Just walked to my office on a grey, wet, rainy Friday morning in June...I put my dripping wet umbrella on the ground, poured my third cup of coffee and am trying to overcome my own rainy day funk…so I thought there was no better time to share some of the tips about overcoming job search funk that was the topic of a presentation I gave earlier this month.

As part of my role as a member of the Lawyers in Transition Committee for the NYSBA, I was one of four panelists asked to speak on the topic of “Avoiding the Funk During the Job Search.”
 It is a program we have run for the last several years since 2008 and for those of you that want to watch the full webinar you can download it for free on the NYSBA website. 

So while the tips in this blog can be useful anytime the career funk sets in, this blog is for those persistent, noble, red-eyed, weary warriors of the legal job search who have had to weather weeks, months and, in some instances, at least a year of job searching in a weird legal climate.

First things first. You Are Not Unique. Career Funk  is everywhere…regardless of your work or job circumstances, whether you are employed, self-employed, unemployed or looking for a job, rest assured, that a sense of ennui, frustration, and good old-fashioned depression can creep into your workday and mindset and derail even the most gung-ho, caffeine-driven career.  It happens to me at least once a day like clockwork around 3pm and it hits hard, just like it does for everyone. I guess that’s my first point: You are not unique and neither am I. Career funk will come. Funk will set in for all of us and we all need tips and tools and rituals to help De-Funk.

So it has me thinking? What does Job Funk & Job Search Fatigue Syndrome for attorneys look like, what are the causes and what can you do to combat it? So here are some of my initial lay observations about lawyers and why the job search funk hits attorneys particularly hard.

Here’s the crux of it.  We are a community of professionals who like to be prepared for the worst and we are trained to throw ourselves into a difficult situation, issue spot, quickly problem solve, fix and move on to the next issue. On a day to day basis, we are accustomed to immediate gratification

So here’s the root of the job funk: many of my clients approach the legal job search with the same, immediate tackle, throw-down and conquer approach that they approached their legal practice. But soon enough within 3 -5 months, attorneys confront a harsh reality that job search in this climate can be a long, protracted and uncertain process. Attorneys come to learn that while they can control the effort they put into their job search, they cannot control the outcome, the timing and the results.

Lack of control, lack of immediate gratification, and a lack of certainty define the new job search reality for many attorneys and can lead to job search funk.

 So what can you do to avoid the Funk? Here are some basic suggestions:

1)      Go Inward: Some of you know that in addition to being a former attorney, I am also a shrink. And so, in my experience, spending quiet time identifying and processing difficult emotions is the starting point for overcoming any funk. Many times when we are in a funk we do not even know what emotions and feelings are brewing beneath the surface; all we know is that we are not ourselves and in a rut. Denial of difficult emotions, such as---rejection, bereavement, fear, grief, loss, hurt, embarrassment, disappointment-- breeds such career obstacles as procrastination, paralysis, indifference, fatigue and just guarantees us more funk.  So no more denial! If you are sensing that your job search is running on fumes, it might be time to go inward a little and figure out what is going on internally and emotionally with you.  Spending some time identifying what you feel, and allowing yourself to express and process the tough emotions associated with job loss or protracted job transition can actually be a starting point for re-energizing your job search. The only way through the grief and loss is through it... there is no way around it. And when we are in a funk...it’s a sign to start going inward, articulate and process the rough feelings with a friend, mentor, counselor or professional.

2)      Connect With Non-Lawyers: Reducing isolation and finding ways to connect interpersonally is key to reducing the funk.  But here’s the deal: while you are in the job funk, stay away from other attorneys and the networking events that draw other attorneys looking for employment. Why? Because misery likes company and the last thing you need right now is to surround yourself with other well-meaning, highly articulate, equally frustrated and defeated attorneys who can creatively add to your own list of reasons to be miserable.  Part of getting out of the funk means protecting yourself.

Find ways to connect with other professionals from other industries through alumni associations, civic organizations, local charities or through hobbies you may have left to atrophy over the last several years. Mix it up and you are more likely to find people that are like-minded and maybe more positive and energetic than you are right now.

3)      Eliminate Well-Meaning, Loveable Energy Drainers: I am about to give you a De-Funk mantra: Protect yourself. Protect yourself and then protect yourself some more. The reality is that while in the job funk, you are emotionally vulnerable. This means that for the immediate future you need to ruthlessly eliminate and/or reduce contact with those loving, caring and well-meaning people in your world—friends, colleagues, family members—who want the best for you, are worried about your “situation” but who, like clockwork, invariably give unsolicited advice that makes you feel worse about yourself, your job search efforts and your career. These are the well-intentioned people who always say and ask the wrong thing about the most sensitive area in your life. Do you have any people like that in your world? Yep. Thought so. Me too. To them and you, I say: BOUNDARIES. This is a time for you to create and maintain boundaries.

Reducing contact with these people is imperative to protecting you from sinking deeper into the funk. You can always reconnect with them when you are stronger, more confident and less vulnerable.

4)      Structure Your Day & Get Moving: Some experts say that finding a job is a 40-hour a week “job.” I do not agree. I don’t know about you, but I can’t do the same project, task or activity for more than 3 hours much less for 40 hours a week. I need variety. But I do believe that your work week should be scheduled and that the job search game plan, i.e. your resume revisions, networking, and connecting with contacts etc. should be structured and scheduled at the same time every day.

I also believe that exercise of some sort that gets you out of your home and into the world also needs to be structured into your “job search” day. It will help improve your mood, get you seeing other people and feeling that you accomplished something at the end of the day.

5)      Be Selfish by Giving to Others: My final tip sounds counterintuitive but it actually makes sense. Start paying it forward. I’m not being preachy...I am being practical. When you give you feel better. Full stop. Your situation may be difficult, hard and frustrating but there are people in more dire and difficult circumstances than you or me. Find a way to volunteer your time to a cause you believe in, or to a hospital, children’s cause, food pantry, soup kitchen or home for the aged and watch your funk lift! The most selfish thing you can do to get out of your funk is to give to others. 

Giving activates our feelings of gratitude for what we have and reminds us that everything in life changes. Giving to others will make your spirits soar, it is good for the soul and you will gain perspective about your current situation. All good things. 

Finally, there is a difference between job funk and full blown clinical anxiety and depression. If you believe your circumstances may be more serious than a “funk” then there is professional help for attorneys through the NYSBA and City Bar of NY to help address issues related to job loss that are more serious. And I would encourage you to capitalize on these resources to help move you forward.

And

I leave you with this final quote about facing the challenges of uncertainty in the face of unwanted change, which I often find comforting. Peace.

“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don't resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.” - Lao Tzu

Onward...

ERK
 
 
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(A blog dedicated to those whose legal careers were recently unexpectedly upended…and to whom we wish resilience and success)

Ask most anyone you know about what their lives have been like in the last four years and you will hear many of the same stories of loss, sudden change, uncertainty, uprooting and chaos. When people ask me, I usually say that the only thing that hasn't changed in my life in the last four years is my--gender. And depending on the day, I am, at best, ambivalent about that fact, too.

Many of us have seen the reversal of fortunes, undoing of relationships, dissolution of career goals, merciless illness and loss of status, homes, health and expectations.  And in my line of work, I am witness to many of these stories as I am frequently asked to help clients navigate and escort them through these troubled waters as they navigate their careers.

Like my clients, my own life and work in the last four years has brought me losses, heartbreak, disappointment and a lot of acceptance and letting go. Like my clients, I have weathered some events more gracefully than others…and yet, I find, that somehow I am still standing, working, writing, laughing, loving, & hoping. 

There are those of us who recover and move on. And there are those who do not. Many of us know how to move on...we might do it kicking and screaming and as a last resort...but I along with others bounce back and know how to start anew.

And the difference is Resilience. Resilience is the X-factor in determining whether we move on, bounce back, suck it up and warrior-on or whether we languish, get depressed and become complaining victims of life events.

This year the topic at Davos was RESILIENT DYNAMISM. A fancy & elegant term for what is a complicated, messy and ugly process.  My translation of RESILIENT DYNAMISM?  It's when you unexpectedly get your behind kicked really hard so that you fall down and then down some more, and yet you find a way to keep kicking right back until you bounce back.

Arianna Huffington in writing about resilience quotes the President of the Rockefeller Foundation, Judith Rodin who outlines the FIVE ELEMENTS OF RESILIENCE and who writes, "What distinguishes today’s threats from those of the past are the escalating rate at which they are occurring."

Yep.  Not a happy thought, Arianna, but brutally true. Funny thing about resilience is that just when you get up...more stuff comes along, harder and faster to kick you down again. So learning how to be resilient is now a human imperative. We have no choice. Learn to be resilient or get ready to put out the welcome-mat for human extinction.

So it had me thinking: Why do some people easily bounce back while some others never do? And is bouncing back--or resilience--something we can learn, emulate, cultivate and strive for?

In the interest of sharing tips on being resilient in your career and life, I have taken the liberty of redefining the FIVE ELEMENTS OF RESILIENCE outlined by the Rockefeller Institute in simpler terms, as I understand them, and I offer some practical advice and ways to improve your resilience when it comes to your careers.

So here it goes:

According to the Rockefeller Institute, the FIVE CHARACTERISTICS OF RESILIENCE are:

1) Spare Capacity: My Translation & Tip:"Refuel”

The first step to career resilience is to find ways to refuel your energy level. We need to have the energy/willingness/desire to bounce back. Resilience requires that we take care of our bodies, diet, mind & heart so that the bounce-back process can begin to take root.  For some of my clients they refuel by playing golf or tennis, gardening, cooking or being with friends or family, or going away, or getting a massage, or just getting more sleep. Crisis and disaster--especially professional and personal ones--are draining. So step #1: focus on cultivating spare capacity by refueling mind and body.

2) Flexibility: My Translation & Tip:"Stop the Denial"

Flexibility is defined as the ability to change, evolve and adapt when faced with crisis. But before you can change or evolve you need to FACE THE CRISIS. In order to bounce back from a career set back or crisis and be resilient we need to be willing to face the crisis, stop any denial that might be taking root and accept the change that might be happening in our career. I spend a lot of time and energy working with people and trying to break through their career denial. Denial that they have been fired. Denial that they need to look for a job. Denial that they may need to retool their practice. Denial that they may need to adjust their lifestyle as they make other career choices. So being flexible means adopting a mindset of trying to be honest, open, and flexible in your thinking about what has happened and open to ways to move on.

3) Limited Failure: My Translation & Tip: "Crisis Containment"  

I call this step the career crisis containment process. It is the ability to contain the career crisis and not let it spread like wildfire to every other aspect of your life. It is about developing and creating boundaries around the crisis and not allowing it to seep like poison gas into every other part of our lives. Losing your job doesn't mean you have to gain 30 lbs, start smoking, drinking excessively or start other self destructive behavior. Not making partner or being fired as a partner doesn't mean that you wait 6 months before regrouping, or telling your spouse. And it doesn’t help to isolate or bad mouth every partner or associate at the firm. Enlisting the help of others in trying to contain the career crisis is key to resilience and bouncing back.

4) Rapid Rebound: My Translation & Tip:"Stop the Pity. Get a plan. Move On.”

We all know what a rebound is: it's a temporary person/gig/interest to help you get over the pain of the person/job/opportunity that got away. Rebounding quickly when it comes to career disappointment is no different than romantic rebound. You know the old saying about romantic rebounding: “If you can't be with the one you love honey, love the one you’re with."  That rebounding adage also applies to your career rebound. Stop obsessing or romanticizing the past job. Choose to stop the self-pity party and stop replaying the career drama over and again in your head. Getting a new career plan, a new resume, a new perspective, a new network etc. will help reduce the self-pity and obsessing and it will give you something new, fresh and hopeful to focus on. Getting and engaging in a new career plan--even if it's not your "dream" or "perfect" or "passion" job--is important in growing your resilience. 

5) Constant Learning:  My Translation & Tip: "Stay Curious."

A commitment to keeping your brain active, alive and challenged even in the midst of crisis is key to resilience. In my work with clients, I always recommend new books, articles, hobbies, classes etc. that they can engage in while they are in the midst of dealing with a career crisis.  A certain level of enthusiasm for continued learning is imperative for everyone when in the midst of crisis as it keeps you hopeful and engaged and reminding yourself of your best strengths and qualities. All good things that help build resilience.

So here it is. Lawscope's Five Rules for Career Resilience:

1) Refuel
2) Stop career denial , face the crisis and get flexible;
3) Exercise career crisis containment;
4) Rebound with a new plan even if you don't love it; and
5) Keep learning.

Wishing you all much resilience in all your life, love and career endeavors.

Onward...

ERK

Photo used courtesy of Free-HD Wallpapers.
 
 
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So here it is. After years of talking about it, obsessing, deliberating, and perfecting the idea of creating a LawScope career blog--a user-friendly hub for practical, down to earth, career advice, tips and insights--I am finally sitting down at my kitchen table at 5am on a cold Friday morning and...doing it. 

Sounds simple, right? But like most things we humans "should do", "want to do" or "envision" for ourselves...I find that the dreams come easily.... while the doing part....well, that's a whole other thing.

So it has me thinking:

What is it about the "doing it" part of our lives---putting our dreams to task and making them come alive---that makes us run for cover for years?  

When do our personal and career dreams for ourselves stop being exciting and invigorating and start becoming scary and paralyzing?

What is it that makes us freeze dry our biggest dreams for ourselves and instead, create inert, dusty, mausoleum-like Career Dream Snow Globes that keep our career dreams and hopes for ourselves captive, preserved and hostage to inaction?  The only answer is Fear. Yep, that ugly "F" word that gums up our best visions and version of ourselves. So I thought I'd talk a little about fear...mine and maybe yours too.

So here's what was going on for me. Writing this blog has me overcoming two biggie FEARS: letting people in and letting go of perfection.  Perhaps some of you are familiar with this....the fear of letting go is a big one for me. So here's a short list of the fears that came into play for me and has delayed my writing and launching this blog for years:

Fear of putting my not always coherent thoughts to paper.
Fear of being held accountable for my words in print. (I think it's a lawyer/discretion thing....we were always taught to "not put everything in print").
Fear of letting my clients, staff, interns, and my amazingly talented assistant, see how timid and tentative I can be about writing.
Fear of letting people see how messy and imperfect some aspects of my career life can be...(I am an executive career coach, right? My career needs to be perfect, right?).
Fear of letting other professionals help me with my own career dreams and participate in the process...(letting go of control...there's a theme here, as you see).
Fear of not having anything of value to say...
Fear of not creating the perfect blog...
Fear of creating only a "so-so", "ordinary" "not so fabulous" blog...
Fear of letting go of the dream of the perfect blog and allowing a real human, imperfect blog surface in its place...


And the list goes on....

So it all comes down to FEAR...fear that somehow the dream of what we want to achieve is so fantastical, so unattainable, so fragile, so other-worldly...that we refrain from breathing life into it and making it real. 

We value and cherish our dreams for ourselves so much that we convince ourselves that the reality of what we want for ourselves can never measure up to our over-inflated illusion of our dream version. So we protect ourselves and our dreams and keep them in "idea" or work-in-progress form.

If your life is anything like mine, it's messy and there are times when reality can disappoint us terribly. But our dreams of what life can be---are always perfect, pristine and protected.  So here's my insight into why we put off making our dreams a reality: Disappointment hurts. But unrealized dreams can never disappoint. So to counteract the harsh effects of disappointment and reality, we put our biggest dreams for ourselves in, what I've  called, a Career Dream Snow Globe and take it off the shelf every once in a while to dust it off...shake it up, gaze longingly at it, and then delicately put it back on the shelf...lest it might shatter. 

So today, as I sit down to write this blog, I would encourage you to feel the fear and do it anyway...take that Career Dream Snow Globe of yours and along with me....toss it hard, like a football, across the room until it shatters....and let the dream of what you want for your life or for your career tumble out...let it breath...and let's focus on trying to make some of our dreams real...even if they are less than perfect. 

As I write this blog, I hope you will join me on my own voyage of feeling the fear and doing it anyway.
So here is a practical starting point. Pick one thing today, that you dream of doing in your career...and just do it. Make that call. Walk into that person's office. Research that class. Sign up for the committee...whatever it might be...just take that first step.

And as we, at LawScope, launch this career blog, I pray that you get value from the tips, anecdotes, musings and insights that I hope to share with you over the next couple of months. My clients are my guides and teachers and all the wisdoms shared here comes from them and their fearless willingness to share their struggles, dreams, disappointments and victories with me.

Onward....

Elena

This first blog entry is dedicated to the blessed memory of Dr. Susan Jeffers, author of "Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway." Dr. Jeffers changed the way I think about and overcome fear...she passed away several weeks ago. I recommend her book to anyone and everyone who wants to overcome their fears and start living.

 
 
So as the Mayan prediction for 12/21/12 came and went without the end of life on earth as we know it, and as we said goodbye to the year 2012 only two weeks ago, I am left with many lingering and unresolved thoughts about the whole concept of endings and what impact they have on us.

The last four years have brought many unexpected endings to many of us. My astrologer friends tell me it has something to do with Uranus and Pluto...all I know is that the last four years have felt like a free-fall roller coaster ride as I, along with many of my clients, have undergone more than our fair share of endings. And with endings came losses: loss of jobs, financial security, identity, relationships, health, confidence, ambitions and the list goes on and on. No way around it...endings and loss are a part of change. And change is constant. 

But something about the Mayan frenzy about the end of the world that captured my imagination and so it had me thinking: If the world were to end, what would I do today that I have always been afraid to do?

What would I put on my Mayan Bucket List?

Many impulsive things come to mind: skydiving, try a McRib sandwich, I would buy that motorcycle, drive without a helmet and move to California...and many other things I know I will never do. But on a more practical level --this whole Mayan Bucket List thing has me thinking about my career, my fears and what holds me back. What would I do differently today in my work if I knew the world would come to an end? What would I push forward? Who would I call? What would I try? So here is a small sampling of my Mayan- Bucket List:

I would start writing that damn book; I would reach out to those "scary people" on my networking list and finally ask them to meet with me and give me a chance to tell them what I do; I would finally find the right person to pitch the reality show I have in mind; I would take that leap of growth and open LawScope's DC office...

…and many other things...

So with the Mayan doomsday behind us, and with our new year's resolutions beginning to fade and feel a little more out of reach, ask yourself what is one courageous thing you can do this week to push your career forward or bring an ambition or dream closer to reality? What one small step of courage can you take...if, indeed, you knew the world would end?
As for me....today I outlined the book. One small step.

And I have to thank the Mayans for that.

I look forward to seeing you on the other side of 2013.

Onward...

Elena
 
 
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My original intention for this blog was that each month I would focus on a thematic career subject relevant to attorneys. But, as with most well-planned out and structured ideas I have for myself...I find myself bucking against the constraints of structure that even I impose on myself, in favor of creativity and inspiration.

(I have been told I have a problem with authority...seems to be some truth to that.)

So, January's blog content was supposed to focus on networking and connectivity. And I will get to those topics in time before the end of January...but right now, only two weeks into 2013, as we all leave the holidays of Thanksgiving, Diwali, Christmas, Hanukah and New Years behind us, I have become acutely aware of how all the lofty sentiments of gratitude, good cheer, hope, happiness, and  love for mankind along with my own new year resolutions, feel as if they are already beginning to fade. Somehow, the familiar, stagnant, grey haze of indifference, dissatisfaction, and ennui seems to be already creeping back into my own mindset, career and life and those of my clients.

So it has me thinking: What is it about the human experience that makes keeping a posture of gratitude and joy and optimism so difficult? And what role can gratitude play in making our careers more satisfying and meaningful? And how can we keep our mindset-compass pointing north toward gratitude?

Which all had me thinking about my train commute home...(stay with me, it links up, I promise).

There is a billboard I notice every evening on my commute from NYC back home...that hovers over the most desolate and depressing section of an industrial park in the south Bronx. The billboard is higher than the highway and the bridge my commuter train passes over...the billboard is bright red, and in large, all cap black letters the billboard reads: "GRATITUDE". Some person/company pays lots and lots of money to make sure that 365 days a year the word GRATITUDE shines over the city of NY and its Bronx sister-borough. Amazing, no?

Why do we need a billboard? In red? In caps? I don't know the philosophical answer to our inability to stay in a place of gratitude...I see all my clients struggle with it. I struggle with it. My friends struggle with it.

I suppose, that's why every culture and religion has a: "Hey you, person sulking!...stop thinking about what you don't have and start being grateful for what you do have" holiday or festival.

So for me, gratitude is always a struggle...it's not that I am not thankful for the blessings in my life and work...it's just that I find I have to WORK at being thankful and grateful. I have to be MINDFUL of my blessings. REMIND myself. Make lists. Make more lists...read books...read more books and then RE-REMIND myself to be grateful for my work, my health, my family and my life. I spend alot of energy just getting and then trying to stay in a place of gratitude and it doesn't always work. It's a slippery mindset. So what's a person to do?

So I thought I would share two ways I have learned to stay in a place of gratitude:

1) Make Lists: I make lists. Of the good stuff. And I keep adding to it. People. Skills. Abilities. Health. Opportunities. Loves. Learning. I have these lists all over my house, in various notebooks, in post-its on my computer, in my purse, on my phone, on notecards in a cigar box on my desk and by my night table. I am typically not a list person...but for gratitude I make lists. It keeps me grounded and remembering how abundant my life is.

2) Give Back: I donate time to others. Volunteer. Nothing will snap you back hard into a place of gratitude than giving to people or causes that are more needy, desperate, sad, lonely, depressed, defeated than you are. Giving is one of the most selfish things a person can do to remind them to be grateful.

So in an effort to keep this entry related to CareerTalk here are some ways to be grateful for your career exactly where it is today:

~ list your accomplishments
list your talents
list your skills
list your mentors
list your teachers
list your advisors
list your bonuses
list your raises
list your interviews
list the number of job offers you've received
list the recent career opportunities you've been given
list people who have helped you and your career or job search
list books that have moved you and helped you grow
list employees or assistants who have made your life easier
list disappointments that turned into blessings in disguise
list your physical abilities that let you work
list your mental abilities that let you work
list your intellectual abilities that let you work
list your salary
list things you have recently bought because of your career...

This should keep us busy and remembering to stay in a place of gratitude at least until...next Thanksgiving.

As for me, as I write this second blog entry...I am looking forward to my train commute back home and to seeing the word of GRATITUDE emblazoned in red.

Onward…

Elena

 
 
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Every once in a while in my line of work I am able to witness small miracles. Where despair turns to hope. Where loss turns to success.

Where hopelessness unfolds into new paths and direction.

This is the joy of my work.

Today, I was honored to hear of another small career miracle which I wanted to share with you.

She came to me about 6 months ago. She had been let go. And the partner who had let her go after 10 years did the unthinkable: in addition to just letting her go, telling her she would never make partner, that all the business development efforts she had made for the practice group were irrelevant, he twisted the knife in a little deeper and said, "And by the way, when you go and look for another job, we suggest that you do not seek out a senior position with a lot of responsibility, certainly you should forget about ever being a partner somewhere, your work is not as good as you think; so why put yourself in the uncomfortable position of taking on too much responsibility? Know your limits."

She was decimated. She came to my office, gaunt, pale, shaking, and stunned by how her work and her dedication to the firm had been swiftly ended with such indifferent cruelty.  Not only had they taken away her job, they went so far as to take away her hope. In our coaching work together, we focused on getting her professional confidence back, on reframing what had happened to her, on creating a foundation where hope could start pouring in again. We also focused on practical strategies: we improved her resume, her pitch, her interview style etc. When I had last seen her in June she was in better shape, and she had started to interview for new positions through a headhunter I had recommended.

Fast Forward to Today: 1/13/13: I have not seen or spoken to her in 6 months. And she called out of the blue.

 "Elena, I have good news. Can I come see you?"

She was a vision of sheer confidence. Put together, smiling, laughing and she looked happy and forward looking.

"So what's the good news?" I asked.

"I have two offers from two top law firms. Both with partner titles. Both to grow their practices...they each are fighting over me."

Partner. Wow. I was blown away.  Standing in front of me was a small career miracle and a sharp slap in the face to the pessimism of "Know Your Limits." Her story was a testament to the power of hope and the human spirit.

So it has me thinking that there are a lot of take-aways from this little vignette that walked into my office on a cold afternoon in January:

There are people along the way who will try to break our spirits. Tell us who we are and who we are not. Pigeon-hole us. Stereotype us. Dash our career dreams out of sheer cruelty and sport. Sometimes they will come in sheep's clothing and "out of concern" for us tell us to "know our limits" or "count your blessings” and settle. They will slowly show us the logic and reasoning for losing all hope for manifesting our highest visions for ourselves and our highest ambition. I call these people the HOPE-VAMPIRES. 

We must be vigilant in knowing who those people are in our lives, how they operate and why.

So ask yourself: Who drains me? When I leave this person's company do I feel empty, lost and numb? Does this person always have a logical and usually fear-based reason why I cannot/should not/dare not/ move forward in some way? We all have those people in our lives. Some whom we chose along the way...and some we did not choose.

It is our job to identify who they are and then be ruthless in eliminating them from our lives and influence.

And instead, we need to seek out the HOPE-GIVERS.  Those people who see our best and have our backs. Miracles happen when hope is allowed to grow again. Today, as I was allowed to see the rebirth of a person and her dreams for herself, I was reminded of how powerful the gift of hope from others can be. I know that in my life, at those moments when I have been most drained of hope and could not see the next step...magically, people appear who give me the gift of hope; I call them the HOPE-GIVERS. HOPE-GIVERS are those people who can see things for me that I cannot see. And whose belief in me gave me the strength to continue on my path.

The HOPE-GIVERS remind us of who we truly are, who we can become and what we are capable of.

In my own life, and particularly in moments of transition, it has been the presence of HOPE-GIVERS that encourage me to build, rely on and cross the unsteady and shaky Bridge of Hope that helps close the enormous and terrifying transition gap between:

what has happened and what is yet to come...
between the past and the future…
between grief and laughter...
between despair and hope.

And on a recent January morning, my client reminded me how blessed I was to be asked to play a small part in rebuilding her Bridge of Hope, so that she could better navigate the transition gap between her past and her promising future.

So identify and avoid the HOPE-VAMPIRES. And seek out the HOPE-GIVERS. Train all your senses to know the difference...

Onward…

Elena