The One Thing Keeping Your Dreams or Goals from Coming True

Image On the last day of crappy weather this weekend I was nursing some sort of stomach ailment and talking with my best friend about all the things including Spring/Summer projects, dogs and the dream of moving to California in a few years.


We always have wish lists for Spring and Summer; but they never seem to get done.  We usually come back to eventually we want to move so the overwhelming lists seems much easier to dismiss when we view it from the “I won’t be here forever” perspective.


And then my best friend said something in all her infinite wisdom.  “So what if we lived like we want to then, now.”    


Well, damn.


So that beautiful vegetable and herb garden we envision we plant this year, of course minus the avocado trees.  The peaceful flower garden surrounding the deck, surrounds it this year.  That piece of peace that serves as inspiration for future goals become current reality. 


It started to sink in.  Then she asked a question that drove it home: “Why are we waiting – don’t we deserve it now?”


Well, double damn.


I drew out plans for the garden and herb garden.  I made a completely new wish list and I didn’t skimp.  I listed all the things I want done to create my own little world just the way I see it a few years from now.  Some repair work in the house, painting, some building and lot of cultivating outside. 


Of course my zeal was heightened because just last week my 21 year old son told me to make him a list.  He wants to do any work his dad and me can come up with in appreciation of us helping him with school and housing costs.  He doesn’t like taking money for free, he wants to feel like he is earning it.


Heck, yeah.  First, I am proud that he has gone from a kid that growing up couldn’t grasp the concept of a trash can to a young man that wants to earn his own way.  Second, he is a strong kid and honestly, I can absolutely use the help!


The conversation has stayed with me.  As I began my “work week” I realized how this lesson wasn’t just for me.  Too often I hear people talk about transitioning into new positions or industries to get start living a new reality. 


The one thing that keeps dreams and goals from coming true is staring us right back in the mirror.  We do it to ourselves by pushing those ideals out to the future.  We see then as a complete package – we have to have the whole thing, in one big fell swoop, and that only happens in the future. 



It happens now by changing our attitude and taking many small steps to get to that whole transformation.


That garden isn’t going to go into full bloom overnight.  I see it in my mind a wondrous place that I can go pick tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and herbs to make fresh salads and bruschetta.

But first I have to till up the old soil, get rid of the top layer, build a fence to keep my tomato-stealing puppies out, build boxes for the herbs, fill in the right kind of soil, plant all the plants, weed, water, strain, get dirty and sweat a lot.  Then, after time, it will evolve to my wondrous garden.


The first thing is knowing what that garden looks like.  What is that place look like for you?  Is it a new environment, more money, different responsibilities?  What about that future place is going to make a difference? 


What if you don’t know what that new place looks like?  That’s ok.  Think about what comes to mind when you think of a better future.  Is it a certain feeling, like a feeling of accomplishment?


Either way, get an idea of what that new place looks or feels like and start implementing it now.  Start looking at your current position in life and ask yourself, “What can I change here, now, to make it more in line with that next place.”


Wanting to learn new skills; look around where you currently are and ask to be a part of a new project.  Partner with co-workers asking them to teach you something you don’t know.  Come into work with a new perspective – as though you are new.  Where can you make a difference, what can you improve? 


I need to build a fence and gate to close off the garden.  I have been researching, figuring out what materials I need, what tools I will need and how to put it together.  I am not a carpenter, but I have the ability to research, learn and put it in practice.


Start living in that feeling of accomplishment now.  Even if you cannot make a change today, look back at your day and allow yourself to see your accomplishments.  How did you make a difference?  How did you help someone, a co-worker or client, how did you make their life just a little easier?  That is an accomplishment.


Start living that future now.  See yourself in that role.  If you were offered that position tomorrow how would you prepare for it today?  Would you need any additional education?  Sign up.  Would you need more leadership experience?  Start stepping up where you are asking for more and pay attention to how you treat people.  Is that how a leader treats people?


Jim Croce sang about working at the car wash blues, he was an undiscovered Howard Hughes that sould be sitting in an air conditioned office in a swivel chair instead of rubbing bumpers with a rag and walking home in soggy shoes.


You may be walking in soggy shoes now, but start walking with the presence of where you want to be and pretty soon you will start seeing how what steps you need to take action on to transition from car bumpers to swivel chairs.


Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW

Brand Strategist & Career Coach

Certified Professional Resume Writer


Attention: Focus, Action or Both?

I posted a quote this morning that really resonated with me, and seems to be resonating with others as well:


 “Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll still get run over if you just sit there.” ~ Will Rogers.


I have been sitting on the tracks and been very frustrated because I am not seeing the results that I want.  It has made me quite grumpy.


I am a big fan of Bob Procter says and I heard him say what you give interest, attention and expectation to you will receive.  This makes sense to me.  I am following this thought. 


So what is the deal?


I’m giving it interest by setting the goals; I am giving them interest by being focused on them and I am expecting them to happen. 


So what’s the hold up?


I have even asked this out-loud in a very frustrated way to no one in particular but any higher power that was listening. 


Then I saw the quote.


Oh damn.  An ah-ha moment and it is on me.


It is the attention.  I was screwing that part up.  I was translating it incorrectly.  Yes, focusing on your goals is giving them attention but it is a pebble on the mountain of importance.  The real key is attention by action.


I can focus on something all I want but guess what – it is not going to change until I get off my butt and stop staring at it and do something about it.


Sometimes I have a client that we have worked through the process of creating a resume and they have all the tools they need to move forward:  they  know what their value is and they know how to communicate it and yet they have not moved forward.


In the course of a follow up conversation, I discover that the missing element is the action.  You have to network with people to tell them your value; you have to go after positions to give them your resume and open doors.  You have to take action.  Without it, your awesome tools are just keeping you company rather than working for you.


What is it you want?  Define it and see yourself in that role.  Then prepare yourself by getting all the tools you need to get there.  Further prepare yourself by seeing yourself in that role.  Now to make it full circle and actually get there determine what action you need to take and do it.


Not all action will be successful or correct; however it is action and it will take you one step closer to getting where you want to be.  Even if it is wrong, even if it is does not result in immediate results; any action is propelling you along your path. 


If you are not moving then you are sitting still; and if you are sitting still you are more than likely to get run over.


Lisa K McDonald, CPRW

Career Coach & Brand Strategist

Certified Professional Resume Writer


Don’t Believe Everything You Think

superpower noiseI have found that I have an incredible superpower – which I share with a LOT of people.  The ability to talk myself out of pretty much anything in a single bound.


It’s amazing really.


This power is big, loud and always present.


Want to try a new exercise routing *pow* “you don’t have the time; it is going to be too hard; seriously, you are over 40 who are you kidding; you’re a little too far gone to start now; really, doesn’t a nap sound better….”


Want to eat healthy *boom* “you know that triple chocolate cake looks really good I’m sure I has healthy stuff in it; a burger and fries would be so much cheaper and quicker; it’s more expensive to eat healthy; it takes too much time to fix all that stuff; chocolate, chocolate, chocolate….”


Want to take a chance on something new *bam* “you are just going to get rejected; you are going to get hurt again; why put yourself out there like that; it’s a lot safer not to; happiness shnappiness safety doesn’t hurt….”


If I believed everything I thought I would be 400 pounds and have a house full of cats.


Thank goodness I found the kryptonite to this superpower.  Everyone has it, but few recognize it or find it because it is small, quiet and isn’t nearly as splashy as the superpower.  It is also goes by different names:










To Hell With It


Everyone has it in them.  The trick is activating this kryptonite.


When that flashy superpower starts kicking all you have to do to release the kryptonite is say two little words:


Shut up.


And it begins.  Then you strengthen it by talking back to that superpower and completely destroy it by taking action.


Shut up.  I am too young to feel this old.  I’ll get back to you after I’m done on the treadmill.


Shut up.  I love having energy and sleeping well.  You are going to have to wait while I finish making my healthy, fabulous dinner.


Shut up.  I love taking risks.  Yes, I have been hurt but man, I have also had some great times and better ones ahead.


Personally, I love my kryptonite.  In the last month it helped me kick a major pop habit, poor eating habits and a very lazy lifestyle.


Drinking water with a fresh lemon squeezed in it in the morning while on the treadmill, followed by small meals of fresh veggies, fruit and a protein centered dinner, mediating, being open, trying new things and putting myself out there has resulting in having more energy than I have in years, feeling younger than ever, a healthy glow, a fantastic attitude, some new opportunities and waking up feeling grateful for the adventure of a new day.


And it has only been a month.


That kryptonite is some pretty powerful stuff.


I still have a ways to go yet, there are still some habits I haven’t wanted to kick yet and some challenges that I am still pecking at one day at a time, but it I’ve just begun.


And it all began with two little words: shut up.


One bam, power or boom at a time – shut up.


With each defeat of the superpower the kryptonite gets stronger.


Where is your superpower kicking in today?  What are you thinking that you shouldn’t believe?  What do you really want?  Are you ready to take that first step?  A new job, a promotion, to ask that girl out, to clean up that extra bedroom, to start taking care of yourself, to be a better friend, to start a new hobby, to make sure those you love know you love them?


Then make today the day that you say shut up.



Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW


Hoping vs. Wanting – What Is Your Difference?

Little Girl Fingers CrossedI am glad the NBA finals are over, not that I don’t like basketball, I do. I was just over all the things outside of the actual play of ball.

At the beginning of the series someone told me that the Spurs were going to win because that is what they wanted, and they always get what they want. Oooook….

So today the story changed to it was what he hoped for not what he wanted so his “theory” still holds true. Oooook….

When I asked what was his difference between hoping and wanting he told me that a want was something you could buy or work for but a hope is something you want to happen but have little or no control of it.


I am going to take it a step farther – a hope is a non-committed want. I think the difference isn’t in what you have control over, but rather your attitude.

I hear things like, “I hope I get a job soon”, “I hope I am successful”, “I hope this resume works”. Those are wasted hopes. They are like wishes on eyelashes – you are giving your power away and thinking that some external force is going to swoop in and make it all happen.

That’s like waiting for the cleaning fairies to show up and clean your house – those little buggers have yet to show up at my house, but I still hold out hope that one night they will appear and I will wake to an immaculate home.

When I hear “I want” my first thought is “what are you going to do to make it happen?” A want involved thought, action, commitment, movement and accountability.

There are many things I want personally and professionally. So in looking at these things I ask myself, “self, what are you willing to do to get them?” Because if I am not willing to work for it then it is merely a hope that I really don’t want after all.

That resume is not going to work unless you put it in play, sell it, use it, know it, learn it, utilize it as a tool as a means to an end. Sitting pretty on your computer won’t make a hope into a reality.

A want also takes internal work. Why do you want what you want? Telling someone you want to be happy is meaningless unless you also know what it will take to make you happy.

What makes me happy professionally? Working with great clients, providing the right tools for them to use in their journey, teaching them how to use the tools effectively, continuing to improve my skills, reaching as many people as I can to provide support, encouragement and professional coaching or services that make a positive difference in their life, engaging with other professionals to broaden my range, education, experiences and interactions.

What do I do to make these wants happen: continually read and research my craft, reach out as much as possible, connect with prospects to make sure it is the best fit for both of us, release the negativity and choose not to work with the angry, engage with others and always remain open to opportunities.

These are choices and I have complete control over them. I hope for wonderful things for my friends and family because the bottom line is they have the control over their life, not me.

If your situation is not what you hoped for than perhaps you need to make it a want. Your current job not fulfilling or on the verge of misery? Than want a better environment and start taking action and accountability to make it a reality. Communicate what you need, open your eyes to see what action you can take to improve the situation, receive input from others and begin with the mind set that this is what you want so this is what will be.

It is not always easy. You may get frustrated or hurt during the process of want. It is like being in a relationship. You both might be afraid of getting hurt again but if you just hope you don’t and keep those walls up nothing is going to change. It is superficial and only a half attempt. Want a fulfilling relationship, be open to the bumps and bruises in order to reach the point of fulfillment.

It may crash and burn or it may flourish and fulfill you – there are always outside obstacles you cannot control; but either way you will have grown, stretched and hones your skills and abilities by trying, working and being committed to your positive want. And if that want is not reached then the opportunity was a chance to re-evaluate yourself as to your commitment, expectations and accountability.

Maybe it prepared you for the next time, which is actually the right time.

A want is within, a commitment to yourself, a scary grown-up place that leads to an incredible journey that just might be worth more than the fulfillment of the actual want itself. But you will never know until you stop hoping and start wanting.

Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW

Determine Your Standards Before You Judge

open armsThe past month had been a whirlwind in a very positive way.


In addition to being very busy doing the work I absolutely love a very good friend had bought a house so every spare moment I was helping paint, remove, remodel, clean, repair and pretty much anything you can think of in preparing a house.  On top of that I was squeezing in a surprise for my mom and step-dad of repainting their house while they were on vacation, checking on the cat, helping a friend launch a new offshoot, spending time with family, friends and taking care of my own little pack.


I was freaking exhausted!


Needless to say my house was neglected.  It was so bad that this weekend when a friend came to pick me up when I thought his eyes were roaming around the room I would cry out “don’t look at my house!”  It was pretty bad.


I was talking to my best friend about it last night and how I felt some areas, especially my office, are in complete disarray and bemoaning about how I wish I was more organized.  I made reference to how I am a Virgo and we are supposed to be super-organized and I must be the joke of the astrological signs.


That’s when she said I was being unfair to myself because I was comparing myself to some unknown standard of organization.  I am organized to my capacity in my comfort zone and in a system that works for me.


That’s what best friends do – they completely turn things to the bright side all about you.


She had a valid point.  I was setting my standards to some ambiguous standard to which I could not live up to.  If I was that super organized I think my
house would then feel sterile and cold.  I can’t live in that – those are not my standards.  I want warm, inviting and lived in because having kids and a pack of dogs this place will never be a Martha Stewart home – and I’m ok with that.


I have to take a look at what I have, what I am willing to do and what feels right to me.  It doesn’t matter if it doesn’t make sense to anyone else – as long as it makes sense and works for me that is what is important.


When people are job searching too often they get other people’s standards stuck in their head.  I hear things like, “at this point in my life I should be….” fill in the blank.


Should be what and according to whom?


Let’s forget for a moment what anyone else thinks you should or shouldn’t be – let’s take a look at what you want.


What you want is based on your standards.  The ones you set for yourself.  What can you live with, what will make you happy and what do you want to aspire to?


These are the standards that matter.


If you have that great job that everyone envies, heck even the great spouse/significant other, lifestyle, house, car whatever, but it doesn’t make you happy then these things are not meeting your own standards.  But do you know what your standards?


What is it you want in a job?  Is it a secure paycheck, is it a challenge, is it the opportunity to do meaningful work, is it location or title?  Forget what is expected of you, answer this honestly.  It is the beginning of determining your standards.


Once you know what drives you then you can go about taking actions that support that.  One thing you will have to keep reminding yourself is that you deserve what you desire.  If it is the position title then you deserve it – but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to work your butt off for it.  Work hard because you deserve it.


Believe, take action and do not settle for less than your standards because no one is more worthy of what makes you happy than you.



Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW

Career Coach-Strategist

Certified Professional Resume Writer

Career Polish, Inc.


Wanting vs. Wishing

Little Girl Fingers CrossedWhen I was a little girl my dad would tell me to get my wish list together for Christmas.  It was fully understood that this list could be expansive as I was not going to get everything on that list.  That is why it was a wish list.  I could wish for whatever I wanted, but it didn’t mean I was going to get it.


My dad had a way of instilling reality into even the most whimsical ideas.  To me, it was great.  It was my introduction into the idea of wishing verses wanting.


As I grew older I kept my own little checklist of wishes in my head.  As I got older still I realized there was a single difference between the wishes and the wants; that difference is action.


Without action wants are wishes.  Wishes are things you make on eyelashes, rainbows or shooting stars.  Wishes are thoughts, ideas, goals that are built on dreams, what-ifs and wouldn’t it be nice ifs.


Wants are goals and desires that motivate you enough to take action to achieve them.


Often I hear people say they want to change careers, they want to move up in the company, they want to do this, that and the other.  However, when I ask where they are and what steps they have taken to meet these objectives the answer is “nothing” followed by (in their mind) solid reasoning.


Nope, not going to cut it.  Wish on but please don’t tell me you want.


Those are wishes that you do not want or else you would have taken some sort of action.  The action can be just sitting down and evaluating the want, the obstacles and coming up with a starting point.  But it is action.


I don’t wish to be the best writer, coach and advocate for my client – I want to do so.  This is why I research their industry, keep abreast of tools and techniques and even reach out to other experts to make sure I am providing the best value for my client.  I want it so I act on it.


There are other things that I want that I know I am just not equipped to achieve.  That is when I bring in trusted friends, advisors and coaches.  They know me, they give it to me straight, they allow me to bounce ideas off of them and realistically give me the pros and cons.


From there I can make decisions and follow up with concrete steps.  Already just in the third week of this year I am on my way to fulfilling two wants.  It is because I met with my most trusted advisor and said, “help me please”.


Turning a wish into a want isn’t something you have to do on your own, sometimes you need help.  Swallow your pride and get off your butt and go get it.  Realize that wants come at a cost.


The cost is your time, money, effort, energy, sleep, dedication and a strong resolve to keep going.  If it truly is a want then you will not see these as sacrifices, rather they are the weights that are building a stronger you – like working out.


Not that I  know anything about that, but I have heard that if you start with the smaller weights and train your muscles you can continue to the bigger ones and be all rock hard and smoking hot.  The only way I am going to be smoking hot is by cremation – but my horrible exercise regime is another story.


What is it that you want?  A better job, a job period, increased clients, more revenues, more exposure, more opportunities, less stress – what is it that you really want?  Now determine if these are wishes.


What are you willing to do?  Be realistic.


Oh sure, I would love to be back in the shape I was when I was in my 20s, but that is a wish because I’m not taking the appropriate steps to achieve it.  Dew for breakfast and corralling dogs as exercise just does not cut it.


But serving my clients better – which I am always striving to do, now that is a want and I am willing to do everything that I can to achieve it.  From looking at my time management and getting more training to clearing out the office to provide a calmer environment for writing.


It is great to have wishes, I am not foo-fooing them at all.  What I am advocating is that before you express these wishes to others think about if they are wishes or wants.  Especially if you are asking for help.


I can’t help you with a wish.  I can, however, help you with a want.  If you are willing to have some skin in the game then you are already on your way to becoming unstoppable.


Once you define your want, get an action plan together then invest in yourself by getting your team together.  Your personal cohorts should be supporters, encouraging you and also keeping you to task.  If any supporter starts to doubt you or try to talk you out of your want then that is a bad investment.


Start doing the research.


You want to get into another industry? Start researching, reach out to people in the industry to find out more, find out about what they really do and the path they took to get there.


Want to move up in your company?  Research your own company and department.  Take a good hard objective look at the goals and needs of the company.  Where do they want to go, what are they going to need to get there and how can you be a part of it?


Want to get back into the workforce?  Get out there and start talking to people.  Research volunteer opportunities so that you can feel that you are adding value doing something you like to do while meeting new people.  Research what has changed since you have been gone and how can you adapt to get back in the game.


Bring in an expert when needed.  No one can do it all on their own.  We try, but it is also a bad investment.  You spend more time researching, recreating and chasing your tail rather than just going to a source that will get you there now while removing a lot of the additional burdens along the way.


You are worth it; wants are worth it so stop short-changing yourself into letting those wants turn into wishes.  The ideas are the same the only difference is whether you choose to make it happen or watch it happen for someone else.



Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW

Career Coach-Strategist

Certified Professional Resume Writer

Career Polish, Inc.


Am I Doing It Right?

All About Me - Career Polish Inc.Too often we are a sheep-like society.  We tend to follow or look to others for approval or at least the way to do things.


Learning something new – we look at those around us to see if we are doing it like they are to make sure we are doing it “right”.


The problem with this is too often we then set our goals and expectations based upon others around us rather than what really works for us.


They may be happy performing a task at a sub-par level – is that really your style?


The easiest way to determine if you are doing something “right” is to look at the results.  Are you getting the results that you want?  If not, then you probably are not doing it “right” for you.


Job searching, networking, business building, relationships or even just clearing out clutter – it is important to know what your goals are and how you will measure success.


That is a key point there: know how to measure success.  If you can’t define it then how will you ever know if you achieve it?


My best friend Jackie and I have set goals to clean out clutter.  Now, the great thing is we are identical twins so in developing our rules (systems) it was easy for us to discuss, determine, articulate and evaluate not only the process but what success will be for both of us.


We started with the goal.  From there then we could break down the actions, behaviors and attitudes to determine what we were doing which supported the goal and what we needed to modify and actually put in place to support reaching that goal.


Now, as we work room by room we can actually measure our success based on what our expectations and goal is, that we set from the beginning.


We also realize that we cannot look at anyone else to compare to because quite frankly they are not us.  I honestly do not know anyone else that has five dogs so I have to incorporate that into my plans, actions and processes.  It would be unfair of me to compare myself to someone with no pets or children to my plan.  Apples and oranges.


Jackie has two teenagers who excel academically but work their little buts off to do so, as well as very active in multiple sports.  Part of her plan has to be incorporating not only their schedule, the actual physical elements (sports/school equipment), time considerations but also the fact that she gets up every morning to fix them a nutritious breakfast and pack healthy snacks for them to have after school before practice and then again a very healthy balanced dinner in the evening.  She is the mom I want to be when I grow up.


When devising our plans we identified how they would be different given different circumstances.  She’s got two little mess makers in the mix so that had to be incorporated into her plan; but not mine.


When determining a goal for yourself this year, this quarter or even this week make sure you do two imperative steps:


1. Defining what success will look like.  If you find yourself coming up short then you can make appropriate changes because you will have something to measure against.


2. Do not define your goals, actions or success based upon someone else.  This is your goal so therefore it is all about you – stop looking for validation from anywhere else.


Remember – you are the one who is going to be doing the happy dance once you achieve your goals – make sure you pick the music you like dancing to and not someone else’s play list.



Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW

Career Coach-Strategist

Certified Professional Resume Writer

Career Polish, Inc.


What is Your Motivation?

whySomething is always motivating us.  If we are taking action toward a goal or being stagnate either way we are being motivated to do so.


I have clients that are motivated by various reasons: some simply want more money no matter the duties and others want to a new position where they feel they can contribute no matter if it comes at a salary cut.


There is no right answer in figuring out what your motivation is: it is a personal thing so therefore there cannot be a “wrong”.


Do what works for you and don’t apologize for it.


Sometimes my clients feel embarrassed to tell me their motivations.  They hem and haw and work around it afraid to say it out loud.  I’m good enough that I can normally figure it out pretty quickly and then bring it out in the open.


That’s when I coach on not apologizing for what you want and why you want it.


When someone makes you feel like you should apologize for your motivations that is on them – not you.  You want more money – ok then.  If someone tries to make you feel bad for that perhaps they are secretly upset because they do not have the opportunity or gumption to go make more money themselves.


That’s their problem – not yours.


Ladies I am going to talk to you directly for just a moment – because we are the worst.  Why feel bad if you want more money, more prestige, a bigger office, a better title – whatever it is go for it!  Don’t let someone make you feel less for wanting more.  That’s like dating the guy who “isn’t ready for a relationship so can’t we just keep it this way” and when you say no, you want more he tries to make you feel bad about it.  What are you going to do – stay in a relationship where you are not valued or respected just so he can go play around or not have to man up?  Just because we are the caretakers of the tiny humans and the world does not mean we do not deserve exactly what we want!  Dump the fool.  He’s not smart enough to realize the jewel standing in front of him – clear him out and go get that bigger office!


Ok gents – we are out of girl-world now.


Sometimes our motivations keep us from going after what we want.  Fear.  It’s a biggie.  It can be afraid of failure, afraid of rejection, afraid this job will end up stinking like the last one – whatever the case it prevents us from moving forward.


A little fear is not a bad thing, it helps us keep things in check.  But if the fear has gotten to the point that you either do not move forward or you start sabotaging yourself.  You start slacking at work, take unnecessary risks or just plain behave badly.  These acts are normally motivated by fear.


Still no need to apologize; but don’t let it control you.  Fear is an emotion, a feeling, a thought – and you can control your thoughts and emotions.  You replace them with positive action and that builds confidence.


It is imperative to identify your motivation.  Once you figure that out then you can begin taking concrete actions to either move beyond the fear or continue to make progress on your goals.  Motivation is the key that can unlock any door or keep you locked inside – what you do with that key is up to you.



Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW

Career Coach-Strategist

Certified Professional Resume Writer

Career Polish, Inc.


Grow Up and Get Your A Game Going

It seems that little kids are always in such a hurry to grow up, always striving for that next milestone – double digit numbers of reaching 10, then 16, then 18, then 21 and it goes on.  Then one day we realize we are now grown ups and wonder how that happened and how do we make it stop?!

The problem is, too many think that by not acting like a grown up will somehow fool Mother Nature or Father Time – uh, no, parents are much smarter than that.  I have a feeling the both of them are saying the same thing:

Grow up!

I can’t remember the exact sayings but the gist is this: a true measure of a man is not in what happens to him but how he deals with it – and – what is important is not how one behaves when they get what they want, but rather when they don’t.

Forgive me now for sounding a bit preachy or harsh today.  I’m a coach and there are times that you have to tell the team to suck it up because they are not performing at their best.  I’ve seen some underperforming stars, things have not turned out like they want or their behavior is not reflecting the team appropriately so let’s get started on the locker room pep talk.

Let’s review some elements of being a grown up to bring out your “A” game:



It may look bad, you may be way down at the half but the game isn’t over yet.  Instead of blaming the refs, your teammates, the sun got in your eyes, the crowd is too loud or any other myriad of excuses try looking at yourself.  How have you contributed to your failure?

What have you don’t to contribute to the situation and what are you going to do to turn it around?



Are you feeling sorry for yourself, are you ready to just quit?  Give up now and you have 100% guarantee at failure.  If you suck it up now and decide to give it everything you have then even if you don’t get your goal you can hold your head high and say “Screw it – I did my best.” Perhaps it will give you the opportunity to see that the goal wasn’t as important as you once thought.  There might even be a lesson in doing something with complete dedication and passion.



What are you doing?  Are you sitting around blaming everyone else instead of actually giving it a real try?  Stop thinking the world is against you – the world has better things to do than to conspire against you.  Sorry, you are just not that important for the entire world to conspire against you.  Stop thinking and DO!



We all screw up, sometimes it is just a little error and sometime times it is a major catastrophe.  Recognize that you have messed up and try to make it right.  Don’t try to hide it, don’t try to avoid it and don’t try to blame it on something else.  Suck it up and say, “I screwed up.  This is what I did and this is what I am going to do to make it right.”



This comes in two parts – accept yourself and accept others.  We all have faults; accept your own faults instead of beating yourself up.  If you can’t hit a three pointer than get your butt out on a court and practice, practice, practice.  If it just isn’t something that you can ever master than stop trying to take the shot in the game – accept the fact that it just isn’t going to happen and pass the damn ball.

Accept others.  If you finally accept yourself faults and all then have the same courtesy to accept others with their faults.  Remember how we all mess up – well be a grown up to listen when someone apologizes and appreciate the fact that they are grown up enough to apologize.  If you screwed up then apologize with sincerity.  Maybe a teammate screwed up and walked away, just because someone screwed up doesn’t mean that the team is doomed and forever broken.  Sometimes a team is new and it takes time to get the feel for it and some acclimate to a new environment better than others.  Don’t give up before you have had time to gel – let them back on the court.



I had to stick with the A theme – by ascend I mean go with the flow and soar.  Stop trying to control everything and everyone around you.  You can’t control the refs or even your own teammates.  Let it go, get in the groove of the game and give it your best.  If you are playing the game there is somewhere in you the passion to play.  Let your passion out, stop worrying about what might happen and concentrate on right now and love it.

The texture of the ball in your hand, the sound of the squeaky shoes on the floor, the low murmur of the crowd somewhere in the background, the adrenalin coursing through your body, the heightened sense of awareness knowing where your defender is and the sweet sound of the ball flowing through the net with a gentle “swoosh”.  The moment – give it everything you have and see where it takes you.

Play hard, play fair, play with passion and at the end of the day you are going to be on a winning team.

Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW

Career Coach-Strategist

Certified Professional Resume Writer

Career Polish, Inc.

It’s Just Not Fair

We are used to hearing that from little ones about their older brother or sister getting to do something that they are not or not being allowed to stay up a moment past their bedtimes. Even from our teens in not being allowed to go have the freedoms of an adult without the mentality of one. But as adults, we sometimes find ourselves saying that as well. And you know what; it is okay. It is justified when we are upset about a slighting of our children or loved ones. I find that I say it more in my “momma bear” mode for my kids than I do for myself. After all, I am a grown up, I know the motto suck it up, but when it involves ones we love, well then, the rules change.

Get ready folks, football season has started and there will be a lot of analogies coming your way. This is my son’s Senior Year in High School. Big time! The season has not started and already I am biting my tongue enough where I think it will come off at any moment. First let me explain, my son is a chip off both blocks. Between his father and I – the kid is kind of ruined in terms of stubbornness, attitude and strong desire to express our opinions (in an appropriate way) when we see things that are not just. And, well, there is the attitude. He is 17, and a boy, and plays lots of sports, and has inherited his mother’s attitude. People have told me they can just look at me and know immediately if it is really a wise idea to challenge me on something at that moment. I tend to wear my heart on my sleeves. My son has also inherited my naive firm belief that things should be just, right and fair. Decisions made on the basis of merit, ethics and all the proper values. What I have seen in less than a week is testing what we are made of; but, as his father pointed out, it is just a matter of proving yourself once again and it will happen. But as a mother, it is hard. It is hard to sit back and watch helplessly while these things transpire. I want to DO something, I want to be able to make something happen, I want to make it better.

Last week I talked to a woman who is helping her husband with his resume. He is in an incredible funk and this sweet woman is carrying that burden along with the stress of trying to continually build him up and look at the bright side of things. It is killing her watching the effect the transition is having on her husband. She wants to do something, she wants to make things happen, she wants to make it better.

Another client freely admits that he is driving his wife insane because he is looking for work and is being a complete (and not my words) “nutcase” about it. He said his wife has asked how she can help (my assumption: she wants to do something, she wants to make things happen, she wants to make it better) and he tells her he does not know what she can do.

You see, the stress of transition falls not only to those that are in transition, but to everyone around them. Men, and yes I am generalizing here so forgive me, tend to merge who they are with what they do and how they can provide. When there is a chink in their armor, it drives straight to the heart. Women, again I am generalizing, want to do something for them, to make it better. It is a tough world to live in and sometimes we just do not see beyond our own frustrations.

Great, you may be thinking, you have wonderful insight to what is going on in my home but how do we make it GO AWAY??? I wish I had the magic answer to that. It simply does not go away, it eats and tears at us. Personally, I try to take a philosophical approach. This is a time that nerves are raw and we really see the ties that bind. This is the opportunity for very open communication and a chance to become stronger, even if it is not at this moment, but in time. It is also a time to make plans (a primary and back up or two), have a purpose, and go after that primary plan. And if it just so happens that it is not working out the way you want, after you have put everything you have into it, then you already have your back up ready to implement. Take control of what you can and do the best with what you have, this is no time for excuses. Now is the time to give it everything you have no matter what.

For the woman and her husband, I told her to blame me for the following: she was to go home and tell him that I would be glad to speak to him at one of my classes; however, before doing so he must come up with 25 positive things about himself. Only after I see this list would I be able to help him with his resume. I told her the point in this is to force him to see the good in himself in what he can offer not only in a job, but in other ways. It is a difficult assignment; however one which I think will be very valuable. I image that he will want to ask her for advice on the list and possibly he will get some glimpse of insight as to how much good she sees in him.

For my client, I told him he must tell his wife that he knows he is being a donkey’s rear end and he appreciates the fact that she has not smothered him in his sleep. He is not intentionally shutting her out but he honestly does not know what she can do to help him. And I told him he should tell her that as well then ask her opinion. Once he has asked for her opinion, he must shut up and listen. Not knock any suggestion that she gives but be appreciative that she gives it. And he should allow her the opportunity to tell him he’s been the rear end and offer a diversion, do something outside of transition world, even if it is a walk around the block.

For me, well, I am going to focus on the positive that my son has incredible athletic ability (this is not momma bear bragging, I have had several coaches tell me he is one of the most athletic kids in the high school) and is a strong young man able to stand up for himself and what he believes is just and right in a moral sense and not in a self-centered-the-world-revolves-around-me-teenage-entitlement sense. Yes, he knows the difference, I have seen it in action and it is those moments that my breath catches in my throat because there is an adult in there wanting to come out! Although, sometimes he just chooses to ignore it. I have to believe that when all is said and done he will be on that field kicking butt and (from my keyboard to the greater power’s ears) some college will want him to come play for them. Just on a side note, I also have game film of him, just in case any school is interested in seeing just how this kid tackles so hard he gives concussions and has hands that the ball just seems to find…