Posts Tagged ‘empowerment’

My most recent post dealt with my feelings of failure relative to the job search of the last two years.

I know the feelings of failure and poor self-esteem that I shared are not unique to me. These two specters are often in tandem along with their friend lack of self-confidence. They come in, raising their ugly heads to destroy.

Their power is strong and comes from unthinking comments made while we were young, deliberate emotional abuse on the part of a parent or other adult, pressures of not meeting parents’ expectations, ridicule by peers, and specifically job related, from negative feelings that resulted when the interview wasn’t scheduled, the job wasn’t offered, the money gets less and less while the expenses don’t.

It’s a struggle to quiet the “monkey noise” in your head and reclaim the competent professional you are. Being with others who share the experience, having a good support system in place, reaching out to others, doing something creative, meditating or praying all help.

A friend passed along an email she received from motivational coach, Dr. Zimmerman, which I think is pertinent to keeping things in perspective.

Dear God:

Please untie the k”nots” that are in my mind, my heart and my life.

Remove the have nots, the can nots and the do nots that I have in my mind.

Erase the will nots, may nots, might nots that may find a home in my heart.

Release me from the could nots, would nots and should nots that obstruct my life.

And most of all, Dear God, I ask you remove from my mind, my heart and my life all of the ‘am nots’ that I have allowed to hold me back, especially the thought that I am not good enough.



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I spent four days last week in beautiful Castine, Maine, home of the Maine Maritime Academy, and the site of the annual MLTI (Maine Learning Technology Initiative) conference. This was an opportunity for me to get my brain re-activated in “all things laptop” as I get ready to return to the Kittery, Maine, school system as a 60% MLTI Integrator for grades 7-12. For those of you outside of education, that means I will be helping teachers bring more uses of technology into their classrooms not for the technology itself but as a tool for education.

I had a chance to reconnect with some folks and meet lots of new ones. Herein were the unexpected convergence of various parts of my life that are outside my role as technology educator. As they were unfolding, I was fully aware of the comment I made during my interview with the producer of the CBS piece that this entire unemployment experience was directly tied to my spiritual journey. There could be no other explanation why these seemingly disparate events occurred.

One – I had a book with me that dealt with strategies for living the second half of your life including information about self-healing. When a woman I met made a comment about being involved in “healing arts.” That led to hours of conversation over the next two evenings about energy and healing which gave me opportunity to share my experience in healing touch spiritual ministry and how it relates to my Christian walk.

Two – Someone I had met earlier in the week was wearing a pendant etched with a phrase about choosing happiness and putting your energy into that aspect. A conversation ensued about the impact Elie Wiesel’s Night had on her and how much good Wiesel did during his lifetime after living through the Holocaust. I, too, had been impacted by the book and mentioned another, The Hiding Place, written by another Holocaust survivor, Corrie Ten Boom, a Christian, whose family had hidden Jews and members of the Dutch Underground. Although Wiesel’s faith was completely shaken, Ten Boom’s was strengthened by the experience. Ten Boom felt “there is no pit so deep that God’s love is not deeper still” and that “God will give us the love to be able to forgive our enemies.”

Three – Lastly, I found myself using my job search experience with two different people. One I encouraged to make the post-interview phone call to check on the status of the position and the other I told about using a Professional Profile at the beginning of a resume, which provides a clear indication and summary of your skills, experience and accomplishments and value to the employer. I might have been away from Seacoast Peers for Careers in person but not in action.

Could these happenings be a variation on Romans 8:28 (New Living Translation)?

We know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.

I’d like to think so.

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I was on retreat a couple of weeks ago. Some of us have shared this experience together for over 25 years with each year being different and yet always filled with wonder.

This year’s theme was “Called to the Soul,” based somewhat on Marjorie Bankson’s book of the same name. Four important questions were our topic:

  • Who am I?
  • What is my work?
  • What is my gift?
  • What is my legacy?

. . . profound questions that can be asked at any stage of life … and ones I have asked myself over the last two years.

We would spend the weekend exploring The Invitation, The Journey, and The Destination through answering questions, discussing the effect of five Biblical and historical women on their time and culture, charting our own sense of call through our lives, morning meditation and yoga, and culminating, as always, with a worship experience on Sunday.

Saturday after lunch there would be a couple hours of unscheduled time to read, walk, take a nap, sign up for a private healing touch or spiritual direction session or join a group for discussion about career anchors.

I wasn’t exactly sure why I offered to do a session on career anchors that I had learned about a year ago at the NH Women’s Leadership Summit and had recently used with Seacoast Peers for Careers. Edgar Schein’s Career Anchors Self-Assessment questions are designed to help participants identify their career values and think about what they really want out of a career. Your Career Anchor represents your unique combination of perceived career competence, motives, and values. As far as I knew, I was the only one looking for a job.

At the Summit, I had been fascinated by the 3-question exercise we had done with a group of about 12 women who did not know each other: What gets you up in the morning, being the first one. As we shared our responses, it was amazing how we were able to associate them with the eight categories Schein lists; such as, Technical/Functional Competence, Entrepreneurial Creativity, and Service/Dedication to a Cause. There was no surprise when the other participants said that “service” was vital to my inner core.

Fast-forward a year as seven of the 20 women on retreat joined me outside on a beautiful Saturday afternoon. While we may be spiritual sisters, there is much we don’t know about each other. There was lots of good discussion, lots of laughs, and a few surprises as we shared our answers. For example, one of our women has started her own at-home craft business. Well, the assumption would be that “entrepreneurship” would have been the inner core value. However, her attention to detail, perseverance, and perfectionism fall under “technical competency” instead. We learned a lot about each other and ourselves through the sharing. The commentary continued on and off during the evening with some of the other women wishing they had joined us.

I guess my service to others continues …

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That’s how Tim Ashe entitled a recent discussion on the Seacoast Peers for Careers Group on LinkedIn as he announced his good news. I share his words, used with permission, and my comments posted there as well. Hopefully, there will be something you can take and apply to your own job search.

Tim and fellow alum Amy start their new positions March 1.

Tim AsheI have accepted a position to be the Sales Manager at the Laconia Citizen, which is part of Foster’s Daily Democrat. I will be responsible for the revenue generation of 5 sales people. This is a direct result of Liesl Malone and her Hidden Gems series in Seacoast Sunday. The Advertising Director at Foster’s saw the article and reached out to me. Since I have an advertising background and management experience, it seemed like a natural fit. I worked at Foster’s a long time ago for 2 years, so it feels like I’m going home.

I have already contacted Liesl to let her know how much I appreciate her featuring me in her series. What she does for those of us who are unemployed is invaluable. I think we have to keep in mind that, she too, is unemployed, yet she continues to try and give us a voice that can be heard. Thank you again Liesl for everything you have done and continue to do.

I also want to thank Diana Schuman for starting the group. Once I found out about Seacoast Peers for Careers, I attended every week. I found the group to be very comforting and extremely helpful in getting all my ducks in a row. This is a different job market than we have ever experienced before. I think groups like this are essential in helping people focus their energy in the right direction. I learned a great deal about the job search that I never knew before. Groups like this one don’t run themselves. They need people like you and me to participate in order to stay relevant. I hope to stay in touch to see how things are going for everyone. I will be watching for future landings. I will miss seeing everyone on *Wednesdays, but hope this is a sign of things turning around for everyone. Stay positive.

Best of luck to everyone, Tim Ashe

Thank you, Tim, for your kind words for Seacoast Peers for Careers and for me.

This winter season in our lives has resulted in many examples of “paying it forward.” Liesl’s twist on that concept allowed your generous spirit to be viewed by others and had a great result.

Each of the networking/empowerment groups that we have all attended has its own personality; but all of them are comprised of folks willing to share from their experience, their expertise, their knowledge – some of that being acts of paying it forward within themselves. We are the richer for the camaraderie that developed from our sharing and working together.

As you experienced recently, there is much “hoopin’ and hollerin’” at the good news of a landing. While there is, of course, sadness at no longer having the wisdom that you have brought to the table, the joy that we all feel for you is most earnest.

Vaya con Dios, my friend.

*Seacoast Peers for Careers meets Wednesday, 9:30-11 AM, St. John’s UMC, Dover, NH.

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I made the discovery yesterday that while I had added it to my Blog Roll, I had never included a post on the opportunity I had to be a Hidden Gem of the Seacoast back in December.

I became a Hidden Gem because of my connection to the Women’s Business Center as the columnist, Liesl Malone, had called them for suggestions. Nancy Blake, Lois Matheson, and Director Christine Davis are the enthusiastic team at WBC providing education, networking opportunities, and support for women entrepreneurs throughout New Hampshire. There’s always a warm welcome when visiting their offices. It was my visit there in November 2008 that introduced me to LinkedIn and started me on the road to multiple resume rewrites (with help from Kit Harrington Hayes along the way).

Freelance columnist and HR professional, Liesl Malone, is in the job market like many of us. As part of her desire to offer assistance to others, she writes a bi-weekly column for Seacoast Sunday. Her first article appeared last fall and included her rationale for starting the column.

As a human resources professional for the past 15 years, work force transitions, reducing experienced employees, outsourcing functions and eliminating jobs were part of my job function. HR staff is not exempt from reduction. In early spring, my position was relocated to Ohio. I chose not to go.

I created Hidden Gems after realizing many opportunities are also hidden and applying for jobs on the Internet meant an abyss of other competitors for one job. With unemployment nationwide at 10 percent, the pool is full, recruiting databases are maxed out. Many qualified, competent people are lost. Hidden Gems is an attempt to help promote local talent allowing them to demonstrate their skills, knowledge and abilities and go back to work!

As I meet with various networking groups at which we share our stories, it is rewarding to discover how many of us are including “giving back to the community” as part of their regular activity. I commend Liesl for taking a most unusual approach.

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Yesterday was an outstanding day for Seacoast Peers for Careers!

  • We celebrated the job landing of BY from Seacoast Work Seekers that many of us also attend.
  • Group member Tim Ashe was featured as a Hidden Gem of the Seacoast in Sunday’s paper. Within 24 hours two people called him as a result of the article! Those two phone calls yielded two interviews on Tuesday!
  • AR, who has been out of work just about as long as I have been, got a job offer within just a couple of hours following her second interview. Not only is it a great position, it comes with a super benefits package and an in-town location.
  • At the conclusion of another productive yet laughter-filled meeting, a cell phone rang with news about a temporary position for FE whose resume we had worked on just the week before.
  • I had indirectly heard from an organization I interviewed with last year that they may be opening the position again.
  • Oh, and this evening I heard from MAL, a brand new member as of Wednesday, that a recruiter had contacted him today.

Can it be perhaps that things are finally opening up? Let’s hope so.

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“What?” you ask. Happiness, of course.

Among the people I have met during my season of unemployment have been Howie Lyhte, an incredibly intelligent man who goes out of his way to share articles, tips, hints, with the rest of us who are part of the same list serves and groups. I think he’s been unemployed longer than I have; yet every time I see him, he is completely engaged with whatever is going on and has a welcoming smile on his face.

Another person I have come to know about is Dan DemaioNewton who is Director of Strategy and Business Development at Monster Worldwide. Pretty impressive job, wouldn’t you agree? Well, he has taken the time to create www.betterjobsfaster.org as a place where we work seekers can post resumes, share jobs, learn about upcoming meetings, and uplifting articles like the one that follows which I share with you on this Thanksgiving Eve.

Five Simple Rules to Be Happy

This story was sent to me by our fellow job seeker, Howie Lyhte. He was right, it did make me smile.  I’m sharing it with you in the hope that it also makes you smile and encourages you to focus on that which is most important. – Dan.


A 92-year-old, petite, well-poised and proud man, who is fully dressed each morning by eight o’clock, with his hair fashionably combed and shaved perfectly, even though he is legally blind, moved to a nursing home today.  His wife of 70 years recently passed away, making the move necessary. After many hours of waiting patiently in the lobby of the nursing home, he smiled sweetly when told his room was ready.

As he maneuvered his walker to the elevator, I provided a visual description of his tiny room, including the eyelet sheets that had been hung on his window.

‘I love it,’ he stated with the enthusiasm of an eight-year-old having just been presented with a new puppy.

Mr. Jones, you haven’t seen the room; just wait. ‘That doesn’t have anything to do with it,’ he replied. Happiness is something you decide on ahead of time.

‘Whether I like my room or not doesn’t depend on how the furniture is arranged … it’s how I arrange my mind. I already decided to love it. It’s a decision I make every morning when I wake up. I have a choice; I can spend the day in bed recounting the difficulty I have with the parts of my body that no longer work, or get out of bed and be thankful  for the ones that do.

‘Each day is a gift, and as long as my eyes open, I’ll focus on the new day and all the happy memories I’ve stored away.  Just for this time in my life.

Old age is like a bank account. You withdraw from what you’ve put in.

So, my advice to you would be to deposit a lot of happiness in the bank account of memories!’

Thank you for your part in filling my Memory Bank.

I am still depositing.

Remember the five simple rules to be happy:

1. Free your heart from hatred.

2. Free your mind from worries.

3. Live simply.

4. Give more.

5. Expect less.

To all the special people in my life, especially Bob, Kim, Kirt, Britt and GrandBeagle Reggie, thank you for helping fill my Memory bank account! – Diana

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