Whether You Think You Can, Or You Think You Can’t You are Right!


What we believe is the most important thing to move us forward. Our beliefs guide us into thinking what we can do, and what we can’t. And our brain is really what helps us succeed – or not! Ask a marathoner and they are likely to say that yes being physically fit is important but so is their mental state. If they don’t believe they can complete the race, they might as well not even start.

My daughter Jessica is a great example of the “I can” belief. In a life changing accident at 15 that put her in a wheelchair she could have chosen a lot of I can’ts. Instead she chooses “I can” in pretty much everything she does. Her “can’s” have helped her access what can be a very inhospitable world to someone in a chair and she manages it with grace and a good dose of “can do’s”.  If she can’t do something one way she will find another way to do it.

When you’re feeling stuck, ask yourself what is your belief? Do you believe you can? Do you believe there is a way? Or do you believe you can’t. Listen to the words you tell yourself in your head. Is your head full of negatives: I can’t do this; there’s no way; there is nothing that can be done; it’s impossible. Or do you think: I’ll find a way; I can make this happen; I get to do this.

Only you can choose…do you choose I can or I can’t?

 Are you ready to get unstuck?

Contact Mary for a complementary strategy session to see how

coaching can help you achieve this change.

Email: [email protected]

Coaching Life

Burn Out – It Happened To Me


I Reached Burn Out. Here’s my story…

Four years after my teenage daughter Jessica broke her neck it happened to me. At the time I thought burn out only happens to people who aren’t very aware, people that aren’t “strong”, people that can’t handle life. Then one February morning I woke up and started crying…for no apparent reason, or so I thought. And I couldn’t stop crying. So I called in sick to work. The next day the same thing happened. The tears spilled out and as hard as I tried I couldn’t get them to stop. Again I called in sick saying I had the flu. Why is it so hard to say you are struggling mentally? That you have anxiety, stress or depression. Somehow saying I had the flu was much easier than saying I barely could get out of bed. That I didn’t care about anything or really anybody, that I couldn’t face the world. Day 3 came and again so did the tears; my body ached all over not from the flu but from the emotional stress I was feeling. I gave myself a pep talk and said I should get over it, got dressed to go to work…and then the tears returned and so did the overwhelm, and then the anxiety. And I couldn’t do anything about it. I was exhausted and still didn’t really get why. I had never considered myself an anxious person. The simplest decisions couldn’t be made.

At this point I decided I better take the rest of the week off and called my boss saying I would be back Monday. The rest of the week passed with me in a semi zombie stage. I was still making meals for my family but doing the bare minimum. Come Saturday I thought maybe making a hair appointment and getting out of the house would help me snap out of it. I was convinced that it was just a case of the blues and that if I was strong – and I knew I could be – I could get back to my normal routine. No luck. I couldn’t face the 45 minute drive to the hairdressers; a drive I had done many times before. That’s when I knew something was really wrong. I consider myself a pretty capable person and making an appointment and getting my hair cut was a simple thing I did all of the time…yet not this week. The weekend passed in a fog, my senses dulled and my ability to do much of anything was pretty much gone. Monday came. I got out of bed but the thought of returning to work – or even getting in the car to go to work – created major anxiety. I called my boss once again saying I was still sick with the flu and I wouldn’t be in.

At this stage I realized I wasn’t going to just bounce back. It wasn’t just a “blue” or “off” day I was having. This was serious and it crossed my mind that I was mentally really not well. I faced the fact that after four years of being by the side of my daughter as her primary caregiver, during her recovery and in her adjustment to a new life living with a spinal cord injury, I now needed to take some time off. I still hadn’t named it as burn out, but I knew myself enough to know that something was really wrong with me. The normal daily things I did were either not done or done poorly. I lacked focus and was in major overwhelm. My family started wondering why I wasn’t going to work. Normally an open book I didn’t want to talk about it…not even to my closest friend.

Finally, I visited my pastor. He put it into words. You are burned out. You have been Jessica’s primary caregiver giving totally of yourself, and now you have no more to give. Your resilience is gone, your bucket is empty. I couldn’t figure out how this could occur when I had managed pretty well after Jess had been injured. I had taken 6 months off to be by her side, then returned to work believing I was “balancing” it all – or so I thought. Pastor Durwin said sometimes it can take years before these things affect you. He was right. I was still partially in denial, deciding to myself that a couple weeks off work would bring me back to normal. He urged me to think about taking a few months off and to focus on looking after me. Months sounded incredulous – and of course I was still in denial about how burned out I really was. Even with my family I wasn’t being honest about what was really going on. I feared my family might blame themselves somehow so I tried to protect them too. He also encouraged me to make an appointment with my family doctor.

My doctor confirmed my burn out and anxiety – a side effect in my case of the burn out. He concurred with Pastor Durwin to take a few months off. At first I was hesitant, worried about the judgement I might face from family and friends. In the end I realized if I didn’t look after myself things might worsen and I wanted to be around long term for my family. Fortunately, I could go on stress leave from work. And so began the mending. I took long walks, read books, something I hadn’t done in a long time, had visits with friends and slowly started to feel better. Three months later I returned to life and to work, feeling rejuvenated.

Since then I have become a coach and have coached women in various stages of burn out. My experience with burn out, though not so much work related has helped me better understand the symptoms of burn out and stress induced sicknesses.

Here’s what I’ve learned…

Burnout has many stages and symptoms vary from person to person.

Signs include:

Serious overwhelm – when everything you think of doing seems just hard…so you do nothing, or only the bare minimum.

Lack of decision making – decisions of any kind don’t come easy…instead you keep mulling over and over what to do. Your anxiety can heighten and even the smallest decisions are agonizingly hard.

Reduced, little or no motivation. Normal things that made you happy don’t do it for you now. You may not even want to get out of bed. Depression.

Physical Symptoms: Headaches, neck and back pain, digestive problems, physical sensation of exhaustion, feeling of overwhelm, tears.

Sleep: troubles sleeping or difficulty going to sleep or waking up in the middle of the night and not being able to return to sleep.

The Mayo Clinic states burnout comes in various forms and can be caused by: (1)

Lack of control: This is an employee’s lack of influence on decisions that affect their job. Examples include hours of work, which assignments they receive, and an inability to control the amount of work that comes in.

Unclear job expectations: Examples include uncertainty over what degree of authority an employee has and not having the necessary resources to complete work.

Dysfunctional workplace dynamics: Examples include working with an office bully, being undermined by colleagues or having a boss who micromanages your work.

Mismatch in values: If personal values differ from the way an organization does business or handles employee grievances, it will wear on employees.

Poor job fit: An employee working in a job that doesn’t fit their interests and skills is certain to become more and more stressed over time.

Extremes of activity: When a job is always monotonous or chaotic, an employee needs constant energy to remain focused, leading to energy drain and job burnout.

Having lived through burn out and seen my clients in various stages of burn out here are some of my recommendations on what to do if you are experiencing signs of burn out:

Seek professional help: Start with your family doctor who can rule out any other causes of your symptoms (or contributing causes). Enroll with a counsellor, coach or therapist to help you work through the root causes and develop a course of action.

Reach out to friends and/or family: your support system can be wonderful – but you have to ask for help and tell them what’s going on for you. Ask for what you need…maybe it is help with the kids, or an empathetic listening ear.

Exercise: research indicates that physical exercise can be helpful in reducing some of your anxiety and stress experienced with burn out.

Self-care: Make time for you. Depending on your stage of burnout this might mean taking time off as I did, and/or making time for things you have enjoyed in the past: art, music, seeing a movie, reading, prayer, meditation, journalling, time with your pet or others.

It’s taken me a very long time (nearly 8 years since I experienced burn out for the first time) to share this part of my life, and I think that’s because of a couple reasons. Perhaps the biggest being the fear of judgment; however, I’ve reached the stage in my life where I feel confident enough in myself and my experience that I can share my journey and hopefully help a few people that are currently experiencing burn out, or are fast approaching a burn out, recognize the signs and know that they are not alone.

Another reason I have spent so much time ruminating over this piece of my past is because it makes me vulnerable. As women, we are constantly battling the societal assumption that we are weak and overly emotional, and sometimes being vulnerable feels like weakness. I can now confidently say – that is a lie. Being vulnerable is one of the most powerful things you can do. It takes strength and courage and means that you are willing to admit that you aren’t perfect but you are open to growth. I no longer want to hide this piece of myself. If people judge me, that is their choice, if they think I am weak that is their struggle. I care about myself enough to be kind to myself, and I hope that each and every one of you will do the same.

(1) Mayo Clinic, “Job burnout: Understand symptoms and take action” (2008) January 11, 2010).
Mary Kruger is an Internationally Certified Business & Career Coach. She inspires people to reach their potential and goals through positive support, challenge & accountability. Send her an email to set up a complimentary session to discuss how Mary can support you with reaching your goals. Email: [email protected]
Coaching Life

Feeling Overwhelmed?

Do you ever have that feeling where you have so much to do you don’t know where to start? I know I do. When life throws so much at us we don’t know where to begin we’ll often dig in and then we don’t do anything. Sound familiar?

Here’s a couple of tips to help with that overwhelm.

1. Set some intentions for the day.

What do you really want to accomplish today? What is important?

2. Take tiny steps

Overwhelm often happens when we think we have to do EVERYTHING so instead we do almost nothing! Small steps towards a common goal is still progress. Hugh Culver, one of my favourite coaches says if you do 10 minutes a day, 5 days a week towards a goal, in one year that’s a week of work towards that goal. Isn’t that amazing? It always blows me away how little time can accumulate into big things! What’s one thing you have been putting off doing because of lack of time? Maybe it’s researching a new job, organizing those family photos or that recipe file (yes I still have recipe cards). Whatever project you want to tackle try the 10 minutes per day and see what happens.

3. Gain some focus.

Focus on one goal and write it down. Research shows writing down what you wish to accomplish and looking at it daily can help you make progress towards your goals.

4. Be aware of distractions

When you find yourself getting distracted ask yourself: Are these the things that are most important to spend my time on now? Will this help me work towards my goal?

5. Ask yourself who do you want to be?

We often think about action, but more importantly is who do we want to be? Ask me more about this. Email me to set up a complementary strategy session ([email protected]).



Coaching Life

Do you want your Inner Jedi to shine through or your Inner Darth Vader?



In a previous article I talked about calming your ferocious thoughts. You know, the sometimes loud voice in our heads that is being negative. These thoughts are called many things…the saboteur, inner critic or gremlin.

Shirzad Chamine who wrote the book Positive Intelligence talks about our more positive side “The Sage” or Inner Jedi, and our Saboteur or Inner Darth Vader.

The saboteur is motivated by negative emotions. The Sage is motivated by positive emotions such as empathy, creativity, passion, purpose, curiosity.  You want to strengthen your Inner Jedi. Shirzad suggests you ask yourself what is the gift or opportunity in any situation.

The saboteur does have a purpose. They are there to keep us safe. However by doing so they also prevent us from growing and often learning. As humans we all have the saboteurs.  Just like when we have that nasty spinach in our teeth, it can be difficult for us to recognize our own saboteurs. That’s where a coach comes in. I can help you to see what is really true and what are those nasty saboteurs or gremlins getting in the way of your happiness.

Email me ([email protected]) to set up a free consultation. Don’t let your saboteurs get in the way of you having the life and career you truly want.


6 Common Myths About Job Interviews

Interviewing can be uncomfortable and for some terrifying. Let’s look at 6 interview myths that might be stopping you from putting your best self forward.

  1. I can’t prepare for an interview

Prior to going for an interview you not only CAN prepare for the interview – you can practice. Think of an interview like an exam. You can study ahead of time so that when the interview happens you will be prepared. Here’s some tips:

  • Consider the type of questions you might be asked by the interviewer. These include general interview questions such as, “Why are you the best candidate for the job?” to industry-specific questions, “In your role as a Construction Safety Officer, what do you think is your main priority?”, to behavioural-type questions, “What would you do in the case of….” Or “Tell me a time when you disagreed with your boss – what did you do?”
  • Now make a list of the common questions you may be asked. Job search sites can help out with this (e.g. Glassdoor, Workopolis, Indeed), or if it’s a prominent company then search on the internet for common interview questions such as “common interview questions asked at Amazon”. Consider hiring a career coach that specializing in job search skills.
  • Once you have your list of questions, sit down and write out the answers to your questions. Write out by hand? Yes! The brain uses a different part when you write something by hand. Writing will help you retain the information and be more confident.
  • Now practice. Recruit your family or friends and have them do mock interviews with you. This will help build your confidence level further. One client of mine, Carol* used to have her family quiz her at the dinner table every night, for the week leading up to her interview.
  1. Everyone else is more qualified than I am.

Ask yourself, how do you know this? Are these assumptions you are making? What makes you think this? If you go into an interview with this perspective, how far do you think you will get in the interview process? What would be a more helpful perspective to have? How about “I am qualified for this role because….”  If you doubt yourself, ask yourself why you got the interview in the first place. Yes! Because you are qualified.  Try some affirmative statements like: “I’m being interviewed because I am worthy of this job.” Or “Company “X” is lucky to have me.” What will work for you?

  1. I just need to talk generally about my experience – everything is on my resume.

As a career coach one of the most common mistakes I see is when people are too general or broad with their answers. Provide specific examples. For example how successful do you think you will be by answering the question, “Why should I hire you?” with “I have the experience and skills that you require to do this job well.” Sound familiar? At first glance it’s obvious you have the experience or you wouldn’t be in front of the interviewer BUT the interviewer wants to hear more.  Generalizations like this won’t get you hired, and it is a very common mistake of jobseekers!

Avoid thinking your resume speaks for you and that the interviewer will read everything on your resume. In some cases the person conducting the interview may have had less than a minute to scan your resume.  Other times they may never have seen your resume. Don’t laugh – I’ve been asked to join an interview and participate without seeing the candidate’s resume ahead of time, on several occasions. AND the interviewer (s) may not have the resume at the meeting. For these reasons I suggest you bring extra copies of your resume to the interview. Always ask ahead of time how many people will be interviewing you – and then bring that many resume copies + a few extras.

Review your resume and prepare answers that include results and specific facts and figures wherever possible.

  1. There is no need to do any research ahead of time – the interviewer will tell me everything I need to know.

I recently spoke with a manager Dawn*, who was hiring for a management level role. At the end of the interview Dawn asked the interviewee if they had any questions. Their answer? No.  Dawn was not impressed. She felt that having no questions prepared, showed a lack of preparation and interest in the company. Even if you feel the interviewer answered all of your questions, come prepared with a few of your own to ask. And it’s ok to write them down and bring out your notes at the end of the interview. Do your research so you can ask intelligent questions that are not addressed on the company website.

  1. They know I’m interested in the job because I’m here.

Although you got the interview, the interviewer still wants to hear you say how interested you are in the job – unless of course you realize when you learn more about the role/company  – you aren’t interested! Employers hire people that want to work for them. They LOVE to hear that you are really interested in the company. Prepare by thinking about why you are drawn to this role, and the company/organization, and then talk about it at the beginning of the interview and just before you leave the interview. You want one of the last things you will be remembered by to be a genuine, “I’m really interested in this role and would love the opportunity to work for you!”

  1. If I follow-up after an interview I will just look needy or desperate.

Actually just the opposite is true. Following up with the decision makers demonstrates you are interested in the role and excited about joining the company. It helps you control the job search process more. And if you mention you will follow up at the end of the interview – you are demonstrating you are good to your word – a skill employers like to see. Drop off or mail a thank you card. This will differentiate you from the other interviewees as they most likely won’t follow up or will email a follow-up thank you.

Differentiating yourself from the average jobseeker is what successful interviewing is all about. Try a few of these steps and see the results. Your next job is just around the corner.

*Names changed to protect confidentiality

(Originally posted on Noomii Career Blog)


Holiday Party Etiquette 101


At this time of year holiday parties and events are all around us. Whether you are a job seeker or already working at a company, navigating holiday parties can be tricky at times. After all, you don’t want to make a fool of yourself after one too many cups of punch or stand out like a sore thumb in your best ugly Christmas sweater at a black tie affair.

Here are some tips that might ease the way…

Dress appropriately

‘Tis the festive season but that does not give you a license to dress however you wish. My advice? Dress professionally. It’s great to roll out that party dress or Christmas tie. However, avoid anything too low-cut, with too much skin showing or that’s outlandish, and leave the denim for the weekend. After all, it’s the holidays and a great excuse to get dressed up! And, of course, if they have a set a specific dress code or theme, dress accordingly.

To drink (alcohol) or not to drink?

Here’s where your mom’s advice can come in handy. If you do drink, drink in moderation. Years ago a colleague of mine got so drunk he rode down the stairs on the ice-sculpture (a Santa on a motorcycle) at the company party. Sadly, to this day (he no longer works for the company), he is remembered most for this antic. Don’t be that person. You want to be remembered for your sparkling personality and your good conversation, not for any holiday stunts or drunk infused stupor.

Dancing anyone?

If you feel like hitting the dance floor, do it! But, again the rule of thumb I recommend is to keep it tasteful. Dancing a little too close with the CEO might not be appropriate and may cause some water cooler conversations come Monday. However, dancing in general is definitely a good thing. Time to enjoy some festive activities.

What are some conversation starters?

This time of year is a great time to be curious about others, whether they are your co-workers or other attendees of a colleague’s party or networking event. Ask questions and really listen. It’s not often we do this and especially this time of year when everyone is so busy. Try to take a moment to really listen to what someone is saying. You might try asking them what their holiday traditions are – keeping in mind everyone is different and there are many different holidays celebrated at this time of year. Avoid conversations around politics or religion. Try asking if they have time off and, if so, what they might be doing. Or if they have plans for the New Year. Being curious about others is a great way to start the conversation.


It’s a great time of year to network. In December, people are in a good mood and are often more generous with their time. I’ve had clients presented with job offers at this time of year – so networking could bring you some great leads and maybe even a job offer. Remember when networking, it is a two-way street. Ask how you can help the other person with their networking. Maybe there is someone you can connect them with. If you are job searching, a great tip is to mention companies/organizations you are interested in working for. Be open, thank people for their help and remember to follow-up. Having business cards with you is also appropriate.

‘Tis the season for giving, so bring a giving mind-set to the events or parties you attend. See just what happens. There just might be a Christmas miracle out there…

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year everyone!

(Originally posted on Noomii Career Blog)


Why Informational Interviews Are Essential to Your Career Change

Have you ever thought about changing your career, but wondered how to even begin?

Information Interviews are one of the best ways to discover what careers are available in your communities and how they may (or may not!) work for you. The information you can gain from information interviews can provide you with so much more than what you can get from social media or the internet.

Why would someone take the time to talk or meet with me?

People are often hesitant about approaching employers to conduct an information meeting. Having done over 20 information interviews over 3 career transitions I can tell you that employers are willing to give you the time, and more often that not welcome the interactions.

Here are 4 reasons why:

  1. People like to talk about themselves – think about the common question you are often asked when you meet someone at a party or event – what do you do?
  2. Proactive employers are always looking for new employees (even when there are no openings). There is always turnover in companies and so it makes sense to have people in mind in case openings happen. Smart employers know this.
  3. Employers may be looking to move to another industry, company or transition to a new career themselves, so they will be open to networking opportunities.
  4. Most employers also like to help people out – it’s human nature to want to help others. And by meeting people in person employers can learn a lot more about them, than can be found on a resume, application, or the web.

Pitfalls of approaching employers

When contacting employers to meet for an information interview avoid these pitfalls:

  • Asking for time – but not being specific.

Ideally you want to ask for 15-20 minutes of their time (conveniently a coffee break). This helps address the objection: “I’m too busy.” Honour the time you have asked for – making sure you wrap up when you said you would. Often employers will give you more time – but ensure you honour the time asked first.

  • Making it all about you!

Yes you want the employer to understand about your qualifications, but remember this meeting is about research – you are researching the company, the person you are meeting with and their role. It’s not about you monopolizing the conversation about how great you are!

  • Not asking for referrals

Always end your meeting with, “Do you know someone I could speak to further about _______ (particular career, industry, role)?

  • Being unprepared.

I’ve also conducted many information interviews from the employer’s side and seen my fill of too many unprepared jobseekers. Take the time to do a little research on the company prior to your meeting so you avoid asking obvious questions that can be answered by your research.

Compile a list of questions you plan to ask so use the employer’s time wisely. This also shows you are organized and can manage time – both skills employers are looking for in new employees.

  • Lack of follow-up

Always follow up with a written thank you card after your meeting. Not an email that is easily deleted.

Continue to check in once a month with the person you met with, with a short note, email or call. Keep your new contacts in the loop as to how your research is going. If they do refer you to someone else to meet, ensure you thank them and let them know once you’ve met their referral how the meeting went.

Becoming a Therapist: Physical Therapy vs. Occupational Therapy

Progressus Therapy illustrates in this great infographic the knowledge that can be gained from an information interview. It demonstrates the differences between a career as an Occupational Therapist and as a Physical or Physio Therapist. Progressus Therapy is a national company that partners with school districts and early intervention programs to match therapy candidates with careers. They’re focused on placing professionals in physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech-language pathology, but they also offer a wide variety of careers on their site ( *

So why not try doing an information interview. It just might be the start to a new career! Reach out to me or another coach if you need the support to begin doing these meetings!

*Thanks to Samantha Trejo, Straight North for providing this infographic.

(This article was originally posted on Noomii Career Blog)


Intention + Focus = Results

Have you ever noticed that when you get a dog or a new car that all of a sudden you notice them more? When we bought our Golden Retriever suddenly everywhere I went I saw Golden Retrievers. Where were these Goldens before? Was there suddenly a huge increase in the breeding of Golden Retrievers, and everyone had one? Of course not, it was just now my attention was pulled to that type of dog. Looking to buy a new car? Maybe it’s a Volkswagon bug. Your attention will refocus and you will start to notice all the other cute bugs out there.  Just became pregnant? Bingo you will now notice all the other pregnant women around you. You start to notice the things you put your attention on. These things were there all the time, but you just didn’t see them.

I call this “putting it on the radar”. There’s a part of our brains called the Reticular Activating System (RAS). The RAS filters through our subconscious brain millions –actually about 11 million data bits – of information every second! And yet our conscious brain can only process about 40 bits of info per second.

Everything we hear, see, feel and experience daily goes into our subconscious. The RAS tells us to focus on particular information. Part of its job is to filter all this information from our subconscious. Where we choose to focus can change our thinking, intentions and results, and affect all areas of our life.

So what can this knowledge do for us? If you are a coach and you make a conscious choice to focus on one aspect of your coaching business, your brain will get that message. Say for instance you want to have 5 new clients in the next month. By writing down your goal where you can see it every day, your brain starts to believe it is a reality and results will happen. My business coach likes to call it “Measure what you treasure.” All of a sudden your intention is on growing your business, and you are tracking specific goals to see the results.  You are telling the RAS in your brain that these goals are important. Your RAS tells your unconscious mind to filter the info – in this case your goals – and move the info to your conscious mind.

One way activate your conscious mind is to choose a goal or two, write them down and then look at them at least once a day. I actually recommend looking at them twice a day – first thing in the morning, and last thing at night. Say it out loud – don’t just read it. Then track where you are with your goal. For instance as a coach you might choose to track your client base and the growth you want.  You could record:  “5 clients in the next month.” Then track your progress and record your growing clientele beside the “5”. Now watch the results. Business owners – what’s important for you to focus on?

Job seekers can apply the same principals. For example, by focussing on wanting a job in the hospitality industry, all of a sudden you will see help wanted signs everywhere, articles about that new hotel being built, or maybe a newscast with expansion plans for a restaurant chain. All this information can help you move forward with your goal of  working in that industry. Your radar is now alerted to everything in the hospitality industry and your brain will register that and lead you there.

So what do you want your brain to filter; what’s on your radar? Whether you are a coach, jobseeker, business owner, or someone wanting change in your life, try this out. Purposely focus on what you really want, then watch as you achieve results you’ve only dreamed of.

For more details on how to set your intention and focus on the companies you really want to work for contact Mary via email: [email protected]


Tapping into the Hidden Job Market – a Targeted Job Search

“If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.”  –  Henry Ford

So how do you look for work? Most people involved in a career/job search look at websites, social media and even the old classified ads for jobs. Because most people conduct their job search this way the competition is fierce and results are not always that great.

What if there was a better way to increase your results and get those job interviews?

What if instead of the ads dictating where the jobs were, you targeted where you want to work and stood out from the competition?

There is a better way! Check out these steps below:

Where Do you Want to Work? Consider where you want to work. How do you do that? Do your research. Think about the industry you would like to work in. Are you a corporate gal, or more of a grassroots person, or do you want to give back – maybe a non-profit? Talk to people in places you would like to work or even begin your career.

Start Your Leads List. What’s that? It’s a list of companies/organisations that you are interested in. Along with contact information of the decision makers. Hint: that’s not the HR department.

Time for Research. Head to the web and yes, even the library. Check out the business section of the library and look at their databases, publications – Business in Vancouver is a great resource, so are the business sections in the newspapers, check out annual reports – if the company publicly trades, and even the yellow pages. Look at what companies are expanding, what’s the latest and greatest.

Build That List. Now that you have company names, do your research – take a look at what the company is about, see if you can find a decision-maker’s name.

Reach out to Employers. From your leads list start to make calls. Talk to the people who make the decisions – that’s the CEO’s, Executive Directors and Managers.

Ask for the Interview! The goal is to get face-to-face with the decision-maker.

For more details on how to tap the hidden job market and focus on the companies you really want to work for contact Mary via email: [email protected]


The Significant Benefits of Journaling in your Life and Career

Keeping a journal on a regular basis can change your life and work in a very positive way. There are different types of journals and different ways to journal. Let’s examine them.

Journal types

Journaling is often done with paper and pen. Some people prefer this, as they find they are freer and more creative when actually writing. There are some great journal books available (such as the highly popular Bullet Journal). Journals come in various forms including hardcover books, with simple blank pages inside, to allow for writing and sketching or doodling. Other journals are simply lined books. Still, other journals have prompts where they ask questions or inquiries.

Examples of questions could include:

  • What are you grateful for today?
  • What are your intentions today?
  • What are you avoiding?
  • How might you increase your happiness today?

Journaling can also be done online and is a popular option. Some of my clients find this a more convenient way to journal, as they just need access to a journaling app or program. With a cloud based-app/program you can journal on your laptop, tablet, phone or computer. Online journals/diaries are used for travel, tracking food or exercise, self-reflection and personal growth. Penzu, DearDiary and JRNL are a few popular journal programs available.

Whichever form you choose to journal – it’s a personal decision. My client Cheryl*, a busy executive and Mom of two boys, loves to use Penzu to journal. Penzu is a free app that allows Cheryl to log in from anywhere and record her thoughts. It is password protected, so your journal entries are kept private and cannot be read by others.

Four Benefits of Journaling

1. Accountability to yourself and your career/life goals

Journaling can provide clarity in both your career and life. It can show you what you’ve accomplished in the past and speak to your future goals. It’s also a great place to visualize what you really want in all aspects of your career and life, capture your goals and celebrate when you achieve them! Journaling is useful to reflect on your challenges and to help look at different solutions that you might not have thought of previously.

Cheryl* says, “For me, journaling has helped me remain grounded and accountable to both my personal and career development goals. It is my safe place to explore what’s working; what needs improvement and what I am proud of! If too much time has lapsed between my journaling that’s when I know I am not practicing life balance… it’s my cue to “get back to myself” so I can be a better colleague, parent, spouse etc. For me journaling is a personal investment that pays big time in terms of a more meaningful and fulfilling life!”

2. Focusing on the positive – gratitude journals

Studies show that when we are grateful on a daily basis our lives can benefit. Keeping a gratitude journal is one way to express your gratitude. It can be as simple as recording one or two things you are grateful for every day. When we focus on the positive, other areas of our life and career often benefit as well.

3. Reducing overwhelm

When my clients are overwhelmed in their work and family life I often recommend they do “brain dumps.” This is where they write down everything they are thinking about to clear all the messages from their head. It’s like taking the mental to-do list and getting it out and onto paper so to speak. First thing in the morning or before bed are good times to practice this. Often the result is relief that what they imagined was so overwhelming in fact is not as bad as they initially thought.

My client Jennifer* says, “Journaling is a way for me to tap into the sub-conscious. It’s a way for me to put pen to paper and pour my soul out, not exactly knowing where it will take me and often surprises me on what comes out. It’s also the best way for me to release something, for once it’s put on paper, it doesn’t have to take space up in my brain.”

Writing “morning pages” is similar to a brain dump. Conceived by author Julia Cameron, and discussed in her book The Artist’s Way.

Julia insists to do your morning pages correctly, you must write three pages a day (on paper) when you first awake in the morning – thus the morning pages. In a recent blog post she suggested, maybe her morning pages should be called mourning pages, since you are emptying your head of every conscious thought – both negative and positive.

What’s the benefit of doing this? By developing the habit of morning pages you clear your mind and get it all out on paper, you’re freeing up valuable brain space for other things and giving your productivity a boost. Deep-seated thoughts will come out, which frees up your brain to become more creative and you can begin to view things from different perspectives.

4. Health benefits

According to research from the American Psychological Association, journaling can help improve your immune system and reduce the symptoms of even life-threatening diseases. I think my friend, Barb*, whose husband and herself suffered from cancer says it best how journaling impacted her life:

“I need to write and write and write. Journaling is one of the ways I grow, one of the ways I heal and one of the ways I make room fro laughter and fun in my daily life. I couldn’t laugh and joke and skip and play if I didn’t journal. Journaling has let me talk to my dearest friends to loved ones that are no longer here. Journaling has helped me heal daily from the onslaught of medical problems. I can look back at the past __ years and recognize my own growth, like the height markings on the kitchen wall.”

University of Texas psychologist and researcher James Pennebaker believes that regular journaling strengthens our immune cells. Other research indicates that journaling decreases the symptoms of asthma and rheumatoid arthritis. Pennebaker contends that writing about stressful events in your life can help you come to terms with them and accept them, thus reducing the impact of these stressors on your physical health and well-being.

Whether you prefer traditional journaling in a book or like the convenience of online, why not try journaling? Make the time today and see what the impact will be!

*Names changed to protect confidentiality

(Originally posted on Noomii Career Blog)