Managing New-Job Anxieties

I help a lot of people not only find new, more fulfilling career directions but also to navigate their way towards actually getting the job.  And you might think that once they've got the job - it's smooth sailing from there.  However, typically, clients will feel a bit of anxiety or worry when they start their new dream jobs for a variety of reasons.  It might be that they are worried that they won't live up to their new boss's expectations, or that they are doubting that they are fully capable of performing the new job.  Sometimes it's just a feeling of anxiousness as they think about having to exert so much mental energy to learn all the systems, resources, processes and people of the new job. 

I've been coaching a few clients on this subject lately so I wanted to share a few tips for managing the stress, anxiety, and worry of starting a new job.


Define Your Worry: Actionable Versus Non-Actionable

Sometimes our worries can help serve us by pushing us to prepare for something.  For example, if I was worried about not performing well on a test, this worry might cause me to study more if I addressed it with the following process:

When you have a worry, ask yourself, "can i do anything about this right now?"

  1. If yes, then, as Nike puts it; "Just do it."

  2. If yes, but not right now, then schedule a time to address whatever the worry is, and then do it when the time comes.

  3. If not at all, because whatever you are worried about is out of your control, then dismiss the thought as if you are erasing a chalk board.

  4. Repeat this process whenever the same or new worry comes up again.


Quick Relief from Anxiety Exercises:

For those pesky worries that you can do nothing about, try the following steps to get quick relief from anxious thoughts:

  1. Think about what you are grateful for, and immerse yourself and your mind in the feeling and emotion of gratefulness. (It's impossible to feel grateful and anxious at the same time)

  2. Practice Mindfulness: Focus on the here and now, instead of latching your attention onto your thoughts. For example, if you are brushing your teeth, focus on how the brush feels on each tooth and your gums, etc. Or if you are sitting at your desk, focus on the simple act of breathing.

  3. Take some deep breaths to slow the sympathetic nervous system (at least 3). Our fight or flight mode is meant to save us from imminent danger - but it can be activated by perceived danger or stressful thoughts. When we slow our breathing, we can help deactivate this mode.


Proving Your Anxious Thoughts Wrong

This exercise is also a good one for unhelpful thoughts, worries or anxieties that are not actionable because the brain likes proof. I use a more in depth version of this in my coaching. 

  1. Identify the thought that is causing you anxiety (this can be the hardest part, so if you are stuck, ask yourself what you are most afraid of in this situation).

  2. List 10 reasons why the opposite could be true (work with a friend on this one if you get stumped as it can be easier for someone other than you to see outside the box)

  3. You may need to keep this list where you can refer to it regularly if the worry continues to pop up.


Worst Case Scenario:

Ask yourself what the worst case scenario is regarding your situation that is making you nervous/anxious, then write out your response or tell someone you are close with.  Sometimes when we actually let our minds go to and talk about the worst case, it doesn't feel that bad.


Tips for Avoiding Overwhelm in a New Job:

In addition to managing anxiety with the above exercises, here are a few tips to help you feel less overwhelmed in a new job:

  1. Put the right systems in place for you to feel organized with your resources and your time.

  2. Make sure you are clear on what is expected of your role, who will evaluate your performance, what their goals are for you, and how your performance will be measured against those goals.

  3. Focus on one day at a time, and one task at a time. Constantly looking at all there is to do can by overwhelming, so I recommend creating a micro To-Do list, which is a separate list of things that are reasonable for you to accomplish that day (separate from your master To-Do List). Once you've got that down, focus on one task at a time.

  4. Be a sponge: learn as much as you can because knowledge will create confidence.

  5. Make connections/build relationships with co-workers. Offer to take people out to lunch/coffee, etc. to introduce yourself.

  6. Ask as many questions as you can, don't be afraid to look dumb. When you are new, you have a free pass to ask questions, but once you are in for a few months, that time will pass, and if you didn't ask the important questions then, you will wish you had.

If you are starting a new job, congrats on landing the position.  I hope these exercises and strategies are helpful in keeping the new job anxieties at bay. 

Wishing You Faith and Fulfillment, Sandra

Follow your Passions - Interview with Interior Designer, Christina Murphy

Sandra Kay Interviews Christina "Bina" Murphy on how she got her start in her Interior Design Career.

Christina "Bina" Murphy at home in Manhattan Beach, CA

Christina "Bina" Murphy at home in Manhattan Beach, CA

Sandy: I'm so glad you could interview today. I'm very inspired by your new business, and I think my followers will be as well. So Christina, I obviously know a lot about you from being friends with you, and just a little bit about your journey to becoming an interior designer, but would you want to speak a little bit about what your journey was, from finding the seeds of maybe what your passion and calling was, to actually getting there and doing it?

Christina: Yeah, absolutely. And thanks for having me, I am honored, and I always am really excited to talk to people about this, because I’m really just like everyone else. Everyone has dreams, everyone has goals, and it really is just putting one foot in front of the other, in terms of getting there. It takes time.

So for me, this passion started from a young age. My parents had a designer for our home that we lived in for 30 years.  They were constantly evolving this home.  Me being the youngest, I would constantly follow them around, hold the clipboard, hold the tape measure, and give them my two cents. It was fun!  I knew I loved remodeling, building, and trying to envision things like the existing kitchen, and how you could change it, and which direction it could face, and what window worked best, etc.

So I just had that mindset, knowing that that was something I really loved. For a long time, I called it a guilty pleasure, and I kept wondering why I'm calling this a guilty pleasure when it's truly something I really love to do. So, I went on to college, and studied broadcast journalism. I also love to do that, although I just didn't have the glamorous look day-to-day.  I couldn't do the 2 A.M. wake up, with hair up to the sky and the makeup all ready to go. It just wasn't a lifestyle that really fit who I am. I like to kind of get down to the nitty gritty, which is a little bit more on the contracting and building side of design.

Anyways, I knew I wanted to be a designer my whole life, but I thought I'd put it on hold until later in life, when I could have a family, and work maybe from home.  I thought I'd put my time in my 20’s more into the corporate world, so I started working in advertising when I graduated from college. That was wonderful, a really good experience for me, and just good business to business experience, that I think everyone needs.

I sort of just trusted the path and followed it, and I knew, again, in the back of my head, I would always do design. So, I started a blog that I'm pretty sure only my mom and I read. It was a place for me to put my thoughts down in terms of fashion and design culture.  I would do that on my lunch break and at night, when I'd come home from work. That was something that I always did to keep myself going, in terms of my passion for design while I was in advertising.

Then I realized, maybe I should take this a little further, and go to school, see if I liked that. So I enrolled in classes at UCLA, and I did classes after work from 6 to 9 P.M., which was grueling, but it was what I wanted to do. The dedication, and the passion I had for design, it was just very apparent. So as I took these courses and did the blog, my energy started to shift toward design. I started talking to different people that I knew in design, and there was just no doubt at that point that that's what I wanted to be doing.

So that's sort of my path, how I got there. I started working for a firm after school, after I finished my program at UCLA for design, in Manhattan Beach, and then evolved from there.  I worked for another firm after that, and now I'm on my own.

Sandy: That's so awesome!  I'm so happy to see you spreading your wings, and as your friend prior to you being in the career path of interior design, I so admired your style and your eye for design in really every aspect of your life, so I'm happy to see you pursuing that.

Christina: Thanks Sandy. It's funny, because, we would spend so much time together in our early 20s or mid-20s, talking about how to get where we ultimately see ourselves, and as I found out, it really is just putting one foot in front of the other, and staying focused. I think focus is huge, and that goes with everything in life that you want to pursue.  One thing you had taught me that has helped me get to where I am, is to actively envision what you want your life to look like, and to not just envision it in your mind, but to make a Pinterest board about it, and use that to stay laser-focused on what you want. When you start molding that in your head and in your mind, and in your heart, it comes to you. That's the life you want to live, and that's what you'll do.

Sandy: Yeah, it's so true. And I love how you really did that.   This journey of yours really started from taking those small baby steps, like starting your blog that you didn't even create to become famous, or anything like that. You started it for you, because you thought it was fun, and I'm sure more people read it than you even thought, but it starts from doing these things that just sound fun, you know?

Christina: Yeah, it's funny. I started to think I had a passion for photography at one point, and now I realize that it wasn’t the photography that I was necessarily passionate about, it was the ability to tell a unique story that really captured my interest. When I look at this bigger-picture mission of sharing unique stories, I can see why I was interested in broadcast journalism, too. Telling unique stories is what I do with design as well, just in a different way.

Along my path, I allowed myself to do what felt exciting. I never would tell myself no. If I wanted to pick up the camera and take a picture of somebody, or do a photo shoot, I realized it could be a clue to the bigger picture, so I let myself do that. I think all of those small steps led me to being an interior designer, it all kind of came together for me.

Sandy: Yeah, I can totally see that. And, the photography definitely is a part of even what you do today, since you showcase your work on Instagram, right? So, I'm sure it helps.

Christina: Yeah, photography too, absolutely. It's all very creative, and I think the advice I would give people is, to be kind to yourself, never tell yourself no if something seems exciting, and try to think positive thoughts ... You've taught me that. Speaking positive to yourself, being kind to yourself, and telling yourself good things, that will get you so far. And it's so easy to look at what we don't have - the glass half empty perspective, and I think the more positive you are and the more focused you are, the more your dream comes in to play. It all starts to form from there.

Always allow yourself to do what you feel. If you want to go paint, on a canvas in your garage, or whatnot, go do it, because that's what you need to do, that's what you're interested in. And you never know where it can take you.

Sandy: Yeah, for sure. So now that you're doing your own thing, what's your favorite thing about owning your own business, being on your own, and really living a career of your dreams?

Christina: Being on your own is such an exciting thing! I love everything about it, and also, everything about it scares me too. But when I say scares, I mean the right kind of scare.  Not scares me away kind of scary, it’s the feeling of wanting to get up and attack it every day.

Sandy: Yeah, I talked to my followers about the difference between good scared and bad scared. The good one is a feeling you get when something that is a little or a lot outside of your comfort zone.   This feeling can indicate that you are meant to go towards it, or to lean into it, because you can’t reach your destiny without growth and pushing past your comfort zone.

Christina: I think the most important thing you said is lean into it. I think that's exactly what you have to do. For me, I didn't think I was ready to go on my own at first, but I made the decision to go on my own six months ago because I had a really awesome opportunity - a client approached me with a 10,000-square-foot home to design.  Any size home would have done it for me, really, but this especially warranted the leap. The client really wanted to work with just me, which was exhilarating, I was honored that they had so much faith in my work.

I realized, I had no reason to not be working with them on my own. If they want to work with me, I should absolutely take this opportunity to work with them. It was a big enough project that I would be able to start my company, and sustain business for more than a year, so having that opportunity was sort of what pushed me to go onto my own. I knew I'd have a guaranteed year's-worth of business, and an opportunity to create a roadmap, as well as work on my marketing, my website, and everything that you need to do to start a business. It wasn't just a furniture project, it's a construction project, so it was fairly extensive.  The time frame of the project was going to be a perfect amount of time for me to focus on starting a company.

Anyways, that's really what pushed me on my own; getting the right client. I think timing is everything. If I didn't have this client approach me, I would probably have stayed with my firm. I recommend being with a firm, and learning as much as you can until the right opportunity presents itself. But it's kind of that cliché, kitschy quote that's out there, you don't want to miss an opportunity, you know what I mean? That was sort of how I felt about this job, and it was the right thing.

So again, timing, and I'd say, the best thing about being on my own is the challenges that I'm experiencing day to day;  internally, I'm making these big decisions, and I don't have somebody to bounce them off of. But I'm a professional, I'm educated, and I know exactly what I'm doing, so there's no reason for me not to have confidence in what I'm doing.

Sandy: That's awesome. Yeah, and all of the training and education that you had has really probably helped you with that confidence.

Christina: Yeah. And the other thing is, people ... We're living in a bit of a cruel world. Everyone's rooting for you, but at the same time, internally in the industry, you are now not ... You're friends with all the other designers, but you're also their competition. And I think there's a graceful way of handling that, and sort of my thing, and generationally, I don't know if this will change, but I hope that, for me, I'm not really seeing it as competition, I really am just having so much fun. We don't even really see that side of things.

When I’m in the showrooms people will come up to me and say, "Oh, well now you're competition for other designers." And I don't even go there in my head, because it almost stifles my creativity. I am really enjoying being a designer for my clients, so I’m trying to stay focused on that. Hands down, that's what it comes down to. And if I'm not having fun doing this, then I'm in the wrong business.

Sandy: Sure.

Christina: I was having a conversation earlier today with my dad about business and how it's going, and I told him, "It's going so well, and knock on wood, I'm just having a ball." And he said, "Good, because if you aren't having fun, you're in the wrong business." And that's all that's important. I mean, not every day is fun, but overall, if you aren't enjoying it, then it's not for you.

Sandy: I agree.

Christina: You and I talked about it a lot years back. If you don't enjoy the marketplace, and don’t think about how to further yourself in that industry, then it's probably not the fit for you. But it doesn't mean to make a knee-jerk reaction and just pull out of it. Take time, listen to yourself.

Sandy: Yeah, I think that's so key, because so many people just bail out and then take just a random stab at the next thing instead of really doing some introspection on what they like, what their passions are, and trying to find those clues that lead to what they're meant to do.

Christina: Exactly.

Sandy: Well thank you so much for all your wisdom, and sharing your journey with us.

Christina: Yes, anytime. I'm honored, and totally open to speaking with anyone one-on-one that might be more interested after this conversation.

Sandy: That's so great, thank you so much.

Wishing You Faith and Fulfillment, Sandra

5 Companies Headquartered in Bergen County Hiring Now

Guest Post By Sydney Frazer, Partnerships Manager, Glassdoor

Hackensack University Medical Center is one of Bergen County's biggest employers.

Hackensack University Medical Center is one of Bergen County's biggest employers.

Bergen County, New Jersey is located in one of the wealthiest regions in the United States. With almost one million residents, the economy and business community are thriving there. Recent job growth has been positive with jobs in the county increasing by 2 percent and unemployment remaining low at 4.2 percent. Bergen County residents have a median household income of approximately $82,000, which is the 16th highest per capita income in the U.S. Sound like a place you want to be? Luckily for you, I have started the job search for you. I have rounded up five companies headquartered in Bergen County that are hiring now.



BD is a medical technology company headquartered in Franklin Lakes, but with offices in over 50 countries. BD sells a variety of medical supplies, lab equipment, and diagnostic products. With a company rating of 3.3 stars, which is on par with the average rating on Glassdoor, and a solid 84 percent approval rating of CEO Vincent A. Forlenza, employees appear to be pretty satisfied working there. According to one employee there is a “genuine, caring environment” and “individual contributions are valued.” Interested in joining the team? There are 983 open jobs at BD right now. Benefits and perks include a healthy variety of recognition programs, opportunities for career training, and medical, dental, and vision plans.


Sharp Electronics

Headquartered in Montvale, Sharp Electronics is the U.S. subsidiary of Japan’s Sharp Corporation. Sharp Electronics develops home appliances, office solutions, and more. Sharp Electronics boasts a 3.3 star rating on Glassdoor, an 81 percent approval rating of CEO Douglas Albregts, and was named to America’s Best Employers list from Forbes. With 86 job openings and roles ranging from finance to sales to engineering, there is plenty of room to join the team. You can expect benefits and perks like a 401(k) with company matching, an employee referral award, tuition reimbursement, and training assistance programs.


CNBC, located in Englewood Cliffs, is a cable network that is part of NBCUniversal. CNBC reaches about 100 million homes, covering financial news and information, as well as providing in-depth programming and original shows. CNBC has a 3.6 star rating on Glassdoor and CEO Mark Hoffman enjoys an 85 percent approval rating. Open positions are limited right now, with only 4 job openings. If you land a role here, benefits and perks include same-sex domestic partnership benefits, medical and fitness centers on-site at certain locations, and flexible work arrangements.


Dassault Falcon Jet

A U.S. subsidiary of Dassault Aviation, Dassault Falcon Jet is headquartered in Little Ferry. Dassault Falcon Jet is in the aerospace and defense industry, organizing and promoting business jet sales for America, Asia, and the Pacific. With a 3.5 star rating, one employee notes that “people are passionate about the products” and it is a “good family company”. Join the team by applying for one of their 50 job openings, with roles varying from a senior financial analyst to a supply chain coordinator. Benefits and perks at Dassault Falcon Jet include strong health and dental benefits, a 401(k) plan with matching, and opportunities to volunteer with organizations like the Salvation Army, the MS Bike Tour, and Toys for Tots.


Hackensack University Medical Center

Hackensack University Medical Center is an acute care teaching and research hospital located in Hackensack. The hospital serves both northern New Jersey and parts of New York with general medical and surgical care, as well as some specialty care. Hackensack University Medical Center has a slightly above average rating on Glassdoor of 3.4 stars. The hospital has 826 job openings right now spanning most areas of medicine. Benefits and perks include a 403(b), a tuition assistance program, and, naturally, access to great healthcare within the hospital and minimal fees for employees.


If any of these companies seem like the right fit for you, pull out your resume, get it updated, and start applying!


Sydney Frazer

As a Partnerships Manager at Glassdoor, Sydney works with hundreds of accounts across universities, libraries, and blogs, helping to provide them with content and tools to aid job seekers. Outside of work, Sydney enjoys running, hiking, and searching for the perfect burrito.

Wishing You Faith and Fulfillment, Sandra

Exploring the Job Search in New York City

New York City Job Search

Guest post by Sydney Frazer, Partnerships Manager, Glassdoor

Tackling the job search is never an easy feat. It is hard to get started, and can be intimidating and time-consuming throughout the process. Then add into the mix that New York City is the largest city in the United States and has a cost of living 22 percent higher than the national average, and you might be left feeling a little less than hopeful. However, I have performed a deeper look into the labor market in New York City to get you started and what I have found should leave you feeling positive!

As of March 2017, the local unemployment rate stands at 4.0 percent, which is below the national average of 4.5 percent. NYC saw 3.6 percent population growth from 2010 to 2015, but the competition for jobs is eased by the job growth, which stands at 2.5 percent. In addition, the large number of open positions, currently at 146,896 job openings, decreases the competition for jobs. While the cost of living might be higher in NYC than the rest of the country, the median base salary in the city is above the national average as well.

Now, after taking a look at the local economy and labor market in NYC, we can take a deeper dive into the job search. We can do this by evaluating some of the popular jobs and companies in NYC in order to develop a clearer picture of job searching in the area.


3 Popular Job Searches in New York City

  1. With a staggering 27,669 open jobs, Marketing is a popular job search in NYC. The average salary for a marketing professional varies by experience and title. An entry-level position like a Marketing Associate makes $50,000 in the area, which is on par with the average salary for the position. A position requiring more experience, like that of a Marketing Project Manager, earns an average of $86,038 in NYC, which is significantly more than the average NYC worker. Just as with salary, typical interview questions vary by position title. An interview for a position like a Marketing Manager would likely ask common questions like:

    1. How would you manage a new product launch?

    2. Talk about your level of skill and scale in various marketing channels.

    3. What kind of tools have you used for social media management?

  2.  If you are looking to go another creative route, Graphic Designer is another popular job search in the area. With 5,001 open positions and a salary of $52,969, which is slightly above the national average, this could be an attractive path to pursue. If you score an interview for a graphic design position, be prepared to discuss your portfolio, chat about the company’s current design style, and how it can match with your process and style. You should also consider preparing with questions including:

    1. How would you redesign the web site?

    2. How do you approach a project in which you aren’t the driving creative force behind it?

    3. Have you ever had to deal with any difficult clients? How did you resolve the problem?

  3. Another common job search in NYC is Data Scientist, which was named the Best Job in America by Glassdoor. With 5,095 open jobs and an average salary of $108,659 in the area, which is significantly above the median base salary in NYC, it isn’t too surprising. Prepare for an interview that assesses your ability to analyze, interpret, and communicate data via technical questions. Be ready to discuss previous projects you have worked on and how you create clear messages out of complex data sets. Prepare yourself with popular questions like:

    1. Write a function that takes in two sorted lists and outputs a sorted list that is their union.

    2. How do you find out trending queries/topics? How do you test a website feature i.e. given a set of web pages and few changes, how will you find out that the change works positively?

    3. How do you take millions of users with 100's of transactions each, amongst 10k's of products and group the users together in meaningful segments?

If these positions aren’t the right match for you, consider applying for a job at some popular companies hiring in NYC.


3 Popular Companies in New York City

  1. J.P. Morgan operates in over 150 countries, employs over 234,000 people, and is the second-largest company headquartered in NYC. J.P. Morgan has an above average rating of 3.6 stars on Glassdoor and CEO Jamie Dimon has a 91 percent approval rating and was a Highest Rated CEO in 2013. If you want to join this super satisfied team, consider applying for one of their over 5,800 open positions. Expect benefits like medical, dental, and vision plans, a 401(k) plan with matching up to 5 percent, and discounts on shopping, travel, and entertainment venues.

  2. Headquartered in New York City, but with offices in over 43 countries, Morgan Stanley employs over 56,000 people and is one of the 25 largest companies headquartered in NYC. Morgan Stanley was named a Best Place to Work in 2011, currently has a 3.7 star rating, and CEO James P. Gorman has a 90 percent approval rating. If you get hired for one of their over 2,300 open jobs, you can expect benefits like a generous vacation plan, a 401(k) plan with matching, and health insurance with minimal employee contributions.

  3. Again within the financial sector, Goldman Sachs is another popular company in NYC, employing over 36,000 people. It is also one of the 25 largest companies headquartered in NYC. The company was named a Best Place to Work from 2009 through 2012 and currently has a 3.8 star rating. In addition, CEO Lloyd C. Blankfeir currently has a 93 percent approval rating and was named a Highest Rated CEO from 2013 to 2016. If you are interested in working under such a highly rated CEO, consider applying for one of their over 900 open jobs. Benefits at Goldman Sachs include a 401(k) plan with matching and free financial counseling services, a choice of subsidized medical plans, and several offices with on-site health centers that provide preventative and urgent medical services.


Don’t worry if these companies or jobs aren’t the perfect fit for you. Between major industries like financial services, media, communications, and technology, multinationals with offices in NYC like BlackBerry and GlaxoSmithKline, and being in the top 100 Best Places for Business and Careers, NYC provides a lot of runway for you to find exactly what you are looking for. Stay persistent and it will pay off!

Sydney Frazer

Sydney Frazer

As a Partnerships Manager at Glassdoor, Sydney works with hundreds of accounts across universities, libraries, and blogs, helping to provide them with content and tools to aid job seekers. Outside of work, Sydney enjoys running, hiking, and searching for the perfect burrito.

Wishing You Faith and Fulfillment, Sandra

Avoiding the Resume Black Hole In Your Job Search

Once my clients get the clarity on the direction they want to head in their career, they often get frustrated by the process to actually land a job in their desired direction.  The job search and application process can be overwhelming; there are hundreds of job sites out there, conflicting advice on resume writing, and after applying for several jobs and not hearing back, the search can begin to feel hopeless.

Photo by Rawpixel/iStock / Getty Images
Photo by Rawpixel/iStock / Getty Images


To cut through the frustration of the job search and application process, ranked the top job sites in their latest article, “The Best Job Sites, Making the job of looking for a job a little easier.”  They rated as the number one site for providing in-depth information such as what companies are hiring, what the culture/environment might be like at a particular company, reviews from people who work at a company, salary information, and much more. 


They ranked second for being the “Google of job sites” as it aggregates job listings from all over the web in one place. 


Finally, their best site list wouldn’t be complete without LinkedIn.  They chose LinkedIn as a top job site because unlike any other job site, you can see how your network might connect you to a company or job.  You can also promote yourself to recruiters and other connections who might be hiring by creating a robust profile, showing thought-leadership through posts, and joining groups that might be relevant to your career. 


Speaking of networking, from my own experience and my clients’ experience, using your network to land your dream job is far more effective than applying cold to jobs on the Internet. interviewed Steve Dalton, Program Director for Daytime Career Services at Duke University, in their article, “The Best Job Sites” and he confirmed this black-hole phenomenon: “For every one person hired through an online job application program, 12 are hired by an internal referral, according to a 2012 hiring study at the New York Fed.”


This could be due to a lot of reasons.  It could be that hiring managers see less risk in hiring someone that has a connection vouching for them than an applicant that doesn’t. Or perhaps the recruiters who screen the hundreds of resumes per position scan so quickly (6 seconds on average according to’s “The Best Job Sites” article) they only push people with high pedigrees to the next step.


Since networking can really pay off, if it’s possible to do so without compromising their current position, I recommend that my clients talk about what type of job they are looking for and where they want to head in their career with everyone they know/come across, as you never know who might come through for you.  In my previous career as a marketer, I had gotten several positions through connections, and even landed a position from a third degree connection.


While using a connection to land a job is likely to be the most effective strategy, I still think it makes sense to apply to jobs online that match with your background and what you are looking for, even without a connection. However, it’s important to keep in mind the minimal time that a recruiter will spend on your resume. I suggest that my clients tailor their resume so that their best qualifications are up top and formatted so that they catch the attention of the recruiter, instead of worrying about following all the resume “rules.”  I tell my clients to think like a marketer when applying for jobs and to think of the recruiters and hiring managers as their target audience. Any good marketer will research their target audience to understand their needs, wants, and perspective. When you understand these things about your target audience, it’s much easier to tailor your message/application so that it stands out.


I hope these tips help you stay out of the resume black hole in your job search.  For more info on job sites and job searching tips, check out’s article here.

Wishing You Faith and Fulfillment, Sandra

The one thing you must do to find fulfillment in your work

Photo by sergeichekman/iStock / Getty Images
Photo by sergeichekman/iStock / Getty Images

If you've ever gone to a career counselor, maybe in high school or college, you've probably taken a personality assessment that generates a few recommended career paths after answering several questions.  It's great to have a test sum up your personality and feel like you are understood, but most people will look at the recommended careers and think, those aren't quite it for me - and the process ends there with no conclusion of which direction to head.  

When I work with my clients, instead of generating some job or career after a series of questions, we work to define their personal mission first.  This mission is comprised of what they are good at, what they are passionate about, and what the world needs. For example - my mission would be 'to help people create fulfilling lives.' As you can see, this mission allows for a lot of different career paths and jobs - it feels much more comprehensive than a single job or career.  I believe that we are meant to grow and I like the mission approach because it makes room for that growth.  For example, there are many ways I could pursue my mission.  I've chosen Life and Career Coach now, but I could also be a writer, a speaker, a counselor, a therapist, etc. The great thing about defining a mission is that it doesn't limit your options, but it narrows your focus to things that would be personally fulfilling and meaningful.   

Defining your personal mission can be tricky, and is best done with a career coach.  I have my clients answer several exploratory questions about themselves and then look for common threads.  The funny thing is, no matter how obvious these common threads are to me, a lot of times, my clients don't see these for themselves.  This is probably because we don't see the things that come natural to us as 'special' or different than what others can do.  

So what is your personal mission?? 

Wishing You Faith and Fulfillment, Sandra

Coming Up For Air After Move Across The Country

It’s been a few months since I last wrote a blog post as my world has been going through major changes.  My husband and I made the move to the east coast and are now finally settled into a new house and are waiting for our baby girl to make her appearance any day now.  Between adjusting to a new coast, new house, my husband’s new job, and soon to be new role as a mother, everything is new to us during this time.  Martha Beck talks about the 4 different phases of change and we are certainly in phase 1, which is the stage where the death of an old life and a birth of a new life takes place.  Can you remember a time when you were in this beginning stage of transition yourself or are you in one now? 

Martha Beck's Change Cycle


The death of an old life/identity, and the transition to the new can bring a mix of negative emotions such as sadness, loss, anxiety, uncertainty, confusion, hopelessness, as well as positive emotions such as excitement, hopefulness, and joy, etc.  How much you feel of the negative versus the positive will depend on how much you hold on to the past versus how much you embrace the future.


I am certainly missing a lot of things about our old life in Los Angeles, from the weather to our friends, to the various outdoor activities, to just being familiar with the city.  However, despite missing our old life, I know the move for my husband’s new job was the right decision for us and our daughter, so I am embracing the future and am excited to see it unfold for us.


Speaking of being excited to see our new life unfold, I have been quite anxious the last week for our baby’s arrival.  I’ve been preparing the nursery, reading up on baby care and nurturing strategies, and overall excited to see her face.  I am thankful to be at a point where I feel prepared for her to come – we weren’t sure if we’d even have a house by now when we went through the move across the country.  Many new mothers are quick to give me the advice that I should get as much sleep as possible during this time leading up to baby’s arrival since I won’t be getting much of it after her arrival.  After hearing their advice, I’m reminding myself to enjoy the last few moments before stepping into this journey of motherhood. 

Wishing You Faith and Fulfillment, Sandra

Tips on Manifesting the Life You Want

NYC skyline

I have been working on manifesting some things in my life to live the life I desire for quite some time and I'm excited to announce that some of those desired things have finally happened.  Even though I have faith in the tools I teach regarding manifesting your dream life, I'm still amazed when the big things I dream of actually happen.  I'm filled with gratitude and awe as I receive the opportunities I have been seeking.  Through my experience with manifesting techniques, I've learned some strategies that help in attracting the desired results.  

One of the most important of these strategies is to let go of the "how" - and focus on the "what."  It's the universe's business of how it's going to happen, and it's your business to do the best you can with what you've got and where you are.  So when you think about what you want to attract, make sure it doesn't involve the how - leave that part to the Divine. ;)

Another tip that I've found helpful is visualizing the desired end result on a daily basis.  Whether this visualization takes place as you day dream on your commute to work or during a dedicated 10 minutes in the morning, this visualization is powerful at attracting your desired result.  

Lastly, I also find that writing the desired result down on paper is helpful.  Keep it in a special journal, or tear out the sheet and place it in a special box.  

Another thing that I've learned is that while you may receive your desired result, it may come with other things that will challenge you.  For me this is certainly true - my desired result involves a move to New York in the next month, which will be a huge change for my husband and me, but one we are embracing wholeheartedly as an opportunity to grow.  It also helps that my husband is from there and we will be closer to his family as a result.  

With this news, I wanted to let you all know that after February 13th, I will be serving the LA market via Skype and phone sessions only instead of in-person sessions.  Much of the coaching industry does Skype or phone only, so I'm confident I'll be able to support you all as much as I always have.  

Wishing You Faith and Fulfillment, Sandra

Goal Setting Speech at TrueX in Los Angeles

This week I had the honor of speaking at TrueX, a digital advertising technology company in Los Angeles on how to achieve your goals and stick to your New Year's resolutions.  It was a great turn out and I really enjoyed interacting with the group.  I went through my 12 tips on how to make resolutions stick, and the group had a few strategies of their own.  

One of them was to partner with others who have similar goals.  I completely agreed with this one as it's always helpful to get this external support, and rely on each other as you move towards achieving your goals.

Another one that was suggested was making sure you don't approach your goals with an "all or nothing" attitude.  This was also a great suggestion as many of us fall victim to this type of thinking.  This is our ego's way of trying to get us to stay the same.  Our ego tells us, if we don't do it perfect, it's not worth doing it at all.  Our rational minds know this is not true - we should have compassion for ourselves when our efforts aren't perfect and focus on progress, not perfection.

Lastly, an attendee brought up the importance of making your goals as specific and measurable as possible, so that you'll know when you've achieved your goal.  This is definitely one of the top tips on goal setting, especially in corporate environments.  

After the speech and the goal setting exercise, this group is well on their way to achieving their goals this year.  I hope this helps you achieve yours as well!

Wishing You Faith and Fulfillment, Sandra

12 Reasons Why Resolutions Fail and How you can Make Yours Stick this Year

I’ve done some research on resolutions and motivation and always find the complex nature of the topic fascinating.  If you fail at your resolutions year after year and beat yourself up about it, you might feel better to know that there is a huge percentage of people who are doing the same thing.  In fact, according to researcher John Norcross, who published his findings in the Journal of Clinical Psychology, approximately 50% of the population makes resolutions each New Year, but according to Richard Wiseman, 88% of those people, fail at sticking to them. This definitely implies that behavior change and maintaining the motivation to achieve your goals is not so simple as being disciplined and having enough willpower.  There really is a lot more to it than that. 


So what are we doing wrong? Here are the top reasons why your resolutions fail and how you can make them stick this year.


1.     You don’t start with why


When you set a goal or resolution, you need to ask yourself “why” in order to get to the root of what the change will mean to you within all aspects of your life.  For example, you might set a goal to lose weight, but if you haven’t asked yourself why, then you might not stick to it.  Your answer to “why” you want to lose weight might be because you want to have more energy to play with your kids. Sometimes when we ask ourselves why, if we realize we don’t have a good answer, we might decide it’s not a worthy goal after all.  Or you might even realize that you need to revise your goal to get to your why.


2.     You don’t root the desired change with an emotional feeling state


This one goes along with asking yourself “why,” but takes it a step further.  Ask yourself what emotions or feelings would you feel if you were to achieve your goal? For example, if weight loss is your goal, then close your eyes and imagine yourself with the results you desire.  What emotions or feeling states come up for you? Joy? Happiness? Energy? A sense of belonging? Whatever they are, write them down and then ask yourself, what else could I do to bring me joy, happiness and energy in my life now?  Once you’ve come up with those, aim to integrate those activities in your life as you set out to achieve your goal.  Integrating desired emotions and feeling states into your life gives you more power to achieve your goals and manifest what you want.  Martha Beck notes that it is not external circumstances that attract desired feeling-states, it’s desired feeling-states that attract external circumstances. 


3.     Your goal isn’t realistic


Many people set unrealistic goals and want to make a drastic change overnight.  You need to make sure that the goal you are setting and the time to achieve it are realistic, or you will just set yourself up for disappointment.  Setting unrealistic goals may do more damage than good because they may cause you to revert back to unhealthy habits in order to cope with the disappointment of failing.


4.     Your goal isn’t behavior oriented


It’s fine to have an end goal that doesn’t involve behavior to guide the creation of smaller goals, but it’s important that the smaller goals involve behavior changes/modifications.  For example your end goal might be to lose 20 lbs, but the behavior goal tied to this might be to workout 6 days a week. Every goal that we want to achieve starts with behavior changes – so make sure to identify those behavior changes that will help you achieve your end goal and make these your smaller goals. 


5.     You set too many goals/resolutions at one time


With the new year spirit, many people may feel tempted to make a bunch of changes all at once.  Also, as we talked about above, since breaking end goals down to behavior goals is the best strategy to achieving real change, you may be tempted to set several behavior goals to get you to your end goal.  However, keep in mind that your brain can only handle so much change at one time.  It’s best to take things slow and focus on one behavior modification at a time, otherwise you may tire out the willpower function of the brain and not be able to maintain any behavior modification.  Think of this section of your brain as a muscle, you need to go slow to build it up.  You wouldn’t go from not working out to lifting 300 pounds, would you? In the same way, don’t overload your willpower with too much “weight” all at once and you’ll be much more successful at achieving your goals.


6.     You don’t schedule a plan of action


If you want to workout 6 days a week you need to schedule a plan to make this work otherwise it is just an intention.  There may be reasons why working out 6 days a week in the past has been so hard.  What are you going to do differently this time to make sure you stick to it?  You may need to move your schedule around to accommodate this new behavior.  You may need to drop other things that you typically did on a daily basis, such as watching TV or taking long lunches.  Look at your schedule and figure out what sacrifices you are going to make to accommodate this new behavior (if any) and then schedule it in your calendar. We tend to stick to plans more when they are in our calendars and have a scheduled time.


7.     You don’t leave room for inspired action


Having a plan is necessary, but you also need to leave room for inspired action.  What do I mean by that? Inspired action involves allowing your intuition to guide your steps. Your intuition guides you by giving you very subtle positive and negative body sensations.  Tune into your body to see what it is trying to guide you to do.  If something seems exciting and you get a light positive body sensation, this would be a sign from your intuition to go in that direction.  The opposite is also true.  For example, let’s say you have an end goal of getting a higher paying job and your behavior goal is to spend an hour each day applying for jobs.  You’ve made a commitment to spending your early morning before work on the computer at home job searching, but one day, you suddenly feel a pull to go to Starbucks around the corner- it feels like a positive body sensation and different from when your brain is tempting you to procrastinate.  You see this as a sign of inspired action and you decide to go.  When you get there you realize why your intuition was pulling you there when you end up meeting a valuable career connection while in line for your coffee.  This would be an example of how your intuition might work to inspire action.  As you can see, it is a valuable thing to pay attention to. 


8.     You have self-defeating beliefs and self talk


If you wanted to meet someone that you could have a meaningful romantic relationship with and you really put yourself out there through dating apps and going out, but had this deep down belief that you weren’t lovable, you can see how this belief might negate your efforts.  When we hold beliefs about ourselves that don’t serve us in a positive way, we are tied to the energy of these beliefs.  You broadcast this energy to the universe, and in turn, you get back what you put out there.  It can be tricky identifying these beliefs on your own, but try to do some introspection or work with a life coach to help you identify the beliefs that may be holding you back, as identifying them is the first step to dissolving them.  Once you’ve identified a belief, ask yourself how this belief is affecting your life and how you feel when you believe it.  Then ask yourself how you would be if you didn’t believe that thought.  Next, come up with at least 5 ways the opposite could be true.  If it persists, come up with a reason the opposite could be true every day for several weeks until you feel that it isn’t a belief your brain wants to hold onto.


9.     You have a conflicting desire underneath the surface


If your goal is weight loss and you make a behavior goal to cut out sweets, but then give into a few brownies when someone puts them out at the office, you might realize in that moment that your more powerful conflicting-desire was to experience pleasure or be comforted (or whatever eating a brownie would do for you).  When you set your goals, ask yourself what conflicting desires might you have that would sabotage your efforts to reach your goal? Once you identify your conflicting desire(s), ask yourself if there are other ways you could achieve that desire that wouldn’t sabotage your goal. In the example used above, I might find other ways to integrate pleasure into my daily life, such as taking a warm bath, or socializing with a good friend, or even nibbling on a small portion of dark chocolate so my desire is met.


10. You don’t remove unnecessary obstacles


If you set a goal but then fail to remove the blocks that may prevent you from reaching that goal, you will probably have a tough time achieving your goal.  For example, with weight loss as your goal, you would want to remove the junk food from your pantry and fridge and replace with healthy options.  Why make it harder on yourself by keeping tempting items around you? Whatever your goal is, think about the various ways you could make reaching your goal easier and the various things you could do to make not reaching your goal harder - then do those things. 


11. You don’t build in rewards


On the way to reaching your goals, you’ll want to build in some positive reinforcement.  Think about the “treats” you could give yourself to keep up the new behaviors and reward your efforts.  These treats could be paired in with the activity – such as allowing yourself to watch your favorite shows while on the treadmill, or incorporated after you are done, such as getting a weekly massage as a reward for working out consistently.  Since goals can take a while to achieve, it’s important to reward yourself along the way so you are motivated to keep it up.


12. You don’t enlist support from others


Enlisting the support of other people can certainly give you much more of an edge on reaching your goals versus going it alone.  For your goal, think about the people who might be able to provide the best support for you.  Looping in others will not only provide a sense of external accountability, but other people may provide encouragement, tips, and strategies as well.  Enlisting support from others can range from simply telling the person about your goal, to asking them to help you achieve that goal.  Consider friends, family, co-workers, career mentors, online groups/forums, or experts in the area you want to change such as a life coach, a career coach, a therapist, a personal trainer, a nutritionist, etc.  


Whatever your goal is this year, I hope these tips are helpful to you for making it happen.  

Wishing You Faith and Fulfillment, Sandra

Holiday Gift Guide: My Favorite Self-Development Gifts

Happy Holidays! Buying gifts for loved ones can be difficult as everyone has different personalities, hobbies, and interests.  While I may not be able to provide a guide for all the different personalities on your list, I can help you with the self-development/self-help junkies on your list.  As a self-development junkie myself, here are the things I have and love already, or would love to receive. Happy Gifting!

The Power of Now, by Eckhart Tolle

I've talked about this book in my about page, and feel that it is one worth repeating. If you know anyone who constantly worries, has anxiety, or is just curious about how to live a better life, this is a great book for them. 

Spirit Junkie, by Gabrielle Bernstein




Gabrielle Bernstein tells her hell and back story in this book - how she went from party junkie to self-proclaimed "spirit junkie".  I found her story very inspiring because I could relate to many struggles she went through.  

Steering By Starlight, by Martha Beck

Martha Beck uses her humor, practicality and spirituality to guide you to your destiny in this book.  I'm a fan of all of Martha's books, but this one is really great for helping you get clarity on how to find your destiny and purpose. 

Big Magic, by Elizabeth Gilbert

I'm in the middle of this book and I'm loving it so far.  Elizabeth Gilbert encourages us to do whatever delights us without worrying about where it's going or what purpose it will serve. She gives an example of one woman who loved ice skating when she was young, but quit when she got older because she realized she wasn't good enough to be an olympic competitor.  This woman picked ice skating back up as an adult for the sake of delight, and no other reason.  The act of doing this brought her immense pleasure and happiness, which effected all parts of her life. 

Reversible Yoga Mat, from Lululemon

Any self-development junkie will likely need an upgrade on their yoga mat.  This one from Lululemon looks like it would last a while and grip your hands and feet even during the most sweaty sessions.

Dream Box, from Francesca's

I love having cute boxes like these to put notes in to help in manifesting my dreams.  You can use it as a prayer box as well.

Personalized Journal, From Paper Source

I really can't have enough journals.  Whether I am using them for to-do's, self-reflection, or creative endeavors, I always need a fresh one for different categories.  The personalization and the beautiful artwork on these make them an extra special gift. 

Desire Map Planner, from Danielle LaPorte

We all love a good planner, but this one is especially good for self-development junkies because it gives you guided prompts for each day or week to help you achieve your goals.  

Gift Certificates

Gifting a package of Life Coaching Sessions,Yoga Sessions, or even a Wellness Retreat would all be well received by the self-development junkie as well since we value experiences so much. 

Wishing You Faith and Fulfillment, Sandra

10 Questions To Identify Your Calling

Are you still struggling to identify what type of career you could be passionate about? Try asking yourself these 10 questions to find out.

Photo by Monkey Business Images/Monkey Business / Getty Images
Photo by Monkey Business Images/Monkey Business / Getty Images

Below are some questions that can help you identify your calling. Try to be as honest as possible when answering the questions – don’t respond in a way that you think sounds good to others or judge your responses. If you have several answers, write those down as well. Don’t attempt to filter any of your responses until everything is written down and you have gone through all the questions.

1. What are you afraid of?

2. What would you do if you won the lottery or if money was not a factor?

3. What would you do if you knew you could not fail?

4. What types of books do you love reading?

5. What activities light you up with incredible energy and enthusiasm?

6. What do your friends say you are talented at?

7. What did you love to do as a child?

8. What issue in society/the world would you most want to change or help?

9. What challenges have you overcame in life?

10. If you died and you were looking back at your life, what regrets would you have?

After you go through all the questions, start to look at your responses. Are there any common themes? Are there some answers that pop out at you more or give you an electric feeling? Keep in mind that some of your responses might not point to a specific career, but they will help you identitfy your passion. If you can identify your passion(s), you can use those to research career paths that involve your passion. Sometimes, the career may not have been established yet, so your calling could be something entrepreneurial.

Wishing You Faith and Fulfillment, Sandra

15 Signs You Are Going Through a Quarter-Life Crisis & What To Do About It

Photo by martin-dm/iStock / Getty Images
Photo by martin-dm/iStock / Getty Images

We’ve all heard of a Mid-Life Crisis, but what about a Quarter-Life Crisis? It’s not a common term, but many people in their 20's and 30's go through it.

People going through a quarter-life crisis may have spent their early 20’s after college focused on surviving and having fun. Now that they are getting older, they are feeling the itch to get their lives together. They may be unhappy with their career —it might pay the bills, but they are miserable. They may be in relationships that were comfortable and convenient, but are feeling unsure about whether they want to marry their significant other. They may have been simply dating for fun in their previous years or had a string of relationships that didn’t work out and are now trying to find “the one” whom they want to share their life with. All of these elements of uncertainty can be exacerbated when they see their friends getting married, or are happy and successful in their careers.

Here are the signs that you might be going through a quarter-life crisis:

  1. You feel like you have been living your life on auto-pilot and feel you are suddenly waking up to the not so glamorous life you created
  2. You feel trapped or stuck in your current situation
  3. You feel like you don’t truly know who you are or what you want, but you know it’s not your current situation
  4. You don’t trust yourself to make the decisions that are right for you
  5. You often compare yourself to your more professionally or romantically successful peers which makes you feel even more depressed about your situation
  6. You have a nagging feeling that there is much more to life than this
  7. You feel panicked about where your future is headed – you thought you would have been so much farther along in your career, or with the right romantic partner by now
  8. Although you may have compromised your passions for a career that is more stable, you don’t feel financially stable 
  9. You feel very unfulfilled in your job, but you stay to pay the bills and because you either don’t know what would make you feel fulfilled, or feel the financial sacrifice is too great to go after what you really love
  10. You get in a bad mood Sunday evening, knowing you have to go back to work tomorrow
  11. You have anxiety at the thought of going to another wedding single
  12. You are tired of the go-nowhere dates that you have gone on lately
  13. You feel drained of physical and mental energy, and may be experiencing other physical ailments due to stress and anxiety
  14. Despite your hard work to achieve your ambitious career goals, things don’t seem to be going as planned
  15. You long for your college days, when you had more fun, less responsibility, were surrounded by friends, and weren’t faced with such serious life altering decisions.

Did any of those resonate with your current situation? If so, here’s what you can do about it:

Realize that life is not a competition and success means something different for everyone. It is more important that you align your life with your own definition of success, as well as your own talents, purpose, and desires, rather than someone else’s. You might achieve the dream career that you think everyone will admire and respect, but if in the end it makes you miserable, what is the point? Many of us have been so used to pleasing our parents or society as we grew up, that naturally, we chose a career that would also please them – only to find that we are very unhappy with the chosen path, because it doesn’t suit our unique talents, abilities, and desires.

Speaking of talents, and abilities, do some introspection on the gifts you were blessed with and meant to share with the world. If none come to mind, ask your friends and family what unique talents, abilities, or characteristic traits they see in you. Sometimes we can’t see our own unique gifts and abilities because they have been within us our whole lives, therefore, we don’t see them as unique or special.

Whether you are in a relationship or not, define your ideal life partner. Write down all the qualities that you desire in a romantic life partner. Compare this list with your current significant other or your future dates to see if they are the right person for you.

Start tuning into your gut/intuition. It has all the information you need to steer your life in the direction you were meant to go. You may have been ignoring what this inner GPS has to say, which is perhaps why you have ended up in your current unsatisfying situation. Now’s a good time to be still and pay attention to what it is communicating to you.

Hire a life coach! Life coaches have all the tools and experience that you need to achieve clarity, direction, and to move past the paralysis keeping you stuck in a life you don’t love.

Wishing You Faith and Fulfillment, Sandra

The Day My Intuition Saved My Life

I had never heard about or experienced Divine intuition/guidance until it saved my life one day in high school. 

I was a freshman at the time and a group of my girlfriends and I went to a boy’s house where a group of his friends were hanging out.  One of the boys there offered to drive us back to our friend’s house where we would be spending the night at the end of the night, so he planned to stay sober.

The group started to play drinking games and I didn’t like the taste of alcohol at that point in my life so I chose to chat with two other girls that happened to be there outside.  Around 11pm, I came back inside to see the group playing drinking games and having fun.

After a little while, my friend came up to me and asked if I would go with her to check in with her parents. I looked at the boy who she said would drive us and all of a sudden, from seemingly out of nowhere, I was startled by this very loud voice in the right side of my head saying “DON’T GO!” “DON’T GO!”  It sort of paralyzed me for a second and was accompanied by an ill feeling in my gut. I was so startled by this that all I could blurt out in response to my friend was “I don’t want to go…” “I don’t want to go…”. Declining my friend’s request that I come along was very out of character for me because I prided myself on being a caring and supportive friend, which shows you just how powerful this experience was to guide me against my normal tendencies.

From my own rational perspective, I believed the driver when he said he was ok to drive and didn’t drink – after all I hadn’t seen anything to prove otherwise. But nonetheless, this intuitive voice was so strong I couldn’t do anything other than follow it. At the time, I don’t think I had quite ever even learned about intuition so this was something that I just experienced but couldn’t quite identify what it was, and definitely couldn’t explain it to anyone else.

After I turned my friend down, she went solo with the boy in his truck to drive to her parent’s house.  They ended up getting in a rollover car accident on the way there, but luckily both had been wearing seatbelts, which saved them from serious life-threatening injuries.  However, since there were only two seatbelts in the truck, one of us would have most likely died or been severely injured if I had made the decision to go with her. 

The whole event was shocking and traumatic to everyone and although the two in the accident didn’t have life threatening injuries, they still suffered both mental and physical trauma.

After hearing what had happened, I felt regretful that I didn’t warn her of the intuitive feeling that came over me. However I also felt incredibly lucky to have had my guardian angels guide me out of making a decision that could have cost me my life.  From that point forward, I knew I needed to trust that voice or gut feeling.  

Wishing You Faith and Fulfillment, Sandra

Valentine's Day - A Day of Love Or Expectations?

Valentine’s day can be an awkward holiday whether you are dating someone new, or have been in a long relationship and or marriage.  The day tends to get overhyped by the media, movies, and retail companies that want to sell you a concept of what Valentine’s Day should be. 

Many of us feel the pressure to do something grandiose for their significant other as a sign of our love. 

This pressure might come from a variety of places such as the perceived or actual expectations of their significant other, the need to out-do their friends, or even society.  Then there’s the question, how much is too much, and how much is just right?  When you are first starting to date, this can be even more complicated to gauge.

If you are a guy dating a woman and she says “you don’t have to get me anything” – please know that this is just their way of trying to seem low maintenance, easy going, or humble.  They don’t want you to feel like you have to do anything so they most likely won’t ask. However, just because they say this, doesn’t mean they don’t expect anything.  (Trust me, I’ve seen it happen, and women will be let down if you don’t do anything) They want you to want to do something out of your own love for them.  They will most likely expect something from you to show them that you put some thought into them. To women, even if you’ve told them you love them every day, doing something on Valentine’s Day for them somehow validates the relationship for them. 

I personally recommend that women not confuse men by saying things they don’t mean, after all men aren’t mind readers, but that’s a whole other blog post.

Some people also think that Valentine’s day is for the woman, but I personally feel it’s a mutual thing.  I doubt men have the same expectations that women do, which makes it a little easier on us, but it’s still hard since most of the products that are marketed for Valentine’s day are designed for women.  Because of this, I usually try to get a little more creative with my gifts. 

Valentine’s Day may mean different things to different people, but in the end, it should just be a day that you let your Valentine know how much you love them or care for them in a thoughtful way.  It's even better if you can remember to do this throughout the year, and not just on Valentine's Day.  :)

Happy Valentine's Day!


Sandra Kay

Wishing You Faith and Fulfillment, Sandra

Feeling unfulfilled in your career? Here's what to do next.

One common issue that clients come to me for is that they suddenly feel unenthusiastic and unfulfilled about their chosen career path, even if they’ve been fairly successful in it. 

When people reach a point of success in their chosen careers but it fails to bring them the fulfillment they were hoping for, they often ask themselves –

“is this all there is?” 

When this reaction occurs, it is likely because they have chosen their career based on practicality or what would impress friends, family or society, rather than what their authentic self truly desired.  As in Maslow’s hierarchy, survival comes way before self-actualization, so in the first years on this path one might not necessarily be thinking about how unfulfilled they are, but rather focused on driving their career forward so they can make more money, be more successful, in order to “survive.”  However, once they have been at this path for awhile and survival needs have consistently been met, the unfulfilled feeling starts to creep in. 

Another possible scenario to explain this situation is that their current career path was the right thing at one time, but they have now outgrown it.

Either way, the suddenly flat feeling towards their career is a sign that it’s time to do some internal exploration.

Are you feeling the same way?

If so, in your internal exploration, you will want to start noticing what things do light you up or make you feel enthusiastic as well as noticing the types of things that do the opposite.  Ask yourself deep questions, such as:

What would I do with my life if I had all the money I wanted?

  • What am I passionate about? (topics, hobbies, etc.)
  • What would I do with my life if I could not fail?
  • What contributions do I want to give to the world?
  • What do you feel that the world needs from you?
    • More beauty? More healing? More protection? More Entertainment? More humor? Etc.
  • What problem with people, society, or the earth do I want to help solve/relieve?
  • What do I want to be known for?
  • What unique gifts, talents, skills do friends and family say I have?

After you’ve answered questions like these, notice if there is a theme.  It’s best to define your purpose/personal mission statement in a high-concept way such as:

“I want to ease suffering among women,” or “I want to empower people to dream big” or “I want to protect those who cannot defend themselves,” or “I want to create inspiring environments for others.” As you can see, these are broader statements that a variety of careers could fit into.  There are thousands of ways to pursue any one purpose or mission, so it’s best not to narrowly define it with a career title.

From there, start brainstorming ways that you can integrate that purpose into your life as it is now.  How might you integrate this into your current job? What can you do on the side to explore these passions?  What careers or entrepreneurial paths might incorporate this purpose?  Talk to your friends, search Google, or refer to career guides to help you find more information. 

As you begin to think about an inspiring new future, your reptilian brain (the side of your brain that is primarily concerned with survival) will try to scare you out of making changes, so you’ll have to go slow.  Don’t let it tell you that you have to make huge leaps (all or nothing mentality) in order to follow your passion or that the paths you are thinking of are too risky.  You can easily do things on the side of your day job that may put you on the path to a more inspiring future.  Perhaps these things on the side will stay on the side, perhaps they will just be hobbies, or maybe they will one day become your full time career.  A lot of my clients have a lingering sub-conscious fantasy about a career they’d love to do, but they don’t even let themselves think about it consciously because they have the belief that it is too risky, too hard, or won’t make enough money.  Keep in mind that new careers are developing all the time and entrepreneurial paths allow you to create your own career. 

If you find yourself in this situation, I’d love to help.  Helping you explore your passions and strengths, dissolving limiting thoughts, and brainstorming new ideas is my passion!

Wishing You Faith and Fulfillment, Sandra

Waking Up From Autopilot

Photo by anyaberkut/iStock / Getty Images
Photo by anyaberkut/iStock / Getty Images

Have you ever gone along in life for a long period of time without consciously making decisions for your future? 

You might go through the motions and respond reactively to things that come your way, but you aren’t consciously choosing which direction to go. To compare to literally driving a car- you’ve got the gas on and you are steering to react to things that come your way, but you aren’t consciously driving to any particular destination or maybe the destination is some routine place you’ve always gone.  I certainly have. It happened to me post-college and it took a few years to wake up.  Suddenly, some big event/decision I was faced with snapped me out of it and I thought –how did I get here?  The decisions I had made or perhaps the lack of decisions I had made under my autopilot existence led me somewhere I didn’t want to be.

From that point on, I strived to live with mindfulness, so that I was consciously creating my life and making decisions so that I could lead my life in a direction I did want to go.  Making decisions might not always be so easy, and you may certainly make the wrong ones at times, but at least you are consciously choosing where to steer your life. 

I do believe that the state of autopilot comes in handy for some activities like working out, where I just want to get through it without focusing on how hard it is or how much I want to stop and relax.  :) Also, I think it may be a function of the brain to conserve energy for the important stuff.  So there may be times where you drove somewhere and don’t remember the moments of actually driving or which stall you used in the public bathroom or whatever event that you did that was nonessential for the brain to retain.  Have you forgotten where you put your keys?  Chances are, you were in autopilot mode when you put them down somewhere, which is why you don’t remember where you put them.  After a few pairs of lost keys, I recognized that I needed to snap out of that intermittent autopilot mode and remind myself to “wake up” when I’m putting my keys anywhere.  Also, putting them in a consistent place might help you remember where they are in case you didn’t remember to wake up when you put them down. 

Despite the few advantages of being in auto-pilot occasionally, I encourage you to wake up if you suspect you may be living on autopilot, as you may wind up somewhere where you don’t want to be.  The practice of mindfulness can help you stay out of autopilot.   Mindfulness is a way of being where you become fully aware of each moment that you experience, not lost in your thoughts or tuned-out.  For example, when you are brushing your teeth, practicing mindfulness would mean that you are focusing on the action of brushing your teeth and the sensations you feel.  When you are practicing mindfulness you would focus on truly listening to others and being in the moment, not zoning out or immediately thinking how you are going to respond.  Tuning into your own body is also a great way to live mindfully. Pay attention to the sensations you are feeling moment by moment when you do certain activities, when you feel certain emotions, or when you eat certain foods.  Once you do this for a period of time, you’ll be amazed at the many insights you learn about yourself, the focus you’ll be able to apply to situations, and the vast improvement in your personal relationships.

Wishing You Faith and Fulfillment, Sandra