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Monthly Archives: October 2010

Why Telling the Truth is a Powerful Career (and Life) Strategy

I’ve been stunned lately with the power of telling the truth – the raw, uncensored truth. 

It’s such a release, relief, and a joy to let the truth rip, rather than wasting so much psychic energy “spinning” the truth so that you project an image of doing better than you feel you are.  (Those of you who’ve seen My 52 Mistakes know I’m committed to telling the truth about my mistakes, as hard as that is.)

I once knew a guy in my corporate life who, when asked, “How you doing, Fred? would answer, “Fantastic!”  Every single day, Fred responded that he was “Fantastic.”  God, I hated that.  How can you be fantastic every single day?

I tried to figure out what was up with this man.  I asked my mom what she thought about it, and she said, “Anyone who’s happy every day is an idiot!”  Ha!

In trying to understand Fred, here’s what I came up with all those years ago:

Fred was perhaps:

1) a terrible liar, or
2) so distrustful of others and insecure he had to project a fake “fantastic” image, or
3) living life so superficially that every day was, in fact, fantastic or
4) living life so deeply that every day was, in fact, fantastic

Whatever the case, I didn’t resonate with this man at all, or with his same fantastic daily response.

Yesterday, I was talking to my awesome marketing advisor Krista Carnes of Booking Authors about my website, and I shared that over the past few months, I’ve heard people say this of my website:

1) It’s too professional – it intimidates me
2) You’ve accomplished so much, I don’t think I’m right for you (as a client)
3) How I experience you as a person (warm, compassion, approachable, caring, etc.) isn’t what comes across on your site

I’ve always been confused about those impressions because clearly I’m sending out a vibe that isn’t me.

I finally listened! Krista helped me see what I needed was to tell a bit more of the truth – about who I am, what I care about, what I’ve been through.  And in that telling of truth, those who are meant to connect with me as clients, friends and colleagues, will resonate with my words and find me. 

So I revised the site again with more of my personal voice – which is an interesting mix of the highly professional but also the very human, flawed and honest.  I also shared my personal story of breakdown and breakthrough – which I realize many folks don’t know. (And wouldn’t you know I heard from three awesome women this very morning hoping to connect!).  And please let me know your thoughts about the homepage copy – how’s it ring for you?

I work with women every day in all stages of their careers and businesses who want to tell the truth but struggle with how to do it, for fear of being rejected or judged negatively.  From corporate execs needing a powerful resume, to entrepreneurial women crafting marketing copy for their new programs, to creative folks deciding if they want to embrace Twitter and get their messages out there – we all want to tell the truth about who we are and what we love.  We’re just afraid.

So let’s start communicating more of the real truth, but do it from a lens of positivity.  Tell the truth in a way that fits that facts well but allows room for as much hope, energy, and compassion as possible. 

Make sure you tell the truth of who you really are – inside and out — whether you’re networking, speaking, writing, interviewing, or building clients and businesses.  And make sure that your lens focus isn’t set to “negative” to the exclusion of all of the amazing positivity your truth can reveal.

When you do, your words and stories will attract what you long for most: the heart-aligned jobs, opportunities, clients, business, friends, colleagues who you really want – not a circle of people and experiences that leave you feeling alone and cold.

I’d LOVE to hear from you.  PLEASE SHARE your comments below — where are you not telling the full truth, and can you access the courage today to tell more of your truth, share more of the real story?

Indeed, my friends, the truth will set you free!  Love ya…

5 Top Mistakes to Avoid in Your Career Reinvention

After spending nine years reinventing myself from a miserable and chronically ill corporate VP to women’s career and executive coach, marketing consultant, author, speaker and women’s work-life expert, I’ve made a good number of huge mistakes and missteps that have tripped me up, and at times, caused me to hang my head in my hands in despair.  I consciously avoid spending time in regret, but these mistakes were gruelling.  Yet I do believe that each and every one of these lessons has made me stronger, more expansive, more connected to who I really am, and ultimately more confident in my abilities to direct my life with satisfaction and joy. 

To help others learn from my mistakes, I’ve launched a new social media series called My 52 Mistakes, to share my top mistakes in life and work, and help others bypass the major pitfalls I encountered.  Here’s my list of my top 52.  Check it out and share your lessons!!

Here are the top five mistakes to avoid when in career transition and embarking on professional reinvention.  I’ve lived through these mistakes myself, and am stronger for it…but you don’t have to!

Mistake #1:

Don’t have a “build it and they will come” mentality without utilizing powerful financial, professional, and business-building tactics and strategies

Don’t make the mistake of confusing wishful thinking with powerful strategies for moving forward.  Certainly, faith and optimism are essential, but so are sound business and professional goals, plans and tactics, developed with deep know-how and expertise (your own or a great consulting partner), fueled by conscious intention and fierce commitment.  There are 5 “M’s” required for entrepreneurial success – ignore these at your peril.

 Mistake #2:

Don’t underestimate how long it will take you to build a successful new career

Leave your ego at the door when you’re evaluating how long reinvention will take.  Get advice from true experts in the field on the amount of time it will take to launch your new career, and make it successful and earn you a good living (that’s what you want, after all, isn’t it?).  It’s been said that becoming an expert in a field takes 10 years (I believe that’s true), and creating a self-sustaining small business or consulting practice often takes at least five years.

Mistake #3:

Don’t neglect having a Plan B, and moving to it when it’s time

In my book Breakdown, Breakthrough, I talk about what it takes to reinvent yourself.  Often it requires that you simply refuse to let in (mentally, emotionally, or spiritually) the possibility that you will fail (see Chapter 11 about the amazing comedian Monique Marvez’s journey to hell and back).  If you want something badly enough, most likely you’ll find a way to get it.  However, if you have a family to support, and other critical financial and other obligations that you feel you must fulfill in life, then you need a Plan B that will get you through the tough financial times.  Use Plan B to help you stay afloat while all along moving forward to your career dreams.

Mistake #4

Don’t wait too long to correct your course when you misstep or discover steps on your new path that are wrong for you

Set milestones (“I will achieve this by this date,” etc.), and review your progess frequently – quarterly at the least.   If you’re way off course, you need to course-correct.  Also, if where you’re going ends up feeling wrong, don’t keep going in the same direction.  Don’t make yourself “wrong” for how you feel.   Realize a change is necessary, and power up to make that change, and don’t wait until disaster strikes to make the correction.

Mistake #5

Don’t forget: A fantastic life takes fantastic risks

There’s an enormous difference between a “job” and a “calling.”  Neither is better or worse – it simply depends on what you want for your life, based on your values and priorities.  If it’s a calling you’ve be given to follow (a calling is not a voluntary pursuit, I’ve found), know now that it will require everything you’ve got to give, and then some.  Please don’t expect a fantastic life without understanding that you must risk a great deal to live your life on the cutting edge of experience.

 Other lessons I’ve learned through my nine-year reinvention:

1.There will be times (many, in fact) that you have no idea what to do, and despite all your efforts, you fail at the task at hand
2. If you don’t remain “teachable” at all times, you’ll suffer
3. If you think you’re immune (to anything – the economy, challenges in the workplace, problems in building your business to a satisfactory level), you’re wrong
4. When you lose your compassion for others who are challenged in their reinvention or in their efforts to launch themselves successfully, you’ll suddenly experience something that brings you back to humility
5. You’ll need faith, patience, and perseverance in greater supply than you ever thought possible
6. It’s not all up to you – things happen outside your sphere of influence that can shift your course
7. Reaching out for help is essential when you’re not where you want to be
8. Being part of a like-minded community that offers support, guidance, and encouragement is a blessing and a good business strategy
9. Career reinventing is a life-long process (not a one-time deal), and once you embark on it, it changes you forever.  It’s a process that leads you to feel so appreciative of all that you are – flaws, gifts, strengths, blindspots and all – and so excited for each new day that brings you closer to yourself.
10. Reinvention is not for the faint of heart, but oh my…if you’re up for it, what gifts it brings.

What are the biggest mistakes you’ve made in reinventing your career?  I’d love to hear.  Share your insights with us! We all learn from each other.

Wishing you a joyful career reinvention!  And let me know if you’d like some help – I’ve been there.

My 52 Mistakes Video Blog Launches

Hi Friends – very happy to announce that my 52-week video blog on “My 52 Mistakes” launches today.  Here’s the video:

Kathy Caprino’s “My 52 Mistakes” Video Blog #1

I’d love to get this going and offer a large, open forum for the courageous discussion and exploration of the biggest mistakes we’ve made in our life and work today.  Why focus on mistakes?  Because when we can get real and tell the raw truth about the mistakes we’ve made and the vital lessons we’ve learned, we help ourselves and others heal, and we spread love, self-acceptance, and compassion throughout the world. 

Today, a woman from Canada wrote me that she read my 52 Mistakes article on More.com, and in the end, she shared her belief that “unfortunately, you still sound like you’re coming from a self-focused world.” 

Interesting take…Well, I say this - let’s all be self-focused for a while in order to gain clarity, truth, and understanding, so that we can then turn our focus outward to others, to share our compassionate help and support with the world.

I’d be so grateful if you’d comment on the video here and spread it to all your friends and colleagues.  And let me know which mistakes of my full list of 52 Mistakes resonate with you most, and which you’d like to hear more about in the next video post coming next week. 

Thanks so much, my friends!  You’re awesome for sharing, and I love ya.
Kathy

My 52 Mistakes

(Or: How I’m Turning My Mess into a Message Every Day)

Bottom line – “Embracing and loving who I am and what I’ve done is not a fixed state – it’s a long work in progress.”

As many of my friends know, I’ve immersed myself in a 9-year life reinvention, and shifted from a miserable and chronically ill corporate professional to an author, consultant, speaker and entrepreneur who absolutely loves what she does for a living and what she’s focused on, despite the enormous challenges.

It’s been one heck of a ride, with pitfalls, bumps, highs and transformations, that I barely recognize myself from the individual I was 10 years ago.  The core essence of me is still there, of course, but there’s been so much shifting and morphing that now I see much more clearly what I truly value and need to have in my life and work and family experience.  I “get” myself a lot more deeply than I did before.

The other day, I was talking to a new friend, Justin Krane, about some of the mistakes I made in business and in life, and he mentioned that he’d be really interested in hearing my top ten mistakes in business.  And that got me thinking…

So I’ve decided to come clean with My 52 Mistakes.

Today, I’m starting a new blog/vlog project called “My 52 Mistakes” Project. These are the biggest mistakes I’ve made in my life and work thus far. I want to share them so you won’t feel alone in your mistakes, and you can learn from mine.  (I’ve created a new Facebook page for My 52 Mistakes, so please join me there and add your stories!).

The goal of the My 52 Mistakes Project is to give brief look at the havoc each mistake wreaked in my life, and the breakthrough that emerged from it, so my mistakes can be of use to others.  I’m also hoping this will provide a needed, open forum for women around the world to candidly share their mistakes, what they’ve learned, and how they’ve grown and healed from them.

For this project to help as many people as I hope it will, I need more than just my experiences, I need yours – your stories, lessons, mistakes and breakthroughs – I need it all!  We’ve spent a good deal of time here together building our community, and now we can help each other with our collective wisdom. 

Which of these mistakes resonates for you?  What other mistakes would you add to your list?  Show me your lists, and tell me your top three.  (We’re getting honest here people!)  And please pass this along to anyone you know who’s committed to learning from mistakes and experiencing breakthrough.  Comment here or email me.

Let’s do this together!  Let’s turn our messes into messages of honesty, forgiveness, and acceptance.  I hope I”ll see you the Facebook page My 52 Mistakes.   And all along the way, know that I love you, my friends – mistakes, warts and all!  xo

Here goes…

My 52 Mistakes…

As a professional…

1) Letting my ego lead me around by the nose

2) Believing the myth, “Build It and They Will Come”

3) Letting the “pendulum effect” rule my life (Waiting too long to take action, then being devastated and running to the opposite extreme)

4) Spending too much money on my business before learning how to earn

5) Listening to people who claimed to be experts but who are in fact full of s—t

6) Putting all my eggs in the Plan A basket without having a Plan B

7) Holding back from sharing my insights, wisdom, and knowledge for fear I’ll give too much away for free

 8) Not listening enough to my instincts and my gut feelings about people and directions

9) Ignoring my husband when he said, “This is not working!!”

10) Running around thinking I’m God’s gift to the world

11) Wasting time in the company of people I don’t adore and respect

12) Comparing myself to others instead of figuring out exactly what I want to offer, to whom, and why

13) Staying too long in a job I hated, not realizing it will, eventually, hate me back

14) Hiding from my fears instead of getting in the cage with them

15) Doing the same thing over and over expecting a different outcome (thanks, Einstein!)

16) Taking on a narcissistic “goliath” expecting to be a successful “David”

17) Remaining in toxic, miserable situations believing that I had good reasons to do so

18) Letting my salary define me

19) Feeling like an “impostor” because of my flaws and mistakes

20) Thinking that this just “happened” to me– not realizing I co-created it

As an author/writer…

21) Believing I’d get rich writing a book

22) Launching my book and work into a vacuum

23) Letting my accomplishments blind me

24) Thinking my personal story was enough to generate a bestselling book

25) Mistaking myself for a writer when I wasn’t writing and reading every day

26) Longing for national recognition from writing a book

27) Being overly attached to one idea, approach, or outcome that I thought was amazing (as journalists say, it’s time to “kill the baby”)

28) Keeping the truth from myself about, “What do I want, and what do I really want?” from my writing and my work

29) Not having had the guts to say what I mean – to a whole slew of people

30)  Being wholly unprepared for the transformational process of writing and launching my book

As a coach/therapist…

31) Believing the hype of “experts” about the earning potential of coaching (sorry folks, there’s very little money in it)

32) Not having sufficiently powerful boundaries to protect myself from the pain of helping people who are suffering

33) Letting people walk all over me because I felt badly for them

34) Wasting months not liking my therapy work but thinking I should (if you don’t like it, you’re not supposed to be doing it!)

35) Believing having my own coaching business would be an easy way out of my miserable corporate job

36) Not understanding,” If you don’t LOVE your clients, you don’t love your work”

37) Stuffing myself into another person’s “model for change” when I wanted to create my own

38) Not healing my wounds sufficiently before being in service of others

39) Coddling my clients instead of helping them turn their mess around by themselves

40) Limiting myself to seeing only one way to make a living

As a woman…

41) Wasting precious time not speaking up for myself

42) Waiting for my Prince to come and rescue me (and being really pissed off when I realized my husband wasn’t the Prince)

43) Letting my mistakes devastate me

44) Being exactly the perfectionistic overfunctioner that I write about

45) Spending more time complaining about my situation than changing it

46) Worrying about polarizing people and alienating other women (it happens – get over it)

47) Not accepting that having it all means I’m working non-stop and so busy that my head’s going to explode

48) Waiting too long to find amazing, awesome people to connect and engage with

49) Believing I didn’t need or want great female role models

50) Letting my gender, generation, upbringing, traumas, cultural baggage, beliefs, fears (my “whatever”) keep me from accomplishing what I wanted to

As a human being on this planet today…

51) Listening to my mind to the exclusion of my heart and soul

52) Not understanding until my forties that I’m unique, special and powerful and can make the difference I long to make

*  *  *  *

OK, friends, your turn!  Please share your top mistakes on My 52 Mistakes on Facebook, and what you’ve learned from them below or email me at Kathy@kathycaprino.com.  Let’s get this going!  (Special thanks to my dear friend Krista Carnes for getting me going!)

You’re awesome for sharing! xo

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