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Still deciding on holiday desserts? Check out Colleen Grapes’s fabulous egg nog crème brûlée recipe! These delicious treats will be sure to impress all of your holiday guests.
6 cups heavy cream
6 oz sugar
13 egg yolks
2 teaspoons kosher salt
This is to be added when cool:
2 cups egg nog
1 Tablespoon brandy
1 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 Tablespoons Gosslings dark rum
Mix heavy cream, salt and sugar in a pot until very hot but not boiling. Add yolks to a bowl. While whisking add in about half of the hot liquid slowly. Pour all of the liquid into the egg mixture and then strain into a bowl. Place on top of another larger bowl with ice to cool down. Once the mixture is cool, mix in alcohol, egg nog and nutmeg. Pour into ramekins, just a little more than 3/4 full.
Place into a cake pan or casserole dish (something with high sides) and then fill the pan half way with cold water and cover. Place into a 325 degree oven. Bake for approximately 30 min… test by carefully pulling the top back, but be careful of steam. They should jiggle slightly in the center. Finally uncover and pull out. Once your crème brûlées are room temperature, place them in the fridge for an hour till cold and set.
Colleen Grapes is the executive pastry chef at Manhattan’s Oceana.
We all have someone who’s an inspiration to us. Some we may know in our day-to-day life, and others may be outside of our immediate circle, such as public figures, humanitarians and famed gurus. There are others however, who may serve as inspiration in unexpected ways. Maybe a colleague’s caustic personality always rubbed you the wrong way, but after hearing her talk about painstakingly caring for a sick relative, you developed a better understanding for the “rough around the edges” exterior.
Today, I encourage you to think about those in your life whose presence led to a poignant lesson, burst of motivation, or call to be a kinder, more patient “you.” During this holiday season, take some time to reflect on the ways these individuals have provided intangible “gifts.” You may not have even considered them as such until this moment. Below is a list of some of the types of “unexpected inspirations” you may have encountered.
The Pesky Mother-in-Law
She may look at you with only the most disapproving of gazes, while silently criticizing your apple pie, home décor, and choice of family doctor. Sure, it may be tough to be around her, but think about the lessons these interactions may be teaching you: remember that being nonjudgmental and accepting, even when you think the other person doesn’t accept you, can be a gift. When you use the opportunity to “extend the olive branch,” you are standing in your power by not allowing the actions of another to compromise your own feelings of self-worth.
Taken from another perspective, remember this is a person who raised your partner. There are many things about your partner you love, admire, and appreciate. Take some time to discover which of those qualities he or she may have learned from dear ‘ol mom. How surprising would it be if the woman you see as disapproving and unrelenting gave your partner an appreciation for multi-ethnic cuisine or a sensitivity towards feminism? How have those foundations helped shape your relationship? Will you begin to feel gratitude where you may have felt anger or disappointment?
Differing Moral Codes
Whether you’re guided by religious morals or your own personal code of ethics, chances are there are times when you need to deal with individuals who go against your moral code. Let’s say you’re staunchly against premarital sex, and the checkout clerk at the supermarket is an unwed, pregnant teen. You’ve been judging her in your mind as you wait your turn, and just as you are about to scoff, you realize she has been fervently refusing to sell cigarettes to every minor who has tried to get one by her.
You may not agree with her lifestyle choices, but in the moment perhaps you become aware that she is living in integrity and standing by her principles. Perhaps it becomes easier to see that those who live with a different code of ethics still have principles, some of which may be in line with yours. Maybe it’s a reminder to take inventory of your own moral code and make sure everything is in order.
You avoid being in the restroom at the same time as her, just so you won’t have to engage in conversation. Lunchtime chatter is always about another colleague’s latest romantic screw-up, or who’s line for the next promotion (and why— wink, wink). She’s usually fun to talk to, but there’s just something about every conversation that makes you feel bad or uncomfortable.
Even as you avoid her, identify how you might be able to feel a sense of gratitude in the situation. Perhaps she is showing you how you don’t want to be. Maybe the “lesson” is to find your voice and address issues outright. Speak to her (in a calm and open manner) about her actions and why they make you uncomfortable. Can you feel the difference once you’ve cleared the air? Identify other areas of your life where you can do the same.
These are only examples. The point is to review how your encounters with individuals can serve as pivot points for rectifying misconceptions, rethinking situations, and finding greater harmony, patience, and balance in your life. You may even be inclined to send a “thank you” to your source of unexpected inspiration!
--Victoria Crispo, Dec 2014 Career Coach
In an age where it’s become the norm to sit at one’s desk for lunch, it may be rough for modern, career-charged go-getters to balance their work commitments with their own need to recharge. While newer advice suggests we take time away from our desks for a proper meal, old habits die hard. For many, it’s still difficult to ignore the siren’s call of work tasks during lunch—even if your managers tell you to.
In the interest of easing into new habits, I have developed some ideas for bringing a more relaxed feeling to your desk…at least until you feel comfortable leaving it on a regular basis. This list includes a few things you can do to mimic the relaxation you’d experience at home, all while staying right at your desk.
Be smart about what you eat. Just eating something home-cooked does wonders for my mood and outlook. The familiar sights, smell, and tastes are enough to give me the short reprieve I need. It helps me make the meal feel more like “my time.” If I think back to actually preparing the food or compliments I’ve received on it, even better.
Try it for a week or two. You’ll see the difference that eating your familiar home-cooked meals (whether you made them or someone else did) have over the rushed orders from the local takeout place.
Make your surroundings more “home-y." If you’re one to use cloth napkins or fancy placemats at home, bring them to the office! These familiar items can serve to calibrate the time so it’s carved out as your time. When you’ve got your placemat and napkins out, view them as symbols of “home,” and use them as such! I’ve even found using “real” silverware helps change my mindset and I stop thinking of lunch as a meal I must rush through.
Set the tone with music. Music or ambient sounds are always great ways to recharge. If you must continue working while you’re listening, try using lyric-free music for best productivity. Even better—pick a 3-5 minute track and grant yourself that time solely for daydreaming, or even thinking through a problem. For those in open-concept offices, use headphones so you don’t disturb your coworkers.
Add a tasteful decoration or two to your workspace. Don’t deck out your whole office, but a knick-knack or two that reminds you of home can change the look and “feel” of your office space. You can also bring in a small photo of family members or a framed inspirational saying.
Add your own personal flair. I feel luxurious and inspired when I use a notebook with beautiful, high-quality paper, a great print on the cover, or an inspired saying or two. I always use printed notebooks and colorful file folders. There is just something about it that really adds personality to the workplace! When you customize your work space and use office supplies that show your personal flair, it helps you feel more “at home” at the office. Let your personality shine!
--Victoria Crispo, Dec 2014 Career Coach
The holiday season can be a mixed bag, especially if you’re going through the loss of a loved one. Because it’s so important to acknowledge our feelings, we sought out Marsha Mercant who has many insights from personal experience.
Loss comes in many forms: divorce, job downsizing, a health challenge or the death of a loved one. No matter the particulars, it can be a devastating, life changing experience.
Like all of you, I have had my share of loss. And like many of you, I fought them tooth and nail. That is until three years ago when I lost my best friend of forty-five years to cancer. Losing Melinda was a loss I didn’t think would ever heal; a heart pain I thought would follow me all my days.
But through the pain I learned about the gifts inherent in adversity. I learned there is no greater gift we can give ourselves than knowing that everything that happens in life is a gift. And when we accept that truth, our lives change in miraculous ways.
Be willing to be with grief without judgment. Knowing that what we resist persists, it stands to reason that the more we push against the pain of loss, the more pain we create. Don’t judge your grief. Feel it…all of it…be grateful you have the opportunity to know pain for you will also at some time know joy in equal measure.
Cry. But let them be tears of gratitude. Gratitude for having had that marriage or that job or that loved one. Bless it, or them, thank them for all they meant to you. Discover a new deeper place in your heart that redefines your relationship to your loss. That indescribable place where love runs deeper than you ever imagined it could.
Don't expect to get over it, expect to be richer because of it. When we see our adversity as the gift it is to grow and learn, we create a path into new, sometimes never before dreamt of opportunities. After the loss of my friend, I began writing to deal with the pain of my grief. That act led me to a new career as a writer; a career that has given me new purpose and fills my heart with joy.
Know you have a new angel you can call by name. In some ways, I have a closeness with my best friend that is richer and more profound than it was when she was here. Would I gladly trade that to have her back? You bet! But that’s not how it works. I have a new angel named Melinda, and every day I feel her guiding me, loving me and jumping for joy for all we have accomplished together. For I know her life and death contributed as much to who I am today as any other thing I have ever done or dreamed of doing. Melinda is my special angel and our mission together is now stronger than anything I could have imagined.
Open your heart to your loss. Grieve it. Be grateful for it. And move on to what is next. There is no greater gift you can give yourself!
Linda Yaccarino, the president of advertising sales at NBCUniversal, has incredible energy and enthusiasm. You can't help but want to follow her when you meet her. She is a leader with charisma. I met her last week and one of the things she said was so powerful, I wanted to share it with you.
She talked about the high cost of playing it safe--if we don't take chances we'll stay stuck. And that's more problematic than taking a risk and perhaps failing (if that should happen, we will learn something from it).
On a personal note, Linda is one of three sisters. She's an identical twin and her father raised his "girls" as if they could do anything. All the daughters have achieved great heights in their careers. A dad's influence is very important on growing girls.
As you go about your day and you look at challenges you're facing, ask yourself, am I playing it safe? Or is there another option that I'm afraid to go after? What's the worst case scenario--you do it and it doesn't work out? What's the best case scenario-you achieve what you didn't think you were capable of achieving.
Go for it!
Team players and strategic thinkers are often in high demand among employers. However, not everyone who fits these roles always get the job. There are several other factors at play when it comes to positioning yourself as a viable candidate.
Any seasoned job seeker can learn “job listing lingo” pretty quickly. Amidst the more specific job responsibilities, acronyms, and application instructions, you will find a list of skills (known as “transferable skills”) that almost anybody can possess—ability to be a team player and work independently, time management and organizational skills, oral and written communication skills, strategic thinking, and a can-do attitude.
These vague lists of attributes present an issue to the job seeker. While most individuals can identify at least a few instances in which they have exhibited these skills, relying on them alone can make it harder to stand apart from the crowd. How does an employer weigh one candidate’s organizational skills over another’s? Without being a mind reader, it’s hard to determine.
Fear not, however, as there are solutions. The key is to make sure not only your transferable skills stand out, but demonstrate your
When you are working on your application, take the extra step. Think about your transferable skills in terms of the organization’s needs. This will help you frame your application to include examples of your skills that are strong, dynamic, and quantifiable. Show results that create context for possible wins you will gain at the hiring organization. For each point you add to your resume, ask yourself “how will this help the organization? How will I use this skill at this job?”
Also keep your organizational fit in mind. Read the mission statement, gain a clear picture of the organization’s “personality”, and see how the organization is presented to all of its constituents (clients, employees, board members, future customers, etc). By understanding the organization’s personality you will be able to assess how well you will fit. The benefit of this step is that it can save both you and the organization time in the long run. If you find that there is something about the way it portrays itself that doesn’t resonate with you, ask yourself whether you would be able to work there if actually hired. If your answer is no, move on to another opportunity.
When you put in the extra work to make your transferable skills count, you will give your potential employer a chance to get a deeper understanding of your abilities, a clearer picture to what you will be able to do at the organization. Don’t just rely on the laundry list of transferable skills to get you by. Go beyond the basics and deliver a cohesive assessment of your abilities as they relate to the organization’s needs.
--Victoria Crispo, Dec 2014 Career Coach
In some careers, ongoing performance feedback is a typical part of the job. In many creative roles (for example: graphic design, advertising, journalism, acting) feedback is so constant, it can start to feel demoralizing and demotivating. Even when it’s intended to be constructive, it can feel like anything but!
This scenario can happen in any career field, in any office. If it’s happening in yours, take comfort in knowing there are ways around it.
Let’s say your job requires your supervisor to regularly evaluate your work. While you may be inclined to take criticism personally, take a step back and look at it from another point of view.
What has the criticism been thus far? Has your manager made valid points about your work? What parts are constructive? How can you use it to create a better work product? Even if you don’t agree with the criticism, what insights can you take away from it?
What’s going on with your manager? What comments might your manager be receiving from her boss about initiatives and goals that need to be reached? How might that affect the work you're expected to produce? Based on the new initiatives, might your current work performance be missing the mark?
How is the rest of the team performing? If the team is dealing with “dead weight” from other members, it can make a manager push you harder in order to perform at peak levels. There may be a fear that others on the team will follow suit and also underperform. Put yourself in your manager’s shoes and imagine the outcomes. See if putting in a little extra effort is doable.
Maybe “it’s not you.” Perhaps your manager is experiencing personal issues that affect how she relates to others. Granted, it’s always better to avoid bringing one’s bad mood (and stressors from personal life) to the office but humans by nature don’t always have an easy time compartmentalizing emotions. On occasion they may surface only at inappropriate times. A simple act of evaluating the external factors might bring perspective and alleviate the situation.
What can you do about criticism at work?
Ask for clarification. When you are getting continuous rounds of feedback, ask your manager to outline exactly what he or she wants to ensure that you can deliver the right product.
Ask for performance metrics. Inquire about your manager’s process for evaluating your work performance and what metrics will be used to identify improvements. This will help you and your manager identify improvements to your performance using “real numbers” as opposed to anecdotal information or opinions.
Speak up. If you find the feedback to be excessive or the claims unfounded, respectably make it known. Give evidence to support your claim that your work performance has addressed the needs of your organization.
Get a mediator. If your comments are not being taken into consideration, ask someone to mediate a discussion between you and your manager. The outside perspective might be just what you need to gain common ground and come to a compromise.
--Victoria Crispo, Dec 2014 Career Coach
It can happen to anyone. Maybe you’re a long-time contributor at an organization, working at a job you once loved. After a while you may find yourself in a rut, having to deal with new objectives and expectations, or just craving some slack-off time. When your work ethic is going down the tubes, there are some ways to get it back:
Eat the Frog First. It makes sense to prioritize your work in terms of most important to least important, but before you get down to business take one more look. Pick out the least appealing task and do that one first. Swallowed whole, when you “eat the frog” first, you take off your plate the task that is most taxing to your energy. If you leave it last on the list, the mere anticipation of having to do it will be draining to you…all day long. Not very conducive to being productive!
Engage in an activity you like. When you’re frustrated by work responsibilities, participate in an activity you really enjoy in your free time. Identify what it is about that activity that differs from your work tasks. See how you can create a similar landscape at work-- how can you model a work task after a hobby in order to make it more pleasant?
Vent. Just not at the office. Find a trusted friend or family member and air your grievances. See how much better you feel after taking a load off. After you’ve relayed all the sources of your ire, maybe they won’t seem as important or their control over your situation will have less influence.
Remember your value. Take a look at past performance reviews, self-evaluations, certificates or awards you’ve received, even thank you notes. Take note of the strengths you possess, as identified by these documents. Identify how you will use these strengths at the office in the new week.
Ask a coworker how you can help. A sure-fire way to get yourself out of a funk is to put the focus on someone else. Approach a coworker and offer your assistance. Gain some insight into how he or she gets work done. See what new methods you can adopt in your own work.
Take a peek at the grass on the other side. Indulge yourself-- check out job descriptions. Read employee reviews of the companies. Does the grass actually seem greener on the other side and could you imagine yourself working there? Make a pros and cons list for staying and going. See if your current place of employment measures up. (If it does not, that’s a whole other article.)
--Victoria Crispo, Dec 2014 Career Coach
I love weddings and fancy social events any day of the week, mainly because I love ANY excuse to get dressed up! This is one of the reasons why I love this time of year most. When else can you dress up in tulle skirts, sequins, and statement jewelry without people looking at you like you're overdressed? Okay, I do that anyway, but I’m a stylist… anyway, ‘tis is the season where you can live and look like a rock star without sideways looks in the office.
I’ve gathered up a few of my favorite chic holiday looks to share with you. These looks are easily accomplished by simply pairing luxurious pieces with everyday casual or work wear pieces. Here are a few examples I deem as “easy” because most of us have these items in our closets from wardrobe’s past. Pair your fitted knit with a tulle skirt or your plaid shirt with a sequin skirt, or maybe your faux fur with silk.
There is no limit to the glam factor during the holidays!
These other simple additions will also have you holiday ready and santa chic for the workplace.
A bold red lip is so expected around the holidays (and every day, really), which is why I prefer to a nude. Tom Ford has a great nude lipstick this season.
The bold color of red is expected but combined with the subtle tone of lace makes this combination a true gem for the holidays.
If you don't like wearing heavy outerwear with a party dress, I suggest a fur cardigan and layer with a chunky scarf. It will get you from venue to vehicle in warmth and still in style
Pretty Business Card Holder
Holiday parties can be key times for networking, so make sure to always keep business cards handy.
Nail Color (Metallics and Graphics)
Yes, these styles are fancier than I’d normally suggest for the office but are the perfect way to let everyone know it's time to celebrate and still allow you be taken seriously when work calls for your attention.
Try a Miniaudiere bag for that holiday party.
Consider it an extension of your wrist, like as added arm candy. It’s just enough to carry the essentials and as impactful to your style statement as any other statement accessory.
White and Gold is all the rage for this year!
White doesn’t have to be the immaculate white, which I personally love more for the extreme contrast but ecru, ivory and cream whites will work just as well. Metallic gold accessories and clothing will enlighten an otherwise drab winter wardrobe.
Another way to add “holiday” to your wardrobe in a fun and relatively easy way is to take an old pair of black high heel shoes and add glitter to the soles….who needs a red bottom, right?
Instructions: Place tape around the heel of shoe so that no glue will go onto the shoe itself, but simply the bottom sole of the shoe. The bottoms of the shoe that won’t be visible when you walk should also be covered with tape. Place the shoes onto the newspaper. Paint a thin coat of glue onto the heel of the shoe and sprinkle the glitter onto the glue. Wait overnight for the liquid glue to set. Take the newspaper and curl it into a cone shape to pour any of the glitter on the newspaper back into the glitter container. Replace the shoes back on the newspaper. Paint the Mod Podge clear sealant over the glitter to add additional durability.
Pamela Watson is an experienced stylist who currently works as the trend expert for Builders of Style, where she prepares A-list clients for red carpet events, music videos, concerts and award shows. Have a question for Pamela? Either ask below or email administrator [at] womenworking [dot] com.
The holidays are around the corner which means lots of parties. We caught up with hair and makeup stylist Bruce Dean who gave us some tips for your holiday look.
Whether your skin is a deeper or lighter skin tone, jewel tones are a fabulous choice. These colors highlight and brighten your lid without going too overboard, but also make your eyes pop. For your lips I would recommend a nice gloss, which is definitely coming back in. Use your favorite lip color and put a little clear gloss over it. It really jazzes up your look and makes it a little more fun.
It may seem cheesy but it would be a lot of fun to do some holiday inspired nail art. For many people being home for the holidays means they’re there to have fun, they’re wearing sweaters and not too much makeup, so holiday inspired nail art would hit the nail on the head.
As far as make up goes, use a nice lip color. What’s really in right now is an opaque or sheer berry tone. For family gatherings I would focus more on a nice lip color and a beautiful blush. Use a nice peach or pink tone on the apples of your cheeks and keep your eyes basic with just a little bit of liner and mascara. Then something fun and funky on the nails.
Out with Friends During the Holidays
When it’s lady’s night out it’s your opportunity to connect with your femininity. Get out there and be bold. Using jewel tones with a smoky eye would be beautiful, maybe even with some false lashes. For lips I would either use the berry tone or go for a more neutral lip. For this look you want the attention to stay on the eyes.
If you’re living in a colder climate, say New York, it’s important to have a good moisturizer. It’s very dry, so make sure you’re taking care of your skin. You may want to bump up your face lotion to a cream, which is richer and more moisturizing.
For those of you living in a warmer climate—say Florida—just continue to wear your sunscreen. Up north we’re jealous!
--Bruce Dean Lindstrom is a high-profile makeup and hair stylist, who is often featured on WomenWorking.com. Follow him at @arrivebeautiful on Instagram.
Photo Credit: Sara Davis
As the seasons change, it’s not uncommon to look for ways to tweak your image. The key is to create change in a way that is appropriate for your workplace. Every organization is different and has its own definition of “appropriate” and “casual”. When considering your new look, keep your office’s image in mind so the changes you make don’t cause your coworkers to double-take.
Below are some quick, easy ideas you can employ to refresh your image and are appropriate for any work environment.
Tweak your posture
If your default has been the “computer slump,” start paying better attention to your posture. Be sure to sit or stand up straight and drop your shoulders. Most people hold tension in their neck and shoulders, and the more tense they are, the further up to their ears their shoulders climb. Remember to drop your shoulders and keep your spine in a straight, neutral position.
In addition to easing up on any aches and pains you may be feeling, straightening your posture will give you a more confident, self-assured look… and don’t be surprised if people start asking if you’ve lost a few pounds!
Try a new color
Take a look at the contents of your closet. Are you noticing a lot of clothing in the same colors? Now might be the time to try a color that you don’t typically wear. You can borrow inspiration from current trends, or just pick a color that has been absent from your wardrobe. I’ve been really attracted to mustard yellow this season and recently added a mustard leather bag and fashion scarf to my repertoire. Shortly after, I started seeing mustard yellow items all over the place. If you’re not sure you’ll be comfortable in the new color, you can “ease into it” by trying it out with an accessory!
Part your hair differently
If you typically part your hair in the center, try it to one side. If you always part to the left side, try the right side, or an off-center part. It’s amazing how a simple flip over to the other side can make a change to your look!
If you wear glasses, there are so many options for fashionable eyewear. Check out a new pair of frames for a quick way to change your look. If you’re lucky enough to have perfect vision, you can make a change with a new pair of sunglasses. Try a frame shape you haven’t worn before. Enlist the input of a trusted friend if you want an extra set of eyes to help you decide what shape works best for you.
Have fun! (Laugh!)
This doesn’t require purchasing anything new for your wardrobe, so give this one a try often. Make sure to bring a little fun to your life every day. Laugh more. Surround yourself with fun, energetic, humorous people. See how laughing a little more every day changes your look-- does your brow furrow less? Are you smiling more? These are subtle changes that shouldn’t be overlooked!
--Victoria Crispo, Dec 2014 Career Coach
This is a question that comes up in just about any personal development circle. If you're looking for your next gig, chances are your inbox has been flooded with invitations to countless "find your passion and purpose" events. Do you go or sit them out?
The choice is personal preference- there is no "right" or "wrong" decision. Even if it's not your style to go to this type of event, it doesn't necessarily mean that it’s not "right" for you. You may gain a lot of insight... and perhaps a new friend or two! Even if it is your kind of thing, you may still be feeling overwhelmed.
Below are some tips for assessing which event to attend.
Does the admission fee fit your budget? Is the event being held at a local venue? If not, what will the cost be to travel to the event? Will you need to stay overnight? How do those additional costs fit into your budget?
What is the time commitment? How long is the event? How long will it take you to travel to the event?
Does the content material match your experience level? For example, if the event is an ‘intro course’ and you're already well-versed in the topic, would a more advanced event better suit you? Will you be receiving an overview or a more ‘meaty’ presentation?
How is the event structured? Is it a lecture or an informal networking event? Does it involve audience participation, exercises, or group work? Will you get one-on-one time with the presenter? If there are group exercises, how comfortable are you getting involved? If attendees are encouraged to share their experiences, how comfortable are you doing so? Is it likely you will stretch out of your comfort zone and share your experiences? If it's not, how beneficial will the event be for you?
Will it be an intimate group or take place in a large lecture hall? Will you get direct feedback from the presenter?
Upon reviewing the presenter's website, what do previous attendees say about his or her events? What are the outcomes? Do those outcomes line up with your own goals?
In-person or webinar?
Webinars and online events are becoming very popular. Some of these events are offered for free and give you a "taste" of the personal development workshop experience. If your budget does not allow you to attend a live event, consider whether or not a webinar format will work for you.
Going to a personal development event can be a rewarding, fun, and eye-opening experience. If it's something you've never done before, review the list above to gauge your comfort level with attending an event.
If you have attended a personal development event, we invite you to share a tidbit about your experiences! How did the event help you? What is something you learned at the event?
--Victoria Crispo, Dec 2014 Career Coach
As the year comes to a close, reflecting on what we can do better in the year to come is natural. You may have negative thought patterns or bad habits you’d like to release. What are some things you can do to let go?
Name the Monster
You don’t have to give it an actual name (“Meet my overeating habit. Her name is Sandra”), though if it helps you to personify it, give it a try. The main thing is to identify the issue clearly and precisely. Make sure you know what you’re fighting against and the problems it’s created in your life.
Try to be as specific as possible. “I procrastinate too much” is a good start, but really take a good look to identify patterns and specific scenarios. For example, you may find that you are really on top of your personal finances, but you fall behind when it comes to submitting your monthly progress reports on time at work. You may find that you procrastinate more in the morning, or when you don’t have all the resources to finish your task then and there. Name your habit in a more specific fashion.
When you think about the specifics of your bad habit, what clues do they give you? If you recoil when you have to deliver a report to a supervisor who is heavy on critiques, what does that tell you about how you deal with criticism? Are you procrastinating about the project or trying to avoid the resulting feedback… and how has that been working for you? Chances are, delivering a quality product to your manager is inevitable. That being the case, what good will procrastinating do? It may even create a more difficult situation, leaving you with less time to create a stellar report.
Identify what you can Change
You won’t be able to change another person’s mood, personality, or struggles. If your bad habit is wrapped up in a personality conflict, know that you won’t be able to change the other person, but you can change how you react to him or her. For example, you can remind yourself not to take criticism personally.
If you find you indulge in your bad habit in the afternoon, change your working conditions so indulging in that habit is less appealing. Reflect on what activities you take on right away. Determine what motivates you to do them quickly. Mimic those tasks by making the ones you procrastinate over more like the ones you complete right away.
Set a Small Goal
It takes about a month to adjust to a new habit. If it seems too daunting, break it into manageable pieces. If you’ve been waiting until the last minute for 15 years, you’re not going to break that habit overnight. Set yourself up for success by selecting easy wins when you first get started.
Record your Progress
Develop a method for tracking your progress. You can set a timer and challenge yourself to complete a task within that amount of time. Record how much you’ve completed in the allotted time period. Did you take a break? Started daydreaming? Record that too.
Write down when you’ve met your goals, but also record the times you slipped up. Take note of the circumstances. See if you notice any patterns. Devise a plan to change things up so they won’t present the same problems going forward.
Get an Accountability Buddy
Find someone who will help hold you to task by arranging a weekly check-in with a trusted family member or friend. It can be as simple as sending a weekly email: “this week I stopped myself from engaging in X habit five times. I have not done X in 4 days.” It helps if your accountability buddy is also changing a habit and checks in with you about his or her progress too. Even if you’re working on different things, doing it simultaneously has a “we’re in this together” quality.
Celebrate your Victories
At the end of the allotted time (usually about a month) reflect back. How did you do? Have you kicked the habit fully? Do you still have about halfway to go? Whatever the case, celebrate accordingly. Toast the positive changes in your life due to kicking your habit. Revel in the knowledge that you can do the same with other habits too!
--Victoria Crispo, Dec 2014 Career Coach
We are thrilled. Our good friend Steve has written a wonderful post for us. Time to start thinking about all the good things you’re going to bring into your life during 2015.
It has begun… change is in the air as 2014 begins to make its elegant exit and 2015 greets us with the possibility of a refreshing start.
Change is in the air… What about you?
Are you going to allow the world around you to change while you remain stagnant?
Will you allow 2015 to find you the same as 2014 left you?
Why not let this season of change be YOUR season?
Let this be the time when the fresh seasonal transition carries a tune of change that makes your heart dance!
It’s YOUR season!
You have been waiting to break free and release your greatest self. Let this be your season.
Enough of the same old rut!
Enough of the worries, insecurities, and doubt!
Enough of the regret!
Enough of letting undeserving people dictate your moods!
Enough of giving others power over you!
Enough of feeling empty and unfulfilled!
Enough of letting days, weeks, months, and years pass without truly embracing all their blessings!
Enough is enough!
Change is in the air. This change reminds us that we are made and beautifully sculpted by the same power that is orchestrating this transition. Let this be the season you embrace and align yourself with this change.
Look around you. Everything changes. Everything on this earth is in a continuous state of evolving, refining, improving, adapting, enhancing… changing. You were not put on this earth to remain stagnant.
Don’t fall into the trap of dreading the holiday season. Make the best of it. Yes, make the best out of the chaos of family and visitors (even the crazy and annoying ones).
Instead of letting it stress you, let it bless you. Use this time as a gauge for personal behavior and direction in your own life. The people who annoy you offer a great guide for what not to be.
Don’t miss out on the opportunities of closure that this time of year offers.
It’s your season of refinement, enhancement, happiness, and success.
Make this the time you throw away old habits that have hindered your happiness and success, and finally allow your greatest self to flourish.
The time has come. YOUR time is now.
It’s your season.
Finish the year strong… and bring on the next!
And remember, I’m here cheering you on.
Five things to keep in mind and carry with you as this year ends and the new one begins:
Have a funeral for past relationships.
Think of how liberating it would feel to have a funeral for past relationships and drama. Take the time to look back and give the past its proper recognition. Reflect upon what you can learn from your experiences; the good, the bad, the pretty, the ugly. Learn and move on. Recognize past relationships for their impact on your life and most importantly, recognize them for what they are… gone. Let go!
Let go of the people who poison your spirit.
Don’t let anyone tell you not to burn bridges. Some bridges are meant to be burned; some roads are never meant to be traveled again. Let go of the people who dull your shine, poison your spirit, and bring you drama. Cancel your subscription to their issues.
Don’t be discouraged by rejection.
Every time I thought I was being rejected from something good, I was actually being re-directed to something better. Every job I was denied… opened the door to new opportunities. Every relationship that hurt me… led me to my true love. Every mistake I thought would be the end of me… pointed me towards an incredible success. Don’t give up… ever!
Don’t try to control other people’s behavior.
It is a tremendous burden to attach yourself to outcomes and behaviors you simply don’t control. The only control you have is your own behavior; and that’s tough enough to control. What chance do you have of controlling others'? Free yourself from such fruitless stressors. Instead of trying to control the behaviors of others, set a standard in your own life. Refuse to be disrespected, lied to, or mistreated. Set standards of personal behavior and standards of what you accept from others. Setting standards for yourself is a healthy and effective way to avoid the fruitless burden of trying to control others.
Be the hero of your story.
Your life is a story you’re telling yourself. I like to live each day of my life as if it's a page in my life’s story. Don’t ever forget that you get to choose how your story plays out. Even if you don’t get to choose the events that happen, you do get to choose the labels you place on the events and what role you play. Are you the hero of your own story? If you aren't, then you're missing the whole point of your humanity. Maybe the hero that's missing is you. When you become the hero of your own story, you activate a power within you to make changes to your entire life. Don’t ever lose sight of, or give away, your power as the author of your story.
Dr. Steve Maraboli is a life-changing Speaker, bestselling Author, and Behavioral Science Academic. His empowering and insightful words have been shared and published throughout the world in more than 25 languages. His latest book is “Unapologetically You.”
Victoria Crispo is a career coach known for bringing a vivacious and dynamic element to her clients’ job searches. She propels job seekers towards taking control of their job searches and moving through fear, uncertainty, and other blocks to career success. By providing perspective and a listening ear to those who feel lost in the job search process, she empowers them to develop plans of action that are easy and fun to implement. In addition to assisting with resume and cover letter writing, interviewing, networking techniques, and career exploration, she guides job seekers towards discovering and maintaining their confidence throughout the process and presenting themselves in a way that “wows” employers.
Victoria Crispo, Career Coach, Career Services USA
Believe it or not, having less stuff can lead to more abundance. Maybe you buy stuff to numb your current situation, talk to fill uncomfortable silences, or respond with negativity to dampen awareness.
Less stuff. More abundance. A dear friend of mine asked me how many pairs of shoes I owned. I smartly replied a number out of thin air. I have really worked on minimizing my stuff over the past few years, so I responded arrogantly. Upon arriving home, I lined up my shoes and counted. Then, I went upstairs and opened my closet. There were nine more pairs I hadn’t included in my count. I was shocked. As it turns out, we have everything we need and more.
Less talking. More listening. Paying attention more and talking less might be just what the doctor ordered. Do you hear what people are saying to you, or are you thinking about what you are going to say next? I got called out several years ago by someone who said I always tried to make the conversation about me. In an effort to connect and create common ground, I agreed that I did. Are you guilty of this?
Less negativity. More awareness. I have always thought of compulsions as addictions to drugs and alcohol, sex, caffeine, and work. Until recently, I never considered that one could be addicted to an emotional response or attitude, like negativity or judgment. I started paying attention to how I responded to people and experiences. I soon began to have the courage to change things that needed changing and to appreciate the things that didn't.
The trick is getting into present time. Whether you are out shopping, talking to a friend, or expressing your emotions, do so presently. Get rid of your distractions and compulsions. I think you’ll find that you have more abundance than you think you have.
--Laura Newberry-Yokley, Holistic Leadership Coach
Happy Thanksgiving from WomenWorking! What are YOU grateful for?
Video Editor: Melenie McGregor & Michelle Purpura
If your family is like mine, “family dynamics,” are always present, especially during the holidays. For some of us, the holiday season smells like warm cinnamon boiling on the stove, but for many others, this may not be the case.
Aren’t the holidays supposed to be a chance to recharge? How come we sometimes don’t feel this way?
Below are 4 ways to keep it real when it goes wrong:
Family of Choice vs. Family of Origin. I am starting to recognize the difference between my family of origin and the family I choose to create. Sometimes these families overlap, but sometimes they don’t. Think about creating a family of choice. Who would you like to have around you?
“Gratitude is the best attitude.” This is one of my favorite quotes. I joined WomenWorking’s morning practice on Facebook, and each morning I comment about what I’m grateful for. This practice has become second nature. What’s one thing that you’re grateful for right now?
One thing at a time. Sometimes I wish I had multiple arms so I could do everything at once-- unfortunately this isn’t the case. Try doing one thing from start to finish and do it the best you can. When you do things one at a time you’ll find peace and quality replace frenzy and mediocrity.
Self-care. If you’re like me, then you put everyone else first and yourself last. Does this affect your mood? Your health? Your peace? Try giving yourself what you require to feel full and satisfied first. Your family will feel the ripple effects. If not, at least you'll be able to wade through your own “family dynamics.”
--Laura Newberry-Yokley, Holistic Leadership Coach
We’ve all heard the saying “first impressions are everything,” and in business this couldn't be more true. According to multiple psychology studies, first impressions are often made within the first seven seconds of meeting.
To make a strong first impression, just follow these simple steps:
Dress for the position you want. When in doubt, always dress more conservatively. You never see a powerful CEO in anything too revealing... chances are he or she got there by dressing in a respectful manner. An outfit with visible cleavage should be left for your social life. For more formal business interviews or meetings, close toed heels or pumps are recommended. Iron everything and lay out your outfit the night before. Dresses and skirts should not be more than 1.5 inches above the knee and stockings are a good choice in a formal environment. Be careful not to over do it on the body fragrance, makeup and statement jewelry…you do not want what you wore to be remembered over your skill set.
Body language. Good body language can signal you are both attentive and engaging. Never cross your arms— it’s a sign you are closed off for communication. Practice great posture by rolling your shoulders back, sitting and standing straight up and lifting your chin slightly so you appear confident and alert. If you cross your legs when sitting, be sure to cross at the ankle and keep knees together— it prevents revealing too much and will stop nervous bouncing of the leg.
Smile when entering room. A smile when entering any room implies you are happy to be there, approachable and friendly… three great qualities to have in any employee.
Make eye contact. Never look down or to the side when meeting someone… it may imply you are distrustful or lacking self esteem. Keep your eyes locked with the person you are in a conversation with, whether you are speaking or listening.
Handshake. Getting the perfect handshake right is easy and can leave a lasting impression of professionalism. When you put out your hand for a greeting, make sure the web in between your forefinger and thumb connects with theirs. Ensure your handshake is firm but not too aggressive. Try this when you enter the meeting and again when you leave the room. A great handshake says you mean business, is a sign of respect and shows you are authoritative and professionally polished!
--Myka Meier, Etiquette Expert