Archives for the month of: March, 2012

Last week I was featured in an article in The Daily Muse so I thought I’d share it with you here:

 What I Learned Working with a Career Coach

by Ilana Donna Arazie

I remember the day I got laid off. While the HR woman was reading off some legalese about my rights and benefits, my mind was drifting off to a beach, where I’d relax, sunbathe, and take some time off.

At that moment, I was grateful that I was being given the time to plot my next move and create my dream job (while sipping a few Mojitos, of course). I decided I would never sit at a cubicle again, my alarm clock would never go off before 8:30, and I’d only work on projects I was passionate about.

But after I had packed up my boxes and walked through those corporate doors for the last time, another thought hit me: Um, so what exactly is my passion anyway?

I realized that I wasn’t so clear on my dream job, or how to even approach planning the next steps in my career. And although I’m sure the answers were somewhere inside me, I needed to bring them up to the surface.

So I decided to enlist the help of a career coach-a move I’d recommend to anyone in my boat. Kristina Leonardi, a coach recommended to me by a friend, helped me figure out how to better integrate my passions into my job (after a nice beach break, of course). After meeting with her over several weeks, here are the important lessons she’s helped me remember and discover.  Read More 

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Justice is what love looks like in public. Tenderness is what love feels like in private. ~ Cornel West

Be kind; everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. ~ Plato

I’m a pretty even-keeled gal, and have become somewhat adept at managing/mitigating stress in my life, which I share with others through my work.  Part of that strategy includes limiting/filtering my daily dose of news and media so as not to get overwhelmed by the gloom and doom that is the majority of what is broadcast.

But lately I’ve been feeling like the character in that famous scene from the 1976 movie Network: ‘mad as hell and I’m not gonna take it anymore.‘  Just pick a topic, whether our broken political system, the war on women’s reproductive health, the global economic mess and decline of the middle class, or vigilantes and blatant attacks both here and abroad, including massacres and ethnic cleansing, both overt and subtle, of particular races, religions, sexual orientations and nations. There are so many things under siege in our culture, society and around the world that it’s easy to get lulled into the feeling we can’t do anything, but we can take matters into our hands – in a responsible way.

Besides using your voice, signature and/or pocketbook to make a difference, we can check our egos at the door and let balanced emotions guide our actions, not uncontrolled rage or fear.  There is plenty of wonkiness/intellectual and pseudo-intellectual approaches to go around, and unfortunately pure hatred and insanity as well to fuel many an action, so the question that each of us needs to answer is: How can we inject more love, understanding and compassion in order to effect the change we want?

A good place to begin is to think about how we can create more justice and peace in our own lives, starting with our relationships. Are you unfairly punishing, harshly judging or incorrectly perceiving people closest to you whether family, friends or those you work with? Are the thoughts and actions towards yourself and others around you positive and constructive, or negative and destructive?  

Since today is the first day of Spring, it’s a good time to clean out your mental and emotional closets as well as your physical ones.  By making more of a commitment to create your own just and peaceful world, only then can we expect it of the world around us. ‘Cause guess what? That world is made of us!

Do what you can to activate love and compassion within yourself, scan reactions and prejudices, don’t throw stones, and stand up for those who can’t.   Most of all, go easy on yourself – we’re often our own worst critics and judges and end up imprisoning ourselves and those around us because of it. Most people are doing the best as they can. As so eloquently stated in a TED Talk by Bryan Stevenson, remember that “Each of us is more than the worst thing we’ve ever done” and “Our humanity depends on everyone’s humanity.”  

Not quite sure where you need to balance the scales of justice in your life? Give me a buzz and I can be a softer, gentler version of Judge Judy, helping you to separate fact from fiction in your court of personal opinion so you can spring yourself from whatever slammer you’ve put yourself in!

P.S. For related thoughts on this topic check out my posts: Let Love Rule, Deja Vu All Over Again.

“The true harvest of my life is intangible – a little star dust caught, a portion of the rainbow I have clutched.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“There is no question that there is an unseen world. The problem is, how far is it from midtown and how late is it open?” ~ Woody Allen

Ah, the paradox between poetry and practicality, art and accounting, beauty and bottom line, meaning and metrics. Especially in this results-oriented, materially-focused, high-powered metropolis that is New York, it’s often challenging to communicate the value of things we are unable to touch, see, or can be precisely measured.

After assigning some journaling to a client recently, she seemed perplexed and not too happy about it.  When inquiring what was the problem, her concern she said, was because as graduate of MIT, it would be difficult without having any sort of metrics or immediate tangible outcome to guide her or let her know she was doing it ‘correctly’, which her perfectionist self needed in order to be validated in the exercise. She was not the first to be challenged by or question the effectiveness of the solution I offered, just the first to articulate it so well.

This type of scenario has been the bane of my existence, as the world of the intangible has been my field of expertise and the ‘meat’ of my work for most of my professional life – teaching  or speaking, creating programs that promote intercultural understanding and women’s empowerment, individual and group coaching, even writing these posts.  Most everything  I do is impactful on an internal level, enabling shifts in perception and healing to take place, so my challenge has always been how to grade, evaluate, measure or assure the merit of such things; how do you quantify understanding, inspiration, identity, and transformation? 

With flowers and trees now blooming all around us, remember that they didn’t just magically appear overnight – there was an unseen force at work during the barren winter months – the result is tangible, but the process itself is a thing, too. Fertile soil, sunshine, water, time and nature’s mysterious special sauce work consistently in harmony behind the scenes, making it all come together for us to once again enjoy the gorgeous potpourri of colors and shapes.

Feeling like your Spring needs to be sprung?  You might just need a little professional tending to your garden along with some Xray vision, so give me a buzz – I’ll bring on the blossom and have Everything Coming Up Roses for you again!  ‘

*(Today’s PGG was originally posted on April 26th, 2011) 

Today* is the 100 year anniversary of International Women’s Day so in honor of this occasion I’d like to give a special shout-out to all the men out there and encourage you to celebrate all the ways in which women make your lives better (i.e.check out my post from last week), acknowledge what you can learn from us, and inspire you to get in touch with your feminine side with unabashed pride.

Dan Abrams just came out with a book called Man Down, a tome that provides extensive research proving how women are pretty much better at everything than men. Whether you believed that or not already, the key here is to remember that we are not in a Battle of the Sexes, but more that everyone, regardless of which gender you are identified or associate with, needs to demonstrate the best characteristics of both worlds.

But the reality is that most men have a problem expressing emotion, long considered a girly trait. The amazing irony is that as I am literally in the midst of writing this post (which has been planned for more than a day) I flip the channel to see the end of Charlie Rose interviewing David Brooks about his new book The Social Animal. Charlie, who is clearly an exception to this rule, admits how important it is for people to have the “power to express yourself and have emotional intelligence.” David comments how he, and most men, struggle with this and how he admires Bruce Springsteen as someone who is a ‘manly working class guy who can be emotional in a respectable way.’  (Thanks fellas for validating my post right as I type it!)

Most men will never know What It Feels Like For a Girl, so since this year the day also falls on Mardi Gras, what better excuse is there than to ‘dress’ in drag metaphorically and try your woman-like alter ego on for size.  I don’t mean like a full-on Tootsie or Mrs. Doubtfire, but more like the guys in I Love You, Man or The Boss in all his glory; allow yourself to be just a little more sensitive, intuitive, creative, and expressive of what it is you’re feeling.

Whether your birth announcement was pink or blue, we all need to balance our Mickey with our Minnie, so give me a buzz and I’ll give you an opportunity and show you the way to make the most of all of who you are, without having to shave your legs, put on a fake moustache or become like SNL’s Pat

*(Today’s PGG was originally posted on March 8th, 2011) 

P.S. For related thoughts on this topic check out my posts: You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby?, Girl Power, I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar, Are You Gonna Go My Way?,Rage Against the Machine    

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