Monthly Archives: April 2011

Professional Associations: Triple Benefits for You

Recently,  I had the opportunity to be the keynote speaker for the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP) annual membership dinner.  It was held at IGT here in Reno and was beautifully organized by Kristy Holbrook and her committee.  As I got to know both the members and guests before the dinner I was reminded how much fun these meetings really are.  People from all over come together to relax, laugh and enjoy getting to know each other.  And a lot of business is getting done at the same time.  Here’s how . . .

Benefits to Your Career

There are three primary benefits to joining and actively participating in these groups.  First, are the friendships you will develop over the years.  Second, as you get to know others and they learn about you opportunities to share referrals will naturally develop.   And third, you will learn about what is going on in your field – what’s emerging, who’s who and how you can fit in.  Yes, there is usually a yearly fee and yes, it takes time each month to attend but the benefits to your personal development are well worth it.  Over the years, I have been active in many organizations including the America Society of Training & Development (ASTD); Nevada Professional Coach Association (NPCA); Western Industrial Nevada (WIN) and the Northern Nevada Chamber of Commerce.

Taking a Leadership Role

So look for the associations that you can stretch and grow in.  And then challenge yourself by stepping into a leadership role.  Every association needs to rotate board positions and the work load.  Do your part by volunteering to serve on the board in an area that you can share your experience and expertise actively.  You will be advancing your profession and helping others be successful as well.  And it’s fun as well!

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Time Stands Still in Gold Country

Ahhh . . . my first cup of coffee in the morning.  I’m sitting in the breakfast room of Grey Gables Inn, a delightful B&B in the heart of California gold country.   It’s pouring rain outside but wonderfully cozy inside.  And it’s a Monday morning to boot!  Roger and Sue Garlick, Innkeepers, have created an oasis here in Sutter Creek.  The gardens are magnificent and the one street ‘ole time town is just a short walk away.

Time Stands Still

We’ have only been here one night (with husband Wally for 24th anniversary) but time has definitely slowed down.  Since it was Easter Sunday nothing was open when we drove down and here at the Inn there’s no TV, no laptops, no household chores and no office “to-do” lists.  It feels wonderful!  My favorite time was just enjoying a glass of wine and stories with Innkeeper Roger and a few of the other guests last night before heading out to dinner.

And Energy Picks Up

But now I feel an up-tick of energy and I can almost hear Lee Marvin and the other gold miners singing about that  “gold, gold, gold in ’em hills”.   And I remember that great scene with them huddled under the tarps in the pouring rain singing for their love “Mariah”.   So with my second cup of coffee in hand, and despite the steady rain, I feel rested and renewed.  We’re off to enjoy exploring a new route back to Reno – up and over the mountains – snow & rain & gold & wine.  And as soon as I get home, I’m going to watch Paint Your Wagon –  I’m sure I still have the VHS somewhere.  Tomorrow it’s back to the office with new energy!

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Volunteering: Icing on the Cake

This week I had the opportunity to attend the Northern Nevada Chamber of Commerce Slices for Service event.  It was very inspiring!  The Chamber brought together about 20 community organizations (non-profit, government & education) with Chamber members to match people with volunteer jobs during these tough economic times.  One of the speakers, Doug Doolittle, Director, Washoe County Regional Parks, said the park budget has been cut by 60% but they are committed to keeping our parks “open, safe & clean”.   It can only be done with volunteers – that’s you, me and our colleagues.  But there are wonderful benefits for the potential volunteer as well.  So here’s my pitch . . .

Are you stuck?  Maybe in a job that has become too routine; doing work that doesn’t use your real skills or maybe locked into a position that doesn’t encourage you to stretch and grow.  But before you quit your day job out of frustration or boredom,  think about changing things up a bit with volunteering.  It will be easier on your wallet and add that “icing on the cake” without a drastic life move.  And you take away new skills, meet new “like-minded” friends and leave with a feeling of being needed, appreciated and productive.   If you’ve recently been laid off and are between jobs these benefits are even doubled!  So here’s how to get started . . .

What Feeds Your Heart & Soul?

Start with what you are passionate about. What puts a sparkle in your eyes and a spring in your step?  Maybe it’s animals; the environment; children; music/theater; art; the environment; schools; libraries; crisis services; food & housing . . . the list is huge.   Know that there are so many needs in our community that your time and energy will be very welcomed.  You may even wind up choosing a couple of opportunities.   Select 2-3 areas that you are passionate about to start researching.

Who’s Doing What?

Ask friends, family, work colleagues who they know who knows someone else that is doing volunteer work in these areas.  It’s like unraveling a ball of string.  Research what organizations are involved in your passion by looking in the paper, on-line . . . even on the bulletin boards at Starbucks.  You’ll be surprised how easy it is to tap into the volunteer and non-profit robust fast-moving network.

Call & Show Up!

Now contact the organizations you’re interested in.  One of the best resources is the RSVP program at UNR 775-784-1807.  They are a clearinghouse matching volunteers with dozens of needy organizations.  Also go on the Washoe County website and look for the volunteer sign-up form & list.  Sign up for something that stretches you a bit, challenges you and adds to your skills.  This is a great way to learn, grow, contribute and add that “icing to the cake”.

Then call and let me know how it went.  Even better meet me up on the Tahoe Rim trail.  We’ll do some clearing of brush and timbers!

Posted in Career Tips & Strategies, Personal Development | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Stepping Into Your Own Brilliance

What an exciting thought!  You are brilliant.  And you are are the verge of stepping into that brilliance in this next career chapter.  So why is it so hard to remember what we’re really good at and what we really enjoy?  During busy and stressful times we often forget the gifts that we bring to our workplaces and even to our families.  We can easily slip into more of a “survivor” mode – just getting through the days the best we can.  But what are we sacraficing when we do that?  A lot!  We lose (and others lose) from us not being at our best and using our talents for others.

So if you’re ready to step into your own brilliance take a moment to reflect back to times that you have been at your best.  Remember how you felt, how others responded to you and the outcome of the things you were doing.  No doubt . . . in those moments you were using your natural talents in some capacity.  Wow!  Now that feels good.  So take it the next step . . . develop your natural talents into career strengths.

Identify Your Natural Talents

A natural talent is the way we think, act or behave that comes easily to us with genuine enjoyment.  It’s like “second nature”.  And our natural talents often have a central theme to them – much like a golden thread running through them.

Step back and ask yourself these five questions.

  • What do I gravitate toward?
  • What appeals to me spontaneously?
  • What comes easily to me?
  • What attracts others to me? What do they say I’m good at?
  • What do I genuinely enjoy doing?  Who do I enjoy being?

What do you see?  Do you find you gravitate toward work with ideas, things or people?  And what do you like to see happen as a result of your involvement?  Keep it simple.  Try and identify five general themes for yourself.

Develop Talents into Career Strengths

Now add knowledge, skills and a dash of practice to develop your natural talents into career strengths.  Seek out opportunities that will give you a chance to use your natural talents.  Need to add some knowledge or more skills?  Then sign up for professional development classes; get a mentor or volunteer in a capacity that you can shine!

Give yourself a bit of time and then enjoy being known for bringing top performance to your work consistently.  And the icing on the cake is that you are genuinely at your best.  Feels pretty good, doesn’t it!

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Getting into the “Flow” of Social Media

Start simple, keep it easy and enjoy being in the flow of connecting with others. Those are my words of advice to myself.

Once the social media ball is rolling, I know I will really enjoy this different way of connecting with folks that I probably won’t get a chance to meet in any other way. And this is a great opportunity to share the knowledge and wisdom I’ve acquired over the years in a number of areas.

So, in that spirit, my intention is to:

  • Be visible – through my website, blog and LinkedIn profile.
  • Be available – talk to me! Visit my blog and send me your thoughts & ideas.
  • Be engaged – join me for my tele-chats.(Keep up-to-date on those via my monthly newsletter.)
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