Do You Have More Than One Worth?

apples and orangesYou probably define yourself in two different ways but do not even realize it.  Most people don’t.


I can ask someone what they want in life, in a career, in a relationship in any area of their life and they can normally give me an idea.  What is important to them, how they want to be treated, how they define their ideal, what makes them happy, what they will not tolerate are all things that they can at some point define.


However, when you compare this to their actual life, career, relationship or area of their life it is in direct conflict.  Perhaps they want to be healthier yet they do not exercise in any way and eat a very unhealthy diet.


Maybe they want to pursue certain opportunities yet they do nothing to move forward from either getting more education to just reaching out to people to initiate steps to create relationships or avenues for growth.


They want a solid, healthy, supportive and happy relationship yet they are in a relationship that fails to make them happy on all levels.


It is the “not ideal but good enough” scenario.


What you are actually doing is saying to the world that you desire what you want but only deserve good enough.


That is not good enough.


If what you desire makes you happy than that is what you deserve.  Period.


Stop settling.


It is not better to feed bad habits when you crave to be healthy.

It is not better to feel unappreciated or underutilized rather than go after the job you really want.

It is not better to be with someone to eliminate lonely rather than be alone.


It takes more strength to hold out and go after what you really want rather than settle for what is convenient.


Convenient does not equate to fulfillment.


Sometimes I catch myself thinking, “it shouldn’t be this hard!”  But then a voice in my head (I am assuming it is my grandmother or dad) says, “why not?”


If everything came easily I wonder if I would appreciate it as much.  I doubt it.  When I work hard at something and I accomplish that goal I feel on top of the world.  Exhilarated, triumphant, ten feet tall and bullet proof.  Convenient doesn’t feel like that.


So it is hard for a reason.  Sometimes the hard part is waiting and passing up on the easy.  That sucks.  When little tests are thrown your way in the middle of your journey.  You have been working really hard at what you want to accomplish and an opportunity pops up.  It isn’t ideal, it has hints of what you want but you know it isn’t the whole package.


Ah, temptation.  I could stop now and settle for this opportunity or say, thank you.  But no, I choose to keep pushing forward for the whole enchilada, a bite is not enough.


I spoke at a group yesterday and there was one gentleman there who just made my day.  He is in a specialty field and has been working hard at making connections, pursuing leads, keeping positive and keep going.  He has some opportunities and is in a holding pattern; yet he took a job as an “in between”.


He needs some income.  He could have looked at is a failure that it is a much lower status that what he had been doing, but here is the impressive part: he looked at it as having some fun.  He said he is making a few bucks, getting some exercise and being able to do something while he keeps moving forward.


Sometimes you have to take a pit stop – and that is all they are, a pit stop not an ending of the destination.  He recognized it, chose to look at it as a positive and while still looking at the road ahead.  That is why I know he is going to land on his feet and be a positive inspiration to his new company and coworkers.


Get your values in alignment.  If you want certain things in a job, career, relationship or in your life then stand firm and own up to the fact that you are worth it.  You deserve it so don’t settle.  Period.


It may seem the stronger your values and commitment the harder the road; that only means the sweeter the reward.



Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW

Don’t Play The ‘What If’ Game

big brother little sisterThis weekend was my brother’s birthday, he would have been 49.  We lost him at 28 so it is difficult for me to fast-forward him 21 years and imagine what he would be like right now.  He never met my son and I always wonder what kind of relationship they would have had.


My brother was the one that introduced me to jazz, George Carlin and sarcasm.  With that last part I imagine he and my son would have gotten along just fine.  Intellectually he was the smartest person I have ever known and very math-oriented.


When I was in elementary school he taught me to memorize our phone number (which ended in 6219) by telling me 6+2+1=9.  When my nephew was a toddler he took his little squishy connector toys and showed him each of the various money symbols (“this is a yen, this is a pound, this is a euro…”).  He humanized math for me and encouraged my natural inclination with a healthy dose of fascination.


I remember coming home from college and he and I sitting in my grandmother’s apartment staying up late just talking.  He was small in stature but one of the few people that I admire greatly.  His courage, enthusiasm, commitment and convictions were par to none.  I often think about “what if” with my brother.  What if he were still here today.  Having the opportunity to go to Chicago to visit him and having those late night talks again and him whipping up some amazing meal, as he was also a fantastic cook.


This is the only time I play the “what if” game.  Because this is the only thing that I absolutely cannot control.


It is easy to play the “what if” game when job searching.  What if I would have taken that other job, what if I would have gotten this degree instead of that one, what if I would have taken that promotion….


It comes down to one thing – it doesn’t matter now.  Like Rafiki said in the Lion Kind, “It doesn’t matter, it is in the past.”  He also said, “Oh yes, the past can hurt, but you can either run from it, or learn from it.”


You can’t change it, but you can change the now and tomorrow.  That is why the “what if” game is so distracting and destructive to your job search.  Focus on what you can do now and going forward.


Perhaps you had an opportunity to learn a certain skill set or technology and you passed on it and now you realize it is biting you in the butt.  Well, you can’t go back so what are you going to do about it now?


The first option is find the training and get it yourself.  That can cost a lot of money and that may not be an option; but that is not your only option.  You can do some research and find out if there is information on line or nearby that will give you a start on it.  Is there an organization you can volunteer for that would give you an opportunity to learn that skill?  Do you know someone who is proficient at it that you could ask to teach you?


There are lots of options – but you have to get off your butt and do something about it.  How bad do you want it?  That will determine what you do about it.


Another thing to consider when playing the “what if” game think about this: if you had chosen any other path you wouldn’t be the person that you are today, with the people in your life, with the knowledge and experiences that you have at this very point.


I don’t know that I would really change anything about my past, for the first 23 years any slight change could have changed the fact of me having my son.  There is nothing in this world I cherish more than my child.


After that, well, there were questionable decisions, bad decisions and just plain old “oh my goodness what the heck were you thinking” decisions.  But with each one I learned something.  Maybe not at that point in time, but eventually.  And that knowledge is invaluable to me now.


A couple months ago a friend and I were having a discussion about love.  He doesn’t believe in it and he pointed out a particularly horrible time in my life and asked how I could.  I told him that even thought it ended very badly the point before gave me as much happiness as the end gave me grief.  To me it was worth it.  I learned from the good and the bad.


Learn from your good and bad and embrace what your experiences have left you with – strength, courage and wisdom.  Use those to move forward.  Stop looking back at what you might not have or could be lacking and look forward with renewed strength that you have the ability to go do what you want now and this time really appreciate it.


That was another thing my brother taught me: know your convictions and if they are truly your convictions you will have no problem in standing up for them.  And when you do stand up for them do so with strength, courage and wisdom because they are not wrong if they are your own.



Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW

Career Coach-Strategist

Certified Professional Resume Writer

Career Polish, Inc.


All You Own Are Your Choices – Use Them Wisely

I have a friend with high blood pressure, a low tolerance for the unexpected, a quick fuse and a teenager.  This is not a good combination.  When the child or any random person in their universe does something that aggravates my friend I get a call.


My job is to listen but more importantly to continue to repeat the phrase, “I know, just take a breath you can get through this.”    It is my little contribution to keep his child and unsuspecting inconsiderate people safe and him out of the hospital from stroking out.


Somewhere along the lines he never learned to use his own little voice in his head to calm himself down and I have since been appointed.  We’re working on making the choice to let it go rather than get upset about it – whatever it may be on any given day.


We all have that choice but we rarely use it, which is a shame because it is a freeing choice.


My best friend is the most positive and optimist person I have ever known.  If you all think I’m a happy shiny person you would need shades around her.  This is one of the things I love about her: she can see the positive in the most annoying or upsetting, no matter how small.


She does this as a choice and it did not come easy.


Every day something can happen that can really throw a monkey wrench in an otherwise great day.  At that moment, that very instant that you have a physical reaction and immediate negative thought it is the golden opportunity.


You cannot help your natural reaction.  The other day I was driving home and a woman darted in front of me coming within just a few inches of my front bumper and then immediately braked.  My natural reaction was not a happy one.


But in the very next instant I chose to say aloud that I was glad it was me she cut in front of instead of a car full of teenagers, a mother with her young child in the car or an angry driver with road rage.  They might not have been paying attention but luckily I was and was able to avoid an accident.


It was a conscious decision to let it go.


For the next mile that we crept along in traffic I found it ironic that she did not let one person into our lane, actually taking great measures to ensure no one would get in front of her.  I felt sad for her, how lonely a life that is completely and selfishly centered on oneself.


Once I got home I enjoyed some time out on my deck in the sunshine with my crazy pack.


I had a friend once that told me they were bad at relationships, they never lasted and were basically afraid to commit now.  Well, hell, any single person could make that claim!  I could look back at my relationship history and draw the same conclusion –but I choose not to.  It is a choice and I chose to be grateful for lessons learned, opportunities experienced and keep moving forward.


Things happen, small or big, minor or significant – bad things happen.  It is life.  As William Goldman said, “Life isn’t fair.  It’s just fairer than death, that’s all.”


Letting things go isn’t easy, you have to make the choice to do so and continue to make that choice when something seems to want to creep back in but it can be done.  It is like developing a healthy workout routine: it takes time, practice, repetition and commitment.


Just as you will reap the rewards of better physical health in committing to working out you can reap the rewards of better mental health by committing to let things go.


You are lighter from not carrying baggage and letting go of the weight of frustration, pain or anger.  Your eyesight also improves because you are able to see more happy moments due to not being clouded with holding on to the things that you choose to make you upset.


Sometimes you have to start with the small stuff to work up to the bigger hurdles.  Traffic was an easy practice and let’s face it – we are given lots of opportunities throughout the day for small practice sessions.


Once you start to master those then you can start working on the bigger stuff.  A loved one says something that hurts your feelings, being passed over for a promotion, a break up, a job loss – whatever comes along that causes you pain.  You get to choose.


You cannot always control what happens to you, but you can choose how it will impact you moving forward.  You get to choose.


Make a wise choice and commit to it.


It is then that you will begin to see how that choice and commitment seem to lessen the effect of the event.  The pain lessens, perspective begins to be restored, other opportunities start to peek through the clouds and life moves if not in a more positive way at least in a definite less negative manner.


It is your choice – use it wisely.



Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW

Career Coach-Strategist

Certified Professional Resume Writer

Career Polish, Inc.

Fishes in the Sea

Have you ever been in a situation and there is this moment that the gentle, nudging voice from within suddenly snaps at you and says, “Who the hell are you?” because you are no longer acting like yourself and have suddenly become this unrecognizable crazy person?


If you have ever been in the race for a certain job or heck even in the dating world then you, my friend, know exactly what I am talking about.  For those that haven’t a clue what I’m talking about let me illuminate.


Anticipation, the unknown, dependency on the decisions of others – these are all maddening factors that contribute to our own self-created craziness.


When you are interviewing for a job and the process seems to be dragging along these factors all seem to creep in and take over.  Because of your lack of control and the doubt that starts to creep in and make you doubt yourself, your skills and abilities you find yourself changing.


You go from mildly interested in the position to really wanting it and hoping that it comes through even though when your friends ask you about why this job is so great you really can’t answer them.


As the interview process continues and becomes negotiations they start to make you doubt your worth and even try to get you to lower your asking price or wants just so you can take this position.  When you get to the point that you think those are good ideas then let me officially welcome you to crazy town.


I often compare dating to job searching and this is ripe for the comparison.  But in my case my little voice inside was my best friend.  God love her.  I have a client that I am trying to lead out of crazy town and it reminded me of a guy I used to know.


Me and this guy were involved last year and for a few months it was really kinda nice, very easy going, very natural and I was very okay with the fact that even though we were together we weren’t making a big deal about it.


Then he did the guy thing – freak out and bail out.  Somehow a title was assigned and this flipped him out and all of a sudden he couldn’t be in a relationship but for the next couple months he still acted the same way with bouts of freak outs.


Typical girl I started wondering what I did that changed things and started allowing for bad behavior which ultimately lead to some very uncomfortable conversations, unpleasant situations and ultimately being snapped at by my best friend.  I actually opened the door for her to do this so it is all good.


Here’s the thing – we were in a relationship and it was all cool until we actually said it and well, let the games begin.  But I’m not putting this all on him; I was along for the ride and even started to throw some luggage out the window to lighten the load.  My fault.


But here’s where crazy crept in – games led to me starting to question myself and if I was truly asking for too much or coming across as thought I was expecting things.  Oh, I went to crazy town and along the way traded my own self for a poor imitation.  Bad me.


But when your best friend or little voice asks you who the hell you are because they don’t recognize you and admonishes you for apologizing or questioning who you are or what you want you know – right then and there – you gotta hop in that time machine to get the heck out of crazy town and back into your world.


When you are interviewing for a job know before you even step foot in the door what you want, what makes you happy, what you can and can’t deal with, what you hope to accomplish, what you want to receive and a general idea of your career path.  Knowing these things helps you make sound decisions as to if this is the right job for you.


Just because the job is available and offered doesn’t mean it is the job for you.


It is a great feeling when you are a contender for a position, and even more so when they fawn over you and pursue you.  But when it begins to drag out and they start throwing the monkey wrenches of lower salary, less vacation, reduced benefits and increased responsibility this is when you have to go back to your original plan of action.


Don’t settle and for goodness sakes don’t apologize for it.


Going back to the guy – I liked him and I really think we could’ve been good together, goodness knows his friends thought so but whatever.  But his neuroses are not my issue, it is not my place to take them on; for crying out loud I wasn’t asking for a ring and I wasn’t going to be treated like crap – well, anymore I wasn’t.


When I realized it was a game of catch and release and I had gotten ok with being treated like crap and jerked around I had to do a little butt-kicking on myself and a little came out.  I let him know I certainly was not going to apologize for who I am and what I wanted, no substitutes, no good enoughs, no games and no more period.


At this point I know he could have given a rat’s behind about what I said, but I said it and damn I felt good.  Karma must have loved me for getting out of dodge in crazy town because two days later I met a great guy.


When you are interviewing for that job know your worth and stick to it.  It isn’t like you are asking them to break the bank or give you half the year off.  If concessions can be made and they fit within your original “be okay with and not be okay with” plan then by all means go for it.


Maybe right now they can’t afford you or give you the opportunity that you deserve – don’t take this on personally.  It isn’t you – the operative word here was THEY.  Thank them, review your interviewing to see if there are any areas that you could improve and move on.


You never know what is right around the corner.  It might be a good job to learn new skills, it may be a job that defines your entire career, it may be a job that takes you into a new industry or career path or it might be a job from which you retire – you just never know.


What if the first job comes back and says they can offer you what you want now – well, that is a personal decision that is a whole other conversation….



Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW

Career Coach-Strategist

Certified Professional Resume Writer

Career Polish, Inc.

I Would Rather Tend Bar

My brother was a genius, certifiably, literally a genius. He earned a full ride to college, earned his Masters at IU while teaching classes there and he could have done anything in the world he wanted to do.

After grad school he moved to Chicago and worked at the Chicago Board of Exchange. He hated it and went back to bartending. He had tended bar when he was in college and loved it and when he passed away he was doing what he loved to do.

There are many reasons that I was proud of my brother and him leaving the Exchange for a bar was just one of them. It could have been very easy to bow to external pressure and stay at the Exchange – good money, the reputation, a career path –but he chose to do what he loved instead he traded it for an uncertain income, no career path per say and a whole different work environment.

I think that took a lot of courage and not once do I ever remember him apologizing to anyone about his choice. It was his choice and there was no need to apologize. He might have had doubts but I never saw any, when you believe in something and truly love it you let go of the doubts and bank on the good that you know you will receive.

That’s love – yes, you could get hurt but then again you could be in for the ride of your life. Why place it safe? Why live your life based on what everyone else would deem as the “right” path or choice? It is so easy for others to sit back and make judgment calls because quite frankly if they are wrong they don’t have to pay the piper. Unless you have skin in the game I don’t think your vote should count for much.

If you are contemplating some move or change in your life tell the voices in your head to shut up, politely ignore the opinions of all those who are not vested and listen to your heart. The only one you have to reconcile with is yourself and if you follow your heart there will be no explanation needed.

Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW
Career Coach-Strategist
Certified Professional Resume Writer
Career Polish, Inc.

Getting Just A Little More Than You Expected

Two of the pack Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW, Career Polish, Inc.
Luke & Brutus
So yesterday I told the story of timing and bringing Bandit back home, but there was one little fact I left out – I brought back a little more than I expected. Brutus. My pack is now up to five. My best friend Jackie said I had to stop because if I needed two hands to count my dogs then I would officially cross over into crazy lady zone.

I couldn’t help it! While I was finishing my paperwork for Bandit in walked this young man and said he found this pup under a car the night before. I looked over and saw the cutest, tiniest version of one of my dogs that I just looked at the kid, sighed, and said, “Oh, just hand him over” and that is how Brutus came home.

It hit me when I walked in my house that bringing home a miniature dog might not have been the best idea since I already had a very hyper year old boxer-lab mix, Luke, who is FULL of energy. Maybe he would squash the puppy or accidently swallow him. Luke’s favorite toy is Lexi, the puggle, he loves to chew on her and they happily tear at each other throughout the day. It was quite possible Luke would swallow Brutus if he tried the same thing, or at the very least snap him in half. And then there could have been the issue of a big dog not liking such a small dog.

As you can tell from the picture, I have no worries. Luke is in seventh heaven. To him, I just brought home two more playmates, and one is a real life toy. Not only did he like him, he loves him. At best I was hoping for acceptance but with the two new additions, I got so much more. What is the saying, hope for the best prepare for the worst?

As it is Friday I encourage you to look back at this week and find one thing that was a happy surprise, it doesn’t have to be anything huge, maybe just something as small as the perfect cup of coffee. I think sometimes we are so frustrated that when we look for something good we look for something big – we get confused. Now, having five dogs that all get along, that is big. But that is not the only good of my week. I also had a lovely surprise after the NAWBO Connections this week.

And that lovely surprise turned out to be more than I expected, as well. Looking back at my week, good and bad, I have decided the good outweighs the bad so I am going to celebrate. I will be finishing early today to go enjoy the Indiana State Fair, even though it is Purdue day, I’m an IU grad and I am going with a Purdue grad – this should be fun! I’ll be making up some lost time tomorrow, but for tonight, I think I will just simply enjoy a wonderful evening and be thankful that I have more than I expected.

Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW
Career Polish, Inc.