How to Help Your Spouse Find A Better Job

If your spouse is looking for a change, follow these 4 steps to recalibrate their career trajectory.

There are few things more heartbreaking than someone hating their job. Work is where most people spend the majority of their waking hours. And if your spouse is the breadwinner, they feel this responsibility—they have to work, they have to make money, or the whole system breaks.

I live in the suburbs, where I see lots of dads and moms dragging themselves to the bus or train stop at 6 a.m., commuting with miserable looks on their faces. The twinkle long ago left their eyes, and they are hating every minute of it.

It doesn’t have to be that way. If you are watching the spring go out of your partner’s step…

(originally appeared on HitchedMag.com)

7 Ways to Turn a Boring, Ho-Hum Job into Your Dream Career

Are you in a blah job, not necessarily good or bad, just meh? Meh can be draining. 

1. Find a way to bring YOU to your job

They hired you for a reason. There were other candidates, other options, but they chose you. Why? Why were you a good fit for the job? Let’s identify what it was that they liked about you.

You accepted the job for a reason. Why? There are lots of jobs out there; why did you choose this one? You have choices in life…why did you make this one?

Now that we’ve identified why they liked you and why you liked them, let’s hope we can find the place where these two circles intersect. That’s what you can bring you to your job.

Have you ever been on a train or a plane where the person doing the announcements just goes the extra mile to make it fun? I had a flight attendant once who had to be part comedian. He had us all laughing when he read through that ordinary emergency plan information. He made it his own, and he entertained us.

He may have originally taken the position hoping to find that place where he could shine, where he could entertain. And he nailed it.

(originally published by Reader’s Digest, rd.com)

2. Be excellent

Excellence is its own reward. Competence is satisfying, but excellence is taking it to another level. Putting on a terrific outfit. Having a fresh manicure and haircut. Doing it right.

I was recently at jury duty, and my day was made by one of the men working the desk. When it was my turn to sign in, he just had the biggest smile, a warm welcome, and he took the time to say something nice.

Talk about a ho-hum job: This guy is processing hundreds of people every day who’ve been called to jury duty in Newark, NJ, right outside of job-centric New York City. This is a seriously cranky crowd, but this guy flips those frowns upside down instantly with his professionalism and joie de vivre.

If he can do it, you can too. (Here’s how to be happier at work.) He feels good, he seems good, and he’s able to turn the mood of the room by

8 Secrets No One Tells You About Returning to Work After Maternity Leave

These are the little things that every new mom realizes eventually, but no one really talks about.

1. You may pump in some crazy places.

While it’s wonderful that companies are now required by law to provide lactation rooms and breaks to nursing moms, you may not be pumping there all the time. Have you ever had to go to the bathroom on a long road trip and you’re stuck in traffic and, and…you just pull over and pee at the nearest gas station restroom, even if it’s filthy? Sometimes biology takes over and you just need to do your thing. Breast milk let down is like that, too. Your breasts may get full and hard as rocks and need to do your thing, even if you’re in the car on your way to a meeting or commuting on the train. You may want to invest in a car adapter or a battery-operated breast pump so you can pump on when you’re on the road. Though you may cover up, people may catch on to what you’re doing. And expect the cloth to fall so that you’re less surprised when it does. Even if you’re pumping in private, you may forget to lock the door or pull the blinds and co-workers with the very best of intentions may still walk in. Rest assured, they are always, always, way more embarrassed than you are.

2. Working helps you connect with yourself again.

“It’s so nice to have adult conversation!”, “I feel like my pre-baby self again!” and “It’s good to not have to focus on the baby for a few hours,” are some comments I hear in every class. Let’s face it, before you had the baby (and while you were carrying the baby) it was all about you. Since having the baby…

(this piece originally appeared on Reader’s Digest, rd.com)

10 Tips to Help You Quit Your Day Job and Pursue Your Dream

(from rd.com) You’ve heard the saying: “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” These strategies can help you ensure a successful transition to the career of your dreams.

1. Figure out how much money you need to get your business off the ground

As a career coach, I often have a client to come to me with a great idea for a business that they can run from the comfort of their own home. Maybe it’s an interior design business, a tutoring business, or a catering business. My first question: “How much money are you planning to spend on this venture?” Do you need a website, business cards, a dedicated home office? Might you need to go back to school? Figure out what you’re prepared to invest in your dream job in order to make the money you want to earn. Have a budget and financial plan; don’t just close your eyes and hope.

For the next tip, click here

(note: I originally wrote this piece for Reader’s Digest’s web site, www.rd.com)

Get Unstuck (Video)

Want to see some raw honesty from a rough life coach? Here’s me, first thing in the morning (after coffee but before a shower), answering the following question:

Why do you enjoy helping people get unstuck and get more out of life?

My coach asked me this question, and challenged me to speak directly to you, and explain my motivation to coach. After all, if I’m going to help you do what you want to do, what’s the proof that I’ve done it myself? Here you go. Thanks for watching. I look forward to hearing what you think.

 

Client Q&A: Space Saver Sarah Roussos-Karakaian

Sarah Roussos-Karakaian and her husband Nick are Nestrs, the husband and wife organizing, design and construction team. This month, they’re offering 8 hours of free design work for clients in the tri-state area. WHAAAAT? Read on for more details…

These two roll up their sleeves and refresh your space.

Sarah and Nick Will Refresh Your Space.

Sarah and Nick have a passion for space planning, interior design, and home renovations. You may have seen them on HGTV’s summer series Beach Flip, in which they demonstrated their classic revival design approach to flipping a beach house in Gulf Shores, AL.

Sarah is a Professional Organizer and Interior Decorator and began her journey after ten years traveling the world performing in hit Broadway musicals where the only constant thing was her two thoughtfully compartmentalized suitcases. Her husband Nick Karakaian is a general contractor with a masters degree in architecture.

You’re giving away 8 hours of free home design/organizing to select clients in the Tri-state area over the next 3 months. Why?

Our homes are our safe havens. We’re seeking potential clients who aren’t afraid to shout, “Help! I can’t get organized on my own.” or “Help! My space is boring and I just can’t figure out how to make it beautiful.” or “I don’t have time!” I’m giving away design work to build my portfolio and showcase the kind of work I want to do more of – I want to refresh your living or bedroom, help you with your nursery or playroom, or even update your patio – gauzy curtains, rugs and a full outdoor living space. I’d like to take ‘before’ and ‘after’ pictures — these will help my business grow.

I’m looking for spaces that need saving for clients who don’t mind sharing their experience with me in exchange for 8 hours of complimentary work. Everybody wins!

How did you and your husband Nick create Nestrs?

I was sitting in a coffee shop one day waiting for a friend. I was on HGTV.com, looking for inspiration for clients and came across a casting call for an upcoming reality show to air on HGTV. My friend was running late so I decided to fill out the questionnaire. The next day I got a call from a casting director – and the rest is history. HGTV auditioned both Nick and me several times over the course of 4 months and loved our complimentary talents of organizing, construction, and design. We beat out over 1,000 applicants to be on Beach Flip. We flipped a 3 bedroom condo on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico. It was a grueling and exciting 2 months of filming. When we got back to NYC – we took a week to sleep off the exhaustion – we had this excitement inside of us. We couldn’t share where we had been or what we were up to with our friends and family until the show aired three months later – but the chemistry between Nick and myself fixing up this home was electric. We hoped this show would draw attention to Nick’s general contracting work and my talents for organizing, space planning, and decorating. So, we started a company together and called it Nestrs, highlighting our organizing, design and construction work.

coaching client

Who loves the smell of drywall?

You just redid your house in Astoria. What are you most proud of?

We just finished our kitchen and it. is. everything! The house is super tiny, technically 650 sq ft – but we count the basement since it is finished now – so that makes it a sprawling 1300 sq ft. The kitchen is in the basement and could be considered weird – until you see it now! We’re lucky enough to have a backyard, as small as it is, and it’s right off the kitchen, so it’s a great entertaining space in the warm months. We knew we had to make the kitchen the show piece of the home it is now so no one will ever think to ask why it’s located in the basement. It used to be two small rooms – one laundry room and then the kitchen space. We decided to unify everything to make it feel more open. It’s gorgeous and we’re so proud of it! That being said, we’ve learned a lot on this house.

Who is your ideal client?

I love helping busy people who have an appreciation for gorgeous, but sensible, design – they just don’t have the time or know-how to make it beautiful. I really jam with people transitioning in their lives; it could be moving into a new home, having a baby, getting ready for a significant party, or starting over in some capacity and needing a change – I excel at working with deadlines and making positive change happen as quickly as possible. I work well with clients who are looking for a no-nonsense professional who prides herself in complete client satisfaction.

coaching client

Clean Kitchen Design

How much of finding the right client is a personality / aesthetic fit? Do you bring your aesthetic or help the client find theirs?

It’s important that our personalities jive, but our design style definitely doesn’t have to. A lot of clients aren’t sure what their style is so we must be able to communicate comfortably in order to figure it out! The way we organize your linen closet or work flow of your kitchen has to work for you – not me – I just ask the right questions to help you figure out what makes sense to you. Same goes with design: I have the eye to make what you’re attracted to in the magazines work for your space, lifestyle, and budget.

How can potential clients be sure you’re the right team for them?

To start, Nick and I will walk you through all aspects of our proposal. Furthermore, we believe in our chemistry and craftsmanship so much that when its appropriate we often have potential clients come over to our home and see our work first hand for themselves. Ever wonder what a professional organizer’s closet looks like? I’ll show you! We sell 100% maple cabinets that are affordable and beautiful. Don’t believe us? Come over and open and close our drawers! We’ll even provide snacks and wine for making the trip. Our home is almost like a showroom – we know how personal it can be having us in your home that we want potential clients to know how much we appreciate them considering us for their big project by welcoming them into our space in an effort to put their mind at ease moving forward with us as a team. We think that’s pretty special and can’t be said of all home improvement businesses.

Where do you shop? Do you have a design philosophy?

There are so many styles out there and each one ends up getting tweaked or mashed up with another style to make it perfect for an individual or family. In the end, I’ll see to it that we nail the look you’re after. I love sourcing materials and decor items from places like Target, IKEA, Wayfair, and Etsy. We go through so many phases in our life, I’d hate to design a space that you’d need to completely renovate to change it up! These resources offer most of the products you need to transform your space, but with the flexibility to mix it up a bit down the road. I’m so on board with splurging on the perfect couch or super comfy mattress – I just don’t think vases need to cost thousands of dollars in order to achieve beautiful design.

Do you have any tips for us regarding spring cleaning?

Why yes! Yes I do! It just so happens that I have 14 Tips for Spring Cleaning and Organizing. Find them here on my blog.

Why did you reach out to a coach? 

I want to go from great to superstar status! I’m proud of the journey I’ve taken so far. And yet, I feel like I’m just getting started. I’m a big believer that life is meant to be enjoyed – it’s part of the reason why I love organizing and designing so much: we should surround ourselves with peace and harmony and eliminate stuff that takes up too much of our space and time. That said, there is always room for improvement and growth and that’s where I am in my career. I want to work smarter, not harder. Having a skilled coach who can look from the outside in is just the thing I need to advance as a business owner. I love helping others and admire when they finally get the courage to pick up the phone and call for help. I wanted to take my own advice and do the same. It’s been the best decision I’ve made thus far.

Get social with Sarah, Nick and Nestrs.com:

Instagram: @Nestrs
Facebook: www.facebook.com/thenestrs
Twitter: @thenestrs

 

5 Coaching Questions To Celebrate Closure

One of my favorite aspects of coaching is that closure is built into the relationship from the start. As adults, closure isn’t build into our lives as frequently as was when we were children.

Think of activities or projects you’ve experienced with premeditated closure: there’s college, summer camp or high school. But as adults, closure is elusive. You rarely start a job or a relationship with the end in mind. We acquire, achieve, and gain…but reducing, rewarding and appreciating, the yins to our accomplishment yangs, are given less attention.

You Never Start a Relationship or Job Planning the Dissolution

Imagine, on the first date, summing up your dinner partner and issuing the following proposal: “I think this will last about 6 months, so let’s figure out how to have a GREAT time during our brief affair. I’m thinking Vieques, Rio, and some outdoor sex? I need a date for this benefit in April…and let’s avoid meeting parents, because…well, with closure just 6 months away, why add the stress.”

relationship coach

Finite and Fun

In some ways, that could be great.

It’s refreshing to keep the end game in mind, and the things you need to do to get there. A short term bucket list if you will. My clients decide what they we going to do in the next 3 months, and then go for it. Some of my recent clients have had the following goals: Address my financial challenges. Find more time in my schedule. Clean out the house chaos so I can move forward in comfort.

These goals were set in December, and here we are in March, with goals accomplished. And, as inevitably happens with coaching, in order to get to the big goals, first we dig underneath and clear out the bigger stuff that’s been blocking us in the first place.

My clients get it done. Week by week, item by item, with great enthusiasm, vigor, passion for achieving the goal, and ultimately, closure.

There’s something particularly wonderful about the last sessions, when clients get to review what they’ve accomplished in the last few months, and how, those goals that felt big and unattainable have come to pass.

Care to try it? You can always give me a call and work together on something big and hairy (we’ll break down that big monster into little fur balls).

Or, you can get the closure celebration you need right now. Here are some coaching questions that will take you there. Give yourself the space to answer — find a quiet room with a laptop or paper and pen. Take 20 minutes, minimum. The more you write, the deeper your satisfaction will be.

5 Coaching Questions To Celebrate Closure

– Remember March, 2015? What were you doing?  What are you doing now that would surprise you? Have you handled illness, moved, changed jobs or achieved a promotion? Managed children / parents? Taken on a new sport, instrument, built a garden?

– Looking back on last summer, what are you proud of? Vacations? Health goals? Making new friends or spending time with old friends?

– Is there a positive habit that you’ve developed since January? Eating less sugar, drinking less, going to bed earlier? Spending more time with family?

– Is there something that you’d like to do this spring / summer? Visit a local farm?  Join a co-op? Pickle vegetables? Host an Easter or Passover get together?

– Is there someone near you that you’re jealous of? What is it, specifically that makes you jealous? Is there anyway that you could add some of those qualities / situations to your own life?

The first three questions are helpful for looking backwards, taking stock, and giving yourself the opportunity to acknowledge an accomplishment. The last two questions will help you set goals for the future so that you can move toward a goal purposefully.

Set goals, and most importantly, celebrate your accomplishments. Not just turning 40, but what you did in the prior years leading to this point. What are you proud of that you — badass you — accomplished?

Reflecting and acknowledging your accomplishments reinforced them in your brain, and leads to more of the same.

Please let me know how this works for you!

Change the Way You Work with One Idea

I volunteer locally, and have a mentor who invests time in helping me grow. He has the uncanny ability to get me to do more whenever I want to quit. I admire this skill, and wonder how he’s able to turn my frustrations into taking on more work every time. And I leave our conversations with a big smile on my face.

He told me that he knows how badly I want to make a contribution, to make a difference, to make things better. And he knows that if something pisses me off, the flip side is not to resist being pissed off, but to include it (not act it out, just include it) and get the job done anyway.

Who is Your Career Mentor

Who is Your Mentor?

From what I can tell, he’s putting some t’ai chi spin on my frustrations and spinning it back at me with the opportunity to do even more good.

He recently shared this quote with me, something he picked up along the way that revolutionized the way he thinks about work — whether it’s paid work or volunteering. It explains his own personal philosophy for finding fulfillment in what he does, and helping others find it too:

DON’T LOOK FOR SATISFACTION IN WHAT YOU DO. BRING SATISFACTION TO WHAT YOU DO.

As he told me, “I love this line because it reminds me that it’s MY responsibility to create satisfaction for myself. If you look for satisfaction from a job, an event, or another person, you’re dependent on them. If you assume responsibility, you are no longer a feather in the wind, you ARE the wind.

So whatever your superpower is, whether it’s Fortune 500 sales skills, fabulous taste, your desire to help young Black women succeed, aging Boomers plan for retirement, entertain with your words or increase your clients’ range of motion, those wise words can be applied.

Bring your sense of satisfaction to what you do rather than look for satisfaction from what you do. Then take the superpower that is uniquely yours and find or create a workplace that lets you use it. If you walk in the door thrilled to make a difference, dammit — you will!

I look forward to hearing what you think of this idea, and better yet, how it goes when you implement it.

Thank you for reading!

-Allison

Want to Improve Your Career? Let’s Talk Money.

The majority of my clients come to me to talk about their careers. Hey, it’s where we spend the majority of our day, so it’s worth taking the time to make it fabulous. Whether you want to get better at your existing job, transfer to a new job, or create your own business, I can help you figure out where you want to go and get you there.

A key part of that conversation is the money talk, which I typically have ASAP. Clients will tell me how they want to make “X” (they literally say “X”), and I ask them to give me a number. Sometimes its 120K, sometimes it’s 800K. Everyone has their X. Some clients don’t know their X, so we figure it out together.

So if you work with me, we’ll talk about money, for sure. Usually in our first session. But too many times, my clients aren’t ready for the money talk. Money makes them nervous and anxious. Women, especially, haven’t been raised talking about money and are often uncomfortable with the topic.

Farnoosh Torabi Podcast

Award Winning Financial Podcast – Farnoosh Torabi

Enter Farnoosh Torabi, best-selling author, television personality, award winning personal finance expert, and creator and host of So Money.  As well as my good friend and media partner-in-crime.

She invited me to be a guest on the So Money podcast this week, and I’m thrilled to share it with you. During the show, I reveal:

  • How I lost $1 million dollars (true story) and what I gained from that
  • What the coaching A-ha moment feels like, and why it’s so powerful
  • Splurges that are worth it
  • The importance of staying debt free

So please, have a listen. Her podcast is informative and fun, and warning: addictive! It’s an honor to talk money in the company of Farnoosh’s other guests, including  Seth Godin, Robert KiyosakiJean Chatzky, Margaret ChoJames Altucher and hundreds more.

Enjoy! I look forward to hearing what you think.

What’s A Life Coach? (Video)

Part of the fun of working with a life coach is picking a partner who you connect with. After all, we’ll be working together closely on something that’s of absolute importance to you.

You may be wondering:

  • How is a life coach different from a therapist?
  • Are my questions that insightful?
  • What is it like to work together — am I upbeat? Is this fun?
  • Do I have an annoying Jersey accent?
  • What’s the point of a coach, really?

Here’s a little sample of me in my office answering the question “What is a Life Coach”. We’ll meet here in my office, or virtually via Skype or phone.My role is to be your advocate as you go for this big goal — something you’ve been working on and wanting to achieve.

We’re about to get to know each other really well.

So here’s what I’m like. As you can see, I’m pretty fired up about what I do.