the tools that will work best for you and that you will use on a daily basis.

Sometimes the simplest life changes have the most impact. If we practice them every day, all we have to do is invest a small amount of time in ourselves.

What will it take to put self-care at the top of your to-do list?

manage stress

How to Make Important Life Changes

Happy fall! In the spirit of Thanksgiving, thank you for the opportunity to connect with inspiring, thoughtful folks like you. I feel incredibly fortunate to have a career that empowers others to effect meaningful change in their lives.

Speaking of change, autumn often evokes powerful images of change. If you’re thinking about making a big change in your life – for example a new career, more time with family, a healthier lifestyle, etc. – this issue will help you break through barriers and create your own action plan.

“If nothing ever changed, there’d be no butterflies.” – Author Unknown

With deep gratitude,
Amber


How to Make Important Life Changes

If you’re like many of my clients, you may want to make big changes in your life – for example, a new career, more time with family or a healthier lifestyle – but you don’t know where to start, life gets in the way or you end up feeling stuck.

So, what’s holding you back?

Perhaps it’s procrastination, self-sabotage or fear of the unknown. Or maybe you start initiating change, but quickly fall back into an existing comfort zone. This “easy route” often leads to complacency and stagnation.

How can you make lasting changes to enrich your life?

Here are a few thoughts that I’ve picked up through coaching over the years:

Slow Down – If you’re stressed out or operating at full steam all the time, it’s incredibly difficult to make any real, lasting change in any part of your life. So, your first step is to slow down and free up the mental and emotional space that’s needed. Decades of research point to the benefit of reflective activities that quiet fear, doubt and worry and allow you to be more energized, engaged and in the moment. For example, try carving out 10 minutes twice a day for a daily renewal ritual such as meditation, yoga, prayer, writing, listening to music, walking, painting, knitting, etc. It doesn’t matter what you do as long as it allows you to truly slow down, create space, and renew your energy – all necessary ingredients for change.

Draft a Vision – Before you spend the time and energy that’s required to make a big change, take a step back and focus on what’s really important to you. When the time feels right, write out a couple of paragraphs about where you want to be with your goals one year from now. For example, how will success with your goals impact your life and how you show up in the world?

Identify Your Strengths – In our culture, there’s a lot of focus on shortcomings and weaknesses which can make us feel powerless. Instead, what if you empowered yourself by focusing on the strengths that are inherent in you? If you determine your core strengths and leverage them, you’ll be more successful in achieving your vision and more fulfilled in the process. For example, if you want to get into a new career and one of your strengths is connecting with others, it will serve you well to attend networking events and to conduct informational interviews. Since you excel at these types of activities and they come naturally to you, chances are you will not only succeed but also enjoy the process.

Craft a Plan – Once you know your strengths and have a clear vision, break your goal into small, achievable action steps that are big enough to give you a sense of progress yet small enough to be realistic. If you’re a high-achiever, you may try to take on everything all at once, which can set you up for failure. Instead, set yourself up for success by starting with small action steps and slowly working towards your goal.

Create Accountability – On average, it takes about 28 days to create a new habit. For example, if you’re trying to create a healthier lifestyle by eating right and exercising more, it will take about a month for these actions to become routine. Change is often one step forward and two steps back and you’ll inevitably face challenges and set-backs along the way. You’ll need support while you make major changes in your life and work towards your vision. Don’t try to do it all by yourself. Talk to your friends, colleagues or coach about your plans and ask them to help hold you accountable. Other people will help you stay motivated, accountable and on track and when you accomplish your goals, you’ll have others with which to celebrate.

Now that you have an rough outline of how to effect personal change, I encourage you to work through your plan and customize it in a way that serves you.

Ready, set, go. You can do it.

important life changes

Power Communication Techniques for Career Transition

Happy summer! If you’re one of the many folks these days who is considering a new job or career, check out the following free recorded teleclass “Power Communication Techniques for Career Transition”.

In this free teleclass, you will learn how to:

  • Present yourself with confidence
  • Prepare and practice your presentation
  • Create your own unique “style” to help you shine

You will walk away with:

  • Tools to bring out your best self
  • Techniques to incorporate before, during, and after your interview
  • An overall communication action plan

Enjoy.

With gratitude,
Amber


Power Communication Techniques for Career Transition

Are you looking for a new job or career or returning to the workforce after an extended absence? Has it been a long time since you’ve been on a job interview? Are you changing jobs? Surviving a layoff? New to the job hunt?

If this sounds like you, click here to listen to the free recorded teleclass “Power Communication Techniques for Career Transition” presented by Amber Rosenberg, professional life coach for working mothers, and Lau Lapides, executive speech coach/trainer.

Happy listening.

career transition, power communication techniques

Five Crucial Steps Towards Engaged Employment

Lately, given the economy, many people are changing careers or considering a change. Full-time moms are returning to the workforce; folks that have been laid off are planning their next move; and walks of all life are contemplating new jobs and careers that might better suit their strengths, values and interests.

If you too are ready to figure out what’s next in your career, the below article leads you through an easy process to expand your professional network and uncover job leads that aren’t publicly posted. Also, if you’re a mom who’s looking for a new job or career or returning to the workforce after an extended leave, stay tuned for our upcoming teleconference: Power Communication Techniques for Moms in Career Transition.

With gratitude,
Amber


Five Crucial Steps Towards Engaged Employment

Lately, given the economy, many people are changing careers or considering a change. Full-time moms are returning to the workforce; folks that have been laid off are planning their next move; and walks of all life are contemplating new jobs and careers that might better suit their strengths, values and interests.

As the old saying goes and rings true, it really is “who you know, not what you know” that matters most. Currently, 70% of jobs are acquired through private connections (colleagues, friends/family, recruiters, etc.) and are never posted publicly (through online sites, want ads, etc.). Since fewer people know about these jobs, there’s less competition – always a benefit when job seeking.

So, what can you do to beef up your network?

One way to expand your private connections and get looped into more job opportunities is to set-up and conduct informational interviews. Informational interviews are different than job interviews in that you’re not applying for a job. Instead, you informally meet and talk with folks in a field or position that interests you to get an inside pulse on the ins and outs of this line of work. Most importantly, it’s a great way to get to know the players in your desired field and to determine in a low-pressure environment which path might be right for you.

Below are five simple steps for setting up and conducting informational interviews.

Step 1: Choose Your Contacts Wisely

The easiest way to determine who you should contact is to go through all of your contact lists – your email, PDA, phone book, etc. – and to make a list of everyone you know in your desired field or position. This includes family members, friends, colleagues, neighbors, community members, etc. If you find that you really don’t know anyone in your desired field, then look at who you know who knows someone in this field. If you find you don’t have any relevant connections, then conduct some online research. Take a look at organizations that interest you and try to find names and contact information for folks in the positions that appeal to you. Or do an online search on a specific career or field and see what names show up in the first two pages of your search engine. After you’ve searched under every rock and stone, put together a list of your top ten contacts.

Step 2: Make the Ask

Once you’ve selected your top ten contacts, think about how you want to approach these folks. The easiest way to set-up informational interviews is through a short email where you introduce yourself (or re-introduce yourself) and explain that you’re in career transition; finishing training; or interested in learning more about what your contact does and what advice s/he has about this field. Offer to take him/her to coffee so you can pick his/her brain for 20 minutes.

Step 3: Set the Stage

After you’ve set up your first informational interview, you’ll want to create a standard list of questions to ask during each meeting. Below are some questions that you might want to include:

  • How did you get into this line of work?
  • What’s a typical business day like for you?
  • What do you find challenging about your job?
  • What do you find fulfilling about your job?
  • What’s been the biggest surprise for you about your career?
  • Do you know anyone else in this field who I could talk with?

Step 4: It’s All About Them

When it comes time to meet with your contacts, simply ask the questions, sit back, relax and have fun. The beauty of informational interviews is that people love to talk about themselves. All you have to do is ask a few open-ended questions and let your contacts do the rest of the work. It’s a very low stress situation because it’s 80% about your contacts and only 20% about you. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Also, be sure to respect your contacts’ time by keeping the conversation to no longer than 20 minutes and by thanking them for their time. Since you’re not applying for a job, you can have your resume on hand, but only hand it over if they ask for it. And, keep in mind that the most important question is your closing question: “Do you know anyone else in this field who I could talk with?”

Step 5: Make a Lasting Impression

Be sure to send a hand-written thank you note to each contact you meet with, within a week of each meeting. Personal touches go a long way and you will stand out in your contacts’ mind the next time s/he comes across an opportunity, lead or new contact that might interest you.

Before you know it, you’ll have expanded your professional circle exponentially and the leaders in your desired field may even start to recognize your name. This will help you significantly in determining what next step is right for you and, eventually, in landing your next job.

engaged employment

How to Keep Your Head Up When Your Bottom Line is Sinking

If you’re like some of my clients, you may be feeling fear, doubt and worry in these uncertain economic times. And if you’re a parent, your stress and anxiety may be compounded by the very real need to provide for your family.

So, what can you do about it?

For starters, read the below article for a few ideas to get you moving in the right direction. Also, keep your eyes open for my upcoming teleclass for committed entrepreneurs, “Move from Surviving to Thriving in 2009: Managing Fear in Uncertain Economic Times” starting January 28, 2009. This issues’ article offers just a taste of what will be covered in the teleclass-there is so much more! Contact me at amber@pacificlifecoach.com or (415) 637-3855 with any questions or to reserve your space-this program will fill up quickly.

Here’s to a wildly successful and fulfilling 2009.

– Amber


How to Keep Your Head Up When Your Bottom Line is Sinking

If you’re like some of my clients, you may be feeling fear, doubt and worry in these uncertain economic times. And if you’re a parent, your stress and anxiety may be compounded by the very real need to provide for your family.

So, what can you do about it?

A great place to start is by putting yourself on the top of your to-do list. You may find that by spending a little bit of time and energy focusing on yourself, you’re in turn better positioned to manage the stress and anxiety of these uncertain times. Conversely, if you’re not taking care of yourself, you may notice that it’s difficult to be fully engaged and present at work and at home and that you spend a lot of time worrying about how today’s troubling headlines will impact your personal finances, plans and dreams. You may feel worn down and exhausted and your communication skills, relationships, and ability to solve problems may suffer as a result.

What does it mean to put yourself on the top of your to-do list?

Putting yourself first starts with basic self-care such as getting enough sleep (that means going to bed a little early or squeezing a little extra babysitting time so you can nap); eating regularly; exercising a little bit every day (whether it’s taking the stairs at work or walking with your child to the playground); and whatever daily practice (journaling, singing, meditation, music, prayer, yoga, etc.) energizes you, renews you and quiets the fear, doubt and worry swimming around in your head.

In times like these, it may also be helpful to gain awareness around what’s your job versus what’s out of your control. A simple way to do this is to take a piece of paper and on one side, write down everything that is your job right now. On the other side, write down everything that is out of your control right now.

For example, your job may include self-care, caring for your family and household duties. Your job may also be to notice negativity-which tends to be contagious. If you notice that certain friends or family members regularly complain about the doom and gloom of the recession, perhaps it’s your job to identify the people and situations that offer you more positive perspectives. Or, if you find that the sensationalism in mainstream media is playing into your own fears about the economy, your job may be to find an alternate news source that gives you a more accurate report of what’s really going on, without the scare tactics (perhaps public news outlets, for example).

What else is your job? Take a few minutes to write down everything that comes to mind.

Once you’ve finished writing down everything that is your job right now, turn your paper over and think about what is out of your control right now. For example, the stock market, the housing market, the job market, and what other people do or say is all out of your control. After you’ve done your part of following-up on a job lead or with a potential client, whether or not they get back in touch with you is also out of your control. Your kids coming down with a bug; your boss’ bad mood, or your car breaking down are all out of your control. You get the idea.

What else is out of your control? Take another few minutes to write down everything that comes to mind.

After you’ve written down what’s your job versus what’s out of your control, you will have very good awareness around the difference between the two. Then, you can actively choose to spend more time and energy focused on what is truly your job (which tends to be related to positive actions). In turn, you may find that you end up paying less attention to and let go a little bit of that which is out of your control (which tends to be related to negative thoughts). In addition, think of all the energy you’ll free up by choosing to focus on positive actions instead of negative thoughts.

There is no doubt that these are tough times. However, instead of completely succumbing to the fear, doubt and worry, I challenge you to build your awareness and shift your perspective just a little bit. You may be surprised at what you find.

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