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Career Coaching by Former Fortune 500 Recruiters

Book Review: 168 Hours by Laura Vanderkam

The subtitle to Laura Vanderkam’s “168 Hours” is You Have More Time Than You Think.  Indeed, that is the thesis she carries very convincingly throughout the book.  Vanderkam tracks people’s activities by the half-hour (real time diaries are included) to demonstrate that people fritter away more time than they think.  The upside, therefore, is now that you know this, you can choose your activities more consciously and get this time back.

I loved this book.  Full disclosure: Vanderkam cited one of my coaching exercises in this book.  But I shared the exercise in the first place because when Vanderkam and I connected (thanks to Peter Shankman’s HARO!) I loved the thesis of the book.  I have used time diaries for myself since the 1990’s and have recommended them to my coaching clients for 10 years now.  Like tracking your food intake or spending habits, tracking your time is very powerful in reshaping your self-awareness and priorities.

Vanderkam tackles both work and home activity as she looks at time spent.  She offers a lot of concrete examples and practical suggestions.  If you don’t have a high degree of flexibility and professional autonomy some of the strategies may be hard to implement.  But the intended reader is likely not in that boat so this is a small downside.  The book is inspirational and a great time management and productivity resource.  It is not structured as a how-to like a David Allen or Stephen Covey book, but it delivers a deeper message:  “168 Hours” is about making conscious choices, wise and meaningful choices about what we do with our time.  It’s not about doing more, but about doing what matters.


Filed under: book review, life coaching, time management, , , , , ,

A good plan today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow – George S. Patton

Do you recognize when what you have is good enough?

How would you be if you could stop striving and appreciate what you have?

What would you start today if you believed that you were ready?

You’re probably ready.

Filed under: life coaching, , , ,

Integrating Personal and Professional Goals

I recently led a workshop on Resilience for HR executives at a financial services firm that had recently undergone a major restructuring. One VP asked: “How do you allocate time between your personal and professional goals?”

It’s a fitting question for that particular firm because many of the attendees were juggling several jobs and new roles. There was uncertainty, anxiety, and overall fatigue. Yet, the question is fitting for many executive women who juggle multiple roles all the time. How do you keep track of everything and ensure that nothing gets short shrift?

Drop the guilt.
The attendees seemed relieved when I told them to just drop some things for now while the restructuring was at its peak. The reality is that there will be times when your life is one-sided and unbalanced. In the long-term you want to even out those cycles and ensure that you build in breaks to refresh and renew. But in a crunch period, it’s more effective to just accept that you have to let some things slide to incorporate whatever extra responsibility has come onto your plate.

Play favorites. It is not about giving the same time and attention to each of your priorities. At times, some will need more or less time. There might be a lull at work, perhaps budget season has passed or the product development cycle is complete, and you can use this time to get your personal taxes in order, get doctors appointments out of the way, or get traction on your exercise plan. I recommend having one personal and one professional favorite at most times, so that you never get too concentrated in one area or another.

Use parallel processing.
You always have to ride multiple tracks. Even if we isolate professional goals and discard all personal and even if you like your job, you still have two tracks: your current role and your overall career. These are not the same things. Executing well on your current job does not ensure your overall career. You still need to make sure that the right people know about you, that you stay abreast of market trends, that you maintain and improve your skill set. So regardless of how narrow you want to define your goals, you will always have at least two, and you must budget your time and attention in parallel.

Filed under: career coaching, life coaching, ,

If you don’t change your beliefs, your life will be like this forever. Is that good news? – Robert Anthony

What belief are you holding onto that is holding you back?

Do you think you’re not entrepreneurial. not ready for a promotion, not lucky enough?

What if you just suspended your disbelief or changed your mind?

Filed under: life coaching, , , ,

It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it. – Lena Horne

What do you do with the difficulties and anxieties that you have?

Are you fixated on them, paralyzed by them, or do you press on?

How would you be if the weight were lifted off your shoulders?

Can you release yourself from that weight?

Filed under: life coaching, , , , ,

Everything is sweetened by risk — Alexander Smith

Are you able to see risk as a good thing?

Do you feel the accomplishment (or just the struggle) when you stretch for a goal?

What would you do if you enjoyed rather than avoided risk?

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If you take a risk, two things will happen. People will laugh at you. Or you’ll be way ahead of everybody else. — Steven Tyler

Risk and reward.  Risk and consequence.  Do you focus on what you’d lose or what you’d gain?

What would you do differently if you believed in the upside?

Are there risks you need to take now to propel your dreams forward?

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Dreams come true; without that possibility, nature would not incite us to have them — John Updike

How different would you feel if you believed that your dreams were actual possibilities?

Is there one area in your life right now where you can be more confident or have more faith?

What actions would you take now if you believed your dreams were coming true?

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Interesting Money magazine article about entrepreneur’s journey from CEO to teacher


Do you have a passion so strong?

Are you willing to start at the bottom as Gary Buslik did when he went from CEO to TA?

Have you run the numbers to make the finances work?

Do we pay our teachers so little that you need to make high six-figures and squirrel away millions before you can afford to teach?

Filed under: life coaching, resource recommendation, Uncategorized, , , , ,

Few things move as quietly as the future — Bern Williams

Is your future getting away from you?

Are you neglecting some important things (relationship, health) because they are not as noisy as the overbearing client or the next bill to pay?

What support do you need to ensure that you stay focused on what really matters?

Filed under: life coaching, ,

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