The Gift of Ketchup

Today is my cousin, Hal’s birthday. He is a brilliantly eccentric person (I think he takes after me) and a great lover of accounting, Chick-fil-A, and ketchup. Well, maybe the love of accounting is a bit of an exaggeration – it’s his job and seems to suit him. That said, aside from his wife and children, Hal LOVES ketchup. He loves it so much that each holiday my mother buys him the biggest bottle she can find (along with other gifts.) This ketchup gift “embarrassed” me. It seemed an odd present, yet Hal is delighted to receive it year after year. So, now as I give gifts, I think about what each family member and friend really loves, and I choose presents accordingly – even those that might seem a little weird.

I am taking some time off to read, write, and refresh for 2012 – so my blogging may be a little less regular for the next two weeks. Have a great rest of December and Happy New Year.

Warm regards,

P.S. This is for Hal or any other lovers of ketchup. Check out a picture of the largest ketchup bottle ever.

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Sharing the Best

A couple of weeks ago, one of my colleagues asked if she could observe a coaching session with a student. My colleague aspires to be a career coach and wants to advance toward that goal immediately. I was honored that she asked to work with me and I am delighted to be a mentor of sorts for her – as others have been for me.

I believe that it is my role and responsibility to impart what I have learned with others. I have felt this way since I was in my 20’s when I declared that my purpose in life was – and continues to be (listen for the drum roll) – “To learn and share what I learn in ways that encourages others to live their dreams.” Now I am not suggesting that you take on my purpose, but I do recommend that you share the best of yourself with others. The benefits for them and you are enormous.

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The Real Success Stuff

I was on a call last night with dozens of women from around the Mid-West of the U.S. I must admit that while I was looking forward to it, I was also tired and longed for (at least a little bit) to ditch the call and watch the Biggest Loser. After all, the candidates on the show have done the impossible – albeit with state of the art trainers, gyms, and food.

Well, I got on the call and I am glad I did. Three women share their experiences with personal challenges. They didn’t blame anyone or assign fault to a bad economy, difficult managers, or inadequate health care providers – at least not in the end. Each woman showed tremendous courage to look inside and clean up the things that were causing her to be less than happy and successful (Personally, inside can get pretty messy and avoiding that mess can seem the easier route.) Just like on the Biggest Loser, these women did the seemingly impossible. They did it without stepping away from life, but diving head first into it.

Have a great day,

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Develop Your Career Crew

I was working with a student recently who had been feeling a bit overwhelmed by the prospects of a fairly massive career change. The first time we met, he wanted one mentor (in his targeted field) who could guide him through the entire process – from self-assessment and resume writing to interviews and offer evaluation. After about 20 minutes, he realized that being his mentor would be a full-time job for someone he didn’t even know yet.

So we took a different approach. This student is building a career crew – a group of people who can share knowledge, brainstorm, provide guidance, and more. Not only does this student gain a whole lot of different perspectives, he is only asking each person on his crew for a little bit of time.

So the next time you are seeking a mentor – personally or professionally – consider creating a team. You will receive multiple perspectives and share the wealth of allowing others to share their talents.

Happy Tuesday,

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Trust Yourself

Even though I am working on it, I still have a tendency to trust others more than myself. While I believe that it’s great to learn from others, ultimately each of use needs to look inside, assess the situation, and decide what is best. So even before 2012 starts, I am practicing trusting myself, my decisions, and my choices. I welcome you to join me.

Have a great Monday,

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The Power of Presents

This week at work, we played Elfster – think of secret Santa for 2011. Each person had an elf, chosen by a computer at Elfster. Then there was semi-clandestine gift giving Monday through Thursday – with Thursday being something homemade. Well, Monday I received a free-trade chocolate bar and instructions on how use chocolate as a pampering, stress reducer (yum and ahh.) Tuesday was stationery for my near-obsession level note writing (love the paper.) Thursday was a double yum – gingerbread cookies.


So what about Wednesday? Wednesday was a gift card from (a non-profit organization with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty.) My elf made me a micro-lender. I had the best time finding someone to lend the money to. She is a widowed, self-described “beauty shop owner” raising three children and I made a micro-loan to her. I hope this tiny microcredit makes her life better.

Yesterday, I found out who my elf is. It is Mel. Mel, thanks for giving me an incredible gift – one where I get to give, feel amazing, and someone we don’t even know of us will have a bit better life.

Presents are powerful.

Enjoy your weekend,

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Beauty, Gain, and Good

At 7:18 am, I was sitting with the global Career Services team from Chicago Booth. Twenty-six of us were in the room and the rest of my colleagues were calling in from London, Hong Kong, and Singapore. What struck me was the connectedness, shared purpose, and sense of mutual respect around the room and across the globe.

It has been said that work should be something we are interested in (beauty,) something that supports us financially (gain,) and where we are making a contribution (good.) Having a job at all in today’s economy is not to be taken for granted. To have all three – beauty, gain, and good is truly amazing. I feel really fortunate.

Thank you to everyone. I appreciate you all very much.

Happy Thursday,
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