Posted in Career Growth, Early Career, Leadership, Retirees

Do Not Miss This Opportunity, Say YES!

No one has ever become poor by giving.― Anne Frank


… Quite the contrary, people gain by giving.

There is a disturbing trend, people hesitating to answer a question, to offer advice, to “waste” whatever little time (in a fast paced world) they have or provide information that they may have wanted to keep to themselves for some future need. More simply, people are “too busy”and the world around them is “not a priority” … at least that is the message conveyed.

I have dealt with people who portray one image online or in public and a different one one-on-one. It doesn’t matter how successful they become in the eyes of the public, it is in those critical moments where an impression is made. I have been witness to people complaining about others who ask for help, my feedback is consistent, “why does it bother you so much?”.

The truth is, missing the opportunity to help is like missing a rare opportunity to build and evolve your career, reputation and engage in self-reflection … and what we forget is that what we give, is what we get, especially for those in mid-career.

From experience, there is nothing more satisfying than helping someone else solve a problem, nothing, not even a raise or a promotion! Unless that raise or promotion will help someone else as well.

Next time someone emails you with a question, answer it even if you don’t know … don’t ignore it.

Next time someone asks you to advise them, go ahead, listen and share the best that you know … don’t hesitate.

Next time someone asks you to help them review something, find an hour to spare … don’t belittle what they are asking for.

Do not miss this opportunity !



Image courtesy of Stuart Miles /

Posted in Career Growth, Early Career, High School, Leadership, Retirees, Unemployment, University, Women @ home

Series – What do I want to do?: Turn Strengths into Actions

Infuse your life with action. Don’t wait for it to happen. Make it happen. Make your own future. Make your own hope. – Bradley Whitford

runNow comes the easy part … action.

Now that you have reviewed your week and looked at what you do, what gives you energy and what doesn’t, simply and quickly, find ways to stop doing the things that drain you and do not belong in the life necessities and requirements area.

Following that, manage and organize the life necessities and requirements tasks either by outsourcing if possible or setting a schedule for them and a daily contingency and expectation that something might surprisingly come up.

Then focus on the things that give you energy. What kind of roles would these things fit under? Consultant? Designer? Speaker? Coach? Manager? Don’t assess them for now, just list the possibilities.

For example, you love talking about careers with people, the possible roles are: writer, coach, career counsellor, author, HR Performance Manager.

Another example is loving to shop, the possible roles are: personal shopper, writer/blogger, copywriter in social media, marketer for products and services.

Feel free to talk to people who have more experience than you do or those you look up to and trust that they have your best interests at heart.

You then look at which ones are easy to implement both in terms of time and affordability (if you have to setup your own thing), and have both the necessary knowledge and experience (not necessarily formal) to do it.

Then get started and plan the steps necessary from training, to licensing, to networking, to marketing keeping in mind the most important two ingredients; courage and sharing your plans with people who love and support you.



Image courtesy of Madrolli /

Posted in Career Growth, Early Career, High School, Leadership, Unemployment, University, Women @ home

Series – What do I want to do?: The Goal

A goal is not always meant to be reached, it often serves simply as something to aim at. – Bruce Lee

goalOver time, this question has always come up, is the goal to be a “something or the other” by age “something”? Or is it to “gain some skill” or is it to “have a specific net worth” by “some date”?

What has rung more and  more true in my mind is that our main goal or destination is not an end state, for our lives don’t have a well known end state and for some, depending on their tradition, it is endless. In fact, having one destination or an end state may be limiting one’s own potential.

Instead, I often quote Earl Nightingale’s definition of success to what this goal is, to

always be “pursuing a worthy goal”.

So when it comes to answering the question of “what I want to do”, I look at it from the perspective of a state of mind, body and soul that I want to be in every morning I wake up.

… I want to be valuable;

… I want to make a difference;

… I want to be the star in my own life;

… I want to be self-dependent and reliant;

… I want to take action on the things that I am so passionate about;

… I want others to know what I passionate about;

… I want to know that every day I was pursuing my goals;

… I want to be “living” happy.

And that cannot happen unless one is waking up every morning pursuing worthy goal(s) not waiting to climb one mountain, or to have one job, or to have one thing, which means, the key is not stagnating at one goal, the key is to always set, review, define and pursue existing and new goals.

It is waking up every morning knowing exactly where you are heading which may be different than yesterday, and different than tomorrow.



Image courtesy of  Stoonn /

Posted in Career Growth, High School, Leadership, Retirees, Unemployment, University, Women @ home

Series – What do I want to do?: Have Courage

You’ll always miss 100% of the shots you don’t take – Wayne Gretzky

courageBefore making any plans, whatever they may be, there is one key preerquisite, courage.

Yes, prerequisite, because without courage, one’s plans may be limited, incomplete or not reflective of what truly needs to get done to achieve their goal.

It is the courage to see possibility and the different approaches towards the goal. It is the courage needed to see the various steps needed to fulfill the approach chosen without fear of “rejection, success, failure, vulnerability, helplessness, disapproval, being conned or loss of image” (Jeffers, p. 14, 1991).

Courage is what is needed to simply say, how and when am I going to do this and no matter what opinions or preconceived notions I have, I will come up with the steps needed to walk towards my goal in a straight line, no rights and no lefts, but straight through.

If for any reason you are hesitant or fears continue to bother you, stop, and delay your planning until you are ready.

Instead, write down ALL your fears (which would probably not exceed 10), true fears, from fear of poverty, fear of being embarrassed, fear of losing friends, fear of change, etc… bring them out in the open and then write down in big words … I CAN HANDLE IT! You will accept these fears quite quickly and you will find yourself not afraid of them, but instead, recognize them and either accept them or take action to reduce the impact should they materialize.

As Susan Jeffers says in the book of “Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway”,

If you knew you could handle anything that came your way, what would you possibly have to fear?

The answer is: NOTHING!

(Jeffers, p. 16, 1991)

Image courtesy of graur codrin/

Jeffers, S 1991, Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway, Arrow Books, London, UK

Posted in Career Growth, High School, Leadership, Retirees, Unemployment, Women @ home

Series – What do I want to do?: Have a Plan

Those who fail to plan, plan to fail. – Winston Churchill

planDo you feel like time is flying and everything is moving all around you while you continue to stand still without progress, without change, without energy and passion?

There could be many reasons, and only you can identify what the root cause is, whether it is fear, disadvantage, health, wealth, etc… more often than not, it is because one does not serve others in the best way they can – their own strengths and talents.

You might challenge me and say, but not all people have the advantage and ‘luxury’ to simply use their talents and “love what they do”. I challenge it back and say, why not? At least, why not have a plan to get there?

I have seen people stuck in jobs for income and family stability, and that is admirable, but what if they were able to enjoy the benefits of income and family stability but with progress, change, energy and passion? Impossible you say? Well, what have you done to go in that direction? Probably nothing. Well a plan would be the first step to finding another job, step by step.

Having a plan could change one from a sad and bored mom, to an energetic and endlessly giving mom.

Having a plan could change one from an anxious and constantly worried employee, to an energetic, responsible and reliable team member.

Having a plan could change one from a reactive complainer to all that happens around them, to a proactive action taking empowered member of society.

Having a plan could change one from a hopeless retiree, to a hopeful and energetic retiree ready to start a second career.

Planning sends the clear message to your own self that you are worthy of positive change and that instead of waiting for things to happen to you, you are going to take the driver seat and if plan A does not work, you can adjust and continue on plan B without ever losing focus on the goal.

So what should the goal be? Well before that, you need something else …

Before that, be honest with yourself and ask yourself today, “what am I doing today that moving me closer to an inner state of progress, change, passion and energy???” You will find that you are not doing anything at all and instead, waiting for things to happen to you.



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Posted in Leadership, Retirees

Over 60? You are a gem!

And now, at 60, I simply want to share what I’ve been given. – Oprah

60In 68% and 74% of OECD countries (2012), women and men are, respectively, retiring under the official average age of retirement of 65, i.e. from 58 to 64.

While in my opinion 65 is already early enough for someone to be forced to retire from the official workforce, especially when they are productive and have significant knowledge that can only help, retiring even earlier presents even a greater challenge.

My expectation is that this number will continue to go down at least in the next 5 to 10 years as the economy declines to levels where offering “early retirement” is a sound corporate strategy.

The reality is that retirees have a lot to give and my concern lately has been that we are all playing a part in the decline of their emotional and physical states.

So what can we do?

  • As Corporates, don’t offer early retirement, but offer flexibility.
  • As Small Businesses, don’t offer products and services (unless they are you primary target customer), seek advice.
  • As students and early career entrants, don’t be arrogant, ask for their mentorship.

So what can those who are over 60 do?

In a time where corporates and businesses continue to under-appreciate and under-estimate the over 60s, I would suggest that one looks at their career not in terms of “jobs” but in terms of experiences. From real estate investment and fixed deposits, to hobbies and talents, without forgetting jobs and education, and ask themselves Earl Nightingale’s famous question , “how can I serve others?”

I urge all those over 60 to give back and yes – get paid for it !

Be an advisor!

Be a writer !

Be a contractor !

Be a part-time employee !

Be anything convenient to you … just give and serve others … don’t STOP!



Image courtesy of Stuart Miles /

Posted in Career Growth, Leadership, WISE, Women @ home

Child a Comin’ = Career Over … it shouldn’t be

Within her first week (daughter of my own), I became consumed by the idea that my career was over – Katherine Zaleski

nowIt was really interesting, and almost fate, to read an article by Katherine today (quoted above) which happened to align with my post yesterday.

In such an eloquent manner, she basically outspokenly said what most new moms say or think to themselves but are too ashamed to admit it.

Believe me, not all moms who return to work are happy to go to the same jobs. And not all moms are happy to work the same hours. And not all are happy to stay unchallenged and bored or in the other extreme, challenged and judged. But all moms want to do well.

What I wanted to cover here is the underlying fear and negative self-talk that almost every new mom has … yes, almost every new “corporate professional” mom.

Even when she does go back into a job, she thinks in the back of her mind, ‘I am lucky I have this job’ … when she should be saying, ‘my job is lucky to have me’.

For all new moms out there …

your job is lucky to have you;

you are smart and have lots to give;

you can, and you will, find even greater challenge and success in your career;

while excelling at being a strong foundation for your family;

without having to give up what is important and without resentment;

believe it with the same passion you had for your pre-mommy career;

others will wish they were in your place; and

you will succeed! – HC

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles /

Posted in Leadership, WISE, Women @ home

The ‘Corporate-Home-Entrepreneurial’ Mom

A creative man is motivated by the desire to achieve, not by the desire to beat others. – Ayn Rand

momThere are corporate moms, home moms, entrepreneurial moms and then there are those at the nexus of all three.

These are the moms who have spent more than 10 years in the corporate world with the last few years in leadership roles. These are the moms who were joyfully faced with motherhood that required them to spend more time at home whether due to inflexible working arrangements, lack of a community support system, parental values or simply a career that is not satisfying / stressful / limited learning and development. At the same time, these moms are creative, innovative, ambitious and have more to give and to serve others with that cannot wait until children have grown up.

So what do they do?

Some opt to open small retail and consulting businesses. Some opt for freelancing or temporary roles. However, what I have seen and experienced is that all of this is not satisfying enough given their abilities and capabilities. Of course, some find no option but to bury their potential.

So what should they do?

There is no magic answer to this question, however, they need to revitalize the same drive they had during their corporate years in getting together with women in the same predicament. They should also commit to never-ending and continuous learning and growth through the abundant avenues available today. They should also use their creativity and talent to create options that not only add value to the community and their own families, but empowers them to fulfill the role of motherhood in the same level of excellence that they had in their corporate careers.

More to be said on this but for now, I would urge these women to find each other as you never know what this will open up.




Image courtesy of Stuart Miles /